The End of Aerial Duels Last week’s post explained how the summer 1917 Gotha attacks on London caused Arthur Gould Lee’s squadron to be in England. Though they didn't get to fight any Gothas, they comforted the population while developing their skills at formation flying. The practice in formation flying was itself the beginning of a major change. The period that WWI aviation is best remembered for was the aerial fighting in 1916 and 1917: “when enemies in the air could fight without mercy but without hate, could even respect and admire each other’s skill and valour.” But when, on the formation of...
We do not hike through the mud with you, but there are discomforts in our work as bad as mud, but we won't let rain, storms, Archies [anti-aircraft fire] nor Boches [German] planes prevent our getting there with the goods."
"Although we did not know it at the time, we were now on the last laps of the war." -- Eddie Rickenbacker, 100 years ago
Meanwhile, the Germans would concentrate more on training and also would be fighting more defensively, conserving their aircraft and pilots. By the fall of 1918, the fortunes of German ground forces would be declining, but the German air force would have some of its best months of the war.
November 11th, 1917 - the soon-to-be famous, the soon-to-be dead, and the soon-to-be adrift in a world not at war, one year from now.