Looking to buy? See our books on amazon.com Get Reading Now! Age of Aces Presents - free pulp PDFs

“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!