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

Link - Posted by David on May 31, 2021 @ 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—like the October 1935 cover where Mayshark gives us a glimpse into a Nazi attack on the Polish Corridor!

Raid on the Polish Corridor

th_FA_3510IT IS nearly 2 a.m. in the City of Danzig, and the atmosphere of quiet, common to that hour, prevails. The city’s population is asleep; there is little activity other than the measured steps of the guards and sentinels at the military encampments and fortifications. The night is clear, and a soft, yellow radiance, cast by the moon, is playing over the cold, grey walls of the century-old buildings. Here and there, the darkness is punctuated by the brilliant pin points of the city’s remaining lights.

It is difficult for one to visualize the fact that this peaceful and slumbering city is one of the storm centers of European diplomatic wrangling. Nazi Germany believes that the city rightfully belongs to her, and if she can’t get it by vote, very likely she will resort to force. Votes, thus far, have failed her.

SUDDENLY an operator on a sound detector at a military flying field springs to attention. Adjusting his earphones, he tunes his instrument to maximum efficiency. Quickly jotting down his observations, he calls a runner and dispatches a note to his superior. A hurried order is broadcast, and a Polish squadron of single-seaters roars into action.

They arrive over the city at a speed of more than two hundred miles per hour—just in time to meet a flight of huge, tri-motored German converted bombers. The Polish pilots must act quickly if Danzig is to be saved. Already, the German ships have begun to drop their deadly eggs, and to make matters worse for the defense ships, a devastating anti-aircraft fire has been leveled at the invaders.

There is a contention among military authorities that it is impossible to completely destroy a city with one air raid, and that one bombing expedition will only serve to bring on a reciprocal one, thus prolonging the warfare. Very likely this logic is good, but it is doubtful if it is applicable in the present case. Danzig, a free city, is under the protectorate of the League of Nations—a body that would find it difficult to conduct retaliatory air raids against Germany. If Germany were successful in taking Danzig by force, she might have a chance of getting away with it, because Poland no longer depends entirely upon that city as a seaport, having recently built her own port at Gdynia, which is located at the Baltic end of the Polish Corridor.

On the other hand, a German air raid on Danzig might only constitute a move to throw Poland off her guard. Once a few bombs were dropped on Danzig, the Nazi bombers could continue southward to attempt devastation of the whole length and breadth of the Polish Corridor.

However, it is logical to assume that Poland would spring to the assistance of Danzig in the manner we have pictured on our cover. Poland, naturally, has an interest in the welfare of Danzig, for she is responsible for the city’s relations with foreign countries. And then, if the German ships were to jump across the border into the Corridor, Poland would find herself in a position to repulse the attack if she had sent defense ships into the air at the first warning of impending danger to the City of Danzig.

And so, with the shrieking of shrapnel and the whine of machine gun bullets the populace of Danzig is awakened with a start of horror. The flight of single-seaters is knifing down to the attack with a vengeance, and the formation of the bombers is temporarily broken. As a rain of tracer is directed against the first German ship, the Polish single-seaters swerve to the side abruptly. Bombers always have been difficult to shoot down, and the defense pilots are finding that their fire is ineffective. It is hard to find a vulnerable spot on such a large surface as that possessed by a tri-motored bomber, much less crash it to the earth with a single burst of bullets. As the defense ships roar in, the anti-aircraft fire abates somewhat in order that the defense ships will not be endangered.

Like a pack of yelping dogs, the gull-winged fighters cut loops of fury in the night sky. Three or four converge on one bomber, and after repeated thrusts it goes down, to crash with a deafening concussion on the earth below. And now two fighters follow it, victims of streaming lead from a vengeful bomber.

The Nazi bombing group now re-forms quickly. With the single-seaters still yelping about their ears, they climb for altitude and leave the city.

What is their purpose? Will they continue on and destroy Gdynia? Or are they merely temporarily pulling away from the scene of battle in order that they can reorganize and return in a short time to finish the job which they have only begun?

The scene that they leave behind is not pleasant to look upon. Everything is stark horror on the streets of Danzig. Mutilated bodies and piles of debris lie grotesquely about the city. Police emergency squads are carrying the wounded and dying to hospitals, and the streets are being cleared of the wreckage. Already, the work of rehabilitation has begun.

Everything being considered, Danzig has not suffered as badly as one might imagine. Comparing the potential destructive force of each bomb dropped, with the actual damage done, it is not difficult to share the belief that it is well nigh impossible to completely annihilate a sizable city with one raid.

And so, Nazi Germany has started on a rampage of conquest, fictitiously, of course. And thus history repeats itself. Governments whose positions have become jittery and insecure domestically have almost invariably attempted to excuse their existence by a successful campaign for territorial annexation. In the long run, however, such governments are doomed to destruction.

THE German ships pictured on this month’s cover are Junkers JU. 52/3m’s. They are tri-motored bombers capable of making 177 miles per hour and having a disposable load of 8,360 pounds. They are powered with three B.M.W. “Hornet” T.I.C. engines. Of course, these planes were designed for freight and passenger service, but the job of converting them into high-efficiency modern bombers would require only a few hours. As a matter of fact, it has already been done, and one ship has been named the “Baron Manfred von Richthofen.”

The Polish ship used is a P.Z.L. P-XI with a Bristol Mercury IV.A. radial engine fitted with a Townsend low-drag ring cowling. It has a high speed of 217 miles per hour. Poland is known to possess several types of remarkably efficient ships, and the strides she has made in airplane manufacture is all the more remarkable in that every ship in service in that country is of Polish manufacture.

The Story of The Cover
Flying Aces, October 1935 by C.B. Mayshark
Raid on the Polish Corridor: Thrilling Story Behind This Month’s Cover

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

Link - Posted by David on May 24, 2021 @ 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—like the September 1935 cover where Mayshark gives us a glimpse of an air Battle in Oriental Skies!

Battle in Oriental Skies

th_FA_3509THE drowning of powerful motors, the rattle of machine-gun fire, the shrieking of a ship falling out of control, the gasp of horror coming from the civil population—it means but one thing—the Japanese have struck!

And when the Japanese strike, it is like the lightning thrust of the hooded cobra. It is sudden and effective, and over almost as soon as it has begun. The resistance of the Chinese border patrols is determined, however, even if it is of little value against the power and speed of the machines from the land of the rising sun.

On our cover this month, we have depicted for you a clash between a Chinese-owned Douglas and a Japanese-built Nakajima. The territory over which the battle takes place is near a border in the hill country in North China. The approach of the single-seaters has been telegraphed ahead, and a Douglas two-seater takes the air in an effort to defend the district from the raking enemy machine-gun fire and from the destructive bombers which must surely follow the Nakajimas.

Ironically enough, the Douglas comes up with the two Japanese single-seaters directly above a temple of worship, many of which are to be found in isolated regions in North China. As the Japanese pilots spot the Douglas, they realize that their task is a comparatively simple one. The two-seater would not have any real effectiveness against the powerful bombers which are to come, but nevertheless, a pile of smouldering debris on the ground is of more benefit to the Japanese at this particular point than an unchecked stream of lead spattering its message of death at them, even, if it is coming from a Douglas 02MC4.

And so the machines from across the water set upon the Chinese with a vengeance. Attacking in unison, they bear down on the Douglas with several hundred feet of altitude to their advantage. As they approach their target, they spread out fan-wise, and then bank sharply in toward each other so that the line of fire from both ships converges at the unhappy point at which the Douglas finds itself.

However, the Chinese pilot has participated in air defense maneuvers before, and he knows what tactics are required to beat off these vicious Nakajimas. However, he knows how hopeless it is to count on getting even one of these Japanese boys, much less both. Of course, being a good pilot, he can cut his gun and nose his ship sharply up, and so escape the first death-dealing crossfire, but the ultimate outcome is written in blood on every burst of Japanese tracer which comes tearing down the sky.

The result of the fight is so obvious that further elaboration is unnecessary. Of course, the Japanese take the territory, as the resistance is nil after the first onslaught. But another blow has been struck, and the Chinese pride has suffered once more.

With the advent of modern aerial warfare, the Sino-Japanese situation has taken on an entirely different aspect. Border raids by foot soldiers have almost become a thing of the past, and in their stead, swift powerful attacks from the air are the signal for a belligerent and highly mechanized maneuver.

A thing of great importance is the moral effect of bomb-dropping on the Chinese civil population. On the ignorant superstitious hillman, this effect is far greater than it ever could be on any nation of people in the Western hemisphere. The Chinese are, as a general rule, conscious of their vast strength and wealth, and they naturally assume that they can successfully wage war with Japan. The confusion that results from the petty ambitions of the individual war lords, however, complicates matters to such an extent that unified resistance against Japan seems out of the question.

In spite of all this, the Central Government has made an effort to defend itself against the air attacks of the invader. Lacking the modern industrial activity with which the Western world is blessed, the Chinese are compelled to buy their machines of war, if they are to have any, outside their own country. American airplane manufacturers have been favored with much of this lucrative business.

The lack of centralization of the Chinese military activity is evidenced by the fact that the air forces of the various provinces are independent of each other, although a friendly relationship exists between the larger provinces in most instances. The provinces of Canton, Kwangsi, and Fukien, among others, have independent air forces.

In direct contrast, the Japanese do much of their own manufacturing. They have acquired the industrial fever with which the West is imbued.

As has been said, the Chinese ship on our cover is an American-built Douglas 02MC4. Several Douglas ships have been purchased by China, as well as many other types, including Vought and Waco. Types other than American include Junkers, Fiats, De Havillands, and Armstrong-Whitworths.

And here’s an interesting point. To close followers of military aviation design, the Nakajima monoplane fighter seems very similar to the Boeing single-seater developed in this country three years ago. Inspection will show that the unusual strutting arrangement displayed on the Japanese ship is exactly like that of the Boeing which came out under the type numbers 270-V. The fuselage was smooth monocoque; the motor is mounted in the same way and the same type of undercarriage is used. The only improvement the Japanese added was the Townsend ring around the engine.

In other words, there might be such a thing as espionage in aviation after all!

The Story of The Cover
Flying Aces, September 1935 by C.B. Mayshark
Battle in Oriental Skies: Thrilling Story Behind This Month’s Cover

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

Link - Posted by David on May 17, 2021 @ 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—like the August 1935 cover where Mayshark gives us a glimpse into a future air attack on London!

London Under Air Attack

th_FA_3508WAR! The word twangs a different chord in the heart of every man. To the Frenchman, it means a charge toward Paris—or Bayonet Trench outside Verdun. To the American, it means Chateau Thierry or the Argonne; to the Belgian, the remorse of Leige and the ravaging of a neutrality; to the Russian, the helpless swamps in front of the Masurian Lakes; to the Italian, the bloody Piave.

But to the average Englishman, whether he wore khaki or blue, war means air raids on London!

And well it might. When the news reached the trenches on that eventful day in 1915 that German airships had raided peaceful English towns on May 31st, raining incendiary and high-explosive shells on peaceful and unarmed British towns, the horror of war was probably first realized, after nearly a year of bitter fighting.

The English saw their kinfolk battered and mangled, buried under massive piles of masonry. Civilian names were listed in the casualty columns. From that day on, the Englishman knew he was in a war, and in retaliation, British airmen braved distance and bombed Karlsruhe. The French bombarded Baden. The British captured Kut-el-Amara and German South-West Africa. They raced across No-Man’s-Land and completed the capture of the area around Neuve Chapelle. They began a new march on the Dardanelles. And war today still means air raids on London.

The moment the German plans for a gigantic army and a great air force were announced, the British remembered the air raids of 1914-18. They set to work at once to strengthen the air defenses around London, the capitol of the Empire. Forty-one new squadrons were ordered, and recruiting for the R.A.F. leaped to amazing figures. Old flying men swarmed back to the colors. Youngsters hardly out of public school rallied to the call. Their England, which had once denied the charges that Germany was rearming, was threatened again, just as she was in 1914.

She would need more Warnefords, more Robinsons, more McCuddens, more Balls and more Mannocks. Some one had to face the foe which threatened again. No one ever knew the surge of air-mindedness that swept England last March. No one probably ever will. But the gauntlet, the flying glove, was taken up, and again England was ready.

But there is one difference. Germany knows today that she must never make the mistake she made in 1914 when she allowed England to get into a war. This time England must be shunted out of the picture early—just as Belgium was in the last war. The quickest and surest way to do it is by air. Germany’s vest-pocket Navy is no match for Britain’s might on the sea. Her army could never make a landing on British soil. But her air force, with high explosive, gas bombs and all forms of chemical warfare, might be able to stop Britain in her tracks before the English ground and sea forces could go into action.

Let us imagine that overnight Germany should decide to put the British out of any possible play. Her best bet would be a monster air raid on the main centers—London, Birmingham, Chatham, the naval base, Southampton, Dover and many other points of industrial strength—but mainly, of course, London. Here the raiders could sever the many cables of communication and the mighty seat of government—the point of power that controls the vast empire. Blotting out London with either high explosive or chemicals would have such a monstrous reaction, would be such a grim stroke at the morale of the nation, that it would take months to reorganize the intricate mechanism and put the nation back on its feet as an offensive power in a European conflict.

To do this, Germany naturally would have to employ ships capable of a wide cruising area and the carrying of great loads. These planes would require large crews to handle all the. intricate duties necessary in a mission of this kind. There would be two pilots, one navigation officer, one bombardier officer in charge of the bombing details, and at least two men to act as gunners in the defense.

A close examination of the available craft suitable for such a raid discloses that the famous Dornier Super-Wal four-engined flying boat would be the most likely choice. It has a wide cruising range, and is very seaworthy. With four 500-h.p. Jupiter VIII motors, (British, by the way) the Super-Wal has a top speed of 136 m.p.h. and carries a disposable load of 15,840 lbs. Imagine what a formation of twenty such ships could do, assuming they got through the London defenses!

Their equipment includes full night-flying instruments, two-way radio, a navigation compartment comparable to that in any Atlantic liner, and fuel tanks accommodating more than 1,000 gallons. Allowing a few hundred pounds for special armament in the way of high-caliber guns and modern air cannons, these ships could still deposit three-quarters of a ton of destruction and make a fast get-away.

The question naturally arises—what has England to offer in the way of defense against this type of raider?

The only thing worth mentioning, even with the vast improvement in all forms of anti-aircraft guns, is the modern intercepter. On this month’s cover, we have shown the form of defense employed by the British fighter squadrons using the Hawker Super-Fury fighter. Squadrons of these machines have been posted around the London defense area, and Britain believes that in them she has the answer to the air raid problem.

However, of all military machines, the intercepter fighter is probably the least understood, especially in countries where such a ship is not included in the air defense system. The Hawker Super-Fury, with the Rolls Royce “Goshawk” steam-cooled engine, is the most efficient type of intercepter in the world today. It has a top speed of 250 m.p.h. and is the fastest service machine in the world. Contrary to general impression, it is not a ship that can only get upstairs fast, and be confined to a small radius of action. Not at all! It climbs to 20,000 feet in about seven minutes, to be sure, but it can stay in the air well over two hours. It carries two Vickers guns of the new high-speed type, and is the safest bet in the swiftly forming defense against enemy raiders.

Thus, if a war should break out, you can bet your last dollar that Britain’s first line of defense would not be her Navy, but her air service. The Hawker-Fury pilots of the London defense area would have to take up the work where old No.39 Squadron, Home Defense, left off in 1918, in the last attempted raid on London. On that memorable occasion, they destroyed seven Gothas out of eleven that had crossed the British Coastline. What would be the record now?

The Story of The Cover
Flying Aces, August 1935 by C.B. Mayshark
London Under Air Attack: Thrilling Story Behind This Month’s Cover

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

Link - Posted by David on May 10, 2021 @ 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—like the July 1935 cover where Mayshark gives us a glimpse into a Nazi raid on Russia!

Raid on Russia

th_FA_3507DEATH, destruction, appalling calamity! Crumbling buildings, writhing humanity! The ominous drone of high-powered aircraft, the rattle of machine-gun fire, the detonation of death-dealing explosives! The Nazi insignia over the city of Moscow!

Russian aircraft sound-detectors had flashed the warning many minutes before, and even now, defense ships are taking off. Motor lorries with anti-aircraft guns mounted upon them are being driven to points of vantage throughout the city. Women and children are being herded into bombproof cellars and, except for the scattered military activity, the city looks deserted.

As the German bombers sweep in from the west, Russian pursuit and attack planes close in upon them. The Germans are flying low so as to be sure of their target, for the effectiveness of a bomb depends on where it hits, and the Germans have a certain objective in mind. The Kremlin comes first, then definite military concentration points, and then, if there is time, certain bridges, railroad terminals and important buildings.

But flying low on a bombing expedition is at best a hazardous business. Anti-aircraft has a better chance; then, too, the repercussion is likely to cause damage to the ship from which the bomb is dropped. But the Nazis are taking their chances. The city of Moscow must be destroyed.

There is an old axiom of war which reads: The attacker is always the heaviest loser. After acknowledging this fact and applying it to the present situation, one wonders just how far Germany would get in an air raid on a power that possesses the military strength that is Russia’s. Indeed, it is likely that a flight of bombers would not even get as far as Moscow, for the capital city is a long way from the border. Defense ships in large numbers would have ample time to mobilize and beat off the attackers, and it is a difficult job for a raiding bomber to engage enemy planes and at the same time continue on toward an objective.

But let’s assume that three or four out of the entire flight of raiding bombers manage to reach Moscow. What then? Would the bombs dropped from these ships be sufficient to wipe out the city completely? Probably not. Even if a few bombs were dropped, it is not likely that they would be as effective as they were intended to be. The fierce firing of the anti-aircraft guns, and the dizzy attack of the defense ships would make jockeying for position an extremely difficult task.

Germany’s threat today lies in the air. This much is accepted by every military expert the world over. Her navy, a small but highly efficient arm, has lost much of the prestige it had before the Battle of Jutland and today is really being upheld by the old German Sons of the Sea. The modern German warrior sees not naval history and glory, but winged glory in the skies. The weapons are not dread-naughts, destroyers and the much-hated U-boats, but highspeed fighting bombers, fighters and well-armed single-seaters.

Her threats are not Zeppelin bombs, flame-throwers and Minnies. Fifteen years of careful preparation in defiance of the Treaty of Versailles have brought such terrible weapons as Brisanze bombs, 500-kilo projectiles, each capable of destroying a complete city block. Then there are the new incendiary bombs containing Celsius, a formula that will throw a burning sheet of flame considered to reach 3,000 degrees of temperature. No liquid or damper is known that will quench such a fire. No peace-time fire-fighting equipment could cope with this.

Also, there are their new gas bombs containing the deadly dichlorethyl sulphide, sometimes known as Yellow Cross, which is invisible to the naked eye and which after several hours, only begins to show its symptoms. By that time it is too late. Men die of necrosis of all living tissues including eyes, nose, lungs and throat. They have other gas bombs, too, including Yperite, Blue Cross or Death Dew, which kills men outright in one minute.

If Germany is to attack Russia—a much larger nation, from the point of view of military might—she would have to use amazing surprise methods, and her war would have to be completed in a comparatively short time. With such weapons as explained above, her leaders would hope to overwhelm any European nation within a few days, by simply preying on the moral fibre of the civilian population.

But one might ask, accepting the fact that Germany has all these weapons, what means does she have to convey them to the point of attack? How can Germany build up an efficient air force in such a short time, and train men to handle it?

German efficiency has been accepted for years. Everyone knows that her great commercial air ventures have been produced with only the future air might in view. Her transport planes are like no others anywhere. Her system of sport-flying clubs and schools were nothing but military training organizations. The ships used in these schools were out-and-out military ships—minus such military equipment as bomb-racks, machine guns and camera fittings.

There’s the set-up that Russia, France and England would have to face. Russia is particularly vulnerable to Germany’s air might because of certain geographical conditions.

In the cover illustration, we show one of Germany’s seven-passenger air transports turned into a high-speed fighting bomber. This could be done in eleven hours. The ship is the new Heinkel, capable of 234 miles per hour. We do not know what the flying range is, but there is no doubt that after the conversion job, the ship would be capable of reaching Moscow.

All bombs would be carried within the fuselage, and dropped through a trap door in the floor. Fixed machine guns would be installed somewhere along the top of the engine, firing forward through the propeller. A movable gun would be carried about midway along the top of the fuselage. The ship is powered with a B.M.W. VI twelve-cylinder vee-geared engine. The motor develops 630 horsepower.

The Russian ship is an Ossaviachim Air 7. Figures on performance are unavailable. All we can say about it is that it is a low-wing wire and strut-braced monoplane, and that it is based on the Travel Air “Mystery” monoplane.

The Story of The Cover
Flying Aces, July 1935 by C.B. Mayshark
Raid on Russia: Thrilling Story Behind This Month’s Cover

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

Link - Posted by David on May 3, 2021 @ 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—like the June 1935 cover where Mayshark gives us a glimpse into a raid on the Panama Canal!

Raid on the Panama Canal

th_FA_3506DEATH and destruction in the Canal Zone! Great masses of concrete and steel scattered to the four winds as if they were paper boxes! Ships and men reduced to fragments with equal abandon! A monument to human progress that took years to construct, a shipping and transportation facility which is absolutely essential to modern needs—all wrecked within the space of a few minutes!

Could it be done? Well, it could be attempted, at any rate. Success would depend upon the precision and the deftness with which the whole maneuver was carried out. Failure would be certain only if the United States air defense arm was of sufficient strength.

The prime reason for such an attack would be, of course, the move to cut off the two main fleets of the United States Navy. If the Atlantic Fleet were in home waters, it would take weeks to concentrate both fleets in the Pacific in case of an emergency. The reverse would be the case, should the national first line of defense be required in the Atlantic.

The Panama Canal is presumed to be international property under certain nautical laws, but it is primarily United States property. After all, it was built by this country, and the problem of defending it lies in the hands of the country that built it.

As is well known, the defensive measures adopted by the United States consists mainly of heavy naval batteries at strategic points. Some of these batteries are hidden, and some mounted on points of material advantage. There are also many troops stationed there—troops well versed in garrison artillery work—who are on duty twenty-four hours a day.

Shipping is carefully watched, and all vessels using the canal are under thorough observation at all times. One of the great dangers is the possibility of an enemy power’s sending through the locks a gigantic floating torpedo in the form of a ship loaded with explosive, which is blown up by means of a time bomb, once the vessel is within the lock walls. Such an explosion would destroy the work of years in a few seconds, and it would take even more time to replace it.

This may sound sensational and melodramatic to conservative readers, but it is not beyond the realm of possibility. Far stranger heroics have been displayed in the heat of war, particularly where national reverence and strange religious fanaticisms are exploited.

But while this method may be the most effective in the long run, there are many reasons why it could not be carried out with any assurance of secrecy. Too many people have to be considered where the crew of a vessel is concerned, and the loading of sufficient explosive necessary to do the job thoroughly presents too many opportunities for leakage of information.

The problem of gathering a crew willing to take this risk is, of course, the most outstanding. Only men fired with deep national pride can be imagined in such an heroic role.

How, then, can the Panama Canal be destroyed, or at least shut off?

The possibility of hostile landing parties who would make a night attack from surface craft is out of the picture when one considers the ground defenses already there. No landing party carrying sufficient demolition equipment could get through the first line, and have enough men left alive to carry out the plan.

Another possibility is the prospect of long-range shelling from naval craft. While the true facts of the Panama defenses are not known to the general public, it is very likely, however, that the guns mounted at Panama can far outrange the 16-inchers of an enemy dreadnaught. They would have a steadier fire platform and, by a system of prearranged charts, could get their ranges set and salvos blanketed over any area long before any enemy battery could score a hit.

The only prospect offering any promise of success is the new air arm involving high-speed bombing planes carrying the proper projectiles. Mere bombs will not do in a case like this. They must be shells with special high tensile nose caps and delayed action fuses. Otherwise, they would simply drop on the surfaces and do nothing but superficial damage. The concrete and steel at Panama calls for special bombs and special explosives.

In all this, we are considering the attack of an enemy power from the Pacific side, but it could be staged from either end of the canal. We must accept the fact that Japan is unusually strong in first-line submarines which have unusual range of action and carry folding-wing planes in their water-tight hatches. There is also the possibility of an air attack being staged from the flight deck of an aircraft carrier or from the discharge catapults of the cruisers. It is for this reason that we show a Japan«se Navy Nakajima shipboard fighter carrying out such a raid.

This machine is one of the finest shipboard fighters in any naval service. It is an all-metal, single-bay biplane, powered with a Japanese-built British Bristol Jupiter radial engine of 450 h.p. It has a top speed of 192 m.p.h., is fitted for day and night work, and can he used for light bombing.

This is an important feature of the bombs. They must he small, light and yet have the penetrating power of larger projectiles. It is known now that Japan has made recent purchases of several new metal formulas which combine unusual lightness with tensile strength. It is no secret, either, that the Japanese have long been experimenting with new explosives designed for special demolition work.

So here we have the sudden attack, by day or night, from the air. The raiders take off and, instead of attacking in formation, they attempt to cross up the defenders and “scramble” their microphone detectors, by appearing over the canal singly, three or four minutes apart. One or two will stand by to take care of defending ships, and the raid is on.

The defense ships, presumably brought into action from one of the near-by air bases, are Curtiss P-6-E Hawks, a standard pursuit fighter of the Air Service. This ship is a good old stand-by—rough, tough and nasty in a scrap. It is armed with the new high-speed Browning gun and can throw a thousand rounds a minute from each muzzle. It has a top speed of 198, with the 675 Curtiss “Conqueror” Prestone-cooled engine.

The point involved now—and one that could be decided only if such an occasion should arise, is whether the 192-m.p.h. Nakajima, with its pilot harried with the orders to drop bombs on particular and important points of the Canal, could withstand the defensive tactics and heavy gun-power of the Curtiss Hawk. It may be the old story of the attacker always suffering the heaviest losses, even though he gains his objective. Who can tell? Perhaps the question will never have to be settled.

The Story of The Cover
Flying Aces, June 1935 by C.B. Mayshark
Raid on the Panama Canal: Thrilling Story Behind This Month’s Cover

“Hoots and Headlights” by Joe Archibald

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

THERE’S no fool like an April fool, and there’s no bigger April fool than that Bachelor of Artifice, the Knight of Calamity, an alumnus of Doctor Merlin’s Camelot College for Conjurors himself—Lieutenant Phineas Pinkham, the marvel from Boonetown, Iowa!

In the pit of a sinister Kraut Albatros slumped a grim, squat-bodied Kaiser hocher whose greenish eyes boded ill for a certain Yankee flyer who had knocked him for a row of Nisson huts six weeks before. “The Owl” was on the prowl again, and his feathers were ruffled from his high dudgeon. It was said across the Rhine that Herr Hauptmann von Heinz was so closely related to the owl species that the nocturnal birds were in complete harmony with him. Unfortunately for The Owl, Lieutenant Pinkham had a his own peculiar way of shining light on these matters!

More than one person on the Western Front was bent! Having prepared a succulent dish of stuffed owl, Chef Pinkham was bent on giving the bird to one Hauptmann von Heinz. Meanwhile, one Oscar Frump, of Waterloo, Iowa, was bent on giving the bird to Phineas. And before things went much further, one Francois LeBouche was busy sharpening his shiv. He was bent, too—bent on cutting himself a piece of throat.

“Coppens, Belgium’s Greatest Ace” by Paul Bissell

Link - Posted by David on March 15, 2021 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we present another of Paul Bissell’s covers for Flying Aces! Bissell is mainly known for doing the covers of Flying Aces from 1931 through 1934 when C.B. Mayshark took over duties. For the November 1932 cover Bissell paints one of Belgium’s greatest Aces in action—Lt. Willi Coppens trying to take down a balloon!

Coppens, Belgium’s Greatest Ace

th_FA_3211THE sun had set, and soon night for a few short hours would throw her peaceful blanket of darkness over the gaping wounds of war that now scarred the once beautiful fields of Flanders.

Above, where the sun’s rays still shone from beyond the far horizon, a tiny speck could be seen. Below, on the shell-torn earth, a crew was slowly hauling down a huge yellow sausage with black crosses painted on its sides. Anxiously the officers in charge watched the sky above until sudden recognition of the tiny speck brought hurried orders from their lips. Coppens, the little black devil of the Belgians, was on the wing!

Since the outbreak of the war, Willi Coppens had been in the service of his country. He had enlisted on the 28th of July, serving first as a despatch rider for the 6th Division, and then in other positions of both danger and trust but always with his eyes to the sky, his heart set on the “chasse.”

Three long years of this, then six months of observation, reconnaissance and artillery fire direction, until, in April, 1918, his great ambition was gratified at last. In the past six months he had made himself the terror of the Huns and the idol of his nation. Thirty-three balloons and two planes had fallen to his attack. He was premier ace of the Belgians and premier balloon-buster of the world.

NOW, October 14, 1918, his .small, dark-blue plane with the red, yellow and black circles of Belgium on its wings was once again bringing death and destruction to the invaders of his beloved country.

Down he swooped through the hail of shrapnel and machine-gun fire, his gun spitting incendiary bullets into the great yellow bag below. . . . At the last moment he veered off, banked up on one wing, then as quickly reversed, executing a tight S, his nose down and hugging the balloon as closely as he dared, to gain what little protection might be had through the enemy’s fear of hitting their own observers.

His throttle shot forward as he gave his little Nieuport the gun and dived down under the balloon with terrific speed. Back came the stick—the tiny blue plane shot upward—higher—higher—up into a stall when another instant would have sent it crashing into the swinging balloon.

Now a shift of the release lever, and from the chute on either side six flaming rockets, like meteors against the late afternoon sky, soared through the air with deadly accuracy toward the sausage. In their wake a trail of sparks showered downward, and the plane hung for an instant on the prop. Then its nose flopped down through the drifting sparks. A quick kick of the rudder avoided collision with the big cable by which the Germans were desperately trying to haul the clumsy bag to the ground.

The plane dropped like a plummet. Coppens eased up on his throttle slightly, then leveled off, at last clear of the balloon—and none too soon. The rockets buried themselves in the bulging silk and then, an instant later, there was a terrific burst of flame and smoke. Great fiery tongues leaped hundreds of feet into the air, and the big bag collapsed, falling to the ground and burning fiercely.

Machine guns clattered madly while high explosives and shrapnel once again rent the air in their effort to find the tiny plane. He was almost away, a tiny speck against the darkening sky, when a shrapnel burst squarely in his path. His left leg went numb. The Nieuport shivered as he almost lost control. The little black devil was winged at last!

THE war was over. The invader had been driven out and peace once again reigned. In the warm July afternoon, on one of Belgium’s great air fields, a small army had drawn up in battalion formation. To one side, an area roped off was filled to overflowing by a crowd in holiday attire. Flags were flying and bands playing. On the line a row of planes stood ready, their wings and bodies shining from careful grooming. For on this day a grateful nation was honoring one of its heroes.

A large plane could be seen in the distance. Quickly it approached, circled the field, then landed easily and taxied down near to wrhere a small group was standing in front of the battalions.

The crowd surged restlessly, then broke into tumultuous acclaim as a tall figure stepped from the plane and the bands crashed into the national anthem of the Belgians.

“—And a grateful nation and King salute you, Captain Coppens, Officer of the Order of Leopold.”

The King stepped forward to pin a small ribbon on the breast of the slim aviator in front of him, an aviator whose face was still pale from recent illness and whose left trouser leg flapped loosely against wood instead of bone and flesh. This lad supported himself with two canes, but one of these fell to the ground when he held out his hand to His Majesty.

Several officers started forward to recover the stick, but the King was first. He retrieved the stick quickly and with a gracious, “Permit me, mon Capitaine,” he handed it to Coppens. The crowd roared. A king had stooped to serve a humble subject—and a monarch had proved himself regal.

The Ships on The Cover
“Coppens, Belgium’s Greatest Ace”
Flying Aces, November 1932 by Paul J. Bissell

“Mannock, The Mad Major!” by Paul Bissell

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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 December 1932 cover Bissell put us right in the action as Major Edward Mannock gives his all

Mannock, the Mad Major!

th_FA_3212FROM the war have come many nicknames which have since been applied rather freely to others besides those who originally earned them. “Crashing Colonels,” “Red Barons,” etc., are now commonplace, and to definitely determine the originals of these titles is almost impossible. However, there is one man, who, if we judge by the consensus of opinion in those places where airmen gather, enjoys his soubriquet without argument or question.

He was a man who started the war as a prisoner of the enemy, was repatriated because of defective eyesight, and lived to prove his eyes the most deadly, searching, and accurate of those of all the airmen who flew for the British, while his irrepressible humor and daredevil recklessness earned for him the name of the “Mad Major.”

On May 7, 1917, the failure of Captain Ball to return from a patrol held the attention of the Allied world. On the same day, unnoticed, the reports show the destruction of an enemy balloon by a Lieutenant Edward Mannock of Squadron 40. No one cried, “The King is dead, long live the King!” Yet well they might have, for this was the first victory of “Micky” Mannock, the “Mad Major,” one of the mysteries of the World War.

Micky, who was to tear through the skies of France like a thunderbolt, leaving a trail of victories surpassing even Captain Ball’s. Micky, who was to become Britain’s ace of aces, with 73 planes to his official credit, and who was to die, known only to his comrades, unfeted and unsung, with only an M.C. as a decoration from his country.

To be sure, the D.S.O. was going through at the time, and posthumously two bars and the V.C. were finally awarded, but even to this day this great ace is little known to the public at large, and it is difficult to learn a great deal about him.

Mannock’s comrades knew that he had been imprisoned by the Turks at the beginning of the war. He had been repatriated, and enlisted at once with the British, serving first with the R.A.M.C., then with the engineers in France, and coming finally to Squadron 40 in April, 1917.

It was soon evident that he was a Hun-hater, one of the few among all the aces. He was not the sportsman type, to whom war was just a game with death as the stake. Nor was he the hunter type, seeking only the joy of the kill. To him the war was “open season” on Germans, and he was out to exterminate them as he would rats or other vermin. He asked no quarter nor gave any, and yet his irrepressible sense of humor and love of a joke was constantly bobbing up.

He it was who, after failing for several days to get the Germans to engage him in battle, dropped a pair of boots on their airdrome with the note attached, “If you won’t come up and fight, maybe you can use these on the ground.”

With his M.C. came his captaincy, and he was made squadron commander. He was older than most aces, being thirty at his death, and he was noted for the care he took of his “new” men. He watched over them carefully, and tried to arrange it so that they would get a victory the first time over. Failing this, he would take them out alone and, finding their victim, he would maneuver the German into a good position for the new pilot’s fire. Then, making sure by a few bursts from his own guns, he would return to the drome, where he would enthusiastically congratulate the fledgling on getting his first German. It is said, in fact, that more than one ace-to-be had his first victory handed him by Micky.

IT IS told, also—and this story is pictured on this month’s cover—that on one of these excursions he gave the mud-covered Tommies in the trenches the thrill of their lives. He and his fledgling had spotted their victim and after some maneuvering Micky had finally forced the German into a position for his youngster to make the kill.

At this instant from the clouds dropped a red Albatross—motors on, and its-tracers already reaching hungrily for the new pilot below. A yank of the stick and Micky had thrown himself square into the line of the Albatross’ fire to save his companion. Bullets crashed through his cockpit and seared holes in his wings, but the German’s dive had been headed off, and a moment later, coming out of a mad vrille, the little S.E.5’s nose was square on the red tail with the black cross.

The Vickers rattled, and the German sped on down to pile up in a trench, while Micky turned back to the battle above. The youngster had failed to get his opponent at the first burst, and the more experienced German by clever flying had gotten himself into a good position for attacking the kid pilots.

However, seeing Micky return to the fray, the German decided to run for it, and turned toward Germany, but little did he know his opponent. The Irishman seemed to go wild. He flung his little S.E.5 after the fleeing Boche and quickly overtook him. Then, to the astonishment of those who watched below, Micky held his fire. Steeply he dived in from the side, forcing the German to turn. But again the Vickers were silent. Apparently the German decided that Micky’s guns were jammed, for he made a desperate attempt to turn to the attack.

Immediately, however, the twin Vickers spoke, spitting hot lead, and forcing him to swing back around. Then to the watching Tommies the game became evident. Like a cat with a mouse the Irishman was playing with the German. Slowly he was forcing the Albatross down.

Lower and lower they came. They were scarcely 100 feet up, and below them was the wrecked remains of the first plane, when suddenly the twin Vickers began chattering. The desperate Jerry swung right and left, only to be met by the deadly hail of bullets from the S.E.’s gun. Then one last burst and those below saw the German jerk from his seat, clawing the air madly in his death agony as his plane crashed, its wings touching the wreckage of the first Albatross.

Two more for Micky! No wonder they called him the Mad Major! And so it went, until, on a similar expedition in July, a machine-gun bullet from the ground found him. At least that’s one version. A second story says that he crashed a German to save one of his fledglings. It was another mystery, but the fact remains that no more would his comrades see him tuck his violin under his chin, and while they sat enthralled, play, “Where My Caravan Has Rested.” For the Mad Major had led his last caravan home.

The Ships on The Cover
“Mannock, The Mad Major!”
Flying Aces, December 1932 by Paul J. Bissell

“Eclipse of the Hun” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on January 29, 2021 @ 6:00 am in

“HAW-W-W-W-W!” That sound can only mean one thing—that Bachelor of Artifice, Knight of Calamity and an alumnus of Doctor Merlin’s Camelot College for Conjurors is back to vex not only the Germans, but the Americans—the Ninth Pursuit Squadron in particular—as well. Yes it’s the marvel from Boonetown, Iowa himself—Lieutenant Phineas Pinkham!

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

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

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

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

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THIS week we present another of Paul Bissell’s covers for Flying Aces! Bissell is mainly known for doing the covers of Flying Aces from 1931 through 1934 when C.B. Mayshark took over duties. For the October 1932 cover Bissell put us right in the action as Rhys-Davids downs Werner Voss!

War’s Youngest Ace Downs Voss

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Fift—I mean eighteen, sir.”

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

“Righto, sir.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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THIS week we present another of Paul Bissell’s covers for Flying Aces! Bissell is mainly known for doing the covers of Flying Aces from 1931 through 1934 when C.B. Mayshark took over duties. For the September 1932 cover Bissell put us right in the action that lead to Major George Vaughn winning a D.S.C.!

Vaughn Wins the D.S.C.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Aces of Christmas 1931

Link - Posted by David on November 30, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

WHILE browsing through eBay a couple months ago, I came upon these two snapshots from a family’s Christmas in Memphis 1931. What caught my eye was the little boy all dressed up as a WWI ace with leather jacket, aviator’s cap with goggles, and some sort of tall leather boots(?)! It got me thinking about what stories that boy could have been reading that rather mild, snowless December in Memphis.

So this month we’ll be featuring stories published in the December 1931 issues of Aces, Sky Birds, War Aces and War Birds, by some of our favorite authors—Arch Whitehouse, O.B. Myers, Frederick C. Painton, Frederick C. Davis, Donald E. Keyhoe, and George Bruce—as well as a couple new or seldom seen authors to our site—Elliot W. Chess, Edgar L. Cooper, and Robert Sidney Bowen.

Looking at that impressive list, you may be wondering where a few of our most often posted authors are. Authors like Ralph Oppenheim, Harold F. Cruickshank, Lester Dent and Joe Archibald. That’s a bit of good news/bad news. The good news, we’ve already posted the stories Ralph Oppenheim (“Lazy Wings”) and Lester Dent (“Bat Trap”) had in the December 1931 War Aces; the bad, I don’t have the December 1931 issues of Wings featuring George Bruce, F.E. Rechnitzer and Edwin C. Parsons or Flying Aces with Keyhoe, Archibald, George Fielding Eliot, Alexis Rossoff, and William E. Poindexter. And as for Cruickshank—he didn’t have a story in any of the air pulps that month.

With that in mind—and since it’s Monday, let’s get the ball rolling with the covers of Christmas 1931!


ACES by Redolph Belarski


BATTLE ACES by Frederick Blakeslee


FLYING ACES by Paul J. Bissell


SKY BIRDS by Colcord Heurlin


WAR ACES by Eugene Frandzen


WAR BIRDS by Redolph Belarski


WINGS by Redolph Belarski

Come back on Wednesdays and Fridays this month for some of the great fiction from these issues!

“Cat’s Spad-Jamas!” by Joe Archibald

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“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!

All the Allied Brass Hats were frantic. For Hauptmann von Heinz—the “Owl of the Ozone”—was raising fifty-seven varieties of Cain along the Western Front, and something had to be done before he perpetrated the fifty-eighth. Yes, it was a job for the famed Pinkham. But when the Boonetown Bam tried to snare the Kraut killer into a dog fight, somebody let the cat out of the bag. And from then on it was cats-as-cats-can!

 

As a bonus, here’s a great article on author/artist Joe Archibald from April 24th 1927 edition of the The Brooklyn Citizen!

 

Joe Archibald Sees, Comes and Conquers,
Ascending Ladder of Fame as an Artist

by Murray Rosenberg • The Brooklyn Citizen, Brooklyn, NY • 24 April 1927


To show he’s a good sport and a cartoonist Joe Archibald drew this picture of himself—without the use of a mirror. He knows himself too well for that.

Red fire of determination in his eyes, grit in his heart and with very little money in his pockets, young Joe Archibald, cartooning pride of a rural, somewhat obscure town in the New Hampshire hills, fared the whole wide-cold-and seemingly unfeeling world, fully determined to set that chily sphere on fire.

His pen, grit and perseverance were his only weapons but artist Joe was young and he felt that they were match enough for any universe.

It took him four years to get a drawing in print.

Year after year of earnest endeavor in contributing to all types of publications failed utterly. Joe began to suspect that he was the only person who knew he was good.

The art editors, cold bloodily refused him interviews, the papers went to press just as well without his work, the magazines returned his efforts without comment, without the checks he so fondly hoped to find. But Joe gamely contained his persevering struggle for recognition, and then the events of a single day wiped out all the heartaches and bitterness of four long years. One of his cartoons was in print.

It was the “Judge” magazine that suffered. It might be reportod here that Joe, claims the distinction of having more rejection slips than any other cartoonist—sufficient to paper the entire ceiling of the museum of Natural History. But his motto is “keep feeding them pictures until they accept one in self-dense.”

The King of Sports

To-day Joe Archibald, who a decade and some odd years ago was a happy go-lucky country schoolboy, obscured from fame in a hinky-dinky rural village in New England, is recognized as a cartoonist de luxe and a national medium in the sports realm, for, as you probably know, Joe makes it his specialty to draw sport cartoons. Yes, he now sits up on the throne of success to look upon the public with a contented smile, for, like every scout, he does his daily good turn by brightening up sport pages with his peppy drawings and offering the fans intimate glimpses into the lives and records of their favorite athletes.

Following the first purchase of his sketch, the rocky road to success grew a bit smoother and life took on a brighter aspect. Other periodicals accepted his contributions and then he sent a cartoon of a prominent sport event of the day to a daily paper. To his surprise and joy the drawing was accepted and published, and thus Joe embarked on the trail that has finally led him to national fame as a sports cartoonist.

From the position of irregular sports department artist on a junk-town paper Joe emigrated to the big city and began again the routine of presenting his drawings to editors, “big-time” men this time. They were accepted from time to time and soon his work attracted the attention of William J. Granger, sports editor of “The Brooklyn Citizen.” He quickly came to the conclusion that young Joe would be a worthy addition to the cartooning staff of the “Citizen,” following which the machinery began functioning to secure his services. Joe finally consented to pen his “John Hancock” to a contract; and now cartoonist Joe, who through his own relentless efforts and unswerving and set ideals has surmounted the steps to success, provides the many thousands of “Citizen” readers each day with vivid picture descriptions of the latest doings in sports.

Backward, Time in Thy Flight!

Let us look back a bit upon some of the past history of Joe Archibald at the time he began his career—a career fraught with thrills and excitement. He first awakened to the content of his latent talent when be completed a picture with chalk on the blackboard of the little red schoolhouse in New Hampshire. It was a drawing of Lincoln and a startling likeness. It was exhibited in the town and made him famous in the “400.” That was the population of the hamlet.

Then came the ascension of the second rung of the ladder to fame when one of his drawings was selected as the best among many competitors by the famous Homer Davenport. This consequently brought him much fame as a cartoonist in the neighboring counties. When 17 years of age he left the Academy of Arts in Chicago to enlist in the navy. While at Newport, R.I., he joined the staff of the “Newport Recruit,” a famous war time publication and it was here that he labored until the kaiser cried “quits.” Then he landed in New York.

There are few sports cartoonists today better equipped to portray athletic events in cartoons than Joe Archibald, who far back as he can recall has been a keen observer and close follower of every phase of sports. His activities as a sports scribe and artist bring him into close touch with some of the brightest luminaries in athletic competition and it usually is Joe Archibald who much wanted interview. This together with the draftsmanship that seems to make his characters actually “live” on the sport pages, have all served to make his reputation an envied on envied among the brotherhood of cartoonists. joe’s cartoons and articles have been syndicated in close to 100 cities from coast to coast. He was at various times affiliated with the Portland, Me., Press Herald, Boston Advertiser and Telegram.

An Artist Athlete

To cap all that has been said, Joe is himself a finished athlete which accounts partly for his deep and sincere interest in each and every one of his cartoons, in an effort to bring it up to the acme of perfection both in the way of reality and mechanical exactness. And together with aforementioned sufficient humor is injected into his drawings to give the reader a reaL moment of enjoyment.

Cartoonist Joe made a serious study of every star whose name is a byword among sport fans and in the vernacular of the modern slangsters. “He knows his onions.” His lot was success for he saw—he came—he conquered.

“Flight Team Flight!” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on October 30, 2020 @ 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!

Life on the drome of the Ninth Pursuit Squadron savored of raccoon coats, chrysanthemums, and ticket scalpers. The pigskin fever had hit the squadron and football was the ruling passion when the Spads were not upstairs. Twelve miles away, a limey squadron, irked by certain remarks from an ex-footballer from Boonetown, Iowa, to the effect that the British rugby was a sissy’s pastime, had challenged the Ninth to a game, American style. For three weeks the Limey pilots had been practicing under the tutelage of a Yankee top-kick who claimed he had once scored a touchdown for Weakfish Normal against Purdue. From the pages of the January 1938 issue of Flying Aces, Phineas lets go with a pass, a punt and a prank as the Ninth must “Flight Team Flight!” by Joe Archibald.

“Crashity—spiff! Crashity—spiff! Kill the bums who eat roas’ biff!” So sang Sergeant Casey’s grease monkey cheering section on that sunny day when Major Garrity led his hardy Ninth Pursuit eleven against Captain Hardleigh-Bryte and his lambasting Limeys. But meanwhile the Vons had put over a spinner that reversed the field so you could see into the basements of laundries in China. And if it hadn’t been for Pinkham’s timely lateral, the Allies might have ended up horizontal.

“Baracca Leads Raid on Austrians” by Paul Bissell

Link - Posted by David on October 26, 2020 @ 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 August 1932 cover Bissell put us right in the cockpit with Baracca as his squadron bombs the Austrian Naval at Pola!

Baracca Leads Raid on Austrians

th_FA_3208“ALL ships are on the line, sir. Bombs are in racks, and they are ready to take off.” The general’s aide saluted smartly, and the general turned ^o a major at his side, who wore his boots like a cavalryman, but whose silver wings showed him to be an aviator.

“You know your orders, major. You will lead the squadron and be guided across by the boats. The planes will follow you at four-minute intervals. When you have found your objective, you will drop your bombs. Captain Barrechi will release his parachute light on the target you designate. After dropping their explosives, all ships will return directly to this airdrome. That is all.”

And instead of the usual salute he held out his hand, which was eagerly grasped by the major.

The field was an Italian airdrome on the west coast of the Adriatic. The major, unlike most aviators of the war, was not a young man. He had entered the Italian army almost fifteen years before, serving in the cavalry, and rising to the rank of captain. In the first days after Italy had cast her fate with that of the Allies and it became necessary to build up an Italian air force, he had, in spite of his “advanced age,” obtained a transfer to this branch of the service, and had quickly become an ace.

Now he was Major Baracca, the Italian ace of aces. All up and down. the entire front he was known not only as a great pilot, but as one of the great air fighters of the world. With a more matured mind than the younger men, he, though ever searching and participating in personal battles with the enemy, was constantly planning and scheming larger offensive movements—movements using whole groups and squadrons, and inflicting severe damage along the Austrian front. More than seventy successful bombing raids were under his personal leadership. More than a thousand times he crossed the enemy line, seeking battle. In thirty-six of these individual combats he had come away victorious, before finally, on June 21, 1918, fighting against tremendous odds, the bullet bearing his name found its mark, and he fell from the skies, a flaming sacrifice to war.

Tonight, in the late summer of 1917, he was leading one of the largest and most daring of his raids. Over to the east the Austrians, in their naval base at Pola, felt themselves safe from attack in the knowledge that the broad Adriatic lay between them and their Italian foes.

At nine-thirty sharp, the first huge ship took the air. One thousand pounds of high explosives were fastened beneath its wings. Below, stretched out across the Adriatic, was a fleet of power boats, speeding across the dark waters, a hooded light shining from each stern to guide the big planes to their destination. Four minutes later, with huge engines roaring, the second plane took off, and so on at four-minute intervals until the entire force was in the air. Twenty planes were in the first squadron, and twenty-six in the second. Long before the last ship had left the field, the first ship had already dropped its missiles and was on its way back home.

The night was deathly still. Not even a light breeze fanned the smooth surface of the sea below. From three thousand feet up Major Baracca could see the tiny light guiding him—a light which he soon overtook, only to pick up another immediately a few miles farther along and speeding in the same direction. And so he passed from one to another of these moving beacons, until he made out the lights of a city on the dim horizon.

Now the tiny light he had been following flashed brightly twice, then swung out in a wide circle and vanished. It was the signal. In front and below him lay the naval base and arsenal of Pola. The moment had arrived. Carefully he made his calculations and peered searchingly into the darkness below. His must be a direct hit. The naval base itself must be spotted, so that Captain Barrechi might drop his parachute flare directly over their objective.

He signaled to his pilot, who nosed the big plane over into an easy glide, motors throttled down and wires singing. He had made almost a complete circle over the town when his eyes picked up the marks he was looking for. A quick order to the pilot, and the plane flattened out, gliding squarely over the target. The bomber leaned tensely over the side, his arm raised, his eyes carefully lining through the sights on the lights below. A quick signal, a click of levers, a slight waver, and two dark masses detached themselves from below the wings and hurtled downward.

One tense instant, and then, far below, two blinding flashes followed by the sharp, terrific intonation of high explosives. Immediately the night was stabbed by beams of light. Major Baracca gazed, eagerly over the sides to mark his hit. The blinding light of one of the beams caught his ship full in its glare, and shells began to burst around him. But below a sudden burst of flame, as a small store of munitions went off, showed that his bombs had landed in the arsenal area.

THE archies were now bombing him heavily. Machine guns spattered, and flaming onions swept through the night. His motors roared as the pilot gave her the gun, and with a wild feeling of exultation Baracca signaled to swing in a wide circle so as to give Barrechi a chance to drop his light, and give himself the benefit of this light, in dropping his other bombs.

As Barrechi glided down and dropped his flare, there was a sharp explosion, followed by a bright downward rush as of a falling meteor. Then a sharp snap as the parachute opened, and the light floated easily in space, swaying gently and lighting up the scene below. With no breeze, the light hung in the air as if anchored.

This came as a complete surprise to the Austrians, and for some minutes there was panic. Men could be seen dashing madly around; the guns actually ceased firing, and even the searchlights snapped off as if trying to hide from the merciless glare above.

Quickly Baracca saw his advantage, and undisturbed by fire from below, he calmly glided his plane lower and directly over a spot marked with a red X on the map held on his knees. Leisurely and with deadly certainty the bomber sighted; his arm flashed downward, and the levers clicked. Tensely they waited, leaning over the side to watch the two bombs drop straight down, their white fins clearly seen in the brilliant light.

For a split second they seemed to disappear as they landed. Then there was a terrific upheaval. A whole section of the surface below seemed to lift itself up in an attempt to reach the plane above—then, giving up its vain effort, to split into a thousand weird shapes and tongues of flame. Explosion after explosion followed, as one building set off another. Again Baracca’s lever worked, and the giant plane dealt another hand of death from the sky.

Now Barrechi was also releasing his bombs. And plane number three was just entering the circle of light. The archies had commenced their fire again, but their aim was wild, for terror had struck the hearts of the Austrians.

For five hours this bombardment continued. One after another the big Capronis, heedless of the shell-fire from below, coolly dropped their eggs. Forty-six ships came over, carrying death and destruction to the Austrians, and forty-six ships returned safely to Italy, with their bomb-racks empty.

The Ships on The Cover
“Baracca Leads Raid on Austrians”
Flying Aces, August 1932 by Paul J. Bissell

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