It was an interesting night yesterday! Great turnout on the Hun side, with all the Jastas seemingly at full strength, and plenty of action to be had.
The 103d were understaffed and reduced to about half our usual strength - we were also out of our comfort zone, with fog and high cloud limiting visibility. Nonetheless, we rose to the challenge and sent up a pair of SPADs to patrol the lines.
Our first encounter of the night was a bizarre one - we caught a sneaky Fokker trying to make a run on our balloon, but before we could intervene he crashed right into it while attacking. Amazingly, his aircraft remained intact and he swung around for a second pass - only to crash into it again! This time he wasn't so lucky, and we watched in bafflement as the Fokker broke apart and crashed to earth. Unfortunately, the balloon went down with him.
Early on, we realised it would be a tough night, as we quickly spotted a formation of 5 EA headed back to their lines after an offensive patrol. Not long after, we spotted another formation of EA, again five or six strong, attacking a pair of allied machines. We stalked this formation, but they quickly crossed into Hunland and so we broke off.
However, we soon saw flights of Sopwith Dolphins and S.E.5s over the front, taking the fight right back to the Hun. With the numbers starting to balance out, we went out on a hunting patrol and managed to bag an Albatros. Just after downing the Hun, we spotted Fokkers bearing down on us, close, and so we dove out - in the dive, I managed to bust the SPAD's engine and had to put down in the mud, but my wingman, Lieut. Parsons, got home safely. Back on the aerodrome our C.O, Capt. Hunter, made an appearance, and we went back up as a flight of Three.
Seeing no action on our side of the mud, we decided to do some offensive patrols of our own. It wasn't long before we found a big formation of Hun scouts, and decided to engage. We made good runs on a Pfalz and a Fokker, forcing them both out of it, before the Hun's top-cover arrived and we bugged out. There seemed to be something wrong with our bloody SPADs that night, as I had another engine blow up on me while diving (it can't have been pilot error, surely? ). Hunter and Parsons lingered around in the area and shot down a Pfalz.
On our next sortie, we sadly lost a wingman to a mid-air collision. Going after the Hun responsible, we shot him about badly, chasing him down to the deck on his own lines. However, the pesky Hun machine stayed intact and, with so many EA lurking in the fog, we elected not to chase him any further into his own side.
Back out on patrol after regrouping, we lurked over the Hun frontlines, looking for trouble and attacking the odd Hun that strayed too close to our patrol zone, but nothing of significant interest happened. Not long after, we saw a flight of 3 Dolphins being bounced by a flight of 4 EA, and moved to help. However, 4 more EA intervened, diving at us from above, and we were forced to retreat back out into the mud, leaving the Dolphins to their fate.
After that, the Huns seemed to decide they'd had enough - Hunter and I ran into a pair of Pfalzes a couple of times, but both times they turned away into Hunland right as we expected to mix it up. Later on we found a Pfalz and a Halberstadt. Deciding to remove the Pfalz first, we set up our runs, putting some bullets into him at which point he spun all the way down to the deck, recovering at low altitude and running for home. By that point we'd lost the Halby.
Everything went quiet after that, so after a little bit of searching we decided to go home.
No confirmed claims this week so far, but we know we left some Hun wrecks on their side Unfortunately, you'll just have to imagine the action this week, as Lieut. Baer wasn't present to stream, and Hotlead's stream was having some technical issues.
Looking forwards to next week!