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“Duel of the Bombers” by Frederick Blakeslee

Link - Posted by David on October 9, 2014 @ 12:00 pm in

Frederick Blakeslee painted the covers for Dare-Devil Aces‘ entire fourteen year run. Every one of those covers told a story, and Blakeslee had a page with which to do so. This week’s Dare-Devil Aces cover picks up the story where last month’s “The Flaming Coffin” left off. Here is Blakeslee’s cover for the May 1933 issue—”Duel of the Bombers!”

th_DDA_3305THIS COVER shows what happened to the second of the two bombers pictured on last month’s cover. The ships involved were Vickers “Vimys,” but in order not to repeat types on consecutive covers, we showed a Graham-White on last month’s cover, which I shall call “A” and the ship on this month’s cover “B.”

Just as fire developed in the motor of A, a Gotha, accompanied by a flock of fighting ships, appeared. The crew of B were intent on the approaching ships and did not notice when A left. There is no doubt that these two ships could have held their own with this strong German force if they had been together.

The Germans left the Gotha and flew out to meet the Englishmen, some of them attacking the retreating A and the rest going for B. It was not until they were surrounded that the crew of B discovered they were alone. There were about eleven German fighting ships attacking them and the pilot, remembering that discretion is the better part of valor, decided it was time to retire. Dropping his load of bombs in order to lighten the ship, he attempted to turn. The Germans, curiously enough, had not pressed the attack, but any attempt made by the bomber to turn, sent them at it like a swarm of bees.

At last the pilot saw the point of such tactics. The scouts were holding the big ship at bay, so that the Gotha could come up to witness the kill. The pilot decided therefore that either there was a high officer aboard or the Gotha was going to make the kill itself. So he did not attempt to turn until the Gotha was quite close. There he gave his big ship the gun. With a roar the bomber whirled about and dove past the Gotha’s bow. Disregarding the scouts who, recovering from surprise, were attacking in dead earnest, the crew of the Vimy brought every gun to bear on the Gotha.

A rain of flaming slugs tore into the big ship. Instantly flames shot from the port motor and the Gotha tipped up and began its death dive. To add a final touch, a scout, getting in the line of fire, dove with a dead pilot into the falling Gotha. Appalled by the tragedy the entire German squadron withdrew and the British bomber flew home and landed safely.

The Story Behind The Cover
“Duel of the Bombers: The Story Behind The Cover” by Frederick M. Blakeslee (May 1933)

Check back again. We will be presenting more of Blakeslee’s Stories behind his cover illustrations.

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