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Old 06-10-2013, 02:05 PM   #1
Kptlt. Neuerburg
Sea Lord
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Florida
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Default A Rise of Flight AAR

Excerpt from the journal of Captiane Nicolas Barbade. 8th January, 1917.

I walked slowly around my SPAD, checking that all the control surfaces where in order. Satisfied that everything was correct I climbed into my machine. I checked the fuel mixture, opened the radiator and tested the controls, then I gave the startup signal to the chief mechanic. A flick of a switch, the press of a button and the 150-hp engine roars to life, I turn my head to left and see the green signal flare soar into the air. I give the engine maximum power and my machine speeds down the field and into the sky.

A few minutes later as I approached the area near my first waypoint I spot something in the distance a 100 meters or so above. As I close with this unknown machine I see that it is losing altitude and had turned in my direction. I have at this point no doubt that its an enemy machine, it could be either an Albatross or a Halberstadt. Now is the moment of truth as the enemy machine dives down upon me, in response I raise the nose of my SPAD to bring my one gun to bear.

We head towards each other, nose to nose and we both open fire at almost the same moment. Bullets strike the left wing of my SPAD, while rounds the SPAD's one machine gun tear into the enemy's engine. Suddenly right when it seems like we're about to collide the enemy machine veers away to the left, I attempt to follow. The enemy turns right then left and right again and at each time he turns I fire to slowly turn his wings to shreds. By now we have descended a few hundred meters when suddenly while diving to the right the wings of the enemy machine rip away and the body of the enemy machine plunges towards the ground.

With that I turn away and head towards No Mans Land. Ten minutes later near the middle of No Mans Land, I spot another machine heading towards me from the German side above and slightly to the left. It could be anything from a recon flight heading back to its aerodrome, or a friendly or probably an enemy fighter. The next few moments will tell. I continue my on my course as does the unknown machine. Not wanting to give away the advantage to the enemy if that's indeed what it is, I turn towards it and begin to climb slightly.

We continue to close and soon the unknown machine takes on the familiar shape of an Albatross, but something seems strange about it. It looks much like a D.II and yet its not. Could this be the new machine that I've heard rumors of from the Southern Sector? I recalled that a pilot passing though from a squadron in the southern sector mention that this new machine had a more powerful engine and narrower lower wing.

I snapped at myself for wondering, when I looked up I realized that the enemy machine was diving towards me! I pulled back on the control stick and opened fire a few seconds before my new foe did. Tracers streak past but I was dumbfounded by the fact that none hit my SPAD. The enemy machine roars past turning to the left, and I catch a glimpse of the side of the enemy machine. It is Werner Voss of Jasta 2. I had heard much of this young German pilot over the past few weeks but he is the last person I expected to meet in this aerial battlefield.

I having, completed my turn to get on Voss's tail, Voss puts his machine it to a tight left turn, tighter I noted then a D.II could do. I pitched my SPAD over to the left as well just barely getting on the inside the turn. I fired, but had no way of knowing where the rounds hit. Voss then straightens out and does a hard right turn and again I barely get inside the turn and fire again. This time I see the fabric on the upper wing crumple slightly. And yet again Voss puts his machine over to the left and again I repeat my counter-move, and again Voss goes over to the right but then something strange happens. Voss's machine starts to spin violently to the right, while the nose and tail pitch up and down like a ship in a storm.

Seconds later Voss manages to get his machine under control but just as suddenly as the spin occurred both wings on the left side rip away and Voss's machine is sent spinning again this time towards the ground.

I continued to circle as I watched with a mixture of horror and morbid curiosity as Voss and his machine plunged towards the earth, and then erupts in a ball of fire and smoke. I looked on for a few more moments and then turned away. Then I realized I wasn't alone, for while I had been engaged fighting Voss, a Halberstadt had at some point crossed the front and was now trying to engage me!! I wasn't expecting this new attack so soon, but just before this new enemy could open fire I rolled my SPAD upside-down and dove. I looked back and saw that the enemy had followed my move perfectly, I straightened out to gain some more speed, and then turned hard left and went straight towards the enemy. I fired first and damaged his engine. I pulled hard back on the stick, and climbed while the enemy dove away. I came out of a loop and found myself on my enemy's tail.

I fired at every chance I got even though most of the time it was while turning. But each time the enemy turned I would put a few more rounds into his wings. And as luck would have there was a machine gun nest nearby which also opened fire on the enemy machine, turn after turn we descended towards the ground. The engine of the enemy machine was pouring out white smoke, the fight couldn't last much longer. And indeed it didn't, because the wings on the enemy's machine started to buckle and bend and then broke away.

I leveled out and looked about, but the skies where clear of any other machines. I glanced at the fuel gauge, it was near empty so I turned at went back to the home aerodrome. Upon landing I made my report to the squadron commander, 2 Halberstadt D.IIs and 1 Albatross of an unknown type along with the approximate map grids. The CO said he would contact the observation units in the sector to confirm my victories and that I was dismissed. With that I went to my quarters to make a cup of coffee and relax.

About an hour or so later there was a knock on the door, "Enter!", I shouted and in walked a clerk. "Sir, the ground units in the area have confirmed your victories. Two Halberstadt's and one Albatross D.III." I sat there with a puzzled look, "An Albatross D.III you say?" "Yes sir", replied the clerk, "Its the first one shot down in this sector. It crashed close enough to our lines that the wreckage was recovered and photographed." I cleared my throat, "The first one to be shot down in this sector, hum, I suspect that we will soon see more of these D.IIIs. Is that all?" "Yes, sir.", replied the clerk. "Very well, your dismissed.", I said. The clerk left, and I sat on my cot thinking about how well Voss had fought in the D.III and just how maneuverable it was compared to my SPAD. With this new type of Albatross the Germans would soon have control of the skies unless the Allies came out with a new machine of their own, and with spring coming soon new offensives would begin.
“If we would learn what the human race really is at bottom, we need only observe it in election times.”- Mark Twain
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