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“Eclipse of the Hun” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on January 29, 2021 @ 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!

Hauptmann Adolph August von Heinz—dubbed The Owl of the Ozone—was born on the stroke of twelve in the middle of the Black Forest, and it was rumored across the Rhine that every mouse in the Province scurried to cover when the stork dropped this Kraut squaller down the chimney of the Heinz menage. From that day on, von Heinz got blind staggers when he looked at the sun, and the War found him sleeping in the daytime and attacking at night! But that Boonetown marvel looked to the heavens to find a way to take out the Owl in broad daylight!

On the Western Front, things looked mighty dark for the minions of Democracy—so dark, in fact, that by contrast the pall over Pittsburgh resembled a bridal veil caressing a snowdrift. Once again the fly-by-night in the Entente ointment and cocklebur in the Allied rompers was that sinister Hauptmann von Heinz—The Owl of the Ozone. But what of Phineas? Well, he’d bought himself a book on the Cosmos. To put it poetically, Carbuncle was “lost in the music of the spheres!”

As a bonus…some fan art of the Boonetown Treasure!

“Sky Writers, April 1937″ by Terry Gilkison

Link - Posted by David on January 27, 2021 @ 6:00 am in

FREQUENT visitors to this site know that we’ve been featuring Terry Gilkison’s Famous Sky Fighters feature from the pages of Sky Fighters. Gilkison had a number of these features in various pulp magazines—Clues, Thrilling Adventures, Texas Rangers, Thrilling Mystery, Thrilling Western, and Popular Western. Starting in the February 1936 issue of Lone Eagle, Gilkison started the war-air quiz feature Sky Writers. Each month there would be four questions based on the Aces and events of The Great War. If you’ve been following his Famous Sky Fighters, these questions should be a snap!

Here’s the quiz from the April 1937 issue of Lone Eagle.

If you get stumped or just want to check your answers, click here!

“Squadron of the Snows” by Allan R. Bosworth

Link - Posted by David on January 22, 2021 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a story from the pen of the Navy’s own Allan R. Bosworth. This time Bosworth gives us a tale of war in the Alps! Bart Mason, American pilot of Native-American desert is attached to the British squadron posted at the Italian army post west of Treviso. The sector has been terrorized by Paul Katz and his Squadron of the Snows. The problem is, Katz’ Staffel flies all-white planes which seem invisible against the snowy backdrop of the Alps—that is until Bart dons some warpaint!

Somewhere in the ice-covered heights of the Alps that deadly Snow Squadron had its lair— and none could challenge their invisible menace, until a yelling, fighting Indian had a yen to paint the town red.

From the pages of the April 1932 issue of War Birds, it “Squadron of the Snows!”

“War’s Youngest Ace Downs Voss” by Paul Bissell

Link - Posted by David on January 18, 2021 @ 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 October 1932 cover Bissell put us right in the action as Rhys-Davids downs Werner Voss!

War’s Youngest Ace Downs Voss

th_FA_3210YOUTH, winged youth. Youth, flying to meet death.

In all the strange chapters that came from the war there is nothing more incredible than the youthfulness of its air heroes.

23 years old—a major. Officially credited with seventy-five victories in individual combat.

22 years old—a captain. Internationally known for aggressive bravery, the idol of his nation, and a price on his head, dead or alive.

21 years old—a lieutenant. With more than twoscore victories to his credit. Decorated by nations and feted by kings.

And so it went, on down—20 years—19 years—18 years—and there it stops—officially! But listen:

“And you,” said the recruiting sergeant to a glad-faced youngster who stood, bright-eyed, in front of him. “What do you wish?”

“I’ve come to enlist, sir,” replied the boy.

“Enlist, is it? And do you think it’s a kindergarten in France we be asending the lads to?”

“No, sir. I mean to fight,” was the quiet answer.

For an instant the sergeant studied the serious eyes before him. “And your age, my boy?”

“Fift—I mean eighteen, sir.”

“Eighteen, eh,” growled the sergeant, shaking his head as he reached for an enlistment blank. “Do you know what you’re doing, sonny?”

“Righto, sir.”

“Righto, it is then. And eighteen years ye be, though if you’re eighteen, Mister Methusaleh is my name. What’s your name, youngster?”

“Rhys-Davids, sir,” he replied, and a school lad had started on the road to glory, death and fame.

It was early autumn of seventeen, and the 56th Squadron, R.F.C., was in the thick of it. This famous squadron almost daily battled Richthofen and the best of his “gentlemen.” Fought them through the entire war to a credit of 411 planes downed—but not without themselves adding many famous names to the already long list of those who died for England. Included in this list was the name of their famous commander, McCudden, with fifty-eight victories to his personal credit.

Here, with this outfit, was the lad who had come to France “meaning to fight.” And fight he had. Never was there a pilot more willing or eager for a scrap. He would attack recklessly, even though outnumbered, and in a dogfight he became a madman—a madman dealing death to the enemy. And then he would return to his drome to become all boy again. A happy boy, with pets—birds that sang to him—pups that “Waited each day for his return—and tame rabbits that nipped off the shoots in the little garden behind his shack and nibbled greens, from his hand.

Already more than a score of German. had fallen before his fire. Schaffer, of “Richthofen’s Own,” had fought his last fight against this youngster. But it was on September 23, 1917, that he gained his most famous victory.

THE squadron was on patrol, protecting some bombers, when off to one side were seen two German planes. It did not seem likely that they would attack, as the English squadron numbered more than a dozen of Bristols, Camels and S.E.Ss. That is, it did not seem likely until, by the black-and-white-checkered fuselage it was seen that one of the Germans was Lieutenant Werner Voss.

This was one adversary that the Allies held in the greatest respect. Already both his plane and name were known all up and down the Front. He was always looking for combats, and fought generally over Allied territory, which could not be said of Richthofen. And with forty-eight victories over the Allies, Voss, himself of most humble origin, was a serious rival of the noble-born baron.

Indeed, records seem to show that Voss, feeling himself in every way the equal of his rival as an ace, had refused to be the tail protector to Richthofen and, on at least one occasion, when the victories of Voss had reached a number almost equal to those of the Rittmeister himself, the High Command had seen fit to transfer the mere “Lieutenant” to a less active sector, where opportunities for combat were fewer.

With such an opponent as this, the Britishers knew that attack might be expected, and when, a moment later, a patrol of Albatrosses appeared, no one was surprised to see the checkered triplane dive in headlong. Voss’ companion, flying to one side and slightly behind, was almost immediately shot down. And when the Albatrosses refused to accept battle, Voss was left to his fate.

It was an unequal fight, though after the German had winged his way through the first terrific rain of fire from all the other ships, it was Rhys-Davids who engaged him in a duel. Around and around they tore, with Voss, hemmed in on all sides, hoping only to sell his life as dearly as possible. The Fokker tripe, with its German pilot, had met its equal in the little S.E.5 flown by the English boy!

The British plane turned and twisted, meeting maneuver with maneuver, until at last the looked-for opening came and the checkered fuselage for a moment was full in the sights. Just for an instant—but an instant that was filled with spitting lead, an instant that began that mad, twisting dive that ended near Poelcapelle for the triplane with the black crosses on its wings, and ended in eternity for the brave German ace.

Rhys-Davids followed him down to the ground. It was the game—there must be no slip. Then, with motor full on, himself untouched, he raced back to his pets.

The lad—his comrades thought he must be now almost seventeen years old—had thirty-two unofficial victories to his credit, and those gods that be must have laughed as they wrote his name on a shell. No German airman carried it. But an Archie battery, a month later, shot it from the ground. Ten thousand feet up it found him.

Back in his shack the birds still sang in their cages and the rabbits still nibbled in the garden. But the puppies waited the return of their boy master in vain, for the war’s youngest ace had gone West.

The Ships on The Cover
“War’s Youngest Ace Downs Voss”
Flying Aces, October 1932 by Paul J. Bissell

“Vulture Coast” by Lester Dent

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Lester Dent is best known as the man behind Doc Savage. But he wrote all number of other stories before he started chronicling the adventures of everyone’s favorite bronze giant. Here we have one of his earliest stories to appear in the pulps. From the pages of the September 1930 issue of Air Stories, it’s “Vulture Coast!”

It started as a test flight for the new amphibian. Then came the offshore rescue, pirate craft out of the China Sea, and a grim, terrible test for Power O’Malley, pilot.

 

If you enjoyed this story, Black Dog Books has put out an excellent volume collecting 8 of Lester Dent’s early air adventure stories! Dead Man’s Bones: The Air Adventure Stories of Lester Dent includes “Vulture Coast” as well as seven other two-fisted sky adventures! It has an introduction by historian Will Murray and appendices featuring background material, outlines and story submission notes from Dent’s personal papers! A great read! Pick it up from their website! It’s Dead Men’s Bones by Lester Dent!

And as a bonus, here’s a short plucky article from the Norman, Oklahoma Sooner State Press!

 

Fiction Field Beckons To Tulsa Tribune Man

Sooner State Press, Norman, OK • 20 December 1930

Lester Dent, who for the past four years has been an Associated Press operator and maintenance man detailed to the Tulsa Tribune, writing fiction on the side, has received an offer from Sky Riders, fiction magazine in New York, suggesting that he join the staff of this publication, according to the Tribune of December 8.

Less than two years ago, Dent turned his attention to fiction writing. He sent out 13 stories, all of which were rejected, then wrote the fourteenth, and found a market for it. He has sold to Popular Stories, Air Stories, Top-Notch, Action Stories and Sky Riders.

Some of the earlier titles were: “Pirate Cay,” “Death Zone,” “Buccaneers of the Midnight Sun” and “The Thirteen Million Dollar Robbery.” Later he wrote “Vulture Coast,” “The Devil’s Derelict,” “The Skeleton From Moon Cay,” and most recentlv “Hell Hop.”

“Famous Sky Fighters, July 1938″ by Terry Gilkison

Link - Posted by David on January 13, 2021 @ 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 July 1938 installment, from the pages of Sky Fighters, features Georges Thenault, Lt. Jimmy Bach, Mario Galderara, and Captain John H. Towers!

Next time in “Famous Sky Fighters”, Terry Gilkison features Major Jimmie Doolittle, Armand Pinsard, and Captain Bruno Loerzer! Don’t miss it!

“Akbar the Black” by O.B. Myers

Link - Posted by David on January 8, 2021 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week, he have a story from the pen of a prolific pulp author O.B. Myers! Myers was a pilot himself, flying with the 147th Aero Squadron and carrying two credited victories and awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. He wrote hundreds of stories for the pulps—primarily in the detective and air war pulps. We’ve collected a few of his best he had in Dare-Devil Aces as The Black Sheep of Belogue: The Best of O.B. Myers.

Memo, to all intelligence operatives, and to all Air Squadron Commanders:

    Wanted, for desertion, as a renegade and spy, the following: Full name, Akbar Swaalii Ajjaszid, known as Akbar or Akbar the Black (le Noir). Half-breed African, mixed negroid and Arab parentage; skin dark brown in color. Born in French Somaliland, about 1890; left Jibuti to come to Paris in 1915 as the body-servant of a major of Spaliis. Left his master after arrival, to join a gang of apaches. Involved in stabbing affray in Cafe Fouleau in August, 1915. Enlisted, French Foreign Legion, September of same year. Assigned by request to flying service; trained Pau, Avord; sent to Front in January, 1916, with 5th Escadrille de Chasse (Pursuit). In three months of action gained two accredited victories. Disappeared April 19th; believed to have deserted to the enemy, and to be at the present lime actively engaged in their flying forces. Report of his capture, or evidence of his death, will please be sent to this office at once.

They called him Akbar the Black. His cannibal ship spewed hate through black skies—but even outlaw wings must crack when the ghost of the past calls “Time!”

“Major Vaughn Wins the D.S.C.” by Paul Bissell

Link - Posted by David on January 4, 2021 @ 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 September 1932 cover Bissell put us right in the action that lead to Major George Vaughn winning a D.S.C.!

Vaughn Wins the D.S.C.

th_FA_3209“FOR extraordinary heroism in action near Cambrai, France. On September 22, 1918, Lieutenant Vaughn, while leading an offensive patrol, sighted 18 enemy Fokkers about to attack a group of five Allied planes which were flying at a low level. Although outnumbered nearly five to one, he attacked the enemy group and personally shot down two of the enemy planes, the remaining three pilots of his flight shooting down two more. His daring and courage enabled the group of Allied planes to escape ….”

So reads the American army citation on which the D.S.C. was awarded to Lieutenant George A. Vaughn. But between the lines is even more of a story—the story of a youth who left school to serve his country, first with the British and then under his own colors, with the 17th Aero Squadron—the story of a lad who came victorious through many air battles and who, that morning in September, 1918, seeing some of his comrades trapped by the enemy, went unhesitatingly to their aid. He knew he was outnumbered five to one by the Boche, yet he deliberately accepted the desperate odds. He calmly watched the chill hand of death reach for him; coolly he evaded its annihilating clutch and saw its grim fingers close on two of his enemies.

He fought many times after this, wresting victory after victory from the Boche until the war’s end found him one of America’s leading aces, with the rank of major.

It was 8:45 a.m. on a clear sunny morning. Big cumulus clouds about seven thousand feet up floated slowly across No-Man’s-Land, casting great blue shadows on the shell-pocked surface, and themselves affording excellent hiding places for enemy airplanes.

Vaughn, with three companions, was flying just under the clouds, protecting another flight of five Camels about three thousand feet below and slightly in advance of him. From the east fifteen Fokkers came in at about Vaughn’s level. They turned and flew parallel with him, all the time watching the lower flight. Then suddenly they tipped over on their noses and went down in a body on the planes below.

Suspecting a trap, Vaughn immediately searched the skies overhead. Sure enough, there they were—another batch of Germans ready to swoop down like hawks on him and his companions. Instantly he saw the one chance—to lead his flight down into the fight below, and do what damage they could diving in—at the same time giving the five Allied planes a chance to break away-and then try to get out of it before the enemy from above could surround them.

DOWN the four Camels tore, into the twisting dogfight below them—tracer bullets reaching out ahead, searching their red targets. In an instant it was every man for himself. Vaughn saw one of the Camels go down in flames and cursed the damned Boche as his sights picked up a black cross squarely. His fingers squeezed the trips. A wild answering throb as his guns spit flame, and he saw the red machine fall off out of control.

He swung in a tight turn to the left. The whole world now seemed nothing to him but white streaks of smoke cutting the sky in every direction, while red, yellow, green ships— ships with huge black crosses or ships with the tricolored circles of the Allies—seemed to come suddenly from nowhere.

The upper flight was now on him. He could see their tracers swish by him as they came down.

The red belly of a Fokker stood squarely in front of him. A quick burst, and he saw the red tail kick up as the Boche started on his last dive. Number Two—but a burst of bullets came through the cockpit just over his knees. Too close! They had him hemmed in, so he took his only chance, and threw himself into a spin.

Down he went, his tail whipping around and around. In this way he afforded no easy target. But the Germans followed him down, firing burst after burst into him, diving past, zooming back and diving again, their guns blazing. That spin seemed endless.

Luckily, most of the Germans had given him up as finished, and turned back. One last persistent Boche fired a long burst, and then he, too. turned, leaving Vaughn, as he supposed, to crash. Just in time the little Camel answered the controls.

THEN came the greatest blow of the battle. He was out of gas. There was no answering roar from the motor, and with a sinking heart and a vision of German prison camps, he sought a place to set her down. Lower he came. Now scarcely fifty feet was between him and the torn earth, the idling prop was slowing perceptibly, when suddenly it came to him—-the emergency tank! Quickly he switched it on. There was a sputter; then with a full-throated roar the engine took hold and the little machine climbed rapidly up again.

But the battle was over, and now not a plane was to be seen. So, turning toward his airdrome, some twenty minutes away, Vaughn for the first time had an opportunity to think about himself. It was then he was conscious of a burning sensation across his back. His flying suit was soaking wet just below his right shoulder. Wounded, he thought, and to use his own words, “Fine! Now I’ll get a month in the hospital. Or perhaps they’ll send me to Blighty.”

He could feel no pain, so decided it was slight, and landed with a broad smile, feeling he had rather put it over on the boys. Then came the second blow of the day, as the mechanics pointed to where the corner of his gas tank had been shot away. His clothes were soaked, not with blood, but with gasoline. No wound! No Blighty! Well, what the hell! It had been a good scrap, anyway. Six Fokkers had been accounted for, and only two Camels lost.

All Vaughn got then was a new ship. But later, with bands playing and flags flying and a lot of soldiers standing round to see how it was done, they pinned a bit of ribbon on him. Not much for a man who had played with death daily, but just the Army’s way of saying, “This guy’s damn good!”

The Ships on The Cover
“Major Vaughn Wins the D.S.C”
Flying Aces, September 1932 by Paul J. Bissell

“Von Satan’s Lair” by Harold F. Cruickshank

Link - Posted by David on January 1, 2021 @ 6:00 am in

ALTHOUGH we just gave you twelve stories last month instead of just four or five, it’s Friday, so let’s make it a baker’s dozen. And who better to feature that our old pal Harold F. Cruickshank. We have three good reasons for this: First, Harold F. Cruickshank was not represented last month among our twelve tales of Christmas 1931; Second, this is kind of a teaser for next month when we’ll be featuring Canada’s favorite son and looking at his trio of Aces—The Sky Devil, The Red Eagle and The Sky Wolf, as well as his Pioneer Folk tales; and last, but by no means least, It’s just a darn good story to get the year going!

Jack Malone’s flight has been dwindling down at the hands of the evil Baron von Satan! When his former deputy leader returns badly injured, his face surgically altered, and fighting off some kind of mind control—Malone believes there’s still hope to find other members of his flight, and that he can save them before they too go under the sinister knife of von Satan!

From the pages of the April 1934 issue of Sky Fighters, it’s Harold F. Cruickshank’s “Von Satan’s Lair!”

Corporal Jack Malone Sails the Sky Lanes Grimly in this Gripping Drama of Sinister Secrets of Hun Hate!