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Life on the Western Front in the Imperial German Flying Corps - A Career in Rise Of Flight

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Using my nom de guerre of Lothar Kramer, the only child of a civil servant in the colonial administration posted to Samoa, I grew up tough, playing in the plantations with the local Samoan children.  In 1914, in a final effort to civilise me, my father sent me back to Germany to study engineering at university.  However, whilst on the steamer back to Hamburg, the announcement of hostilities and an on board friendship struck up with an expatriate German officer, quickly changed my plans.  Immediately upon arrival in Hamburg, I enlisted in the Imperial German Army.  Posted as a machine gunner, I arrived on the Western Front in 1915 with my Regiment, as reinforcements in the second Battle of Ypres, and thus began a series of unfortunate events which would ultimately see me become a pilot.


So it came to be, that on September 1, 1916, at the age of 25, and now as an Unteroffizier in the glorious Imperial German Flying Corps, I reported for duty at the newly raised Jasta 2, stationed at Velu Woods, near Cambrai in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region on the Western Front, under the command of Hauptmann Oswald Boelcke.  With a mere one day to acquaint myself with my unit and new home, flying duties started in earnest on September 2.


Jasta 2 was equipped with Fokker E.IIIs, 'Eindeckers', and my first taste of combat was a balloon attack mission.  Now this may have sounded like a sedate, romp in the park, but far from it, as we were bounced by three Nieuport 17.C1s from Esc. N 3 near the objective.  The French fliers were no match for German superiority, however, and the Nieuports were quickly dispatched with ruthless, German efficiency, with me gaining my first kill, sending Caporal Matthieu Ganeval to a flaming death.  Adding the destruction of an enemy observation balloon to my score instilled further confidence and resulted in the awarding of the Iron Cross 2nd Class.  All in all, I would say a good start to my flying career in my first combat mission.



En Route on the First Mission



Turning to the Mission Objective



Closing in for the Kill



The Nieuport's Final Moments


Over the next few days, I flew a range of missions, adding an F.E.2b from No. 25 Sqn and another enemy observation balloon to my score.  With my personal successes mounting and now leading the Jasta tally board, on September 7 I was assigned to an early morning Alert Patrol mission in a schwarm of four E.IIIs.  Another F.E.2b from No. 25 Sqn tasted the fire of my Spandau, and so did another enemy observation balloon, as my kill count continued to mount.  Peppered with flak fire from the site of the enemy observation balloon, I took a close flak burst, with shrapnel hitting me and my aircraft's fuel tank.  Wounded, but still conscious, I made directly for my home airfield.  My leaking fuel tank got me safely across No Man's Land and with about 15 miles to go, the engine gave a final splutter before dying due to fuel starvation.  Altitude was my saviour and I was able to glide and land in a field about 2 miles short of home.  For my efforts, I was awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class and four days in hospital whilst I recovered from my wounds.


To Be Continued.....

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I say what! Bally Jerry walking into France like that! No no, can't have that at all, don't you know! What what?


'Makes my blood boil just contemplating it. Damn cheek if you ask me, gallivanting around in other peoples countries with out a by-your-leave. It just isn't done, it's not cricket, don't you see? 


Something will have to be done. No doubt about it. I expect questions will be raised in the House, the common man will be baying for German blood, it's an affront to the King no less!


Well it's no good sitting around watching this outrage, got to something about it, before Johnny foreigner gets too big for his boots, if he ain't  done so already. I am off the join the RFC and a white feather to you if your haven't got the stomach for it!


Yours etc etc,


Rt Hon Lord Sebastian Clement Rufus Leeking-Hedgehog STI KFC (and bar)

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What a poof! All right men, let's do-oo-oo it! The first thing to remember is: always treat your kite like you treat your woman!

Lieutenant George: How, how do you mean, Sir? Do you mean, do you mean take her home at weekends to meet your mother?

No, I mean get inside her five times a day and take her to heaven and back!

Lieutenant George: Crikey, sir. I'm looking forward to today. Up diddly up, down diddly down, whoops, poop, twiddly dee - decent scrap with the fiendish Red Baron - bit of a jolly old crash landing behind enemy lines - capture, torture, escape, and then back home in time for tea and medals. Hurrah!

If only we could get the multiplayer working I would be over there to sort you out!




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Well written sir and a great start to your story. :thum:

Sweet looking aircraft but if you could only read the future you would be changing sides. :D

I've always wondered if history could be re-written, Brett. Though I don't think my single efforts will be enough. Time will tell.

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Hurrah for you!

Just you wait until us British pilots get in the air with you.

You'll be running for the nearest field instead of trying to get home.

That is, when I can actually get off the ground before being hit.

Great start to your WWI career mate.

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I purchased this in 2012 but didn't use it much. My nom de guerre is Gussie Fink-Nottle (unashamedly lifted from the Jeeves books)


My specialist move is to forget I am not in a fast jet, pull a hard starboard turn, rip the wings off and spin into the ground.  I do it rather well.

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Nice..  :thum:


I personnally have careers running with the same unit through the war ( starting Jan 1916 ) replacing any fallen pilot by a new one. I'm using the great Pat Wilson Campaign Generator so playing offline.


I am around Sept. 1916 at the moment, flying Halberstadt DII for Jasta 4 from Roupy (German), Airco DH2 for RFC 29  from Abeele - Channel map -  (British) and Nieuport 17 for Esc 103 from Cachy (France).

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....... I am around Sept. 1916 at the moment, flying Halberstadt DII for Jasta 4 from Roupy (German), Airco DH2 for RFC 29  from Abeele - Channel map -  (British) and Nieuport 17 for Esc 103 from Cachy (France).


Great Scot!! The mans a triple agent!!  Have him shot, twice!

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Cum'on you bloody fritzee Hun, I may only be 17, but I am off to join the RFC and gunning for ya matey.  It'l be eyz in the skyz for you soon me cobber, this London lad iz cumin..  :pilotic:

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The perilous dangers of being a fighter pilot in the air war on the Western Front were none too obvious after my last mission, earning me some time in hospital whilst I recovered from the shrapnel wounds of a flak burst.  Luckily, my wounds were relatively superficial and I was passed fit for flying duties and returned to my unit after a few days.  As it transpired, the weather had closed in on the latter days of my stay in the pleasant company of the 'junge Frau' nurses, which meant the Jasta had been grounded and I didn't miss out on too much flying action.


Now back with my Jasta, the weather was still 'beschissen'.  Finally, it broke the following day and I was again feeling at home behind the controls of my Fokker E.III on a protection patrol mission escorting two Roland C.IIas.  Another protection patrol mission followed on the next day and, although I added another F.E.2b to my tally, we lost two young Unteroffiziers from our flight of five aircraft, Jasta 2's most costly day yet, and a stark reminder of the imperative of adhering to Boelcke's Dicta.


September 16 was a significant day as Jasta 2 took delivery of 14 new aircraft, Albatros D.IIs.  They were a mix of seven early models with the 'ear' radiators and seven late models with the radiator mounted in the centre section of the upper wing.  It was also a momentous day personally, as I was promoted to Vizefeldwebel.



New Albatros D.II (early model)



New Albatros D.II (late model)


The new D.IIs were quickly pressed into service with the day's missions.  A late afternoon offensive patrol resulted in the most successful mission yet for the Jasta, in terms of aerial kills, as my flight of five D.IIs scored three kills, two RFC Nieuport 17.C1s, with another F.E.2b added to my personal tally.



First Mission in the Albatros D.II



The Flight Approaching the Patrol Area


The following day, whilst on a balloon attack mission, the German superiority of the skies over France continued.  Approaching the mission objective, we encountered a flight of two French SPAD 7.C1s.  No match for the nimbleness of my Albatros, Caporal Frances-Xavier Roux from Esc. N 3 met a fiery death in the skies above his homeland.



Lining Up for the First Pass



Now He's Smoking



Closing in for the Kill



An Inglorious Fiery Death


September 19 was a busy day as I was rostered for two missions, the latter in which I added another F.E.2b and enemy observation balloon to my mounting tally, but took another shrapnel hit from a close flak burst.



Wounded and Barely Conscious


Crash landing in No Man's Land, and close to enemy lines, I evaded capture and made my way back to the German trenches where I entertained the soldiers by regaling stories of the daring exploits of Jasta 2 until being taken to the the field hospital and spending the next four days in the company of the nurses again...I could really get too used to this.  When I rejoined the unit, Jasta 2 had relocated to Lagnicourt, a few miles north of Velu Woods and there was a three day reprieve from flying.


With flying duties resuming on September 27, I was allocated to my first lone, reconnaissance patrol mission, an early morning patrol, and a balloon attack mission in the late afternoon, and another two more enemy observation balloons were added to my now ever increasing tally of kills.  Another balloon attack mission on September 28, and I sent the crew of another two F.E.2bs to meet their maker and added another two enemy observation balloons to my tally the next day.  On September 30 I completed my first month with Jasta 2, and my most successful day yet, with three personal kills in a single mission, two F.E.2bs of Captain Owen Marshall and Lieutenant Sebastian Watts, and an enemy observation balloon.



A Sitting (and standing) Duck



Following Him In



Burst Into Flames


From 16 sorties flown, I have amassed 11 aircraft kills from Jasta 2's tally of 27 and 13 enemy observation balloon kills for the Jasta tally of 17.  At this rate, the 'Frogs' will capitulate and the pompous English buffoons will be sent packing back across the Channel before Christmas, but not before I send many more of them to become nothing more than a smoking skid mark on the French landscape.


Tod den Englisch!


To Be Continued.....

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Nice story ! :thum:   I see you have taken an Aldis sight from a downed allied plane...  never noticed it was not mounted on the same side for the the two D IIs because of the radiator pipe on the late one. I prefer the iron sight ... 


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Nice story ! :thum:   I see you have taken an Aldis sight from a downed allied plane...  never noticed it was not mounted on the same side for the the two D IIs because of the radiator pipe on the late one. I prefer the iron sight ... 




Thank you, and yes, the Aldis collimator sight is a 'personal trophy' and reminder of my victories.


I'm still getting used to the Aldis sight and will sometimes fly with iron sights.




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That looks so fun Andrew. Very fun read, with great illustrations...the models look great in that Sim.



"At this rate, the 'Frogs' will capitulate and the pompous English buffoons will be sent packing back across the Channel before Christmas,..."


My magic 8 ball says "Outcome uncertain". Hang in there...

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This is my german Jasta 4 ride at the moment ( Halberstadt DII ) I'm still in July and the Albatros only arrive in September... It's nice to fly, lighter than the Albatros, but has only one Spandau.



Well caught. :thum:




Very nice.  I have all the aircraft and respective aircraft modifications packs from the RoF store and am only just getting back into it after a long absence.


As might be evident from some of my other posts on the Hangar, and certainly the reviews I write, I deal in facts and detail.  Consequently, my careers in RoF follow a similar, factual based, historical timeline, as so far as RoF allows.  You would be aware that with the default game, in Career Mode, a career can start no earlier than September 1, 1916.  From the German perspective, this coincides with the historical raising of the first Jagdstaffels (Jastas) in the Imperial German Flying Corps in August 1916.  The earlier period of Feldflieger Abteilung (FFA), Field Flier Detachments, in 1914-15, and the Kampfeinsitzerkommandos (KEKs), Combat Single Seater Commands, the predecessors to Jasta units, which existed from February 1916 until the raising of the Jastas, isn't represented in Career Mode.


You mentioned earlier that you are using the third party add-on, Pat Wilson's Campaign Generator, which I'm not.  I believe this allows far more flexibility in Campaign Mode with respect to the time period and aircraft choice, but am not sure how far this extends to the Career Mode, if at all.


Anyway, in choosing Jasta 2 as the unit for my current career, I was looking for a unit which covered the full period of the Career Mode, September 1, 1916 until the Armistice.  It was also one of, if not the first Jasta raised.  Jasta 2 was certainly equipped with the Fokker E.III 'Eindecker' on September 1 1915, but some of my historical research suggests the Jasta also had an Albatros D.I on strength.  Based on this research, there is definitely some natural latitude applied in RoF as to the exact historical accuracy in Career Mode.  Again, according to my research, there is evidence to suggest that the 14 Albatros D.IIs which came on strength on September 16 in my story, were, in fact historically, five Albatros D.Is and a single late model Albatros D.II for the Staffelfuhrer.


Well, in this case, I'm not one to let the facts get in the way of the story, so it's back to it and the flying.

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