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An Aviator's Field Book Being the field reports of Oswald Bölcke, from August 1, 1914 to October 28, 1916   By: (1891-1916)

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AN AVIATOR'S FIELD BOOK

Being the Field Reports of Oswald Bölcke, from August 1, 1914, to October 28, 1916

TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN BY ROBERT REYNOLD HIRSCH, M.E.

WITH A FOREWORD BY

JOSEPH E. RIDDER, M.E.

1917 NATIONAL MILITARY PUBLISHING CO. 1919 BROADWAY, NEW YORK

[Illustration: COLONEL OSWALD BÖLCKE'S LAST PICTURE]

ILLUSTRATIONS

FACING PAGE

Colonel Oswald Bölcke's Last Picture Frontispiece

After His First Victory 32

The Enemy's Aeroplane in Ruins 33

The Master Flier and His Men 64

Bölcke and His Brother Wilhelm, September, 1914 65

Donning His Flying Dress 96

An Aviator Bombarded with Shrapnel 97

Among His Comrades 144

German Marine Aviators on a Field Near the North Sea 145

Ready for the Start 160

Bölcke and His Brother Max in France (August, 1916) 161

One of His Last Victims 182

Starting on His Last Ride, October 28, 1916 5 P. M. 183

FOREWORD

BY JOSEPH E. RIDDER

An unassuming book, still one of those which grip the reader from beginning to end. When the author started to write his daily impressions and adventures, it was to keep in touch with his people, to quiet those who feared for his safety every moment, and at the same time to give them a clear idea of his life. Without boasting, modestly and naturally, he describes the adventures of an aviator in the great World War. It could well serve as a guide to those who are studying aviation. Although he has avoided the stilted tone of the school master, still his accomplishments as a knight of the air must fascinate any who know aviation. For the aviators as well as their machines have accomplished wonders. They are rightly called the eyes of the army these iron nerved boys who know no fear. Admiral Schley's historic words after the battle of Santiago: "There will be honor enough for us all" can well be said of the aviators of all nations now at war. For in spite of all enmity the aviators have followed the knightly code of old which respects a good opponent and honors him. Captain Bölcke's death, after his meteoric career, was mourned alike by friend and foe. Great as is the damage done by this war, horrible as is its devastation, it has acted as a tonic on aviation. Before the war, of course, there had been some achievements of note. Since the day when the Wright brothers announced their conquest of the air, man did not rest till the problem was completely solved. And this war, which continually has spurred man to new murderous inventions, has also seen the airplane in action. While at the start of the war the comparatively few airplanes in use were employed as scouts, a few months saw them fitted with machine guns and devices for dropping explosives. Hand in hand with this came the rapid development of the airplane itself. To day we can truthfully say that a journey, even a long one, by airplane is less dangerous than an automobile ride through a densely populated district. But one thing we must not forget, even though the invention of the airplane by the Wrights is an American one (in spite of the fact that the Wrights give some credit to the German Lilienthal) the Europeans have far outstripped us in the development of this invention. As sad as it is to say it, we must admit that in regard to aviation America is still in its infancy. Every European nation has outdone us. When, in the summer of 1916, we sent our troops to Mexico, they had only six old machines at their disposal. Instead of relying on these for information, General Pershing had nothing but anxiety for their safety every time they made a flight... Continue reading book >>




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