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“Famous Sky Fighters, January 1936″ by Terry Gilkison

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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 January 1936 installment, from the pages of Sky Fighters, features Lt. Charles Lenoir, Capt. Albert Heurteaux, Frank Luke, Lt. Col Harold E. Hartney, and the brother of the great one—Lothar von Richthofen!

Next time in “Famous Sky Fighters”, Terry Gilkison features Lt. Edward Roberts, Lt. Col. Robert Rockwell, Major Byford McCudden, and Rittmeister Carl Bolle! Don’t miss it!

“Sky Birds, March 1935″ by C.B. Mayshark

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THIS May we’re celebrating the genius that is C.B. Mayshark! Mayshark took over the covers duties for Sky Birds with the July 1934 and would paint all the remaining covers until it’s last issue in December 1935. At the start of his run, Sky Birds started featuring a different combat maneuver of the war-time pilots. The lower corner presenting a play-by-play of that month’s maneuver with the remainder of the cover illustrating it. For March 1935 issue Mayshark gives us “Top Gun Triumphs!”

Combat Maneuvers of War-Time Pilots:
Top Gun Triumphs

A BRITISH S.E.5 is on reconnaissance th_SB_3503 duty high above the shell-torn contours of the Rhine. As it skims along on the dead air, its pilot is suddenly struck with a feeling of loneliness. Even the sun, which is covered with a thick, murky haze, affords no companionship.

With his observations well in mind, the British pilot banks his ship around and heads for home, thinking that maybe this war flying is not such hot stuff, after all, especially when even the sun isn’t friendly. But suddenly the sun is a great deal less than friendly. A German Hannover drops from out of its glittering depths with a screech and a thunderous roar, and the S.E.5 finds its wings being splintered with Spandau tracer.

In panicky excitement, the British pilot sends his ship up into a steep climb and veers off in a mad effort to shake off the German. As he finds himself momentarily clear of the murderous machine-gun fire, the Britisher feels like a rat without a hole into which to crawl. With both ships out of firing range of each other, the S.E. pilot has time to think, and he grimly determines that he will not go down without firing a shot.

However, extreme difficulties must be overcome in order to down a German Hannover two-seater. This ship is noted for its practical immunity to single-ship attack, and its only blind spot is hard to get at. With a rear gunner who controls a wide arc of fire, it is almost impossible for one to dive upon the ship—that is, if life is to be considered. Attack from the rear is also hazardous because of the specially constructed tail assembly. With the lifting and elevator surfaces built in biplane form, the lateral dimensions are greatly reduced, thereby providing for a much greater arc of fire on either side of the fuselage than on ships of conventional style.

Also, the narrow fuselage enables the gunner to fire down at a very steep angle. Of course, the pilot’s guns firing through the propeller cover anything ahead which is in the ship’s line of flight. The Hannover is fast and maneuvers easily. All in all, it is a ship with a very high efficiency rating.

Knowing all these facts, the S.E. pilot plans his attack shrewdly. Waiting for a moment while the Hun plane comes upon him again, the Britisher continues flying in a straight line. The instant the German opens fire, our pilot fakes being hit and stalls, nose-up. As the S.E. falls away in a flutter to the rear of the Hannover, the Hun gunner, with a yell of triumph, smacks his pilot on the back. But his rejoicing is short-lived, for suddenly the S.E. comes to life. It gathers speed like a streak and is below the German in an instant. The Britisher handles the Lewis gun mounted on the top plane with cool precision, and as he pulls the handle down, he fires up almost vertically. A few short bursts are enough, and then the S.E. ducks out while the ducking is good. A moment later, the German two-seater careens crazily and then dives for earth in a mad spin. The British have won again!

The S.E.5 (S.E. meaning Scouting Experimental) was one of the best single-seaters in the Allied service during the war. It was designed by the engineers of the Royal Aircraft Establishment, and numbers of them were built by several different airplane manufacturers in England.

The Story of The Cover
Sky Birds, March 1935 by C.B. Mayshark
(Combat Maneuvers of War-Time Pilots: The Story Behind This Month’s Cover)

“Sky Birds, February 1935″ by C.B. Mayshark

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THIS May we’re celebrating the genius that is C.B. Mayshark! Mayshark took over the covers duties for Sky Birds with the July 1934 and would paint all the remaining covers until it’s last issue in December 1935. At the start of his run, Sky Birds started featuring a different combat maneuver of the war-time pilots. The lower corner presenting a play-by-play of that month’s maneuver with the remainder of the cover illustrating it. For February 1935 issue Mayshark gives us “Safety In Numbers!”

Combat Maneuvers of War-Time Pilots:
Safety In Numbers

UNDER ordinary circumstances, th_SB_3502 when you get one ship in combat with many, you have a very one-sided battle. Of course, there were instances during the war when a single combatant came out the victor over overwhelming odds, but these cases were few and far between.

Usually, when one lone ship came upon a flight of enemy planes, the solitary plane made a decided effort to duck out. A pilot who was seen streaking for home with a flock of Germans on his tail was never considered a coward. On the contrary, he was thought to be displaying a lot of good common sense. Foolhardy exposure never drew praise.

On this month’s cover, we have illustrated an air battle which, at first glance, looks like a victory for the enemy. A Britisher who was trapped between two Huns got nothing but sympathy and prayers from nonparticipating onlookers, if the combat happened to be taking place over Allied soil. If the Germans were viewing the fight, the Britisher didn’t get even that much of a break. But in our cover, the British pilot is fooling them all, whether they be enemy or Allied bystanders.

Diving full upon a German scout, the British pilot is just ready to line up his target when he suddenly becomes aware of the fact that another German is bearing down upon him from behind. His first impulse is to abandon the prey before him and attempt to get away. He almost carries out his impulse, but in a second he foresees the possible outcome of the battle if he sticks where he is. He is taking a long chance, and he knows it. The only alternative is almost certain defeat.

Having decided that he has a fifty-fifty chance of disposing of these Huns one by one, the British pilot pulls up closer onto the tail of his adversary. The German ship which is bringing up the rear also pulls up closer, but the Hun finds himself in a fit of indecision. There is a chance that he can fire upon the Allied ship before him and register a hit with the first burst. But if he misses, the chances are ten to one that his comrade ahead will get it in the neck. What to do?

Then, suddenly, he sees it is too late to do anything. The British pilot has opened fire, and one short burst proves adequate to knock the German out of the sky.

As his ship falls away in a spin, the remaining German is blinded with rage. Why hadn’t he drilled this British pilot when he had a chance? He has been duped, and, as a result, his comrade has fallen to his death. Now the only thing left is revenge.

But the Britisher is as wary as he is smart. As soon as he sees that his bullets have found their mark, he spins away from the remaining Hun with the speed of lightning. And now he finds himself free to engage the enemy on even terms.

But what is this dropping out of the clouds on his left? A whole flight of enemy scouts! The Britisher knows when he has had enough. Losing altitude quickly, he gains speed and streaks for home.

Thus a victory is won. An Allied pilot has fought bravely and smartly, and when the odds mount too heavily against him, he quits. A courageous but cautious airmanl

The planes on the cover this month are high-performance single-seater fighters, one of which is comparatively unknown.

The Bristol monoplane was built late in the war by the British and Colonial Aeroplane Co., Ltd. Incorporated in its design are found what was then the latest ideas in airplane construction. As can be seen, it is a high-wing, wire-braced monoplane. The fuselage is circular in construction, the shape of the cowling being preserved down to the tail by fairing. The ship is powered with a 110-horsepower Le Rhone engine, and a large spinner is fixed to the propeller boss. The ship has a top speed of 130 m.p.h.

The German planes pictured on the cover are the well-known Albatross D-3’s.

The Story of The Cover
Sky Birds, February 1935 by C.B. Mayshark
(Combat Maneuvers of War-Time Pilots: The Story Behind This Month’s Cover)

“Famous Sky Fighters, December 1935″ by Terry Gilkison

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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 December 1935 installment, from the pages of Sky Fighters, features noted American flyer Lt. Thomas Hitchcock, Jr., and famous German Ace Lt. Friedrich Allmenroder!

Next time in “Famous Sky Fighters”, Terry Gilkison features Lt. Charles Lenoir, Capt. Albert Heurteaux, Frank Luke, Lt. Col Harold E. Hartney, and the brother of the great one—Lothar von Richthofen! Don’t miss it!

“Sky Birds, January 1935″ by C.B. Mayshark

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

THIS May we’re celebrating the genius that is C.B. Mayshark! Mayshark took over the covers duties for Sky Birds with the July 1934 and would paint all the remaining covers until it’s last issue in December 1935. At the start of his run, Sky Birds started featuring a different combat maneuver of the war-time pilots. The lower corner presenting a play-by-play of that month’s maneuver with the remainder of the cover illustrating it. For January 1935 issue Mayshark gives us “The Maneuver Master’s Massacre!”

Combat Maneuvers of War-Time Pilots:
The Maneuver Master’s Massacre

IT IS the concensus of th_SB_3501 opinion that the Handley-Page bombing plane was the most efficient machine of its type ever to lift its wings above the shell-torn vistas of France for the Allied cause. There is no doubt that this opinion is correct in every respect. However, Boulton and Paul of Norwich, England, constructors of fighting aircraft, built late in the World War a bomber which might even have surpassed the famous Handley-Page if it had had time to prove its merit.
The Boulton and Paul “Bourges” bomber, pictured on this month’s cover, is one of the most remarkable wartime aeronautical engineering feats ever accomplished. The most amazing feature of the ship is the small overall dimensions. Bombers have always been thought of as huge, clumsy-looking craft, with none of the sweet lines of grace usually associated with the Sopwith Camel or the Bristol Fighter. Not so with the “Bourges.”

This machine combines the speed, climb, and maneuvering abilities usually connected with a small single-seater, with the range and fuel carrying capacity expected of a large bomber. The essential measurements of the “Bourges” are as follows: Span, 54 feet; overall length, 87 feet; gap (uniform), 6 feet, 6 inches; and chord, top plane, 8 feet, bottom plane 6 feet, 6 inches.

The ship is powered with two 300-horsepower A.B.C. “Dragonfly” stationary radial engines. These motors attain for the ship a speed at ten thousand feet of 124 miles per hour and a landing speed of 50 miles per hour. The fuel tank capacity in hours is 9.25. Besides the pilot, the ship carries gunner-observers in the forward and aft cockpits.

The maneuver on the cover depicts the method by which the bomber might be expected to get itself out of a tight spot. Bombers returning from night raids must be constantly on the lookout for surprise attacks.

As the German Roland dives on the bomber, it falls away, slowly waiting until that time when all airmen, by means of a sort of sixth sense, know that they can expect to feel tracer splashing through their fabric.

Suddenly the “Bourges” jerks up, taking the chance that the Hun will pull up, too, rather than crash. Of course, the German does pull up frantically, thinking only of getting his wheels away from the tail assembly of the Britisher. As his ship gains a little altitude, the German pilot is thinking that he has never seen a big ship move so fast. He has been tricked completely, and as he looks down over the side into the glare of his own searchlight beams to get his bearings, he realizes that he is whipped. British bullets are already smashing his plane to pieces. With controls shot away the Roland sinks over into a flat spin. A few minutes later, it crashes in German territory, and a very lucky Hun pilot hurries back to his airdrome to tell in wide-eyed amazement of how a certain British bomber, the equal of which he had never seen, was as maneuverable as his own single-seater.

The ship in which the German had such a narrow escape was a Roland parasol monoplane which was built by the L.F.G. firm. It was a high-performance single-seater scout, built primarily for patrol and escort duty, and designated as type D XVI. This ship was very smoothly streamlined, and the absence of wires facilitated in cutting down resistance. The power plant consisted of one 200-horsepower, eleven-cylinder Siemens engine.

The Story of The Cover
Sky Birds, January 1935 by C.B. Mayshark
(Combat Maneuvers of War-Time Pilots: The Story Behind This Month’s Cover)

“Sky Birds, December 1934″ by C.B. Mayshark

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THIS May we’re once again celebrating the genius that is C.B. Mayshark! Every Monday in May we’ll be featuring one of his great covers—in order to get an extra cover in, we’re starting a few days early! Mayshark took over the covers duties for Sky Birds with the July 1934 and would paint all the remaining covers until it’s last issue in December 1935. At the start of his run, Sky Birds started featuring a different combat maneuver of the war-time pilots. The lower corner presenting a play-by-play of that month’s maneuver with the remainder of the cover illustrating it. For December 1934 issue Mayshark gives us “The Kite Killer Escapes!”

Combat Maneuvers of War-Time Pilots:
The Kite Killer Escapes

DURNG the war, balloon th_SB_3412 strafing was one of the most hazardous and thrilling aerial sports in which a pilot could take part. And before the shells stopped bursting over the ruins of France, most of the Allied pilots had been initiated into the gameful art of balloon firing.

Of the few who attained fame in this branch of the air offensive, perhaps the most renowned is Willy Coppens. Balloons were his meat, and he attacked always with such fury and determination that the enemy defense ships usually went scuttling home, their pilots satisfied with the conclusion that here was a devil not to be denied by the German Imperial Air Corps.

At the time of his activity on the Western Front, Coppens was a very exacting and painstaking individual. He planned every engagement from the moment he first sighted his enemy, and he never deviated from his own original systemaof precautionary safety measures, which on more than one occasion tricked his enemy into foolhardy exposure and certain death. But Coppens did more than plan his fights. He planned his escapes, when a quick getaway was necessary, and quick getaways were necessary when balloon strafing was the business at hand.

On this month’s cover, we have shown you how the Belgian ace employed skill and cunning to effect his escape from the bullet-riddled air around the German kite balloon which he has just fired. As the Belgian makes a bee-line for home after the balloon has begun to burn, two Fokker D-7′a swoop down on him, determined to cut off his escape and avenge the defeat of their two fallen comrades.

The Belgian finds himself in a tight spot, but instead of losing his head and fighting blindly, he makes a wide turn and heads back towards the burning balloon. The two Germans stick with him.
As the trio nears the mass of flame and smoke, the Germans become puzzled and a little leery of their reckless enemy. Can it be that this fool is going to lead them to destruction? But the Belgian has his eyes open, and he is laughing up his sleeve. Suddenly the cable which anchors the balloon to the ground looms up. The Belgian succeeds in dodging it, but one of the Fokkers is not so lucky. The German plows headlong into the atrands of steel, the propeller splintering into a thousand fragments. The impact is so terrific that the burning balloon lurches downward as the Fokker sticks fast to the cable.

As the Belgian ducks around the front end of the balloon, the remaining German skids off to the right, expecting to pick up his enemy at the tail end of the burning craft. But the Belgian, piloting his ship almost mochanically, goes up in a steep climb. Gaining altitude, he slides over into the loose smoke some five hundred feet above the doomed balloon, settling there momentarily while his wide-eyed adversary frantically combs the hot air around the falling balloon. Suddenly the Belgian darts out into the open, and with his advantage of altitude, it is impossible for the Hun to reach him. Thus the Kite-Killer escapes.

The ship carrying the Belgian cocardes is a French-built Hanriot single-seater scout. Very few of these ships were built, although their performance was good and their response to the controls was as active as that of the Camel. It was powered with a 130-h.p. Clerget rotary motor. The curious arrangement of the center-section struts is the most distinctive feature of the plane.
The two German ships, as has been said, are the well-known Fokker D-7’s, and the balloon is a Perseval type observation bag with stabilizing flaps on either side.

The Story of The Cover
Sky Birds, December 1934 by C.B. Mayshark
(Combat Maneuvers of War-Time Pilots: The Story Behind This Month’s Cover)

“Famous Sky Fighters, November 1935″ by Terry Gilkison

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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 November 1935 installment, from the pages of Sky Fighters, features a bunch of Captains—James B. McCudden, Winand Grafe, Henry Clay, and John Alcock, and the most famous of all war airplane builders—Tony Fokker!

Next time in “Famous Sky Fighters”, Terry Gilkison features noted American flyer Lt. Thomas Hitchcock, Jr., and famous German Ace Lt. Friedrich Allmenroder! Don’t miss it!

“The Night Bomber” by C. Heurlin

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THIS week we present a cover by Colcord Heurlin! From 1923 to 1933 Colcord Heurlin painted covers for a wide range of pulp magazines. His work appeared on the covers of Adventure, Aces, Complete Stories, Everybody’s Combined with Romance, North-West Stories, The Popular, Short Stories, Sky Birds, Sea Stories, Top-Notch, War Stories, Western Story, and Flying Aces!

The Night Bomber

th_FA_3102THE tense drama of night bombing is clearly shown in the cover of this month’s issue. Many stories of these Boche bombing raids have been told. First the ominous whir of enemy wings sounded through the night. In the drome below, lights were hastily put out, and helmeted figures scurried to their ships to take to the air and ward off the dreaded danger. Streaks of Archie fire felt futilely through the black night sky for the range—and then the bombs fell, hurtling downward through the darkness on the tarmac beneath.

Sometimes, as in our cover, an Allied ship took off in time to get above the bomber, and a powerful searchlight caught the German ship in its merciless glare. Then, though the Archie shells burst harmlessly about, death tracers from the sputtering Vickers above caught the German gunner. That was one ship that did not flee to Germany unscathed, leaving death and destruction behind.

The Ships on The Cover
“The Night Bomber”
Flying Aces, February 1931 by C. Heurlin

“Skyrocket” by Lt. Frank Johnson

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

“It is definitely known that an attempt will be made at that place to bring out a spy,” said Major Messersmith grimly to Silent Orth. “The enemy doesn’t know the identity of the spy. They’ve combed their own ranks, but our man is too well ensconced in his role as a German officer. For all that the Germans know, one of the very patrol officers who seek to guard against the rescue may be the man they wish to uncover. Every German plane within twenty kilometers will be on the watch at that place. It sounds like a job for an armada. But one man must do it. You’re that man, Orth.” From the pages of the April 1935 Sky Fighters, it’s Silent Orth in “Skyrocket!”

Just a Lone Yank Pilot Deep in Hunland—on the Flaming Trail of a Daring Allied Spy!

“Famous Sky Fighters, October 1935″ by Terry Gilkison

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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 October 1935 installment, from the pages of Sky Fighters, features Sgt. James McConnell, Capt. James Norman Hall, Lt. Frank Engle, the war correspondent who ended up fighting, and the father of aerial combat Eugene Gilbert!

Next time in “Famous Sky Fighters”, Terry Gilkison features a bunch of Captains—James B. McCudden, Winand Grafe, Henry Clay, and John Alcock, and the most famous of all war airplane builders—Tony Fokker! Don’t miss it!

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

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Eugene M. Frandzen painted the covers of Sky Fighters from its first issue in 1932 until he moved on from the pulps in 1939. At this point in the run, the covers were about the planes featured on the cover more than the story depicted. Mr. Frandzen features Fairey F127 Seaplane making an escape after an attack on a giant Zeppelin on the April 1936 cover!

The Ships on the Cover

GOTHA and Friedrichshafen th_SF_3604 bombers of World War time ventured forth on daylight raids over England. They swooped down on the great cities dropping every conceivable type of bomb. But the slow-moving Zeppelins chose night as their time for harassing the enemy. Flying at tremendous heights with muffled engines they were often directly over their predetermined target before the defenders were aware of their presence.

Count von Zeppelin didn’t let size or weight bother him. There was fifty tons to be lifted into the air when the ship was fully loaded. The crew of twenty-two men could scramble through the big bag on a narrow catwalk running along the keel from one gondola to the others.

Aside from the navigation of the Zep they had to man nine machine-guns and release their cargo of about sixty bombs. Two of the machine-guns were mounted on top of the Zep in a small fenced platform. Her metal lattice work girder formation held twenty-four ballonets filled with inflammable hydrogen gas, within the framework. The big bag was around 650 feet long and 72 feet in diameter at its widest point.

Above London

The Zeppelin pictured on the cover nosed its way through the clouds of night towards the English Channel. Below faint splotches of flame marked the muzzles of roaring Allied cannon. Higher and higher climbed the air monster; Maybach engines pushed her toward her goal at around 50 m.p.h. Altitude was about 15,000 feet as she neared the Channel.

“Higher” ordered her commanding officer as the clouds disappeared and clear starlit skies opened ahead. The three men directly behind him glanced at each other with apprehension. Already the thermometer had dropped below freezing. It was going down fast. The great bag’s nose continued to point upward. The thermometer slid lower. Below zero. Hands froze at the control wheels. They were above London.

Bomb after bomb screamed down on the sleeping city, flames broke out, airplane motors roared as they lifted defense planes into the sky. Not a sign of the Zeppelin could they find. Altitude had again done the trick, and with dawn breaking in the east they pictured the high flying raider far back toward its home base.

The siren’s “All’s well” signal echoed through the darkened streets of London. The air raid was over. Householders could once more return to their broken slumbers. Those who had not perished.

But the Zeppelin was wallowing uncontrollable over the North Sea with a crew of men and officers nearly frozen to death. Control wires coated with ice from the morning mists, water ballast frozen in tanks. Even the engine radiators, although raised into cars, were frozen, and the motors were very nearly useless. Gradually the giant bag was settling.

The North Sea Patrol

Patroling the North Sea were the R.N.A.S. seaplanes. One of these, a Fairey F127 N9 was the first seaplane to begin flight by being catapulted from a warship. It was a big plane with a 50 foot span. The top plane had a large overhang. The machine had a 190 h.p. Rolls-Royce engine but these power plants were in such great demand for other planes that the N9 could not be put into quantity production. The original N9 was in service until a few months before the Armistice.

A surprised observer in the British Fairey seaplane rubbed his eyes and pounded his pilot on the back. Up shot the pontooned patrol boat. A nearly stationary Zeppelin hovering directly over the Channel in broad daylight was unbelievable. They soon realized it was the real thing as a barrage of machine-gun fire greeted their approach. A sharp bank brought the seaplane’s tail around. Lewis slugs streamed into the gut-covered ballonets. The great bulk of the raider shuddered as the first explosion racked her ribs.

Fire wrapped the envelope in clutching tentacles, ate into the canvas-covered sides of the control car and slashed at the three men and their commanding officer still fighting their controls. The fire engulfed the Zeppelin crew, just as flames had engulfed scores of non-combatants in London homes a few hours before.

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

“Famous Sky Fighters, September 1935″ by Terry Gilkison

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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 September 1935 installment, from the pages of Sky Fighters, features Italian Ace Major Barracca, Canadian flyer Captain W.W. Rogers, America’s Lt. Norman Prince, and Germany’s own Manfred von Richthofen!

Next time in “Famous Sky Fighters”, Terry Gilkison features Sgt. James McConnell, Capt. James Norman Hall, Lt. Frank Engle, the war correspondent who ended up fighting, and the father of aerial combat Eugene Gilbert! Don’t miss it!

“Mission of Death” by Ralph Oppenheim

Link - Posted by David on March 22, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

TO ROUND off Mosquito Month we have a non-Mosquitoes story from the pen of Ralph Oppenheim. It was always his observer, Jim Evans, who judged the dive, who directed Haskell as the latter worked controls, who told Haskell the precise moment to jerk back his stick and pull up—the same moment when Evans would release the bombs. And due to this uncanny judgment of Evans, and also to Haskell’s flying skill and strength, the two had never failed. Oh, they had been a team—Bomber Dan Haskell, big, husky, two-fisted—and Jim Evans, smaller, but lithe and agile and just as ready for action. An inseparable team, Which co-ordinated like a machine—which could do bombing work as no other unit. With Haskell as reckless pilot, and Evans in the rear as gunner and observer—though he wore a pilot’s full two wings—they had fought their way through all odds, dived upon their target hellbent, and blasted it right off the face of the earth. But Jim had been lost the day before on a run leaving Dan to set off on a daring mission alone—He must bomb bridge K-100 to keep the Germans from advancing on the Allied lines! From the June 1934 issue of Sky Fighters it’s “Mission of Death!”

Two Fighting Buddies Hold the Fate of the Allies in Their Hands as They Ride the Sky on an Errand of Doom!

“The Hawker Fury” by Frederick Blakeslee

Link - Posted by David on March 18, 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’ January 1937 cover, Mr. Blakeslee gives us a couple of Avia ’34’s trying to drive a bunch of Hawker “Furys” away from their Zeppelin base!

th_DDA_3701IN THE action on the cover, the reader will have no difficulty in discerning that a group of British ships are bombing a combined airdrome and dirigible depot. The green ships and the yellow plane are easily recognizable as variations of the Hawker ‘Fury,’ so we need give little of our time to them.

The plane in the upper left of the picture, however, is of a type not nearly so common as the others. It is an Avia ‘34’, if that means anything to you sky-hawks.

Germany, as you know, is exceedingly secretive concerning her air force and the new developments that she has undoubtedly made, so I’m frequently forced to ascribe to her ships which really are those of other countries.

Britain, of course, manufactures ships for a great number of countries. In fact, the green plane on the cover is a replica of a ‘Fury’ which was made for the Portuguese Air Force. The similarity existing between this ship and the truly British ships can easily be seen.

When we speak of European aircraft, we unconsciously think of the products of Great Britain, Germany, France and Italy, but strangely, the Avia with which we are concerned is the creation of none of these, but of tiny Czechoslovakia.

This country, of which we hear but little when the war drums throb in the sullen sky, is well equipped with beautiful, efficient ships of many varied types.

The Avia is a fighter of a single-seat type, and is powered by a 650 h.p. Hispano-Suiza engine of the latest design. It is unique in that it carries four machine guns,—two on the wings near the outer struts, which are not shown, and the usual pair,—one on each side of the fuselage. These latter two fire through invisible troughs.

This fighter has a speed of 200 m.p.h. at sea level and its service ceiling is 24,600 feet.

Fred Blakeslee

The Story Behind The Cover
“The Hawker Fury: The Story Behind The Cover” by Frederick Blakeslee
(January 1937, Dare-Devil Aces)

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.

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