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DiD IV Campaign - Flight reports & Player instructions

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Time for my monthly update on my pilot. Now that we're in full hunting season I'll make my best efforts to post daily.

I've ran in the last couple of days all the catch-up missions needed, flying around 1 sortie a week of in game time. Ailbe has racked around 12 hours of flight time and 15 sorties - Not much for a seasoned pilot like him who's been at the front for a few months, but what can you do?

Feldwebel Ailbe Blaz Dziarzowitz
FFA 5b, Flanders
14/03/1916
0 confirmed kills

After his 9 days of hospitalization following that nasty crash after the pesky French strike during a navigation excercise, Ailbe was back in his patched up crate and ready for action again.

Ironic, as his task that day was more navigation training (they say it's to improve performance in over-the-line missions, but Ailbe knows they want him there the least possible, given his rather adventurous spirit when facing hostile machinery.  As a matter of fact, he had almost shot down a Nieuport a few weeks back after being ambushed, but the Paulie fled before his timid machine collapsed before him). Today escort from Jasta 1 was expected, though, so Ailbe had no excuses. He took off alone, with Fiendeisen, and headed straight north. About halfway through he heard some metallic screeches coming from far above him: Scheisse! Another enemy flight. No wonder most of the folk he met when he got in the Flanders were already deep down in the dirt. They were still older models, though, and they didn't seem as experiences as other pilots Ailbe had met by then. They kept on following him for a while, but instead of turning and going back to base Ailbe decided to keep heading North, for he had a little surprise for the Frenchmen waiting up ahead. Just as one of the pilots decided to make a pass on to the Aviatik, another flight of wooden birds dashed above them. A flight of Eindeckers was there, ready to make a good deal of those French kites. A fierce furball ensued, and Ailbe decided he'd stick around to watch the show - He should've been more prudent, for one of the Nieuports decided an easy score of a two-seater was less troublesome than a skilled scout pilot. Therefore, he decided to pull onto Ailbe's tail after disengaging with an Eindecker. He didn't consider one thing, though: Ailbe, as much as Oberleutnant Fiendeisen, wasn't less skilled than those scouts! He pulled an hard-right causing the Paulie to overshoot, then getting in a good parabolic trajectory and getting Fiendeisen's parabellum aimed at the fragile biplane - A few bursts followed, and fewer puffs of smoke followed those - The seemingly unstoppable French pilot was hit. Such a coward decided it wasn't worth it, and fled. Ailbe made a symbolic farewell sign to the scouts, who were finishing off the other Nieuports, and headed back. Quite a ride!

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Hasse – Auguste is settling in for a long fight. At least now he has the right machine for the job!

TWK – Welcome back to Ailbe. He gave that Nieuport a nasty shock.

Meanwhile, David Hawkwood's long-awaited leave comes to an abrupt end…

 

War Journal – 2nd Lieutenant David Armstrong Hawkwood

23 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps

Izel-lès-Hameau, France

 

Part 13

 

20211217_151358.jpg

No.1 Savile Row, formerly simply Hawkes & Co, taken in December 2021.

 

Right enough, I was able to enjoy breakfast in London. My train from Folkestone deposited me at Charing Cross, from whence I hailed a cab to Euston station. There I had time to wire home the news that I was back in England and enjoy a cup of tea with some eggs and black pudding before catching the train for home. The station at Tring is a distance from the centre of town and I was braced for a long walk. To my surprise and delight, however, my old friend Eddie Bristow’s father picked me up in his Austin and drove me directly to my parents’ home. Eddie, he was proud to tell me, was serving on board the cruiser HMS Southampton. We chatted all the way and Mr Bristow certainly seemed to have forgiven me for commandeering that Bentley from his garage when I was younger.

Mum and Dad’s toyshop was ever the same, except that the window display fairly sang “Rule Britannia.” Tin soldiers in khaki advanced through a papier-mâché landscape of shell holes and ruined cardboard buildings whist a clockwork Zeppelin dangled overhead beside a tin biplane of dubious manufacture. An incongruous China doll in a Red Cross uniform stood at one side surveying the scene. I knocked at the door and heard my father shout to my mother as he scampered down the stairs from the family apartment. Seldom free with his emotions, Dad gave me a bearhug that fairly lifted me off the pavement.

The next few days were taken up with eating and sleeping. I expected countless silly questions about shooting Huns down in flames. They did not come. Instead, both my parents enquired sensitively but firmly that I tell them the plain truth about life in France. So I did. Lucky for me that I had experienced few really terrifying moments – once I’d seen enough Archie to get used to the fellow. My mother was particularly pleased at how quickly I had run away from the only Fokkers I had encountered. Dad took me to the pub the second evening home and suggested that I mix bluff and manly understatement with the odd bald-faced lie about chasing the Kaiser’s aeroplanes all over the sky! Thus emboldened, I wove a wonderful tale about dropping spies in darkest Hunland and fighting my way back against Boelke himself.

A telegram arrived with a direction to report on 12 March to GHQ Royal Flying Corps at the Hotel Cecil in London, where further orders awaited me. I’d been home only three days and was more than mildly annoyed at this interruption to my leave. Mum and Dad were even more upset but put a brave face on it. Mum even insisted that I pack up all my kit and bring it with me “just in case.” On the morning of 12 March, Mr Bristow again drove me to the station along with Mum. It was a heartrending departure and I promised her that I would send her a telegram to let her know when I’d be back.

I took a cab to Charing Cross, where I checked away my kit and, after scoffing a tea and sausage roll at a tearoom in the Strand, I reported to the Hotel Cecil. There I received orders to report to 23 Squadron at Saint-Omer, France, on 15 March. The captain who gave me my orders listened patiently while I protested that I had served nine months in France without receiving any leave and now was directed back to France after barely half a week at home. It took a great deal of fortitude not to start blubbering. The captain was genuinely sympathetic and said he would personally take my case higher. For the time being, however, there was nothing for it but to prepare to return to France. I enquired about my new Squadron and was told that it was equipped with the newer FE2s. At least this was good news.

I wired my parents about my situation and found a room at the Strand Palace. From there I made my way to Cox & Co, bankers to the Royal Flying Corps. There was an account already made in my name with my first month’s pay as an officer and £60 on top of that as a uniform allowance. It had completely skipped my mind that I needed to get properly kitted out. I had with me a letter from Major Todd to his tailor at Hawkes & Co on Savile Row. I entered this shop – although the term seemed to lack the dignity appropriate to this establishment – nervously. The walls by the entrance were covered with photographs and etchings of the famous and royal personages they had uniformed. An immaculately dressed gentleman enquired after my needs and I presented the letter. He read it and beamed a welcoming smile.

“Come in, sir,” he said. “I shall send for a cup of tea, and we shall begin immediately to measure you.” He cast his eyes over my hand-me-down tunic while I explained its origins. I also explained that I needed to be on a train the day after tomorrow. The gentleman told me they would have one complete uniform ready by late the following afternoon. Everything else would be sent onto my squadron. I could settle my account on my next leave. These fine people had more confidence in my future than I.

Then he began itemising my needs: tunics, RFC standard pattern (not the maternity jacket), 2; breeches, Bedford cord, 2 pair (fawn rather than khaki – my choice); trousers, khaki, 1 pair; belt, Sam Brown, with brace, 1 complete; puttees, 2 pair.  We discussed the trend that was newly emerging to move rank insignia to the shoulder straps. As this was not yet official, I opted to retain rank insignia on the tunic cuffs. But I preferred the shorter British Warm to the official RFC greatcoat, which I had seldom seen in use.

I enjoyed the process and especially enjoyed the tea, which was accompanied by a small glass of brandy. There was a bit of a fuss about getting my British Warm; the fine gentlemen of Hawkes & Co did not want me to leave improperly dressed in my sergeant’s greatcoat. A coat that was nearly finished was brought for me to try on and was altered while I waited. The sergeant’s greatcoat was packaged and sent to my home for safekeeping.

By the time I left London on the morning of 14 March, I was a proper officer. I strutted to the station, gleefully returning salutes the whole way!

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Feldwebel Ailbe Blaz Dziarzowitz

FFA 5b, Flanders

15/03/1916

0 confirmed kills

 

Today was extremely quiet. Rather unnoteworthy recon sortie up north, at the "horseshoe" of the frontline. That's what the boys have started to call it.

Sky was hazy, but the sun hit strong for a March day.

A flight of Eindeckers was supposed to wait for Ailbe ahead, but none of them were to be found. A couple of black smoke columns were seen though...One can only wonder. Luckily an escort wasn't needed in the end, for skies seemed speckled only of the timid fog that began to clear as the day went on.

large.Shot03-15-22-18-53-01.jpg.21f26dbec277935b79ce93f22e02d854.jpg

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Just a friendly Public Service announcement reminding you to Disable All Mods before updating to the exciting new features of 1.21

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Just downloaded and examined Recon Wars Update 1.21

There are changes to the Simulation.xml file so this update breaks the DiD Guns Mod v1.0

I'll be taking a look under the hood and will update the guns mod ASAP.  Until then, do not use with the new update.

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I see that the update increases early war AA. How will this interact with the Balloon Archie Mod? Until we are sure, perhaps we should hold off with installing the latter mod. Comments, anyone?

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Archie mod and the update might conflict indeed. I saw we should exclusively keep the rest of the non conflicting mods (airfields, skins, FMs) and avoid the Balloon Archie mod and DID IV Guns mod. 

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Posted (edited)

Concur.  Hold off on Balloon Archie Mod and DiD Guns Mod.

As always any mod which modifies the file below should be avoided:
OBDSoftware\WOFF\OBDWW1 Over Flanders Fields\simulation.xml

 

Edited by epower
expansion of folder path for simulation.xml

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Hi Gents, apologies for my enforced absence but my PC went bonkers. I lost everything and I'm in the process of getting a new one.

 

I'm typing this on my phone. Once I'm back up and running and I've reinstalled WOFF, i'll be back :pilotfly:.

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1 hour ago, AlbertTross said:

Hi Gents, apologies for my enforced absence but my PC went bonkers. I lost everything and I'm in the process of getting a new one.

Gods Below!

So very sorry to hear this, Albert.  Having walked that road twice I know what you're going thru.  Godspeed on the rebuild and hopefully a bit of recovery.

epower

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Albert,

That's a tough one.  Hope you're getting your "1918" machine!

Raine

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Albert, it's heartbreaking. You better get back up and running soon! For solidarity I'm not posting much either...Even if I keep up with the missions. 

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Posted (edited)

Hi, all! Glad to be getting involved in another DiD campaign. I've had tons of fun with the previous ones. 

The tale of Charles A. Fairclough, Part 1.

 

The March morning wind bit harshly with that kind of chill that seems to pass straight through the flesh and root itself deeply into the bones. It was a truly bitter cold - and yet, Charles Fairclough found it comforting. He had always thought of this kind of cold as inherently English, and on its gusts it carried him images of carefree days spent on Hampstead Heath, or at that wonderful aerodrome in Hendon, where he had spent many days of his adolescence watching the fantastic pioneer flying machines turning, looping, racing through the air in ways seemingly unimaginable to humanity before now.

He stood now at the edge of another aerodrome, though he had left England and its careless pleasures behind. As so many of his friends before him had done, he had finally come to France, clad in the olive-drab of the Military, to fight in the ‘Great War’ that had rocked Europe to its core these past two years. Through the toil of many hours he had gone into that beloved aerodrome at Hendon and, at last, joined the ranks of the pioneers he idolized; he was a military pilot.

The ferry to France had made him violently ill for the most part, and then he had sat uncomfortably in the passenger seat of a Crossley through endless winding country roads before finally arriving at the French village of Gonnehem. From there he had been directed towards the field standing directly beside the looming Chateau de Werppe, dull-white and near-medieval in its appearance, which stood sentinel at the Northern edge of the village, and at last he had found the aerodrome of Number 10 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps.

…and now he hadn’t the foggiest where to go or what to do next.

s-l400.jpg
The Chateau de Werppe.

Chocques aerodrome was buzzing with activity. By the gently-rippling bessonneau hangars which lined the edge of the aerodrome, scattered pairs of mechanics clad in blue overalls worked frantically on a trio of B.E.2s. In front of the foremost hangar stood a picnic bench, around which several officers were sat, chatting and laughing loudly among themselves as they played a game of cards. A buzz overhead announced the arrival of another ‘Quirk’. Charles took a moment to watch it glide gently down to land.

Past the hangars was a crude wooden hut, reminiscent of the barracks at Hendon. From within stepped a Sergeant, making towards the hangars. Not knowing what else to do, Charles slung his kit-bag over his shoulder and moved to intercept him. “Excuse me!” he called out, “I’m a new pilot, I just arrived. I was told to report to the Adjutants office…might you know where it is?”. The Sergeant, without breaking stride, pointed towards the Chateau de Werppe. “Through the front door, room on the left, Sir”. Charles scarcely managed his thanks before the Sergeant ducked through the entrance of a Bessoneau.

With his uncertainty of what to do gone, he skirted the edge of the field and found himself on the footpath that led to the Gothic Chateau, climbing up the steps to the towering front door which stood open and led into a large foyer. Two Lieutenant Pilots reclined in deep red-leather armchairs and appeared to be in a heated discussion.

“...well, I’ve hardly given my own marriage a second thought since I got here, so I’m damned well not interested in hearing about yours”.
“I'm only saying that we both know bloody well that you really ought to be more faithful”.
“Oh, do shut up. It’s a matter of  - oh, Hullo! What’s this? A new pilot?”

Charles was embarrassed to be discovered eavesdropping. “How do you do?” he asked, sheepishly. The men ignored the question. “Have you seen the Adjutant yet?” one asked. Charles shook his head. “Well then, it’s right through there. Better go and see him”.

The Adjutant’s office, before the war, evidently had been a study for the previous proprietor of the Chateau. Lining either wall were towering bookcases, their shelves packed tight with dusty tomes, and centrally sitting in front of the large back-wall window was a beautifully-crafted mahogany desk. From behind it peered a thin, gaunt Lieutenant, his perfectly circular glasses flashing in the light as his head jerked up to assess Charles’ intrusion. 

“Second Lieutenant Fairclough, I take it?”
“Yes, sir”.
“Right. You’re assigned to ‘B’ flight. Your flight commander is Lieutenant Wood. He’s through there in the Ante room. Go and see him”.

The Ante room was even more extravagant than the luxury of Charles’ family home. The walls seemed to stretch endlessly upwards into a domed, ornate ceiling, and between two tall windows stood a decorative marble fireplace, beside which sat his flight commander, reclining luxuriously in a deep-set brown armchair. The man, Charles thought, had quite violent features - beneath a neatly middle-parted crop of chestnut hair sat close-in angular features, the eyebrows turned down in a seemingly perpetual scowl and the lips tightly pursed. Charles stood to attention in front of the man.

“Second Lieutenant Fairclough, reporting” he announced, putting on his greatest air of officialdom. Wood looked over at him tiredly. “Just over from Blighty, I take it?” he asked. “Yes, sir” answered Charles. 

“How many hours?” Wood asked.
“...sir?”
“On Quirks”.
“Ah. Fifteen, sir”.
“Fifteen! Christ. How many times have you crashed?”
“Twice, sir”. Charles reddened slightly, but to his surprise Wood nodded approvingly. “Only twice. Well, that’s something, at least. Alright then, Fairclough, I’ll tell you what. ‘B’ Flight are just about to go up on a show. You can come with us, and meet your observer while you’re at it. Your room will be upstairs on the left, you’re sharing it with O’Bannon. Go and drop off your kit and get your flying gear on”.

 

Back on the Aerodrome, Charles had been introduced to both his machine and his observer. To his shock, he learned that it was a Captain he was to be ‘flying for’ - one Captain Owen - whom upon being introduced to him grabbed Charles by the arm and pulled him closer. “Now, listen”, Owen had said to him, “don’t worry about looking for Huns. You new chaps never can see anything in the air at first. I’ll spot the huns for you. But if I point one out to you, you turn around and come straight home. Got it?”. 

RAFBE2.jpg


The three crews boarded their machines and, following Wood’s lead, took off serially, circling the aerodrome and forming up before heading South-East. It was only then that Charles realized he hadn’t the foggiest idea where they were going, or even what they were meant to be doing. Quickly he resolved to just stay put behind Wood’s Quirk. The trio drifted southeast, and before long an endless brown shape emerged from behind the veil of the clouds, resembling a vast, bock-scarred bed of some great endlessly-stretching river that had long since dried up. With a lurch, Charles realized that this was the front. Further towards the great scar on the face of France they flew, until the earth beneath Charles’ machine was swallowed entirely by desolation. To the distant north a succession of sudden flashes preceded a great writhing and rising of the earth. Charles watched the distant explosions with disquiet awe for a moment, before turning his attention back to Wood’s machine. 

Whoof-whoof-whoof. At first Charles was confused, and then alarmed, as the sky around them suddenly became dotted with small, black circular oil-smudges. Archie! On the trip across the channel on the ferry, Charles had briefly spoken to a pilot returning from leave about this strange, unusual menace. According to the pilot, it was perfectly harmless, but nonetheless Charles found himself wincing at each new burst. He felt a sudden embarrassment as Captain Owen flashed him a sharp-toothed grin, and steadied himself once more. ‘Perfectly harmless is our old pal Archie’, he recited in his head - the advice of his pilot friend aboard the ferry - ‘he likes to make a fuss when you come overhead, but he never hits anything, bless him’. After an uncomfortable hour, Wood directed the flight home. It was just after ten O’Clock when they touched back down on the aerodrome at Chocques, and Charles couldn’t help but smile at the notion that he’d just been on his first flight over the front - an idea that seemed all-too-far away during his time as a pilot-in-training. After they had climbed down from their machine, Captain Owen clapped a hand onto Charles’ shoulder. “Not too terrible, was it, Fairclough?” he asked with a smile. “No, not too bad”, Charles replied, “but I admit the archie gave me a bit of a start. I take it you never saw any huns, then?”. The Captain smirked. “Three. All Aviatiks. They buggered off just as soon as they saw us coming”. 

344219.jpg

Later that evening, Charles met the rest of Number 10’s officer pilots as they crowded around a long dining table in the Chateau’s dining room, including his new room-mate, O’Bannon. He found himself on the fringes of a conversation at the far end of the table.

“Did you hear, Obie? The Captain and Wilkie bagged a hun over Bethune!”
“They never did! With the same trick as before?”
“According to Wilkie. Came right ahead of him and under his nose, then popped up in front. Wilkie says the poor Hun looked perfectly horrified!”

O’Bannon turned to Charles. “Captain Foss and Wilkie are our star turns. They’ve bagged two huns so far! I’ve got a bet going with Arnold over there that they’ll be the first ace crew to fly a Quirk. Captain Foss, Sir! Did you see where they crashed? We should go over and get a souvenir for the wall!”. At the other end of the table, a stocky, dark-haired pilot looked up from the glass of whiskey he’d been nursing with an irritated air. “Don’t be so bloody stupid, O’Bannon”. O’Bannon laughed, and turned back to Charles. “Our C.O. is a funny chap. Not the most pleasant fellow, but we’ll follow him anywhere”.

Dinner was simple and small  - meat and potatoes - but where food was seemingly sparse, drink was abundant, and as the evening went on the pilots became increasingly rowdy, in celebration of Captain Foss and Wilkins’ victory in the air. Before too long the entire mess had broken into several songs. Charles knew the tunes, but definitely didn’t know the pilots and observers of Number 10’s renditions, where every other word seemed to be substituted for some profanity or another. The revelry escalated until Captain Foss, who had retired early, made a reappearance at the door of the mess. “I want some damned sleep tonight, if none of the rest of you do!” he bellowed. Defused, the men began to retire upstairs to their respective rooms.

“The one on the right’s yours” O’Bannon told Charles. “Dump your stuff in that trunk by the foot of the bed”.

“Thank you”.
“So, first flight today? Was it everything you’d hoped for and more?”.
“It...wasn't quite what I’d imagined. My observer says he saw three huns, but I never saw a thing”.
“Ha! Well, of course not on your first time over! Never mind. With any luck at all, you never will see one”.
“Are Aviatiks really that good compared to our B.E.2s?”.
“Oh, not so much. But those damned Hun monoplanes are. Here’s some advice. If you ever see one of those, no matter how far away it is, fly back home. They’re real killers”.

O’Bannon rolled over to face away from Charles.

“Anyway, you’ve got the morning show tomorrow and I’m half-tight, so goodnight”.
“Goodnight. Thanks for the advice”. 

Edited by Wulfe
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Wulfe – It is a joy to see you back for this campaign. I’m looking forward to reading more about Charles in your excellent and evocative stories. It seems he has scored a very jazzy billet! He is a lucky man.

 

War Journal – 2nd Lieutenant David Armstrong Hawkwood

23 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps

Izel-lès-Hameau, France

 

Part 14

Archie.jpg

"What astounded me most was the intensity and accuracy of the Archie in this sector."

 

On arrival in Boulogne, I enquired of the disembarkation officer where I might place a telephone call to my squadron. The fellow asked my name and then pointed at awaiting automobile. “Ask him,” he grunted, motioning towards a corporal standing watch over the motor car. I discovered to my delight that the squadron had received my telegram from London and the OC had dispatched his driver and personal vehicle to pick me up.

It was a long and tiring drive, made bearable by a lunch stop in Hesdin and the humorous prattle of Corporal Whittle, the driver, who had made his living behind the wheel of a taxi in London until last year. At first I was convinced we were taking the wrong road. Then corporal Whittle informed me that the squadron left Saint-Omer this morning, bound for Fienvillers down near Amiens. We arrived at this new aerodrome at half past three, and I was deposited in front of the squadron office. There I met my new commanding officer, Major Hogg. This gentleman was a genuine burra sahib, having served in the artillery in India and done a stint as the assistant military secretary to the King Emperor for several years. The good major was taken aback by the fact that I had never flown an FE2. He took me outside and looked at the sky. It had darkened noticeably since my arrival.

“You’ll be in Captain Wyllie’s flight. Find C Flight shed and have them prepare a machine for you to take up. I shall send Captain Wyllie to meet you there.”

The Fee was a giant beast compared to the little Quirk I was used to. A rigger named Simpkins talked me through some of the basics. While I was listening to him, Captain Wyllie approached and introduced himself. He was a pleasant fellow and a great deal older than I expected. He must have had fifteen years on me. We walked about the machine. One could pass beneath its wings merely by stooping. I examined the oleo undercarriage, which was a novelty. The moment of truth was upon me. Wyllie guided my movements as I climbed to the cockpit, stepping from wheel to step to wing root to a higher step and then inside. Wyllie followed and clambered into the nacelle. His observer’s position was in front of me and a bit lower so that I could see over his head. My cockpit seemed massive and comfortable. Wyllie talked me through pressurising the main tank and ensuring all switches were in the right position prior to “contact!”

The engine started, I gingerly manoeuvred the machine to the far end of the field near the village and turned it about into the wind. The buildings of the No. 2 Aircraft Park were visible in the distance. I opened up the throttle and the machine eased itself into a rumbling roll. Then, before I was really aware of it, it took to the air and climbed gently. First impressions were pleasant. The Fee was a huge and heavy beast, yet it was surprisingly light on the controls and revealed no nasty habits. The wind was up now, and we were buffeted about. Wyllie stood up in front of me, holding the pillar mount for the rear-firing machine gun. He pointed downwards, showing me how low the sides of the nacelle were.

“Make a sudden move and your observer is gone,” he shouted. I nodded my acknowledgement and thought to myself that I would never make it as an observer in one of these machines. As Wyllie stood there, the sides of his cockpit were well below his knee. Moreover, the observer’s position lacked even a seat. For most of our flight, Wyllie sat on the floor of the nacelle and faced me. He explained later that it was the pilot’s job to watch the sky ahead of the machine whilst the observer watched the engine and the sky to the rear, neither of which was visible from the pilot’s seat.

After we landed, he brought me to the officers’ mess and introduced me to many of the others. I learned that Wyllie was a marine artist of some note with an encyclopaedic knowledge of all things naval. How he ended up in the air I shall never know. The other flight commanders were Captain Hargrave and Captain Lane. The latter was a tea planter from Ceylon. The subalterns were too numerous to remember. The first I met was Colin Hazard, a former Gunner who would be my observer. Major Hogg insisted that all pilots and observers share accommodation, so he had already ordered our soldier-servant to arrange my kit there. I met a fellow named Nash who came from Argentina and another named Mowatt from Canada. We were oversupplied with lads from the finest schools, and I confided to Hazard that I required his assistance to translate their schoolboy slang.

As much as I wanted to get back up in a Fee, it was not to be. The following day, 16 March, was a washout due to rain. That evening we received orders that the squadron would move yet again in the morning, this time to a place called Izel-lès-Hameau.

Le Hameau (as the adjacent village was called) was a lovely field, wide and long and free from trees. Although there were a few wooden buildings and Armstrong huts, we slept under canvas, four officers to each damp, chilly circular tent. Late on the afternoon of 18 March, Hazard and I flew together operationally for the first time, taking photographs of the German lines south of Arras. We returned to the same area the following day. On both days our work was hampered by cloud and haze. What astounded me most was the intensity and accuracy of the Archie in this sector.

The rain returned, occasionally mixed with wet snow. I wanted to head into Doullens or St-Pol with Hazard. Then the snow worsened and covered the roads completely, so we retired to the mess and played interminable games of vingt-et-un. The atmosphere of an officers’ mess is much more carefree than I expected, and the fellows go out of their way to make one feel welcome. I believe they are all aware that I am newly commissioned from the ranks, yet the subject has not arisen. If I cannot make a reputation for myself through my scholarly achievements, I hope that in time I shall be able to earn their respect in the air.

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Technical question - Since after the update time automatically skips at every 2nd day after a sortie. Should we stick with it or do something else?

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TWK, I don't I understand.  Is the game jumping you forward 2 days for some other reason besides inclement weather?

I've not checked the game weather files but historically, March 21-24, 1916 was a complete washout. 

Please advise.

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V 1.21 also adjusts the frequency of ops so that in the early war, you may not be sent on patrol every day.  It will get busy soon enough.

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epower, as Raine said 1.21 has changed early-war frequency quite a bit. Tested this with another pilot too flying in RFC-24, currently in England in October 1915 preparing to get deployed. After a mission time skips from 1 to 4 days as far as I've experienced, although it may vary for I haven't made that many tests with it-

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Posted (edited)

I hadn't realised Recon Wars was out already! Downloaded and installed now. It's definitely going to make Quirk flying more scary. 

Raine:  A pleasure as always to read about your man's exploits. I always find myself being totally immersed in your unique blend of historical information and creative 'world-building'. Looking forwards to more. 

The tale of Charles A. Fairclough Part 2:
March 24th - 25th, No. 10 Squadron R.F.C.

 

Charles awoke the next morning to the faint drumming of rain upon the window, the drops shining crystalline in the brilliant amber of a sunrise in infancy reddening and breaking through the clouds. Sleepily he fumbled for his uniform. “I wouldn’t bother. We won’t be going up in that” O’Bannon mumbled from the other side of the room.Gratefully Charles fell back into bed, becoming distantly aware that he couldn’t recall the last time he’d been afforded such a luxurious morning rest. He certainly hadn't at Hendon - if nobody else forcibly roused him at Six O'Clock each morning, the excitement of a day's training would do the trick without fail. 

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The Chateau remained tranquil until Nine O’Clock, as the more hungry and less-hungover officers began to emerge from their rooms in search of breakfast. By Three O’Clock the rain hadn’t died down, and so the drinks commenced. Charles took the opportunity to attempt to learn a little more about life as a pilot, but found himself becoming rather dejected by a swiftly-issued “We never talk shop in the anteroom, Fairclough”. In the evening, just before supper in the mess, a batman arrived to tell him that Captain Foss wanted to see him in his office on the northern end of the Chateau's third floor, which the Captain had selected so as to be best isolated from any other form of life. The furnishing was sparse - one large desk for the C.O., behind which the Captain reclined in a large leather armchair, a smaller desk for his adjutant, and several papers strewn out across the walls and a second desk - among which were a large map pinned to the wall depicting Number 10’s sector of the front and  several silhouettes of allied and enemy aircraft. Dutifully Charles stood to attention in front of Foss.

“You asked to see me, sir?”
“Indeed. So, your first day yesterday. How did you find it?”
“I enjoyed it, sir”.
Oh! did you really! Well I'll tell you what, the fun will wear off damned quickly. Now, you know what we do here, I hope?”
“Photographic reconnaissance and artillery ranging, sir”.
“That’s right”.

The Captain rose from his desk, beckoning Charles over to the map.

“You’ll be doing the afternoon show tomorrow, ranging for Number 5 battery down here at St. Vaast. Do you know the Clock Code?”
“Yes, sir”.
“Good, because we only have the one wireless transmitter and it’s about as useful as an ashtray on a bicycle. It’s in for repairs, so you'll need to use a signalling lamp to communicate with the battery. You’ll be flying for Mr. Owen, who is to be your regular observer from now on. He’s one of the better ones we’ve got, so pay attention to everything he tells you to do and, for god’s sake, don’t get him killed. It’s bad enough that we’d lose the machine without taking him along too. Is that clear?”
“...yes, sir. Perfectly”.
“Good. One more thing. You may have the afternoon show, but if I were you I wouldn’t get too tight tonight. You new chaps usually take about a month to stop being easy meat for the Hun, but you'll at least have some chance if you’ve got your wits fully about you. Dismissed”.

No rain came the next morning, and so at One O’Clock Charles met with Captain Owen on the aerodrome. Together they climbed into their B.E. and lifted up into the vast, empty blue. It was a different machine to the one he’d flown the other day, and it climbed well. Soon Charles was flying at the feet of the cumulus-giants at six thousand feet, and the landscape below had become an intangible swirl of green, brown and white, mixed with precision on the vast palette of an anonymous artist. 

As it had done before, the front crept from the distant haze and rose up to greet Charles - as did the Archie. If Archie's efforts had been anger on his first flight, then today saw the guns below spitting nothing less than a deep, hateful vitriol. Charles gripped the control column with a new depth of anxiety among the chorus of dull thuds as around him the black, circular ghosts of just-exploded shells loomed with unspeakable malice, tearing ravenously at every section of sky save for the exact one he currently occupied. He didn’t know whether to be thankful or horrified, so he decided upon being both simultaneously. 

Captain Owen producing the signal lamp from his cockpit snapped Charles back into the task at hand, and he craned his neck to look for the response as Owen flashed his signal to the battery. Miles below, a rapidly-blinked message answered. Owen gestured for Charles to circle, and a moment later the first barrage landed, swiftly cutting a fresh line of craters into the blasted landscape of the front. Owen looked down at his map for a moment, then raised the lamp again. A second barrage tore into the earth, at which Owen threw up his arms in exasperation, before turning to Charles and shaking his head. He raised the lamp once more. The Archie vented its rage with renewed fervour...

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An hour later, Charles felt a surge of relief as the B.E’s wheels came gently down onto the grass at Chocques. He had no idea whether or not whatever it was that the English guns had spent half an hour shooting at had been hit, not that he particularly cared. He was far more interested in the more certain knowledge that the German Archie had missed what they’d spent the last half-hour shooting at. Stepping down from the cockpit, he breathed a sigh of relief, reaching into his pocket for his pack of cigarettes. “Not near the machine, please, sir” a mechanic said to him. 


“Hullo, Fairclough” O’Bannon greeted him, not looking up from his newspaper as Charles returned to their room and deposited his flying coat on the wall-hook beside his bed. “Good show?”.

“Archie gave us a hell of a time”, Charles responded. “I didn’t know that you could get newspapers here”.
“You can’t, normally. Ness just got back from leave. It’s a few days old”. 

“Anything interesting?”
“Absolute rot. Care to see for yourself?” O’Bannon folded the newspaper and held it out to Charles.

“No, thank you. I can guess. Something about America supposedly joining in at some point”.
O’Bannon smirked. “Not this time. But isn't that pitifully wishful thinking, by the way? The average American has no interest in our European mess. They have it rather alright over there at the moment, comparatively speaking. Besides, how about this for a reason not to get involved. How many shells do you think Archie threw at you today?”.
“What does that matter?” Charles asked, puzzled.

“Humor me”, O’Bannon cooly responded, a thin smile appearing on his lips. His eyes glinted with a flicker that Charles had often recognised in his friends in England, the sign of an idea that had begun to grow and, in doing so, seemed to its originator to be ever-increasingly impressive and clever.

“Okay,” Charles replied, “I’d say around fifty or sixty”.

O’Bannon set the newspaper down. “Let’s assume it costs the Hun one hundred pounds, for talking’s sake, to produce one Archie shell. That would mean he's already seen fit to spend six thousand pounds, only in the last hour alone, on trying to murder you. Now think how many shells they must send up in a week, and how much that must cost them. It’s no bloody wonder America doesn't want to get involved”.

“Absolutely right” Charles answered. “But although we might have to wait some time for the Yanks to make an appearance, I’m certainly not waiting a moment more for lunch to materialise. I'll see you downstairs”. 



 

Edited by Wulfe
  • Like 1

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Recon Wars seems to have broken my BHAH install somehow. I keep getting messages about critical database errors and cannot fly missions. I didn't have any mods installed when I applied the updates. What a bummer!

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Posted (edited)

Hasse,

Did these problems start after you installed 1.21 or after 1.22? When you downloaded and installed either update, did you turn off your AV software entirely, or did it remain on but set up to exclude WOFF files from being scanned? My theory is some change or addition to 1.21 or 1.22 is now being scanned and quarantined by your AV program. Try turning it off temporarily before D/L the update again. 

Good luck!

BTW, interesting stories all. The quality of the writing hasn't declined a jot! Wulfe, welcome back! Raine, fine writing and storytelling, as usual! Trustworthykebab, looking forward to your next installment. AlbertTross, hope you get your new machine all sorted out. SebTombs and Paroni1, I hope you have some new stories to tell. Anyone I may have missed, keep up the good work!

Edited by BuckeyeBob

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15 hours ago, BuckeyeBob said:

Hasse,

Did these problems start after you installed 1.21 or after 1.22? When you downloaded and installed either update, did you turn off your AV software entirely, or did it remain on but set up to exclude WOFF files from being scanned? My theory is some change or addition to 1.21 or 1.22 is now being scanned and quarantined by your AV program. Try turning it off temporarily before D/L the update again. 

 

Thanks for the suggestion. The problem definitely started with Recon Wars. I tried it again and excluded the files/folders, but the problem persists. I guess complete reinstall is the next option on the menu. But I have this nasty feeling that my pilot's campaign file has now become corrupted, and maybe even a reinstall won't help with it.

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Honestly, I'm not sure what's going on. I had heard that between 24-26 March 1916 weather was absolutely terrible, but is it supposed to go on for over a week? I've currently been checking, out of curiosity, how much the cancelled flights would go on, and I've reached 31st March by now. What worries me is that there's notifications that other pilots did fly their missions instead. Is my file corrupted or something?

 

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Hasse,

Before you go for a complete reinstall, try temporarily turning off your anti-virus entirely before you download and install the update. Leaving it on and excluding folders may not be enough for this update for some reason.

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