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“Sky Fighters, April 1935″ by Eugene M. Frandzen

Link - Posted by David on November 13, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

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. On the April 1935 cover, The Fairey N.9 F127 Seaplane takes on some Mercedes-Diamler 9s!

The Ships on the Cover

THE Fairey N.9. F127 is th_SF_3504the British seaplane in the foreground of this month’s cover. The two black-crossed scouts are German Mercedes-Daimler 9’s.

Fairey seaplanes were used to great advantage in patrolling the North Sea and did much to make that turbulent mass of water a comparatively safe area for friendly shipping. C.R. Fairey founded the firm bearing his name in 1916, after severing connections with the old Dunne Co. and the Short Bros., famous for their seaplanes dating back to 1910, so he was no newcomer to this field.

Slow Landing Possible

His trailing edge flaps gave his seaplanes mobility with heavy loads and made slow landings possible.

The original No. 9 Fairey seaplane has the distinction of being the first seaplane to begin an actual flight by being catapulted from the deck of a warship. But away back in 1912 the U.S. Navy used a catapult to launch a seaplane from a floating dock. Catapulting is a regular stunt on warships today, but back in the early days of aviation with crude gear and low-powered ships it took courage to climb into a cockpit and be shot into space.

The German Mercedes-Daimler Motorcar Gesellschaft manufactured Mercedes motors for many of the German planes. Their engine was so popular with the German fliers that the supply could not keep up with the demand. Evidently not content with doing a landoffice business with engines and being months behind with orders, they broke out in a rash of single and two place fighters which were fairly good ships but never got to first base in mass production.

Two of them were taken into the German Navy’s service and used as decoys.

It is an old racket to send out a plane or two over the battlefields to lure a few of the enemy’s planes into an unprotected position so that a superior number of planes may dive from the clouds and do their stuff; but on the sea the technique was a little different.

The two decoys took off and flew over a prearranged area of water. A lone freighter with anti-submarine guns is spotted. Immediately the two single-strutted ships go into action, sweeping back and forth over the tramp steamer’s decks, spraying it with burst after burst of Spandau lead. The ship’s crew drag out machine-guns and blaze back. Occasionally the anti-sub gun pops ineffectually at the heckling German planes. This air attack can do no vital harm to the steamer.

They’re Merely Decoys

Don’t forget that these Mercedes-Daimlers are merely decoys for a lurking submarine which slinks close to the freighter. They let go one torpedo at point blank range. The freighter shudders, lists—it is doomed. Men take to the boats. The sub quickly submerges. It has sunk a ship without the chance of being destroyed itself by the ship’s gunners.

A wireless flash from the doomed freighter was received by a British patrol cruiser. A catapult snaps the Fairey seaplane into the air. Its motor hurls the plane towards its enemies. It flies high, spots the German planes and swoops down with guns blasting. A surprise attack was staged by the sub on the freighter. The Fairey seaplane used surprise tactics also and in two minutes the Mercedes-Daimlers dove out of control to strike the water and sink in exactly the same spot where the stricken freighter has disappeared.

The Ships on The Cover
Sky Fighters, April 1935 by Eugene M. Frandzen
(The Ships on The Cover Page)

Next time, Mr. Frandzen features the Handley-Page and D.H.4!

“Lives of the Aces in Pictures – Part 42: Capt. Armand Pinsard” by Eugene Frandzen

Link - Posted by David on September 27, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

Starting in the May 1932 issue of Flying Aces and running almost 4 years, Eugene Frandzen’s “Lives of the Aces in Pictures” was a staple of the magazine. Each month Frandzen would feature a different Ace that rose to fame during the Great War. This time around we have one of the great Aces from Les Cigognes—Capt. Armand Pinsard!

Armand Pinsard was already a decorated hero by the time war began in 1914—his army service, which took him to Africa, began in 1906. Pinsard was one of relatively few servicemen who made the transfer to the French Air Service prior to 1914—in his case he took to the skies in 1912 and was serving with unit MS23 in August 1914.

Pinsard was France’s eighth highest-scoring air Ace of the First World War, scoring 27 confirmed victories in total—nine of these were enemy observation balloons. He was the recipient of the Legion d’Honneur (Chevalier and Officier) in 1916 and 1917 respectively as well as Croix de Guerre with 19 palms, Medaille militaire, British Military Cross, Italian Military Medal, and the Moroccan Medal.

Pinsard was taken prisoner in early February 1915 after his aircraft was forced to land behind enemy lines. He launched a series of escape attempts in an effort to cross the Allied line and return home. Undeterred after several failed attempts, Pinsard finally escaped with a fellow prisoner by digging a tunnel underneath a 12-foot prison wall after a year of imprisonment.

Finally reaching Allied lines Pinsard was given a promotion to Lieutenant and underwent pilot re-training in order to be able to fly the current breed of fighter aircraft. He was then assigned to France’s foremost fighter squadron, Les Cigognes, and later N78 and Spa73.

Pinsard went on to serve with distinction during the Second World War, losing a leg during air combat in 1940.

He died during a dinner in Paris that he was attending that was sponsored by a group of flying veterans. He was 65.

“Lives of the Aces in Pictures – Part 27: Major Edward Mannock” by Eugene Frandzen

Link - Posted by David on September 13, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

Starting in the May 1932 issue of Flying Aces and running almost 4 years, Eugene Frandzen’s “Lives of the Aces in Pictures” was a staple of the magazine. Each month Frandzen would feature a different Ace that rose to fame during the Great War. This time around we have one of the RFC’s most famous Aces—Major Edward Mannock!

Edward Corringham “Mick” Mannock was a pioneer of fighter aircraft tactics in aerial warfare. A British flying ace in the Royal Flying Corps and in the Royal Air Force, Mannock was credited with 61 aerial victories, the fifth highest scoring pilot of the war. Pretty good for a man with poor eyesight.

Mannock was among the most decorated men in the British Armed Forces. He was honoured with the Military Cross twice, was one of the rare three-time recipients of the Distinguished Service Order, and was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.

He was killed July 26th 1918. His posthumous Victoria Cross summed up the man quite nicely: “This highly distinguished officer during the whole of his career in the Royal Air Force, was an outstanding example of fearless courage, remarkable skill, devotion to duty and self-sacrifice, which has never been surpassed”.

As a bonus, check out Mannock’s entry in Eddie Rickenbacker’s Hall of Fame of The Air from 1935 at Stephen Sherman’s Acepilots.com!

“Lives of the Aces in Pictures – Part 25: Lt. Sumner Sewall” by Eugene Frandzen

Link - Posted by David on August 30, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

Starting in the May 1932 issue of Flying Aces and running almost 4 years, Eugene Frandzen’s “Lives of the Aces in Pictures” was a staple of the magazine. Each month Frandzen would feature a different Ace that rose to fame during the Great War. This time around we have one of America’s most famous Aces—Lt. Sumner Sewall!

Sumner Sewall rose to be Flight Commander in the 95th Aero Squadron. He is credited with seven victories and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross with oak leaf cluster, the French Legion of Honor, the Croix de guerre and the Order of the Crown of Belgium. Sewall was the first American aviator whose machine had been sent down in flames and lived to tell the tale!

After the war, he worked in a variety of jobs, including being an executive with Colonial Air Transport and a director of United Air Lines before becoming an alderman in Bath, Maine in 1933. From there he was elected to the state legislature as a representative in 1934; then senator in 1936 and being named President of the State Senate with his electoral win in 1938. All this culminated when he was elected govenor of the great state of Maine and served for two terms.

After stepping down as governor, Sewall became president of American Overseas Airlines for a year, then served as the military governor of Württemberg-Baden from 1946 to 1947. After trying for the state senate again in 1948 and finishing a distant third, Sewall moved into banking becoming the president of Bath National Bank in the 1960’s.

He passed away January 26th, 1965.

“Lives of the Aces in Pictures – Part 21: Willy Coppens” by Eugene Frandzen

Link - Posted by David on August 16, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

STARTING in the May 1932 issue of Flying Aces and running almost 4 years, Eugene Frandzen’s “Lives of the Aces in Pictures” was a staple of the magazine. Each month Frandzen would feature a different Ace that rose to fame during the Great War. This time around we have Belgian balloon buster—Lt. Willy Coppens!

Willy Omer François Jean Coppens de Houthulst was the Belgian Ace of Aces. He got his initial training as a soldier and officer in the cavalry division of the army. He transferred later on to the Flying Corps and began immediately to compile the record of victories that gained him top ranking among sky fighters. (a YouTube video exists that shows footage of Coopens demonstrating downing a balloon and talking about it years later.)

Because the German armies had overrun all but a narrow strip of his own country, he did all of his flying from foreign bases, usually being stationed in the sectors in Flanders occupied by the British forces. Flying foreign machines from foreign bases, he nevertheless built up a remarkable record of successful combats. When his time on the front was ended, unhappily but gloriously, he was officially credited with 32 victories and awarded practically every medal under the sun, chiefly among there were the Order of Leopold II with swords, Order of the Crown, Belgian Croix de Guerre 1914-1918 with 27 Palms and 13 Bronze Lions, French Legion d’Honneur, Serbian Order of the White Eagle, British Distinguished Service Order, British Military Cross, and French Croix de Guerre with 2 Palms!

After the war, Coppens served as a military attaché to France, Britain, Italy and Switzerland. He retired in 1940 to Switzerland, where he spent his time organising resistance work and marrying. His war memoirs, Days on the Wing was published in 1931 and was subsequently revised and re-issued in paperback forty years later in 1971 with the title Flying in Flanders.

In the late 1960s he returned to Belgium and lived his last five years with fellow Belgian ace Jan Olieslagers’s only daughter until his death in 1986. He was 94.

“Lives of the Aces in Pictures – Part 20: Captain Elliot White Springs” by Eugene Frandzen

Link - Posted by David on August 2, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

STARTING in the May 1932 issue of Flying Aces and running almost 4 years, Eugene Frandzen’s “Lives of the Aces in Pictures” was a staple of the magazine. Each month Frandzen would feature a different Ace that rose to fame during the Great War. This time around we have American Ace—Captain Elliot White Springs!

Captain Elliot White Springs was one of the first to enlist in the flying school established at Princeton when the United States entered the World War. He was sent to England, where he had varied training in British aviation schools. And on to France in May 1918 in Billy Bishop’s 85 Squadron, RFC! After recoving from wounds recieved at the end of June 1918 he was reassigned to the 148th Aero Squadron—although an American Squadron, it was still under the operational control of the RFC.

Springs is credited with 16 victories and was awarded both the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Distinguished Service Cross. After the war, Springs returned home to work in the family textile mill—Springs Cotton Mills and wrote nine books that were mainly on his flying and war experiences. Most notable among them are Warbirds: The Diary of an Unknown Aviator, Nocturne Militaire and Warbirds and Ladybirds.

His post war life is excellently covered at Mike Culpepper’s The Shrine of Dreams.

Springs returned to service in the U.S. Army Air Corp during the Second World War, after which he came home and continued to run Springs Cotton Mills until shortly before his death of pancreatic cancer in August 1959. Springs was 63.

(Editor’s Note: Although Flying Aces has gone to a bedsheet sized publication with this issue, the feature is still being done in the two page format of the pulp-sized issues. As such, we have reformatted from a two page spread into a one page feature.)

Now Available!

Link - Posted by David on July 28, 2017 @ 10:00 am in

IF YOU can’t make it to PulpFest in Columbus this weekend, you can still get copies of our new books online from the usual outlets. Both of our new books—Harold F. Cruickshank’s Sky Devil: Ace of Devils and Donald E. Keyhoe’s Captain Philip Strange: Strange Hell—are now available to order online from Adventure House, Mike Chomko Books and Amazon!

While you’re waiting for the books to arrive, why not check out some of the extras we’ve put on line for each book to whet your appetite. For Cruickshank’s second volume of Sky Devil tales Ace of Devils we’ve posted the original pulp scans from Dare-Devil Aces magazine of the opening page art so you can see how it would have looked if you were reading the stories back in the 1930’s when they were originally published. You can also read the opening of the stories in the scans.

For the latest release of the weird World War I adventures of Donald E. Keyhoe’s Captain Philip Strange we have the original full page scans of the opening artwork for each of the six stories collected in Strange Hell! As we did for the last volume, we’re posting the full page scan so you can read a bit of story and enjoy Eugene M. Frandzen’s art in all its glory from the pages of Flying Aces magazine. Painton’s Squadron also uses Frandzen’s art, but here in the bedsheet sized issues of Flying Aces you get those glorious painted images Frandzen would do—much better than his line art.

And the piece de resistance of any Strange book—Chris’ great cutout artwork he does for each of the stories! There are only six this time—but they’re all winners. You can check them out on the Strange Hell Design page!

Both books are available for $16.99 wherever our books are sold, so pick up both today! You can order online from Adventure House, Mike Chomko Books and Amazon!

“Lives of the Aces in Pictures – Part 19: Captain Heurtaux” by Eugene Frandzen

Link - Posted by David on March 15, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

STARTING in the May 1932 issue of Flying Aces and running almost 4 years, Eugene Frandzen’s “Lives of the Aces in Pictures” was a staple of the magazine. Each month Frandzen would feature a different Ace that rose to fame during the Great War. This time around we have that Ace of the Stork Escadrille—Captain Heurtaux!

Captain Alfred Marie-Joseph Heurtaux was one of France’s Aces in the First World War—credited with 21 victories (and an additional 13 unconfirmed or probables). He was awarded the Grand Cross of the Legion d’Honneur and the Croix de Guerre with 15 palms and two bronze stars.

The son of an artillery officer, he entered officer training before the outbreak of the war in 1912. He started his military career in the 4e Regiment d’Hussards before working his way up and being transferred to aerial service. There he would eventually find himself commanding the Stork Escadrille—Les Cigognes!

After the war he toured America lecturing on fighter tactics and held down a management position with the Ford Motor Company in its American operations. From there he moved to General Motors in Europe before finally settling with Renault. He was also active in the Association of the Reserve Officers of the Air Force—even being appointed its president from 1934 to 1937.

At the start of the Second World War, Heurtaux was still Inspector of Flight Aviation for the French Air Forces. However, he joined the French Resistance after France fell to the Germans. He used his connections and influence to recruit fellow veterans into espionage resulting in the Hector network in Northern France. Unfortunately, the Gestapo caught up with him and he spent over three years in a succession of German jails and camps ending up in Buchenwald just a month before the US Army’s 6th Armored Division liberated it and him on 11 April 1945.

After the Second World War he worked as a consulting engineer. Heurtaux passed away 30 December 1985, at Chantilly, Oise and was buried in Paris.

(Editor’s Note: Although Flying Aces has gone to a bedsheet sized publication with this issue, the feature is still being done in the two page format of the pulp-sized issues. As such, we have reformatted from a two page spread into a one page feature.)

“Lives of the Aces in Pictures – Part 18: Lieut. Alan McLeod” by Eugene Frandzen

Link - Posted by David on March 1, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

Starting in the May 1932 issue of Flying Aces and running almost 4 years, Eugene Frandzen’s “Lives of the Aces in Pictures” was a staple of the magazine. Each month Frandzen would feature a different Ace that rose to fame during the Great War. This time around we have one of only three Canadian Aces to be awarded the Victoria Cross in WWI—Lieutenant Alan McLeod!

Alan Arnett McLeod was born near Winnipeg in Stonewall, Manitoba, Canada to Scottish emigrant parents on April 20th, 1899. Although he was only fifteen when England declared war, he tried to enlist every year until he was finally accepted by the R.F.C. in April 1917. He won his wings quickly—soloing after only three hours flying time. Graduating after completing 50 hours flying experience, McLeod shipped overseas in August 1917.

Alan McLeod was a very tall man with a boyish appearance which soon earned him the nickname, ‘Babe’. He was allocated to B-Flight piloting an Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8 two-seater biplane and soon demonstrated he was a skilled pilot who was not afraid to take risks. Indeed, within a month of being in the Squadron he downed a Fokker Dr.1 and subsequently an Observation Balloon which earned him the honour of being mentioned in dispatches.

But it was his most thrilling sky fight on March 27th 1918 when he and observer Lt. Arthur Hammond had just downed an enemy triplane when they were set upon by eight more planes. They were able to down three more before a bullet pieced their gas tank and flames erupted. Although he and Hammond were badly injured, McLeod managed to keep the flames off of them by steeply side slipping the plane to a crash landing in No-Man’s-Land where he managed to carry Hammond to comparative safety before collapsing.

Lt.x Alan McLeod was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions, but sadly passed away several months later when he contracted Spanish Influenza while recuperating.

(Editor’s Note: Although Flying Aces has gone to a bedsheet sized publication with this issue, the feature is still being done in the two page format of the pulp-sized issues. As such, we have reformatted from a two page spread into a one page feature.)

“Sky Fighters, March 1935″ by Eugene M. Frandzen

Link - Posted by David on February 20, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

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. On the March 1935 cover, It’s a battle of the French Deperdussin vs. the German D.F.W.!

The Ships on the Cover

FOR the gunner in the th_SF_3502front pit of the French Deperdussin of 1914-15, take off your hat and cheer lustily. Because that gentleman teetering behind the swirling prop makes the man on the flying trapeze look like a grandmother in a broadbeamed rocking chair.

For the German in the D.F.W. (Deutsche Flugzeug Werke) you can send out a powerful thought wave of sympathy. Possibly he has a Luger on his person, but it would be mighty ineffective against the barrage being sprayed from the muzzle of the Deperdussin’s Lewis gun.

The War Lords Snorted!

In the early war days when airmen of opposing sides waved friendly greetings to each other, machine-guns shooting in the direction in which the plane traveled were not thought of, at least not seriously. In fact the airplane was not taken very seriously. It staggered off the ground with its feeble motor churning the prop. It managed to stay up in the air for a fair length of time, but it was a fragile thing, given to falling apart at most inopportune moments. The war lords snorted when the air enthusiasts suggested that the airplane might some day become a major arm of defense and offense.

Not Exactly the McCoy, But—

“We’ll not live to see that day,” pompously said the brass hats. And they brushed aside all thoughts of these newfangled air toys. They concentrated on the cavalry, deeper dugouts and plain and fancy trenches. Then along came a few planes with machine-guns in the back pit, a pusher or two lumbered along with a front gun. Those planes with the most effective armament were capable of conquering or evading the opponents’ airmen and flew right over those brand new trenches and fancy dugouts. They were able to direct their artillery fire so effectively that the trenches and dugouts were very quickly obliterated.

About this time the reversal of feeling towards aircraft was complete. Any and all kinds of planes were thrown together and flung into the air. One way and another was tried to shoot forward. The Deperdussin system was one of France’s early efforts, and although it was not exactly the McCoy it was, for its time, a real step forward.

Although the D.F.W. has no front gun it has features of stability, speed and power which the French monoplane lacks. This type of D.F.W. at the beginning of the war had shattered all existing cross country flights. It was designed by Cecil Kny and was Germany’s first full streamlined plane. The strut bracing between the fuselage and the upper wing is practically the same as the famous Sopwith one and one-half strutter. The covering of the in-terplane struts and the undercarriage struts were helpful evidently in appearance only, because later models of this ship left the struts exposed.

Aviation in War Is Established!

The wing bracing of the Deperdussin seems complicated but today some of the small monoplane jobs use about the same stunt. Lateral control of the Deperdussin was obtained by warping the wing tips, which, of course is not as effective as aileron control.

Being speedier than the Deperdussin, the German D.F.W.’s pilot flipped his ailerons and barged out of the Frenchman’s range. He took home a riddled plane and a report which drove the German designers of front gun fire ahead at fever pitch. Nothing stood still during the war and it was not long before other ways of lead spraying appeared. Aviation in war was definitely established; a thing of power and effectiveness with which future wars will not only be fought, but be won.

“Lives of the Aces in Pictures – Part 17: Captain Hamilton Coolidge” by Eugene Frandzen

Link - Posted by David on February 15, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

Starting in the May 1932 issue of Flying Aces and running almost 4 years, Eugene Frandzen’s “Lives of the Aces in Pictures” was a staple of the magazine. Each month Frandzen would feature a different Ace that rose to fame during the Great War. This time around we American Ace—Capitain Hamilton Coolidge!

Hamilton Coolidge was born on September 1st, 1895, in Brookline, Massachusetts. He enlisted in the Aviation Section of the U.S. Army Signal Corps in July 1916, and began flight training at the School of Military Aeronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in June the following year.

Sailing to France in July 1917, Coolidge was commissioned a 1st Lt on the 29th of September, 1917 and was assigned to the Third Aviation Instruction Center at Issoudun, France, from October 1917 to June 1918 when he then joined the 94th Aero Squadron of the 1st Pursuit Group. He is credited with 8 victories over enemy aircraft in aerial combat and awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

Coolidge was killed in action on October 27, 1918 when his SPAD S.XIII took a direct hit from a German anti-aircraft shell near Grandpré, Ardennes.

His letters home were collected and privately published in 1919 as Letters of An American Airman: Being The War Record of Capt. Hamilton Coolidge, U.S.A. 1917-1918 by The Plimpton Press. Google Books has digitized it and it can be read or downloaded in various formats from the Internet Archive. This book has also been published by several Print On Demand Publishers.

(Editor’s Note: These early installments of Frandzen’s “Lives of the Aces in Pictures” that were published in the pulp-sized issues have been reformatted from a two page spread into a one page feature.)

“Sky Fighters, February 1935″ by Eugene M. Frandzen

Link - Posted by David on February 6, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

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. On the February 1935 cover, It’s a battle of the Bristol Fighter F2B and the Siemens Halske D4!

The Ships on the Cover

THE Bristol Fighter F2B th_SF_3502was a plane which any Englishman can remember with justifiable pride. It was a two-seater fighter brought out during 1917 and some of them were still flying a few years back. As a war bus this square fuselage job was in a class by itself. One man could take it into a mixup and outfly most of the enemy scouts.

With the rear gunner in the Bristol Fighter it was about the most dangerous thing slicing through the skies. It mowed down its enemies in such great numbers that the German flyers gave it the right of way whenever possible.

The British and Colonial Aeroplane Co., manufacturers of the Bristol was formed in 1910 by the late Sir George White, Bart, who incidentally was the pioneer of electric tramways in Great Britain.

The Bristol Fighter was the first ship of any country which could match single-seater scouts in speed, maneuverability and ease of handling.

Four-Bladed Propeller

The sleek little red plane zooming underneath the Bristol on the cover is a Siemens-Halske D-4 pursuit ship. It was made by one of the many branches of the great Siemens Electrical Company of Germany, comparable to our own General Electric Co. The motor was a 200 h.p. Halske rotary. To get greater efficiency with the geared down motor a four-bladed propeller was used. The ailerons were actuated by torque tubes. The Siemens firm also produced those multi-engined giant bombers, the Siemens-Schuckert and Siemens-Steffen.

The Bristol Fighter was made by the firm that had been founded by a pioneer of the electric street car; the Siemens-Halske by the electric moguls of Germany. Therefore it was fitting and interesting that these two ships should be pitted and allowed to scratch and tear at each other as war planes are in the habit of doing.

The Battle Opens!

With the Siemens having a slight edge in speed the battle opened. The Bristol back gunner was a menace to the German who used his slight extra speed finally to maneuver so that he placed his streamlined little job under the tail of the larger Bristol. Two spitting streams of bullets poured from his Spandaus. One of those tiny pellets tore through the British observer’s body.

He slumped in his pit, out. Down dove the Siemens, came back from under and in front of the Bristol. Slugs spattered through the two-seater’s floorboards. The Bristol pilot quickly lashed his controls, turned, and holding his buddy from slipping overboard brought the twin Lewis guns over the side. The Siemens, a streak of red, flashed by so close that the left elevator of the Bristol and the left wing tip of the Siemens nearly brushed together.

A Short-Lived Grin

The German looked up, grinned. The grin didn’t last a shaved part of a split second. A single Lewis gun churned slugs at point-blank range into the German ship. One smashed the pilot’s left shoulder.

Rapidly the ships flew in opposite directions. They had fought a draw. Each carried a wounded man to be patched up and flung again into the arena where knockouts are daily events and draws are few and far between.

The Ships on The Cover
Sky Fighters,February 1935 by Eugene M. Frandzen
(The Ships on The Cover Page)

Next time, Mr. Frandzen features the French Deperdussin vs. the German D.F.W.!

“Sky Fighters, January 1935″ by Eugene M. Frandzen

Link - Posted by David on January 23, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

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. On the January 1935 cover, It’s a battle of the experimental Morane-Saulnier up against the mighty Fokker Tri-Plane!

The Ships on the Cover

A FLYER who goes out th_SF_3501of his way to tackle three enemy ships and down the bunch in one fight is called a “Three in One.” Meaning, of course, three in one fight. But that said flyer, before barging into a seemingly hopeless scrap, must have more than mere courage. My guess would be: courage, exceptional flying ability and nerves of steel.

Andrew McKeever and Francis Quigley and James McCudden were “three in one” Aces. McKeever, a Canadian, made three kills in one fight. The odds against him were nine to one and just to make it more interesting, the fight occurred far behind the German lines. The Cannuck charged into the mass of attacking Germans and tore their morale to pieces by blasting three of them out of the skies. The remaining six Hun pilots were so dazed by McKeever’s audacity that they allowed him to slip away from them and he returned home without a scratch.

Tangling Them Into Knots

McCudden, whose score was high at the time, hopped a squadron of German ships. He tangled them into knots with his brilliant flying and marksmanship. Four of the German ships crashed to earth under his guns. Dozens of German slugs tore through McCudden’s plane but he was unharmed and landed safely.

That gives you a look-see at a couple of the famous aces of the war whose official records are now history. Now take a look at the cover to see a Frenchman qualifying for the “Three in One” club.

The Fokker triplane was a ship which stood out boldly on the German roster of famous ships. Some of the Fokker tri-planes were slow. Fokker built these tripes originally around the 100 h.p. Oberursel rotary motors and had to be content with the speed this engine delivered. Later when more powerful motors were installed his tripes climbed well into the first division for speed. What they lacked in miles per hour they made up in maneuverability. They could “turn on a dime.”

This super-maneuverability was due to the shortness of the fuselage bringing the tail close up to the wings and also to the short span of the wings. The experimental Morane-Saulnier is the exact opposite to the triplane design and cannot get into a change of direction as quickly as the tripe. It is built more for slashing attack. Having a single wing against the three of the German ship makes the scrap all the more interesting.

Under the Guns!

One of the quick darting Fokkers has already fallen under the guns of the Morane pilot. Another is taking its death potion from the blazing guns of the French plane as it zooms up under its nose. The third Fokker pilot is so rattled that he is firing more at his colleague in the foremost Fokker then at the Morane-Saulnier. It’s finis for him as soon as the speedy Morane-Saulnier can swing it’s guns in his direction.

Flyers didn’t go out every day or two and engage superior numbers of enemy ships just to show how the trick was done. It was rather a once-in-a-lifetime stunt for a very few of the best. To zoom into sky conflict with a single enemy plane takes courage. But to tangle with a gang of your foes, down three or more of them and come through the show with colors flying, takes courage PLUS.

Plus what? I’ve already made my guess. What’s yours?

The Ships on The Cover
Sky Fighters, January 1935 by Eugene M. Frandzen
(The Ships on The Cover Page)

Next time, Mr. Frandzen features the Bristol Fighter F2B and the Siemens Halske D4!

“Lives of the Aces in Pictures – Part 15: Major Vaughn” by Eugene Frandzen

Link - Posted by David on January 18, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

Starting in the May 1932 issue of Flying Aces and running almost 4 years, Eugene Frandzen’s “Lives of the Aces in Pictures” was a staple of the magazine. Each month Frandzen would feature a different Ace that rose to fame during the Great War. This time around we have American Ace—Major George Vaughn!

Major George A. Vaughn is credited with 13 victories—12 German planes and one balloon—and awarded the American Distinguished Service Cross, the British Distinguished Flying Cross and Silver Star with two citations. He was shot down twice, but managed to escape uninjured both times.

A student at Princeton when the war broke out, Vaughn returned and finished his degree after the war. He became a reearch engineer for Western Electric and later a slea engineer for Westinghouse.

Vaughn was asked by the Governor of New York, Franklin Roosevelt, to help organize the New York Air National Guard—the 102nd Observation Squadron—in the early 1920s. He served as it’s commander for nine years. In 1933 he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and assigned to the 27th Division Staff as Air Officer until he retired in 1939.

Vaughn was on of the organizers of the Casey Jones School of Aeronautics along with Lee D. Warrender and Casey Jones in 1932. The School, based at La Guardia Airport, would become the College of Aeronautics. In 2004, the name was changed to the Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology.

George Vaughn passed away in 1989 at the age of 92 of a brain tumor.

(Editor’s Note: These early installments of Frandzen’s “Lives of the Aces in Pictures” that were published in the pulp-sized issues have been reformatted from a two page spread into a one page feature.)

“Sky Fighters, July 1934″ 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. On the July 1934 cover, It’s a battle of David and Goliath—a Belgian Hanriot 3 C.2 going after a L70 Class Zeppelin!

The Ships on the Cover

THIS month on the cover th_SF_3407 is shown one of the type of planes used during the World War by Belgium, that tiny country sandwiched in between France, Germany and Holland.

The plane with the Belgian insignia (red, yellow and blue) is the Hanriot 3 C.2, a French job powered by a Salmson radial motor.

Belgium’s refusal to let the German hordes pass through her country is probably the most important single event of the whole scrap. And while the ground troops of the plucky little country were holding back the rolling waves of German shock troops the Belgian airmen were doing things up in the clouds.

Real Fighting Spirit

The Belgians had observation machines spotting strategic points behind the German lines. But as the war progressed and machine-guns appeared on airplanes Belgium’s air fighters drove their machines, usually of French construction, into the teeth of the Boche ships. Odds seemed nothing to them. The fighting spirit of their beloved king and leader, King Albert, seemed to burn in the breast of every Belgian flyer.

The Belgians repeatedly bombed the Boche Zeppelin hangars. The hangars were moved beyond the range of the Belgian planes. But the Belgian flyers continued to hunt the Zeppelins slipping through the high clouds on raiding expeditions.

On the cover the Hanriot prowling alone in search of trouble roars through the scudding clouds thousands of feet above the crash of artillery fire and the rattle of rifles. Two guns with cartridge-filled belts poke wickedly from under the top wing. The rear gunner is ready for action with his Lewis gun. At one moment the sky is deserted except for the Hanriot. Then a great shape, with straining engines forcing its ominous bulk forward, breaks through the clouds. It is heading eastward, returning from a bomb dropping raid on the English seacoast towns; returning after releasing an avalanche of death and destruction.

A Matter of Seconds

A flip of the rudder and the Hanriot tears in at the bloated raider like an angry wasp. Vickers blasting sizzling incendiaries at the hydrogen-filled airship. The range shortens, the Hanriot’s Salmson motor labors as it climbs. The Zeppelin points its nose up fighting for altitude; altitude which means safety. The Hanriot’s greater speed shortens the gap. The Belgian rear gunner swings his Lewis into position. They are not to be denied—it is only a matter of seconds.

A roaring blue meteor slams down out of the clouds with guns spitting. It is between the climbing Zeppelin and the attacking Hanriot. Its wings are black-crossed. It is a matter of minutes before the Zeppelin will be above the altitude the Hanriot is capable of reaching. It will escape.

The Hanriot’s pilot opens fire on the German plane as Spandau bullets tear past his ears. Behind him the Lewis gun jerks on its scarf mounting. Incendiary bullets scream into the side of the Zeppelin. A thin tongue of flame licks at the torn fabric; a tiny spot of flame which will spread rapidly from bow to stern and will send the Goliath of the skies hurtling down toward the poppy fields of Flanders.

The Ships on The Cover
Sky Fighters, July 1934 by Eugene M. Frandzen
(The Ships on The Cover Page)

Next time, Mr. Frandzen features the Morane-Saulnier and Fokker Triplane!

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