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

Link - Posted by David on September 30, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

Eugene M. Frandzen painted the covers of Sky Fighters from its first issue in 1932 until he moved on from the pulps in 1939. At this point in the run, the covers were about the planes featured on the cover more than the story depicted. On the October 1936 cover, It’s the Morane-Saulnier 27C1 & Roland D2!

The Ships on the Cover

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

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

The Roland Seemed Impractical

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

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

Saving a Buddy

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

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

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

“Sky Fighters, March 1934″ by Eugene M. Frandzen

Link - Posted by David on January 25, 2016 @ 6:00 am in

Eugene M. Frandzen painted the covers of Sky Fighters from its first issue in 1932 until he moved on from the pulps in 1939. At this point in the run, the covers were about the planes featured on the cover more than the story depicted. On the March 1934 cover, Frandzen featured the Morane-Saulnier Parasol (type P)!

THE PLANES on this th_SF_3403month’s cover are all manufactured by the same firm. The leading plane, the red two-seater, is a Morane-Saulnier Parasol (type P). The two smaller planes are single-seater Morane-Saulnier (type 27 C1), fighting scouts of the French air force which did fine service at the front during 1916.

The two-seater was used extensively during the same period by the French and the British for general reconnaissance and for artillery spotting. The Morane-Saulnier firm also turned out a twin engined job which saw plenty of active service.

On a Prowl of Their Own

Artillery spotting was really spotting the bursts of our own artillery and by radio adjusting the fire for the batteries. But in the picture on the cover the Moranes have finished their job of adjusting fire and gone on a prowl of their own. Instead of turning back toward their own lines and safety they have gone deeper into enemy territory and have done some artillery spotting which is not in the instruction books for what the well-trained observer shall spot.

For days the Allies have been harassed by a mobile battery of German guns which has changed its position so quickly after laying down a blanket of shells on some strategic point that the Allied counter batteries have been unable to blast them out.

One of the scouts in the background had seen a battery digging in when on his dawn patrol and mentioned it to the pilot of the two-seater Morane and to his pardner in the other single-seater Morane. A few extra belts of ammo were pitched into the pockets in the cockpits and after the thankless little job of ranging the artillerymen’s guns has been accomplished they streak along on business of their own.

And from the action depicted on the cover it looks as though they arc causing plenty of trouble to the Boche servicing those fast firing field guns. But they are not getting away with their surprise attack without some reply from the men on the ground.

That Maxim machine-gun in the foreground is trained in a pretty dangerous way on our friends in the first plane, trained so it is raking the whole ship; but those hands clutching the gun handles won’t function for more than a split second if that second Morane, the little red scout with the purple wing, continues to hold its bead on that ground machine-gunner.

Two Planes Roar In

Suddenly the alert observer in the front ship swings his Lewis gun away from the battery on the ground. Two enemy planes arc roaring in from the side with gun3 blazing. The more or less one-sided scrap will turn into a free for all in about two flips of an aileron.

And just to make it all the more interesting for the raiding Allied aviators, one of the cannons sprays fire from its recoiling muzzle and hurtles a twisting shell fall of high explosive at the leading two-seater. The explosion rocks the ship and pitches its nose toward the ground. It is yanked back into level flight in the nick o£ time and the three Moranes go roaring toward home. The two-seater brings up the rear and the observer has plenty of work for his Lewis gun. The German planes pursue, but are just a shade slower than the Allied ones.

Score for the Allied pilots: one disabled German battery put out of commission long enough for the radio-equipped Morane to transmit the map coordinates to his artillery buddies. Ten minutes later there is no German battery; it has been knocked to pieces by concentrated demolition fire by a brigade of Allied heavy guns.

The Ships on The Cover
Sky Fighters, March 1934 by Eugene M. Frandzen
(The Ships on The Cover Page)

Next time, Mr. Frandzen features the Nieuport 17 and giant Gotha bomber!