By ALAN CLARK
Aces High serves to remind us that, if now not a completely scrupulous baby-kisser, nor an ideal husband, Alan Clark particularly was once an excellent army historian.
There has developed anything of a fantasy concerning the battle within the air among 1914-1918. the parable is going that, whereas within the dirt and gore of the trenches less than any idealism and chivalry speedy sputtered and died, within the purer air above the final noble heroes battled in one-to-one dogfights like knights of outdated. it's a fable that Clark shoots down in flames, with attribute iconoclasm.
One of the nice RFC aces used to be Mick Mannock, famed for his come upon with a coaching teacher, out in a formation of six, with 5 of his very green-horned students. Mannock first shot down the trainer after which ruthlessly pursued all of the rookies and shot them down one after the other. This wasn't chivalry, it was once struggle, and even if extra dependent to monitor, it used to be each piece as deadly as Passchendaele.
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Additional resources for Aces High: War In The Air Over The Western Front, 1914-18 (Cassell Military Classics)
Equipped with the first British single-seat February before fighter, the De Havilland 2, and was under operational, a BE2C on a reconnaissance the command or the third airman LO win a sonie had had to receive an escon of no less Victoria Cross, Major Lanoe G. Hawker. The than twelve other machines. RFC doctrine DH2 was a 'pusher', as Britain still had no still stated that fighters should defend general synchronizing gear, but it was agile, and so purpose machines from a position of close more than a match for the Fokker.
Rate of focused accurately even for a split second. it roll, climb and turn and height-holding would completely dazzle the attacking pilot. ability) and keen vision. This last was as much The extra speed and agility of the single a matter of experience and intuition as of pure seaters should have made it easy for a skilled phYSical efficiency. There was a certain way of pilot to pick off his cumbersome adversary looking at the ground or sky. a manner of T A C T l c s + 63 focusing that allowed experienced pilots to for a sudden change of course.
Some of them would take up the squadrons thus eqUipped to establish an hand grenades or eighteen-pounder shells immediate fined with makeshift fins, and when they had unwieldy two-seaters with lheir restricted fire. crossed the enemy lines they would lean over One of the chief difficulties in designing an the side of the aeroplane and drop the missiles interrupter gear was that ordinary machine by hand. It was only a maner of time before gun ammunition did not have a preCisely machine-guns began to find their way into uniform period of ignition; hand-fire rounds aeroplanes, though initially only as the would occur unpredictably, and if the pilot observer's weapon on two-seaters.
Aces High: War In The Air Over The Western Front, 1914-18 (Cassell Military Classics) by ALAN CLARK