On the morning of May 18, 1916, a German LVG appeared in the sky over Thann in the Vosges region, near the ancient French city of Nancy. The LVG was a well-armed, two-seat observation airplane and the Vosges a quiet sector of the Western Front, in stark contrast to the merciless slaughter taking place to the north at Verdun. Normally the two airmen could expect to do theirOn the morning of May 18, 1916, a German LVG appeared in the sky over Thann in the Vosges region, near the ancient French city of Nancy. The LVG was a well-armed, two-seat observation airplane and the Vosges a quiet sector of the Western Front, in stark contrast to the merciless slaughter taking place to the north at Verdun. Normally the two airmen could expect to do their reconnaissance with little interruption, but on this day they had left luck behind. A speck appeared in the sky to the west and rapidly grew into an enemy pursuit aircraft, an avion de chasse, an agile, single-seat Nieuport. The Germans, busy at their trade, failed to see the enemy draw near. A veteran hunter or more cautious pilot might have seized the opportunity to surprise the LVG and launch an attack out of the sun or from behind a cloud, but this one approached directly, without guile. Suddenly aware of the danger, the observer seized his machine gun and began firing while the pilot turned the airplane toward the safety of the German lines. The chasse pilot closed to point blank range and, just as a collision appeared imminent, fired a quick burst, then swerved away. The encounter was over that quickly. Both the observer and pilot collapsed; the LVG rolled and plunged to earth; the Nieuport banked away leaving a plume of smoke to mark the scene of combat. French troops witnessed the brief fight and by the time the Nieuport reached its field at Luxeuil-les-Bains had confirmed the kill. It was an auspicious event. Everything about the victorious aircraft said “France” except the pilot’s name. Kiffin Yates Rockwell was an American citizen assigned to Escadrille N 124, known unofficially as 'l’Escadrille Americaine', and his victory was the unit’s first. It was quick and impressive by contemporary standards of air combat. Rockwell had engaged at incredibly close range, almost sticking his gun into the enemy cockpit, but his daring attack allowed the LVG’s observer to put a hole in the Nieuport’s top wing main spar. Rockwell, in turn, killed the two men with only four bullets, a marvelous feat of marksmanship. Cheering comrades lifted him from the cockpit and began a wild celebration. Atradition began with N 124’s first victory. Rockwell’s brother Paul, serving elsewhere in the French Army, provided a bottle of eighty-year-old bourbon. Kiffen Rockwell took the first drink, but the Escadrille set aside the rest. From then on, credit for downing an enemy aircraft earned the victorious pilot a shot from “The Bottle of Death.”...
|Title||:||Like a Thunderbolt: The Lafayette Escadrilleand the Advent of American Pursuit in World War I|
|Number of Pages||:||67 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Like a Thunderbolt: The Lafayette Escadrilleand the Advent of American Pursuit in World War I Reviews
On the whole, a slim volume offering a history of the development of American fighter aviation (starting from the establishment of the 'Lafayette Escadrille' in 1916 under French command) during the First World War.