Bloody April by Peter Hart (A Cassell Military Paperback) seems to be a bloody good read, I,myself only 1/2 way through and quite enjoying it.И
I'll check it out, thank you
I have read three books by Peter Hart, they are all excellent:
Somme Success: The Royal Flying Corps and the Battle of The Somme 1916
Thank you. Amazon has them for Kindle it seems. I guess I give it a shot! Currently I'm reading through "Flying Corps Headquarters 1914-1918", by Maurice Baring. Although probably it will not appeal to everybody, it is kind of special. That guy is an incredibly literate guy, rich family, devoid of any ambition. And as such he functions as personal aide to Trenchard, so he gets to see the entire command, airfields and the front. How the likes of Lord Grantham (Downton Abbey, anyone?
) would write about their findings is slightly unique. To be on topic for this thread, he comments event like death of aces or other achievements. It is (to be on topic in this thread) impressive to see how different individual firsthand accounts of a given event can be.
As an example of a well-known event (well known in this forum I suppose) is his account of the death of Voss according to the interviews he led:
September 2Oth, 1917. News of more fighting. September 24th, 1917. Voss, the star German pilot, has been brought down. When we heard the news at luncheon the General sent me to No. 56 Squadron, where the pilots had brought him down, to get details. This was Rhys-Davids' account of the fight as he told it me himself:
"I saw three Huns attacking one S.E.; one triplane, light grey and brown, with slight extensions, one red-nosed V-Strutter, one green-nosed Scout. I never saw the green Scout again after the first dive. I then saw four S.E's. fighting the triplane and the red-nosed V.-Strutter. The triplane's top-plane was larger than the middle-plane. The engine was not a Mercedes, but I thought it was stationary. I wasn't sure. It had four guns. I thought the pilot was wearing a black leather flying-cap. Fired six or seven times and then went off to change my drum. The Hun either had armoured plates or else he was very lucky.
"Last dive but one. I went for him. He came from the East. Not quite straight behind, fired from a hundred yards to 70 and emptied a whole drum. The triplane only turned when 20 yards away. I turned to the right, so did he. Thought situation impossible, and that there would be a collision. I turned left and avoided him. I next saw the triplane at 1,500 feet below gliding West. Dived again, opened fire at about 100. Got one shot out of the Vickers (My Lewis drum was empty) without taking sights off. Reloaded my Vickers. Fired another twenty or thirty rounds. He overshot and zoomed away. Changed drum, then made for the red-nosed V-Strutter and started firing at about 100 yards. The V-Strutter was flying at an angle of about 45 degrees across the front, and I came at him slightly above. We both fired at each other. He stopped firing. I dived underneath him and zoomed up the other side. I saw the V-Strutter about 600 feet below spiralling North-West. I then lost sight of him and kept a good look-out low East, but saw no signs of him. During the whole scrap there were n to 14 E.A. higher East who made no attempt to fight."
McCudden said he saw a crash N.N.W. of Zonnebeck.
Maybery said :
"I saw the triplane and went down after it. It was grey with slight extensions as far as I can remember. It was followed by a green Scout. Someone came and shunted the green Scout. After that I saw Rhys-Davids dive on the triplane, followed by the red-nosed Scout. I attacked the red-nosed Scout. I zoomed up over him and couldn't see anything of them. I saw a triplane going East, but this one seemed to be different and green."
Hoidge said :
"I saw the bright green Hun going down on Maybery's tail at about 3,000 feet, and I fired with Vickers and Lewis at about 100 yards in order to frighten him. When about 30 yards away, the Hun turned South, and was flying directly in the line of fire. I finished a full drum of Lewis gun at about 10 yards from him. He turned right over and went down in a short dive and turned over again. The last I saw of him was going straight down in a dive about 800-1000 feet. I stopped following him because the triplane was right up above him and I had an empty drum. I flew to the line climbing, and put on a full drum and came back and attacked the triplane from the side as it was flying nose on to McCudden. I attacked him four or five times, but I didn't see what happened after this. I never saw the red nosed Scout at all. The green man didn't get a chance to Иscrap’.”
A couple of things I find remarkable and among them are:
•An SE5a disengages combat in order to replace the drum on the Lewis gun
•Firing range between 100 and 20 yards, and Aces like those above expend an entire drum of ammo (down to 10 yards range) without the enemy EA falling apart.