“Death Eggs” by Frederick Blakeslee
Frederick Blakeslee painted all the covers for the entire run of Dare-Devil Aces. And each of those covers had a story behind it. This time Mr. Blakeslee brings us a story of what seemed to be an unnecessary bombing mission, that turned into a great success! From the June 1932 issue of Dare-Devil Aces, we present “Death Eggs!”
IN JULY, 1918, a British bombing outfit was given what was believed to be an unimportant mission. It had been reported by spies that there was an unusual movement in and out of a certain German town which was located opposite a sector that had been quiet for a week. As there were no railway yards or anything of military importance in the village—which was partly in ruins and apparently deserted—the bombing orders were indefinite. One Handley-Page was assigned to the mission and the pilot was ordered simply to bomb anything that looked suspicious. It was probably this nonchalant attitude that made the raid such a success.
As a matter of fact, the trains were bringing fresh troops. An entire German regiment—with supplies, machine guns and artillery outfit—had already been moved in under cover of night and plans were being rapidly completed for a major push, intended to take the Allies by surprise.
Things might have gone as scheduled if the German general had not felt the need of exhorting his troops before sending them into battle. He ordered them one morning to parade in the market square, and after the maneuvers proceeded to address them. The troops were standing at attention, listening to their commander, when with a roar a huge Handley-Page bomber streaked low overhead.
The pilot of the Handley-Page had come to a low altitude to better observe the supposedly deserted village and as he flew over the market place was startled to see it packed with Germans.
Too late the Germans recognized the British insignia. The bombs landed right in among the massed ranks. The results can better be imagined than described.
The bomber had been escorted by a squadron of Neiuports, which now came down and joined in, finishing the business with machine guns at close range. It was slaughter—but it was also War!
That same day, alive to the importance of the town, a large scale bombing raid was planned and executed, completing the ruin of what was to have been an important Boche victory.