Knights of the Air campaign

Battle over the trenches - Mission 1

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Dear Nadine,

Thank you for the last letter you sent, I received it just before departing to the front. After several weeks of bad weather that kept us ground but for a few short orientation flights, we finally some action.

I lead a Flight of two Albatros D.III's piloted by Wolfgang and Niklas on a morning patrol. We crossed our lines at around 10 O'clock and immediately spotted the two enemy Neiuports high above us. They must not have seen us right way as they did not dive down to engages us as I thought they would since they had us at a disadvantage.

As our flight slid under them and over No Man's Land we started clawing our way up to them. Finally they must have seen us as they began fall upon us like hawks. At some point a lone French SPAD VII swooped down from above to even the odds.

I can only recall fragments of what happened during the ensuing dogfight. I exchanged a few rounds with one of the Ni 17s as we passed head on. A quick reversement found me right on his tail. As I closed the distance to 40 meters, Wolfgang's black Albatros flashed in from the side with this guns rattling. Then there was nothing but wood and splinters floating in the air where both aircraft had been. I pulled up and winged over to see both of them in a twisted wreck falling towards earth in large swooping circles! Just like that two men were lost to the fight.

Having overcoming the shock of seeing Wolfgang going down like that, I reentered the fight and singled out the SPAD. He had again gain a little height on me. I was able to come up under him unnoticed and I got a few rounds off before he did a reversement trying to bring his guns to bear. This was his undoing as both Niklas and I opened up on him. Niklas was the quicker on the draw and made the Frenchie jink just enough for me to get some solid hits all along his side. This sent him down to crash in the middle of No Man's Land.

We had the final Tommy out numbered and out gunned and it appeared that the morning would still end on a good not despite losing Wolfgang. The final Neiuport had dropped quite a bit of altitude and was heading back towards his side of the line. I used my superior height to get in front of him to cut him off. Knowing that I was low on ammo and sensing that he was trying to make his escape, I dove down on him from the front quarter. Mush to my surprise, he nosed up and stalled his plane. This caused me to over shoot him and he filled my kyte full of holes. Several of those found my tail feathers and she immediately fell off to the side and started to spin. I fought to regain control as the ground leaped up at me. I was finally able to recover the spin, only to find I had no rudder left at all!

With out the rudder I had no way of controlling my decent. Spotting a relatively smooth patch in No Man's Land, I weaved back and forth is wide arcs to try and bleed off some airspeed. Not that it did me much good as smacked down on the torn up dirt hard, very hard. The undercarriage gave way and she plowed into the ground heavily. I managed to pull my self out of the shattered wreck and work my way slowly back to our side. Once back at the aerodrome the Doc checked me out and said I was lucky to have only broken a couple of ribs and knocked my shoulder out of socket. He set the should to rights, but said the ribs would take some time to heal. I later learned that Niklas was brought down by flak chasing that same foe to his side of the lines. So with three good aircraft lost and two pilots missing, it looks like I'll be back up before I have time to properly heal. But don't fear for me, I will be more cautious the next time I am up. I did not enjoy mucking about down there on the ground trying to get back home. It's much better to return in the air!

It is sometimes hared to grasp how quickly the situation can change in the air.

With your respect,

Kiefer von Loganstein

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Comments

  1. The Cowman's Avatar
    Nicely done Keith! Wish I could give you Rep for this... will have to find another post and do it there!
  2. Oberst Hajj's Avatar
    Ken, the same report is posted in the AAR section of the forums.