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“Guns of Mystery” by Harold F. Cruickshank

Link - Posted by David on August 17, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a story by another of our favorite authors—Harold F. Cruickshank! Cruickshank is popular in these parts for the thrilling exploits of The Sky Devil from the pages of Dare-Devil Aces, as well as those of The Sky Wolf in Battle Aces and The Red Eagle in Battle Birds. He wrote innumerable stories of war both on the ground and in the air. From the premier issue of War Aces, Mr. Cruickshank gives us a story of the first installation of machine guns on planes—while not strictly factual, it’s a ripping good read! From the April 1930 issue of War Aces, it’s Harold F. Cruickshank’s “Guns of Mystery!”

It was the unpardonable sin to mount a gun on a plane, but when a blazing path of steel traced itself across his wings Kelly felt icy fingers on his heart and knew that a new horror was winging through the air.

“Famous Sky Fighters, July 1934″ by Terry Gilkison

Link - Posted by David on August 15, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

STARTING in the October 1933 issue of Sky Fighters and running almost 5 years, Terry Gilkison’s “Famous Sky Fighters” was a staple of the magazine. Each month Gilkison would illustrate in a two page spread different Aces that rose to fame during the Great War.

Although Gilkison was probably better known for his syndicated newspaper work, he also provided black and white story interior illustrations for pulp magazines. His work appeared in Clues, Thrilling Adventures, Texas Rangers, Thrilling Mystery, Thrilling Western, and Popular Western. Gilkison provided similar features in a few other Thrilling Publications—there was “Famous Soldiers of Fortune” and later “Adventure Thrills” in Thrilling Adventures, Famous Crimes” in Thrilling Detective, and the fully illustrated air adventure stories of Buck Barton “The Flying Devil” in The Lone Eagle! He signed most of this work with only his initials “T.G.” to maintain a low profile and preserve his reputation as a syndicated newspaper cartoon artist.

The July 1934 installment, from the pages of Sky Fighters, Features Lt. Rene Fonck, Brigadier General William Mitchell, and Lt. Ernst Udet!

Next time in “Famous Sky Fighters,” Terry Gilkison features Lt. Quentin Roosevelt and Capt. Albert Heurteaux! Don’t miss it!

Is Silent Orth really “Bullet Proof” by Lt. Frank Johnson

Link - Posted by David on August 10, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

ORTH is back! Silent Orth had made an enviable record, in the face of one of the worst beginnings—a beginning which had been so filled with boasting that his wingmates hadn’t been able to stand it. But Orth hadn’t thought of all his talk as boasting, because he had invariably made good on it. However, someone had brought home to him the fact that brave, efficient men were usually modest and really silent, and he had shut his mouth like a trap from that moment on.

It’s a reputation that has drawn a lot of attention across the lines in Germany. So much so that their leading Ace—Stefan Weldman, the “bullet-proof” Ace—has transferred to the area in hopes of taking Orth out! And if he doesn’t get the job done, his four Staffel mates will finish the job. From the pages of the November 1934 issue of Sky Fighters, Silent Orth takes on Germany’s “Bullet Proof” Ace!

Silent Orth, Crack Flyer, Goes Gunning for Stefan Weldman, Invincible Ace of the Boche, in this Hell-Busting Story!

“Sky Fighters, February 1936″ by Eugene M. Frandzen

Link - Posted by David on August 6, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

Eugene M. Frandzen painted the covers of Sky Fighters from its first issue in 1932 until he moved on from the pulps in 1939. At this point in the run, the covers were about the planes featured on the cover more than the story depicted. Mr. Frandzen features a battle between a De Haviland Pusher and aGerman D.F.W. C4 on the February 1936 cover!

The Ships on the Cover

THE De Haviland planes will always th_SF_3602 be remembered in the United States by the number of D.H.s this country ordered on such a grand scale when we entered the war. The early D.H.s are not given the credit they deserve because Capt. Geoffrey De Haviland might never have had a chance to build later models if his early one had not been so good. It combatted the Fokker menace back in 1916 when the Germans had things their own way in the air. When these D.H. Pusher biplanes came along the Allied airmen began to take heart. At last they had a machine that could outfly the Fokker which was the scourge of the Front. The D.H. Pusher was similar to the earlier F.E.s but much superior in speed. They had only two bays of struts and were simplified considerably in the tail boom construction.

The British airmen in the bucket seat of the D.H. Pusher on the cover had confidence in their machine when it proudly paraded its course through the skies. They had a speedy ship with a front gun to blaze the Germans from the air when those hitherto superior, overconfident airmen darted across Allied territory for a looksee at all the preparations being made on the ground.

On this occasion they met not one of Mr. Fokker’s products but a German D.F.W. C4 (Deutsche Flugzeug Werke). This two-seater carried a 200 h.p. Benz motor. The C4 had radiators on the sides of the fuselage directly in the slipstream which made it possible to use a small radiator to run a big engine, by which trick the Germans gained efficiency. The wings were not swept back but had dihedral.

Funny-Looking, But—

Funny-looking crates, those old flying bird cages, but some pilots who flew them still brag about them and swear that it was a wonderful sensation to fly a pusher. Of course, there was the uncomfortable feeling of having a heavy engine nestling behind your seat to squash you flatter than a pancake in a crackup.

When the tractors replaced the pushers all but a few aviation experts predicted that pushers would never more waddle through the air. But along toward the end of the war the British Vickers Co. came out with a single-seater Pusher with two front guns. It was powered with a better engine than the old Pushers used and could tick off over 120 miles per hour low down; and low down was the place it did its job, right over the German trenches. It was built for ground strafing and it was a honey to fly. Again the anti-pusher crowd said “It’s a freak, a last try using an obsolete principle. There ain’t no such thing as a good pusher.”

That old Vickers Vampire was just about 
the swan song of the pushers for many 
years. And then, nearly fifteen years after
 the end of the World War the French 
Hanriot Company brought out one of the
speediest, slickest-looking fighters of the
 year, the Hanriot H-110-C1. And believe it
 or not, it was a PUSHER that could slice
 through the air at the very nice speed of
 220 m.p.h.

Lightning-Quick Action

The German D.F.W. on the cover had a pilot who had knocked down several of the earlier slower moving pushers. He saw an easy kill and got careless. One moment the D.H. Pusher was in front of him. The next it had pulled a lightning-like maneuver which no ship other than a tractor had hitherto been capable of Lewis slugs cracked and rattled into the German ship, knocking the front gun’s firing mechanism cock-eyed. Then the stream of lead slid back and ripped a section of canvas from the observer’s pit. That worthy never got in a shot, his hands were too high in the air clawing at the clouds.

The British gunner pointed towards the Allied rear lines. The German pilot nodded his head and slanted his ship down, swearing solemnly that if he ever escaped and got into the air again he’d be mighty careful to keep out of the way of pushers.

The Ships on The Cover
Sky Fighters, February 1936 by Eugene M. Frandzen
(The Ships on The Cover Page)

Humpy & Tex in “Hell Bent for Heinie” by Allan R. Bosworth

Link - Posted by David on August 3, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a story from the pen of the Navy’s own Allan R. Bosworth. Bosworth is a third generation Texan, born October 29, 1901 in a tent on a west Texas cattle ranch. He attended school in Ozona TX—known as Millionaires Town, but he was not one of the millionaires—but dropped out junior year in high school. He held down a number of jobs starting from when he was very young. He turned an ice cream freezer for a drug store, skinned cattle killed in a stampede, owned and operated a peanut and popcorn machine, janitored for a pool hall, cowboyed, built fences, and fired a boiler on the Fort Worth and Denver Railroad—and all this before the Navy finally accepted his enlistment in 1922.

After serving four years in the Navy as an enlisted man and entered the Naval Reserve. He sought out work in journalism and quickly found it working as a police reporter for the San Diego Sun in 1926. This led to working on the editorial staffs of the San Diego Union, the Los Angeles Examiner, the Paso Robles Press, the San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Examiner, and the San Francisco Call-Bulletin. By the mid 1930’s he was the news editor and assistant managing editor of the Chronicle.

While working for the newspapers, Bosworth had been submitting stories to the magazines and finding some success by 1930. As his writing career started to grow more time consuming, Bosworth left newspaper work behind to focus on writing stories full time—selling more than 500 short stories to the magazines. Most of these stories appeared in western and adventure “Pulps,” but about 100 were in the “slicks,” including the Saturday Eve Post, Colliers, Liberty, American, Ladies Home Journal, Esquire, Women’s Day, Harper’s, Atlantic Monthly, and The New Yorker!

Bosworth was commissioned Ensign in the Naval reserve working special intelligence duties. He was called back to active duty in 1940. He served in the North Atlantic, and in South Pacific, at Noumea, Guadalcanal and Bougainville, on the staffs of both Halsey and Nimitz.

After WW2, Bosworth saw Naval duty with the Atlantic Destroyer Force, and the military Sea Transportation Service. He had two tours of duty with the Commander Naval Forces Far East, in Japan, covering more than five years. He was selected for captain in 1951, and was on the staff of Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (The NATO command) when he retired in 1960—after 38 years in the Navy.

He lived outside Roanoke, VA after the War and continued to write novels. Wikipedia lists twenty novels written from 1941 to 1969.

Allan Bosworth passed away July 18, 1986.

Bosworth wrote a couple dozen stories with Humpy & Tex over the course of ten years from 1930 through 1939, mostly in the pages of War Aces and War Birds. The stories are centered around the naval air base at Ile Tudy, France. It had been built after the goose and goat spoor had been cleared away. And even then they used a sardine factory for headquarters, and if there was anything rotten in Finisterre, it was the odor that assailed the noses of pilots who had been out flying over clean salt water and then came back to this seaplane station. “Humpy” Campbell, a short thickset boatswain’s mate, first class who was prone to be spitting great sopping globs of tabacco juice, was a veteran seaplane pilot who would soon rate two hashmarks—his observer, Tex Malone, boatswain’s mate, second class, was a D.O.W. man fresh from the Texas Panhandle. Everybody marveled at the fact that the latter had made one of the navy’s most difficult ratings almost overnight—but the answer lay in his ability with the omnipresent rope he constantly carried.

In “Hell Bent for Heinie”, the two-some are hunting U-boats off the coast of France—only problem is, by the time they find them they’ve already spent their bombs leaving them with just Tex’s rope and their own ingenuity to stop the German U-boats. From the pages of the premiere issue of War Aces

There was nothing but black water under them until destruction sang through the air. Skulking U-boats still held control of the Channel until a Yank cloud-cracker gripped their heart with the fear of death.

“Famous Sky Fighters, June 1934″ by Terry Gilkison

Link - Posted by David on August 1, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

STARTING in the October 1933 issue of Sky Fighters and running almost 5 years, Terry Gilkison’s “Famous Sky Fighters” was a staple of the magazine. Each month Gilkison would illustrate in a two page spread different Aces that rose to fame during the Great War.

Although Gilkison was probably better known for his syndicated newspaper work, he also provided black and white story interior illustrations for pulp magazines. His work appeared in Clues, Thrilling Adventures, Texas Rangers, Thrilling Mystery, Thrilling Western, and Popular Western. Gilkison provided similar features in a few other Thrilling Publications—there was “Famous Soldiers of Fortune” and later “Adventure Thrills” in Thrilling Adventures, Famous Crimes” in Thrilling Detective, and the fully illustrated air adventure stories of Buck Barton “The Flying Devil” in The Lone Eagle! He signed most of this work with only his initials “T.G.” to maintain a low profile and preserve his reputation as a syndicated newspaper cartoon artist.

The June 1934 installment, from the pages of Sky Fighters, Features a couple of Aces—Britian’s Captain Albert Ball and Belgium’s Lieutenant Jan Thieffry!

Next time in “Famous Sky Fighters,” Terry Gilkison features Lt. Rene Fonck, Brigadier General William Mitchell, and Lt. Ernst Udet! Don’t miss it!