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DiD IV Campaign - Flight reports & Player instructions

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End of month stats.  
Sgt. Elijah Anthony Gallagher.   
8RFC  
Marieux.  
BE2c.  
23 Missions.  
32 Hours.  
0 victories.  
0 claims

 

Thank you for taking on this task again Lou! Looking forward to your entry into the fray. 

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2 hours ago, RAF_Louvert said:

It's the end of the month gentlemen, time to post the statistics for your active pilots so that we at HQ can consider any awards that may be due.

As Mfair says, Thank you! Here are Theo's stats.

Flight Lieutenant Theodore Aloysius Andrews (AKA 'Runt)

Unit: RNAS-1

Location: St. Pol-sur-Mer

Aircraft: Morane Saulnier L

Hours: 62

Missions flown: 42

Victories : 5

Claims: 7

And one broken heart ...

:salute:

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EOM Stats:
Feldwebel Lyuben Anastas Mladenov (Deceased)
Unit: Feldflieger-Abteilung 32, Bertincourt, Flanders.
Aircraft: Aviatik B.II
Hours: 15
Missions flown: 11
Victories: 1
Claims: 0 (KIA during the same sortie, victory backed up by his squadron mates)

Feldwebel Ailbe Blaz Dziarzowitz
Unit: Feldflieger-Abteilung 5, Haubourdin, Flanders.
Aircraft: Aviatik C.I
Hours: 0.75
Missions flown: 1
Victories: 0
Claims: 0
 

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Sous Lieutenant Henry Caspar Castillac

Escadrille N15

Savy,Flanders

Nieuport 10C1

Missions flown:5  Flying hours:4,88  Confirmed kills:0 Claimed:1

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2 hours ago, trustworthykebab said:

Aircraft: Aviatik B.II

For some reason unable to edit this, but it's actually a B.I, not a B.II!

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Sergeant Kenneth Hardie

6 Squadron RFC

Abeele airfield

BE2c

02/10/1915

 

Kenneth arose sheepishly, moved towards the entrance to his tent and opened it up. He was greeted with a glorious sunrise and virtually cloudless blue skies. "That's more like it!" he said to no-one in particular.

 

Following breakfast, Major Shephard took a briefing and explained that the allied offensive around Loos and Vimy Ridge was continuing and all our efforts would be supporting the push.

 

To that end, the squadron would be mounting multiple sorties per day. This morning's jaunt would be to the lines near Ypres to recon the enemy positions and spot any attempt to move forces from there down towards Loos.

 

Kenneth could feel the adrenaline building as he sat in his BE2c as the engine ticked over. Captain Barnard loaded up his Lewis gun and put the spare drums away.

 

A few moments later they were airborne and climbing away. Two Fees, two other BE2s and a Bristol Scout made up the rest of the flight.

 

As they climbed and moved away, Kenneth saw straight away that the BE simply couldn't keep up with the Fees and Scout who fairly raced away.

 

Kenneth formed up with the other BE2s flown by Sergeants Wimund and Barnes.

 

It was a glorious autumn morning and yesterday's rain had cleared the air, so visibility was excellent. The front loomed up ahead of Kenneth as he reached 8000 feet.

 

Flak bursts told Kenneth he'd reached the lines and Captain Barnard started getting his camera ready.

 

The recon went well, eventually Captain Barnard signalled for Kenneth to take the aircraft down. He pointed down towards the ground and Kenneth looked over the side. He caught sight of a long convoy of lorries moving towards the enemy positions.

 

Captain Barnard got his Cooper bombs ready. Kenneth swung the BE around and levelled out along the road. Flak was booming all around but he held his nerve. Barnard threw the bombs down at regular intervals and Kenneth swung the aircraft so the results could be seen. They clearly saw several of the enemy transports in flames and some had come off the road.

 

Kenneth climbed back up and formed up with the others. The Fees had also closed in and together they headed home.

 

Over the next days, Kenneth flew similar sorties, recons around Loos, attacks on Lens railyard and Houplin airfield as well as attacks on the enemy lines themselves.

 

Barnard was clearly an old hand and didn't bat an eyelid at the flak bursts their exploits brought. If he was nervous, Kenneth got used to them too.

 

On one occasion Barnard tapped Kenneth on the head and pointed directly up. Kenneth looked up and saw three enemy aircraft some way above them. They were Aviatiks thankfully, not Eindeckers.

 

With two sorties each day, Kenneth was tired by the evening but spent time in the Sergeant's Mess. He got on well with all of them but particularly with Jem Barnes. The two Scots talked endlessly about their respective areas. Jem had worked on Aberdeen docks prewar and was an avid climber. With Kenneth coming from Fort William he obviously had an interest in the mountains too.

 

The pair promised to meet up after the war and spend time amongst the Monros.

 

By the middle of the second week in October the weather had changed again. Winds and rain made the sorties far more trying. Kenneth however took it all in his stride. He and Barnard were proving a formidable partnership with the Observer's experience coupled with Kenneth's flying skills.

 

Major Shephard was very pleased with Kenneth's performance over those first two weeks.

 

By 15th October, Kenneth already had more than 20 sorties and 25+ hours in the logbook and was hungry for more.

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Edited by AlbertTross
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End September 1915 report

Sgt David Armstrong Hawkwood

4 Sqn RFC, Baizieux, France

BE2C

Missions:   29

Hours:    38.23

Claims:   0

Confirmed:   0

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@trustworthykebab

As a Junior member you have 60 minutes to edit a post. 

In the second post in this thread, after the picture posting instructions, there's an explanation of how the various levels work.

Go HERE

Edited by epower

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End of month stats:

rank, full name, awards presented by DiD CoC: Sous-lieutenant (sergent in-game) Auguste Alaric Besson
current unit assigned to: Escadrille N.23
current location: Somme-Vesle
current plane type: Nieuport 10 C.1
number of missions flown: 14
number of hours: 21.5
number of victories: 0
number of claims: 0

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End of month stats

 

Sergeant Kenneth Andrew Hardie

6 Squadron RFC

Abeele airfield

BE2c

22 missions

28 hours

No claims

 

 

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Sergeant Kenneth Andrew Hardie

6 Squadron RFC

Abeele airfield

BE2c

 

15/10/1915

 

Two sorties took place on the 15th and Kenneth flew both. On the first, the squadron attacked Lens railyard. The weather was good although large clouds made visibility hit and miss. Thankfully, as Kenneth descended down towards the railyard, the clouds cleared enough for Captain Barnard to drop his coopers right onto the massed rolling stock.

 

The afternoon sortie was a routine recce over the lines at Ypres. It was passing quietly until Barnard rapped Kenneth on the head and pointed down. Kenneth saw four enemy Aviatiks a few hundred feet below. Captain Barnard pointed towards Kenneth and down towards the enemy aircraft and Kenneth got the message clearly.

 

He throttled back and swung the BE around and down towards the Huns. He came up behind one of them and ducked underneath, slowing to a crawl and started swinging the rudder. Barnard started firing at the Aviatik and scored several good hits. The BE was on the edge of stalling so Kenneth throttled up again.

 

The group of four Aviatiks broke up and Kenneth came around again underneath his target. Holding his position with skill. Barnard fired again and the Aviatik began to lose power and height.

 

The enemy aircraft was trying to make it back towards Houplin airfield. Kenneth and Barnard watched as the engineless enemy landed in the field next to the airfield.

 

Once they'd returned and reported in, Major Shephard asked if they wished to file a claim. Barnard said no, the aircraft had landed safely, in one piece and next the airfield. It would probably be airborne again tomorrow.

 

On the 16th, the weather closed in, and flying was obviously going to be impossible. All reports stated the 17th was going to be a wash out too. Kenneth, Jem Barnes and Randy Wimund asked the CO if they could have some leave in St Omer.

 

The squadron had been flying non-stop for two weeks so the CO agreed and had the adjutant, Reid, issue the Sergeants with a 24 hour pass.

 

The men hitched a ride with the squadron supply wagon to St Omer. The town was bustling and full of troops. They ended up in Le Cygne, a hotel and restaurant in the center.

 

The bar was full, men, women, English and French, pilots, soldiers and nurses. The three Sergeants were popular it seemed with the ladies, "The lassies love a pilot" stated Barnes. Kenneth's blonde hair and blue eyes drew several looks but it was Randy Wimund who was the center of attention. His north american accent had the local ladies in awe.

 

The three pilots enjoyed themselves although the rain never ceased. Eventually the leave was over and the three Sergeants made their way back to Abeele.

 

The 18th was still a washout and Kenneth spent a lot of it in conversation with Captain Barnard. "If we meet up with those Aviatiks again this is how we should play it......." said the Captain and together they worked out the best way to bring one down.

 

The weather relented on the 19th and the sorties began again in earnest, although with the offensive stalling down to a standstill, only one sortie a day was needed for the next week or so.

 

More recces and attacks on the front line positions, airfields and railyards were accomplished without loss and Kenneth continued to show his prowess and skills.

 

Then on the 24th, Kenneth and Barnard were sent to attack the railyard at Lens once more, together with the rest of the squadron. The bombs landed where they were intended and did considerable damage. On their way back Kenneth spotted more aircraft coming towards them from across the lines. It was a foursome of Aviatiks again and again Kenneth was a few hundred feet above.

 

He swung his bird around and down and throttled right back. He moved towards the leftmost aircraft and used the last of his excess speed to slide underneath. Barnard raked the Aviatik with bullets as Kenneth skillfully used the throttle to maintain his position.

 

Kenneth them came around once more as the Aviatik lost height. Kenneth now parked above and to the left of the Aviatik so that Barnard could fire again. He blasted the Hun who now side slipped to the right and descended down. This time Kenneth watched as the stricken enemy aircraft crashed into the trees on the edge of a field.

 

Barnard let out a whoop of delight. The other three Aviatiks had ran so Kenneth formed back up with the other BE2s and they headed home. Once they were back all talk was of their victory. Randy Wimund was able to confirm he'd seen the Aviatik fall and Major Shephard confirmed the victory.

 

A celebration was held that evening in the Officer's Mess with the Sergeants in attendance and Kenneth was congratulated by one and all.

 

The next morning, just prior to the morning briefing, Kenneth was passing the briefing room when he heard voices. Major Shephard was in conversation with Captain Barnard. Kenneth couldn't help but overhear.

 

"Take it from me Shep he's a natural, the way he coaxes that cumbersome BE around. If he had a Fee, now that would be something. We could really take the attack to the enemy." said Barnard.

 

"Every squadron out here is after FE2b's Charles. Can you imagine the stink if I let one of our Sergeants have one!" said Shephard.

 

"Then make him a Lieutenant for god's sake! He's been a Sergeant since February." added Barnard.

 

"Well, time will tell on that one Charles. Careful what you wish for." finished Major Shephard.

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(Playing a bit of catch-up on the reports)

Jean-Fidele Hierrot, Escadrille MS12: September 1915, Part 1

As it turned out, Jean-Fidele's frustrations with Capitaine Caillebot would be short-lived: early in September, Caillebot was transferred to a squadron closer to the Flanders sector, and Escadrille MS12 came under the leadership of Lieutenant Artur de Gennes.

The new squadron leader was a welcome departure from Caillebot in many ways: he had one credited victory (compared to Caillebot's 9) - but whereas Caiilebot would brag about the same kill over and over again, embellishing the details along the way, de Gennes treated his single victory like the matter-of-fact statistic that it was. It was a thing that had happened.

De Gennes also understood the power of delegation in a way that Caillebot never had. He ran a very tight ship at the airfield, but placed several other pilots in charge of actual air missions. For most of Jean-Fidele's squad mates, this was the first time they'd ever had such a responsibility, for Caillebot took charge of every mission himself. Consequently, this stifled the growth of many of the men in MS12, who'd largely served as little more than additional witnesses for their captain's claims forms. De Gennes proved determined to undo that.

On the other hand, de Gennes's earnestness as a leader was a two-edged sword: the man was humorless and utterly mechanical in his communication. De Gennes had heard Aldric referring to Jean-Fidele as "Petit Sous," and assumed that was in fact Jean-Fidele's actual surname. Following a patrol behind friendly lines, Jean-Fidele tried to sign an official form as Sous-Lieutenant Hierrot, but de Gennes made Jean-Fidele re-do the paperwork.

"No nicknames in my squadron! You go by your real rank and your real surname! Do you understand me, Sous Lieutenant Petit-Sous?"

"Yes, sir," Jean-Fidele replied, while Aldric made a face that just reeked of I'm so incredibly sorry.

Edited by Albrecht_Kaseltzer
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AT, good on ya mate! I think a promotion is coming. 

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Just now, Albrecht_Kaseltzer said:

(Playing a bit of catch-up on the reports)

Jean-Fidele Hierrot, Escadrille MS12: September 1915, Part 2

By the middle of the month, the German Aviatik two-seater presence was growing by the day. What had once been a major occasion in Jean-Fidele's first month with MS12 had now become commonplace - not every day, but once or twice a week for sure. Jean-Fidele and Aldric alike were just surprised not to have seen any of the dreaded Fokkers yet.

And while the Germans were building more of an air presence, Jean-Fidele and Aldric were both building up their skills as pilot and gunner, respectively.

On the 20th, Escadrille MS12's flight B was returning from a routine patrol when Aldric summoned Jean-Fidele. "Petit sous, I think I see something behind us!"

"How far back?"

"About a kilometre, maybe less. Just turn back around the way we came."

"Alright, boss."

After a gentle turn to break formation, Jean-Fidele caught a glimpse of a small Aviatik-shaped speck in the sky, and he could immediately see why it had gone undetected before: it had passed behind a cloud. The rest of the formation was getting ready to land, but this enemy aircraft was too close to MS12's own airfield to let this pass without a response. It was go time.

Jean-Fidele felt somewhat like a shark hovering under the surface of the water as he pursued the Aviatik, making sure to stay below. The Germans' two-seaters were generally unarmed, but one never knew what to expect.

As the Morane-Saulnier parasol slid underneath, Aldric opened fire upon the enemy craft up above. A couple times before, Aldric and Jean-Fidele had pursued an enemy two-seater, only to have to let it go. This time, however, felt different: Jean-Fidele had lined the MS "L" perfectly underneath the Aviatik, giving Aldric a direct line of sight for an extended moment.

After about 20 or 30 rounds, Jean-Fidele could hear the Aviatik's inline engine start to sputter. The enemy was going down in flames.

Aldric was visibly proud of his efforts - and deservedly so. For Jean-Fidele, however, this was a solemn moment: all he could think of was how his own brother, Etienne, had perished in Arras months ago. "My brother, I have avenged you," the pilot said to himself.

Back at the airfield in Rosnay, Jean-Fidele and Aldric filled out their claim form. Unsurprisingly, given that the other aircraft were in a landing sequence a kilometre away, there were no witnesses and therefore de Gennes rejected the claim.

Aldric just shrugged. "It's no problem."

Jean-Fidele agreed. "What happened up there belongs to us and to us alone."

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59 minutes ago, Albrecht_Kaseltzer said:

Aldric just shrugged. "It's no problem."

Jean-Fidele agreed. "What happened up there belongs to us and to us alone."

Jean-Fidele Hierrot, Escadrille MS12: September 1915, Part 3

The next day, Lieutenant de Gennes made an announcement: Escadrille MS12 was now going to be known as Escadrille N12. The Morane-Saulnier two-seaters were out; Nieuport single-seater scouts were in.

This also meant that, while pilots were here to stay, observers were soon to be transferred.

Given the nature of war, Aldric and Jean-Fidele never had a chance for a formal good-bye. Another pilot, Raymond de Bernis, handed Jean-Fidele a hand-written note that went as follows:

Quote

 

Sous-Lieutenant Petis-Sous,

It looks like I am on my way to Flanders now. Military brass is shipping me and a few others off to Esc 5 - they'll be giving me a gun in one of those ungodly monstrous Caudrons.

You've got a lot going for you, kid. Don't be a stranger.

- Al

PS Sorry for the name change.

 

Since there weren't enough Nieuports at first, Jean-Fidele was out of a job until finally getting to join a single-seater patrol on 22 September. All was uneventful for a day or two, until Jean-Fidele's flight came across a pair of Aviatik B.I's deep in French territory. While Jean-Fidele's Nieuport only had a gun mounted on the top wing, the aircraft came with a mercifully located pair of criss-crossed bracing wires that made for a convenient aiming assistent - and Jean-Fidele let loose, drilling two dozen rounds straight into the general area of the Aviatik's engine.

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As Jean-Fidele pulled away, he could see the Aviatik sputter, and he caught a glimpse of his opponent slumped in the cockpit.

Just as importantly, Frederic Quellenec saw this, too, and volunteered to serve as a witness as Jean-Fidele filled out his claim form. After remembering to sign off as "Sous Lieutenant Petit-Sous," Jean-Fidele submitted the paperwork to de Gennes. A day later, the announcement came that de Gennes's commanding officer had accepted the claim. Jean-Fidele Hierrot had his first confirmed victory!

***

Later in the week, Escadrille N12 was summoned for a scramble mission: an Aviatik flight had been sighted overhead, right there at Rosnay.

Following the lead of Adjutant Jean Marie Navarre, N12 swept up into the sky. Jean-Fidele was particularly aggressive on the stick, trying to match the Aviatiks' altitude as quickly as possible. It worked, as Jean-Fidele soon found himself in the perfect place for a shark to be: directly below and behind the hapless two-seater. He sent about 20 rounds into the first Aviatik, then looped back around to get at the second, and emptied out the remainder of his ammunition drum.

At that point, Jean-Fidele rejoined the formation. As the flight turned back to land at Rosnay half an hour later, Jean-Fidele could spot smoke stacks where his adversaries had fallen. That evidence, combined with the testimony of squad mate George Pelletier d'Oisy, formed the basis of Jean-Fidele's third and fourth claims, in pursuit of his second and third confirmed victories.

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However, as of the end of September, both claims remained unconfirmed - the chain of command was moving rather slowly for some reason.

Quote

 

End of month stats, September 1915:

rank, full name, awards presented by DiD CoC: Sous-lieutenant (sergent in-game) Jean-Fidele Alphonse Hierrot
current unit assigned to: Escadrille N.12
current location: Rosnay
current plane type: Nieuport 10 C.1
number of missions flown: 34
number of hours: 43.58
number of victories: 1 confirmed
number of claims: 4 (1 confirmed, 1 rejected, 2 pending)

 

 

Edited by Albrecht_Kaseltzer
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(Note: Esc N12 was grounded for Oct 1 & Oct 2 due to poor weather, and in the meantime both of Jean-Fidele's pending claims were confirmed - bringing his total to 3).

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I have a lot of great reading to catch up on and I'll do it tomorrow evening. For now, I'll post Hawkwood's journal for the first part of October...

 

War Journal – Sergeant David Armstrong Hawkwood

4 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps

Baizieux, France

 

Part 7

Up to this point in my flying career, I have known a number of pilots who have been killed in the performance of their duty. It was no special thing back at Larkhill to see a chap lift off only to stagger drunkenly above the treetops and come down with a splintering thud and a ball of flame. But since arriving in France, the number of pilots who “committed crashery” has seemed to drop away. Of course, we have had losses. Two of our machines went down due to engine problems over Hunland. Another couple were lost to Archie. And one pilot was killed and two seriously injured, with two observers killed in one seriously injured, in landing mishaps. Finally, we lost a machine two weeks ago to one of the new Fokkers.

None of these events quite prepared me for what happened 2 October. Lieutenant Osborne and I accompanied Mr Needham’s machine on an artillery shoot up near Loos. Lieutenant Needham corrected fire for the battery while our machine and a third BE2 crewed by Lieutenants Bliss and Reid stood guard. About twenty minutes into our time over the target area, Mr Bliss suddenly banked his machine and turned sharply beneath us. He made no signal and fired no flare. I watched as his machine turned about and headed west, trailing a thin ribbon of black smoke. As he began to fade into the distance I thought I saw a flicker of light. Suddenly the smoke became more intense. The machine now fell into a diving turn until it was headed east, back toward Hunland. Then it erupted in flame and fell a full mile down like a comet. I was thankful that it was so far off but still could not erase from my imagination the idea of being in the middle of that inferno.

I believe Major Todd must have gauged from Mr Osborne our reactions because he had the Recording Officer send for me and tell me that I would be posted supernumerary for the following day and likely not be required to fly. Lieutenant Osborne was not so lucky. He was sent up in the afternoon with a new officer just arrived from the pool. They managed to smash up their machine on landing and Mr Osborne was knocked about and unable to fly for several days.

On 4 October 1915, I flew a reconnaissance patrol with a new observer officer by the name of Romans. Call me superstitious, but I think he was bad luck. We were over Bapaume when our engine began to overheat, and I was forced to switch off and glide into the westerly wind. Fortunately, we began our return at 9000 feet and we nearly made it home. I put the machine down in a tilled field two miles short of Baizieux. My observer did better the next two days and we had several uneventful hours together over the lines. Finally, on 9 October, Lieutenant Osborne returned. It had been quite irritating listening to the mechanics referred to my BE as “Mr Roman’s machine.”

On 12 October, Lieutenant Osborne and I were sent to conduct another reconnaissance at the southern edge of the Loos battle. We had heavy fog in the morning and were forced to wait nearly two hours before it cleared. We weren’t allowed to smoke in the sheds, so I asked Mr Osborne if he wanted to walk with me to my tent, where we could at least sit down and have a smoke in private. He agreed and followed me somewhat nervously into the NCOs’ tent lines. Everyone was either sleeping or at work and no one noticed. We sat down out of the damp morning. He lit a pipe while I had a cigarette.

“You’ve done rather well so far,” he said.

“Does that surprise you, sir?” I said. Something about his tone had annoyed me.

“No. Not at all. I do sometimes get questions about my opinions on sergeant pilots. I answer that I have no opinion on sergeant pilots in general, but I do have an opinion on you, and I think you’re a damn fine pilot. You should know that.”

I muttered something appreciative. His comment was unexpected. Then he asked me whether I was interested in becoming an officer.

“If they asked me, I would say yes. But if they don’t ask me, I won’t beg for it,” I said. He nodded. Then I asked him why he became an observer.

“There was a press on for artillery officers to apply for attachment to the RFC as observers. I thought it might be a lark. Also, my major and I were not in the best of terms.” I raised an eyebrow in expectation of more detail. Mr Osborne took out a penknife and dug around in his pipe before re-lighting it.

“Being an observer is hardly a career move,” he continued. “Our flying pay is less than the pilots’ and worse yet, we are not eligible for promotion as we are merely attached to the Flying Corps. Rotten thing, really.” I couldn’t get much out of him after that. We flew together that day, but the following morning he took another new pilot up on a familiarisation flight. Their machine came down near Morlaincourt and both men were killed. The cause was not determined.

I flew next on 15 October, another reconnaissance north of Bapaume. My BE is now “Mr Perkins’s machine.”  Lieutenant Perkins is, apparently, about fifteen years old. He finds the Flying Corps jolly well corking and his machine a top-hole bus. It’s all ever so ripping.

It should be possible to keep the fellow alive for a while. If Herr Fokker shows up, we’ll see what the lad is made of.

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Albrecht - So Jean-Fidelle has his hands on a new Nieuport and has brought his total to three, I see a bright future if he can stay with us....and a kiss on the cheek from a French officer in the offing too 

 

Mfair - I do hope so, these BE's are fun but give me a Fee any day of the week.

 

Raine - So David's squadron is suffering some attritional losses, inevitable with these cumbersome machines. Poor Lieutenant Bliss though, how does the CO even begin to write that letter home.

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Great stories, folk! Updates on Ailbe coming soon as well.

Albrecht, I need you to tell me your secrets for those wonderful edited pictures!

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1 hour ago, trustworthykebab said:

Great stories, folk! Updates on Ailbe coming soon as well.

Albrecht, I need you to tell me your secrets for those wonderful edited pictures!

I use Serif PhotoPlus, and I apply the following built-in filters or effects:
1 - "Artistic - Watercolor" (high detail)
2 - "Artistic - Paint and Ink" (high detail, low ink)
3 - very very subtle blur

I stop there for pictures that are meant to emulate the illustrations of old time-y books, like this one that I first came across when I was like 9 or 10:

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If I want to make something look more like a photograph, I continue with the following:

4 - Very, very hard sharpening effect (especially with a large radius) - this creates somewhat of a 3D effect.
5 - black & white / sepia filter
6 - soften to taste

Before I figured out the built-in watercolor / paint filters, I got similar results with the harsh sharpening effect + softening and then fiddling around with the color balance.

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I have had a splendid hour or so catching up with everyone’s stories. We have some marvellous characters up and down the Front.

TWK – Welcome to Ailbe Dziarowitz! He has a very nice livery on his machine.

Paroni – Excellent introduction to Sous Lieutenant Castillac. I like the graphic novel effect in your pictures.

MFair – I’m glad that Gallagher is also experiencing a lack of air Huns. Down in the Somme area my man has spotted them only at extreme distance, with the exception of a group of Aviatik C types that I didn’t want to tangle with alone. By the way, that was a wonderful story about Colonel Bond at the Citadel. It explains a lot about Gallagher. If Gallagher stays with Captain Goon and if the captain keeps losing his breakfast every flight, you’ll have to put in for a transfer to a squadron that flies something with the observer in the rear seat.

Hasse – You two are having a peaceful time of it. You are quite right that we should enjoy the peace and quiet of 1915 while it lasts. It is exciting to see that you have just been issued the new Nieuport 10 C1. Best of luck with it!

Albert – So happy to see that you have joined us again! Welcome to Sergeant Hardie from Fort William. I remember stopping there for the night on a trip to Scotland back in the late 1970s. The little hotel had the pinkest room I’ve ever seen. It was likely a psychological trick to force me downstairs to the bar. If so, it worked. I enjoyed your opening chapter and was especially interested by the photograph of Abeele, which I had not seen before.  Nice job not filing a claim for the enemy machine that landed behind its own lines. It’s a good reminder to us all.

Seb – Glad to see you are getting lots of business for your pilot. Medium air activity and medium forced encounters is likely contributing to that. With my upgunned PC I have set regional air activity to the highest level but left forced encounters off. I suspect that I would have a great deal of activity in the immediate area of a push, but as I am in a quieter sector I am dealing only with the enemy squadrons based on the same sector. Anyway, Andrews’ story has become gripping. One moment I’m cheering when he blackens Ackers’ eye, and the next I’m staggered by Ackers’ nastiness in going after Monique. You have written a real page-turner. While we’re at it, congratulations on being the first confirmed ace of the campaign!

Lederhosen – Welcome to Enno Bockhackler. And a roofer, just like Julius Buckler! He is lucky to be equipped immediately with an Aviatik C1, a good machine for 1915.

Albrecht – Good to hear the continuing saga of Jean-Fidele. I like the sounds of Lieutenant de Gennes – a proper leader.  Jean-Fidele and Aldric did a splendid job of stalking that Aviatik. It’s a pity they were denied the confirmation. But he certainly made up for quickly after being assigned to a Nieuport. Congratulations on achieving three confirmed claims.

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Raine - Yes I've been to Fort William myself a couple of times, lovely place, with one of the best whisky shops I've frequented.

 

 

Sergeant Kenneth Hardie

6 Squadron RFC

Abeele airfield

BE2C

1 confirmed victory

25th October 1915

 

After the previous evening's celebrations for Kenneth and Barnard's confirmed victory, Kenneth awoke with a raging thirst and a bursting bladder. After relieving both and breathing some early morning fresh air, he at least felt brighter. A thick bacon butty and two steaming cups of tea completed the recovery.

 

The sorties were still one a day and included reconnaissance, bombings and spotting. Targets ranged from Lille, Lens and Douai in the south upto Ghistelles in the north.

 

The flak was booming throughout. However it wasn't just the enemy causing the problems. On the 28th, Kenneth and Barnard had taken off and reached about 300 feet when a loud bang was heard in the engine and then a thick oily steam came billowing out.

 

The revs halved straight away and continued dropping. Kenneth kept his cool, shut the engine down and dipped the nose slightly to keep her from stalling. As per his training, he didn't try to turn back towards the airfield and instead looked for the best field ahead to land in.

 

The one directly in front had a thick fence through the middle of it so Kenneth aimed for the one behind but the BE was dropping steadily. There was virtually inches to spare as the wheels just cleared the far hedge and the aircraft landed with a thump.

 

The pair shook themselves down and awaited the squadron lorry to arrive and roughly 20 minutes later it did.

 

It turned out one of the oil filters had ruptured and the aircraft was ready for the next day's work.

 

On the 31st October, Kenneth was part of a quintumvirate of aircraft sent to attack the lines south of the Ypres salient. The weather had turned, wind and rain swept the bombers, however the attack went well. As they turned to form back up, Captain Barnard shouted and pointed to the left. Kenneth looked as directed and saw a gaggle of enemy Aviatiks approaching, having come out of a thick bank of clouds.

 

The enemy had height and as they flew passed Kenneth, machine guns raked Kenneth's aircraft. He instinctively rolled beneath his attackers and the Aviatiks ran for the lines.

 

There was no serious damage done and Kenneth flew home and landed safely. He inspected the holes in the wing from the bullets as he dismounted. Barnard was livid, "Those damn Boche! That was pure chance put us in front of them! If we'd had a Fee I'd have given them it back with interest!", he exclaimed.

 

"At least we got back in one piece." said Kenneth calmly.

 

It had been a busy and eventful first month for Kenneth but he'd aquitted himself very well. Major Shephard was very happy with his performance.

 

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Oct4.jpg

Oct5.jpg

Edited by AlbertTross
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Some fine stories Gents! It’s going to get dangerous very soon so stay on your toes. 
 

Sgt. Elijah Gallagher. 
8RFC, Marieux.  
Oct. 1915

The month of October started well enough. There had been high hopes for the offensive but it had soon bogged down with not much to show except more carnage. 
Gallagher and Capt. Goon had seen every inch of the front from Arras to the Somme doing Artillery spotting or the occasional bombing of front lines and Bertencourt. Flying over the autumn trees, Gallagher had thought of the words to a song he knew as a youngster.   
“Leaves falling red, yellow, brown, all are the same,   
And the love you had found outside in the rain,     
Washed clean by the water but nursing the pain.”   
He smiled to himself as he remembered the words but was soon brought back to reality with a near Archie Burst. He and Goon had gone it alone to bomb Bertencourt when the other two machines turned back with engine trouble. They left the airfield with 2 burning hangers and chaos bringing praise from Sholto Douglas who was acting Commander in the Majors absence. As the month dragged on the losses piled up. They had lost one crew a week. The last one was hard to take. Capt. Goon had volunteered to take the place of an observer for the afternoon patrol and they never returned. It hit Gallagher hard. They had been together for 5 months.   The war was getting personal for Gallagher.    
 

End of the month Stats.  
Sgt. Elijah A Gallagher.  
8RFC, Marieux.   
BE2c. 
missions 31. 
hours.      42.    
victories.   0.  
claims.       0

 

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The War Diary of Auguste Besson, Escadrille N.23, part 5.

We had barely reached our quarters at Vitry-le-François when we were ordered to the depot’s field to begin our training. The Nieuport 10 was a very different beast compared to our old Parasols. It was a sesquiplane design, meaning it had a normal-sized top wing but the lower wing was considerably narrower. This made the plane lighter and improved both its manoeuvrability and the downward visibility from the cockpit. We were pleasantly surprised by the Nieuport. It was easy to handle and responded well to the movements of the controls, whereas the Parasol was overly nervous and required a constant full effort from the pilot to maintain a steady course, which made flying it an exhausting business. The Nieuport could be armed with a British-made Lewis machine gun that was attached over the top wing. This arrangement made it possible to fire forward over the spinning propeller. Unfortunately the system was far from perfect. To replace an empty magazine the pilot had to stand up in the cockpit to reload the gun – understandably a challenging feat to accomplish in a rapidly moving airplane!

Our instructor at the facility turned out to be none other than Lieutenant Mangin, the injured pilot I had met at the Paris surgical hospital! However, he was no longer a lieutenant, but a captain, having received a promotion recently. He was employed as an instructor and a test pilot, which gave him the opportunity to acquire first hand experience of all of our latest machines in development. The crash had left him with an injured leg, so he walked around with a slight limp, but this had no impact on his performance in the cockpit. Most of us could only marvel at his supreme skill in handling the Nieuport! In the evenings, I had long conversations with Mangin. Despite his injury, the war had treated him well and offered him a chance to get promoted at a much faster pace than would have been possible in the peacetime army. For a man so obviously in love with aviation, it truly was the perfect arrangement.

We completed our training at a very rapid speed. This was not really a problem, because the Nieuport had the same engine as the Parasol, so we were already familiar with the most complex part of the machine. There was a reason for the hurry – on September 25, our armies attacked on the Reims front, and there was a great demand for air support. Meanwhile, our escadrille was renamed N.23, to reflect the fact that we were now equipped with the Nieuport 10.

After some initial successes, the new offensive also ground to a halt. No matter what the army tried, the enemy lines could not be broken. On October 3, rapid breakthrough attempts were abandoned and a battle of attrition began. Our escadrille was in the thick of it, flying every day over the battlefield to provide support to the poilus struggling forward in the autumn mud. However, heavy rainfall often made any flights impossible. The men in the trenches were not so fortunate, and had to endure the worst of it without any chance of relief. By comparison, we pilots were fighting the war from a privileged position, being able to retire into our houses and the comfort of our beds after the day was over.

October 1915 was a disappointing month for us. The fighting in our own sector was not making any progress, despite heavy casualties. The enemy took full advantage of the higher ground they were occupying and their reconnaissance machines were also able to keep an eye on our movements, in spite of our efforts to achieve superiority in the air. Clearly, the offensive had not come as a surprise to the boche. In addition, there was a steady stream of bad news from the other fronts. Things seemed particularly bad in the East, where the Central Powers were dealing heavy blows to the Russian Empire. We often discussed the prospects of the war in the spare time we had between missions – sometimes a lot of it, when the weather made flying impossible.

As November arrived, the offensive actions in our sector finally came to an end for the winter. This also meant an easier schedule for the escadrille, for flying became increasingly difficult in the harsh weather conditions.

sjjZEow.jpg

TO BE CONTINUED...

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