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Decoy Smashers

Link - Posted by David on September 18, 2014 @ 12:00 pm in

Frederick Blakeslee painted the covers for Dare-Devil Aces‘ entire fourteen year run. Every one of those covers told a story, and Blakeslee had a page with which to do so. We present Blakeslee’s cover for the February 1933 issue of Dare-Devil Aces—”Decoy Smashers”…

th_DDA_3302AN IMPORTANT offensive had been held up by the activities of a group of four German balloons, that, floating close together in a line, looked exactly alike. When a patrol was sent against them it was found that at least three of these balloons were decoys filled with H.E. Upon being attacked the balloons were all pulled down to lure the planes closer, and then they were exploded with frightful results. The first patrol was almost wiped out and a short time later four more balloons were floating in the same place.

After a day of careful observation it was still uncertain which balloon carried the observer. However, another group of fighting ships took off with a plan to trick the Germans into exploding all the decoys, after which the remaining balloon could be attacked. This patrol was driven off by superior numbers and the balloons remained.

It became a game to see who could outwit the other and the outcome was watched by every outfit in that sector. More than one pilot in a fast pursuit ship had a go at these balloons without any success. The sausages still held the sky and still held up the offensive. It remained for a comparatively slow bomber, totally unprotected and quite by accident, to discover and destroy the correct balloon.

A British pilot and observer had completed an important photographic mission into Germany. Returning they suddenly became aware that a strong force of the enemy were converging on them from three sides.

Only one way was open. This led directly over the four balloons. They sped for this opening, intent only on getting away with the photographs. As they flew over one of the balloons they saw an object drop from the basket and a moment later a parachute open. They knew then that this was the one balloon of the four that for days had held up the offensive. Turning quickly, the observer poured a deadly fire into the bag at close range. The sudden turn of the Bristol completely disorganized the pursuit and before the Germans could follow, the balloon was falling in flames and the Bristol was speeding to safety. Without giving the balloons time to be lowered and positions changed, troops went over the top, captured the position and so allowed the offensive to organize, and later secure a victory.

Did the two Englishmen receive medals from a grateful government? They did not! They were reprimanded for jeopardizing the safety of valuable photographs.

The Story Behind The Cover
“Decoy Smashers: The Story Behind The Cover” by Frederick Blakeslee (February 1933)

Check back again. We will be presenting more of Blakeslee’s Stories behind his cover illustrations.

“They Had What It Takes – Part 41: “Lon” Yancey” by Alden McWilliams

Link - Posted by David on September 16, 2014 @ 12:00 pm in

We have arrived at the final installment of Alden McWilliam’s illustrated biographies he did for Flying Aces Magazine—They Had What It Takes. For this last article he features world famous navigator Captain Lewis Alonzo “Lon” Yancey.

Yancey became interested in aviation and the science of navigation while in the Coast Guard after a stint in the Navy. He quickly became a sought after navigator making his first trans-continental flight as a co-pilot in 1927. In 1929 he and Roger Q. Williams flew from Old Orchard Beach, Maine to Rome (in the picture at left, Yancey is loading provisions on his plane while German aviatrix, Thea Rasche looks on); and the first flight from New York to Bermuda in 1930. In 1938 he flew to New Guinea with Richard Archbold for the American Museum of Natural History.

He unfortunately died suddenly of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 44 in 1940.

Blakeslee’s “Death Bomber”

Link - Posted by David on September 11, 2014 @ 12:00 pm in

Frederick Blakeslee painted the covers for Dare-Devil Aces‘ entire fourteen year run. Every one of those covers told a story, and Blakeslee had a page with which to do so. We present Blakeslee’s cover for the January 1933 issue of Dare-Devil Aces and the story of R.F.C. pilot Lt. J.R. Gilbert as he happened upon the “Death Bomber”…

th_DDA_3301THIS story happened to an R.F.C. pilot, Lt. J.R. Gilbert. He was flying alone and was a considerable distance in enemy territory, when he sighted a speck ahead to the right. On investigation it proved to be a Gotha, alone and unescorted, with a load of bombs and headed toward France. Although Gilbert was alone he went to the attack, not knowing that he had been observed by the crew of the bomber.

In the fight that followed the Englishman sustained a damaging fire and used up his ammunition. Withdrawing, he flew at top speed to his drome. Here he landed, changed ships and returned. He sighted the bomber, just over the lines, but this time planned a surprise attack. He scudded under a layer of clouds and in so doing did not see that the Gotha had been joined by a Fokker. He took the bomber completely unaware, coming up under its bow. His guns ripped the Gotha’s nose to ribbons, killing the gunner and wounding the pilot.

Gilbert then dove away to escape the falling plane but was surprised to see tracers flash by his head, shattering his instrument board. Turning, he saw the Fokker on his tail. Then began a tremendous power dive—his only means of escape for he knew that in combat the Fokker could have flown circles around his Spad. Gilbert held the Spad in the dive until it semed that the terrific speed would strip the fabric off. The Fokker was unequal to a Spad in a dive but the Boche’s desire for vengeance was so great that he stayed on his enemy’s tail until it was too late. The Spad recovered from the dive but the Fokker roared by and a second later was ripped apart by the tremendous friction.

In the meantime Gilbert was having troubles of his own. His instrument board was shattered, his ship had been badly shot and the fabric of the wings had been loosened by the dive. He had to land immediately. Picking out a clearing, he brought his ship to the ground where it collapsed. But his trials were not yet over, for the approaching soldiers were not clad in khaki but in field-gray. He had landed in Germany! He managed to escape however, and three days later crossed the lines into safety.

The Story Behind The Cover
“Death Bomber: The Story Behind The Cover” by Frederick Blakeslee (January 1933)

Check back again. We will be presenting more of Blakeslee’s Stories behind his cover illustrations.

“They Had What It Takes – Part 40: Donald Douglas” by Alden McWilliams

Link - Posted by David on September 9, 2014 @ 12:00 pm in

Here we are with the penultimate installment of Alden McWilliam’s illustrated biographies he did for Flying Aces Magazine. And this time around we have that giant of American Aviation—Donald Wills Douglas!

Douglas was an influential American aircraft industrialist and engineer who founded his Douglas Aircraft Company in 1921 which would become one of the leaders in the commercial aircraft industry. He went head to head with arch-rival Boeing gaining the early advantage throughout production during WWII, but then sadly fell behind with the advent of the jet age. Douglas retired in 1957 and passed away in 1981 at the age of 88.

He was such a big figure in Aeronautics that Popular Science also ran an illustrated feature on his life and career in their December 1940 issue. Illustrated by B.W. Schlatter.

Airman’s Code

Link - Posted by David on September 4, 2014 @ 12:00 pm in

Frederick Blakeslee painted the covers for Dare-Devil Aces‘ entire fourteen year run. Every one of those covers told a story, and Blakeslee had a page with which to do so. We present Blakeslee’s cover for the December 1932 issue of Dare-Devil Aces—”Airman’s Code”…

th_DDA_3212AT THE outbreak of the War a certain German who had been educated in England answered the call of his country. In 1917 he entered the air service and the next year found him in Richthofen’s Circus. He was a clean fighter and preferred to wage combat alone where he could follow his own tactics. Once when he was engaged in a lone battle with an Englishman, his opponent’s guns jammed. Instead of pressing his advantage, the German stopped firing and waited until the jam had been cleared. The combat was started again, and again the Englishman’s guns jammed, this time hopelessly. He motioned to that effect, whereupon the German saluted and flew away.

He soon became famous for his chivalry and in return was accorded the same treatment by the English and Americans with whom he came in contact. However, when he flew with the Circus, no quarter was asked or given and he fought as hard and as viciously as everyone else did. The exciting scrap shown on the cover can perhaps be best described in his own words.

“Soon after Richthofen’s death,” he said, “I was transferred to another squadron. I used my same old ship with a different color scheme and a large number 3 painted on the side. One day on patrol we sighted a lone British machine scudding along beneath the clouds toward Germany. Our leader dove on it and we followed. The British ship was called a Bristol Fighter and lived up to its name. As we approached, the gunner coolly took aim and raked our leader with flaming tracers.

“Here was a worthy foe and I swooped across to dive in from the other side, while my remaining companion took him on the left. When I turned I was face to face with a deadly S.E.-5—and we were alone. I was so astonished that before I could recover, the S.E. had sent in a burst that put my port gun out of commission and a bullet grazed my head, knocking my goggles down over my nose. By the time I had cleared away the goggles and wiped the blood out of my eyes, the S.E.-S was on my tail. In a few seconds my instrument board was shattered to bits. Not once was I able to get the S.E. within my sight. He was everywhere at once.

“Acknowledging myself licked, I fled, not knowing or caring in what direction. My vision was blurred—and I crashed. When I awoke I was on a cot and khaki-clad men were standing about. I realized that I was a prisoner!

“I will add that I was treated royally. That evening I met a former classmate and dined at his mess. The next morning I left for the prison camp.”

The Story Behind The Cover
“Airman’s Code: The Story Behind The Cover” by Frederick Blakeslee (December 1932)

Check back again. We will be presenting more of Blakeslee’s Stories behind his cover illustrations.

“The Hanger of Hate” by Donald E. Keyhoe

Link - Posted by David on September 1, 2014 @ 12:00 pm in

In honor of the release of Strange Operators, this time we’re featuring a novelette by Donald Keyhoe that appeared in the pages of Flying Aces the month before the first Philip Strange story. Keyhoe gives us a precursor of sorts to his Brain-Devil in Arnold Trent—a former Broadway female impersonator who took jibes and enmity from his squadron mates until at the end he flew into Germany and, posing as a countess, rescued a captured fellow pilot. Enjoy!

Ahead of trent lay the 77th—and escape from the mocking fate that pursued him. But one man who knew his secret waited on the tarmac.

Frederick Blakeslee’s “The Giant Bomber”

Link - Posted by David on August 28, 2014 @ 12:00 pm in

Back with another of Frederick Blakeslee’s “The Story Behind The Cover.” Each issue of Popular Publication’s Dare-Devil Aces had a fantastic scene of air combat gracing its cover. Frederick Blakeslee painted all 135 covers—and each had a story behind it. This is the story behind the cover of the October 1932 issue—”The Giant Bomber”…

th_DDA_3210BRITISH Intelligence reported a contemplated raid on London by a large force of bombers. A certain squadron near Dunkirk was asked to intercept these ships and to destroy as many as possible. Consequently the air was filled with British craft patroling the coast. As the weather became unsafe for flying, most of the patrols returned to their bases, but several, which had become separated, did not return for some time. Let us follow one of these, an S.E.-5 flown by Lt. Allen Archer.

Archer was returning to his drome when suddenly a huge bomber hove into sight, escorted by three Fokker triplanes flying high above and ahead. Archer was sure that this was the vanguard of the raid and looked anxiously about for help. Not an Allied plane was in sight however, so it was up to him to do something by himself. To attack this huge monster with his comparatively tiny S.E.-5 seemed futile. However, he realized the number of women and children who might not see tomorrow should this ship arrive over London; so despite the heavy odds he decided to attack. He had no sooner made his decision than he found himself in a savage combat with two of the Fokkers. He shot one of them down and, with the other on his tail, headed for the lumbering giant.

As he drew near he let go a burst, but as far as he could see it did no damage. Yet to his utter surprise the bomber gave a lurch, a man fell or jumped overboard and the engines on the left burst into flames. The bomber tipped up and dove into the clouds. Archer was so occupied with the two remaining Fokkers that he was unable to follow the bomber down. After a short combat he drove them off and returned to his field. The bomber landed in Germany, so what happened was never known by the Allies.

The bomber was a Zeppelin Five-engined “Giant.” Even today it would be accounted a mammoth ship. An idea of its size may be had from the fact that it weighed a little over fourteen tons, with a span of about 136 ft. and a length of 72 ft. It carried a crew of nine or ten men. Compare its size with the men in the drawing below. One man has his hand on the propeller, two more are sitting on the fuselage.

The Story Behind The Cover
“The Giant Bomber: The Story Behind The Cover” by Frederick Blakeslee (October 1932)

Check back again. We will be presenting more of Blakeslee’s Stories behind his cover illustrations.

Frederick Blakeslee’s “Bombing of Zeebrugge”

Link - Posted by David on August 21, 2014 @ 12:00 pm in

Back with another of Frederick Blakeslee’s “The Story Behind The Cover.” This time we’re featuring Blakeslee’s cover for the September 1932 issue of Dare-Devil Aces. It’s a great battle scene depicting a squdron of French Caudron bombers going about thier business. Here’s Frederick Blakeslee himself to tell you about the “Bombing of Zeebrugge,” The Story Behind the Cover…

th_DDA_3209ZEEBRUGGE developed into an important naval base early in the War. The submarine had its home there; warships, torpedo boats and transports were here also. From 1915 until it was liberated by the Allies in October, 1918, Zeebrugge was the target for raid after raid by Allied aircraft. Here was fought the famous naval battle—the blocking of the Mole on April 23rd, 1918—which was made possible by aircraft. The raids were too numerous to mention in detail. The one shown on the cover occured on March 20, 1916.

Early that day a combined force of approximately fifty British, French and Belgian airplanes and seaplanes, accompanied by fifteen fighting ships, left various bases and attacked the military establishment, docks, submarines, ships, etc. This was the largest air-raid as far as the numbers of machines engaged were concerned, that had been reported up to that time. All the planes returned safely after dropping approximately ten thousand pounds of high explosives. Ships were simply bombed out of Zeebrugge, for several were found at sea later in the day.

The cover shows the French section of the raid. The machines used were Caudrons. This machine was one of the most successful bombers ever made by the French because of its great weight-lifting capacity and imperviousness to bad weather. The ship in the foreground is an R-ll, the one underneath a C-23.

The two machines looked very much alike, the only difference being in span and shape of cowling over the engines. The R-ll had triangular power eggs housing the 200 h.p. Hispano-Suiza engines. The C-23, with a longer span, had rounded power eggs housing two Salmson engines of 250 h.p. each. After the armistice this machine was transformed into a passenger carrier.

Another Caudron of the tail-boom or open framework type, was known as the G-6 and was altogether different in appearance.

The Story Behind The Cover
“Bombing of Zeebrugge: The Story Behind The Cover” by Frederick Blakeslee (September 1932)

Check back again. We will be presenting more of Blakeslee’s Stories behind his cover illustrations.

“Fly ‘Em Cowboy” by Robert J Hogan

Link - Posted by David on August 17, 2014 @ 2:44 pm in

With the publication of volume two of The Adventures of Smoke Wade, we thought now would be as good a time as any to release the last of the pre-Popular Smoke Wade stories. This is the second of the Street & Smith stories to appear in Air Trails, following Smoke debut in the previous issues’ “Wager Flight”.

In “Fly ‘Em Cowboy” we find Quinn has just been sent up from Insoudon—just another green replacement with visions of taking down the best German ace on the Western Front, and Smoke Wade concocts his wildest plan yet to help Quinn and win a bet in the process. (Quinn would later become leader of C flight at the 66th Pursuit Squadron)

With the wings of a plane, or the bullets of a six-gun, Smoke Wade could cut circles around his enemy.

The Bridge Bombers

Link - Posted by David on August 18, 2013 @ 3:02 pm in

Back with another of Frederick Blakeslee’s “The Story Behind The Cover.” This time we’re featuring Blakeslee’s cover for the April 1932 issue of Dare-Devil Aces. Another of his nighttime covers that are so striking and only seem to appear in the first year of Dare-Devil Aces’ 15 year run. So, without further ado, “The Bridge Bombers” The Story Behind the Cover by Federick Blakeslee…

th_DDA_3204THERE is a river in northern France which a certain German army corps will never forget. Every bridge had been blown up and the French had made a strong resistance from the south bank for two days. German intelligence discovered a weak spot in the defense, however, and here they determined to cross at night.

Soon after dark Boche engineers began their work. Huge guns came out of concealment and were hurried to the riverside. The bridges, which were being built six at once, seemed to fairly leap across and as quickly as they were completed the troops started to march over them. It was then that things began to happen. The Germans became conscious of a pulsation which quickly became a rumble, then a roar, as two squadrons of fighting Scouts swept down upon them, spraying the bridges with lead and dropping small bombs. The Jerries broke and ran in both directions.

Then came the bombers, dropping high explosives, blowing men and bridges to kingdom come. In the meantime a hot ground fire started to drive back those Germans who had succeeded in reaching the south bank. As soon as the low-flying planes had gone, French artillery opened on the enemy who remained on the north bank. The damage by infantry, artillery and planes was terrific and all but annihilated a complete army corps.

The Germans eventually crossed the river, but at a tremendous price. Later they were to return to that river, as eager to get to the north bank as they had been to get to the south.

The Story Behind The Cover
“The Bridge Bombers: The Story Behind The Cover” by Frederick Blakeslee (April 1932)

Check back again. We will be presenting more of Blakeslee’s Stories behind his cover illustrations.

Blakeslee’s Bombing London

Link - Posted by David on August 9, 2013 @ 12:32 pm in

Frederick Blakeslee painted the covers for Dare-Devil Aces‘ entire fourteen year run. Every one of those covers told a story, and Blakeslee had a page with which to do so. We present Blakeslee’s cover for the November 1932 issue of Dare-Devil Aces—”Bombing London.”

th_DDA_3211THE COVER shows a night raid on London by a squadron of Gothas—one of the most cruel and useless gestures of the War. The Germans seem to have had the idea that these raids would break the morale of the English people. In that respect they utterly failed, for they made England fighting mad and stimulated recruiting as nothing else could have done. The average Englishman took the raids philosophically. Instead of flocking to the cellars a great many went to the roofs to watch the sport. The following anecdote shows their reaction. In a hotel where the people were on the verge of panic during a raid, one of the guests heard the banging of anti-aircraft guns, put down his paper and said in a loud voice, “Come in!” Everyone laughed and the tension was broken.

However, raids were not jokes. They were horrible, serving no useful military purpose and killing hundreds of non-combattants. Most of the raids were at night, although a few were carried out in broad daylight. One such raid killed 104 people and injured 423 in the congested area around the Liverpool St. Station.

The Germans sometimes paid for these “murder raids.” During one of them, perhaps the greatest that took place over London, forty Gotha machines were used. Six were brought down in combat by anti-aircraft and one as the result of engine trouble.

Because of the many failures of Zeppelins to return from raids on London, the Gotha was designed to take its place. It had a wing span of 77 ft. and was powered by two 260 h.p. Mercedes engines, which gave the ship a speed of 73 m.p.h.

The Story Behind The Cover
“Bombing London: The Story Behind The Cover” by Frederick M. Blakeslee (November 1932)

We published a small collection of 10 of Blakeslee’s “Story Behind The Cover” features in The Three Mosqitoes: The Thunderbolt Ace which can be ordered from Amazon. We will be presenting more of Blakeslee’s Stories behind his cover illustrations so check back again…

Coming to PulpFest…

Link - Posted by David on July 22, 2013 @ 9:19 pm in

PulpFest 2013 gets underway on Thursday, July 25th and the whole Age of Aces crew will be in attendance. We’ll be promoting our new book—our biggest yet—Battling Grogan and the Dragon Squadron. “Battling” Grogan is an American flyer in command of the Chinese Dragon Squadron fighting to repel the invading Imperial Japanese. The stories are written by Robert M. Burtt who is probably best known as co-creator and writer of such radio classics as The Air Adventures of Jimmie Allen, Captain Midnight, and Sky King.

Since we wouldn’t have the third Philip Strange book ready in time for the convention, we decided to try to get together a special book just for sale exclusively at the convention. In looking around at what we had scanned and ready to go, we hit upon Coffin Kirk by the prolific Arch Whitehouse. These six stories of Coffin Kirk and his trained-gorilla tail-gunner Tank and their fight against “The Cirlcle of Death” were available in our Age of Aces Presents section a few years ago. We removed them when we were intending on releasing them as an eBook online so it seemed only natural to put them out as a print book.

We had initially planned to offer the book only at the convention, but we thought we’d make it available on Amazon for the week of the convention for those who can’t attend, but would still like to pick up a copy of the book.

new releasesArt Director Chris Kalb show off our two new titles.

So stop by our table and meet the crew and check it out or pick up any of our other titles at special Pulpfest discounts. If you can’t make it—keep your eyes on ageofaces.net to find out more about our new books. And hurry over to Amazon where, for a limited time, you can pick up a copy of The Adventures of Coffin Kirk!

Battling Grogan and the Dragon Squadron are here!

Link - Posted by David on July 9, 2013 @ 11:20 pm in

grogan_3dAfter a bit of a break Age of Aces is back with our biggest book ever! 470 pages big! We have posted a few of The Battling Grogan stories a number of years ago and thought they we so great we set about to collect all 14 of the stories and put them together in one big volume.

The stories are set in China between the wars when Imperial Japan was trying to make inroads on China. Battling Mordray Grogan is an American pilot who leads the Chinese Dragon Squadron. He’s ably assisted by his three valiant flight commanders, Monty St. John, the lanky Limey, slender Hank Goyen, the dapper Frog, and last but not least, the imperturbable Ah Im, Grogan’s boyhood chum of old Nanking days, now premier olive-toned ace of the Dragon clan.

Battling Grogan is the brainchild of WWi pilot Robert M. Burtt who wrote the 14 stories between 1932 and 1934 for Flying Aces Magazine. Burtt is probably best know as the co-creator and writer of aviation-themed radio serials The Air Adventures of Jimmie Allen (1933-37), Captain Midnight (1938-49), Hop Harrigan (1942-48) and Sky King (1946-54).

So click on the book image above or cruise on over to Amazon and check out our latest release!

The Spider takes on the Empire State in comics — and this time he’s bringing some friends!

Link - Posted by Chris on November 28, 2012 @ 2:37 am in

Masks #1 cover by Alex Ross

Today Dynamite Comics releases Masks, an eight-part mini-series teaming the company’s Pulp-era licensed characters for one epic battle. What menace could be big enough to draw together The Spider, The Shadow, The Green Hornet, Kato and Zorro? Writer Chris Roberson (iZombie, Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love) explains in an interview with Newsarama:

The genesis of the idea was a well-known storyline that ran in The Spider pulp magazines in the 1930s, over the course of three novels: The City That Paid To Die, The Spider At Bay, and Scourge of the Black Legions. In the original story, written by Norvell Page (as Grant Stockbridge), a political organization called the Party of Justice takes over New York State, and quickly institutes a fascist police state. It was an allegory for what was happening in Europe at the time, and saw the Spider go from being a vigilante who fought crime to being a full-blown freedom-fighter protecting the citizenry from an oppressive government.

Yes, the Spider’s “Black Police Trilogy,” which Age of Aces Books had the privilege of putting back into print (as The Spider Vs. The Empire State), is coming to comic shops! And the New York Rebellion of 1938 is bigger than ever: In addition to The Spider, The Green Hornet, The Shadow and (a 1930s-era) Zorro, the struggle against the Party of Justice will see the rise of “new” heroes too — The Black Bat, Miss Fury, Black Terror and The Green Lama. With so many 1930s vigilantes sharing the spotlight, the narrative necessarily deviates from Norvell Page’s 1938 tale, yet — judging from the capsule descriptions of future issues — The Spider thread of the story remains pretty much unchanged. As Roberson told Check Point Interviews:

The idea was that, while the Spider was off having his adventure, the other vigilante characters who were operating at the time would have also had to deal with this fascist police state.


“Patrols of Peril” by Frederick C. Davis

Link - Posted by David on September 14, 2012 @ 8:00 am in

This week we have a short story by renowned pulp author Frederick C. Davis. Davis is probably best remembered for his work on Operator 5 where he penned the first 20 stories, as well as the Moon Man series for Ten Detective Aces and several other continuing series for various Popular Publications. He also wrote a number of aviation stories that appeared in Aces, Air Stories and Wings. “Patrols of Peril” was published in the premiere issue of Air Stories magazine in 1927.

Tragedy and spitting lead fly swiftly in the wake of a joke with a startling climax on the brink of Eternity.

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