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“Flaming Cockpits” by Ralph Oppenheim

Link - Posted by David on March 12, 2021 @ 6:00 am in

“LET’S GO!” Once more, The Three Mosquitoes familiar battle cry rings out over the western front and the three khaki Spads take to the air, each sporting the famous Mosquito insignia. In the cockpits sat three warriors who were known wherever men flew as the greatest and most hell raising trio of aces ever to blaze their way through overwhelming odds—always in front was Kirby, their impetuous young leader. Flanking him on either side were the mild-eyed and corpulent Shorty Carn, and lanky Travis, the eldest and wisest Mosquito.

We’re back with the second of three exciting tales of Ralph Oppenheim’s Three Mosquitoes we’re featuring this March for Mosquito Month! This week, The Three Mosquitoes past comes back to haunt them when the brother of the Black Devil, whom they dispatched in last week’s story, sends a challenge to Kirby in hopes of avenging his death!

Dear Captain Kirby:
    One month ago you shot to death a German flyer known as the “Black Devil.” You killed him in fair, clean combat, and he died a worthy death. But I am his brother, and in accordance with a family code dating back to feudal times, it is my duty and desire to avenge his death.
    I am going to shoot you down in flames just as you shot down my brother.
    I have transferred from two-seaters to fighting single- seaters since my brother’s death, and am considered an ace—so we will be fairly matched. I cannot disclose my identity for fear this letter will fall into the wrong hands, and a trap will be set for me. I know, however, that if it falls in your hands you will act like a true sportsman. Therefore, if you will fly over Rois Forest, within your own lines, at five o’clock this afternoon—alone—I shall be waiting in the clouds. If I see that it is you, I will come out. Otherwise, I shall bide my time until we meet elsewhere—which, pray God, will be soon, before either of us gets killed.
    You will know my plane, a Fokker, by the skull painted on its fuselage—similar to my brother’s insignia.
                                        The Black Devil’s Brother.

From the November 11th, 1927 issue of War Stories—It’s The Three Mosquitoes in “Flaming Cockpits!”

The Black Devil’s brother was seeking revenge. He was after Kirby, the famous leader of the “Three Mosquitoes,” and for the first time in his great career, though he fought on frantically, Kirby was losing his nerve. Oppenheim at his best in a splendid, breath-taking flying story.

And check back next Friday when the inseparable trio will be back with another exciting adventure!