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“Bagged in Bagdad” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on February 28, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

“Haw-w-w-w-w!” That sound can only mean one thing—it’s time to ring out the old year and ring in the new with that Bachelor of Artifice, Knight of Calamity and an alumnus of Doctor Merlin’s Camelot College for Conjurors—Phineas Pinkham. The Boonetown miracle is sent to Bagdad to find out the lay of the land between Bagdad and Mosul—the strength of Turkish troops, the number of guns, and all that sort of thing. But most important of all, he is to ferret out the Turkish spy—Mustapha Murad. It is a dangerous job, that Phineas accomplishes in his own inimitable style. It’s the Arabian Nights a’la Phineas Pinkham! From the pages of the June 1937 issue of Flying Aces, it’s “Bagged in Bagdad!”

Off in Harun Al Raschid’s sinister land of mystery, Mussulman musclemen had muscled in, hence the Limeys’ battle layout didn’t look so lush. As for Phineas, both teams in the Big Scrap were after his scalp. For even though Beni Sentmi had scored a neat outfield assist, Mustapha Murad and Rancid Bey were next on the batting list. And they were ready to knock a Bagdad four-bagger right over the fez.

“How Barker Won the V.C.” by Paul J. Bissell

Link - Posted by David on December 23, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we present another of Paul Bissell’s covers 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 February 1932 cover Bissell put us right in the action as Major Barker fights his way through Hell skies to down five German planes in a single day!

How Barker Won the V.C.

th_FA_3202JUST four years before, it had been Barker. W.G. Private 106074, First Canadian Rifles. Today, October 17, 1918, it was Major Barker, D.S.C., M.C., with forty-six Germans to his credit, who was waving good-bye to his squadron mates as in his Snipe machine he took off for England. The day was clear, and those on the ground smiled as they saw the little machine climb higher and higher. Yes, Billy Barker was obeying orders and “proceeding to England,” but via Germany, and one last scrap.

He was four and a half miles up when he met his first enemy, a double-seater machine, with a good pilot and a scrappy observer. Twice Barker attacked before he sent this plane down. Then, when the machine burst into flames, he pulled out of his dive, leveling off just as a burst from above caught him completely unawares.

He slipped away on a wing, but not soon enough to avoid an explosive bullet which completely shattered his left thigh. Turning to the attack, his fast-maneuvering Snipe quickly got him into a position where, with deadly coolness, he finished his second German of the day.

Dizzy from loss of blood, he suddenly found the sky around him literally black with German pjanes. The watching Tommies on the ground estimated that the planes numbered no less than sixty.

Without hesitation Barker dived at the nearest enemy. Number three went down.

Now the Germans were firing at him from every direction. His machine was hit repeatedly and he himself was wounded again, this time in the right thigh. His machine out of control, he fell into a spin, followed down by the whole German circus. After a few thousand feet, however, the rush of air revived Barker, and savagely he returned to the attack.

A quick tight loop—his favorite maneuver—one short burst, and the fourth German went down in flames. But again Barker pays dearly. This time another explosive bullet takes away his entire left elbow joint. Once again he goes into a spin, down he twists, the Boche diving after and riddling his machine. The gas tank is demolished. Fighting desperately to maintain consciousness, he switches his engine to his auxiliary tank, and once again turns on his foes.

But the battle is over. Faint from loss of blood, scarcely conscious, Barker, with one last effort, turns his plane toward the west, and dives headlong toward the shell-pocked earth, piling up in a barbed wire entanglement just inside the British lines.

Downed at last, but still alive and smiling. Sixty to one were the odds. Five German planes was the toll he took.

The best that England could give in medical attention was his. Slowly they nursed him back to health, and Major Barker became Colonel William George Barker, V.C., D.S.O., M.C., with fifty-one official air victories to his credit—and he was less than twenty-four years old!

The Ships on The Cover
“How Barker Won the V.C.”
Flying Aces, February 1932 by Paul J. Bissell

“Wrong About Face!” by Joe Archibald

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

“HAW-W-W-W-W!” That sound can only mean one thing—it’s time to ring out the old year and ring in the new with that Bachelor of Artifice, Knight of Calamity and an alumnus of Doctor Merlin’s Camelot College for Conjurors—Phineas Pinkham.

It was reported that plans vital to the Allied cause had been stolen from a certain general in a hotel in Bar-Le-Duc. Potsdam’s spies had been out-snooping the Allied slewfoots. Things were known on the German side that should not have been known—and wouldn’t have been unless there was skulduggery on the Democratic side of the lines. Washington, London, Rome, and Paris were getting inklings here and there anent a mysterious Teuton Intelligence Dynasty. The scions of a well-born family irrigated with blue Dutch blood were spread all over the Western Front. A lot of practical brass hats called it an Old Wives’ tale. They said that it was propaganda to irk the morale of the Allies. But when a certain concentration center or important dump was shellacked with deadly precision, the same brass hats began to bite their finger nails and believe in anything—even a pilot called Patrick Henry the Third!

From the pages of the May 1937 Flying Aces, it’s another sky-high “Phineas Pinkham” mirthquake from the Joe Archibald—It’s “Wrong About Face!”

When Patrick Henry the Third shoved his super-schnozzled pan into Major Rufus Garrity’s flight office, the ozone above the drome rang with the patriotic cry of “Give me a Liberty or give me a Hisso!” But before long someone started to play a game that called for an aunt instead of an ante. And Phineas? Well, he played a Pat face against a Pat hand.

“Suicide Struts” by William E. Barrett

Link - Posted by David on November 8, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

THIS November we’re celebrating William E. Barrett’s Birthday with one of his pulp stories each Friday.

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!

Today we have the story of Jack Kane, a pilot with the 17th Squadron’s C Flight who’s in over his head. Turns out C Flight plays hand after hand of poker in between patrols and young Kane has been doling out I.O.U.s to cover his debts and the time to settle up those debts is fast approaching. Problem is, he doesn’t have the money to cover those I.O.U.s. Kane believes it would be better to perish in battle and die a hero than face disgrace when his debts come due!

Disgrace faced young Kane in twenty-four hours. And there ahead of him, with guns jammed—a Fokker’s cold meat—was the man from whose hands disgrace would come. Fate was giving Kane his chance—yet he could not take it!

From the October 1931 Flying Aces, it’s William E. Barrett’s “Suicide Struts!”

“Bombers Down!” by Colcord Heurlin

Link - Posted by David on October 28, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a cover by the great Colcord Heurlin! He provided covers throughout the 1920’s and early 30’s for various pulp magazines—most frequently for your Adventure type magazines. Here we present his cover for the March 1931 issue of Flying Aces—a dynamic cover that once again has a story to tell.

Bombers Down!

th_FA_3103NOT all the danger attending the life of a bombardment pilot was crammed into the few mad minutes he spent over his objective, dodging enemy anti-aircraft fire, intercepting aircraft or the betraying beams of searchlights while his observer pulled the toggles that released the grim eggs. There was the dangerous take-off with a loaded plane. There was the wild flight across the line through the barrage of steel that vomited up from anti-aircraft batteries, and then, above all, there was the flight back.

To carry high explosive was no cinch at the best of times, and many a pilot lost pounds in weight or added years to his age as he sat in the ship carrying the dangerous missiles. Once over the objective, they could get rid of the stuff and heave a sigh of relief. But—suppose the bomb rack jammed and left the bombs hanging by a lone loop. Suppose the observer yanked and pulled on the toggles in an effort to get it off, anyway and anywhere at all, with no success.

This has happened on several occasions, and generally speaking, the airmen are in a tight position. They cannot land with the bomb hanging in that manner. With the nose portion clear of the rack, as is shown in this month’s illustration, the wind vane has been released and the percussion pin has been wound into concussion position. All it requires is a slight jounce, and the 500-pound shell of T.N.T. is touched off. There is nothing to do but try and get the shell off somehow. Many an observer today is wearing a ribbon on his old flying tunic for getting out and releasing a bomb from a rack that has jammed. Sometimes it is easy. Sometimes the observer has had to get down on the landing gear and actually file the release pin off, or even shoot it away with an automatic.

There were times when it was done successfully. There were many when they were unable to release it before their gas supply ran out.

The Story Behind The Cover
“Bombers Down!”
Flying Aces, March 1931 by Colcord Heurlin

“Poosh ‘Em Up—Pinkham” by Joe Archibald

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

“HAW-W-W-W-W!” That sound can only mean one thing—that marvel from Boonetown, Iowa is back causing more trouble than he’s worth! During the last year of the colossal fuss the Italian board of strategy powwowed at Padua and came to the conclusion that something had to be done about the Austro threat across the Piave and sent out an S.O.S. to the western front calling for a triple threat airman who would be able to cope with one Baron von Zweibach who had become widely known from the Dardanelles to the Dover Straits as “The Caproni Crusher.” The only way to fight a triple treat is with a triple threat, so Wing sent that jinx to Jerries to Italy! It’s another Phineas Pinkham laugh panic from the pages of the April 1937 Flying Aces!

Things looked pretty dark on the Piave, and the Roman Brass Hats admitted it. For “The Caproni Crusher,” Baron von Zweibach, was loose—and they didn’t have a flyer good enough to dunk him. But the situation could have been worse—in fact, when Phineaseppi Pinkhamillo arrived on the scene it was worser!

“Smoke Scream” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on August 30, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

“HAW-W-W-W-W!” That sound can only mean one thing—that Bachelor of Artifice, Knight of Calamity and an alumnus of Doctor Merlin’s Camelot College for Conjurors is back to vex not only the Germans, but the Americans—the Ninth Pursuit Squadron in particular—as well. Yes it’s the marvel from Boonetown, Iowa himself—Lieutenant Phineas Pinkham!

It’s a simple formula. Take one Brigadier who’s lost important plans for the big push add to it the crafty Baron von Spieler. Multiply it by an elephant hopped up on arnica on a rampage. Throw in a hindu mystic and take all of it to the Phineas Pinkham power and you get “Smoke Scream,” Joe Archibald’s latest side-splitting Phineas laugh riot from the pages of the March 1937 Flying Aces!

Lost battle plans! That’s what worried the Brass Hats. But Lieutenant Pinkham, Boonetown’s gift to the 9th Pursuit, went out for bigger things—to be specific, something a couple of tons bigger which answered to the monicker of Hungha Tin. All of which led to a riddle which was still bigger, to wit: Which came first, the bruises or the arnica?

“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

“The Night Bomber” by C. Heurlin

Link - Posted by David on April 15, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

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

The Night Bomber

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

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

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

“P.D.Q-Boat” by Joe Archibald

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

“HAW-W-W-W-W!” That sound can only mean one thing—that Bachelor of Artifice, Knight of Calamity and an alumnus of Doctor Merlin’s Camelot College for Conjurors is back to vex not only the Germans, but the Americans—the Ninth Pursuit Squadron in particular—as well. Yes it’s the marvel from Boonetown, Iowa himself—Lieutenant Phineas Pinkham!

Deeds of extraordinary valor had made Phineas Pinkham a colonel. But one potent punch to the proud proboscis of a brigadier had amended that over zealous act on the part of the high cockalorums of the A.E.F. Everybody on the jittery front from the Channel to the Italian border breathed easier. But Lieutenant Pinkham had not forgotten a certain von Spieler. He was one Von whom Phineas had not been able to wash up completely and the Heinie’s name was written on the intrepid Yank’s books under the heading of “Unfinished Business.” From the February 1937 issue of Flying Ace, it’s Phineas Pinkham in “P.D.Q-Boat!”

Old Lady Fate had put through a mixed grill order, and it looked like the Krauts would bring home the bacon. Allied marine moguls got their ships mixed, Garrity got his signals mixed, and Goomer got his bottles mixed. All of which boiled down to the fact that Phineas was on the spot—only the M.P.’s didn’t know which spot.

“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!

Richard Knight in “Hell Hammers Harbin” by Donald E. Keyhoe

Link - Posted by David on February 8, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

THE prolific Donald E. Keyhoe had a story in a majority of the issue of Flying Aces from his first in January 1930 until he returned to the Navy in 1942. Starting in August 1931, they were stories featuring the weird World War I stories of Philip Strange. But in November 1936, he began alternating these with sometime equally weird present day tales of espionage Ace Richard Knight—code name Agent Q. After an accident in the Great War, Knight developed the uncanny ability to see in the dark. Aided by his skirt-chasing partner Larry Doyle, Knights adventures ranged from your basic between the wars espionage to lost valley civilizations and dinosaurs.

“Hell Hammers Harbin” from the pages of the March 1938 issue of Flying Aces is Keyhoe’s ninth story with the intrepid Q-Agent and his pal Larry Doyle.

North! North! And still farther northward over those bleak wastes of Asia flew Dick Knight. His course was uncharted—his destination unknown even to himself! Only a question mark—a cryptic crimson question mark emblazoned on a rough Manchurian map—offered a clue to the mystery of that mad flight. And that puny clue was destined to be his single weapon against—hideous meteors of murder!

“Flight Opera” by Joe Archibald

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

“HAW-W-W-W-W!” That sound can only mean one thing—it’s time to ring out the old year and ring in the new with that Bachelor of Artifice, Knight of Calamity and an alumnus of Doctor Merlin’s Camelot College for Conjurors—Phineas Pinkham.

History’s pages show us that very strange things have happened in wars. They tell us that Hannibal pushed a big herd of pachyderms over the Alps to stomp on the Roman legions. They tell us about the wooden hobby horse that the Greeks pushed through the gate of Troy and how the faces of the Trojan boys went red when they discovered that the jokers from Athens had not come in to open a restaurant. There is the tale about George Washington crossing the Delaware when it was filled with ice cakes and how his Continentals kicked the Hessians around because they had been drinking too much New Jersey corn. But the strangest thing that ever happened in any war took place in France in the year of our Lord Nineteen Hundred and Eighteen. Somebody made Lieutenant Phineas Pinkham a colonel!

From the pages of the January 1937 Flying Aces, it’s Joe Archibald’s “Flight Opera!”

That letter the War Department tossed across the Atlantic smack onto Garrity’s desk certainly had an innocent appearance. But when it was opened, the 9th Pursuit was turned upside down so fast that it looked like the 6th. For Phineas Pinkham had been made a COLONEL!

“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?

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