Above the Lines: A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces of by Norman L. R. Franks, Frank W. Bailey, Russell Guest

By Norman L. R. Franks, Frank W. Bailey, Russell Guest

Above the strains: a whole list of the Fighter Aces of the German Air provider, Naval Air carrier and Flanders Marine Corps 1914-1918

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Extra resources for Above the Lines: A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces of the German Air service, Naval Air Service and Flanders Marine Corps 1914-1918

Sample text

He knew exactly what was brewing in the minds of the vengeful French. They had already made several successful insurgencies in the past but had got a good hiding in 1870. Russia had concentrated huge armies on Germany’s eastern borders. She was ruled by a despotic autocrat or Tsar (from the Latin Caesar, as is the word Kaiser), entirely dominated by a bellicose, militaristic clique including the mad monk Rasputin. Obviously it was difficult to defend the wide, open plains of eastern Germany against the Russian ‘steamroller’, and the Cossacks had watered their horses in the Spree, Berlin’s river, not so very long ago.

We had hardly crossed into Alsace when we entered a huge forest, the Hardtwald. These woods stretched for mile after mile. Soon the trees swallowed us up with their dense undergrowth but the companies, battalions, regiments and brigades kept together in good formation. We halted and were ordered to lie down but to remain absolutely silent. Not a sound was to be made; nobody was allowed to leave the cover of the trees and the few men who were sent out to fetch water from the wells or the scattered houses had to take off their helmets and tunics and go in shirtsleeves, so as not to betray the presence of German troops.

Our training, however, was focused on the use of weapons at the rifle ranges. I must say that after a few weeks our instructors succeeded in making almost every one of us a first class shot. The beautiful surroundings of Freiburg with its hills, valleys and forests were ideal training-grounds. Night marches and night patrols made us highly efficient in the role we were to play in the near future. When, after long and exhausting route marches, perspiring and covered in dust (in those days the roads were still untarred), we returned to Freiburg, the regimental brass band would meet us and lead us through the streets.

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