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Flyby PC

Trenches vs Air.

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Just reading a bit more about WW1.

 

I had always assumed, indeed read, that many distinguished pilots began their war as soldiers fighting in the trenches. I had always assumed that the oppressive and dangerous life in the trenches played no small part in wanting to sign up for the air force.

 

I'd never read before that following the French mutinys of 1917, French morale remained very low, and by 1918, there were so few volunteers for flight training that they had to be 'pressed' into the air force from servicemen would have preferred to join the infantry, cavalry, or artillery.

 

Anybody know if this was just a French phenomenon, or by 1918 were other air forces struggling to find recruits too?

 

I had always assumed that anybody serving in the trenches would have swapped his miserable lot as an infantryman for the glamour and prestige of becomming a pilot.

 

(I'm reading Rickenbacker's Fighting the Flying Circus).

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.

 

Flyby, from my studies over the years, I would say the majority of soldiers in WWI had no desire to take to the air in what most considered death traps. Pilots and observers were seen as being crazy by most others of the day. The trenches were often wretched places to exist in but at least you were on the ground, and unless there was a push going on you were in relative 'safety'. Or at least when compared to the men in the air who could spend anywhere from 10 weeks to 6 months in training only to be killed within their first week at the front, (provided they had even survived the training). I think you might see it differently because you would have been one of the crazy ones...just like I would have been. :smile:

 

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Yup...You would never have got me up in those crates in reality!....I would have tried to get a transfer to the Women's Auxilliary Balloon Corps!

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These days, aircraft are extremely advanced and accidents are rare, especially in the more developed countries. But in the early years of the 20th century, things were different and it seems that most people had a very suspicious attitude towards flying. It was thought you had to be more than a little crazy to want to fly in those early aeroplanes. Curiosity towards aircraft and aviators was common, but actually wanting and choosing to become one of those daredevils was uncommon.

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Flyboy

 

I don't have the references or data to hand right now, but I do remember reading somewhere that the vast majority of Canadian aircrew serving with the British air services during 14-18, served during the _last_ year of the war. I recall something to the effect that Canadians made up some 30% of RFC/RNAS-RAF aircrew in 1918.

 

The inference is by that time Britain herself was running out of suitably-qualified young men.

 

Mike

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Yup...You would never have got me up in those crates in reality!....I would have tried to get a transfer to the Women's Auxilliary Balloon Corps!

 

Well, I'm one of the crazy ones for sure. Not only would I happily have joined the RNAS (preferably) or RFC, but if I win the Euromillions jackpot tomorrow I'll be ordering my replica Sopwith Triplane build in practically the same breath. :pilotfly:

Edited by Dej

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I don't consider myself to be a particularly adventurous person, so it's quite possible that I'd have belonged to the majority of people suspicious of flying contraptions, and even more suspicious of the men willing to fly in them.

 

I'd probably have gone to artillery like I did in real life. Big guns, lots of firepower, a relatively safe location behind the front, and a truck, or in WW1, most likely a horse-drawn carriage for movement. Just perfect. :grin:

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Although I'm usually flying fighters in OFF, I could imagine to have become an observer,

who was actually the leader and higher rank in the two-seaters.

I would habe photographed the enemy positions and dumps and airfields (if they'd had me).

From there, I might still have moved to the fighters - you know, I like the Albatros, and in it

I don't have that feeling of canvas & wood fragility.

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Yup...You would never have got me up in those crates in reality!....I would have tried to get a transfer to the Women's Auxilliary Balloon Corps!

Sargent Major... I like your thinking there Widowmaker... though I think you would have to change your nickname slightly...

 

To be honest I would be one of the Crazies as I would love to fly up there in one of those Crates as someone stated... As I did once rebuild a 20 year old motorcycle and within 3 weeks of finishing it I took it to Italy without a worry or a care... it got me there and if it wasn't for the French campsite which killed her she would have got me home happily and would still be running now...

Edited by Slartibartfast

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Yup...You would never have got me up in those crates in reality!....I would have tried to get a transfer to the Women's Auxilliary Balloon Corps!

 

Better that than a finishing school for girls. For you the humiliation would be unbearable. :grin:

 

Thanks for that Lou. Never looked at it that way before, but you might be on to something.

 

One common outlook I have on life in general is fk it, what can possibly go wrong?

 

I just reckon to be sitting there in a trench waist deep in rancid mud in the cold and rain with artillery, machine guns, and snipers all trying to kill you, a significant number of the things which possibly could go wrong already have.

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Flyby, from my studies over the years, I would say the majority of soldiers in WWI had no desire to take to the air in what most considered death traps. Pilots and observers were seen as being crazy by most others of the day. The trenches were often wretched places to exist in but at least you were on the ground, and unless there was a push going on you were in relative 'safety'. Or at least when compared to the men in the air who could spend anywhere from 10 weeks to 6 months in training only to be killed within their first week at the front, (provided they had even survived the training). I think you might see it differently because you would have been one of the crazy ones...just like I would have been. :smile:

And don't forget that almost everyone fighting in WWI was born BEFORE the invention of powered flight.

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.. The trenches were often wretched places to exist in, but at least you were on the ground, and unless there was a push going on you were in relative 'safety'.

This could be a good time to review Olham's post on the massive mines.

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I would have probably preferred any safe place I could have grabbed: Garde Républicaine if French, border guard at the Swiss border if German, National Guard of California if American... Any enlistment where you are engaged in battle only after the cooks, musicians, chaplains and crippled field officers have already been... :grin: Rather being able to say 60 years later: "It was a harsh war, but I managed to survive!" than to end the war with your mouth full of Picard earth!

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Hihihi - that reads totally different to your avatar name, Capitaine Vengeur - and only human.

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