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“Famous Sky Fighters, October 1936″ by Terry Gilkison

Link - Posted by David on January 15, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

STARTING in the October 1933 issue of Sky Fighters and running almost 5 years, Terry Gilkison’s “Famous Sky Fighters” was a staple of the magazine. Each month Gilkison would illustrate in a two page spread different Aces that rose to fame during the Great War.

Although Gilkison was probably better known for his syndicated newspaper work, he also provided black and white story interior illustrations for pulp magazines. His work appeared in Clues, Thrilling Adventures, Texas Rangers, Thrilling Mystery, Thrilling Western, and Popular Western. Gilkison provided similar features in a few other Thrilling Publications—there was “Famous Soldiers of Fortune” and later “Adventure Thrills” in Thrilling Adventures, Famous Crimes” in Thrilling Detective, and the fully illustrated air adventure stories of Buck Barton “The Flying Devil” in The Lone Eagle! He signed most of this work with only his initials “T.G.” to maintain a low profile and preserve his reputation as a syndicated newspaper cartoon artist.

The October 1936 installment, from the pages of Sky Fighters, features Colonel Charles Kerwood, S.A. Andree, Rene Fonck, Major Christopher Draper and the first licensed woman pilot in the US, Harriet Quimby!

Next time in “Famous Sky Fighters”, Terry Gilkison features Major Edward Mannock, Lt. Clyde Balsley, and Lt. Victor Chapman! Don’t miss it!

My Most Thrilling Sky Fight: Lt. Luigi Olivari

Link - Posted by David on November 27, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

AMIDST all the great pulp thrills and features in Sky Fighters, they ran a true story feature collected by Ace Williams wherein famous War Aces would tell actual true accounts of thrilling moments in their fighting lives! This time it’s the inimitable Italian flying ace, Lt. Luigi Olivari’s Most Thrilling Sky Fight!

Luigi Olivari was born in Milan and educated in Switzerland in a military school. Although but a boy in his minority when the war began, he left home and school immediately and enlisted in the ranks of the Italian Army. He rose swiftly in the ranks and was commissioned a Lieutenant in tho Alpine Corps, those rugged mountain troops that did so much to protect the fertile Italian plains from Austrian army raids. After brief service as an officer in that branch he was transferred to the flying corps. Sent to the front he was assigned to a squadron flying little Pomilio monoplanes with Fiat engines. These were the fastest but trickiest of front line lighting machines of their day. Luigi Olivari downed three Austrian planes in his first sky battle. When killed on October 15, 1917, he had run his score to 12 official and was the third ranking Italian ace. The account below is taken from an interview he gave to an American correspondent.

 

DOWNING A NIGHT RAIDER

by Lieutenant Luigi Olivari • Sky Fighters, October 1936

FIGHTING by day and fighting by night are not at all similar. Of course, one uses his guns in the same manner in both cases; but tactics and strategy are entirely different. In day time one maneuvers to secure the advantage of the sun, so that he may come down in the path of the sun’s rays unseen by his antagonist. To try the same tactics at night, say to maneuver into the path of the moon’s rays, would be fatal. For instead of being hidden you would only succeed in revealing your presence to the enemy. Then another thing, in day fighting one usually tries to gain position behind and above the enemy. In night fighters against bombers such a position is fatal. The glare of your exhausts gives your presence away, and the night bombers are so arranged that many guns can be brought to bear on the rear, in front and to all sides. The only proper way to attack is from directly beneath.

One has to unlearn most of his day fighting tactics when he goes on night patrol. I had had good schooling before I ever went on night patrol. That accounts, I believe, for my success in my first night flight, when I succeeded in bringing down an Austrian Gotha that was attempting to bomb one of our ammunition factories,

A Moonlit Night

Front line patrols had reported that a formation of three Gothas had crossed our lines, proceeding in the general direction of T——. The night was one of bright moonlight, ideal for bombing. And I must also say helpful to us, the flyers of the night patrol, who were supposed to keep them from laying their eggs—and down them if possible.

With Captain M——, Lieutenants S—— and G——, and Sergeant T——, I took off from our airdrome and flew to intercept the night raiders. Even in moonlight one cannot see far at night, hence the Gothas passed us unseen. They came over at a much higher level than they had been reported. It is only when the anti-aircraft battery protecting the factory at T—— began to fire at them, that our formation located them.

We all dashed in then with full power. Our instructions were to split the formation if possible. That we managed to do even before the night raiders had a chance to drop their bombs. Captain M—— and two others went for the Boche leader. Sergeant T—— and I then attacked the Boche on the right. The sergeant went up above and the Boche gunners opened up on him with a heavy fire which he returned. I could see the tracers from both ships racing back and forth like a streaking shuttle in power loom.

Firing at Close Range

Taking advantage of the Boche gunner’s momentary distraction with Sergeant T——, I dived down and came up with full power immediately beneath, my sights fastened on the Boche’s black belly. Knowing that they were armored in places beneath I waited until I was very close before firing. Then when I did, I rooked my stick fore and aft, so that my tracers traversed the whole length of the fuselage.

The Boche gunners saw me now, however, and they switched their fire to me. But their tracers went harmlessly through my outer wings. They couldn’t reach me in a vital spot, for parts of their own plane intervened. I was hovering under their blind spot.

With speed lost, my ship began to wobble. I had fired a whole belt of ammunition into the Boche’s belly and still nothing had happened. I thought my surprise attack from beneath was going to fail and was sick at heart. But no!

A little tongue of fire began to lick along the fuselage. Fanned by the air blast it leaped into a giant flame, the heat of which I felt against my cheeks as I fell off into an uncontrolled spin. Then there was an explosion. My own plane seemed to suddenly thrust sideways. It groaned under the sudden strain and the braces crackled.

But my motor was roaring, so I soon managed to regain control.

There below and to one side of me was a night raider falling in flames. The other two Gothas were streaking homewards with my comrades darting in at them and sniping from all sides like swallows attacking a hawk.

The bombs that were dropped did not do any damage, and I had succeeded in gaining my first victory over a night raider.

“Sky Fighters, October 1936″ by Eugene M. Frandzen

Link - Posted by David on September 30, 2019 @ 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 October 1936 cover, It’s the Morane-Saulnier 27C1 & Roland D2!

The Ships on the Cover

THE French developed th_SF_3610 the outstanding monoplanes of the Parasol type produced during the war. The early Morane-Saulnier Parasols were very successful and the later war models progressed with the quick advance of aviation but continued the main design features of the original Parasols. The Morane-Saulnier 27 C1 was a single-seater righting scout which carried substantial strut bracing to the wings instead of the large number of wire braces used on previous monoplane models. The rounded fuselage housed a 160 h.p. Gnome motor.

This understrut bracing of the high wing Parasol has not really been abandoned. Many of our high winged monoplanes, although not strictly Parasols, never-the-less are closely related to the old Moranes. Our Stinson, Bellanca and several others with the understrut bracing, merely have the fuselage and cabin fused in with the top wing. It was a good stunt in the old days. It’s a good stunt now. A forerunner of the Morane-Saulnier Parasol was called the Aerostable on account of its inherent stability. It had no ailerons, so it was up to the pilot to shift his weight in his seat to give lateral control.

The Roland Seemed Impractical

The German plane known as the L.F.G, Roland had an original design which was seemingly so impractical that the firm, Luft Fahrzeug Gesellschaft was safe from anyone stealing their idea. The Roland D2 was a single-seater fighter in which this design was incorporated. The fuselage under the top wing was carried up to the wing cutting off the pilot’s view in front, even though this superstructure did thin out considerably at the top and left room for two windshields, one on each side of the center ridge. Despite this drawback the D2 was a good ship and was still used in many German squadrons in 1918. The 160 h.p. Mercedes may have been partly responsible for the good qualities of the D2’s performance but even with a good power plant it was against all reason to park a solid mass in front of the pilot’s eyes. It would be just as practical to put a strip of tin six inches wide smack down the windshield of your car directly in front of the steering wheel. But just a few dozen cockeyed hunches like that thrown into the war crates gave the civil designers plenty of precedents of what not to do when the war was over.

Possibly if war comes in the future it will be a mass of planes against a like mass of enemy’s fighting planes. Aces will be a thing of the past. A few men will be outstanding in their flying but it will be hard to observe their deeds in the terrific rnixup that must occur far overhead, possibly out of sight. Publicized stunts will be few and far between, but to cut out entirely from the picture the personal element of friendship and cooperation between men of a squadron will be impossible!

Saving a Buddy

The Morane pilot on the cover knew exactly where a buddy, who had been taken prisoner from a cracked-up plane, was confined in a hospital in a small suburb. He communicated with his friend by those devious means that humans will always work out some way, despite the vigilance of the enemy’s espionage system. The man in the hospital feigned lameness longer than necessary and at a prearranged moment, while the Morane was landing at an adjacent field, he swung his crutches with vim and vigor. Down went the two unarmed attendants. In ten minutes he was securely tied to the top of the Morane’s wing and high in the air headed for home. Another Parasol joined the French plane and drove off two Roland D2s who had sighted the overburdened Morane and considered it easy pickings.

The personal touch was in that quickly executed rescue. War will always have those daring exploits. Friendships formed under fire are lasting and strong.

The Ships on The Cover
Sky Fighters, October 1936 by Eugene M. Frandzen
(The Ships on The Cover Page)

“Watch Your Steppes” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on September 28, 2018 @ 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.

A peace between Russia and Germany was impending. Chaumont, Downing Street, Pennsylvania Avenue, and Versailles were in more than a dither as rumors flew hither and yon over the map of Europe to the effect that the Heinies were trying to get the Russkys to throw in with them and start cleaning up on the Western Front.

The situation was more of a mess with left wing and right wing revolutionists brawling on the Steppes. Trotsky and Kerensky were making faces at each other and tweeking each other’s beards. Red and White Russians were at loggerheads. The Czar and his family had been chased out of St. Petersburg. The Czechs were getting to be a nuisance, and Cossacks were pulling straws to see which side they would fight on.

Add into this one Phineas Pinkham and stir! From the pages of the October 1936 Flying Aces, it’s Joe Archibald’s “Watch Your Steppes!”

Things certainly looked tough for the Allies! The Wilhelmstrasse quoted 2 to 1 that the Russkys would join up with the Krauts—and the 9th Pursuit laid 3 to 1 that Phineas would join up with the angels. But when the Vons ordered caviar, Carbuncle served greased bird shot. And when Rasputin rose from the grave ….

“The Hawker Fury” by Frederick Blakeslee

Link - Posted by David on September 18, 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. On Dare-Devil Aces’ September 1936 cover, Mr. Blakeslee presents a couple Hawker Furys escorting a flight of Hawker Demons on a bombing mission!

th_DDA_3610THIS black and white drawing which you see above, is the English ship, the Hawker “Fury.” It appears on the cover as an escort to the Hawker “Demons,” towards which we have given much space in the past. The “Demons” of course, are doing the actual bombing. The “Fury” happens to be a single-seater fighter with a maximum speed of 240 m.p.h. at 14,000 feet. It is naturally a very handy crate with which to protect the bombing ships.

Now, I believe, is as good a time as any in which to answer the frequent question, “Why don’t you paint more American ships?” The answer, I believe, should be obvious.

America, of all the nations of the world, should be about the last to be drawn in a major war. We are less secretive about our military plans and aviation developments than other nations, and any information regarding our ships is readily available to the readers.

However, across the seas, such, unhappily, is not the case. War clouds hover constantly above the threatened capitals of Europe. And while no nation there will admit to thoughts of aggression, we are well aware that it might come any minute. I have a natural interest in the ships of the English, feeling that they are naturally our friends and allies. We know too, that they are as peace loving as we, but by the very nature of their geographical situation, are more apt to become involved in war than ourselves. Feeling that your interest naturally runs that way, I have tried to give you as much information on British ships as I possibly can.

You will also note that I have from time to time, painted the German ships of war. We all know of Germany’s gigantic military preparations; we know very well that she may become the bombshell that will once again rock the earth. What then is her equipment in the sky? Next month I shall try to elaborate on the German air strength, giving you all the information I can possibly gather. It must be kept in mind however, that Mr. Hitler and his aides keep their activities pretty much under cover. Once in a while, though, I manage to get a peek. And when I do, you can be sure that I’ll pass the news along.

Fred Blakeslee

The Story Behind The Cover
“The Hawker Fury: The Story Behind The Cover” by Frederick Blakeslee
(October 1936, Dare-Devil Aces)

“The Kid from Hell” by Steve Fisher

Link - Posted by David on March 24, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

STEVE FISHER is best known for his hardboiled work in Black Mask Magazine and in novels like “I Wake Up Screaming”. In 1936, Fisher had a story in each issue—save December—of Popular Publications long-running aviation pulp Dare-Devil Aces. Ten of these tales featured Captain Babyface and can be read in our published collection—Captain Babyface: The Complete Adventures. To mark it’s tenth anniversary, we have Fisher’s “The Kid from Hell” which ran in the October 1936 issue of Dare-Devil Aces sandwiched between the final two Babyface tales.

Bill Baxter was tired of being a stooge for the famous Mart Morrel, a guy who specialized in glory and let the War take care of itself—whose head was swollen twice as large as the Army’s best balloon! Still nobody doubted Morrel’s nerve or the fact that he could fly—it’s just that Baxter was well convinced that wind bags must come down!

For more great tales by Steve Fisher, check out Captain Babyface: The Complete Adventures—For Jed Garrett, “Captain Babyface” of the American Special Agent’s Corps, his orders are simple: Kill Mr. Death! But who is Mr. Death? One of Germany’s brightest chemists and inventors, he had grown weary of life and entered a monastery near Alsace-Lorraine. But war came and the monastery was bombed. Severely injured, German surgeons patched him back together, though he was left horribly disfigured. And now, sworn to vengeance against the Americans, he uses his evil genius for Germany in the “War to End All War!”