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“Is That a Fact?” April 1932 by William E. Barrett

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

THIS November we’re celebrating William E. Barrett’s Birthday. Before he became renown for such classics as The Left Hand of God and Lilies of The Field, Barrett honed his craft across the pages of the pulp magazines—and nowhere more so than in War Birds and it’s companion magazine War Aces where he contributed smashing novels and novelettes, True tales of the Aces of the Great War, encyclopedic articles on the great war planes as well as other factual features. Here at Age of Aces Books he’s best known for his nine Iron Ace stories which ran in Sky Birds in the mid ’30s!

Among those factual features was “Is That a Fact?” which ran frequently in the pages of War Birds. It was an aviation themed version of a Ripley’s Believe It or Not kind of feature with hard to believe they’re true facts. Although written by Barrett, the feature was illustrated by noted cartoonist Victor “Vic Vac” Vaccarezza.

The April 1932 installment, from the pages of War Birds, features Major Raoul Lufbery, Captain F.R. McCall and the R.F.C.’s 56th Squadron!

“Famous Firsts” June 1932 by William E. Barrett

Link - Posted by David on November 20, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

THIS November we’re celebrating William E. Barrett’s Birthday. Before he became renown for such classics as The Left Hand of God and Lilies of The Field, Barrett honed his craft across the pages of the pulp magazines—and nowhere more so than in War Birds and it’s companion magazine War Aces where he contributed smashing novels and novelettes, True tales of the Aces of the Great War, encyclopedic articles on the great war planes as well as other factual features. Here at Age of Aces Books he’s best known for his nine Iron Ace stories which ran in Sky Birds in the mid ’30s!

Among those factual features was “Famous Firsts” which ran frequently in the pages of War Aces. “Famous Firsts” was an illustrated feature much along the lines of Barrett’s “Is That a Fact?” that was running in War Birds, only here the facts were all statements of firsts. And like “Is That a Fact?” in War Birds, this feature was also taken over by noted cartoonist Victor “Vic Vac” Vaccarezza in 1932.

The June 1932 installment, from the pages of War Aces, features George Washington (who witnessed the first Air Journey in America—really!), The 94th Squadron, the 185th Pursuit Squadron and The Second Balloon Company!

“Is That a Fact?” March 1932 by William E. Barrett

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

THIS November we’re celebrating William E. Barrett’s Birthday. Before he became renown for such classics as The Left Hand of God and Lilies of The Field, Barrett honed his craft across the pages of the pulp magazines—and nowhere more so than in War Birds and it’s companion magazine War Aces where he contributed smashing novels and novelettes, True tales of the Aces of the Great War, encyclopedic articles on the great war planes as well as other factual features. Here at Age of Aces Books he’s best known for his nine Iron Ace stories which ran in Sky Birds in the mid ’30s!

Among those factual features was “Is That a Fact?” which ran frequently in the pages of War Birds. It was an aviation themed version of a Ripley’s Believe It or Not kind of feature with hard to believe they’re true facts. Although written by Barrett, the feature was illustrated by noted cartoonist Victor “Vic Vac” Vaccarezza.

The March 1932 installment, from the pages of War Birds, features the R.F.C.’s first casualty, the great Manfred von Richthofen and his Circus and the Monument at Neuilly!

Next Monday Barrett features Major Raoul Lufbery, Captain F.R. McCall and the R.F.C.’s 56th Squadron!

“Famous Firsts” April 1932 by William E. Barrett

Link - Posted by David on November 13, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

THIS November we’re celebrating William E. Barrett’s Birthday. Before he became renown for such classics as The Left Hand of God and Lilies of The Field, Barrett honed his craft across the pages of the pulp magazines—and nowhere more so than in War Birds and it’s companion magazine War Aces where he contributed smashing novels and novelettes, True tales of the Aces of the Great War, encyclopedic articles on the great war planes as well as other factual features. Here at Age of Aces Books he’s best known for his nine Iron Ace stories which ran in Sky Birds in the mid ’30s!

Among those factual features was “Famous Firsts” which ran frequently in the pages of War Aces. “Famous Firsts” was an illustrated feature much along the lines of Barrett’s “Is That a Fact?” that was running in War Birds, only here the facts were all statements of firsts. And like “Is That a Fact?” in War Birds, this feature was also taken over by noted cartoonist Victor “Vic Vac” Vaccarezza in 1932.

The April 1932 installment, from the pages of War Aces, features Lt. Alan McLeod, The Sopwith Tabloid, and the Number One Battle Squadron!

Next Wednesday Barrett features George Washington (who witnessed the first Air Journey in America—really), The 94th Squadron, the 185th Pursuit Squadron and The Second Balloon Company!

“Is That a Fact?” February 1932 by William E. Barrett

Link - Posted by David on November 11, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

THIS November we’re celebrating William E. Barrett’s Birthday. Before he became renown for such classics as The Left Hand of God and Lilies of The Field, Barrett honed his craft across the pages of the pulp magazines—and nowhere more so than in War Birds and it’s companion magazine War Aces where he contributed smashing novels and novelettes, True tales of the Aces of the Great War, encyclopedic articles on the great war planes as well as other factual features. Here at Age of Aces Books he’s best known for his nine Iron Ace stories which ran in Sky Birds in the mid ’30s!

Among those factual features was “Is That a Fact?” which ran frequently in the pages of War Birds. It was an aviation themed version of a Ripley’s Believe It or Not kind of feature with hard to believe they’re true facts. Although written by Barrett, the feature was illustrated by noted cartoonist Victor “Vic Vac” Vaccarezza.

The February 1932 installment, from the pages of War Birds, features the Sop Pup, Jimmy McCudden, The First Tanks and Richthofen’s eightieth and final victory!

Next Monday Barrett touches on the R.F.C.’s first casualty, the great Manfred von Richthofen and his Circus and the Monument at Neuilly!

“Famous Firsts” February 1932 by William E. Barrett

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

THIS November we’re celebrating William E. Barrett’s Birthday. Before he became renown for such classics as The Left Hand of God and Lilies of The Field, Barrett honed his craft across the pages of the pulp magazines—and nowhere more so than in War Birds and it’s companion magazine War Aces where he contributed smashing novels and novelettes, True tales of the Aces of the Great War, encyclopedic articles on the great war planes as well as other factual features. Here at Age of Aces Books he’s best known for his nine Iron Ace stories which ran in Sky Birds in the mid ’30s!

Among those factual features was “Famous Firsts” which ran frequently in the pages of War Aces. “Famous Firsts” was an illustrated feature much along the lines of Barrett’s “Is That a Fact?” that was running in War Birds, only here the facts were all statements of firsts. And like “Is That a Fact?” in War Birds, this feature was also taken over by noted cartoonist Victor “Vic Vac” Vaccarezza in 1932.

The February 1932 installment, from the pages of War Aces, features Bill Thaw, Jimmy Bach and the real Captain Strange!

Next Wednesday Barrett features Lt. Alan McLeod, The Sopwith Tabloid, and the Number One Battle Squadron!

“Dead Man’s Dive” by O.B. Myers

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

THIS week, in honor of his birthday yesterday, we have a story from the pen of a prolific pulp author O.B. Myers! Myers was a pilot himself, flying with the 147th Aero Squadron and carrying two credited victories and awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

The Boche have a balloon up at Sargelles that will interfere with the Allies big drive. It must come down, but try as they might it is heavily protected by Baron Kranich’s deadly flying circus. Both the 19th and 29th Squadrons have tried in vain to bring it down. It seems it’ll take a really great stunt to bring it down—and they just happen to have one up their sleeves. From the May 1932 issue of War Birds, it’s O.B. Myers’ “Dead Man’s Dive!”

That wind-torn streamer marked safety for two Yanks, until that trick maneuver taught Barry to distrust even the message of the white signal—when black crosses cast their sinister shadow on it.

“When Bishop Fought Richthofen” by Paul J. Bissell

Link - Posted by David on September 2, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

CONTINUING with the Richthofen themed covers, this week we present “When Bishop Fought Richthofen”—The story behind the cover of Paul Bissell’s June 1932 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 June 1932 cover Bissell put us right in the action as the planes of Bishop and Richthofen square off!

When Bishop Fought Richthofen

th_FA_3206THE early spring of ‘17 saw Richthofen, the Red Knight of Germany, with almost two-score victories to his credit. For months now, hunter that he was, he had carefully searched the skies for his victims, and steadily built up a record that had already made him leading ace of the German Air Force and air idol of the German public. He had seen several months of duty as an observer at the Front, but it was under the guidance of the famous Boelcke that he started his career as a fighting pilot.

Now at last he was able to satisfy the impulse of the hunter which had always been a part of him. A deadly shot, and an expert flyer, he would climb into the clouds and there stalk his prey as carefully as he did the wild game on his own estate, waiting patiently his opportunity to dive headlong at some unsuspecting “bit of cold meat.”

This same spring there landed in a British airdrome on the Western Front a young pilot fresh from the training fields of England. He, too, had already done some four months of duty at the Front as an observer, but without getting the opportunity even to fire a shot. This lad of twenty-three was Lieutenant William Bishop, R.F.C., without a fight to his record, though he was destined in the next few months to pack in more air scraps than any other pilot in a similar length of time. He was, in these same few months, to became the dread of the Germans, the ranking ace of the R.F.C.—to barely escape death time after time, and rise to the rank of major.

He had been at the Front scarcely two weeks when he got his first German, while another two weeks saw him the proud possessor of a bright blue propeller hub-cap, presented to him by his mechanics upon his becoming an ace.

April the thirtieth was a red-letter day for both Bishop and Richthofen, though other days showed larger scores against the enemy for each of them. On this day, Bishop, in one hour and forty-five minutes, before lunch, had the distinction of engaging, single-handed, in nine separate aerial combats, bringing down a two-seater to add to his score, while Richthofen, before his noonday meal, by shooting down two of the enemy, had raised his score to fifty-two planes.

Seated as they were in their respective messes, it is questionable if either Bishop or Richthofen gave a thought one to the other, in fact, it is almost certain that Richthofen had never even heard the name of Bishop. However, fate that afternoon was to bring these two against each other.

It was about two in the afternoon, when Bishop, accompanied by his major, who was flying in another Nieuport, took off from his airport. For almost half an hour they flew steadily eastward without seeing any signs of the enemy; then, noticing some archie fire off to the left, they turned to investigate. Off some distance and below them they saw a German reconnaissance plane, and started the attack, when suddenly, darting in from their right, came four scarlet-nosed Albatross scouts.

SWINGING to avoid the first dive of the enemy, the two Britishers turned back into the battle. The major, with guns blazing, bore down upon the leader of the Germans, who, reversing quickly, avoided the direct fire of the major, and in turn attacked Bishop. It was then that Bishop realized that this plane was solid red, crimson from nose to tail save only for the black crosses standing out strongly in contrast on the wings. It was Richthofen, diving at him, trying to get him full in line with those deadly guns which had meant death to so many Englishmen. Well Bishop knew that only a split second now separated him from death.

Automatically he threw his stick over, and the plane banked up just in time, as Richthofen’s tracers went wild. Then began the tail-chasing. Around and around they swung, striving desperately to gain that deadly position behind the other’s flippers. Moments came when one or the other, by some quick maneuver, would, for the fraction of a second, find his target in line with his sights.

A burst of flames as the guns spat, but to no avail, and the chase began again.

The major had drifted off to the left, scrapping it out with one of the other Germans. This left two others, beside Richthofen, in this mad fight with Bishop. They, too, fought for a position from which they might fire upon the Britisher without endangering their own comrade and leader.

The circles were now getting tighter and tighter. The pace was terrific, and the other planes, unable to help their comrade, and fearing collision, had withdrawn to the side. Alone, the two masters of the air fought on. Each, finding himself unable to obtain the desired dead spot, was now firing with more abandon, hoping that one stray bullet might find its mark and bring this whirling dance of death to an end. For those two, time had ceased. The world was just themselves, rushing through endless space, madly circling, instinctively using every maneuver, every bit of skill at their command, to gain the desired opening.

They flew now as part of their own machines, and their guns, as part of themselves, spoke, when, for even the barest fraction of a second, their target flashed by.

Suddenly Bishop realized that he was near the end of his ammunition. He could not be sure that his opponent faced the same situation, and decided that he must conserve the few bullets that he had left. His feeling of desperation turned almost to despair, when, at this instant, he discovered three planes diving steeply at him.

Back he pulled on his stick, climbing sharply out of the mad circle, expecting every instant to feel the German bullets begin to spatter his plane, but knowing that he must take this hazard to get away from the new attack.

However, to his surprise, the planes dived past him, and down after the Red Knight, who had headed toward his two companions and Germany. Then Bishop discovered to his relief that the three planes were not Germans, as he had thought, but were three British naval planes which had come up opportunely at this moment.

The fight was over. One of the great air battles of the war was a thing of the past. The sportsman and the hunter had fought to a draw and retired with honor, each to fight many times again for his country, but never again against each other. For yet another year Richthofen continued his victories until he fell with an enemy bullet through his heart, to be buried with full military honors by his admiring foes.

Bishop fought steadily for six more months until, with forty-nine victories, he returned to his homeland, to receive every honor that a grateful king and country could bestow. He survived the war and is today the only living man with a V.C., D.S.O. twice awarded, and M.C.

The Ships on The Cover
“When Bishop Fought Richthofen”
Flying Aces, June 1932 by Paul Bissell

“High Boomerang” by Arthur J. Burks

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THIS week we have a story by prolific pulpster—Arthur J. Burks! Burks was a Marine during WWI and went on to become a prolific writer for the pulps in the 20’s and 30’s. He was a frequent contributor to War Aces.

Meet Hank Flynn, second lieutenant in the air service, was six feet two in his stocking feet and could whip any German that flew. His friends had told him so, and he modestly admitted when pressed, or even when not pressed, that they probably underestimated his abilities. He wasn’t a braggart, a bluff or an ass; he was just too young for his job and too full of the spirits of life. To others the war might be an excuse to discuss deep questions of psychology; to Hank it was a grand chance to have a hell of a good time and be decorated for it.

He had flaming red hair and a hawk nose smothered in freckles, and a grin that reached from here to there. But when, out of a clear sky, he was ordered to join that peculiar outfit in the woods across the lines from Masmunster known as “The Boomerangs,” something whispered to him that maybe there mightn’t be so much to smile about after he reported. From the pages of the July 1932 War Aces, it’s Arthur J. Burks’ “High Boomerang!”

Hank Flynn thought that a bag of ten gave him the right to give the skipper a few points, but he didn’t know that the best boomerangs always fly in a curve!

“Bombing Richthofen’s Drome” by Paul J. Bissell

Link - Posted by David on August 19, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we present “Bombing Richthofen’s Drome”—The story behind the cover of Paul Bissell’s April 1932 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 April 1932 cover Bissell put us right in the action as the planes of Squadron 100 circle over Richthofen’s drome, bombs exploding down below!

Bombing Richthofen’s Drome

th_FA_3204IT IS April of ‘17. Above, a full moon shines from an almost cloudless sky. Below, the landscape spreads away to the east—dark, except where a faint glimmer traces the twisting course of a river. To the west, against the horizon, continuous flashes show the progress of the battle of Arras, raging in its full fury.

There men lie in trenches, waiting in mud and slime for the signal which, at dawn, will send them from their meagre protection into that hail of bullets sweeping across No-Man’s-Land. Here, high in the air, all seems peaceful. Only the droning of many motors tells that death is on the wing. Death in the form of a dozen or more planes, each bearing the blue, white and red circles of the British Air Service on its wings; each carrying its little bunch of “bouquets” slung carefully in their racks underneath—”bouquets” to be presented to Richthofen’s Jagdstaffel II at its home airdrome at Izel le Hameau.

Suddenly the squadron leader, sensing rather than actually seeing what he knows to be his objective, cuts his motor and, tipping up one wing, descends in a wide, easy spiral so that he may more carefully check against his map the few faintly visible landmarks below. The other pilots, too, have cut their motors, hoping that there is a chance of getting down a bit before their singing wires will give them away. They do not know that already word of their approach has been given, that the searchlights and defenses are already manned by tense and eager foes waiting for that signal which will turn the quiet night into an inferno.

ONE thousand—two thousand—three thousand feet the leader drops, spiraling slowly. His companions, maintaining a much flatter glide, circle about the airdrome, holding their elevation until the leader can find his objective and drop his phosphorus bombs to light up their target.

Now, when he is scarcely a thousand feet up, a siren screams from the ground; a brilliant beam of light stabs the night—another, then still others, all sweeping the sky searchingly until one, finding its prey, stops suddenly, and the others quickly focus with it on the old British F.E. 2B. Instantly the sharp bark of archies shatters the stillness. On the ground, men dash from barracks and hangars. Hoarse orders are sharply given, and though the range is still too great, machine guns are already rattling nervously.

On, with never a waver, comes the old British crate—slowly gliding in, as surely and quietly as if she were coming down to land in her own airdrome. Down, down—five hundred feet. Now she is directly over the airdrome. The observer can be seen clearly in the white, merciless gleam of the searchlights, peering over the side—awaiting his moment.

They level off, one hundred and fifty feet up, and from the under wing of the plane comes a dark rush earthward. Men dive for shelter, and an instant later all hell breaks loose. The whole field is lighted up with the flaming brilliance of the burning bomb. Two hangars are ablaze. Shrapnel and flaming onions scream through the night. Other bombs crash, and the machine-gun fire is incessant.

NOW the other planes can be seen, diving straight in, or swinging in a wide circle to take their places in the parade of terror and death. One after another they come through the terrific barrage, and with deadly aim drop their bombs into the German quarters. One terrific explosion follows another. Hoarse screams echo as some poor devil is blown to bits.

Above, the motors are roaring full on, as the planes circle again and again to drop the last of their deadly missiles.

After all, it is only a matter of minutes. Destruction has come and passed, leaving in its wake burning hangars, dead and maimed bodies, and huge gaping holes in the formerly smooth carpet of the airdrome.

Already the hum of the motors can scarce be heard, as the squadron wings its way back home. Back over the front line, through another baptism of shell-fire, and then to their own field. Dawn is just graying the east as the last plane glides in safely. Not a machine but is torn by shrapnel. Wings are riddled with bullet holes. But Squadron 100, of the R.F.C., has bombed Richthofen and come back without the loss of a ship or a man!

The Ships on The Cover
“Bombing Richthofen’s Drome”
Flying Aces, April 1932 by Paul Bissell

“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!

“F.O.B. Berlin” by Robert J. Hogan

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

THIS week we have a story from the prolific pen of Mr. Robert J. Hogan—the author of The Red Falcon, Smoke Wade and G-8 and his Battle Aces!

Colonel Brant leaves orders to not touch the new D.H.s while he’s gone—problem is he left that order with Captain MacRay who neglects to tell Major Nelson Wellington Van Parker Jones, who’s desire is to be the first to fly a D.H. over the lines. Unfortunately it’s right into the path of von Strohm’s Fokkers! From the pages of the April 1932 Flying Aces, it’s Robert J. Hogan’s “F.O.B. Berlin!”

One D.H., complete with brand-new Liberty motor, and one American major in good condition—delivered by hand at Germany’s door! Who says there isn’t such a thing as being too generous?

“Lufbery Becomes an Ace” by Paul Bissell

Link - Posted by David on January 7, 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 May 1932 cover Bissell presents the moment in the battle of Mauser raid where Raoul Lufbery became an ace!

Lufbery Becomes an Ace

th_FA_3205“PROCEED to their objective, the Mauser Munition Works at Oberndorf; there drop their bombs at points most destructive to the enemy positions; and then return to their home airdromes.”

So read the orders for October 12, 1916, at all Allied airdromes located back of the front line and south of Verdun. Orders of Brass Hats, “—and then return”! What a chance! With the objective one hundred and fifty kilometers inside the enemy lines and the sky filled with Boche. Well, anyway, it would be a great show, and at least one pilot smiled, thinking that tomorrow might bring death, but most surely would bring the opportunity of becoming an Ace.

This was Sous-Lieutenant Raoul Lufbery, of the Lafayette Escadrille, with four official victories to his credit, who, with three companions, Lieutenants Masson, de Laage and Prince, had been ordered to fly guard patrol for the bombing planes and protect them from attack.

Arriving at the appointed rendezvous, they saw a sight then strange to any eye. Perhaps the largest concentration of air forces the world had yet seen was spread below them. Farnums, Breguets, Caudrons, Sopwiths and Nieuports, almost every type of plane yet developed by the Allies for work at the Front, was in this huge flying armada, which would strike desperately at one of the main centers of German munition supplies.

Turning east, the whole group passed through a terrific archie bombardment, but it was not until they neared Oberndorf that the real show began. Here the Germans seemed to come from all directions. A general alarm had been spread, and every available German ship had been pressed into service.” Single-seated scouts, double-seaters, and even big three-placers, planes seldom seen on the Front at that time, were massed ahead of the advancing bombers.

The larger enemy ships would charge in, boldly maneuvering to bring their swivel guns into play, only to find the sky suddenly raining lead as Nieuports and Sopwiths dived headlong from the blue, their guns blazing in defense of their bombers. Then flashes of crimson and black, as Albatrosses and Fokkers and Pfalzes attacked fiercely, striving to gain that deadly blind spot underneath the tail of the slow-moving bomber, or twisting and squirming to evade the fire of some Nieuport, and, by some quick renversement, bring the tri-colored cocarde full in their sights.

IT WAS from such a mêlée that Lufbery, pulling out for an instant to clear a jam of his gun, saw a German go down in flames before the withering fire of Norman Prince.

“Yeow! Number one for the Lafayettes! Good old Nimmie! Now for number two!” And he pushed his stick over. But that dive was never to be finished. At that instant a sudden impact in his cockpit told him that a German was on his tail. Instinctively he yanked his stick back hard against his chest. Up he zoomed, his head twisted around to find his enemy.

There it was, a huge three-place Aviatik, with three guns, and all of them’ blazing at him. A flip of his ailerons—a kick of his rudder—then down hard on his stick, and in an instant he was away from the fire of the Boche. A sharp climbing bank would, he thought, bring him back under the tail of the larger ship, but here the German pilot, an old hand at the game, was too crafty to be caught. Banking up sharply on his right wing he exposed Lufbery again to the open fire of his three gunners.

This was entirely too hot a spot to stay in, and Lufbery turned the nose of his little Nieuport sharply away, out of the line of fire, climbing rapidly to gain altitude, from which he might dive down on the larger machine. As he turned, a flash of red went by, followed by a streak of silver—de Laage on the tail of a Boche!

Now, below him, Lufbery could see the three-seated Aviatik, the gunners all set for his attack. Over he nosed his ship and hurled down at the enemy, but at the same instant the big plane banked around and he overshot his mark. In a fury he twisted back in a sharp renversement, this time approaching the plane from the most dangerous position, open to the fire of the gunners.

But the Germans were square in his sights, and straight on he flew, feeling a thrill as the pulsing guns answered to the squeeze of his hand on the stick. He could feel the German bullets spattering his plane. Another instant, and he turned to avoid a crash, just as the huge Aviatik, the pilot dead, slipped crazily off on one wing. A telltale whisper of smoke, and then a burst of flame as it headed down to where falling chimneys and bursting roofs showed that the Allied bombers had
found their objective with fearful accuracy.

THAT was one hundred and fifty kilometers inside the German lines, and it meant one hundred and fifty kilometers of scrapping to win their way back through. The Germans took their toll. However, it had been a great show, and very successful from the Allied viewpoint. Much havoc had been wrought to the munitions center, and the Allies, too, had taken their toll in German ships. Three more victories were to the credit of the Lafayette Escadrille, for de Laage had brought down his German also.

A happy reunion awaited them, had not Fate here taken a hand. The four pilots, blown slightly off their course, and running short of gasoline, were forced to land at the French field of Corcieux, a field strange to all of them. It was almost dark as they eased their ships down, and Prince, unaware of some high tension wires strung across one end of the field, crashed into them as he glided in. With characteristic courage he refused to have his comrades move him until flares had been lighted to prevent some other pilot crashing as he had done.

Two days later he died in the hospital. The famous Mauser raid was history. Lufbery was an Ace, and Norman Prince an international hero.

The Ships on The Cover
“Lufbery Becomes an Ace”
Flying Aces, May 1932 by Paul J. Bissell

“Hell’s Seven Keys” by Lester Dent

Link - Posted by David on December 28, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

LESTER DENT is best remembered as the man behind Doc Savage. But he wrote all number of other stories before he started chronicling the adventures of everyone’s favorite bronze giant. Here we have an action-packed tale of the air from the pages of the February 1932 issue of War Birds—”Hell’s Seven Keys!”

Captain “Bustem Bill” Harn is sent to the Sixtieth Pursuit Squadron to help take care of a certain Ace that’s been plaguing them lately—but that’s just a cover story. He was given secret orders…

To Bustem Bill Harn:
    This is confidential. It accompanies orders you will receive to report to the Sixtieth, R.F.C., and fly a lone patrol in an effort to shoot down the German ace, Hauptmann Robart von Fleigg, whose circus is stationed in front of the Sixtieth. The orders have gone in duplicate to Major Geising, commanding the Sixtieth.
    Here’s some dope for you. During the early part of the war, the Sixtieth was stationed in Egypt. While there, a detachment of native soldiers reported witnessing seven planes of the Sixtieth shoot down a German bomber. The crew of the enemy ship were slain, according to the witnesses, and the bomber was then burned, demolished and the parts buried in the desert sand. A patrol of seven Sixtieth ships in the air at the time denied having encountered the bomber. The native soldiers could not locate the spot where they said the bomber was shot down, when asked to do so.
    Since then, five flyers of the Sixtieth have met mysterious and violent death, evidence in each case pointing to murder.
    The only thing we have discovered which might point to a solution of the murders is that all of these five were among the group of seven who denied shooting down the Boche bomber.
    The surviving two of the seven are lieutenant “Cockney Pete” Sauls and Captain “Devil” Leeds.
    You are joining the Sixtieth ostensibly to bag von Fleigg. Make every effort to do this. But you will also bend every effort to solving these murders. Use care. Military intelligence sent an agent to investigate these killings and he was murdered.
    This Sixtieth is a hard-boiled outfit and they have a cast-iron and brimstone skipper in the person of Major Geising. I can guess about how you two will get along. sending you there to get von Fleigg insulted him no little. He gave me a cussing over the telephone when I told him you were coming. unofficially, I hope you knock hell out of him. Officially, you had better bill and coo like a pair of doves.
    Bustem, I’m sorry to hand you a lemon like this. But you’re the man for the job. Go in there and stamp on everybody’s toes and you may learn something. I can smooth out anything short of a killing. and if you succeed in shooting down von Fleigg, I can promise the ranking of major which you recently lost, will be restored. And should you solve these murders, I can also promiss you command of any pursuit squadron on the Front.
                                Luck to you!
                                          General Sam H. Fitch,
                                          Officer Commanding.

A key around a dead man’s neck was the thing that sent that Devil’s spawn of seven into action. It took red skies and Spandau steel to end that bloody trail.

If you enjoyed this story, Black Dog Books has put out an excellent volume collecting 11 of Lester Dent’s early air stories set against the backdrop of World War !. The book includes this story as well as others from the pages of War Birds, War Aces, Flying Aces, Sky Birds and The Lone Eagle. It’s The Skull Squadron! Check it out!

 

And as a bonus, here’s another newspaper article about Lester Dent! This time it’s a biography of the writer as a young man, well, 30. From The Daily Oklahoman, it’s “Lester Dent, The Wizard of the Pulps!”

 

Lester Dent, The Wizard of the Pulps

by Jack E. Ray • The Daily Oklahoman, Oklahoma City, OK • 19 July 1936

Lester Dent

LESTER DENT is one of the most valid of cosmopolitans. He was born in Missouri. Was taken to and lived on a series of farms near Broken
Arrow (Oklahoma). Just In tjme to avoid having oil struck on his place. Dent’s father sold out and the family moved to a godforsaken cow ranch in the Wyoming sagebrush.

Then back to Missouri, in 1918 when Dent was 12 years old. Only 30 years old now. he has lived almost everywhere. Recently he returned from a treasure hunt in the Caribbean on his schooner, “The Albatross.” His home, he says, is wherever he happens to be sitting at his typewriter at the moment. Just at present, that is New York. However: “I guess I’m more Oklahoman than anything else, having lived there longer than anywhere else by about five years.”

Dent got to the fifth grade, moved to another place, and entered high-school. . There he flunked English for four consecutive years, after which a disgusted teacher asserted that he was hopeless along that line. Graduated from hlghschool in 1923, and took a course In telegraphy. Got a job at $45 a month, working nights for the Associated Press in Tulsa.

WHILE on that job, Dent started writing adventure stories. Sent one of them to George Delacorte of the Dell Publishing Co. Delacorte wired him to come to New York If he was making less than $100 a week. “But,” says Dent, “I thought he was nuts. I’m still not sure—” Anyway, after telegraphing friends in New York to inquire about the publisher’s sanity, he went to New York. He was given two magazines (”Scotland Yard” and “Sky Riders”) to fill. Dent cleaned up 4.000 bucks the first month, and as much monthly for three more magazines. Then both magazines went broke. That was in 1931—the depression had arrived. For the next six months he would sell a story to a magazine and before he could sell it another one, that magazine would fold up. Finally he found some that were on an even keel.

Dent’s work has been for the pulp magazines. He has sold to over 30 publications, of the cowboy, detective, adventure, air, and mystery types. Also to writers’ magazines. He uses a dozen pen names, including Kenneth Robeson. Maxwell Grant, H. O. Cash, Tim Ryan, and various others. Has long ago lost track of just how many yarns he has sold, although he knows the total is more than 1,000. For the last three years he has received not one rejection slip; in fact, the stories were contracted for in advance.

DENT is the second most prolific author in the world. For a year his output was an average of 200,000 words a month/all of which he sold. That, he says, Is not his limit. Here’s how he works: Out of bed at 11 a.m. works until about 4 p.m., reads the papers, takes a walk, naps for an hour; then works until 3 or 4 a.m. Does this five days a week. Biggest production for a day: On dictaphone, 32,000 words; on typewriter, 24,000 words. Most words turned out in a continuous session: 45,000 words (a book). This required a night, day, and part of night, from beginning of plotting. He never revises. His copy comes out of machine and goes in “as is.”

Under the nom de plume of Kenneth Robeson. Dent writes monthly a 60,000-word (book-length) “Doc Savage” story. The “Doc Savage Magazine” was the most successful pulp magazine in the world the second year of its existence. Dent claims his character. Doc Savage, is an unconscious composite of the physical qualities of Tarzan of the apes, the detective ability of Sherlock Holmes, the scientific sleuthing mastery of Craig Kennedy, and the morals of Jesus Christ. He has written perhaps 50 novels about his creation, at present being over a year ahead of the magazine which prints them.

THE following should encourage embryo writers. Dent swears it’s true: “Pulp magazines are more widely open than ever for new writers. Just send them a half-way printable story and they’ll buy it. . . . The pulps are an excellent training field. When I started writing for them, less than five years ago, T. S. Stribling was only a pulp hack.”

Dent regrets that he has written under so many pseudonyms, instead of building up one name—his own—in the pulps. This mistake was made partly because of the fact that editors don’t like to carry more than one story under the same name in a single issue of a magazine. So Dent would sign one with his real name, and others with noms de plume. Occasionally, he has written entire issues of magazines in this manner. Consequently, although his output ranks among the greatest, his name is not especially well known.

Asked if he entertained any unrealized literary ambitions. Dent replied, “One million of them, all made of silver, called dollars, and in banks, preferably several banks.” Everything considered, this is not a vain desire at all—for Mr. Dent.

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