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“Death Eggs” by Frederick Blakeslee

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

Frederick Blakeslee painted all the covers for the entire run of Dare-Devil Aces. And each of those covers had a story behind it. This time Mr. Blakeslee brings us a story of what seemed to be an unnecessary bombing mission, that turned into a great success! From the June 1932 issue of Dare-Devil Aces, we present “Death Eggs!”

th_DDA_3206IN JULY, 1918, a British bombing outfit was given what was believed to be an unimportant mission. It had been reported by spies that there was an unusual movement in and out of a certain German town which was located opposite a sector that had been quiet for a week. As there were no railway yards or anything of military importance in the village—which was partly in ruins and apparently deserted—the bombing orders were indefinite. One Handley-Page was assigned to the mission and the pilot was ordered simply to bomb anything that looked suspicious. It was probably this nonchalant attitude that made the raid such a success.

As a matter of fact, the trains were bringing fresh troops. An entire German regiment—with supplies, machine guns and artillery outfit—had already been moved in under cover of night and plans were being rapidly completed for a major push, intended to take the Allies by surprise.

Things might have gone as scheduled if the German general had not felt the need of exhorting his troops before sending them into battle. He ordered them one morning to parade in the market square, and after the maneuvers proceeded to address them. The troops were standing at attention, listening to their commander, when with a roar a huge Handley-Page bomber streaked low overhead.

The pilot of the Handley-Page had come to a low altitude to better observe the supposedly deserted village and as he flew over the market place was startled to see it packed with Germans.

Too late the Germans recognized the British insignia. The bombs landed right in among the massed ranks. The results can better be imagined than described.

The bomber had been escorted by a squadron of Neiuports, which now came down and joined in, finishing the business with machine guns at close range. It was slaughter—but it was also War!

That same day, alive to the importance of the town, a large scale bombing raid was planned and executed, completing the ruin of what was to have been an important Boche victory.

The Story Behind The Cover
“Death Eggs: The Story Behind The Cover” by Frederick Blakeslee
(June 1932, Dare-Devil Aces)

“Lives of the Aces in Pictures – Part 2: Bert Hall” by Eugene Frandzen

Link - Posted by David on November 25, 2015 @ 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 the second installment featuring America’s Flying Soldier of Fortune—Bert Hall!

Weston Birch “Bert” Hall was one of the seven original members of the Lafayette Escadrille. And was probably America’s most colorful Soldier of Fortune. Born in 1885, he began his storied carrer in the early 1900’s in the Balkan war. Later, he is reported to have dropped rocks on the sultan of Turkey’s enemies while flying for the Turks. He was a four-flusher, a liar, a deserter and a damn good poker player who was good at reading his opponents.

Hall wrote two books about his exploits in the Lafayette Escadrille, En L’air (1918) and One Man’s War (1929). The former was the basis of the 1918 film A Romance of the Air, in which he starred as himself.

He assisted the Chinese in the 1920’s when he headed the Chinese air force. However he was sentenced to 30 months in jail when a money for arms deal fell through and was accused of receiving money under false pretenses.

When he was released in 1936, he ended up moving around alot—to Seattle for a while and Hollywood where he worked for 20th Century Fox Studios. By 1940 he found himself in Dayton, Ohio—finally settling in Castalia, Ohio and starting the Sturdy Toy Factory.

He died of a massive heart attack while driving down the highway in 1948.

(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.)

“Kondor E 111a” by Frederick Blakeslee

Link - Posted by David on March 16, 2015 @ 6:00 am in

Editor’s Note: This month’s cover is the thirteenth of the actual war-combat pictures which Mr. Blakeslee, well-known artist and authority on aircraft, is painting exclusively for BATTLE ACES. The series was started to give our readers authentic pictures of war planes in color. It also enables you to follow famous airmen on many of their amazing adventures and feel the same thrills of battle they felt. Be sure to save these covers if you want your collection of this fine series to be complete.

th_BA_3206JIM, like most of the men who fought in the World War, refused to talk on the subject. He was an English ace and I knew he had done some worthwhile things. Finally, just to get rid of me, he agreed to tell me his story on the condition that, should I repeat it, his name would be withheld. Luck was with me after he once started and by questioning and egging him on I persuaded him to tell me of several other of his exploits. You’ll hear of them in later issues. This month the cover is based on one of his stories which he told very modestly, so I shall retell it in my own way.

A British hospital had been bombed by three German flyers. They had wrecked one wing of it, killing several of the wounded. As soon as the news reached the nearest airdrome, planes took off in pursuit of the marauders, but they had disappeared and as night was setting in the ships had to return.

The three Boche flyers had flown monoplanes with green camouflaged bodies, brick-red rudders and blue wings, so they were marked men. The Allies determined to avenge the outrage and early next morning the patrol took the air together with all ships in that sector. They ranged the sky all without coming in contact with the enemy. On the way home they flew under the clouds, shooting up everything in sight on the ground. When they returned to the drome, Jim’s patrol learned that in their absence the three Jerries had again bombed the hospital, fortunately without any fatal results. The three had lurked in the clouds until the patrols had gone and then proceeded to drop their eggs.

Orders were issued to get these Jerries at all costs. This time the British forces were to fly singly or in pairs, in order to cover more territory. With rage in their hearts the British pilots took the air.

Jim was flying alone and very high when he saw three specks skudding along close to a layer of clouds; they were coming from the direction of Germany. Sure these were the wanted planes, he tilted his machine down to investigate and noticed that one ship was flying high above the other two, probably as a lookout. On coming closer he recognized the plane as one of the bombers of the day before. He pulled his throttle wide open and dove for him.

Too late the Boche heard the scream of the plane behind him. He turned with a startled look as Jim let go a savage burst straight into him at point-blank range. The Boche was probably killed instantly, for he fell forward, his monoplane tipped up and Jim’s smoking bullets smashed through the entire length of the body. The other two ships streaked down one behind the other. All at once Jim realized that he was in a trail of heat and smoke. In his blind fury he had kept a fast hold on his trigger and was pouring a steady stream of lead into the ship ahead.

The smoke brought him to himself and he pulled to one side just in time to see the enemy ship burst into roaring flames. In its dive the burning plane had headed straight for the other two and an instant later had plunged into the leading Boche. There was a blinding flash, followed by a cloud of smoke, suspended for an instant, and when Jim gathered his wits, he and the third Boche were flying alone.

Instantly he brought his nose in line with him and pulled the trigger, but nothing happened. He had used up his ammunition in that wild dive. He thought of his center section gun, but before he could maneuver into position, the German had gone into a dive. Jim determined to get him or die in the attempt. He set off in pursuit, but when the Jerry whirled into the clouds. Jim thought he had seen the last of this particular enemy. He cut in after him, however, and as he came out, saw the Boche still diving towards the earth. A moment later, the Jerry plane flattened out and crashed into a field. The pilot extracted himself from the wreck, ran a few steps and dropped.

Jim landed near him and found that the German was not badly hurt but that his mind had been temporarily deranged. He was removed to a hospital and several weeks later, when his mind and nerves were rested and back to normal, he explained the reason for the bombing of the hospital. The Germans had been informed that the hospital was an ammunition factory in disguise, for the demolition of which they would be highly rewarded.

Jim did not recognize the type of the German ship, but was sure it was neither a Fokker nor a Junker. From his meager description it sounds like a Kondor E 111a or E 111. At any rate I have shown these two ships on the cover. There is no information available on this machine except that it had a 200 h.p. Goebel rotary motor.

Kondor E111a
“Kondor E 111a” by Frederick M. Blakeslee (June 1932)

“The Flying Fortress” by Arch Whitehouse

Link - Posted by Bill on February 18, 2010 @ 2:48 pm in

A Yank pilot said too much at a Paris estaminet, a British airman said too little on the way to the Front. And a battle that began at twelve thousand feet hurtled to a hangar door. Will this be the end of The Casket Crew?

War Skies of Shanghai by Arch Whitehouse

Link - Posted by Bill on September 2, 2009 @ 10:01 pm in

Reporter/Flying Ace Billy “Buzz” Benson returns with a new adventure. Westward toward Shanghai, where smoldered a fire of war that threatened to blaze forth and enflame the whole world, a Yankee submarine cut through the waters of the Pacific. Deep in its hold was the Sea Hawk, the plane chosen to carry Buzz Benson straight through the Japanese air zone with secret orders that would mean war or peace. But not twenty cable lengths away steamed a Japanese sub, and in its hold was another Sea Hawk—awaiting the moment when Benson should begin his mad air race to Shanghai!

“Devildog Doom” by Donald E. Keyhoe

Link - Posted by Bill on April 17, 2009 @ 5:24 pm in

Four squadrons had been wiped out by the unknown menace that struck from above, and in the smoldering ruins of those Allied dromes not a man was left alive. Now in the air before Cyclone Bill Garrity’s eyes four Spads had vanished, and only smoke and fiery fragments showed where the fearful man-made lightning had taken its toll. The drome of the 81st lay directly in the path of this weird, flashing doom from the skies—and the Devildogs would be next!