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Bletchley

RFC Realism Suggestions

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Hello All,

 

Claims

 

Currently flying a very early RFC campaign in Bristol Scout (February 1915, 20+ missions 10+ hours, 1 claim) and having great fun - but I got to thinking about the claims process, and how this changed (at least for the RFC) over the course of the war. In the early part of the war, if I remember correctly, the whole claims process was a lot more relaxed than later - the RFC was never that keen on acknowledging individual pilot 'scores', and in the early years at least if a pilot said that he had shot down an enemy a/c or even sent it down 'out of control' this was enough, at the squadron level, to validate a claim (after all, they were all officers and gentlemen, and a gentleman's word is his bond...) even to the point of allowing several pilots to share a claim for one enemy a/c. I think the claims process was tightened up as the war went on (I am currently re-reading Bill Lambert's memoir, and by 1918 this process certainly seems to have been tighter) but over-claiming is now accepted as being rife in the RFC up to 1917 at least. To get a 'realistic' score as an RFC pilot, therefore, I think it is probably acceptable to adopt the more relaxed claims option in the workshop settings:

 

1915 : Easiest

1916/17: Easy

1918: Normal

 

 

Flight Altttudes

 

Flying altitudes increased as the war progressed, so, in the workshop settings:

 

1915: 3000 ft

1916: 10,000 ft

1917/18: 18,000 ft

 

 

Bletchey (aka Bletchley, but a slip of the finger in registering...)

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Thanks Bletchley good info as always.

 

(BTW you can get your name edited/changed by PM one of the main mods here I think).

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Bletchley , my apologies for a quick thread hi jack....what is the name of the Lambert book? Did a google search and could not find it. I believe I have one of the original hand sketched drawings he did for the book signed by him. I obtained it from a collector who obtained it from the family. Is this in the book?

 

I always wondered if this pic made it in the book or not, I know he did several and some made it in and others did not:

 

Lambert.jpg

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Bletchley , my apologies for a quick thread hi jack....what is the name of the Lambert book? Did a google search and could not find it. I believe I have one of the original hand sketched drawings he did for the book signed by him. I obtained it from a collector who obtained it from the family. Is this in the book?

 

I always wondered if this pic made it in the book or not, I know he did several and some made it in and others did not:

 

Lambert.jpg

 

It is by W.C. 'Bill' Lambert DFC, "Combat Report". My copy is a paperback published by Corgi, 1978, but there was an earlier hardback publication by William Kimber, 1973. My pbk copy has photos, but no sketches. I have not seen the hbk publication. Captain Bill Lambert was an American, he joined the RFC and trained in Canada, and flew with No.24 Squadron RFC 'C' Flight from March-August 1918 (approx. 20 claims). He had a bad crash, but survived the war to be demobbed in 1919. I think he later served as a Colonel in the US Air Service.

 

Thanks for posting that sketch - very interesting. The date fits, and the Allied a/c look like the SE5A, which he flew with No.24 Squadron :)

 

Bletchley

Edited by Bletchey

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The providence on the sketch is rock solid (highly documented piece in my collection) . He sketched it and claimed 2 Fokker DVIIs that day . I just have never ran across the hardcover of the book.

 

Great info on the name , I was able to obatin the last used hard cover listed on amazon just now . I can't wait to get it (and find out) . thanks again.

 

Do you want us to change your user name?

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Thanks for the name change! Bletchley again :)

 

MK2, here is Lambert's log book entry for that engagement (p.154 of my copy):

 

"4/7/18; 8.00 a.m. to 10.00 a.m.; 1084 [serial no. of SE5A]; 120-min.; 1000 feet; trench strafing; one OK on 100 Fan. (one bomb on 100 ground troops.); put one A.A. crew out of commission with guns; attacked by three E.A.; crashed first one with 100 rounds of Vickers; fired one round at second and got stoppage. Hung on his tail until he crashed; one down damaged and foced to land."

 

And his recollections:

 

"Slightly to the west lots of Archie bursts showed Hazell and Selwyn were busy over Hamel. Daley and I joined thm as they climbed for altitude. At 2000 feet Archie was busy and accurate. I heard a deep grunt close behind and below; 1084 bounced like a cork on rough water but had not been hit or I would have felt it. I took a quick look into the sun and saw three bright flashes of light. Enemy aircraft with the rays of the sun reflected by their wings. I closed up to Hazell and pointed towards the flashes which seemed to be at about 6000 to 8000 feet and two or three miles east of us. Within seconds a large formation of black dots started down out of the sun.

 

Hazell rocked his wings and climbed followed by the rest of us. As we reached 3500 feet we saw Fokker D.VIIs, Albatros D.Vs and Pfalz D.IIIs in a large formation of 20 or 25. They were all colours and included a couple with all-white wings. The formation was led by five Fokkers flying abreast and 50 yards apart, the others spread out fan-wise behind them. This was the first attack of its type I had witnessed. Since I had re-rigged the 1084 she outclimbed the other S.E.5s and was posibly 200 feet above the nearest which was Hazell. The formation closed the gap at about 100 miles per hour, the Germans nose down, ours pointed up. Within seconds we were together. Those leading D.VIIs with ten Spandaus spouting flames and lead seemed intent on crashing into anything in front of them. Being slightly higher I aim into the others behind. The five Fokkers pull into a tight climb, turn and come in behind our crown. A clever trick. Two D.IIIs and a D.V pass 300 or 400 feet below me. A fast half-roll and 1084 has her nose aimed at the D.V. Full throttle and close to about 100 yards behind. I press the Vickers button. Too much of a hurry; his nose goes straight down and he escapes. I spot a Fokker in a favourable position 100 feet below and half a mile west of me. With the sun behind, 1084, at full throttle, swings down and closes on that D.VII. Evidently he has not seen me as I dive in directly behind him. I aim a few yards ahead of his nose. About 50 yards serarate us as I fire both guns. He hears them, turns in his seat, and with one look slams his machine straight into a spin almost to the ground where he levels out and heads south. My lead was off. I was almost vertical while the German was horizontal and was leading him by a couple of yards which proved too much. Two other D.VIIs are bearing down on me so I head towards some S.E.5s nearby. I was in no mood to tackle them by myself.

 

An Albatros D.V appears riding hard on the tail of an S.E. which is diving and twisting, trying to escape those bullets. Time to do something; 1084 leaps forward under full throttle and comes in for a fair deflection shot from my Vickers at about 50 yards. The German leaves the S.E.5 below him and turns to give full attention to me. We have our own private war for a few minutes but neither gets into position for effectiv shooting. I manage to fire about ten rounds of Vickers and my tracers seem to enter his cockpit. In haste, that German noses straight down and is gone. I watch him dive towards the ground, a couple of thousand fet below. I am thinking of nothing but that D.V, my mind a complete blank to anything else. Suddenly bullets are flying all over us; poor old 1084 stops some of them. I fee them hit her and see tears appear in the wings. I look back and see a light blue and silver Pfalz 75 yards behind and above with flashes of flame coming from her nose. At the same instant I pick up two Fokkers above and to my right who are also sending out plenty of lead. I not only see all this but I can hear those guns firing. For a second fear and panic hit me. How did I let myself in for this? We are at about 1500 feet. I glimpse another S.E.5 hanging on its propeller ten yards below the Pfalz and firing both guns. Then the German falls into a spin. The two D.VIIs are still on my tail which was well up in the air.

 

1084 must be doing close to 200 m.p.h. as I dive. I feel her quiver and pull the stck gently back into my belly. The next thing I know is I have one of the D.VIIs just right in my sights and 20 yards away. All I have to do is press the button and my Vickers fires about 100 rounds, the pilot receiving at least half of them. He does not come out of that dive until he hits the ground. How did 1084 get into position for such a perfect shot? I do not know. I must have blacked out for an instant. The other D.VII is possibly 150 yards in front of and below me. Full throttle and nose down and the distance is just 40 yards. Back on the stick a bit, slight pressure with my right foot and my target is just right. From no more than 20 yards I fire my Vickers. Only one shot leaves that gun. A fine time for a stoppage! I try to clear it but no luck. That German is almost within touching distance. His nose is well down and 1084 still on him with the ground 800 feet below us. We hang on to that Fokker and literally drive it into the ground near what had been Warfusee where it crashes and burns. My one bullet may have done the job, but I doubt it. That would have been a rare shot. More likely the pilot was paralysed with fear and could not move. By now I am below 500 feet. In the distance are several S.E.s, D.VIIs and D.Vs, down low in a general mix-up. I see the remains of four planes burning on the ground. Are any of he ours? I clear the stoppage and get my Vickers firing again.

 

We engage a yellow D.III and try to close the gap from about 100 yards behind. From out of the blue sky an S.E.5 with a streamer on his tail appears. Must be Selwyn. He is 20 to 30 yards behind the Pfalz when he fires. I see the pilot jerk back, almost upright, then slump forward in his cockpit. The plane falls and spins into the ground in a burst of flame and smoke. Up at 1500 feet are six S.E. and eight or ten D.VIIs and D.Vs. I climb and swing around in a wide circle to come in from the east. A Fokker is about 100 yards behind an S.E. which seems to be in trouble. Soon 1084 is on the tail of the D.VII. Short bursts from my Vickers and Lewis at about 100 yards and he starts down in a jerky manner. Maybe his controls are cut. I watch him land and roll into a shell hole. Another Fokker comes at me broadside from the right and, at about 150 yards, tries a hard deflection shot. But he fires too soon and 1084 is not touched. However, his is a determined cuss and gives me a rough time for a few seconds. Neither of us can position for a shot and he finally pulls out. Below, two S.E.s chase an Albatros D.V. From the streamer on his tail one is either Hzell or Selwyn so the German is in trouble. Within seconds, his nose goes down and a small trail of smoke starts. I do not watch the end as another Albatros going east catches my eye. I follow and give him a couple of bursts with no luck. At that instant a highly decorated Fokker flashes past only 20 feet from me. An S.E. is close behind the D.VII. I hear his Vickers and Lewis crackling as he roars by me. I last see them diving in about the same relative position.

 

The fight has really developed into something vicious; the Germans do not want to quit and it feels as if we have been at it for an hour. I check the time. Holy smoke! This affair has lasted only fifteen minutes. How could all that action take place in such a short time? Our S.E.s reassembled. All present..."

 

Interestingly, Henshaw's record for that day shows only one Fokker D.VII, claimed Out-of-Control by Hazell, for that date, and the Jasta War Chronology lists no losses that would fit this engagement. ?

 

Bletchley

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