We continue discussing the adventures of Duke Thomas in SKY RAIDER as he enters combat in France in early 1917 with the Lafayette Escadrille in Chapter One.
The German Imperial Air Force had just finished its period of the “Fokker Scourge”, the time when the Germans were winning the war in the air, and was about to begin “Bloody April” which lasted until May of 1917.
Part of the reason for the German success was related to the ability to fire straight through the propeller, due to an innovative synchronization gear developed by aircraft designer Anthony Fokker. This led to the first confirmed aerial victory by Lt. Kurt Wintgens, flying an Eindecker Fokker monoplane in July 1915. He was firing a SPANDAU Machine gun through the propellor, thanks to Fokker’s gear design, and would go on to become an ace and a recipient of the Iron Cross and Blue Max prior to his death.
When Bloody April began, the Germans not only had an excellent Albatros D1 but also greater fire power with TWIN SPANDAU machine guns, which were belt fed as opposed to single non-synchronized drum fed Lewis gun, commonly used in the Allied Air Force at that time. The drum on the Lewis had to be replaced by the pilot in combat when ammo ran out, whereas the SPANDAU could fire continuously.
Somehow Duke survives the odds,
and as the war progressed, the better design and greater fire power of Germany was matched by the allies, but not without major losses.
Enjoy the adventure.