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“Sneeze That Off!” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on February 24, 2023 @ 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!

We’re back to Pinkham’s exploits in The Great Guerre, but this time we’re going all the way back to the first appearance of Phineas Pinkham—to the day he first showed his homely mug at the Ninth Pursuit Squadron where they were being bedeviled by Baron von Kohl and his sky circus! From the November 1930 Flying Aces, it’s Joe Archibald’s “Sneeze That Off!” introducing Phineas Carbuncle Pinkham from Boonetown, Iowa!

He liked to play with rubber cigars, phony bombs, and sneeze powder—did Phineas Carbuncle Pinkham, that thorn in the flesh of the American Ninth Pursuit. Their only hope was that von Kohl, the German sky terror who never missed a man, would be a big help to them, after all!

“No Man’s Sky” by O.B. Myers

Link - Posted by David on February 17, 2023 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we 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.

A prank against their commanding officer turns into deadly mission of life or death when the pilots of the 66th must retrieve their Commander’s fancy Paris tailored uniform they tossed in No-Man’s-Land to keep important information in a letter in the pockets from falling into German hands! From the October 1931 issue of Flying Aces, it’s O.B. Myer’s “No Man’s Sky!”

The order was filled out and ready—to send one flyer of the 66th to Blois in disgrace.
And the only thing that could keep Lieutenant Linkener’s name from that order
was to bring back a letter that lay in the middle of No-Man’s-Land!

“Don Patrol” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on January 27, 2023 @ 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!

We’re back to Pinkham’s exploits in The Great Guerre where G-2 calls on Pinkham to go undercover in Spain to keep the Germans from getting their hands on the secret plans for the Alhambra and a foothold in France’s backdoor.

Down in the Kingdom of Alphonso, certain cagey Castilians had cooked up a Spanish omelet for the Allies—one which had a Kraut smell to it. And when the bad eggs that figured in it evaded all the Entente spies, the Democrat Generals were frantic. But the real action didn’t begin until Don Quixote Pinkhamo homed his way into the land of bull fights—and it didn’t stop until the terrible tempered Ferdinando horned him right out again.

Phineas Pinkham Flies Again!

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

WITH the exception of that Bachelor of Artifice, Phineas Pinkham, Flying Aces stopped printing fiction with the September 1942 issue. Joe Archibald continued to chronicle the calamitous WWI exploit’s of Booneville’s favorite son for another year, when Flying Aces printed Pinkham’s last sojourn in the November 1943 issue. Joe Archibald had given Phineas Pinkham a good long run—surely the longest run of any of the WWI pulp pilots—running in the pages of Flying Aces from 1930 to 1943!

For a long time I thought that was it.

But then I started to see mentions here and there while reading articles about Joe Archibald of a post-war Pinkham. Now I didn’t know if there were actual stories or he just mentioned off hand what Phineas would be up to were he still going or even a flash forward in one of the later Flying Aces tales. That is, until I came upon the article below from the Port Chester, NY The Daily Item where it says categorically:

“. . . Joe recently resumed the character, only in the form of his son, “Elmer Pinkham, who is now ‘flying for wildcat airlines.’ ”

If this was true, where were these stories being printed? I checked all the sources at my disposal—the Robbins Pulp Magazine Index, the FictionMags Index website and any other reference book I could find, but none listed any further adventures past Flying Aces November 1943 tale “Sounds Vichy.” So the stories must have been published in a magazine not indexed by either of these two comprehensive sources.


What if they were in Flying Aces, just later, after people had stopped indexing them. The article in The Daily Item was from May 1947, four years after Flying Aces stopped printing them. So I looked into tis and Flying Aces had a convoluted publishing history after Pinkham left their pages. Flying Aces was Flying Aces until April 1945. It changed it’s name to Flying Age (including Flying Aces) with the May 1945 issue. This change lasted less than two years! The December 1946 issue (v54n1) took on the title Flying Age Traveler! That lasted one issue. And it seemed it had possibly died with that concept change. . . .

Six months later, in June 1947, the magazine was reborn as Flying Models with a number of the old staff on board. Some of the ideas they tried to bring back with the first issue was continuing the FAC (Flying Aces Club) and Phineas Pinkham!

Ah, there he was.

His red hair may have been greying at the temples and balding on top, and he may have added a spare tire to his physique, but it was still Pinkham. The new stories were set in the present day (post WWII) where Phineas, now married—not to Babbette, is now running a airline transport company called Flying Carpet Airlines—”We Fly Anything, Anybody, Anywhere! The Sky Is The Limit!”—with his son Elmer, a real chip off the old block (unfortunately), and with his old WWI mechanic, Terence Patrick Casey, keeping the repurposed DC3s in good shape. Phineas is also running a tricks and novelty company on the side making all the items he used to use to torment the Ninth Pursuits and many a German Von with during the Great War.

AN AGING PHINEAS PINKHAM gives his son a good what for.

History haunts the old man. There are mentions of his his wartime love Babbette, and his old C.O. at the Ninth Pursuits, Major Garrity—why his old hut mate Bump Gillis even puts in an appearance in one of the tales.

Sadly, it seems these new stories of Phineas Pinkham only ran in the first three issues of Flying Models. Brief as the run was, it was great to catch up with an old friend.

OVER the next few weeks, we’ll be posting the three post war Pinkham stories from Flying Models Magazine. In this first story, Flying Carpet Airlines is engaged to transport a pair of corpses to Cleveland. Phineas hopes to get double duty out of the flight and hop a ride to Cleveland where he’s been invited by his old hutmate Bump Gillis to entertain at his Rotarian meeting, but runs into a little trouble with some spies on the way! From the June 1947 premiere issue of Flying Models, “Phineas Pinkham Flies Again!”

Yielding to the demand of many thousands of flying model builders, Joe Archibald, personal historian of the famous Phineas Pinkham who singlehandedly almost lost the first World War for Uncle Sam, brings back Phineas in a new and hilarious series of adventures. Hail Phineas, Demon of the Blazing Skies, now chief of the Flying Carpet Airline, Inc., the biggest little trouble monopoly on wings in the USA!


As a bonus, here’s the article on author/artist Joe Archibald from the May 27th 1947 edition of Port Chester, NY’s The Daily Item that inspired the search for the post-war Pinkham stories:


6,000,000 Words Written And Sold By Joe Archibald, Town Resident

Leader In Civic Affairs Gives Facts About Varied And Interesting Career
by Alfred Feuer • The Daily Item, Port Chester, NY • 27 May 1947

AUTHOR-CARTOONIST-WHIRLWIND—Versatile Joseph S. Archibald of 48 Windsor Road, Town of Rye, takes time out from his literary pursuits to sketch himself at his labors. A plodding writer and one of the leading authors in the pulp market, Joe already has turned out in 18 years 6,000,000 words for magazines . . . and is still going strong. His sideline is cartooning, which he formerly did as a profession. Locally, Joe is renowned as an amusing master of ceremonies.

“Jake Carson, lolling in a luxurious parlor chair on the Southern Limited gazed abstractedly out of the window at the scenery rushing by.“

That line is the first fictional sentence in the writing career of Joseph S. Archibald of 48 Windsor Road, Town of Rye, who now has 6,000,000 words behind him, almost all printed in pulp publications. That opener comes from Mr. Archibald’s “The Black Tornado” and appeared in Complete Stories on Dec. 15, 1928.

Today, “Joe” Archibald, a man of featherweight physical proportions, stands among the foremost writers in the pulp class. (Typical pulp magazines are Argosy, Dime Westerns and Popular Detective).

This ranking reputation, which extends beyond American boundaries, pays off in substantial cash dividends. Mr. Archibald’s name is like a “blanche carte” in the writer’s world. The pulp editors snap up everything churned out in his typewriters. In fact, his supply is always insufficient. The editors are constantly pressing him for more and more stories.

Unlike many of his yarns, success stories in which the heroes struggle to triumph, Joe struck it rich in pretty quick time when he decided in 1929 to try his luck in the pulp market. He clicked easily. He was a natural tale-teller. Besides having the writer’s gift, Joe showed imagination. The fertility of his mind to conceive endless pieces for pulp readers’ consumption will probably never grow barren. He writes fluidly and productively.

Because he earns his livelihood by writing for pulps does not mean that Joe has molded his own character after any plotted by him on paper. As quickly as he pounds out his fables he tosses those characters completely from his thoughts.

Joe Archibald is his own rugged, vigorous self. He thinks and acts independently. He has already left an indelible mark on local history. There is no doubt that many people consider him a “character.” True, indeed, but he’s a character with good sides: he’s serious; he’s funny; he’s honest and he believes deeply in the practices of democracy. Those traits are seldom associated with guys know as “hacks” among writers.

His Ideals

His personal philosophy is gradually beginning to overrun on the pulp soil he has successfully nurtured during the past 18 years. He thinks books will relieve the flow. They will afford him a solid opportunity to break away from pat, dreamy formulas. In a book he can develop his own stored-up fundamental ideals.

Joe is already a book author. He completed his second (the first was a western tale) hard cover volume several months ago and expects to have it published in the Fall by the Westminister Press in Philadelphia. A story about football, he aimed it at youths from 12 to 20 years. Although it bears a prosaic title, “The Rebel Half Back,” its theme has enough meat and substance to push strongly its sales.

Mr. Archibald wrote the story after a study of boys’ books. He concluded that “boys’ books are not up to par and need a higher fictional standard.” He has been in touch with new writers also lapping these literary resources and learned that they are “starting a writing revolution of young people’s books.” These writers, Mr. Archibald revealed, are showing the proper respect for youngsters.

“Children today are getting more credit for their intelligence,” he asserted. “I feel that the field for writers who understand youth of today is wide open and untapped. There’s a ready market for those authors who understand and recognize the problems of youngsters.”

To Joe the problems are basic post-war ideals. He has, he said, expressed those views in “The Rebel Half Back.” He used the gridiron as a backdrop—a smart notion because football is loved by all boys—to talk about equality and liberty for all. In his opinion the boys are currently more thoughtful about relationships between all peoples. I’ve lashed out at intolerance and discrimination,” he said strongly. “Everyone should have a fair chance on every plane. There is absolutely no room in our country tor bigots and bigotry.”

“Our biggest fight today is against the evils that precipitated the last two wars. The symptoms are still here—two years after World War II—right in our very midst. I believe in judging a man by what he is, not who he is.”

These feelings guide Joe’s choice of friends. He enjoys companionship for their friendship value; quality of character is his measuring rod. He mingles with all sorts of men who meet his standards and finds that they make life thoroughly appetizing.

Not surprisingly, Joe’s fame rests on his talent of amusing people. In the pulp world he is reputedly rated as the standout humorist. He revels in writing stories with comical twists. He said he has composed “more popular humor for pulp than any other writer.”

Served Red Cross

His most famous character ever created was “a pre-war chap who turned out to be all funny-bone.” Joe tagged him “Phineas Pinkham.” The fictionalized comedian made such a hit among Joe’s thousands of young fans that Phineas grew into a national figure. Clubs were named for him, and radio stories were built around him. While Joe was in the European Theater in 1945 serving with the American Red Cross he was often questioned about Phineas Pinkham by many American Army officers. They told Joe that they could never forget Phineas who, as a World War I Army flier in the Archibald vein, was “an absolute scream.” Through these reminiscences of war-experienced veterans, Joe recently resumed the character, only in the form of his son, “Elmer Pinkham, who is now “flying for wildcat airlines.”

Joe’s in heavy demand as an entertainer in these parts. He has built up a following among local clubs anxious for diverting evenings. His fresh and funny patter please his audiences immensely. (For years in New York City he was a leading master of ceremonies at writers’ gatherings. He tired of the pace and routine of such functions).

Besides being able to make people laugh at his gags he also amuses them by his ability as a cartoonist. This versatile stroke is no new tack in his bag of tricks.

Joe’s first vocational love was cartooning. He worked in 1925 for the now-defunct Wheeler-Nicholson Syndicate in New York, drawing features that were circulated among 150 newspapers, then the firm was absorbed by the McClure Syndicate. For McClure Joe (whose early strips cover the walls in his second-floor corner-room work den) turned out sports and science panels; the latter strip he called “Outline of Science.”

In 1927 he quit the syndicate concern to join the ill-fated New York Evening Graphic. (He worked with Port Chester’s Ed Sullivan on the Bernarr MacFadden tabloid; also with Walter Winchell). He sketched the first gangster strip in America, “Story of Steve West.” His faith in cartooning disappeared when the Graphic collapsed and he turned permanently to pulp writing to earn his board and keep. Despite this switch he has not forgotten how to splash deft strokes on his easel board. Cartooning gives him an outlet to relaxation. Joe said he abandoned cartooning because few cartoonists attain independence. Pulp writing has given him that privilege and luxury.

Joe says he can’t find any hereditary link of his career. He is the only one in his family with a literary or drawing streak. He was born on his father’s dairy farm in Portsmouth, N.H., on Sept. 2, 1898. (His parents are still on the farm; his father has retired in favor of a brother of Joe).

Served In Navy

He attended for one year the University of New Hampshire (known then as New Hampshire State College). He left the school in 1917. He had begun to display skill with pen, brush and palette. He registered at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts to study art techniques and cartooning. Meanwhile, the first World War was rumbling in America. He dashed from the academy to Kelly Field, Texas, to try to become an air cartographer. But his parents, who objected to his military ambitions, scotched that plan. His mother and father ordered him home.

He didn’t stay long on the farm. Patriotism gnawed inside him and he enlisted in the Navy in August, 1918. Two years later he was discharged as a Chief Petty Officer. While in the Navy he had his first opportunity to try cartooning; he was on the staff of a Navy publication, “The Newport Recruit.” That experience sharpened his yearning for further training at the Chicago Academy in which he re-enrolled in 1921.

He stayed there long enough to get his art degree. But he didn’t get a chance to utilize his Fine Arts study in his first job. He was hired as a police reporter by the Boston Evening Telegram. Joe must have kept the editor in good spirits because he was allowed to conduct a humorous column, “Blaze Trails.” Twenty months later the Telegram folded. The Boston Post picked him up as a police reporter. He tired of this assignment after six months and repaired in 1924 to New York City where he tied in with the Wheeler-Nicholson outfit.

He hopped into fiction late in 1928 when he discovered that he could concoct and sell stories. He collected $200 for his initial product. a fight yarn. Since then he has knocked out 6.000.000 words. To get a comparative idea of that tremendous wordage output “Gone With The Wind.” regarded as one of the longest novels of all-time totals a skimpy 150,000 words.

At present he supplies stories to several monthly magazines, including American Eagle, Popular Detective and Western Trails.

Salaries for good “name” pulpers range from $7,000 to $20,000 a year. In this game, where magazine owners pay off by the word, volume and production count most, he said. However, from year to year an annual stipend is not guaranteed, of course. He had his best year in 1931. Occasionally he has illustrated some of his own yarns, but he does not care for this combination. He never reads his published stories; he says he hasn’t got the patience for this indulgence. Mr. Archibald has had several stories printed in Collier’s magazine, but has not yet passed the acceptance line of the Saturday Evening Post.

Has Many Avocations

He reports that during his span he has written for at least 300 publications, all fictional. His byline has always been “Joe Archibald.” He stopped saving his voluminous published products years ago, otherwise he “would have been forced to move out of the house.”

He does most of his writing in daylight hours, from 9 A.M. to 4 P.M. He holds pretty fast to this schedule. All writers must have a time system to enable them to develop the daily writing habit. A hobby, he advises novices should also be part of the daily diet. His avocations are painting, gardening, entertaining and civic affairs.

Tries Politics

He took a shot on May 6 at a semi-political office—trustee of the town’s Board of Education—and was licked. He has vowed never to attempt it again. Right now he is indirectly involved in national politics. He drew up the brochure for the Young Republican National Federation to be held in Milwaukee on June 6, 7 and 8. (Ralph Becker of Port Chester is chairman of the national group).

In 1928, Mr. Archibald and Miss Dorothy Fenton of Port Chester were married. He lived in the Village for years until he erected his own dwelling on Windsor Road, ten years ago. Although he resides in the Town of Rye, he still prefers Port Chester. “The advantages are there,” he said. “We use all the Village’s facilities.”

He dabbled as a radio writer but abandoned the networks because of the comparatively low remuneration and the disagreeable working conditions. “Radio writing will drive the average man out of his mind if he stays at it too long,” he believes.

One of the main fortes of a writer, he contends, is to be a good judge of character and to be able to study and diagnose people. Joe Archibald likened the writer to a newsman, in the sense that their respective minds are always absorbed in stories.

He urged men and women who are anxious to hit the pulp market but can’t produce 3,000 words of finished copy daily to find another groove. “You can’t make a living at it otherwise, he counseled.

He made an interesting contrast between writers for pulp magazines and for “slick” publications (examples are Colliers and the Post). Pulpers concentrate on plot and action, and slick writers rely on characters and mood, he says.

When reading fiction he tends to stories loaded with color and action; when he selects non-fiction he chooses philosophy and psychology. He detests crime tales. “I can’t read who-done-its. They’re all alike, and so farfetched. All of the who-done-its today are long-winded and contain junky dialogue; far too superfluous.”

His writing commitments prevent him from taking vacations of any length. “I have too many deadlines to meet and I have to keep close to the market,” he commented. “And don’t forget that ideas don’t often come in a hurry.”

Banging out 6,000,000 words has taken its toll of his typewriters. Mr. Archibald has already had to replace four machines. He always keeps two typewriters in his home. Another standby in his den is an easel on which he does his sketching and painting. He goes in for still life in water colors. He has had his canvasses on display at an exhibition conducted by the Port Chester Fine Arts Society. Many of them are mounted and adorn the walls in the Archibald residence.

In the town and the Village his friends consider him an inveterate cigar smoker. Cigar-smoking has not contributed to his writing technique, and he would not recommend cigars “to authors or anyone else.”

Be sure to come back next Friday for another Post War Pinkham story!

“A Hunting We Will Go” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on October 28, 2022 @ 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!

In 1918, Lieutenant Phineas “Carbuncle” Pinkham took a long hop, figuratively speaking, in an astral plane and came down to earth with the Zodiac in his lap. And as if that weren’t enough, a spiritualist of note—one Madame Mazola, who had taken a powder out of the Tyrol in 1915—put out her shingle in Bar-le-Duc, announcing to whomever it might concern that she would give an applicant a clear wire to his relatives who had long since departed this vale of tears. Ectoplasm was her specialty, and it would be produced for the most skeptical—for the insignificant sum of five francs—payable in advance!

After Madame Mazola hit town with her astrology, it didn’t take Phineas “Taurus” Pinkham long to prove that Garrity was a crab, Gillis was a sucker, Goomer was two other guys, and Casey was the goat. But it wasn’t until Babette hit Phineas with her skillet that the transplanted star gazer from Boonetown really got his astral plane into the ascendancy. And then he hit into something himself—a double-talk play!

“Happy Hunning Ground” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on September 30, 2022 @ 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!

American military moguls were miserable! For along the Western Front, the Krauts were doing a Russian business which threatened to give the Potsdam Potentate a corner on the Frog real estate market. But meanwhile there was one thing that neither Chaumont nor the Wilhelmstrasse had figured on. This was Phineas Pinkham’s skin game—a redskin game that was a cinch to corner a flock of squarehead scalps!

“Skyway Robbery” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on August 26, 2022 @ 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!

The Boonetown miracle man, Lieutenant Phineas Pinkham, and his unwitting hut mate Bump Gillis find themselves down behind Boche lines only to run into a fellow Boonetownian, but one who’s fighting for the Germans!

You can’t blame a fellow for wanting to make his mark. But over on the Heinie side of the Big-Fuss fence, marks were scarce. Yes, and when Phineas staged that “Bank Night of Germany” and hit the jack plot—they were even scarcer!

“Heir-O-Bats” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on July 29, 2022 @ 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!

Berlin’s big guy—Kaiser Bill, by name—had suddenly taken a decided interest in a postage-stamp Balkan state named Pandemonia. That was because a wizard named Mymugiz Grotescu kept shop there—an hombre said to be 10½ times smarter than an inventor named Edison. Only that high Heinie named Bill counted a little too heavily on a dope named Carol Fzog. What’s more, he completely forgot about a gazabo named Phineas Pinkham!

“Yank Rookie Gets German Ace” by Paul Bissell

Link - Posted by David on June 13, 2022 @ 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 1933 cover Bissell put us right in the action as a …

Yank Rookie Gets German Ace

th_FA_3310IN THE early summer of ’18 the 95th Yank Squadron was having a busy time of it on the Front near Verdun. The long-promised Spads had not yet arrived, and they were still flying their old Nieuports to combat the new Albatrosses and Fokkers with which the Germans were filling the skies.

The squadron losses had not been unusual, but quite heavy enough so that replacements were constantly coming up. Often these were lads who had previously been with the French or English, and so had some actual combat experience. But sometimes there would be one who came fresh from the training centers, with only what experience he had received in “aerial combat” at those fields, and not enough of that.

As a general thing, these lads could be broken in gradually, the usual procedure being for the experienced pilots to take them over in formation, avoiding, if possible, a serious scrap, but allowing them to get accustomed to archie and the feel of being out—assisted to be sure, but on their own, where the stakes were life and death.

If a scrap was unavoidable, the new lads were told to stick close in their formation, or if the formation was broken, to pull out of the scrap entirely if the opportunity presented itself. However, things didn’t always work out 15,000 feet up as they were planned on the ground.

So it was with Lieutenant Walter Avery, who came up entirely without experience to join the 95th. He, like all other rookie aviators, without underestimating his job or the danger in it, was impatient to get at the enemy, and restlessly waited for his time to be taken over.

While waiting, he heard tales of the activities of the Boche squadrons in this sector, especially of an ace named Menckeff, who flew a red Albatross with the tips of its lower wings painted black.

This ace had thirty-eight official victories to his credit, and he and his men had been in many a spectacular dogfight with the Allied birdmen of this sector. Possibly at night Avery dreamed of that red ship with the black lower wing tips. Anyway, those markings must have stuck in his memory for—but that’s part of the story of Avery’s big day.

WITH the sun shining down blindingly from the vast blue dome above, seven German ships sped along over the big white clouds below them. High up there, everything was so quiet, so beautiful and peaceful, that it was almost incredible that the veil of smoke seen drifting across the landscape far below was really the shroud of hundreds who at that instant were dying—a sacrifice to the gods of war.

So, indeed, it was impossible to believe that these ships flying swiftly and easily, beautiful in the sunlight, their red wings flashing, were in reality a squadron of death, mercilessly searching for their victims.

Far below, coming from behind a cloud, five tiny specks had appeared, almost invisible against the shell-torn earth still miles beneath them. The quick eyes of the Boche leader had observed them, however, and already his wings were wagging their signal to his comrades. The red, blue and white circles on the lower planes showed them to be Americans. It was the 95th, and Lieutenant Avery was being taken over for the first time.

He had already come through his first tryout with archie, and had marveled at the apparent unconcern of the older pilots when puffs of smoke had appeared all around them as if by magic, and their ships had been bumped around as if by the hand of the magician himself. The flight had shifted course suddenly, and at certain definite intervals, but that was all, and soon the smoke puffs had ceased.

But now it was different. The flight leader had banked up sharply, at the same time giving a quick signal. Avery, looking over his shoulder, saw seemingly countless red ships, their guns blazing, diving straight down on him, and he knew that this was one scrap not as per ground instructions.

Just what happened during the next few moments will always remain a confused mass of memories to the young airman. He tried to remember his warning to stay in formation, but there seemed to be no formation left. He had escaped the first driving onslaught and was now just one of twelve twisting and dodging planes. So far he had not even used his machine gun. There had seemed nothing to shoot at—just flashes of color that passed him before he had opportunity even to determine what they were.

Then some bullets, spattering close to his cockpit, brought him abruptly out of his confusion. His senses cleared. All his training came back suddenly. He threw his ship into a screaming vrille and came out with a red ship square in front of him. Automatically his fingers squeezed the trips, and for the first time he felt the thrill of actual combat. His aim was high. He saw his tracers pass over the top wing of the other ship.

The German was busy on the tail of one of the other Americans and had not noticed Avery. A yank of Avery’s stick brought the whole enemy ship more into line. Then for the first time his eyes caught something that sent his heart into his mouth. The red Albatross had black lower wing tips.

Carefully he sighted, aiming at the nose of the Albatross so that the German would have to pass through the line of fire. Once again his guns throbbed, and this time his aim was true. The German plane shot up in a tight loop like an animal stung unawares, but at the top, his motor sputtered and he dropped off to one side. Right behind him went Avery, his guns blazing, the bullets ripping the sides of the diving Albatross.

It was soon over. They had drifted too far over the Allied lines for the Boche to make the German side; so, with motor gone, unable to fight, and himself wounded, he threw up his hands in surrender. The scrap was over, and Avery headed back for the airdrome.

His squadron mates had seen the newcomer get his German, but it was not until the prisoner had been brought in that Avery was sure his eyes had not deceived him. And not until then did his comrades realize that the young American lieutenant had on his first flight over the lines brought down the famous German ace, Menckoff—a record we believe unique in the annals of the war.

The Ships on The Cover
“Yank Rookie Gets German Ace”
Flying Aces, October 1933 by Paul J. Bissell

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

Link - Posted by David on May 30, 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. April 1935’s thrilling story behind its cover features an Attack on San Fancisco!

Attack on San Francisco

th_FA_3504 FROM across the Pacific a harmless-looking tramp steamer is churning its way to a point within five hundred miles of San Francisco. There is nothing about her appearance to arouse the slightest suspicions on the part of anyone. She is just like a thousand other tramp steamers—black and smoky and clumsy-looking.

As the ship nears the California coast line, it heads into the wind and drops anchor. Activity on deck is apparent as huge hatches are removed and the swinging arm of a derrick is brought into play. Terse orders are barked out, and obeyed with smart promptness. Military procedure appears to be the keynote of all operations—a thing unusual in a tramp steamer’s crew.

An observer, if he had the good fortune to watch the activity unseen, would by this time begin to doubt the steamer’s appearance. As a matter of fact, he could not help suspecting a warlike objective. Tramp steamers do not stop five hundred miles off San Francisco for the fun of it.

In San Francisco Bay, a batch of United States destroyers and cruisers are weighing anchor, preparatory to steaming out of the harbor and joining the rest of the fleet for operations off Catalina Island. The smooth lines of the fighting craft are set off in sharp relief against the blue hills of the Tamalpais range. Unlike other mechanical devices, they add immeasurably to the natural beauty of the surroundings, and as they slowly get under way, they remind one of a giant cat carefully threading its way through leaves and branches, only to bound into action with a roar as its prey is hopelessly pinned beneath it.

One by one, Uncle Sam’s ships steam up the bay, through the Golden Gate and out into the broad Pacific. As they pass the hundreds of workers busily employed on the construction of the new Golden Gate Bridge, a spontaneous cheer floats across the still air from riveters and engineers alike. With a sense of proud security, the bridge workers drop their tools to gaze intently on each vessel as it passes beneath them. There is something awe-inspiring about the United States Navy, and it makes the men on the steel towers reflect upon the possibility of foreign invasion. Each Navy ship seems like such a mountain of strength and durability that an offensive move against our coastline by anyone would most assuredly lose. However, torpedoes that find their mark are seldom ineffective.

By this time, the tramp steamer has completed its work. Two Kawasaki two-seater torpedo planes are well on their way to San Francisco, and as they flash up over the horizon, their pilots see that they must hurry. Almost half of the destroyers and cruisers are already clear of the Golden Gate channel. The rest must remain inside.

As the two airplanes draw near, a cry of fear rings out. The bridge workers realize that this is not a friendly air visit. The torpedoes hung between the wheels of each plane give cause for grave doubt, and all operations on the Golden Gate span stop as the men scramble to places of safety.

But what is this roaring out from the mainland? Two Navy planes to the rescue! The approach of the two foreign torpedo ships has been observed from a land station and, taking no chances, the C.O. has sent a couple of Vought landplanes into the air.

The pilots of the Navy planes, of course, figure the move a useless one. Nobody would torpedo United States cruisers or destroyers out of a clear blue sky, when there is no apparent motive, they think. Doubtless, the Navy pilots are unaware of a recent diplomatic breach between the United States and a certain Eastern power. They are unaware of the fact that a certain power considers itself Uncle Sam’s equal and is out to prove it. Most of all, they don’t know that a whole fleet is at that very moment charging across the Pacific, intent upon taking swift advantage of the preliminary work to be done by the torpedo planes.

The object being pursued by the invading power is simply this. As the fleet, or part of it, is departing from San Francisco Bay, one or more ships are to be torpedoed and sunk directly in the Golden Gate Channel, thereby making it impossible for the remainder of the craft to accomplish their scheduled departure. In this way, the attacking warships would be left more or less free to proceed with the bombardment of San Francisco and the near-by coast-line cities, thereby paving the way for the actual landing of troops. Of course, failure to bottle up the fleet in the bay would mean failure at the very start of the enterprise.

In the particular instance, some of the Navy fighting craft have already made their safe departure through the Golden Gate, but there are still numbers of ships which theoretically could be locked inside. Besides the ships that are in the clear, the rest of the fleet is still somewhere off the coast of southern California. These combined forces might possibly fight off the attacking navy, but that is doubtful.

The only course left open, then, is defense by air. Naturally, the attacking forces are well equipped with aircraft carriers and launching apparatus on all battleships. Quite possibly the combined strength of the Pacific Coast Army and Navy Air Forces might turn the tables completely and force the invaders into confused retreat. The whole affair would be a huge air battle, with both sides sending hundreds of planes into the air. If the invaders should win, California would be doomed. If Uncle Sam’s ships came out victorious, the outcome even then would be problematical.

But to get back to the two torpedo planes bearing down on the Golden Gate. Will they accomplish their purpose and block off San Francisco Bay? Or will the Corsairs send them charging into the water?

No one can say what would be the outcome of such a venture, but this much we do know. Judging from the recent better understanding which has been accomplished between most of the nations of the world, and from the bitter lessons which we all learned in the last great war, we have good reason to assume the belief that no nation would care to or have reason to attempt a wholesale invasion such as the one fictitiously described here. We earnestly hope this to be the case, and we pin our hopes on the strength of the United States Army and Navy Air Forces.

The Story of The Cover
Flying Aces, April 1935 by C.B. Mayshark
Attack on San Francisco: Thrilling Story Behind This Month’s Cover

“Cocarde Sharpers” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on May 27, 2022 @ 6:00 am in

“HAW-W-W-W-W!” You heard right! 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. Yes it’s the marvel from Boonetown, Iowa himself—Lieutenant Phineas Pinkham!

Looks like the Boomtown Miracle Man is public enemy No.1. Everyone wants Phineas Pinkham dead! The Germans are looking for him and bombing the 9th unmercifully in hopes of hitting their mark. As a result, everyone at the 9th Pursuits would like Pinkham to expire. Even his girl, Babbette wants that fiery-headed Yankee Peeg dead. What’s a Pinkham to do? Find out in Joe Archibald’s latest, larrupin’ laff fest—from the September 1938 Flying Aces, Phineas Pinkham puts the “poke” in poker in “Cocarde Sharpers!”

“Get das Pingham!” war-cried the flocks of squarehead flyers facing Bar-le-Duc. And when they proceeded to pour seven months’ output of Krupp poison onto the drome of the fighting Ninth in seven days, the battered and bomb-sprayed Major Rufus Garrity had to admit he was licked. “Pinkham,” he said, “for the safety of the rest of the service, go out—and get yourself killed!” And wasn’t Phineas always a man to obey orders?

And lest you think the legend that is Phineas Pinkham resides only in crumbling old magazines from 80 years ago, the modern day Flying Aces Club keeps his spirit alive! The field where they hold their competitions is named “Pinkham Field” after the great, grinning, jug-headed buffoon. In fact, he’s even been known to put in an appearance!

The FAC’s Information Technology Guru, Rick Pendzick was awarded the FAC Blue Max at the September Outdoor Contest at Pinkham Field in Connecticut. That’s Rick on the right with Phineas Pinkham.

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

Link - Posted by David on May 23, 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. March 1935’s thrilling story behind its cover features Martin Bombers vs. Armed Transports!

Martin Bombers vs. Armed Transports

th_FA_3503NEW YORK, the metropolis of the nation, threatened with complete ruin! An unknown foe striking from the mist-shrouded deeps of the North Atlantic on wings of treachery, with all the speed of light and the blasting power of lightning! High-speed bombers converted in a few hours from peaceful commercial craft, loaded with high explosive and bristling with machine guns!

A wild fantasy? Impossible? But not so! Already it has been proved that several well-known commercial types used by many countries are so constructed that within a few hours they may be turned into grim war craft.

Any day, the great city of New York might be shining in the sunlight of a Spring morning to realize suddenly that within an hour the sunshine was to be blotted out by clouds of poison gas, billowing waves of screen smoke and the acrid fumes of high-explosive flame. Great buildings might be blasted from their bases, to topple with the thunder of Thor down into the cavernous streets of the city, wiping out hundreds of lives and spreading destruction in their crunching wake. Death and disease would stalk through the ruins and blot out thousands. Famine, waste and thirst would follow the concussion as these aerial monsters screened behind peaceful commercial insignia swooped down and struck the first blow of an unexpected war.

But their mission might be detected by the roving Coast Guardsmen, and great Martin bombers would sweep into the sky to intercept them. The Junkers Ju. 60 depicted on this month’s cover is a typical ship on which this conversion job could be attempted. And remember, Germany is not the only foreign power that uses this type of commercial craft. The Junkers ships are manufactured under license all over the world, so the Ju. 60 could be the vanguard of attack from any one of several foreign countries.

The Ju. 60 is classified as an express monoplane. It will accommodate eight persons, a more than adequate number for a bombing crew. The only visible changes in the ship are the gunner’s door in the roof, the bomb equipment, including racks and bombs under the wings, and the machine guns protruding from the side windows. Of course, other minor changes would be necessary within the fuselage.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of this ship is its power plant. The engine is a B.M.W. Hornet, and it is built in Germany under license from the Pratt & Whitney Co. of Hartford, Conn. Its design is absolutely identical with the Hornet series A of the licensor. The Hornet is a nine-cylinder, air-cooled radial engine on detachable engine mounting, and it is capable of 600 horsepower. A three-bladed metal air screw is used.

The ship can attain a speed of 175 miles per hour and has a range of 683 miles. Undoubtedly, however, this range would be greatly increased when the bomber conversion job was completed.

The Martin bomber has received a great deal of publicity, which it has rightfully deserved. The performance of the Martins that made the Alaska trip last summer was indeed enviable. It is the general consensus of opinion that the Martin bombers of the YB series are the fastest and the most efficient ships of their type in the world. These ships do better than 200 miles per hour, and they are so maneuverable that they can be used as pursuit or attack planes in case of emergency.

Presuming that the United States is attacked by an unknown foreign power with an air arm that incorporates a number of these converted commercial ships, let us see what would be the result of an air battle between a Junkers and a modern Martin. We must, of course, take the fictional attitude that a fleet of these Junkers has been catapulted from a giant launching gear, or from the hurriedly converted flight deck of a long tanker, for a secret raid on some important military point on the mainland.

In the matter of a ship-to-ship conflict—that is to say, an equal number of Martins against a formation of Junkers—we must consider the duties of each ship. The Martins are on the defensive, purely and simply, while the raiding Junkers have the problem of making their bombing attack and defending themselves at the same time. After all that is over, they must get back to their surface base.

So far, so good. The Junkers have almost reached the mainland when their move has been spotted and the defending squadrons are sent aloft. If, for instance, as is the case, they have decided on a raid on New York City, they would first have to brave the anti-aircraft fire from any of the several forts in the mouth of the Hudson. This, in itself, is no easy task, and several would probably, on the law of war averages, go down or fail to gain their objective.

The rest would have to make their way through a winged wall of 200-mile-an-hour Martins armed with high speed and high-calibre guns. The Junkers, gorged with heavy bombs, would not get up to their best speed, and all battle tactics would have to be thrown aside in their dash for their targets. The Martins, on the other hand, unhampered by pre-arranged plans, would have the benefit of freedom of action under a general leadership of a squadron leader in a flag-plane. While the Junkers ships plunged on, dead for their objective, depending mainly on their gunners, the Martins would be able to form angle attacks to harass the visitors.

Now, it is not exactly true that the fastest ship always wins a fight, especially where defensive ships try to intercept bombing machines. The last year of the World War proved that, and we shall have to accept the fact that in this great defense, many Martins would be destroyed. However, with the gunnery of the modern bomber-fighter, the air battle would become something of a mid-air battle-cruiser engagement in which speed, careful maneuvering and gunnery would win.

In this case, then, the slower Junkers bombers, confined to a direct line of flight—at least, until they have reached and bombed their objective—would be on the short end of the battle, for the speedy Martins would be able to use all their, fighting tactics. The gunnery must be considered on modern figures. No country in the world today is believed to have the aerial weapons that the United States boasts.

Therefore, the Junkers would come under another bitter blow. While the enemy got in the first thrust by surprise in the use of a converted transport ship, the side with equipment especially designed for defensive work would win in the end. The attacking party always loses more than the defending—an old war axiom—but in doing so, it actually accomplishes its end or goal.

Thus, on facts and figures, the Martin bomber should always be able to outdo the converted commercial ship.

The Story of The Cover
Flying Aces, March 1935 by C.B. Mayshark
Martin Bombers vs. Armed Transports: Thrilling Story Behind This Month’s Cover

“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

“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

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

“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

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