Looking to buy? See our books on amazon.com Get Reading Now! Age of Aces Presents - free pulp PDFs

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

Link - Posted by David on May 27, 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 March 1935 issue Mayshark gives us “Superiority in Speed!”

Combat Maneuvers of War-Time Pilots:
Superiority in Speed

THE predominating factor in the th_SB_3504 development of aviation ever since the Wright Brothers took wing has always been speed. Speed has been the password of the manufacturers and the demand of the public, and this element has done more than anything else to foster the building of better ships.
The keenest competition that the aircraft industry probably will ever know took place between the years 1914 and 1918. If some German appeared with a new ship that was superior in speed to any of its predecessors, it was but a matter of time before the Allied forces came forth with a plane that had the German one stopped dead in its tracks. And vice versa.

One of the fastest planes produced in the war was a French ship called the De Marcay biplane. This plane was not constructed until late in the war, and therefore it did not see much active service. However, had the ship been produced in mass, and had numbers of them been thrown against the machines of the enemy, there is no doubt but what it would have come through with flying colors.
On our cover this month we have illustrated the method by which the speedy De Marcay was enabled to attack two or more enemy ships and get away with it.

Returning from an artillery spotting job far over the lines, the French pilot suddenly finds himself confronted by three German scouts who are determined to keep him from returning with his valuable information. The sector is in a rural district which has not been torn up by the racking fire of heavy artillery, and there is nothing below but smooth, level fields and a line of telephone wires. An ideal place to bring this devil down, thinks the leader of the Hun patrol. No trouble about getting a victory confirmation here.

But the German patrol leader is doomed to disappointment. Worse than that, he is doomed to death. Yet death comes so quickly that he scarcely knows what hit him.

Banking around in a tight turn so as to attack from an angle, the Frenchman opens his throttle wide and comes tearing down across the sky, head-on into the enemy formation. One burst of fire is enough to knock the leader out of position, and as he falls rapidly in a sickening spin, blue smoke begins curling up around his fuselage. Suddenly he is a mass of fire—a flamer!

Continuing on in a straight line at a terrific rate of speed, the De Marcay biplane darts between and below the two remaining German scouts before they know what it’s all about. As he gets clear and heads for the lines, the Hun ships reform and attack with a little altitude to their advantage. Their tracer hits, but the Frenchman is going too fast for accurate aiming. He loses an outer interplane strut, but that’s all.

So a victory is won, and speed is the one thing that gets the credit. The Frenchman continues home unmolested, lands, and makes his report. He is a good pilot, yes. But besides that, he has a ship that is faster than anything else on the Western Front.

The De Marcay biplane was powered with a 300-h.p. Hispano-Suiza motor. Its top speed was 162 miles per hour, and an overall safety factor of 14 was claimed for the machine.

The German ship pictured on the cover is one of the many types of single-seater biplane that the L.F.G. Boland concern put out. It was designated as type D XIV, and it was powered with a 160-h.p. Goebel engine.

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

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

Link - Posted by David on May 20, 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 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

Link - Posted by David on May 13, 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 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)

“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

Link - Posted by David on April 29, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

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)

“How The Aces Went West: Major Edward Mannock” by C.B. Mayshark

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

MAY may have ended, but we have one last burst of the genius that is C.B. Mayshark! We have the final installment of C.B. Mayshark’s “How The Aces Went West!” It was an informative feature that spotlighted how famous Aces died. For the December 1935 issue of Sky Birds, Mayshark looks at how Major Edward Mannock “Went West!”

How The Aces Went West
“How The Aces Went West: Major Edward Mannock

by C.B. Mayshark (Sky Birds, December 1935)

“How The Aces Went West: Lieutenant Frank Luke” by C.B. Mayshark

Link - Posted by David on May 30, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

THIS May we’re celebrating the genius that is C.B. Mayshark! Along with his cover duties for Sky Birds and Flying Aces in the mid-thirties, Mayshark also contributed some interior illustrations including a series he started in the April issue of Sky Birds that would run until the final issue that December—How The Aces Went West! It was an informative feature that spotlighted how famous Aces died. For the September 1935 issue of Sky Birds, Mayshark looks at how Lieutenant Frank Luke “Went West!”

How The Aces Went West
“How The Aces Went West: Lieutenant Frank Luke

by C.B. Mayshark (Sky Birds, September 1935)

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

Link - Posted by David on May 28, 2018 @ 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 November 1934 issue Mayshark gives us “Armored Audacity!”

Combat Maneuvers of War-Time Pilots:
Armored Audacity

WITH one or two exceptions, th_SB_3411 all metal planes were uncommon during the war. The ships which saw service on the Front were of fabric construction, with wooden spars, longerons and ribs used throughout.

On planes of 1917 and 1918 design, however, metal was employed for hoods on the water-cooled jobs, as well as for the cowlings of radials and rotaries. Metal was not used further than this, except on ships of rare design, most of which never got into active service. In the hectic days of the war, manufacturers were reluctant to depart from time-proven standards and pitch headlong into the mass production of a design which had not established its worth over the blood-stained battlefields of France.

However, there is always some one a step ahead of the rest of the world—some one with courage and foresight enough to make a radical departure from conventional design. Such a step was taken by the engineers of the Bristol Works in England during 1918. The result of their efforts is the Bristol M-1, an all-metal adaptation of the famous Bristol Fighter.

The main object in building the M-1 was to produce a ship capable of resisting the climatic variations of hot countries such as Egypt and India. However, several M-1’s found their way across the Channel and into France. The M-1 was very similar in appearance to the Bristol Fighter, the important changes in design occurring in the center-section of the lower plane, which is entirely cut away, with only the two main spars remaining intact, and in the tail assembly, which carries a larger fin and a smaller tailskid than the Fighter.

Steel is employed throughout the fuselage construction, a light-weight composition metal being used on the outer covering. The spars and ribs of the wings are steel, fabric being used for a covering. The M-1 carries a 200-h.p. Sunbeam “Arab” in its nose, and Is capable of making about 124 miles per hour. The regulation Scarff mounting is used over the observer’s cockpit, on which either single or double Lewis gun units can be fitted. Twin Vickers are carried beneath the engine hood, and are equipped with an interrupter gear for firing through the prop.

The other ship pictured on this month’s cover is a single-seater German “Kondor.” It will be observed that the center-section on the upper plane is entirely cut away, even the main spars being eliminated. The ship is powered with a 140-h.p. Goebels rotary with air-cooling being accomplished by means of holes bored through the front turn of the cowling.

The maneuver executed by the pilot of the Bristol is quite appropriately termed audacious. With the Kondor on his tail, the Bristol pilot exposes himself and his observer to great apparent danger. As he fakes a dive, he hoiks the ship up and thunders before the German, directly in the line of a deadly fire. But the Spandau tracers cannot find a vital spot beneath the Bristol armor, and as the German pilot frantically fights for altitude, the Bristol observer, well in the German’s blind spot, lines up the best target he has ever seen through his Lewis sights.

As he trips the trigger, one burst of fire is emitted. The Kondor staggers, with prop spinning madly. The German plane levels off. Its nose begins to sink, and as it begins a long, wide, uncontrolled spiral, it sets itself to its last task—its last descent.

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

“How The Aces Went West: Captain Lanoe George Hawker” by C.B. Mayshark

Link - Posted by David on May 23, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

THIS May we’re celebrating the genius that is C.B. Mayshark! Along with his cover duties for Sky Birds and Flying Aces in the mid-thirties, Mayshark also contributed some interior illustrations including a series he started in the April issue of Sky Birds that would run until the final issue that December—How The Aces Went West! It was an informative feature that spotlighted how famous Aces died. For the August 1935 issue of Sky Birds, Mayshark looks at how Captain Lanoe George Hawker “Went West!”

How The Aces Went West
“How The Aces Went West: Captain Lanoe George Hawker

by C.B. Mayshark (Sky Birds, August 1935)

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

Link - Posted by David on May 21, 2018 @ 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 October 1934 issue Mayshark gives us “The Camera Crasher!”

Combat Maneuvers of War-Time Pilots:
The Camera Crasher

ONE of the most skilled, daring, th_SB_3410 and probably least appreciated members of tho air services during the war was the observer who happened to be capable of using an air camera. Actually, there were very few who could do this job well, in spite of the fact that all airmen were supposed to be trained in the use of the instrument. There was always one man in every squadron who was unlucky enough, right from the start, to be able to get good pictures. From that day on, he was marked.

The air photographer had to be a strange combination of grim, fighting courage, cool, methodical cunning and unbelievable patience. In the first place, he had to be an observer, a man worthy of any one’s respect. Then he had to be a plodding soul who was game enough to keep his pilot on a straight course while he got strips of pictures to make up the innumerable mosaic maps that the Army seemed to consume with amazing rapidity. Next, he had to be a capable fighting man, in order to do two things at once—and do them both well. He had to be able to fight with one hand on his Lewis or Parabellum gun while with the other he was ramming the plates through the camera with, machinelike precision.

Try holding off two Huns with one hand, ramming the feed handle of the camera back and forth with the other, while you count slowly to eight between plate changes— and you get an idea what it was all about. If your pilot got “windy” during the spree and let his ship run slightly off line to dodge the crackling tracer, you arrived back to find that half your plates had been exposed over a section you had taken the day before. Then back you went again, to try it all over.

The photography proposition was a serious business in the war days. The areas involved had to be photographed regularly, and not just in single shots, as most air-story readers believe. You had to get eighteen plates in a row at a time. The single plate exposure of some particular pinpoint came now and again, but not often enough to make up for the hair-raising experiences getting the mosaic strips.

Then there was the other side of the photography game—the defense against it. This is where we got the idea for this month’s cover.

Here we see a German two-seater that has sneaked over the French lines and caught an important strip which may or may not have considerable bearing on a coming offensive. That ship must be stopped. It must never get back to Germany. But it has already nailed the picture, and there is but one thing to do.

To shoot it down might help, but you cannot be sure. You might kill both the pilot and the observer, and yet the camera plates might still be intact. Then, if they are recovered from the wreckage and developed, they can still do the damage the French feared.

It was to this end that several countries on the Allied side of tho line worked on the development of a cannon-plane, or a ship that was armed with a one-pounder for a particular purpose. That purpose was the same for which Buckingham ammunition was intended—destruction by fire. When a ship was shot down in flames, everything aboard, including cameras and plate boxes, was usually consumed by fire.

The Spad-Cannon is well known, mainly because it was used with fair effect by both Fonck and Guynemer. The real truth of the matter, however, is that the cannon-ship was actually developed for the purpose of destroying enemy camera ships by setting them on fire. The shell used was a graze-fuse incendiary missile. The Buggatti-Spad shown in the upper portion of this month’s cover was a special two-seater using a Buggatti motor, with barrel-type water and oil-cooling chambers shown beneath the nose. The gun used was a spring-recoil weapon fitted to fire through the propeller-shaft, which was hollow and geared to the two eight-cylinder crank shafts. How many of these ships were built and titled on the Front is not known, but we are presenting it to show just how these much-talked-of cannon-ships were employed.

The Albatros CV shown is also a 1918 type, fitted with a 225-h.p. B.W.F. motor. The upper wing had a span of 41 feet, 6 inches, and the lower a span of 40 feet, 4 inches. The strangely balanced ailerons should be noticed. The unfortunate observer-camera man has ripped his Parabellum out of the Gotha-type gun mounting, a steel post which swivels from a point in the center of the floor, and fits into holes or slots around the ring.

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

“The Camera Kid” by C.B. Mayshark

Link - Posted by David on May 18, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

AS PART of our Mayshark Month posts we have a rare story C.B. Mayshark had in the May 1936 issue of Dare-Devil Aces! Known for his great covers and interior illustrations, Mayshark was apparently jut as adept with the typewriter. He gives us a crackin’ yarn of hell skies. A young observation photographer that’s a whiz with the camera unfortunately freezes when the bullets start flying by. His pilot has been able to successfully cover for the kid, until a figure from the kid’s past gets wind of his affliction and sets about to bring him down!

The Kid had an eye like a hungry eagle, and could snap a picture of a mosquito doing handsprings. But alone in the clouds with the Spandaus whistling past, the Kid’s guts froze in a lump. “Yellow I am,” he cursed himself. “And I wish that I could die.” Still one man keeps his faith with the Kid and vows to bring him through—leads him on to a smashing show down, as a boy becomes a man!

“How The Aces Went West: Werner Voss” by C.B. Mayshark

Link - Posted by David on May 16, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

THIS May we’re celebrating the genius that is C.B. Mayshark! Along with his cover duties for Sky Birds and Flying Aces in the mid-thirties, Mayshark also contributed some interior illustrations including a series he started in the April issue of Sky Birds that would run until the final issue that December—How The Aces Went West! It was an informative feature that spotlighted how famous Aces died. For the July 1935 issue of Sky Birds, Mayshark gives us “How Werner Voss Went West!”

How The Aces Went West
“How The Aces Went West: Werner Voss

by C.B. Mayshark (Sky Birds, July 1935)

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

Link - Posted by David on May 14, 2018 @ 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 September 1934 issue Mayshark gives us “Death For The Decoy!”

Combat Maneuvers of War-Time Pilots:
Death For The Decoy

THIS month our cover depicts a th_SB_3408 maneuver used many times during the latter months of the war, but not greatly exploited in story or illustration. It is not known who originated the decoy idea, but a defense for it was perfected by the British.

The painting shows two unusual ships, a German L.V.G. scout and the British Austin “Greyhound” two-seater fighter. It is improbable that either of these ships ever reached the Front and saw squadron service, but it is known that two or three were sent out and tried by the service-test pilots, whose duties were to flight-test new machines in actual combat, after they had been passed on construction, maneuverability and performance. The faults that lie hidden while ships are undergoing tests over friendly soil are usually brought out in the heat and flame of aerial warfare.

So, in order to give you new models to study, we show the British Austin “Greyhound” getting the D-type L.V.G. scout. We know of no better way of giving you accurate detail pictures, and at the same time explaining some of the intricate maneuvers used on the battlefront.

In this case, we have the original move of the German Staffel commander in sending down the unfortunate decoy. This ship was usually flown by a smart pilot who not only knew how to fake a “greenie” in the air, but was expected to be able to entice the Allied ships down and keep them occupied until the Staffel above could get down and come to his “rescue.” He not only had to be a game pilot, but he had to know every trick in the game. It was necessary that he know every inch of his Front, too, so that if his ship was damaged and he had to make a forced landing, he could cut into the bend in the line and be certain he was well inside his own territory.

This time, the British two-seater leader spots the move. It is possible that the lurking German scouts above have not made full use of the sun, or else they have been spotted as they tore through a hole in their cloud hideout. At any rate, the British commander gives his sub-leader a signal, and the pilot fires a red light, indicating that he is having engine trouble and wants to go back.

Instead of cutting into Allied territory, however, the decoy-destroyer cuts back at the first opportunity, slides into the L.V.G.’s blind spot and works his way into a position where the gunner can get in a terrible burst. If all goes well, the decoy is caught napping, or at least is made to fight, thus drawing the attention of the lurking Germans above.

Down they come, to protect their bait, not noticing the other two-seaters that have withdrawn to a suitable position beneath the Staffel. Once the big formation is on its way down, the British two-seater dives and reverses the role of decoy. The Germans go after him, but put themselves where the British can chop down on them before they have an opportunity to win back a better position. And, in 1918, two sets of guns against one was bad medicine.

The “Greyhound” is really an adaptation of the S.E.5 or the Nieuport Night-hawk in two-seater form. It had an A.B.C. Dragonfly radial engine of 320 h.p. and could do 130 m.p.h. at 10,000 feet. It landed at 45 m.p.h. and climbed to 10,000 feet in 11 minutes.

Little is known of the L.V.G. except that it used the 230-h.p. Benz, and had unusually clean lines. It probably had a speed of about 118 m.p.h.

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

“How The Aces Went West: Major Raoul Lufbery” by C.B. Mayshark

Link - Posted by David on May 9, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

THIS May we’re celebrating the genius that is C.B. Mayshark! Along with his cover duties for Sky Birds and Flying Aces in the mid-thirties, Mayshark also contributed some interior illustrations including a series he started in the April issue of Sky Birds that would run until the final issue that December—How The Aces Went West! It was an informative feature that spotlighted how famous Aces died. For the June 1935 issue of Sky Birds, Mayshark gives us “How The Aces Went West: Major Raoul Lufbery!”

How The Aces Went West
“How The Aces Went West: Major Raoul Lufbery

by C.B. Mayshark (Sky Birds, June 1935)

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

Link - Posted by David on May 7, 2018 @ 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 August 1934 issue Mayshark gives us “Triplane Trickery!”

Combat Maneuvers of War-Time Pilots:
Triplane Trickery

PROBABLY no more interesting bit th_SB_3408 of air action could ever be seen on any front than that involving two triplanes, one a Sopwith, the other, of course, the much discussed Fokker. Both were fast on the controls, almost equally powered and remarkable climbing ships.

The most amazing feature about this triplane business is that even today, with all the publicity that has been given to World War planes, few realize that the greatest triplane on the Front was the Sopwith—not the Fokker.

The Fokker triplane has drawn an unusual amount of regard mainly because von Richthofen flew it for a considerable period. Voss, the great German sportsman, also won twenty-two victories in three weeks in a triplane. The German triplane has attracted attention also because of the garish designs that have been credited to various noted German Staffels. A German triplane decked out in fantastic colors and diced designs looks more offensive than a Sopwith which had to retain its factory colors. The triplanes used by Ray Collishaw and his Black Gang when they were ordered to keep every German observation plane out of the air over Messines, in 1917, were the only British ships used on the Front during the daytime which were daubed up with unorthodox coloring. Our readers will recall that they were all painted black.

The Sopwith triplane was finished and first delivered on May 28th, 1916. The Fokker triplane came out several months later, and had many of the interesting features of the British ship. Except for the Fokker cantilever wing, which made it a stronger ship than the Sopwith, the Fokker was generally considered a steal.

Be that as it may, both were fine ships. The Sopwith triplane was first used by the Royal Naval Air Service and did fine work, but after several months of front-line and coastal action, it was practically superseded by the Camel, which came out in December, 1916. The one fault with the Sopwith was its unusually high landing speed, which frankly made it unsuitable for the temporary airdromes in vogue in France in those days. For this reason, it was practically abandoned. However, when Ray Collishaw, given the unenviable job of clearing the air for a period of three months over Messines, was asked what ship he preferred for the work, he practically stunned everyone by stating that the Sopwith triplane would be his selection.

They gave him five and let him daub them up as he liked. He selected four other young hellions like himself and went to work clearing the air over Messines while the British sunk their memorable mine under the German lines. In two months Collishaw shot down 29 German planes. His Black Gang accounted for nearly forty, altogether, and eventually Messines went up without a German’s knowing what had been going on.

Where the British triplane had it all over the German was in climbing. In the first place, it was much lighter and better powered. In our cover drawing this month, we show a typical maneuver during a raid on a German drome. The British ship had broken out of a patrol to give a line of hangars a dose of Vickers. A German had been taking off just as the Sopwith pilot reached his lowest point. Naturally the Fokker had the early edge in height, but the Sopwith pilot was taught to fake a dive on his enemy at the first opportunity he got. If he hit, okay. If not, he continued on under the Fokker yanked up hard and, with this added momentum, the Sopwith shot into the sky like a high-speed elevator. From that point on, the Fokker was completely outclassed, for while a pilot is struggling to climb, he has little chance to get his nose on an enemy.

Of course, if the Sopwith had tried to out-dive the Hun—that would have been different. But these are the tricks of the triplanes.

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

Next Page »