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About epower

  1. Forgive me if I've missed something obvious but I uploaded a number of duplicate images to my album and, attempting to do some house cleaning, I failed to find any way to delete them. No Trash can Icon or anything of the sort. Any assistance greatly appreciated. Cheers! Edit - Found it! That very well concealed delete option in the lower left lower "Manage Image" tab.
  2. A Legionnaire’s Tale – Part 2 26 August 1915 Notre-Dame d'Amiens Amiens, France What in the name of God, the Devil, and the Djinn Who Spoke to Me, impelled me to confession after all this time? Her Birthday. Today is her birthday. Just walking in set my mind whirring. The Cathedral itself. This place, these ancient stones. Frankincense lingered in the air from the recent Mass. The smell conjured memory. I felt a presence. Hair stood up on the back of my neck and on my arms. I feared the nightmare might slip from its shadowy prison and seize me. Some years since that last happened. The line to the confessional was mercifully short. An old woman dressed in black emerged weeping. As I entered the confessional, I smelt a passing hint of rose, then the stronger aroma of old varnish. Suddenly my agitation passed. Kneeling in the darkened cubicle I felt sheltered, as if the filigreed walnut were some sort of dugout immune from blast and terror. The Priest’s voice was at once old and also soothing. “May the spirit of God be in your heart and on your lips that you may humbly confess your sin.” “I have not confessed in nine years, Father. I am 22 years of age.” “Nine years,” he replied. “Best to skip over the venial, then. Speak of those sins which burden your soul.” “I carry contempt and hatred in my heart towards women.” One woman, Felix. Just one. But she became all women. “I have killed, sometimes with pleasure. I have consorted with demons.” “Demons?! How have you done so?!” exclaimed the Priest. “In the desert, a Djinn spoke to me from a whirlwind.” “Incroyable! What did this Djinn say?” “I can’t remember. I was a day without water at the time.” “Perhaps this elemental being was just delirium, or Cafard.” “You know Cafard, Father?” “I was not always a priest. Do continue,” he said in a more authoritative tone. “Many times, I have thought to take my own life.” “That is no sin unless you succeed. You must never give in to despair.” He spoke adamantly. “Suicide is an irredeemable sin.” Fear of damnation is the only reason you didn’t go through with it, Felix… “Go on,” he said. “I have cursed God for what He has allowed to happen.” “The War is terrible, my son, but it is the work of men.” “I speak of greater evils than war, Father, but I did not come here to discuss them.” “Why have you come?” he asked gently. “Today is my Mother’s Birthday. The only gift she ever desired of me on this day was that I make confession and cleanse my soul.” “Confess your sin. God loves you even as you curse him.” “My mother always said such things,” I mused, “but I never saw any sign of it.” He waited and said nothing. He was clever this priest. He knew. “I have done worse than revile the name of God. On this day nine years ago, I cursed my mother.” Cursed her for a whore, Felix. That's what you did. “That is grave, my son. You must ask her forgiveness.” “She is dead these nine years, Father.” “I see.” He rustled behind the screen. I heard him sigh. “Do you repent your sins?” “I am sorry for my sins, Father, with my whole heart.” So many years since I spoke the litany. Words that once brought me such joy and lightness were today, just words. Empty. Powerless. “The Boche will provide the remainder of your penance. For now, go and light a candle for your mother on this her birthday. Pray for her forgiveness. Pray for God’s grace and the strength to return to the path of righteousness. Only then will you have peace. “…det tibi Deus veniam et pacem, et ego te absolvo a peccatis tuis in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti,” he intoned solemnly. I rose to go. The Priest spoke again. “One more thing, my son. If you cannot see a sign then you have not been paying attention. God be with you.” A candle and two prayers. That was the price for nearly half a lifetime of apostasy. He was right about the Boche but why give me such a light penance? Was this Priest an ex-Legionnaire? He knew Cafard***, the peculiar form of nervous torment afflicting the Legionnaire. Wishing to see him and know his face, I sat nearby for half an hour waiting for the Priest to reveal himself but the line to the confessional grew steadily. I moved off to a chapel to begin my assigned penance. ____________________________________ Mother…dear Mother… I dropped to one knee in the side chapel. Dozens of candles burned in front of me, flickering like the dead souls they called to. The candle I lit for Mother shone out among the others like a flare in the dim light. The weight of sorrow, so elusive in confession, settled on me at last. How long I remained so I cannot say. The grinding pain of the stone on my knee returned me to my senses. My eyes burned, not with gas, but with tears. I can’t remember the last time I wept. Going soft or is this my Cafard? A female voice spoke beside me. Lost in reverie I hadn’t seen her approach. Hastily wiping my face, I stood to regard the woman beside me and as I straightened to my full 5’9”, her eye level remained above my own, no matter how much I stretched. Standing a good inch taller than me was a woman of stunning beauty. A half-caste, what the French or Spanish would call Creole. Smooth perfect skin, a shade or two darker than café au lait. Shorter wavy hair down to her neck framed a high forehead and broad cheek boned face. Large eyes that appeared green, (or were they grey?) shone from under distinct arched brows. Hints of blond danced in the stray tiny curls at her temples. A curvaceous body filling out the modest dress, molded onto an extraordinary physique. Arms smooth and powerful with none of the swollen, dangling fat so common to large women. Broad shoulders and a full bosom balanced her proportionately wide hips, but hers were not the overly massive breasts one might expect from a woman of her stature. Her waist tapered only slightly yet her stomach appeared flat to the extent I thought she might be corseted. Even through the fabric of her mauve dress, I could see the lines of her tremendous shapely, and undoubtedly firm, bottom joining heavily muscled legs. Thews. Can one say thews when describing a woman? She radiated the physical without in any way losing the feminine. Of the ample-bodied whores I’d enjoyed in Sidi-bel-Abbes, none were anything like her. A magnificent creature! What violent delights might we share? Such strength. In the throes of her ecstasy, I might be as Job wrestling the Angel. “For your comrades, monsieur?” she inquired again. “There are not enough candles in the entire cathedral for that, mademoiselle.” “You speak as a Gascon,” she said, remarking my accent. “Yet you wear the uniform of the Legion Étrangère.” Taking my Kepi Noir from under my arm, I swept it low in a flourishing bow, as D’Artangnan might have before Monsieur de Treville or Madame de Winter. “Milady,” I said with exaggerated formality. She smiled and then, moving with an unexpected grace for a woman of her size, she responded with a flowing if equally mocking curtsy. At this moment her companion called to her, “Madelaine.” Blast! Just when I was making headway. “Mademoiselle Madelaine, I have forgotten my manners and failed to make introduction. I am Felix Moore.” “Enchanté, Sergent Moore,” she replied. I waited for her to expand but she remained enigmatically silent. Was there more here? “Madelaine,” I ventured impertinently. “The only Madelaine I know is delightful and most delicious dessert…” She looked at me askance, perhaps deciding whether to take offense. “Sergent, have you not heard of the famous Col du Madelaine, a high pass in the Alps known from Roman times? One day it might be part of the Tour de France if ever a road might be built. If you wish reach such a summit and taste the fruits of victory one may find there, I think you will need something more than a Legionnaire’s legendary marching legs.” A savage riposte! En Garde! How remarkable she should mention the Le Tour. At that moment my thoughts flew to my dead comrade. How happy he was when the telegram arrived announcing the birth of his daughter… the same day he died. How it must have galled Faber, a Luxembourger with Belgian roots, to sing Le Boudin, the marching song of the Legion. Pour les Belges il n'y en a plus. (For the Belgians there is no more.) Pour les Belges il n'y en a plus. (For the Belgians there is no more.) Ce sont des tireurs au cul. (They are lazy shirkers.) “You speak of the Le Tour de France, Milady. Then you must know the name of Francois Faber, champion of the 1909 race. He was a legionnaire, killed in May in Artois.” Francois Faber, Champion, 1909 Tour de France “Je suis désolé,” she replied solemnly. Her companion, a shrewish middle-aged woman, now approached. While not quite a crone, she would be there soon enough. Features pinched, as though accosted by an unpleasant smell, she surveyed my person with obvious disapproval. Indeed, my very presence in the Cathedral seemed an affront to her sensibilities. “Madelaine, we will be late. We must go,” she croaked. Damn the ghastly hag for spoiling everything. I had a real chance here. “Au revior, Sergent Felix Moore,” said Madelaine with an expression of wry amusement. The two women turned and moved down the Nave. I almost left it too long. Dashing after the two I called out to them as I closed the distance. “Mademoiselle Madelaine, honor me with the gift of your family name.” The incipient crone scowled as I approached but Milady turned to me smiling. “de Verley,” she said, nearly laughing. Perfect teeth, dazzlingly white, flashed in contrast to her lovely dark skin. Once again, I swept my Kepi Noir in a low bow. She returned my flamboyance with the most infinitesimal curtsy. With her beldame in tow she continued to the Narthex and out the doors. A chance meeting this was. I would never see her again. C’est le guerre. Ah, but to lie with such a magnificent creature as Madelaine de Verley. __________________________________________ *** “Cafard,” wrote David Wooster King in 1916, “comes from the word meaning ‘black beetle.’ In army jargon it means blues or melancholia. The African army troops are subject to this periodically, due probably to the heat and bad wine. In the more acute cases the victims are convinced that their brains are being eaten by black beetles.” According to Legionnaire Edwin Rosen, “Cafard, is a collective name for all the unconceivable stupidities, excesses and crimes which tormented nerves can commit. The English language has no word for this condition. In cafard murder hides, and suicide and mutiny; it means self-mutilation and planless flight out into the desert; it is the height of madness and depth of despair.”
  3. Jerbear - Great to see you taking timeout from your own tale and dropping in for a visit. I remain deeply impressed and greatly envious of your writing flow. Albert - A book may result from the background rabbit hole for Felix. Oy! Not doing that again. He may be Irish by blood, but the bit about a year at West Point may provide an additional clue as to his home turf. All will be revealed... and soon. I gotta get to the flying bits, after all.
  4. And so it begins... A Legionnaire’s Tale – Part 1 19 August 1915 My name is Felix Moore. Felix A. Moore. I added the ‘A’ for Arthur to make it more believable. These are not the names my mother gave me, but together they serve well enough as my nom de guerre. A gift of the Legion. I shall keep it even when my days as a Legionnaire are ended. My real name... that would cause a stir in certain quarters. The myth of the French Foreign Legion as a refuge for jilted lovers, killers, and fugitives of all kinds is exactly that – a myth. It is true that some of my brother Legionnaires joined because they sought adventure, but most signed up because they had no work. What did come as a surprise was the number of Germans. In 1912, over half the French Foreign Legion was composed of Germans. Of the rest, a few sought refuge from the law. Others, like myself, were men in need of a fresh start and a new identity. A year at West Point prepared me better than most. That seems a century ago now. Légion Étrangère. A perfect place at last. I fell into its traditions and the hard, repetitive life became one more beating making me stronger in body and in mind. With each travail, each blistering 60km march, each fight against the Arab, the troubled memories slip away. Sidi-bel-Abbes, the Legion’s Algerian home, (Holy City might be more accurate) , provided an exotic education of a different sort, the taverns and brothels of the Quartier Nègre being among them. Such lessons, and such a life, were not without cost. I would look upon the true Anciens, hardened veterans on their third or fourth enlistment, and they appeared thinned of their identity as though the color of individuality were wrung out of them, like water from a twisted cloth. They were all the same, in thought, appearance, action. Even as I admired them, I scoffed at the idea I might lose myself as they did, but theirs was exactly the path I traveled. This German war came none too soon. I might be a character in some absurd play. Enter Felix, a Moor. I am well suited to the role. The African sun burnt my Irish skin blacker than many of the native Algerians. Who was he, I wonder, my dark ancestor? Perhaps some hapless shipwrecked Spaniard of Phillip’s ruined Armada, cast on Ireland’s fatal shore and taken in by his fellow Catholics. After three years in Africa fighting the Arabs, I thought myself somehow shielded by the hand of God, a God I once thought had abandoned me… or maybe it was the Devil, or the Djinn who spoke to me in the deep desert. Whomever. After 11 months in France, any hope of divine protection seems illusion. Yet despite my calculated attempts to die, I am still alive. It cannot last. Like that romantic Seeger, I too have a rendezvous with death. Not for the glory he seeks, or the old patriotic lie. Just cold death and an ending to this pain, to this Cafard. I write this chronicle so that my life and deeds may be remembered. On my death it goes to Jacko, Porthos, Artemis or one of the others, for it is their story as well. In time, I trust that one of them will bring it to Monsieur Duval. He is the closest thing I have to family. Few of us left now, we les Anciens, the old African Legionaries. Not many of the new volunteers either. Not after we took Les Ouvrages Blancs, the so-called ‘white works.’ Trenches dug out of the chalk at the base Vimy Ridge. They could be seen for miles and were thought to be impregnable. So many assaults by other regiments broke like water against them. Thousands perished. But on May 9th they could not stand against the force of the Legion. We, the 2nd Regiment de Marche of the 1st Étrangere formed the spearhead of the Moroccan Division. Scores fell as we charged. Capitaine Junod leapt from the trench, shouting in powerful voice, “En Avant, mes enfants! Courage!” He made it twenty meters before falling wounded. Etienne, Houska and Corporal Werner died right beside me 30 seconds later. Many of the officers were killed before we cleared the trenches in front of Berthonval. More died before the White Works where our artillery failed to completely flatten the wire, but we could not be stopped. Like a great wave crashing inland, we took Les Ouvrages Blancs, then the Bethune Road, Hill 123 and finally to Hill 140 on the crest of Vimy Ridge itself. It was 11:30. Four kilometers in a mere two hours! A few madmen, bent on decorating themselves with loot, even ventured down into Vimy and Givenchy. Through it all, I was miraculously untouched by bullet or shell. My greatcoat nicked and perforated but nothing hit me. What we failed to do, as we swept onward, was clear the captured trenches of the Boche. In the wreckage we left behind, they emerged like rats from their holes to harry us from behind. A magnificent feat of arms, nonetheless. The 156th on our right were still pinned before La Targette and could not advance to support us. We sat on Hill 140 like a giant pimple waiting to be exploded. The crossfire from La Folie Farm and Neuville on our unprotected right grew worse and the German artillery started finding the range. It was around Noon when our own artillery landed on us. Terrible slaughter. The barrage continued despite desperate waving of flags and recognition panels. As I directed efforts to reverse the German trench and strengthen our position against counterattack, I saw Lt. Feraud calmly issuing a string of orders trying to get control of the chaos. Companies and Battalions were all mixed. There weren’t enough officers present to effectively organize a defense. From my vantage point, I was one of only three NCOs left alive and unwounded. Seeing the situation, Colonel Pien, our commanding officer seized a rifle and charged forward, only to be killed by a sniper. By 3:30pm enemy reinforcements came to play. City buses full of Boche stopped so close to our position that we could read the advert boards painted on their sides. We repelled the first Boche counterattack with the timely assistance of Lieutenant Wetterstrom’s machine gunners, but no additional reinforcements, machine guns, or additional officers came forward to assist us. Lieutenants became company commanders, Sergents acted as officers, and any Legionnaire with initiative found himself in the role of an NCO. Lt. Feraud, imperturbable as ever despite the bullet wound to his jaw, moved down the ruined trench. “Sergent, today you have earned the Medaille Militaire,” he said, clapping me on the shoulder. “I shall see to it personally.” He continued on his way. Ten seconds later a shell landed nearby. The blast that literally blew Lt Feraud apart before my eyes, riddled me with metal, and knocked me briefly unconscious. My memory of the next hours blurs. Fighting close in with any weapon at hand. The Boche hit us a second time and pushed us off the crest of 140 and back to Hill 123. Hundreds died holding the latter hill. I woke lying in a shell hole with an officer’s sword in my hand. Judging from the blood encrusted tip to hilt, I had done some strong work. Monsieur Duval would be pleased to see his training put into practice against his hated Germanic foe. In time two of our Russian stretcher bearers found me. Carried away at last, my comrades set me down at an impromptu aid station and went to collect others. There, I heard a wounded German officer speaking perfect French inquire of his Russian stretcher bearers what language they were speaking. “Russian,” they answered in French. “Impossible! Are the Russians here?” “One battalion,” they said. “But...what regiment?” “The Legion!” they answered. “Ah...The Legion!...The Legion!...Now I understand everything,” he sighed. The mystery of how his impregnable Ouvrages Blancs had fallen now solved, he lapsed into unconsciousness. A bloody red day, one that would see the 2nd Regiment de March receive its first unit decoration – the Croix de Guerre. But the cost… My God, the cost. We lost our commander, three of four battalion commanders, 41 other officers, scores of NCOs and 1,889 legionnaires, half our effective strength. My chance for a medal died with Lt. Feraud, but I have my life, and my wounds are nearly healed now. I shall rejoin the regiment in a week’s time.
  5. Albert – This Kehr fellow, a man of mystery. I like him already 😊. So it’s out with the Rolands, in with the DFWs. Never knew they were so robust. Might explain the previous challenge shooting them down. Gott Im Himmel! Triplanes! I wonder if it’s those Lime Juicing Krumpets from Naval 8. Edward did well to escape them but I suspect there will be another day. Leutnant Wald seems a good sort and no doubt becoming a father will make him a bit less rigid. I do like your bomb impact screencaps. I’ve yet to get the hang of that as you will soon see. Solid work on the hapless Quirk. Congrats on Edward’s 3rd victory. Raine – I see that Huntington continues playing the gadfly to Bell Gordon. Tedious. Very tedious. Hopefully the hand of fate will deliver an appropriate comeuppance. The Kaisers Flakmensch rang the Bell but good (see what I did there?) I wonder if the AAA changed in Recon Wars. Good thing Douglas landed his kite intact. And speaking of Kites, and Naval intrigue, once again the Senior Service bogart all the good planes. Rum, Perfidy and the Lash is more like it. As for the former expression, it’s the Royal Navy so one expects that sort of thing. Tripes is it. Congrats. This should be fun, although maybe not so much for the Huns. I am HATING the cut and paste formatting results of CombatAce. Maybe I'm missing something. Must continue to experiment... Edit, so the "paste without formatting" via the Right Mouse Click menu seems the way to go. SHIFT+ENTER is of great use limiting the spacing between lines.
  6. Albert, A tough day for the staffel on the 26th, alas poor Jung. Edward continues his abuse of King George's Flying Corps. A hapless if unconfirmed BE, then dropping a Tripe. Nice work. BTW, this Hasse fellow...where do I know him from? I fear I've led you astray regarding the proper technique for inserting images. Looks like something changed regarding image inserts and my post #2 instructions, which you followed to the letter, no longer produce the desired result. I mucked about and the correct method now is as follows: Upload images to Album In the desired location in your post, click "Insert other media" lower right Select "Insert existing attachment" from the dropdown menu. Click "Gallery Images" upper left, then select the appropriate image. Click the green "Insert Selected" lower right and you're home. I'll update post #2 accordingly. Since you're a Junior Member and your editing window has expired, I used my ninja powers to get the images to show up. Cheers, E
  7. Albrecht - The "Re-Enlist option" goes some way toward solving this. Granted you don't get to incarnate as one of the surviving squaddies but it's close.
  8. Raine - So Bell-Gordon has his 5th, despite the best (worst?) efforts of those clown in the Claims Office. Keep it up in the new year and there may be a waft of cigar smoke and the swish of tulle fabric. The Pup reigns supreme right now, at least until those V strutters start showing up. Full steam ahead! This Henderson fellow, otoh... I'm not sure the nasty little blighter can be trusted. Sail carefully. Albert -- Good thing I've just had dinner or I'd be ravenous after reading about Edward's culinary adventures. An uneventful transition into the staffel then two weeks of dud weather. Sounds almost ideal, certainly better than going aloft in snow and sleet like some of the mad Tommies are wont to do. The Roland looks like a warmer bus. Good thing with that frigid breeze off the North Sea. Very cool pics Best of luck on the return to action. H & B! TWK, Welcome to Beau. You've dropped into the first RFC squadron to get Pups. Downside is that 54 were the last to lose them in Fall 1917 but that's as far away as the moon. Looking forward to revisiting 54 Sqn. Do forgive me but when I see Charles and Gray in the same string of names and I unconsciously conjure this legendary chap:
  9. TWK, Welcome back! Check your PM cheers, epower
  10. Raine - Bravo Douglas! Sounds like your man is finally hitting his stride. Bloody claims wallahs notwithstanding he's done a man's job and so has Hayden. Shame about the three unconfirmed. That's just wrong. Thoroughly enjoying a catchup of Bell-Gordon's tale. Most evocative episode with Rockwell's funeral. I'd not realized how many of those chaps went west in 1916. You're carrying the fire alone for now but I think you'll have company soon. o7
  11. Raine, first off my deepest condolences on the death of young Hawkwood. I finally caught up with his tale and felt a certain kinship. Blasted Collision code!! Welcome to Douglas. Marvelous introduction and a backstory that begs for elaboration...assuming we get that far. To that end, no more woolgathering on the return trips!! We've all been there. Greatly relieved your man survived his first encounter with the Hun. I have no doubt he will take the lesson to heart and keep repaired weather eye out for e/a... or is it still h/a in Sept 1916 ? More importantly, are the nurses treating our Aviateur Canadien properly?
  12. Outstanding stuff. I'm still scrambling and have yet to give these superb narratives the proper time for a full reading. FYI, Raine is still playing host to a huge family reunion. I'll be Kayaking the Thousand Islands from August 2-5 and will not have my WOFF materials in tow. Only my iPad. Please take extra care (always) but most certainly until get back on the 6th. Looking forward to a long catch up with all your adventures. Cheers,
  13. Couple of newbie questions

    gombicek, Welcome to our magnificent obsession. Glad Pol sorted your question. When circumstances permit, I encourage you in the strongest possible terms to get TrackIR. I believe it to be the most transformative addition to the fight sim experience after the jump to joystick from using arrow keys.
  14. On Workshop Options

    The second post in the DiD thread has some handy site info: Scroll down.

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