Dawn Patrol: The Sortie Starts
Pierre Le Flanne breathed in the crisp morning air. Taking off in the dawn light was invigorating as ever. Today was unusual as for the first time he flew in a mixed Entente formation. The British losses had been so crippling recently that the RFC had appealed for French assistance. To answer this call a flight of Nieuport 17's had arrived at a ramshackle Flemish field and were now heading to meet their reciprocal Boche "Dawn Patrol". Pierre's N17 took starboard station off a RNAS Sopwith Pup (See below: Note ignore the extra wing in the photo below, we "imagine" when we don't have the exact 'match' in planes)
A peculiar addition to the four Scouts was an RE8, referred to as the "Blooming Big Gun Bus" whose aggressive spirit has earned its praise both sides of the lines (see below). The crew likes mixing it with the fighter pilots despite the cumbersome attitude of the plane. Rumour has it that the twin-seater fighter plane is the future but Pierre likes to live in the singe-seat present.
The aggressive spirit is admirable but good navigation is also a valuable survival trait. The RE8 in the opening moves found itself at the same altitude and veering into the path of one of Pierre's N17 comrades. Clear thinking is required to avoid a tragic mistake, pity about the distraction of these German fellows who made an appearance (see below). Three single-seaters (at least two Albatross DIII's) and the infamous "Pink Terror" a Roland "Whaleback" I am told.
"Gawd Forbid" the English RE8 has mounted the French N17! Crunch rip, tearing fabric and ensnared air-frames. The five to four advantage looks like soon to be turning to a three to four disadvantage! The Entente players look on in horror. Mid-air collisions were a part-and-parcel danger to daily front line flying. Without being a simulation exercise this is becoming statistically too realistic an experience (see below).
The "rending" continues, more damage are accumulated. Instead of a quick kiss it was more of a long embrace (see below) as the 'lovers' do not wish to be parted.
But part they do still in some form of flying shape (I think).
My attention was taken at this time by a different matter. That of combat with the "Pink Terror". One advantage the N17 has over the Sopwith Pup is that it carries "two" machine guns. One firing through the propeller mounted on the top of the engine cowling, the other lighter beast from atop the upper wing strut. This pilot of the "Pink Terror" was slightly taken aback by this .. "Bon"!