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“Flying Aces, February 1935″ by C.B. Mayshark

Link - Posted by David on May 16, 2022 @ 6:00 am in

THIS May we are once again celebrating the genius that is C.B. Mayshark! Mayshark took over the covers duties on Flying Aces from Paul Bissell with the December 1934 issue and would continue to provide covers for the next year and a half until the June 1936 issue. While Bissell’s covers were frequently depictions of great moments in combat aviation from the Great War, Mayshark’s covers were often depictions of future aviation battles and planes—Case in point, for three issues, starting with the December 1934 issue, Mayshark depicted Air Battles of the future! For the third and final future cover on the February 1935 issue Mayshark gives us the Troop Ship of the Skies!

Air Battles of the Future: Troop Ship of the Skies

th_FA_3502WAR in the air! What would it mean in the future?

Armadas of fighting ships in grim formations, thundering into attack at terrific speed? Darting scouts bristling with guns directed from a ground base? Giant dreadnaughts of the sky in battle formation, answering the commands of the Air Admiral as he paces the bridge of his battle-plane?

All this—and more! There is another side to the air war of the future. What the raiding cruisers and monitors of World War days were to the elements of attack, the new troop carrier would be to the future war in the air. A great flying boat, capable of transporting several hundred men, weapons, demolition devices and transport destruction equipment, could swoop down out of the skies from bases several thousand miles distant, and before ground troops could be brought up to lay down temporary lines of defense, these flying boats could be gone, after paralyzing whole sectors, battering important base points to bits and—what is more terrible—destroying the morale of the civilian population.

Let us picture a possible raid of this type—say five, perhaps ten years from now.

At the present rate of improvement in service equipment, we can easily picture a United States Navy patrol station leader faced with the astounding report that an unknown troop transport has been seen heading toward the eastern coast of the United States. The formality of the declaration of war leaves everyone concerned with the problem of learning who and why. But the orders state in crisp, terse sentences that the mysterious troop transport must be blocked off and prevented from making a landing on the mainland.

A Captain Sully and a Lieutenant Stevens, crack contact men of the Twentieth Squadron, are shown the message and ordered off to do the intercepter job. Unfortunately, their equipment is nothing more up-to-date than the Curtiss Goshawk, a fine ship in 1934, but hardly an intercepter in 193—. Still, there’s a job to do, and Sully and Stevens take it on. The former, a soldier to his stubby fingertips, realizes the seriousness of the situation. The latter, still in the prime of youth, regards it a great joke and, probably, the nightmare of some sleepy-eyed transatlantic liner radio operator.

The trim but service-weary Goshawks are warmed up.

Once in the air, Captain Sully turned his thoughts to the mysterious orders he has in his pocket. Troop transports are ordinary things. Every country’s air force has them—has had them for years, but machines under this classification have never been regarded as particularly effective because of restrictions in accommodation of personnel and equipment.

The Navy pilots have been speeding close to the water for only a few minutes when what they thought was somebody’s bad dream turns into stark realism. Thundering along close to the water at a good rate of speed, a giant flying boat comes into view from out of a cloudless horizon.

With a gasp, Sully jams his foot down on the rudder control, and the fighter lurches to the left. With Stevens close behind him, the Navy pilot darts out of firing range of the huge transport. After banking around and flying along parallel with the mysterious air monster. Captain Sully has time to make a more comprehensive inspection of the ship.

Between two wings which have a slight degree of dihedral, there are seven motor nacelles, all set in the same plane. Each nacelle carries two motors—one driving a tractor and the other a pusher air-screw. There are a total of fourteen engines, the aggregate energy of which is fourteen thousand horsepower.

Each motor nacelle is supported by a main strut and also by two smaller struts which connect with the trailing edge spars. These smaller struts take up the forward thrust, which is generated to a very marked degree when two thousand horsepower is unleashed. The engines are cooled by means of a special liquid cooling agency, air cooling being impractical when engines are set in tandem. Cantilever construction is employed in the wings, the ribs and spars being built entirely of a light-weight composition metal.

The hull of the ship is connected with the lower wing, through which an extension of the hull passes. The center motor nacelle is built upon this extension. The control cabin is located forward of the leading edge of the lower plane, where the best possible line of vision is obtained, and from where most of the ship can be viewed. This facilitates immediate action in case anything goes wrong with the controls, motors, or anything else important to the flight of the ship.

The hull of the ship is divided into three sections, the central section being large and the other two small. In the central section there are accommodations for 275 men. All their equipment, including rifles, pistols, ammunition, blankets, gas masks, and extra clothing, is carried in the forward compartment, each man’s supplies being stowed in a separate closet. The galley and various other stowage compartments are located in the aft section of the hull. Gasoline and oil tanks, as well as extra motor parts, are also carried in this section. Minor motor difficulties can be repaired in flight by means of a catwalk which connects the motor nacelles. Space is provided in the two outboard pontoons for auxiliary gasoline tanks.

It is safe to assume that any invading nation would not send a transport full of buck privates into the United States, because even 275 armed soldiers are not likely to be particularly effective unless placed where they can make a certain type of raid on a weakly defended point. Instead, this transport is probably loaded with experts in bridge and railroad demolition. It would carry highly trained machine-gun and light field-gun crews who would scatter for a certain distance and throw up a defending ring of steel and fire to cover the workings of the experts. These, in turn, would no doubt destroy first the transatlantic cable stations, high-power radio towers, important bridge and railroad junctions. There is a possibility that they would head for one of the great ammunition plants on the New Jersey coast or the noted weapon works near Bridgeport.

But what of Sully and Stevens?

By this time, they have hurled their fighters into action. Their wires scream, and they pound down with an angled fire from their 30-caliber guns. The gunners aboard the transport ship reply with heavy-caliber fire, and the Goshawks tremble under the pounding spray. Guns appear in the port and starboard turrets aft of the wings.

Sully gives a signal and they both switch in their 50-caliber guns, hoping that the high-pressure stuff will batter into a vulnerable spot and at least head the raider off. The fire continues, but the troop-carrier goes on, while her gunners harass the defending Goshawks.

The Goshawks stagger and falter. At last, there is an ominous rattle in the ammo cans—and their fight is over. They have no more cartridges, no more fight. They surge down once more in a screeching dive, full into the flaming guns of the raiders. It is an ineffectual gesture, but they have nothing left to do.

The grim troop-carrier hurtles on, and the two gallant American airmen are left helpless. They have given their best with what they had to use. Is the enemy to score because of better equipment, or will our services be up to par if the time ever comes? We have the men and the guns. Can we get them into action and ward off any threats that may darken our shores?

The troop-carrier roars away into the mist that shields the mainland. Where? What is its objective?

The two battered Goshawks return to their base, frustrated but not beaten. They know the troop-carrier will have to return, and they hope to have something in hand to send it on its way. If this situation ever arises, will we have the air defense to cope with it?

The Story of The Cover
Flying Aces, February 1935 by C.B. Mayshark
Air Battles of the Future: Troop Ship of the Skies

How the War Crates Flew: Getting Your Hun

Link - Posted by David on May 11, 2022 @ 6:00 am in

FROM the pages of the October 1932 number of Sky Fighters:

Editor’s Note: We feel that this magazine has been exceedingly fortunate in securing R. Sidney Bowen to conduct a technical department each month. It is Mr. Bowen’s idea to tell us the underlying principles and facts concerning expressions and ideas of air-war terminology. Each month he will enlarge upon some particular statement in the stories of this magazine. Mr. Bowen is qualified for this work, not only because he was a war pilot of the Royal Air Force, but also because he has been the editor of one of the foremost technical journals of aviation.

Getting Your Hun

by Robert Sidney Bowen (Sky Fighters, October 1932)

PETE BANKS, of the 65th Pursuits, flashed into a screaming half roll, and went thundering down to pour burst after burst into the checkered Fokker. . . .

And then the story goes on to tell how Pete finally got his Fokker and returned home to be made round-shouldered by all the medals they pinned on him. But, if the truth be known, Pete, I wouldn’t pin a medal on you. Sure, I’d tell you that you were a swell guy for getting that Hun. And then I’d turn around and ask you why you wasted so much costly ammunition. Huh? What’s that? Oh, it was just that way in the story. Well, then I guess that it would be a pretty good idea if we told these fledglings here a little about the technical side of getting Huns.

Now, just so’s we’ll get off on the right foot we’ll make this statement. In the final analysis the only thing that really counts is getting your Hun. If you can bring him down by tossing tomatoes at him, why so much the better. But during the late war the recognized method was shooting them down with nice stinging bullets. However, there are ways and ways to get an enemy ship.

And, believe it or not, you do a big part of the job of getting an enemy ship before you leave the ground. What’s that? Why, you ask? Well, give me time to tell you about it. Just sit still, and don’t be fussing around so much.

Now let us say that we are flying an S.E.5a, powered with a 210 hp. Hisso-Viper engine. On that kind of ship we’d have two Vickers guns mounted on the engine cowling and geared to shoot between the revolving propeller blades. And, mounted on the top center section, we’d have a single Lewis gun that fired over the top of the propeller blades. Now, right here I want to put in a word about that Lewis gun. The Lewis machine gun, which was an aerial adaptation of the regular infantry machine gun, was never geared to fire between the propeller blades. It just couldn’t be done, for technical reasons we won’t take time to mention here. So if you ever read in a story where it was done, why you can just put it down that the author was thinking about the Vickers gun when he was writing the yarn.

Okay, let’s get on. We have three guns, a Lewis and two Vickers. The Lewis is fed by a drum that contains ninety-seven rounds. And the Vickers are fed by belts that contain a varying number of rounds. The usual number carried was about six hundred rounds in each belt. Now for the two Vickers that would make a total of around twelve hundred rounds. And on the Lewis there would be a drum of ninety-seven rounds. And in containers in the cockpit the pilot would carry two extra drums. So the total number of shots that the pilot could wham at a Hun plane was around fifteen hundred.

Whether you think so or not, the Vickers guns were finished for the day once the belts were run through. And that was for the simple reason that you didn’t carry extra belts. But, when a drum of bullets on the Lewis gun were used up, why, you could take off the empty drum and take one of the spare full drums and stick it on. Doing that was a simple job yet you had to watch yourself, else the drum would go sailing back over the tail plane. Here’s how you did it. The Lewis was mounted so that the end of the barrel slipped down into a snap catch. When that snap catch was released (by pulling a wire that lead down into the cockpit) the gun would tilt back on its mounting to a forty-five degree angle. In other words, the rear end of the gun would tilt down toward you sitting in the cockpit. In that way you could reach the drum with your hand. First you stuck your hand up and slipped four fingers under the leather handle in the center of the top of the drum. Then with your thumb you pressed a little sliding catch at the bottom of one side of the handle. Doing that, released the drum from the post it’s mounted on. And then you lifted the drum clear of the post and brought it back toward you, being careful to keep the front part of the drum tilted toward the prop wash. If you didn’t the wind would get under the underneath part of the drum and force the drum and your arm back and the drum would go sailing away.

BUT we got the empty drum off alright, so we’ll grab up one of the full drums in the cockpit container and put it back on the gun by simply reversing the operation. In other words, tilt it toward the prop wash, fit it down over the post and release the catch. Then we load the gun by pulling back the loading handle on the side of the gun. And then we shove up the rear of the gun so that the end of the barrel slips down into the snap catch. And then she’s all set to fire ninety-seven more rounds.

Well, so much for that. But let’s go back to where we haven’t loaded the guns. We’re still on the ground, and in the armament hut checking our guns to make sure that everything is in good working order. Now what we’ll do is load the belts and the drums. On the table in front of us we have a pile of regular bullets, a pile of tracer bullets, and a pile of incendiary bullets. And right close to us we have a dummy gun barrel. We load the belts in this order. First a regular bullet, then a tracer bullet, and then an incendiary bullet. And so on in that order until the belts and the drums are full. But let me say right here that every pilot had different ideas about what kind of bullets he’d carry. Some loaded two regular to one tracer and so forth. And of course if you were going after balloons you’d put in lots of explosive bullets. But before you put in any bullet, regardless of what kind it was, you’d first fit it into the dummy barrel to make sure that it would fit. In short, you personally inspected every single round that you intended to fire at some Hun ship. You might think that that was a waste of time, if you had a good armament officer. But, don’t forget, those little bullets and your little ship were the difference between life and death for you. So naturally you personally looked over everything, just in case.

Well, let’s say that the guns are loaded, the ship inspected, and that you are sailing over Hunland in quest of another bird for your bag.

Ah, you spot a dark speck off to the left and on the same level as you. You squint at it a moment and by knowing the silhouettes of German ships you can tell what type it is. This time it’s a Fokker. So you start to climb because in a dog fight the top man has the advantage. Why? Well, because a pursuit job can only fire one way . . . straight forward. Therefore his blind spot is his tail. And if you are above him it’s a darn sight easier to drop down on his tail than it is to try and climb up to it, for the simple reason that while you’re climbing up, he’s dropping down on you.

Well, for the sake of this chin-fest let’s say that you get above him a few hundred feet or so. He spots you coming and tries to get away. Now you’re all set to dive down on his tail and fire. You slide your fingers up to the gun release levers on the joystick and maneuver your ship until you get him in your sights.

And we’ll stop right there for a second while we talk about the gun sights.

There were two kinds of sights used. (See Sept. “Sky Fighters.”) One was called the telescopic sight, and the other the right sight. The telescopic sight was a tube about twelve inches long mounted parallel to the two Vickers guns. At one end it had the ring sight markings on the lens so that you sighted the same as you would if using the regular ring sight. Now, the ring sight was in two parts, the ring and the bead. The ring part was a metal ring about three inches across mounted on a post at the rear of the gun. The post continued into the ring to form a quarter inch ring in the center. And mounted on end of the barrel of the gun was a post that tapered up into a red colored bead.

What was that? What do you mean mounted on the gun? Good boy, I wondered if you’d trip me up on that. When you use only one gun the sights are mounted on that gun, usually. But when you use two guns, as we have in this case, the sights are mounted between the guns.

But about that ring sight. When you sight so that the red bead forward is square in the quarter inch ring at the rear it means that your guns (the Lewis included) are aimed at everything that that red bead is on. Now, you have three paths of fire, the two Vickers and the Lewis. Naturally you want those three paths of fire to converge at a certain point. The point determined upon is dependent upon the whims of the pilot. But the average distance is about two hundred yards from the nose of the plane. And so the guns are tilted or moved sidewise to effect that range. That is done on the ground of course, and the guns fastened securely in the desired position.

Alright, alright, I’m coming to it. What about the large ring? Well, here’s the idea of that. The average war plane had a speed of about 100 m.p.h. Now, let us say that a Hun ship is flying across your sights. If you waited until the red bead was on him and then fired, why, he would be past your bullets by the time they reached him. But if you fired when the outer ring was cutting his cockpit, why, he and the bullets would meet. In other words, the outer ring enabled you to take care of what was termed deflection . . . his speed against the speed of your bullets and the distance they have to travel. Naturally, pilot judgment has to be put into play in every case. But as a sort of standard gauge the ring sight is set so that a ship crossing your path two hundred yards distant will reach the center of the ring at the same time as your bullets, provided you fire when the outer ring is cutting the enemy’s cockpit.

Of course that is assuming that the Hun ship is flying at right angles to you. If he is diving down past the front of you his speed is greater. Therefore you would open fire when he was outside the ring to make sure that he dived into your burst of shots. And if he was climbing up in front of you, his speed would be slower. Therefore you would let him get inside the ring before you opened fire.

In other words, you really look through a ring at the enemy ship and open fire when he has reached the correct spot in that ring. And naturally you place him in the ring, outside it, or on it, as the case may be, so that he is headed toward the center.

A little while back I mentioned about the telescopic sight having the ring sight markings. Well, that’s just what I meant. Marked on the rear lens of the telescopic sight is the ring sight. So you use the telescopic sight just the same way.

Now, naturally, if you took out time to get your Hun this way or that in your sights, he might fool you and keep you chasing around the air all day long. In a scrap you can’t be accurate about that. You take a snap sight and fire, and your tracer bullets (which leave a tiny trail of phosphorous smoke) will give you an idea of where your other shots are going. But tracers start to go cockeyed after about two hundred yards of travel, so that is why the average effective range is about two hundred yards. Beyond that point your tracer bullets aren’t worth a darn. They burn as they go through the air and after a while their path of travel ceases to be straight.

AND now let’s get back to this Fokker we’re after. We start down in a dive and fire . . . and miss. The Fokker skids out of the line of fire. So we follow him around and let drive every time we get him in our sights. And of course all the time we are trying to stick on his tail . . . above him and behind him. But, we do not let our guns keep firing all the time. Our guns will fire about six hundred rounds a minute. So when you figure that out, if we fire for a minute steady we are all out of shots, with exception, of course, of our two extra Lewis drums of ninety-seven rounds each. But we haven’t had time to change the drums, because that’s a tough job to do when you are twisting around in a scrap and making sure that friend Hun doesn’t get on your tail.

So, naturally, we scrap with the idea of making every round count. Of course, every round doesn’t count. But we work that way nevertheless. And so we fire short bursts of, say, ten or twenty rounds at a time. But the idea of Pete Bank pouring burst after burst into that checkered Fokker is out! If he does that he’s wasting shots because if the checkered Fokker is in his sights, one burst will probably do the trick. And if it doesn’t, it means that Pete is just shooting cockeyed.

Now, don’t get the idea that bullet economy was the sole watchword of war pilots. It wasn’t. Yet, at the same time every pilot knew just how many rounds he had to fire. Some did act like Pete Banks, and go crazy and let the whole works go. But the great majority didn’t shoot until they were darn sure they had something to shoot at. And to make as certain as possible that they were going to hit what they shot at, they used the old sights just as much as they could.

When you think it over it really doesn’t take much to send a plane swirling down out of the sky. One little incendiary bullet in the gas tank will do the trick. Or one little bullet right in the skull of your enemy will do it too. Or a nice little burst of ten or a dozen that riddles the engine, or splits the prop will get desired results also. It’s all a combination of marksmanship and flying ability. Some of the greatest aces in the World War were terrible pilots, but they were perfect shots. They could knock the whiskers off a Hun at any distance, and that’s what counted. The Hun might outfly them, but once they got in just one crack, it was all over for the other fellow.

And I guess that it’s all over for us, for the present.

“Flying Aces, January 1935″ by C.B. Mayshark

Link - Posted by David on May 9, 2022 @ 6:00 am in

THIS May we are once again celebrating the genius that is C.B. Mayshark! Mayshark took over the covers duties on Flying Aces from Paul Bissell with the December 1934 issue and would continue to provide covers for the next year and a half until the June 1936 issue. While Bissell’s covers were frequently depictions of great moments in combat aviation from the Great War, Mayshark’s covers were often depictions of future aviation battles and planes—Case in point, for three issues, starting with the December 1934 issue, Mayshark depicted Air Battles of the future! For the January 1935 issue Mayshark gives us an Attack from the Stratosphere!

Air Battles of the Future: Attack from the Stratosphere

th_FA_3501DEATH and destruction from the skies! Raids on the United States mainland by an unknown
foe!

Impossible? That’s what the armchair soldiers say. They see only attack in the form of surface vessels that may try to sneak through the natural defenses. A few with a broader scope of view admit that a few airplanes could take off from a carrier outside New York or Washington. But of course, they say, these planes would be stopped once they got inside the range area of the defensive microphones.

But there is a deadlier air weapon than the ordinary bomber or fighting plane. Let’s paint the picture.

Fifty thousand feet above the Gulf Coast, the sunshine is trickling through the clouds in straight lines, bringing life to the farmers and fishermen and merchants on the land and water below. But suddenly something else, mysterious and ominous, is trickling down through the clouds—in straight lines, also. Bombs! And instead of bringing life, they are bringing death and destruction to the people below.

With a shriek, they hurtle into view beneath the lowest strata of clouds, but no mortal force can stop them now. When these bombs hit, dirt, sunshine, and men alike are driven into oblivion, and hysteria and a ghostly fear follow in their deadly wake.

Frantic telephone calls stream out over the wires, and presently the C.O. at Maxwell Field, Montgomery, Alabama, is speaking. Are there any fast two-seaters available? Certainly! Several Curtiss Shrikes have just been sent down from Buffalo. Can they be prepared for action and flown to the coast immediately? Yes, immediately. That is all. Within five minutes three Shrikes rip into the air and head south, and on the grim faces of their pilots and observers is a look of courage and determination.

What are the machines that have been given this assignment?

The Shrikes are considered among the greatest attack ships in the world, and have provided a new design for many other countries to copy. The ship is manufactured by the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company at Buffalo. It is a low-wing, wire-braced machine, carrying a pilot and an observer. The model shown on the cover is the Conqueror-powered job, listed as the A-8. The motor is chemically cooled, and rated at 600 horsepower.

Probably the most interesting feature of this ship is the armament, for it has been stated that it is equal in gun fire to a regiment of infantry. The observer is provided with two high-speed Browning guns. The pilot has the control buttons of four high-calibre guns in his cockpit. These weapons are hidden in the upper portion of the landing wheel cowlings, while in some models an additional high-calibre gun is mounted in the starboard wing root.

On actual attack work, the Shrike carries a special 500-lb. fragmentation bomb hung between the wheels. This is for offensive work against troops, ground activity and transportation.

Some one back at Maxwell has hinted that the attack is being made by a stratosphere machine of some sort. Every pilot is pondering on that statement. They circle over the area pin-pointed for them until they reach 25,000 feet, the ceiling of the new attack ships. They have taken to the oxygen masks 5,000 feet below this sky lane, and still catch no sight of the raider. Where—and what—is the menace from above?

The stratosphere ship which eludes the Army two-seaters so easily embodies principles of construction which are being employed at the present time in several countries.

There are two details of design in the stratosphere ship which might be alluded to as radical departures from conventional airplane construction. The first to note is the unusual depth to which the undercarriage is slung. The sole purpose of this is to allow an unobstructed radius for the long blades of the propeller when the ship is on the ground. The long-bladed air screw is used because a greater propeller beat is required in the thin air of the stratosphere.

The second feature to note is the comparatively large control surfaces, used because of the low resistance offered by the high-altitude atmosphere. The control surfaces of an ordinary airplane, if it could reach the stratosphere, would be of practically no avail.

The control cabin is absolutely air-tight, thus maintaining a pressure that is equivalent to that of sea level. Oxygen tanks are carried to insure a fresh supply of air at all times. The power plant is a twelve-cylinder, opposed, water-cooled engine, fitted with a super-charger. Difficulty is encountered in cooling an engine at high altitudes. Therefore, the radiators are located outside the metal hull.

The water radiator is on top, and is set in a longitudinal line so as to offer the least resistance. As water circulates through this radiator, it is cooled instantly upon contacting the extremely cold air to be found at great heights. The oil cooling is also accomplished by means of a radiator mounted outside the hull. Swung between the main struts of the undercarriage, this radiator is built so that the broadest surface is facing forward. Resistance offered is practically negligible, however, because of the small overall dimensions. All bombs are carried inside the hull, a trap being opened to emit them.

As the Shrikes speed along at 193 miles an hour to meet this monster, the Army pilots and observers scan the skies with searching eyes. If they must fight a stratosphere ship, they certainly cannot fight it in the stratosphere. With difficulty they can get a few thousand feet higher—but no more. Well, perhaps this strange demon of the air will eventually come down to get observations and pictures. Then they will have their chance.

The Shrikes continue along the coastline for perhaps twenty minutes in a westerly direction toward Mobile—and suddenly the stratosphere ship appears. Tearing down through the clouds at a terrific rate of speed, a long, blue low-wing monoplane seems about to crash into the Army two-seaters. With the speed of a darting snake, the leading Shrike banks to the right, and the observer fires the first shots. But to no avail!

The stratosphere ship has now pulled around and is beginning to climb, with the two-seaters frantically trying to reach it. Suddenly a gun tunnel is lowered from beneath the fuselage of the stratosphere ship, and as it belches tracer, the Shrikes are dispersed like leaves before an autumn wind. As they reassemble, they make one last desperate attempt to reach their adversary—but the height is too great.

What is the answer to this threat? Will it be an armored lighter-than-air ship, or will the anti-aircraft men develop a gun and range-finding equipment to stop it?

Our guess is that we shall have to fight fire with fire, and build stratosphere fighters.

The Story of The Cover
Flying Aces, January 1935 by C.B. Mayshark
Air Battles of the Future: Attack from the Stratosphere

“Above The Lines” by Raoul Whitfield

Link - Posted by David on May 6, 2022 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have another of Raoul Whitfield’s ‘Buck’ Kent stories from the pages of Air Trails magazine. Whitfield is primarily known for his hardboiled crime fiction published in the pages of Black Mask, but he was equally adept at lighter fair that might run in the pages of Breezy Stories. ‘Buck’ Kent, along with his pal Lou Parrish, is an adventurous pilot for hire. These stories, although more in the juvenile fiction vein, do feature some elements of his harder prose.

In the November 1928 issue of Air Trails, ‘Buck’ is flying down to the boarder to meet up with his buddy Lou, the two will then travel on to Mexicali. Unfortunately, the brother of a bank robber Buck had stopped earlier is out for revenge and his reward money. It all goes down “Above the Lines!”

Bullets meant little when his pal’s life was at stake! Another sure-fire story of Buck Kent, the free-lance airman!

“Flying Aces, December 1934″ by C.B. Mayshark

Link - Posted by David on May 2, 2022 @ 6:00 am in

THIS May we are once again celebrating the genius that is C.B. Mayshark! Mayshark took over the covers duties on Flying Aces from Paul Bissell with the December 1934 issue and would continue to provide covers for the next year and a half until the June 1936 issue. While Bissell’s covers were frequently depictions of great moments in combat aviation from the Great War, Mayshark’s covers were often depictions of future aviation battles and planes—Case in point, for three issues, starting with the December 1934 issue, Mayshark depicted Air Battles of the future! For the December 1934 issue Mayshark gives us The Rocket Raider!

Air Battles of the Future: The Rocket Raider

th_FA_3412THE future war in the air has the national defense experts puzzled as to what methods of attack may be used and what systems of defense may be required to maintain public security. In general, the aviation experts agree that few ships in modern use today would be able to withstand the onslaught of several air weapons that have already been devised and, in many cases, actually built and flown. These weapons include gas distributors, stratosphere ships, radio-controlled torpedo planes and various types of rocket-propelled machines.

Should any of these devices be brought into play today, it is evident that we have little with which to combat them. Take the case of the rocket ship, for instance. It is not a figment of the imagination, in any sense. Rocket ships and rocket automobiles have been built and actually flown or run. Rocket boats have been propelled successfully at high speed. A controlled rocket system is actually in operation in Europe, and plans are under way to deliver mail from the center of Germany to England next summer. How far away, then, is the military rocket ship? Possibly a year, possibly five.

But suppose that some foreign power has a rocket ship—a small fleet of them. If we believe facts and figures as shown, a large rocket ship, capable of carrying large bomb loads and heavy gun-power, could cross the Atlantic or the Pacific in about ten hours. Let us suppose, for instance, that such a ship or a fleet of ships were to attack the American mainland.

For one thing, this raid would not be discovered at once—probably not before the fleet was within one hundred miles of the coastline. Immediately, the General Staff would realize the seriousness of the situation. It might mean the destruction of government nerve centers. It might indicate terrible bombing, or the spreading of gas or disease germs. The knowledge of who the possible enemy was would give the first inkling of the points of attack. Naval bases might be threatened, and aircraft factories.

If big cities were to come in for the threat, it would mean death and destruction amid the civil population. Water supplies might be cut off, power and communication systems destroyed. But one of the most important points to be considered in a raid of this sort would be the grim element of blasting surprise and demoralization of morale among the civil population.

A scene prophetic of such a situation might be constructed on the air field of an Army Air Service squadron—let us say, along the Atlantic Coast. The sound-detectors have picked up a suspicious sound, a sound not quite like anything ever caught before. The detector-operator senses that this is no ordinary internal combustion engine, and at once his fears begin to gather, for he has been warned of possible raids by strange aircraft. What can this powerful engine threaten?

A fleet of Army Boeings is sent out to attempt to contact this ship. They are equipped with two-way radio sets, so they are sent out fanwise to cover as wide an area as possible and with orders to report the position of the on-rushing winged weapon.

The pilots—young, anxious, but a little skeptical about all this talk of strange foreign raiders of such monstrous proportions and ability—climb into their ships under the hasty commands of their field commandant.

As the pilot jams the gas into the 500-h.p. Wasp engine, the Boeing P-12E strains forward and is off the tarmac with a roar. Climbing in a spiral, the ship reaches six thousand feet in 3.5 minutes, levels off, and heads to the east. The pilot of the Boeing searches the skies before him and spots an object just above the horizon. Within the next minute, all his illusions about the possibilities of a rocket raid on the United States are gone.

Tearing down across the sky at a phenomenal rate of speed, there appears before the eyes of the Boeing pilot a long, black, perfectly streamlined hull supported in the air by stubby yellow wings. As the strange machine bursts into a better line of vision, the mechanical detail is easily distinguished. The rocket projection tubes are located near the aft end of the ship, and are placed so that the tail assembly will not interfere with the rocket bursts as they are emitted. On top of the rudder is a machine gun which fires in the direction that the rudder is set. The cartridge belt passes within the framework of the rudder down to the magazine, which is located in the tail of the hull. Two 37-mm. air cannons are carried in the wings. These guns are stationary, and they fire forward in the line of flight.

Other armament consists of a bullet-proof, glass-covered gun turret directly in front of the control cabin, and a fixed, steel-covered cannon turret above and to the rear of the control cabin. The ship is equipped with wheels and pontoons, both of which are retractable. Complete radio equipment is carried, including transmitter and receiver and a television screen. Except for the reserve tank, the rocket fuel is carried in ten individual containers, which feed directly to their respective rocket projection tubes. The carburetor and firing unit are located in the elbow of the tube, so that when the explosion occurs, the burst carries itself without friction with anything but air, past the tail and directly to the rear of the ship, thereby producing forward motion.

The crew consists of seven men, including the commanding officer, the pilot, the navigator, the radio operator, two gunners, and the engineer. The machine is covered with a lightweight composition sheet metal which is as strong as steel. The ship attains a speed of between 600 and 700 miles per hour, but the landing speed is relatively low, due to the fact that forward motion can be reduced simply by reversing the position of two of more of the rocket projection tubes, all of which are mounted on a swivel and can be turned to any point within 180 degrees.

Our pilot in the Boeing barely has time to collect his senses before the roaring rocket raider is all but upon him. As he kicks his trim little ship over in the air, he feels the impact of steel-jacketed bullets on his fuselage and realizes with anger that the gunner in the glass turret of the rocket demon is already firing on him! He pulls up and drops over into a half-roll in an attempt to maneuver out of the line of that deadly fire.

At last he is in the clear and, as he trains his wing guns upon the flashing hull of the rocket ship, he realizes that there are no visible vital spots at which to aim. All he can do is fire point blank and trust that he hits a control surface with damaging effect. During the few seconds that his enemy remains in his line of fire, he keeps his fingers on the trigger buttons, but the bullets bounce off the steel ship like hailstones off a tin roof.

In a vain attempt, our Boeing pilot dives down, firing at the tail of the giant ship. But suddenly he finds himself being racked by the terrific fire of his adversary’s rudder gun. Frantically he pulls his damaged ship over and slides into a slow spin. He lands a few moments later, scarcely able to explain what he has seen, owing to his excitement. But the rocket raider continues on to the west, unchecked. Where will it strike, and how will it be stopped? It will be coped with, there is certainly no doubt, but a much faster and more powerful ship than the Boeing P-12E will be required to bring it to its doom.

The Story of The Cover
Flying Aces, December 1934 by C.B. Mayshark
Air Battles of the Future: The Rocket Raider