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Richard Knight in “Falcons from Nowhere” by Donald E. Keyhoe

Link - Posted by David on November 17, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

THE unstoppable Donald E. Keyhoe had a story in a majority of the issue of Flying Aces from his first in January 1930 until he returned to the Navy in 1942. Starting in August 1931, they were stories featuring the weird World War I stories of Philip Strange. But in November 1936, he began alternating these with sometime equally weird present day tales of espionage Ace Richard Knight—code name Agent Q. After an accident in the Great War, Knight developed the uncanny ability to see in the dark. Aided by his skirt-chasing partner Larry Doyle, Knights adventures ranged from your basic between the wars espionage to lost valley civilizations and dinosaurs. The mysterious Four Faces—a criminal cabal that seek to control all crime on the earth—has found a way to turn people to stone, which comes in handy while they continue to build their air fleet of stolen ships!

Through the growing twilight sped a powerful Northrop, and from its front pit peered Richard Knight. He saw no other ship in the sky; the secret of their mission was safe. But Richard Knight was unaware that an unseen hand was reaching through that descending pall to tear away an invisible veil—to loose upon him a hideous fate that had never before been faced by man. That fate was the ‘doom of stone’—and it had been streaming across the boundless wastes of eternity since the dawn of time.

My Most Thrilling Sky Fight: Lieut. Jules Vedrines

Link - Posted by David on November 15, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

AMIDST all the great pulp thrills and features in Sky Fighters, they ran a true story feature collected by Ace Williams wherein famous War Aces would tell actual true accounts of thrilling moments in their fighting lives! This time we have French Flyer Lieutenant Jules Vedrines’ most thrilling sky fight!

In the year before the great war broke out Jules Vcdrines was the most famous flyer of France. He had twice won the Gordon Bennett speed trophy, and held both distance and altitude records. It was through his efforts that France wrested supremacy of the air from the United States and Great Britain. Along with Garros, Pegoud, Marechal, Le Blanc, Audemars, and other famous French flyers of his day, he enlisted in the French Flying Corps the day after war was declared.

The war was in its last stages before the nature of Vedrine’s work was revealed to his admirers. He had been engaged in doing special missions, and had established his reputation as being the Ace of Aces in that specialty, which consisted in leaving and picking up French spies behind the enemy lines. He received every decoration possible . . . but had to wait until the war’s end before he could bask in the glory of his achievements, for only then were his many honors divulged. The account below is from an interview with Jacques Mortane, great French war correspondent and flyer extraordinary himself.

 

SPECIAL AIR MISSIONS

by Lieut. Jules Vedrines • Sky Fighters, December 1935

THESE special missions are sometimes exciting. There was that time when I flew behind the enemy lines to pick up Sous-Lieutenant Huard. Three times before I had landed in this same meadow and picked up agents of the intelligence in full daylight. I thought our secret field was safe from German eyes. But I was to be surprised! I crossed the lines at a great altitude, over 6,000 meters. Then high over the meadow I cut the motor and sneaked down silently. I circled the meadow once at low altitude. Everything looked all right, so I volplaned in.

It was only when I got down to ten feet above the grass that I saw what the Germans had done. They intended to trap me. They had stretched wires across the meadow just high enough above the ground to make my avion nose over when the wheels touched earth. But I saw the wires just in time. I fed all essence to the motor and jerked the stick, zooming upwards.

At the same instant machine-guns hidden in the woods surrounding the meadow opened up at me at point blank range. Bullets splattered into my avion like hail from two sides, and German soldiers came from the woods firing rifles!

In another meadow several hundred yards away, I saw a man garbed in peasant attire running and waving his arms over his head. I looked close, saw that it was Huard waving me in to land on the next meadow. It appeared like certain suicide for both of us, but what was I to do? I cut off and nosed down. Bullets still hailed all around me, and I could see them kicking up patches of turf at Huard’s feet.

My wheels touched the meadow. Huard stumbled and fell on his face. When he struggled up, his leg folded beneath him and he fell again. He had been wounded. I shouted to Huard to grab the outer wing strut as I passed over him. He struggled up on his knees, reached out his hands. I could see his face. It was white and contorted with pain.

But he succeeded in grabbing the wing edge with one hand, and the forward strut with the other. I shot on the motor then and coursed along the ground to get away from the German bullets. Huard was dragging by the heels. A barb wire fence loomed ahead. I had to cut the motor. Before the avion stopped rolling, I leaped out and grabbed the strut Huard was holding. Together we swung the avion around in the opposite direction.

We would run into the fire again, I knew. But Huard only smiled when I mentioned that to him as I helped him in the rear seat. “C’est la guerre!” he replied lightly.

We escaped through that gauntlet of German fire. Neither of us even got scratched. An exciting mission, yes, but I wouldn’t say my job was one half as hazardous as Huard’s.

A brave man, Huard. And isn’t it preposterous? For that flight I was awarded the Medal Militaire. And Sous-Lieutenant Huard, he was not even mentioned in the day’s orders.

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

Link - Posted by David on November 13, 2017 @ 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. On the April 1935 cover, The Fairey N.9 F127 Seaplane takes on some Mercedes-Diamler 9s!

The Ships on the Cover

THE Fairey N.9. F127 is th_SF_3504the British seaplane in the foreground of this month’s cover. The two black-crossed scouts are German Mercedes-Daimler 9’s.

Fairey seaplanes were used to great advantage in patrolling the North Sea and did much to make that turbulent mass of water a comparatively safe area for friendly shipping. C.R. Fairey founded the firm bearing his name in 1916, after severing connections with the old Dunne Co. and the Short Bros., famous for their seaplanes dating back to 1910, so he was no newcomer to this field.

Slow Landing Possible

His trailing edge flaps gave his seaplanes mobility with heavy loads and made slow landings possible.

The original No. 9 Fairey seaplane has the distinction of being the first seaplane to begin an actual flight by being catapulted from the deck of a warship. But away back in 1912 the U.S. Navy used a catapult to launch a seaplane from a floating dock. Catapulting is a regular stunt on warships today, but back in the early days of aviation with crude gear and low-powered ships it took courage to climb into a cockpit and be shot into space.

The German Mercedes-Daimler Motorcar Gesellschaft manufactured Mercedes motors for many of the German planes. Their engine was so popular with the German fliers that the supply could not keep up with the demand. Evidently not content with doing a landoffice business with engines and being months behind with orders, they broke out in a rash of single and two place fighters which were fairly good ships but never got to first base in mass production.

Two of them were taken into the German Navy’s service and used as decoys.

It is an old racket to send out a plane or two over the battlefields to lure a few of the enemy’s planes into an unprotected position so that a superior number of planes may dive from the clouds and do their stuff; but on the sea the technique was a little different.

The two decoys took off and flew over a prearranged area of water. A lone freighter with anti-submarine guns is spotted. Immediately the two single-strutted ships go into action, sweeping back and forth over the tramp steamer’s decks, spraying it with burst after burst of Spandau lead. The ship’s crew drag out machine-guns and blaze back. Occasionally the anti-sub gun pops ineffectually at the heckling German planes. This air attack can do no vital harm to the steamer.

They’re Merely Decoys

Don’t forget that these Mercedes-Daimlers are merely decoys for a lurking submarine which slinks close to the freighter. They let go one torpedo at point blank range. The freighter shudders, lists—it is doomed. Men take to the boats. The sub quickly submerges. It has sunk a ship without the chance of being destroyed itself by the ship’s gunners.

A wireless flash from the doomed freighter was received by a British patrol cruiser. A catapult snaps the Fairey seaplane into the air. Its motor hurls the plane towards its enemies. It flies high, spots the German planes and swoops down with guns blasting. A surprise attack was staged by the sub on the freighter. The Fairey seaplane used surprise tactics also and in two minutes the Mercedes-Daimlers dove out of control to strike the water and sink in exactly the same spot where the stricken freighter has disappeared.

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

Next time, Mr. Frandzen features the Handley-Page and D.H.4!

“Lives of the Aces in Pictures – Part 44: Major Charles J. Biddle” by Eugene Frandzen

Link - Posted by David on November 8, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

Starting in the May 1932 issue of Flying Aces and running almost 4 years, Eugene Frandzen’s “Lives of the Aces in Pictures” was a staple of the magazine. Each month Frandzen would feature a different Ace that rose to fame during the Great War. This time around we have one of the great American Aces—Major Charles J. Biddle!

Major Biddle was one of that small number of American aviators who had actually had front line battle experience when his own country entered the war. Even before there were any indication of his own country taking part, he sailed for France and enlisted in the French Army, where he was eventually transferred for aviation tralning. When the La Fayette Escadrille was formed, he wan invited to become a member. In that organization he won his commission as a Lieutenant in recognition of his ability and courage.

When General Pershing formed the American Air Service and put Colonel William Mitchell in command of the air squadrons on the front, the able Colonel promoted Biddle to major and save him command of the 13th Pursuit Squadron, which he formed, organized and took to the front to make a distinguished record.

Though not supposed to lead his men in battle, he always did so. Just before the armistice, he left the 13th Squadron to become commander of the 4th Pursuit Group. By wars end he had amassed 7 victories and been awarded the Legion of Honor, Croix de Guerre, Distinguished Service Cross and Order of Leopold II.

After the war, Biddle wrote a book entitled The Way of the Eagle (1919) and joined the family law firm in 1924—becoming a partner by 1925 and a major force within the firm through the fifties.

He died in 1972 at “Andalusia”—the family estate on the Delaware River in lower Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania.

As a bonus—

“The Jerry Cracker” by C.M. Miller

Link - Posted by David on November 3, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a story from the pen of C.M. Miller! Miller is known to Age of Aces readers as the author behind Chinese Brady, aa old war horse who’s fought in most every scrap there’s been. Here he presents a tale of a green pilot, Emmett Ralston, just up from training who can’t wait to get at the Huns! Problem is, circumstances seem to be conspiring against him.

You Can’t Graft Wings On A Prison Bunk, Or Bars Won’t Make A Fuselage—But Ralston Wanted A Crack At The Huns And No Prison Built Will Hold An-Ace-To-Be.

My Most Thrilling Sky Fight: Major Edward Mannock

Link - Posted by David on November 1, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

AMIDST all the great pulp thrills and features in Sky Fighters, they ran a true story feature collected by Ace Williams wherein famous War Aces would tell actual true accounts of thrilling moments in their fighting lives! This time we have British Flyer Major Edward Mannock’s most thrilling sky fight!

Edward “Micky” Mannock was serving the British postal department, Turkey, when the war broke out. He was immediately made a prisoner by the Turks, and spent almost a year in an enemy camp before he was repatriated to England in 1915. He first served in the Royal Engineers, was commissioned as a lieutenant and transferred to the flying Corps in August, 1916. Major McCudden, the great British Ace, was his first instructor.

At the end of the war Mannock ranked as the British Ace of Aces, with 76 victories to his credit, more than Bishop, Ball, or McCudden himself. Flying a Nieuport Scout he downed his first Hun June 7th, 1917. On July 25th, 1918, he got his 76th victory in an S.E.5. The next day he was seen to fall in flames behind the enemy lines. Before he was killed he was awarded the D.S.O. and the M.C, and was swiftly promoted to to the rank of Major. He was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously. The following account of his fight with do enemy aircraft is taken from the report of a British journalist.

 

ONE AGAINST FORTY

by Major Edward Mannock • Sky Fighters, November 1935

I HAVE seldom been taken by surprise in the air. “Jimmy” McCudden schooled me well on that score in my early flight training. But one time I did get caught good and plenty. Forty Huns plopped in on me at once. I was flying solo over Villers-Bretteneux. It was a bad day for flying. There was rain and low-hanging clouds. The Huns had a big landing field at Villers, but our bombers had played it hot and heavy, and word came through to us that the Huns had abandoned it.

Right over the field there was a big hole in the clouds, so I dropped down for a look-see to ascertain the truth of the report. The field and hangars looked deserted. There was not an E.A. in sight. I dived low, got beneath the cloud layer. Then I saw why the field looked deserted. I had had the ill luck to drop down through that hole in the clouds just as the Hun staffels were leaving. Four flights of Huns had just left the ground, and were circling just beneath the clouds. The intervening clouds had hidden them from my view. When I did see them, it was too late for me to make my escape into the protecting clouds, for the Huns slid over on top of me.

There was nothing else for me to do but fight my way out of the trap.

Lead was rattling into my turtleback before I had a chance to shift into a climbing turn and bring my guns to bear upon any of the enemy. And one burst of slugs knocked my helmet askew so that my goggle glasses were wrenched across my eyes, blurring my vision.

When I did get them in place again, a purple-nosed Hun was diving at me head-on, both his Spandaus spewing out blue white streams. I maneuvered, pressed my trigger trips, then went up on one wing and slid down in an abrupt sideslip. The Hun ship shattered above me, exploded in flames. The blazing ship just missed mine as I nosed out of the slip. By now all the Hun planes had closed in tight on me.

But the Huns made one error. They hemmed me in so tight on all sides, above and below, that they couldn’t use their guns advantageously. I got two more of my attackers. But cheered as I was when I saw the E.A.5s fall, I knew that I couldn’t hold out against them for long. If I could pull up into the clouds, I knew I could lose them. Getting there was the problem. I went into a steep power dive, letting all that wanted to get on my tail. After a thousand foot dive, I pulled back on the stick and shot straight for the clouds.

Bullets raked my S.E. all the way down and up, but none of them had my name and address. I was just plain lucky, I guess, for I managed to make the clouds without getting popped. Once in them, I straightened out for my lines with all the sauce on. Believe me, my own airdrome looked good when I sat down there. I had got three of the full forty I had tangled with, but I didn’t regret not staying for more.

“Adventures Into The Unknown: The Talking Men” by Frederick Blakeslee

Link - Posted by David on October 30, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

BACK with another of Frederick Blakeslee’s “Adventures Into The Unknown!” Blakeslee published thirteen installments of his two-page illustrated looks into the Unknown between March 1948 and October 1950. This time around Mr. Blakeslee examines the phenomenon known as ‘Orang Bunian’—or ‘the Talking Men.’ It is the hearing of the voices of the dead in broad daylight—usually over the site where there had once been a village! From the August 1949 issue of Dime Mystery Magazine it’s “Adventures Into The Unknown: The Talking Men!”


ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN: The Talking Men
by Frederick Blakeslee (Dime Mystery Magazine,August 1949)

“T.N.T. Party” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on October 27, 2017 @ 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 and this time the marvel from Boonetown is caught between two woman and finds himself the guest of honor at a T.N.T. party! From the February 1936 issue of Flying Aces it’s “T.N.T. Party” (with Phineas serving the lemon!).

Now that the great Mata Hari had been filed away via a shooting squad, the guerre would be a lot easier for the Allies. Phineas knew that. But the Boonetown Bamboozler didn’t know that his John Henry was on the flight schedule for a high altitude solo trip—one without his Spad.

“Adventures Into The Unknown: The Haunted Trianon” by Frederick Blakeslee

Link - Posted by David on October 25, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

BACK with another of Frederick Blakeslee’s “Adventures Into The Unknown!” Blakeslee published thirteen installments of his two-page illustrated looks into the Unknown between March 1948 and October 1950. This time around Mr. Blakeslee delves into one of the most famous and most controversial incidents in the history of the occult. It’s the story of two English school teachers and what happened to them on a trip to Versailles in August 1901. Is what they experienced a paranormal encounter or possibly some sort of time slip? You be the judge—from the June 1949 issue of Dime Mystery Magazine it’s “Adventures Into The Unknown: The Haunted Trianon!”


ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN: The Haunted Trianon
by Frederick Blakeslee (Dime Mystery Magazine, June 1949)

You can read more about The Haunted Trianon at PhantomsandMonsters.com, and come back Monday when Blakeslee will focus on mystery of the disembodied voices known as “The Talking Men!”

“Adventures Into The Unknown: The Devil Walks at Night” by Frederick Blakeslee

Link - Posted by David on October 23, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

BACK with another of Frederick Blakeslee’s “Adventures Into The Unknown!” Blakeslee published thirteen installments of his two-page illustrated looks into the Unknown between March 1948 and October 1950. This time around Mr. Blakeslee delves into possible evidence of the Devil appearing on a cold snowy night in 1855 in Exmouth—from the April 1949 issue of Dime Mystery Magazine it’s “Adventures Into The Unknown: The Devil Walks at Night!”


ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN: The Devil Walks at Night
by Frederick Blakeslee (Dime Mystery Magazine, April 1949)

Come back Wednesday when Blakeslee will focus on The Haunted Trianon!

“Sporting Chance” by O.B. Myers

Link - Posted by David on October 20, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a story from the pen of a prolific pulp author O.B. Myers! Myers was a pilot himself, flying with the 147th Aero Squadron and carrying two credited victories and awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. Seeing his adversary’s plane was rendered inoperative, Duke Haskill does not go in for the kill, unfortunately, that plane’s wingmate renders Duke’s plane unusable. Both land, but behind German lines where Duke is taken prisoner. Since Duke had shown good sportsmanship in not killing Hauptmann von Eltz, von Eltz offers him a sportsmanlike deal for his freedom. Will Duke gamble his life for his freedom? Find out when Myers weaves all this into a tale of honor, sportsmanship and revenge! From the September 1930 issue of War Birds it’s—”Sporting Chance!”

He gambled with death and ran the gauntlet of enemy lead to make good the promise he had given to black wings, but when he found who held the stakes—

My Most Thrilling Sky Fight: Captain Hamilton Coolidge

Link - Posted by David on October 18, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

Amidst all the great pulp thrills and features in Sky Fighters, they ran a true story feature collected by Ace Williams wherein famous War Aces would tell actual true accounts of thrilling moments in their fighting lives! This time we have American Flyer Captain Hamilton Coolidge’s most thrilling sky fight!

As a famous athlete at Harvard, Hamilton Coolidge was well known throughout the land even before the war began. He enlisted in the aviation section of the Signal Corps and got his primary flight training at Mineola along with Quentln Roosevelt, his hoy-hood friend.

They went up to the front together on the same day. Coolidge was assigned to the 94th Squadron and Roosevelt to the 95th. Coolidge was killed when a German Archie scored a direct hit on his plane, something of which war time figures prove happened only once in every 20,000 attempts.

He had established an enviable record, soon becoming a recognized ace with 5 victories. He was promoted to a Squadron Commander, and succeeded in downing 3 more enemy planes. He was awarded both the Croix de Guerre and the Distinguished Service Cross. This account of his fight with the famous Flying Circus of Baron von Richthofen is taken from an interview he gave a war correspondent.

 

FIGHTING THE FLYING CIRCUS

by Captain Hamilton Coolidge • Sky Fighters, October 1935

THOUGH I had been expecting to encounter the Flying Circus, my first meeting with one of their patrols took me quite by surprise. With five of my mates I was cruising high above Lagny in a sky that was empty and void as a lonesome ocean.

I didn’t catch sight of the gaudily painted ships until they were almost upon us— they had come up from our own side of the lines, while I was probing the sky reaches in the opposite direction. Twelve ships there were, flying in layer formation.

I had to do some quick thinking. My patrol was outnumbered 2 to 1. And they had us cut off from our rear! I waggled my wings, whined up in vertical virage and went streaking for Germany, climbing for the ceiling as I ran.

We Gained an Even Ceiling

Luckily, the Fokkers didn’t catch us until we had gained an even ceiling with their topmost flight. Then the fighting began. It seemed that the bullets whined in from all directions at once. And the sky was just a kaleidoscopic whirl.

Finally the wild dog-fighting settled down to a man to man duel. I didn’t have to pick my quarry. He picked me with a ripping invitation in Spandau tracer that stitched a grim streak down my turtle-back. I jammed full throttle and roared into a loop, rolled out on top and got out of range. But only to run smack into a stream of tracer coming from another Hun’s gun. I ducked beneath that, pulled up and banked quickly, my sights on the checkerboard belly of my first antagonist. I had time for just a short burst before he slid out of my sights.

First Meat for Our Side

But that was enough. The Fokker tipped up on a wing, hung in the air momentarily, then went sliding down, turning over on its back finally and fluttering off in a spin.

It was first meat for our side against odds of two to one. It gave me renewed courage. Two more of the Fokkers fell before one of the Spad pilots got caught with a bad jam. While trying to clear it he was killed.

All the time we had been fighting we had drifted further over the German lines, so I concluded that now was the time for a risky maneuver. We would have to turn our tails to the Huns, give them a momentary bull’s-eye as we streaked for the earth straight down—but with the Spad’s diving speed with full power on, I figured we could leave the Fokkers behind, and take our chances with the Archies and groundfire from below. So I signalled and dived, the rest of the boys following.

I took plenty of lead in the rear, but by shaking my stick, I managed to dodge a vital burst, and finally got out of range.

We hedge-hopped for home then right over the German trenches, running the gauntlet of a terrific machine-gun fire from the ground. But when we had run through and zoomed up to the ceiling and reformed on our own side of the line, waiting, the famed Flying Circus didn’t accept the challenge.

“Adventures Into The Unknown: The Evil Ghosts of Borley” by Frederick Blakeslee

Link - Posted by David on October 16, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

BACK with another of Frederick Blakeslee’s “Adventures Into The Unknown!” Blakeslee published thirteen installments of his two-page illustrated looks into the Unknown between March 1948 and October 1950. This time around Mr. Blakeslee delves into the stories of the evil ghosts of the Borley Rectory—often referred to as the most haunted house in all of England. From the pages of the February 1949 issue of Dime Mystery Magazine, it’s “Adventures Into The Unknown: The Evil Ghosts of Borley!”


ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN: The Evil Ghosts of Borley
by Frederick Blakeslee (Dime Mystery Magazine, February 1949)

You can read a more in depth account of the odd goings on at the Borley Rectory at the Haunted Museum. And come back next Monday when Blakeslee looks into possible evidence of the Devil appearing on a cold snowy night in 1855 in Exmouth!

“Orth’s Flight Against Time” by Lt. Frank Johnson

Link - Posted by David on October 13, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

ORTH is back! Silent Orth—ironically named for his penchant to boast, but blessed with the skills to carry out his promises—takes on a perilous mission to bomb a German ammunition dump. Using all the tricks and flying skills up his sleeve, Orth races to drop his bombs before the entire German Air force comes down on his neck. From the pages of the August 1934 issue of Sky Fighters, it’s “Orth’s Flight Against Time!”

Follow An Intrepid Fighting Pilot Over the German Lines on a Perilous Mission in this Exciting Story of the War-Torn Heavens!

“Adventures Into The Unknown: The Spectre Hound in Man” by Frederick Blakeslee

Link - Posted by David on October 11, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

BACK with another of Frederick Blakeslee’s “Adventures Into The Unknown!” Blakeslee published thirteen installments of his two-page illustrated looks into the Unknown between March 1948 and October 1950. With the demise of SHOCK after just three issues, “Adventures Into The Unknown” moves to the long-running Dime Mystery Magazine! In the December 1948 installment, Blakeslee focuses on the Isle of Man and the reported spectral goings on in “Adventures Into The Unknown: The Spectre Hound in Man”


ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN: The Spectre Hound in Man
by Frederick Blakeslee (Dime Mystery Magazine, December 1948)

Come back next Monday when Blakeslee will focus on the evil ghosts of Borley!

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