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The Three Mosquitoes Disband in “Broken Wings” by Ralph Oppenheim

Link - Posted by David on March 15, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

THROUGH the dark night sky, streaking swiftly with their Hisso engines thundering, is the greatest trio of aces on the Western Front—the famous and inseparable “Three Mosquitoes,” the mightiest flying combination that had ever blazed its way through overwhelming odds and laughed to tell of it! Flying in a V formation—at point was Captain Kirby, impetuous young leader of the great trio; on his right was little Lieutenant “Shorty” Carn, the mild-eyed, corpulent little Mosquito and lanky Lieutenant Travis, eldest and wisest of the Mosquitoes on his left!

Were back with the third of three Three Mosquitoes stories we’re presenting this month. The Three Mosquitoes disband! The darker side of notoriety rears it’s ugly head—is Kirby a “Glory Grabber” taking all the glory and sharing none of the credit—easily picking off the other’s adversaries out from under them? Does he take Shorty Carn and Lanky Travis for granted? Yes, that inseparable threesome have it out and go their own ways! Each sinking the lowest a man can go without the others—and just as the big German offensive is about to kick off! Can the Kirby, Carn and Travis fix their “Broken Wings” or is this it for the intrepid trio? In what is probably their darkest tale, from the pages of the January 1931 issue of War Birds!

No greater engine of winged destruction ever rode the red winds of the Front than The Three Mosquitoes—then came a Boche flamer and a face in the dark to confront them with the greatest mystery of their career.

If you enjoyed this tale of our intrepid trio, check out some of the other stories of The Three Mosquitoes we have posted by clicking the Three Mosquitoes tag or check out one of the three volumes we’ve published on our books page! And come back next Friday or another exciting tale.

“Famous Sky Fighters, August 1935″ by Terry Gilkison

Link - Posted by David on March 13, 2019 @ 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 August 1935 installment, from the pages of Sky Fighters, features Lt. Col Bill Thaw, Billy Bishop, Lt. Max Immelmann, and East Indian prince turned R.A.F. sky hellion—Sidor Malloc Singh!

Next time in “Famous Sky Fighters”, Terry Gilkison features Italian Ace Major Barracca, Canadian flyer Captain W.W. Rogers, America’s Lt. Norman Prince, and Germany’s own Manfred von Richthofen! Don’t miss it!

The Three Mosquitoes battle “The Squadron from Nowhere” by Ralph Oppenheim

Link - Posted by David on March 8, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

“LET’S GO!” Once more, The Three Mosquitoes familiar battle cry rings out over the western front and the three khaki Spads take to the air, each sporting the famous Mosquito insignia. In the cockpits sat three warriors who were known wherever men flew as the greatest and most hell raising trio of aces ever to blaze their way through overwhelming odds—always in front was Kirby, their impetuous young leader. Flanking him on either side were the mild-eyed and corpulent Shorty Carn, and lanky Travis, the eldest and wisest Mosquito.

Were back with the second of three Three Mosquitoes stories we’re presenting this month. The Three Mosquitoes have been dispatched to the Scottish Highlands to investigate sightings of German Gothas! Equipped with brand new Sopwiths, the Three Mosquitoes take on The Black Raiders and try to fathom how these planes could even be this far from their Fatherland and so perilously close to the shipbuilding yards of Deemsgate! It’s a mystery whose answer lies in the craggy mountains of Scotland!

An awed gasp broke from the tense watchers, for at that moment they saw a red light glow into sudden livid brilliance directly above them, until it became a ball of red fire which illuminated the whole sky. A parachute flare with a message from the mysterious raiders! Who were they? How did they get there? These and a hundred other questions baffled the Three Mosquitoes as they prepared to do battle with—black shadows.

If you enjoyed this tale of our intrepid trio, check out some of the other stories of The Three Mosquitoes we have posted by clicking the Three Mosquitoes tag or check out one of the three volumes we’ve published on our books page!

“The Heyford” by Frederick Blakeslee

Link - Posted by David on March 4, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

Frederick Blakeslee painted all the covers for the entire run of Dare-Devil Aces. And each of those covers had a story behind it. On Dare-Devil Aces’ December 1936 cover, Mr. Blakeslee gives the modern take on a couple of old classics—the Handly-Page Heyford and the french Morane-Saulnier!

th_DDA_3612THE world war produced many excellent fighting ships—ships that have become world famous. These world war types are now, of course, obsolete and except for those in museums and a few which are privately owned have practically disappeared. The R.F.C. display this year was unique in that several war-time ships were on the field. Flying over head were the direct descendants of some of those war-time ships. Most of the modern ships are known by other names while some carry the same name by which they were known in war days.

The difference between the modern ship and its war-time ancestor is enormous. For instance, take the war-time Handly-Page 0/400 and the modern Handly-Page “Heyford”. Quite a change!

Let us consider a famous war-time ship and see what it looks like today. Above is a drawing of this ship as it looks today. In this case the ship is known by the same name it had in war days. Its war-time ancestor is perhaps the best known of the war-time ships in America. American flyers used it almost exclusively and it features in most of the stories in this issue. Would you recognize the above drawing as a SPAD? I don’t think you would, for the Spad as it is today has developed beyond all recognition to the war-time model. Personally, I think the war-time Spad is the better looking ship. The modern version is a high-altitude fighter with a ceiling of 35,750 feet. Its speed lower down is 195 m.p.h. while high up it is 231 m.p.h. It has a 500 h.p. Hispano-Suiza engine, the same engine its ancestor had with the addition of a few more “horses”. The only recognizable feature between the war-time Spad and the modern Spad is the letter “S” on the rudder.

The French monoplane on the cover is another descendant of a war-time ship not, however, as famous as the Spad, It also has the same name as its predecessor, the Morane-Saulnier. Except for refinements in design, it is remarkably like the older Morane-Saulnier. The parasol monoplane type is peculiar to France as it has always been a specialty of French military design. This ship has a speed of 204 m.p.h. and its absolute ceiling is 36,080 feet.

The ships attacking the airdrome are Dorniers. They have a maximum speed of 161 m.p.h. and a range of 745 miles.

Fred Blakeslee

The Story Behind The Cover
“The Heyford: The Story Behind The Cover” by Frederick Blakeslee
(December 1936, Dare-Devil Aces)

The Three Mosquitoes vs. “The Dynamite Flight” by Ralph Oppenheim

Link - Posted by David on March 1, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

THEIR familiar war cry rings out—“Let’s Go!” The greatest fighting war-birds on the Western Front are once again roaring into action. The three Spads flying in a V formation so precise that they seemed as one. On their trim khaki fuselages, were three identical insignias—each a huge, black-painted picture of a grim-looking mosquito. In the cockpits sat the reckless, inseparable trio known as the “Three Mosquitoes.” Captain Kirby, their impetuous young leader, always flying point. On his right, “Shorty” Carn, the mild-eyed, corpulent little Mosquito, who loved his sleep. And on Kirby’s left, completing the V, the eldest and wisest of the trio—long-faced and taciturn Travis.

Yes! The Three Mosquitoes—the approach of spring has brought the Mosquitoes out of hibernation to help hurry on the warm summer months ahead. At Age of Aces dot net it’s our fifth annual Mosquito Month! We’ll be featuring that wiley trio in three early tales in the hell skies over the Western Front. And we’re starting things off with a bang! The Germans have developed a new super explosive they’ve called XXX—five time as powerful as the Allies’ most destructive explosives! A boast they demonstrate by wiping the 44th Squadron’s drome off the face of the map! The Three Mosquitoes concoct a perilous plan to sneak into the largest and most well-guarded German munitions plants where the XXX is being manufactured and blow it all to kingdom-come!

“Into the dugouts!” was the frantic order as that giant black Gotha hurled its death-dealing bombs down upon the airdrome. But Kirby, Carn and Travis crept across the blistering, bomb-torn tarmac toward their planes. For the grim mystery of that Gotha had to be solved. Smashing new “Three Mosquitoes” yarn.

If you enjoyed this tale of our intrepid trio, check out some of the other stories of The Three Mosquitoes we have posted by clicking the Three Mosquitoes tag or check out one of the three volumes we’ve published on our books page! And come back next Friday or another exciting tale.

“Famous Sky Fighters, July 1935″ by Terry Gilkison

Link - Posted by David on February 27, 2019 @ 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 1935 installment, from the pages of Sky Fighters, features Lt. Col Armand Pinsard, Capt. Roy Brown, Lt. Harold Nevins, and Major Edward Mannock!

Next time “Famous Sky Fighters” is jam packed! Terry Gilkison features Lt. Col Bill Thaw, Billy Bishop, Lt. Max Immelmann, and East Indian prince turned R.A.F. sky hellion—Sidor Malloc Singh! Don’t miss it!

“P.D.Q-Boat” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on February 22, 2019 @ 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!

Deeds of extraordinary valor had made Phineas Pinkham a colonel. But one potent punch to the proud proboscis of a brigadier had amended that over zealous act on the part of the high cockalorums of the A.E.F. Everybody on the jittery front from the Channel to the Italian border breathed easier. But Lieutenant Pinkham had not forgotten a certain von Spieler. He was one Von whom Phineas had not been able to wash up completely and the Heinie’s name was written on the intrepid Yank’s books under the heading of “Unfinished Business.” From the February 1937 issue of Flying Ace, it’s Phineas Pinkham in “P.D.Q-Boat!”

Old Lady Fate had put through a mixed grill order, and it looked like the Krauts would bring home the bacon. Allied marine moguls got their ships mixed, Garrity got his signals mixed, and Goomer got his bottles mixed. All of which boiled down to the fact that Phineas was on the spot—only the M.P.’s didn’t know which spot.

“Luke Downs Three Balloons” by Paul Bissell

Link - Posted by David on February 18, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we present “Niebling’s Phenomenal Feat”—The story behind Paul Bissell’s April 1933 cover for Flying Aces! Bissell is mainly known for doing the covers of Flying Aces from 1931 through 1934 when C.B. Mayshark took over duties. For the January 1932 cover Bissell paints a tableau of Frank Luke in his trusty Spad 27 coming down on his third balloon in as many minutes on his last day in battle!

Luke Downs Three Balloons

th_FA_3201“MEIN GOTT! It is Herr Luke! Quick—down with the Drachen!”

In an instant all was confusion. Machine guns rattled and archies barked. Winches ground and turned as the Germans strove desperately to save their balloon, swaying gently in the dusk, two thousand feet above Milly.

The two balloon observers were already overboard. They knew that pilot! Thirteen balloons and five planes had fallen to Frank Luke’s attack in less than three weeks. Only ten days before, he had destroyed two balloons and three planes in less than fifteen minutes. And this afternoon, September 29, 1918, they had seen him destroy the balloon over Dun, fight his way through a squadron of Fokkers, destroy a second balloon over Briere Farm, and dive headlong at their own helpless bag—all in less than three minutes! Their bag was doomed—and overboard they went.

On came Luke’s Spad, through a hell of shrapnel and machine-gun fire,
 its motor wide open, and both guns spitting flame. Another instant and 
Luke would have crashed into the balloon, head on, but with a sudden zoom 
and bank, he pulled clear of the now fiercely burning Drachen. His third
 balloon was going down! That day—which proved to be his last, for a 
wound forced Luke down and he was found dead the next morning—was a
 fitting end to a glorious career, the career of one of America’s greatest 
airmen.

The Ships on The Cover
“Luke Downs Three Balloons”
Flying Aces, January 1932 by Paul J. Bissell

“A Fighting Man” by William E. Poindexter

Link - Posted by David on February 15, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a story from William E. Poindexter. Poindexter’s work appeared frequently in the supporting pages of the air pulps of the 1930’s. Here, he gives us the tale of Little Ossie Timpkins—who asked nothing more than to be considered a fighting man. But due to his stature, found himself on terminal kitchen duty—until he thinks he found a way to prove to himself and the others that he truly is “A Fighting Man!” From the pages of the May 1932 Flying Aces.

Little Ossie Timpkins, K.P., asked for nothing more—to die in a blaze of glory—to ride flaming wings down the steep skies to a fiery grave! But they wouldn’t let him into the air—wouldn’t let him prove that he was even as every last one of them—a fighting man!

“Famous Sky Fighters, June 1935″ by Terry Gilkison

Link - Posted by David on February 13, 2019 @ 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 1935 installment, from the pages of Sky Fighters, Features Julius Buckler, Capt. Francis Quigley, Lt. Sumner Sewall, and Commander Herbert Wiley!

Next time in “Famous Sky Fighters,” Terry Gilkison features Lt. Col Armand Pinsard, Capt. Roy Brown, Lt. Harold Nevins, and Major Edward Mannock! Don’t miss it!

Richard Knight in “Hell Hammers Harbin” by Donald E. Keyhoe

Link - Posted by David on February 8, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

THE prolific 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.

“Hell Hammers Harbin” from the pages of the March 1938 issue of Flying Aces is Keyhoe’s ninth story with the intrepid Q-Agent and his pal Larry Doyle.

North! North! And still farther northward over those bleak wastes of Asia flew Dick Knight. His course was uncharted—his destination unknown even to himself! Only a question mark—a cryptic crimson question mark emblazoned on a rough Manchurian map—offered a clue to the mystery of that mad flight. And that puny clue was destined to be his single weapon against—hideous meteors of murder!

“The Lone Eagle, August 1934″ by Eugene M. Frandzen

Link - Posted by David on February 4, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

Eugene M. Frandzen painted the covers of The Lone Eagle from its first issue in September 1933 until the June 1937 issue when Rudolph Belarski took over with the August issue of that year. At the start of the run, Frandzen painted covers of general air action much like his Sky Fighters covers. Here, for the August 1934 cover, Frandzen has a couple of S.V.A. biplanes and an Austrian Lohner flying boat!

The Story of the Cover

ITALY, a country producing no th_LE_3408 steel or coal and an insufficient amount of foodstuffs, took a mighty walloping from Austria for over two of her three years in the Great War. But during that time, in the face of defeat after defeat, they put up a mighty sweet scrap against the Austrians.

Caught without sufficient airplanes, they tore into the job and produced some of the finest made by any country. During the war they were even supplying their allies with engines and planes.

The Adriatic does not appear to be much of a puddle when compared to other seas and oceans but it took all the ingenuity and vigilance of every available Italian flyer to patrol it.

Lurking Perils

German and Austrian submarines were lurking beneath its surface, laying in wait for cargo ships laden with iron ore and coal enroute to Italy’s foundries. Austrian airplanes roared down on seacoast cities; left a trail of ruins in their wake. Brandenburg and Lohner flying boats were continually a menace.

Gradually the speed and reliability of the Italian airplanes, seaplanes and flying boats increased. Outstanding among these were the S.V.A. types of planes. One of these, the S.V.A. biplane fitted either with pontoons or wheels, was a flying killer which the Austrians dreaded to meet.

On the cover two S.V.A. biplanes have caught an Austrian Lohner flying boat as it has finished dumping its load of bombs into a cargo ship laden with coal bound for the Italian coast.

A Devastating Bomb

One after another the bombs slipped from their racks and smashed through the steamer’s deck, down into the hold. The crew were mowed down with machine-gun fire from the Lohner’s front cockpit. Fire, the dreaded foe of all at sea, burst through the shattered deck. Dense masses of greasy opaque smoke billowed upwards. A bomb had ripped plates from the side of the ship below the water-line.

The gunner in the Lohner grins, points to the listing, stricken ship. His pilot laughs, shrugs his shoulders and looks at his gas indicator. It is low, just enough to reach home. Still smiling, he kicks his ship around to scram.

No Smile Now

The smile of victory is wiped from his lips. He yanks at his controls like a novice, nearly pitching his gunner into the briny. Bearing down on the Lohner are two S.V.A.’s tearing across the skies at a hundred and thirty-five mile clip, their 220 h.p. motors roaring. With hardly enough gas to see him home the Austrian pilot is forced to fight. To try to escape with his slower ship would be suicide.

A hail of bullets blast at the Austrian plane. Up flips the flying boat’s nose. The gunner in the bow, crouching over his gun, sends a stream of lead back at the S.V.A. The range is great but a lucky shot damages an aileron control.

The other S.V.A. coming up from below rakes the gunner and pilot of the Lohner with deadly effect. The bulky flying boat flutters, noses over and dives straight into the Adriatic, carrying a dead crew and a heavy 300 h.p. Austro-Daimler engine to use as a sinker.

The Story of The Cover
The Lone Eagle, August 1934 by Eugene M. Frandzen
(The Story of The Cover Page)

“The Flaming Arrow” by George Bruce

Link - Posted by David on February 1, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a story from the highly prolific George Bruce. Bruce, a former pilot, began writing in the 1920’s and became noted for his aerial war stories—several publications even bore his name. In the 1930’s and ’40’s he transitioned into screenwriting for Hollywood action films and then into tv in the 1950’s and ’60’s.

Ace Avery had a reputation for getting the impossible done. Someone want a tough assignment carried out? Send for Avery. Some squarehead raising hell somewhere along the line? Telephone the field and borrow Avery. And now, they had given him an impossible assignment—one that no living man could hope to carry it out—but it had to be done! Read this tense, edge-of-your seat nail-biter through flaming hell skies in George Bruce’s “The Flaming Arrow” from the pages of the August 1934 issue of The Lone Eagle!

“Ace” Avery Whirls His Crate into a Maelstrom of Roaring Air Action!

“Famous Sky Fighters, May 1935″ by Terry Gilkison

Link - Posted by David on January 30, 2019 @ 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 May 1935 installment, from the pages of Sky Fighters, Features Lt. Georges Madon, Major H.M. Brown, Lt Josef Veltjens, and the world’s first air commander—Nadezhda Sumarokova!

Next time in “Famous Sky Fighters,” Terry Gilkison features Julius Buckler, Capt. Francis Quigley, Lt. Sumner Sewall, and Commander Herbert Wiley! Don’t miss it!

“Flight Opera” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on January 25, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

“HAW-W-W-W-W!” That sound can only mean one thing—it’s time to ring out the old year and ring in the new with that Bachelor of Artifice, Knight of Calamity and an alumnus of Doctor Merlin’s Camelot College for Conjurors—Phineas Pinkham.

History’s pages show us that very strange things have happened in wars. They tell us that Hannibal pushed a big herd of pachyderms over the Alps to stomp on the Roman legions. They tell us about the wooden hobby horse that the Greeks pushed through the gate of Troy and how the faces of the Trojan boys went red when they discovered that the jokers from Athens had not come in to open a restaurant. There is the tale about George Washington crossing the Delaware when it was filled with ice cakes and how his Continentals kicked the Hessians around because they had been drinking too much New Jersey corn. But the strangest thing that ever happened in any war took place in France in the year of our Lord Nineteen Hundred and Eighteen. Somebody made Lieutenant Phineas Pinkham a colonel!

From the pages of the January 1937 Flying Aces, it’s Joe Archibald’s “Flight Opera!”

That letter the War Department tossed across the Atlantic smack onto Garrity’s desk certainly had an innocent appearance. But when it was opened, the 9th Pursuit was turned upside down so fast that it looked like the 6th. For Phineas Pinkham had been made a COLONEL!

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