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DiD IV Campaign - Flight reports & Player instructions

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MFair – So Gallagher has graduated to a Bristol. Hardly seems fair for the poor Huns, having to rassle with a genuine gunslinger like Elijah. Congratulations on your first confirmed victory. (I have just read your post, which went up as I was writing this. If you don’t mind, I won’t change this story, but I will make it match your post in the next instalment).

Albrecht – Good advice to the Nieuport jockeys about the blip switch being their friend. You have to handle those machines as if they were made of eggshells, because basically they are.

Paroni – In a few short months, we will all look back fondly at the quiet two-seater patrols of late 1915 and early 1916.

Seb – Congratulations on entering the double digits so early in the war. Now with the Nieuport 11, Andrews will be unstoppable. I am enjoying your videos on YouTube. Well done with the narrations. Andrews is well rid of Ackers for now, but I suspect we shall be seeing him again.

Albert – Lovely Paris story. Hobnobbing it with the elite of the Aviation Militaire, are we? Better make nice with the Campaign Moderators because you never know when one might get transferred to a Caudron unit in the Alsace…Bwaahaha! Mind you, Sid earned some credit in the eyes of the gods by resisting the temptations of the beautiful Sophie. He is the one in a thousand who would have done so! And congratulations on the in-game promotion.

Hasse – I enjoyed reading about the general’s inspection and I loved the touching 1915 French Christmas cards with their vain promise of victory in the coming year.

 

War Journal – Sergeant David Armstrong Hawkwood

4 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps

Marieux, France

 

Part 10

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Thus far, 1916 has been indistinguishable from its predecessor. Orders continue to grace me with the privilege of flying the early patrol most of these winter mornings. We now fly reconnaissance after reconnaissance, and Mr Clapp in the front seat and I in the back together stand watch while Mr Needham and his observer photograph the same stretch of trench lines from Courcelette down to Guillemont. Each day, the same nasty Hun battery fires the same nasty Hun Archie at us from its position near Delville Wood. The same three circuits take the same ninety minutes. The same bumps and bounces greet us at the same frozen field. And the same sullen mess steward serves up the same overdone boiled eggs. The only variety is the regular cycle from snow to mud and back to snow.

Still no sign of the dreaded Fokker. We have lost two machines this month yet know nothing of why. They went out in the morning and simply failed to return. I suspect our friends at the corner of Delville Wood have something to do with it.

Received a wonderful parcel from home. Mum enclosed a tin with her outstanding Christmas fruitcake, swaddled in cheesecloth and soaked in brandy, with big pieces of ginger amidst the fruit and nuts. Ned mentioned something to me about not liking fruitcake so that is my licence to hoard this treasure. Dad included a note saying that he presumed I smoked now like the rest of the army, along with a very fine pipe and rich burley tobacco. There is little new on the home front. I have written that I am perfectly safe here with very few Huns about and Dad has responded that I should put in for a transfer back to England to shoot down Zeppelins. The short winter nights have put a stop to their raids on England for now, he said. I am a terrible correspondent, but I took advantage of a spell of bad weather during the second week of January to catch up on all my correspondence.

Mr Cust, the gentleman who employed me as his personal chauffeur and who paid for my flying lessons, was kind enough to send me a Kodak vest pocket camera along with a request for photographs about life in the Flying Corps. It is strictly against regulations to be taking such photographs, yet I see many of the officers posing for snapshots quite openly. Still, I think I shall be cagey around Sergeant Major Parson.

We have had another good helping of snow. Flying over the countryside at two or three thousand feet is a remarkable experience, especially in the early morning when the sun is low in the east and each bare tree extends along finger of shadow across the icy fields. When we have had high winds, they sculpt crescent-shaped waves around each tree trunk. The scene is magical.

31 January 1916 – It has been more than a week since I last wrote in this journal. On 28 January, last Friday, I had a chance to lead a patrol. We were given the task of spotting for the artillery, together with the use of the machine with the lightweight wireless transmitter. Our friends on the ground were a siege battery and their target a group of buildings just behind the Hun lines that were suspected of housing a headquarters. We had several machines in various states of disrepair and as a consequence were assigned only one other BE2 for protection. And that machine was piloted by the squadron’s newest arrival, a Second Lieutenant MacArthur, together with an equally new observer whose name I did not know.

We flew in icy clear sky to a spot north-east of Fricourt where, at only 5000 feet, we began our slow progress around the target. Our task brought us to a piece of the front directly above our old nemesis at Delville Wood, who immediately laid on an impressive reception. The sky around us erupted in greasy black puffs and bright flashes. Splinters must have been everywhere. One struck a glancing blow on the right exhaust, making quite a gong. Mr Clapp signalled to me and pointed astern. I turned to see that Mr MacArthur’s aircraft had turned west and was losing height. Clearly the Delville Wood boys had scored a hit. We continued alone and finished the job. The big guns turned the suspected headquarters into a cloud of brick dust, and we headed for home with a farewell cluster of Archie bursts in our wake. I was relieved to hear later that Mr MacArthur had successfully put his machine down a little inside our own lines.

The big news came last night when we received orders to pack up and move to the aerodrome at Marieux, outside of Doullens. As Ned was engaged most of the night in dismantling and loading the squadron machine tools, I went to our billet and packed his gear as well as mine, and then arranged for a tender to bring our kit back to Allonville aerodrome to be placed on the proper lorry for the move. Then I had to obtain a packet of French money from the RO to pay the Blandurels for our accommodation. Mr Blandurel insisted that I share a brandy with him. At 10 o’clock, I excused myself to get a decent night’s sleep before an early morning pickup to take us to the field.

Marieux aerodrome is a lovely open field a little north-east of the village of the same name. We are to share the field with 8 Squadron, another BE2 unit. Our first day there was taken up with unpacking and organising. All personnel are housed in canvas-sided Armstrong huts, each with a single coal-fired stove for heat, and each housing six NCOs or eight other ranks. I am uncertain about the officers’ accommodations. Once my personal kit was squared away, I reported to the Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess, yet another Armstrong hut, or rather two joined together. There we laid out our threadbare carpets and set up tables, chairs, and armchairs. A makeshift bar was assembled from crates and doors. It will do until we can commandeer the carpenter shop to make something proper.

Late in the day, the kitchen stewards laid on a beef stew with some excellent bread they bought in town. A keg of beer was tapped, and we drank to our own good fortune and the Kaiser’s demise. Three NCOs visited from 8 Squadron and invited us to join them for dinner the next evening. To my delight, one of them is also a pilot. We didn’t get much time to chat, although I came away wanting to see the fellow again, for he is a rough and ready American and talks like all the cowboys from the penny dreadfuls. I’ve never met anyone quite like that. Moreover, he introduced himself as Elijah Something Irish. The family name was lost to me as I wondered about anyone in today’s world calling their son Elijah.

Edited by Raine
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Raine, Hawkwood's story reads like a proper novel! Really enjoying it.

MFair,  congrats on the victory! It's getting dangerous out there, so be careful.

Albrecht, I see Herr Boelcke will have some serious competition with his Dicta. Fine work.

Paroni, the quiet times will definitely come to an end in 1916, unless something has been changed in the sim in one of the recent patches.

Seb, Andrews is making short work of the boches! I almost feel sorry for them.

Albert, a fun read about Sid's little adventure in Paris. It's definitely a different world out there, compared to the front.

***

All of you who are struggling with your claims, may I remind you of the following organization responsible for the decision making process:

HTHgnVR.jpg

 

Made by our resident Gong Fairy, Lou, many years ago. :biggrin:

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Gents, my short post yesterday obviously went unnoticed at the bottom of page 12. Gallagher’s Bristol burst into flame right after takeoff. It was not just a little fire, it was catastrophic! He is no more. I’m going to be busy for a few weeks but will be back soon. Stay safe all!

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Continue...

Aa fire hits our machine!Boiled oil spreaded over  us.

Also benzin smell heavily.There must be leak!

I shout Ebenhard is he okay.There was relief when he replied yes.

Oil burned my skin but i didn't care of it.I took course East and heavy smoketrail followed us.

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Continues....

Out of gas over the front.The machine just glided on its own side.

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Only in the land did i pay attention to our injuries.Burns mainly in addition to shock.

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Infantymen take us to safety.

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Continue...

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We were taken to the Douai's hospital.Cod liver oil was used to treat burns.It helps surprising lot!

We were lucky to survive so little.The birdie could have burn or exploded.

The headquarters became a telegram congratulating on the task performed.It promised also a small home vacation!

Eberhard would travel in his home Bremen and i would go Freiburg.

 

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Home sweet home!

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Flight Lieutenant Theodore Aloysius Andrews aka 'Runt' DSC                                                      

HQ Sqn 1 Wing RNAS in Flanders

Part 17 (Jan 1st-Jan13th)                                                                

Wonderful news cousin Archie (see January 30th) has been given notification of flight training at the Central Flying School, I am utterly delighted and hope one day to fly with him in combat. During bad weather my rigger, mechanic and I managed to personalise my Nieuport 11- I'm quite pleased with it.  We decided to keep the bee and lightning strike as it seems to have been noticed up and down the lines.

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The first few days of January the flying was hampered by the weather. Finally got airborne on the 4th, 15 minutes into the flight I started getting engine problems so had to hand over the flight to Keeble who took charge.  My blasted plane took 2 days to repair airborne again on 6th a patrol of our troops.  I was flight commander, flying with Keeble, Mulock and a fairly new chap Lathern, only allied aircraft spotted.  I was grounded for a few days and was next up on 13th escort duties for Rod Dallas flying 'A'.  Spotted 3 Aviatiks crossing our lines so I gave the order to pursue ( Dallas was quite safe)  We engaged and destroyed all three.  I got a share in one and forced down another - all three were denied us by the powers that be. Then escorted Dallas home.

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To Be Continued ...

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On 24/02/2022 at 8:26 PM, Mfair621 said:

Gents, my short post yesterday obviously went unnoticed at the bottom of page 12. Gallagher’s Bristol burst into flame right after takeoff. It was not just a little fire, it was catastrophic! He is no more. I’m going to be busy for a few weeks but will be back soon. Stay safe all!

Oh Mark, say it isn’t so! I’m so so sad to hear this! He was the last original member of his squadron.  I’m heartbroken for you buddy. I haven’t caught up with all the tales but did see this post.  I hope Andrews is still around when you get back and that your busy few weeks go well. Take care my friend! 

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MFair621!

Sorry for your loss,Gallagher.

It is always pain...

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January 1-23 1916

image.png.f17675eeec88d9f446c405920d5224e7.png Best in the world:

Deer hunting with Papa!

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Notice the stylish socks!

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Seb, yea it was a kick in the britches. One of those where you just sit there and stare at the screen for a few minutes. Keep Andrews safe. 
Paroni, thanks for the condolences. Love the hunting pic!

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Oh damn it, Mfair - I didn't notice that Gallagher had been killed! Sorry to hear that, he was off to such a good start in this DID. Better luck with you new pilot!

Paroni, what a great photo of those infantrymen helping the aviator!

***

The War Diary of Auguste Besson, Escadrille N.23, part 8.

New year began with poor weather, but we still kept up our regular schedule of patrol missions over the front for as much as the conditions permitted. On January 3, we received orders from the army headquarters: our escadrille would be transferred from the Second Army to the Fourth, which was holding the Reims front on our left flank. We would also relocate to the Melette aerodrome, which was located about 15 km west of our field at Somme-Vesle, closer to the cities of Reims and Chalons and the river Marne.

One of our jokers immediately suggested that the reason for the transfer must have been General Pétain’s inspection back in December: having personally witnessed our escadrille, he wanted to get rid of us as soon as possible. I found this hilarious, but Captain de Beauchamp was not so amused. The actual reason was much more mundane: the Fourth Army had received a new commander, General Henri Gouraud, the one-armed hero of the Dardanelles, and was in need of additional air units.

Since it was such a short trip to Melette, we simply flew our machines over there while the ground crews took care of the rest. Melette itself was another medieval village typical of the region with very little to distinguish it from Somme-Vesle or any other similar community near Chalons. There was a field, brick buildings for housing us, and tents and huts for the machines. Moving over was therefore a simple affair for us pilots.

On January 20, a flight of our Nieuports was patrolling the front close to Reims near the border between our Fourth Army and the Fifth to the west of us. Visibility was rather poor, and we were flying at about 2000 metres. Boche anti-aircraft fire was surprisingly heavy on that sector, and suddenly a shell exploded close to my machine.  I remember a flash, after which everything went black for a while. I lost consciousness for a moment – it could not have been for more than a couple of seconds, or I would have surely lost control of my machine and spiralled down to my death – and when I came to I felt a pain on my left temple, my ears were ringing, and my vision was blurry. My pilot’s goggles were also partly covered in blood, which further reduced visibility. Despite everything I managed to regain control of my machine, and ignoring the pain, turned my head left to observe what damage, if any, my Nieuport had suffered.

I could see several tears in the fabric of both wings, but there was no obvious of serious damage to the structures holding the wings together. Nevertheless I was in a very dangerous situation, not knowing how badly my head had been hurt or whether I would be able to stay conscious for much longer. My comrades had seen that I was in trouble, and the Marquis (Jean Casale) was flying quite close to me on my left wing. I motioned with my hand that I was injured and had to abandon the mission. Then I slowly turned my machine back towards Melette, trying to avoid putting too much stress on the damaged left wings.

The cold weather and rain actually seemed to help me clear my mind, though they also did much to exacerbate then pain in my head. I could feel, and see, that I was bleeding pretty badly. Hoping and praying that my luck would hold I flew back towards Melette. It was not a long flight – only about 20 minutes – but in my weakened condition it felt like hours. When the field and its hangars became visible in the drizzle, I felt a sudden surge of renewed strength – maybe I would actually survive! I have no clear recollection of how I managed to land my plane in the end, but I was later told that it was a good landing and that I was found in the cockpit, bleeding and unconscious.

The medics gave me first aid on the field, after which I was taken to a military hospital in Chalons, where the surgeons sewed my scalp back together. Apparently I was indeed lucky, for if the shell fragment had hit my head in just a slightly different angle, it would have split my skull open. However, the headaches resulting from the injury made sure that I did not consider myself overly lucky during the three weeks I had to stay at the hospital.

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TO BE CONTINUED...

Auguste's career very nearly came to an end in this encounter with the boche flak! It's no fun trying to made it back to your own lines when the screen is red with blood and you can see the health of your pilot steadily dropping down! I took a screenshot too, but must have pressed the wrong button because it wasn't there.

So Auguste is now out of action until early February, in-game time.

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Hasse!

Wishes that Auguste will fly again!

 

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January 23 1916

Bastian's Diary

I write this while sitting on the train towards Menen.

In my vacation i had time search some pictures from my diary.

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Very much hope that year 1916 we could leave this trench warfare behind us!

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24 January

Menen has same than before.Cold,misty and boredom.

The front has no progress.All but air action has bogged down.We have not engage EA yet.No hero tales in this way.Boelcke and Immelmann has awarded Blaue Max.

I do everything that i can reach that too!

Artillery spotting ,Ypres,again!

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Eberhard,last checking.

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Ypres January 24 1916.Cathedral on the left.

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January 25

Day of sorrow

Our Kameraden Unteroffizier Gottfried Roth and his observer Edgar Schultheiss not returned in their recon mission.

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The reason of this fate stay unknown.

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January 26

Photo recon to Messines Ridge.

It started like usual.When we were home return,Aa smokes appeared further.When nearer,little spots were seeing.Dogfight!

 

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Battles raging at land and in the air.Ypres Sector.

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We joined this consert where Fokker Eindeckers and Bristol Scouts fighted.We succeed shoot couple of bullets but EA escaped!

On the way home,far our side,we spotted lonely Nieuport.Began dogfight where we both tried to get tail.Several burst Eberhard shoot him.Some point enemy gave up and disengage battle.

I followed and i noticed we were faster than his bird.He get lower and lower.The trenches were shot violently.Suddenly Nieuport curved tightly and smashed to the ground!

 

 

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I was sure our bullets had wounded the pilot,so we claimed a victory.We'll see if infantry guys agree this!

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Jean-Fidele Hierrot, January 1916 (Part I)

Jean-Fidele received confirmation of his transfer to Escadrille N26 shortly after New Year's Day, taking him from Rosnay all the way up to the coast along the English Channel. He still had another week or so before the transfer, however, and Bernie was very very adamant that he was still Jean-Fidele's commanding officer for now! (Not that Jean-Fidele needed any reminding, much less persuasion - the chain of commanding awaiting him in N26 seemed a little out of its mind).

At the same time, it was a poorly-kept secret that Jean-Fidele had lied about his age - Bernie and Navarre had both guessed that Jean-Fidele was actually 17, not 19, so much was made of the fact that Jean-Fidele's birthday was coming up on 6 January. Jean-Fidele woke up that morning with the number "20" traced over his forehead in soot, like an Ash Wednesday cross, and he immediately got the joke - though for Jean-Fidele, it seemed like a bit much to have the same number traced on the fuselage of his Nieuport scout as well.

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Navarre called out to Jean-Fidele as Flight B was trudging onto the field for morning preparations. "Happy 20th, Petit Sous," he greeted, with a knowing wink.

"Oh, yes, very happy! Thank you very much!"

Bernie popped up. "Got a gift for you, Mr. Birthday Man."

Jean-Fidele took that as an ominous sign. "You're referring to the penitential ashes?"

"Oh no, that's just to make up for the fact you won't be here with us for this paschal season. No, no, no, my sacrificial lamb, we got you a rail yard for your birthday."

"...That's actually a bit of a relief." 

"No ribbon or bow, though."

"Eh, easier to unwrap that way!"

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It made sense to Jean-Fidele why this mission would get assigned to B Flight, given how dangerous it can be to strike from so low over enemy territory. Navarre joked that Bernie probably figured if he couldn't have Jean-Fidele in his squadron anymore, then nobody could -

"Sir, you realize characters who show such a vengeful streak tend to be the villains, right?" Frederic Quellenec chimed in.

"Fred..."

"Yes? What is it?"

Navarre just shook his head in disbelief. "Never mind. Let's just go."

By the time B Flight reached the German railyard, the rhythmic POW-POW-POW of antiaircraft fire gave Jean-Fidele a deep sinking feeling: this was the most danger he'd encountered since the time his bottom wing ripped off, and that was the most danger he'd faced since the time he told his mother that he was enlisting in the military. Jean-Fidele could still hear her voice in his head, that ringing cry of "I'll kill you before les Boches ever get the chance!"

On second thought, in contrast to that, Jean-Fidele felt relatively safe and secure here behind enemy lines.

Along with Navarre & Quellenc, he went ahead and swooped down over the railyard, taking potshots at whatever he could find while making looping rollercoaster-type maneuvers to avoid getting hit. Sure, all three men returned to Rosnay with fuselages riddled by dozens of bullet holes, but they returned to Rosnay - and left a few bullet holes of their own in some enemy rail cars.

After returning to the airfield, Jean-Fidele finished his "20th" birthday taking a train up north to complete his transfer to Escadrille N26 in St. Pol-sur-Mer. He was seen off by Bernie and Navarre, who handed him a piece of fabric. "...A washcloth?"

"Yeah, to wipe your face. Gotta look all nice and respectable for the ladies up north," Navarre cracked.

"Adjutant - " Bernie cut in.

"Oh, sorry Bernie - hey, you've hit puberty, right, Petit Sous?"

"I'm sure the Sous Lieutenant will let us know about any young ladies he's court should he want to do so."

"Oh yeah, you know...courting. Lots and lots of it."

"We should make you a spy and have you seduce the Kaiser's wife, see what information we get out of her!"

"I think what Jean-Marie [de Navarre] is trying to say is that this fabric comes from the fuselage of a wrecked German two-seater - the Aviatik you brought down for your first confirmed victory."

Jean-Fidele accepted the gift, but stuffed it in his pocket along with a series of mixed emotions: was this revenge for the death of his brother Etienne - or was this a relic from the moment when he became a killer himself? This was a question Jean-Fidele had avoided for months, but having this relic right in front of him - the serial number from that Aviatik right there in his fingers - proved such running away to be utterly futile. 

Edited by Albrecht_Kaseltzer

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Jean-Fidele Hierrot, January 1916 (Part II)

The first thing to hit Jean-Fidele about his transfer to Escadrille N26 was the snow - snow everywhere. Not enough, though, for after hitting the ground, the thin white coating seemed to melt into a sticky brown sludge. There was no way Jean-Fidele could even take off in such weather, which was just as well: this gave him time to get acquainted with his new squadron mates.

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Capitaine Blaise Gallet stood out immediately - in part because Jean-Fidele arrived on what happened to be the day that Gallet was awarded his 5th confirmed victory along with the Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur. Dressed up in a stiff, formal business suit, Gallet had the fresh, stern sort of face that could pass for 20 as easily as 60. Passing up the usual formalities, Jean-Fidele was impressed with the way Gallet cut straight to a discussion of air combat tactics and maneuvers.

"So I understand you're a bit of an expert in all this, right?"

"I mean...Escadrille N12 had me teach how to do what we do. Not too many people died in the process."

"No deaths? Oh my - how are you going to win a war if you can't kill any Germans?"

"Oh, see, I wasn't counting those."

"Ah, that's quite fair enough. I, too, am of the opinion that enemy lives don't matter. So you have seen a lot of dead Germans."

"Yeah, rivers of blood. We used to drink the stuff when the wine ran out." Jean-Fidele thought back to the piece of Aviatik linen still in his pocket.

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Gallet went on to share some intel with Jean-Fidele about the German marine squadrons in the region, the dreaded Fokker scourge, and a combat maneuver he'd been developing - one where he started attacking from above, firing while swooping down, only to pull up into a near-stall, turn back and fire again. "And this stall turn, it saves time on having to turn all the way back around to get on the enemy's tail. Less time, less time to think up a counter-maneuver."

"You'll have to teach me some time, Capitaine."

"With pleasure."

***

Apart from some brief patrols to get familiar with the area, Jean-Fidele's first real mission was a balloon-hunting expedition, in which he would accompany Capitaine Gallet and Sous Lieutenant Joseph Mara. Jean-Fidele had only limited experience attacking non-airplane targets, and this was his first time ever loading up on Le Prieur rockets.

Behind German lines, Gallet gave the signal to descend upon the enemy observation balloon - but, embarrassingly for Jean-Fidele, he could not find it. He looped around, turning his head every which way, at one point even flying upside-down for a moment so he could look straight down at the ground, but he just simply could not find the damn thing!

...That is, until Capitaine set the balloon on fire for his 7th victory.

And also his last.

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For, even though the observation balloon was down, there was still the question of exit strategy. Getting back home from behind enemy lines, surrounded by enemy antiaircraft fire, was no mean feat. Unfortunately for Gallet, enemy fire was directed straight at him, as the ground units identified him as the pilot responsible for rocketing their observation balloon out of the sky. Jean-Fidele and Joseph Maria simply slipped out of sight, out of mind, back to St. Pol-sur-Mer, having witnessed their captain's demise.

Gallet was credited posthumously for his 7th confirmed victory.

B Flight, reduced now to Jean-Fidele and Joseph Maria - himself an ace with 6 credited kills - intended to remain grounded until receiving further reinforcements. That decision fell to the wayside on 17 January, however, when Aviatik two-seaters were sighted heading inland from the Channel. This was it: another scramble mission, bringing back so many memories from Rosnay.

Joseph demonstrated his considerable skill in this pursuit; he'd been reputed to show good control of his machine, and solid nerve in combat. Jean-Fidele was used to flying with flightmates who might slip a bit in a stall, or who might take forever to get to altitude. Not so with Joseph  Maria, though - this was a pilot who could keep up with Jena-Fidele in pursuit of the enemy two-seaters.

Jean-Fidele could tell his shot was a bit rusty: he estimated that he only got about 12 or 15 hits out of his first 47-round drum unloaded upon one of the two Aviatik C.I's. As he turned back to strike again, though, he struck the Aviatik's inline engine on the second drum and watched the two-seater crash to the ground.

That left Jean-Fidele with precisely 47 rounds with which to take down the second Aviatik - one which Joseph had given his best, but had evidently run out of ammunition and was now turning back home. Jean-Fidele figured he had one pass, maybe two at most, to take this two-seater down before it returned back to German lines with untold amounts of new intel.

large.image_2022-02-27_183607.png.a678d1a61997a9bf99a19cdf5819f5c8.png

From about 40 yards, Jean-Fidele struck, releasing all 47 rounds in two carefully directed bursts well within the propeller's arc. This felt like Jean-Fidele's best work all day - at least 20 hits out of that drum, he figured.

Yet the two-seater kept going, regardless of all the new-found bullet holes. Jean-Fidele had failed.

Except...maybe not.

As Jean-Fidele was turning away, he looked back one last time and noticed the Aviatik's propeller had stopped. The engine was dead. His opponent was going to try to glide back home - and given the altitude, he might be just close enough to pull it off.

While Jean-Fidele didn't have any bullets, he did have one thing left: his Nieuport 10. To stop the Aviatik from making it back over the frontline, Jean-Fidele began repeatedly flying directly towards the face of the enemy, threatening a collision. If he could force the pilot to change course, he could spoil any chance of escape.

And much to Jean-Fidele's surprise - it worked!

After a couple swooping dives straight at the pilot's face, the Aviatik diverted course and Jean-Fidele maintained pursuit over a forest. The two-seater cleared the edge of the woods before making a shallow crash within sight of two Allied observation balloons - witnesses for Jean-Fidele's 15th confirmed victory.

Jean-Fidele was notified of the confirmation the next day, as he was preparing to go on leave.

END-OF-MONTH STATS, JANUARY 1916
Missions: 97
Flight Hours: 117.08
Confirmed Victories: 15

Edited by Albrecht_Kaseltzer
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8 hours ago, lederhosen said:

end of month

 

endJan1916.jpg

I've been seeing people shoot down enemy aircraft while flying BE2's and Morane L's and Aviatiks, and honestly I am just in awe of that. I honestly have no idea how you all are able to pull that off!

Edited by Albrecht_Kaseltzer

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Sgt David Armstrong Hawkwood

4 Sqn, Royal Flying Corps

Marieux, France

BE2c

31 Jan 1916 Stats

  • 61 missions
  • 81.27 hrs
  • 0 claims made / confirmed

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Flight Lieutenant Theodore Aloysius Andrews aka 'Runt' DSC                                                      

  • HQ Sqn 1 Wing RNAS in Flanders
  • St Pol-Sur Mer
  • Nieuport 11 'Bebe'

31st Jan 1916 Stats

  • 73 missions
  • 101.6 hours
  • 25 claims / 12 victories

                                                      

 

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Posted (edited)

Hasse – Thank you for posting Lou’s “Claims Office.” Along with his traditional Christmas post, this has to be one of the great WOFF classics. Auguste was very fortunate to survive such a near miss by enemy AA. You must have been very patient to make it all the way home and to get him down safely.

MFair – I was making my last post when you put up the story of Gallacher’s demise. I’ll really miss him and was looking forward to linking our two accounts. I have mentioned him below. Please hurry back with a new fellow.

Paroni – That was a narrow escape. At least your man had a chance to get home for a while. From the photo of Ypres that you posted, it seems that he is doing a very good job spotting for the artillery.

Seb – Wonderful pictures from your Aviatik hunt.

Albrecht – Congratulations to Jean-Fidele on his selection for N26 and on his fifteenth confirmed victory! That is a pretty amazing record for this early in the war. Your other pilot, Enno, is also doing extremely well in his two-seater. I share your awe at what some people can do with a machine like a BE2. In my case, the observer has yet to fire his Lewis gun.

Lederhosen – 4 confirmed victories already. And with an Aviatik! Well done.

 

War Journal – Sergeant David Armstrong Hawkwood

4 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps

Marieux, France

 

Part 11

Fokkers!

Fokkers!

 

As we settled into the new aerodrome at Marieux, the pilots’ first priority was to get their bearings. Doing so involved a number of sightseeing flights in which one took note of prominent features that could serve as guiding points on one’s way home. Most notable, of course, was the small town of Doullens, with its citadel and tin-clad belfry and imposing brick town hall. There were several oddly shaped farms that stood out and some areas where the landscape was scarred with entrenchments made by units in reserve so that their soldiers could practise trench raiding and set-piece attacks.

Late on the morning of our first day there, I was returning from one of these familiarisation flights and saw a pillar of smoke rising from the edge of the field just outside the aerodrome. I touched down and switched off in front of one of the sheds. Ned Buckley was the first to approach as I clambered down from the cockpit.

“Bit of drama this morning, I’m afraid,” he said. “You’ve seen the result, I suppose. One of 8 Squadron’s lads took up a Bristol and had some engine bother. He went thundering in over there.”

We had been invited to join Number 8 for dinner that evening. “Anyone we’ve met?” I asked.

“Afraid so,” said Ned. “The American fellow, Gallagher.”

I winced. I’d just met him the previous evening and we’d hit it off splendidly. I had been very much looking forward to having a drink with him that night. We had lost a number of pilots and observers in the months since I joined 4 Squadron but losing this man whom I barely knew bothered me more than I cared to dwell on.

In early February we were assigned most of the time to spotting for the guns. Many of our flights took us up to the area between Arras and Monchy, farther north than I had yet seen. We often encountered enemy two-seaters. They always passed us at higher altitude. The BE2c is not a machine built for the attack, and if the Huns did not bother us – and they did not – we did not look to bother them.

We had a spell of snow and sleet in the middle of the month, cancelling all flying for several days. On 20 February, I was given the opportunity to lead our group of three machines and spot for a battery of heavies near Boyelles. This assignment gave me little worry. The Hun Archie in this sector were rotten compared to our old friends at Delville Wood. For the first half-hour my target was a crossroads in the German rear area. It was surrounded by dugouts which had been poorly camouflaged. It took longer than I wanted to get the guns on line, but finally I progressed to the “shorts and overs” and was finally able to send the OK. There was an second target in my orders. Just as I was beginning to search for it, I saw the flash of a German battery at the edge of a corpse outside Écoust. I sent the message immediately and in less than a minute, our guns were ranging on the enemy position. This time it took only a few attempts before our shells were falling on the Hun battery and I gave the OK again. Their guns must have been obliterated.

I had a thought for a moment to rejoice, but Lieutenant Needham put paid to that idea by firing a red Very light – our signal for approaching Huns. I spotted them at once. Two machines were diving at us from about a mile off to the east. They were barely visible against the morning sun, just a dot with a single thin line. Monoplanes. Fokkers! I immediately gave the washout signal and dived away to the west. The German machines were closing on us quickly, even though we had our noses down and throttles wide open. We were down to almost 1000 feet as we crossed the British reserve trenches south of Arras and levelled off. The Huns would very shortly be in range and my mind raced with the stunts I should have to perform to avoid being “Fokker fodder.” Yet as luck would have it, not long after crossing our trenches the two Hun monoplanes banked left and right and climbed away toward their own side of the lines. Only then, as the February air penetrated, did I realise what a terrible sweat I had worked up.

8 Squadron departed Marieux that same day, moving a bit north to La Bellevue.

We had some novel work toward the end of the month dropping bombs on various targets in Hunland. At this point we were flying only once a day and had the occasional day off. Ned and I shared our hut with four other sergeants. One of our hut-mates was Sergeant Maloney, an older chap who had served in India with the 5th Dragoon Guards. He had an accordion which he played masterfully and a boundless collection of Irish tunes in his head. As my maternal grandmother had been Irish, I’d been raised with this music and we spent several happy evenings around our little iron stove, drinking whisky and singing heartrending airs. It reminded me of a long poem I’d read in school, all of which I’d forgotten except two lines:

The great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad,

For all their wars are happy, and all their songs are sad.

Edited by Raine
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Raine said:

 

Albrecht – Congratulations to Jean-Fidele on his selection for N26 and on his fifteenth confirmed victory! That is a pretty amazing record for this early in the war. Your other pilot, Enno, is also doing extremely well in his two-seater. I share your awe at what some people can do with a machine like a BE2. In my case, the observer has yet to fire his Lewis gun.

Lederhosen – 4 confirmed victories already. And with an Aviatik! Well done.

 

Thanks! Yeah, given that my guy has a Nieuport 10 and he's flying purely against nothing but Aviatiks, it's all just a matter of getting good at gunnery. I was shooting ~20% from July 1 through end of September; since I've been tracking over the past dozen or so missions, though, Jean-Fidele's been hitting 43% of the time with the lessons I've picked up through time and practice. If you can get anywhere near that number, it's not that hard to score some victories against a bunch of Aviatiks.

And just to be clear, Enno ain't my dude - I was quoting Lederhosen's post because I was in awe of how he was able to bag 4 confirmed victories in an Aviatik. IMO that should count three times as much as any victory in a Nieuport.

Edited by Albrecht_Kaseltzer

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