Aviators Thrilling Story Of Battle In the Air.
German Craft was attacked By a British Biplane and a 90 Mile An Hour Bleriot.
Were 5,000 Feet In The Air.
Awful Moment of Suspense When Craft Got Above Him And he Thought Bomb Was Coming.
By Karl H. Von Wiegand United Press Corresponent.
Berlin, the hay, September 9. The chief actor in the first actual battle in the air, Sgt. Warner of the German aviation for, piloted Lieut. Von Heidsen in the latter’s passage over Paris, told me this story.
It is a remarkable tale of adventure, eclipsing those of fiction writers. Attacked by a powerful British biplane and a 90 mile an hour Bleriot, Warner only escaped through a most fortunate commission of circumstances which led him to pilot his machine inside of the German lines.
The men hold the reserve seats in the theater of war who see the battles as not even the generals can see them, are the German airmen, and Warner to me when I saw him at needs just before I started for Berlin. That I am alive today is due to Providence to my own efforts.
I had received orders to locate the English forces and to determine their exact battle lines and those of their French supports. Acc0mpanied by Lieut. Von Helgeson, who was detailed as expert observer, I went up in my big monoplane and headed directly south in the general direction of Paris, although on this trip we did not go across the city. Previously, on Sunday, we flew across Paris and dropped three bombs one failed to explode. Another dropped on the roof of a house and set fire to it and the third felony Boulevard and made a big hole. But we flew back to our lines in time without being molested and we were so high the rifle fire did not reach us.
With this trip to locate the enemy, we flew directly south from Mons following a broad and plainly marked road. In route we passed over the edge of a magnificent forest in which more than 40,000 inhabitants the surrounding country had taken refuge. After flying for more than an hour, we passed directly over the English headquarters and I was able to locate the positions of the commander in chief and his staff area we accurately map this position and then swept across the French position paying special attention to the location of their artillery, much of which was masked in places of woods and behind buildings and hedges.
The Lieut. made rough sketches of everything. I was intently watching the country when suddenly the Lieut. pressed my arm, he pointed upward. At that time we were nearly 5000 feet in the air. I looked in the direction in which he was pointing and their fully 1000 feet higher than we were, and coming at full speed directly toward us, is a big Bristol biplane. It was evident from the start that he was far speedier than we were. I tried to climb upward realizing that when he got over me he would drop a bomb and we would be blown to Adams. But the effort was vein. The Bristol held me for speed. I could not get one level with him. Soon the Bristol was directly over our heads. My God man, I was not afraid but this was a moment of Spence that took a part of my life I was scared that the bomb was coming. At last I know how a bird feels when an eagle or hawk swooping down upon it. I thought every minute was to us our last I was certain. That, the British were trying to do us as to go so close that there bomb could not miss my nerves were entirely unstrung and it was all that I could do to keep my monoplane on an even keel.
Suddenly I saw a flash alongside of me for a moment I thought this expected mom and struck and I realize that the Lieut. was shooting with his automatic pistol the Englishman had their propeller in front, so they could not spot from that position area was now, now certain, they carry no bombs as they veered off some 500 feet the side, at the same time keeping hundred and 50 feet above us.
All this time, we were headed northward again toward the German lines. The plunging of the airplanes made accurate shooting difficult although one shot struck my plane. It was very evident that the Englishman was shooting to disable our motor and we were doing the same thing on our part area the noise of the discharge of the automatics was drowned in the work of our propellers
There was a feeling of utter helplessness so far as we were concerned are machine was far slower and much more unwieldy than theirs. I kept figuring on when the next bullet strike us with their greater speed they seem certain finally to get us.
While this thought was passing through my mind the Lieut. again touched me and pointed thousands of feet higher. There, coming at tremendous speed was a small Bleriot monoplane. It looked for all the world like an eagle coming to join the attack. I felt certain now that the end was in sight as all of the French aviators we have captured in the present have carried bombs. And the speed of the new comer. It was far greater than the Bristol this gave him still more of an advantage. The Lieut. kept firing in return as calmly as at the firing range.
Suddenly, however, German troops appeared below us they began firing at the enemy and the Bleriot and the Bristol finally exhausting their ammunition sailed off to the south not harmed area we then landed with our reports which were especially vulnerable because of the location of the French artillery. However I would not want to go through such an experience again area
Warner is an enthusiastic student of aviation and is a typical German soldier. He entered the army after graduating from a university and his face and scalp are covered with scars.. He declares the zeppelins have not yet been really tested and that when they finally get into action they will do great damage to the enemy. He is enthusiastic over the German aviation Corps and declared it has already been in Incalculable benefit to the German Gen. staff.