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BIRDS OF A FEATHER (Part I)

— feeling amazing
Flying Section 17 - Haupt Heydemarck

In "Flying Section 17", Haupt-Heydemarck shares with the reader his combat experiences as an observer with a 2-seater photo-reconnaissance/bomber squadron on the Western Front during 1915 and 1916. The task of Flying Section 17 was to fly deep inside enemy territory (with or without bombs) for the purpose of taking photos of facilities such as airfields, depots, and railway junctions and stations. Oftentimes, a single airplane would be tasked with obtaining these photos, braving anti-aircraft fire and enemy fighters. For Haupt-Heydemarck and his comrades, their foe was the French. Their war was like a cat and mouse game.   A mad or merry chase across the skies.

 

It was also interesting to see in reading this book how much of a factor the weather was in determining whether or not flying operations would take place. Each chapter has illustrations depicting various aspects of squadron life and Haupt-Heydemarck himself has added a few photos.

 

I highly recommend "Flying Section 17." It's a terrific book which gives the reader a palpable feel for what an aviator's life was like at the Front during the first 2 years of the war. Furthermore, Haupt-Heydemarck introduces us to several of his squadron mates: e.g. his faithful pilot 'Take' Engmann; Leutnant Freytag (who, at 6'4", was undoubtedly the tallest member of the squadron); Captain Mohr, the squadron C.O.; and Sergeant Stattaus, one of the veteran pilots who has some harrowing experiences after being forced down behind French lines and taken prisoner in August 1916.