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“Sky Fighters, December 1935″ by Eugene M. Frandzen

Link - Posted by David on June 11, 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. For the December 1935 cover, Mr. Frandzen features the Italian S.V.A. bringing loaves of bread to the troops high in the mountain passes!

The Ships on the Cover

BREAD! The mainstay of mankind. th_SF_3512 And when the army is the mainstay of nations, bread for the army ranks higher than Roman Emperors.

Who said an army fights on its stomach? Someone who did plenty of fighting in the old days and knew his armies. Of what importance were guns, bombs, and shells piled up ready for combat when the human bodies to man these weapons of war have no fuel to stoke the human engine!

The chuck wagon was greeted by loud cheers when it put in its appearance in “any man’s army.” Runners with food supplies strapped to their backs dodged bullets through a maze of communication trenches to get to the front line doughboys. Dogs pulling small carts of food got through to scattered outposts.

The Alpine Heights

Italy has a wonderful northern barrier which nature has seemingly bestowed upon that sunny boot projecting into the Mediterranean. When Italy declared war on the Austrian Empire in May, 1915, she looked hopefully at those lofty Alpine heights to keep her enemy in check.

The Italian advance of early days was halted. The Austrian counter-attack regained their positions but in 1917 when Italy finally declared war on Germany also, the Italians resumed their offensive and captured fourteen fortified mountains.

It is a different problem to fight on mountain sides than on the fields of the lowlands. The ordinary labor of warfare is made a hundredfold more difficult. Dragging heavy guns up rocky mountain sides by sheer nerve-racking will power—pulling shells on sleds over icy passes—stringing communication lines from crag to crag, where one well-placed shell would damage the patient work of days of laying the wires.

The contact, broken in some out of the way pass, impossible to mend without disastrous delay. All these had to be done on the ground. The only savior of these lonely mountain outposts was the new weapon of the world war—the airplane.

Italy, from poor beginnings, progressed Steadily forward in the aviation branch of her service despite her ground army’s advances or retreats. Planes could fly from their bases on flat ground to the besieged mountain country to drop messages keeping the army in touch with headquarters no matter how many communication lines on the ground were destroyed.

Flying high over such a wide expanse of territory they observed the enemy positions, often saving their own forces from being bottled up by enemy flanking movements.

But as important as any message to the morale of these men high in snow-covered fastnesses was the sight which is shown on the cover picture. Planes bringing the white-clad figures on the mountain side that which they could obtain by no other means—Bread! Big round, crispy loaves of the life-giving food.

The pass through which the guns and ammunition have been hauled was later completely buried under an avalanche, tons of snow and rock blocked the narrow road.

When Men Hunger

Days, weeks, months might elapse before that impassable barrier could be surmounted to transport food to the men cut off from their fellows. But four planes received their orders and cargo. They were in sight of the desperate little group in a few hours time. Sleek S.V.A.’s that could climb high above the loftiest peaks, their powerful Ansaldo engines overcoming the barrier that nature had created against the Italians as well as in their favor.

Shouts of “Bravo” from the snow. Shouts that would warm the heart of an opera star at the Milan Opera House. These cheers were for something better than music when men are hungry. They were for contents of the rope bags falling from the planes, the golden brown loaves of bread.

The Ships on The Cover
Sky Fighters, Deecmber 1935 by Eugene M. Frandzen
(The Ships on The Cover Page)

“Earthbound Ace” by Ralph Oppenheim

Link - Posted by David on June 8, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have another great story from the pen of Ralph Oppenheim. Best known in these parts for The Three Mosquitoes, he wrote many other stories of the air and several ripping detective yarns. Here Mr. Oppenheim gives us a story of Lieutenant Steve Bentley who was a race car driver before the war like the great Rickenbacker. But unlike Rickenbacker, Lt. Bentley has a problem with take-off. So used to driving race cars, he couldn’t let go of his instincts—he would hold the stick back, keep the tail down, making the speeding plane hug the earth. He could never get it through his head that a Spad didn’t have to go ninety miles an hour to take off, that flying speed was no more than seventy. Once in the air he was as good as they come.

When Bentley finds out his friend has gone out on a suicide mission, he jumps in his plane and goes after him. Here, his proclivity to drive a plane like a race car comes in handy for getting through the German ground defenses and hopefully saving the day! From the December 1933 issue of Sky Fighters it’s “Earthbound Ace!”

An Auto Racer Takes to the Sky and Finds That He Has a Lot to Learn—But . . . .

“How The Aces Went West: Major Edward Mannock” by C.B. Mayshark

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

MAY may have ended, but we have one last burst of the genius that is C.B. Mayshark! We have the final installment of C.B. Mayshark’s “How The Aces Went West!” It was an informative feature that spotlighted how famous Aces died. For the December 1935 issue of Sky Birds, Mayshark looks at how Major Edward Mannock “Went West!”

How The Aces Went West
“How The Aces Went West: Major Edward Mannock

by C.B. Mayshark (Sky Birds, December 1935)

“The Boomerang Pilot” by Frank Richardson Pierce

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

THIS week we have another exciting air adventure with Rusty Wade from the pen of Frank Richardson Pierce. Pierce is probably best remembered for his prolific career in the Western Pulps. Writing under his own name as well as two pen names—Erle Stanly Pierce and Seth Ranger—Pierce’s career spanned fifty years and produced over 1,500 short stories, with over a thousand of these appearing in the pages of Argosy and the Saturday Evening Post.

This time around, Rusty is faced with a choice—fly to Seattle to help his good friend Bid McCord win a government contract to develop long lasting airplane motors, or head off into the Alaskan wilds to save his nemesis, Hawk Breed, who’s had a bad accident and needs prompt medical assistance. From the pages of the November 1929 Air Trails, it’s Frank Richardson Pierce’s “The Boomerang Pilot!”

With disaster staring him in the face, “Rusty” Wade hurls defiance at the high gods of the air.

“How The Aces Went West: Lieutenant Frank Luke” by C.B. Mayshark

Link - Posted by David on May 30, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

THIS May we’re celebrating the genius that is C.B. Mayshark! Along with his cover duties for Sky Birds and Flying Aces in the mid-thirties, Mayshark also contributed some interior illustrations including a series he started in the April issue of Sky Birds that would run until the final issue that December—How The Aces Went West! It was an informative feature that spotlighted how famous Aces died. For the September 1935 issue of Sky Birds, Mayshark looks at how Lieutenant Frank Luke “Went West!”

How The Aces Went West
“How The Aces Went West: Lieutenant Frank Luke

by C.B. Mayshark (Sky Birds, September 1935)

“Sky Finance” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on May 25, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

“Haw-w-w-w-w!” That sound can only mean one thing—that marvel from Boonetown, Iowa is back causing more trouble than he’s worth! That miscreant of Calamity manages believes he has a sure thing goin’, but overplays his hand andgets not only himself in hick, but practiaclly the whole of the Ninth including the Old Man! It’s a case of “cash-and-miscarry” ala Carbuncle in “Sky Finance” from the pages of the June 1936 Flying Aces!

Battling Casey, the Ninth’s famed ackemma, needed a fight trainer, so Phineas assumed the role—and he figured on assuming the roll of a couple of Limeys into the bargain. But when the leather pushers squared off, the Iowa Impresario found his man entered in the weight-lifting events. Moral: It’s easy to don the leather, but you can’t always push it.

“How The Aces Went West: Captain Lanoe George Hawker” by C.B. Mayshark

Link - Posted by David on May 23, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

THIS May we’re celebrating the genius that is C.B. Mayshark! Along with his cover duties for Sky Birds and Flying Aces in the mid-thirties, Mayshark also contributed some interior illustrations including a series he started in the April issue of Sky Birds that would run until the final issue that December—How The Aces Went West! It was an informative feature that spotlighted how famous Aces died. For the August 1935 issue of Sky Birds, Mayshark looks at how Captain Lanoe George Hawker “Went West!”

How The Aces Went West
“How The Aces Went West: Captain Lanoe George Hawker

by C.B. Mayshark (Sky Birds, August 1935)

“The Camera Kid” by C.B. Mayshark

Link - Posted by David on May 18, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

AS PART of our Mayshark Month posts we have a rare story C.B. Mayshark had in the May 1936 issue of Dare-Devil Aces! Known for his great covers and interior illustrations, Mayshark was apparently jut as adept with the typewriter. He gives us a crackin’ yarn of hell skies. A young observation photographer that’s a whiz with the camera unfortunately freezes when the bullets start flying by. His pilot has been able to successfully cover for the kid, until a figure from the kid’s past gets wind of his affliction and sets about to bring him down!

The Kid had an eye like a hungry eagle, and could snap a picture of a mosquito doing handsprings. But alone in the clouds with the Spandaus whistling past, the Kid’s guts froze in a lump. “Yellow I am,” he cursed himself. “And I wish that I could die.” Still one man keeps his faith with the Kid and vows to bring him through—leads him on to a smashing show down, as a boy becomes a man!

“How The Aces Went West: Werner Voss” by C.B. Mayshark

Link - Posted by David on May 16, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

THIS May we’re celebrating the genius that is C.B. Mayshark! Along with his cover duties for Sky Birds and Flying Aces in the mid-thirties, Mayshark also contributed some interior illustrations including a series he started in the April issue of Sky Birds that would run until the final issue that December—How The Aces Went West! It was an informative feature that spotlighted how famous Aces died. For the July 1935 issue of Sky Birds, Mayshark gives us “How Werner Voss Went West!”

How The Aces Went West
“How The Aces Went West: Werner Voss

by C.B. Mayshark (Sky Birds, July 1935)

“How The Aces Went West: Major Raoul Lufbery” by C.B. Mayshark

Link - Posted by David on May 9, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

THIS May we’re celebrating the genius that is C.B. Mayshark! Along with his cover duties for Sky Birds and Flying Aces in the mid-thirties, Mayshark also contributed some interior illustrations including a series he started in the April issue of Sky Birds that would run until the final issue that December—How The Aces Went West! It was an informative feature that spotlighted how famous Aces died. For the June 1935 issue of Sky Birds, Mayshark gives us “How The Aces Went West: Major Raoul Lufbery!”

How The Aces Went West
“How The Aces Went West: Major Raoul Lufbery

by C.B. Mayshark (Sky Birds, June 1935)

“How The Aces Went West: Captain Albert Ball” by C.B. Mayshark

Link - Posted by David on May 2, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

THIS May we’re celebrating the genius that is C.B. Mayshark! Along with his cover duties for Sky Birds and Flying Aces in the mid-thirties, Mayshark also contributed some interior illustrations including a series he started in the April issue of Sky Birds that would run until the final issue that December—How The Aces Went West! It was an informative feature that spotlighted how famous Aces died. For the inaugural installment from the April 1935 issue of Sky Birds, Mayshark gives us “How The Aces Went West: Captain Albert Ball!”

How The Aces Went West
“How The Aces Went West: Captain Albert Ball

by C.B. Mayshark (Sky Birds, April 1935)

“Smells, Spells, and Shells” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on April 27, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

“Haw-w-w-w-w!” That sound can only mean one thing—that Bachelor of Artifice, Knight of Calamity and an alumnus of Doctor Merlin’s Camelot College for Conjurors is back to vex not only the Germans, but the Americans—the Ninth Pursuit Squadron in particular—as well. Yes it’s the marvel from Boonetown, Iowa himself—Lieutenant Phineas Pinkham!

Wing made a whopper in 1918! They sent America’s leading ace into the same sector with Lieutenant Phineas Pinkham, who certainly had not been a shrinking violet in the fight to save the Democrats. Morever, the war correspondents were instructed to ballyhoo the aforementioned ace at the slightest provocation. He was to be built up as the foremost Boche obliterator wearing the colors of Uncle Sam, despite the fact that Phineas Pinkham had snagged a flock of honest-to-goodness aces out of the hostile pack with the finesse of a gambler in a gold rush mining camp. Something had to happen. When two champion mauling bull elks find themselves in the same woods, all the lesser wild life move out until the battle is over!

The Yank Brass Hats made a great mistake in leading an Ace when the Boonetown Joker was still in the deck. And matters got worse when the Krauts opened up with a mile-high variety of the old shell game. Only on that last play, the Heinies forgot to look under the shell!

“Famous Sky Fighters, March 1934″ by Terry Gilkison

Link - Posted by David on April 25, 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 March 1934 installment, from the pages of Sky Fighters, features “Fighting Dave” himself—David Sinton Ingalls, Lt. Frank Luke, and Germany’s Lt. Werner Voss!

Next time in “Famous Sky Fighters,” Terry Gilkison features Major Raoul Lufbery, Lt. von Eschwege, and Paul Lukas. Don’t miss it!

“Sky Fighters, November 1935″ by Eugene M. Frandzen

Link - Posted by David on April 16, 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. For the November 1935 cover, Mr. Frandzen features the Kondor E3 and Salmson 7A-2!

The Ships on the Cover

SKY battles were fought for the th_SF_3511defense of the reconnaissance arm of the air service. The all important function of airplanes in warfare from the beginning was reconnaissance. More good was done to protect the lives of millions of men on the ground by the slow reconnaissance ships plodding their daily round of the skyways than many of the glorious dog-fights of crack squadrons. Commanders of divisions were desperate in carrying out their strategy. They stamped up and down at headquarters waiting for the word that would mean success or failure for their planned maneuvers. Word of what was happening “out there” after the men had gone “over the top.”

Telegraph wire was laid over miles of territory. At great risk it was buried deep to protect it. Despite this care it was often uprooted by the continuous barrage of shells tearing into the earth. It was torn to a mass of useless shredded copper fibres. Then runners were dispatched back through the lines with the precious messages which gave the position of the troops. Often those runners, despite the sacrifice of their lives, were never able to deliver the message which would mean so much to their buddies. Sometimes those who were lucky got through, but took so long to get back that the news was too old to be of help to the men directing the action. Even more difficulty was experienced in getting directions from the men behind the scenes to the front line troops. Contact with those out there was often impossible.

Motorcycles on Planes

An American had an idea that two fast moving inventions of man could be combined to overcome such a bad situation. He said, why not carry a motorcycle on a plane? A two-seater could carry a motorcycle rider in the back pit. He could be landed as close to the front line as possible and make a dash on his cycle to the isolated units separated from their reserve support. He could bring them directions for concerted action. The motorcycle dispatch rider had the speed to get the message where it would do most good in the shortest time. His two-wheeled vehicle without wings carried him at 60 m.p.h. over shell-torn roads to the farthest outpost.

The Salmson 7A.2 on the cover was in the midst of just such a job. It had flown as close to the front lines as it could to observe the ever shifting American troops. Intent on picking a landing spot, the Salmson pilot was suddenly aware that the sky held more planes than his own by a yell from his observer in the rear of the one long cockpit.

Two Monoplanes Buzz By

Two small monoplanes buzzed close by. Their 140 h.p. Oberursels brought them closer at the rate of 120 m.p.h. They were Kondor E 3 parasols whose pilots thought it would be easy to polish off the two-seater. But the Salmson’s observer wasn’t chosen for the hazardous work he did merely for his ability in scooting over rough roads on his motorcycle. He was as expert with the Lewis trigger as the handlebars. One Kondor misjudged the big ship’s maneuvers and the observer blasted straight at the German pilot. The second Kondor coming up under the forty feet wing spread of the Salmson had a big target, but the men in the observation ship had too much valuable information to deliver to sell their lives cheaply in a sky duel. The Kondor was literally blanketed with Vicker’s slugs. The Boche pilot decided he wouldn’t bother a ship with such a good marksman at the rear gun. He nosed over and limped for home. The Salmson sought the ground to land the motorcycle. The observer changed roles quickly and became the dispatch rider.

As the pilot took off again to return to his home tarmac he saw the motorcycle and helmeted rider fused together as one streak of lightning along the road toward Allied outposts, even as flashing a rider of fearlessness as Jove’s thunderbolt insignia painted on the side of the Salmson.

The Ships on The Cover
Sky Fighters, November 1935 by Eugene M. Frandzen
(The Ships on The Cover Page)

Silent Orth flies toward his “Zero Hour” by Lt. Frank Johnson

Link - Posted by David on April 13, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

ORTH is back! Silent Orth—ironically named for his former penchant to boast, but blessed with the skills to carry out his promises—is faced his a choice. He’s ordered to retrieve a spy with valuable information that could save the lives of thousands from behind the lines, but, at the same time his best mate is to face a German firing squad! Save the Spy or save his friend . . . . or save both? Impossible! But if anyone could do it, Orth could! From the pages of the October 1934 issue of Sky Fighters, Silent Orth flies toward his “Zero Hour!”

While his wingmate, Lieutenant Gabriel, waits for death by firing squad in Bocheland, Silent Orth faces the toughest problem in his career!

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