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About Chives35

  1. Hello everyone, this will be not only my first journal entry for DiD IV, but it will also be my first EVER DiD campaign. I am looking forward to reading through everyone's characters and getting to know them. I am a bit behind so will be playing catch up in the coming days. Sergeant Thomas Alfred Watson, No. 12 Squadron RFC Part 1: March 25th, 1916 Thomas was jolted awake by his driver. The nearby idling of multiple RAF V12 engines reverberated throughout the adjacent row of Bessonneau hangars to the right of the Crossley. Thomas exited the passenger seat in a daze, still half asleep from traversing the winding back roads of the French countryside for nearly an hour. Before him stood the row of olive drab Bessonneau hangars that lead up to a somewhat dilapidated barracks with various NCOs hanging around out front. Thomas stood there for a moment, hesitant on where exactly to report. Suddenly, the Crossley driver reassuringly called out to Thomas, “I hear the flying life isn’t such a bad deal sir, especially considering your previous circumstances.” The various daily images from the mud of Flanders flashed through Thomas’ mind, which he quickly repressed while formulating a polite reply to the driver. “Thank you Corporal, try not to hit too many potholes on your way out of here.” “Will do sir, good luck.” Thomas walked along the backside of the hangars that led up to the nearby barracks, glimpsing a different BE2c every time a gap appeared between the pairs of adjoining hangars. Unlike the quirks at Hendon Aerodrome back home, these machines had a single Lewis gun attached to the observer’s seat via a strange mount. Thomas approached another Sergeant casually leaning on the rotted wood slat wall of the Sergeant’s mess. “Hello Sergeant, I’m the new arrival pilot, Sergeant Watson. Could you perhaps direct me towards the CO’s office?” “You’re telling me you missed it on the way in? Surely you didn’t mistake this makeshift chicken coop behind me here as the CO’s office?” Thomas, not wanting to admit that he had slept through the approach up to the aerodrome replied, “Ahh yes, I was quite preoccupied with observing the quirks idling up on the field as we approached I suppose. Absolutely beautiful machines they are!” “I am quite unsure why you would be so keenly interested in such a pig of a machine in all honesty? Ahh well, one trip over the Hun lines will change your mind for good. Anyhow Sergeant Watson, the CO’s office is just behind the Sergeants mess here, adjacent to it you will also find the A through C flight huts.” “Very good, thank you Sergeant…?” “Lawrence Pope” “Right then, I shall see you around Sergeant Pope.” Thomas made his way around the Sergeant’s mess, nearly running into a gaggle of chickens on the backside of the structure. Evidently the Sergeant wasn’t being completely ironic when referring to the unkempt state of the Sergeant’s mess. Thomas approached the obviously recently erected CO hut stood in front of him. In fact, the adjacent A, B, and C flight Armstrong huts were all in pristine condition as well. Thomas gave a stern knock on the CO office door, the nameplate read “Major Vance.” “Yes, come in” answered a muffled but confident voice from behind the door. Thomas entered the spacious and well decorated office and immediately saluted and then stood to attention. “Oh, you must be Sergeant Watson, splendid! Pleasure to meet you, Major Trent Vance Commanding Officer. I was just looking at your file before you arrived actually. Only one crash while training at Hendon and a total of 25 hours flying time? Very impressive indeed.” “Yes sir, thank you sir. The quirk engine cut out on takeoff, and thanks to my flight instructor’s incessant remarks regarding engine failures, I made sure specifically to not attempt turning back to the aerodrome. Unfortunately that also drove me right into the tree line just two hundred meters in front.” “Hmm I see, quick thinking on your part while instinctively reacting to training, that is quite rare in such a new pilot.” Thomas eyed the distinctive German Iron Cross contrasted against a pure white canvas background hung up on the wall directly behind the Major. It seemed to have been cut from a German machine and great care was clearly taken when removing the souvenir from the fuselage. Major Vance noticed Thomas’ gaze hovering over the canvas trophy behind the CO’s desk. “Ahh that thing? My first confirmed victory, shared between myself and my observer Lieutenant Robert. An Aviatik we caught out over Arras on a return trip from Hunland performing photo reconnaissance. The poor Boche hadn’t the faintest idea what had occurred until it was far too late. I managed to sneak in underneath the enemy machine’s tail as we were returning heading west. Once Robert and I were a good thirty meters out in front and underneath the Hun’s nose, I pitched down slightly as to give a proper firing window for my observer. Lieutenant Robert emptied the entire drum into the machine for good measure, and the old Hun was sent out of control, dead leaf. He was seen to crash just west of Arras where the mud meets the green. Quite an easy confirmation given the plethora of nearby archie chaps. Robert and I landed near the wreckage, or what was left of it. Quite an awful sight indeed, fortunately enough of the machine remained intact to preserve the cross.” “Wonderful work sir, congratulations. How many victories is that in total for you and your observer then?” “Oh just the one so far I’m afraid, but that soon shall change I am sure of it. Now, seeing as how you seem quite a capable pilot, you’re to come out with us on the big show tomorrow.” “…Sir?” “There is a Hun railyard just across the lines directly east of Arras that is dying to become acquainted with our good friend Mr. Cooper. Those damned boxcars have been moving shells up to German Artillery positions which have been cutting our boys to ribbons lately in our sector. Both A and B flights will be heading over the lines tomorrow at noon, and you my friend have been assigned to B flight.” “Sir, would it not be wiser to allow me time to acclimate with the surrounding landmarks and tour the front from the safety of our own lines given that I have just arrived? “There will be time for that rest assured my boy, but we will have a gaggle of ten quirks invading Germany tomorrow so not to worry. Oh, by the way have you met your observer yet? Lieutenant Douglas Carwin?” “No sir, I cannot say I have.” “Well go and have a chat with him in the B flight hut, I’m sure he will enlighten you about some of the finer details of penetrating Hunland for when we head over tomorrow.” “Uhh… yes sir understood.” Thomas now had a heavy lump in the pit of his stomach as he exited the Major’s office. Crossing into enemy lines on his first ever sortie? Surely this Major must be absolutely mad. His only solace was knowing that his efforts would aid those still trapped in the mud holes and rat nests of the Flander’s trenches, a helpless position Thomas was all too familiar with. Thomas crossed the threshold of the Armstrong hut assigned to B flight. A row of cots on each side of the hut was accompanied by a single chest placed at the mattress foot board for storing personal belongings. A Lieutenant pilot was knelt over one of the chests, retrieving various belongings from the container. As Thomas walked towards the chest he noticed the Lieutenant holding a collection of personal trinkets, a couple pairs of clothes, as well as a family photograph of a son and his parents who stood proudly behind the young man. “Hello sir, Sergeant Watson reporting for B flight. Major Vance requested that I report to Lieutenant Carwin, I am to be his pilot.” “Well you’ve found him; he is in somewhat dreadful spirits at the moment unfortunately,” Carwin remarked as he stared at the young son in the family portrait. “I see sir, a friend of yours I take it?” “Yes, Sergeant Jake Wilbert, the best reconnaissance pilot I have ever had the privilege to fly with, and a loyal friend.” “I am most sorry to hear that sir, may I help you with carrying some of those items?” “No, that is quite all right thank you Sergeant. Why don’t you place your belongings in the container here that was occupied by Wilbert previously. I will be back shortly; I would like to hear about your meeting with Major Vance, but I need to ship these items back to his family.” Carwin started towards the hut door, but Thomas worryingly called out to him first. “Yes, that was one topic I had wished to bring up with you anyway sir. Major Vance believes it necessary to have me along on the bombing raid of the Hun rail yard tomorrow at noon despite it being my first ever sortie.” Carwin stopped dead in his tracks with his back faced to Thomas. He paused for a moment, and then placed Wilbert’s belongings carefully and methodically on the cot next to him. Carwin quickly snapped around to face Thomas, then walked right up to him and grabbed him by both shoulders with an intense vice grip. His piercing blue eyes stared directly into Thomas with a gaze of genuine concern and absolute immediacy. “Now listen here Watson, if at any moment during tomorrow’s sortie I give you a signal to turn tail and head home west, you do it without any questioning, got it?” Carwin’s eyes started to subtly well up as his vice grip continued to tighten. “I won’t lose another pilot to the blasted Hun, especially not one fresh from pilot training on his first mission. Ever since the Major scored a damned victory over that Aviatik last month he believes the squadron morale is adequately prepared to continue scoring more victories.” Thomas, now somewhat visibly shaken, inquired about the Hun machines found in this sector. “Sir, are there any notable differences between our machines and the Aviatiks that give them a particular advantage?” “Aviatiks? Nothing noteworthy, in fact we tend to leave one another to our reconnaissance duties most of the time. It’s those God forsaken Fokker monoplanes that are murdering our poor quirks. They have us bested in every performance parameter imaginable. They can out climb, out turn, and out dive us in any situation. Also, due to their forward firing machine gun through the propeller arc, their armament is vastly superior as well. The best bet a BE has against a Fokker is hope to God we identify the Hun early on and dive west before they have a chance to notice us. Carwin could begin to tell he was frightening Thomas by the nervous look in his eyes, causing Carwin to release his grasp on Thomas’ shoulders. “Sergeant, I tell you all this not to get the wind up, but to prepare you for what we are up against. For now, grab some food from the mess, and your cot is to be the one that Wilbert occupied previously.” “Okay, thank you sir… Once again, I am sorry about Sergeant Wilbert.” “Thank you Sergeant… I will be back in a minute.” “…Uhm… Sir? One more thing if I may.” Carwin turned around once again to face Thomas. “About Sergeant Wilbert…? Do you instill this concern in me for Fokkers because of what happened to him? I mean… was it a Fokker monoplane that got him?” Carwin resumed his stare at Thomas for another moment, and then quickly veered away just as Thomas noticed his lips beginning to quiver. Carwin walked out of the hut door without uttering a word.
  2. I was hoping I could get to that nearby cloud and have it be thick enough to lose him, no luck unfortunately. My controls were seriously damaged after that collision and I was afraid of falling apart in air as well (especially given the N28's dive characteristics) so trying to shake that albatros was near impossible. By the way, I have mostly been an IL-2 Flying Circus guy, but man WoFF just scratches an itch that FC simply cannot. I always look forward to doing at least one sortie before bed. I'll be posting them more often here from now on. This one is a few months old but is still my favorite sortie so far. It demonstrates how deadly the AI really are, ESPECIALLY when you're in an inferior machine like the Fokker EI against a nieuport.

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