IMMELMANN HAS "BAGGED" FIFTEEN ENEMY AEROS
REMARKABLE RECORD IS MADE BY FAMOUS GERMAN "HUMAN FALCON."
(By Wilbur S. Forrest.)
LONDON. May 9.—The war has developed the "human falcon."
Aerial fighters and aeronautical experts throughout Europe today are discussing German's super-hawk, Lieutenant Immelmann
Advices just received in England from the vicinity of Lille, France, and from Germany tell for the first time the falconish methods of the champion Teutonic Fokker flyer, whose total bag to date is officially announced as fifteen allied aeroplanes.
Immelmann's secret of offensive air fighting is extremely simple. He sights his quarry—an allied aeroplane bent on reconnaissance duty or aerial photography, somewhere over the German lines near Lille. The falcon leaves the ground and wings to a great height, an altitude of 13,000 feet or more.
When he has maneuvered over his adversary, he sets his planes and makes one long, terrific, downward swoop. The plan is to pass diagonally behind his opponent at the rate of perhaps 200 miles an hour. His machine gun is primed and ready. When he enters a prescribed area the bullets begin to fly.
Just like the falcon, that member of the hawk family which tries once and strikes its mark or misses, Immelmann either bags his "bird" at one swoop or wings back to his aerodrome a failure. He never returns to the attack. He empties one drum of bullets and, hit or miss, continues his dive until it takes him home.
In Germany Immelmann is a national hero. He is called "the Eagle of Lille."
More graphic details of Immelmann's method of attack are contained in a letter just received in London from Lieutenant R. J. Slade of the British flying service.
Slade is one of the German falcon's fifteen victims and now a prisoner at Furstenberg.
Slade and his pilot, Captain Darley, Royal Flying corps, were on reconnaissance duty over the German lines near Lille. The falcon saw them.
"Suddenly from somewhere out of the air, Immelmann swooped down behind us," declared the British officer. "He opened fire with his machine gun before we were aware of his presence."
The stream of lead from the Fokker riddled the Briton's petrol tank. Captain Darley, in charge of the controls, tried to escape by a sudden nose dive. The falcon followed with accuracy. A steady stream of lead found its mark. Captain Darley was shot through the right arm, while the thumb of his right hand was reduced to a pulp.
In mid-air, thousands of feet above the earth, the letter explains, Slade was forced to lean over and amputate Darley's shattered thumb with his penknife. It was an easy operation, as only skin and shredded flesh held the member.
Throughout that time the German aviator continued his steady fire. Slade's clothing wan riddled with lead, but he miraculously escaped. The pilot was again wounded in the left hand, but with his injured right arm he manoeuvred his machine toward earth and made a perilous landing.
Immelmann, by this time, had winged out of range and, performing a circle, he landed his machine to render what assistance he could.
Lieutenant Slade's letter described how the German airman behaved in such a kindly manner toward his captives that he won their admiration. The letter concludes:
"He is a gentleman, and if we ever capture him, I hope he will be treated as such."
The Fort Wayne Daily News (Fort Wayne, Indiana) - Tuesday, May 9, 1916