Air Adventures

I’ve been venturing into old pulp novellas. I picked up on Air Adventures, and to peer into the past in this 1939 publication has been eye opening.The issue carries a few fictional short stories, ads, and thoughts from the publishers of then fresh new world war two. This issue even has the writers making predictions about how World War Two would play out. Dated in a way that they even thought Italy would not side with Germany during the war.
The main story is called “A Nazi Shall Die”, by Metteau Miles. An exhilarating read from start to finish about a squadron of pilots taking out squadrons of Nazi pilots and the ramifications of the war having on the minds of a few brave soldiers of the allied forces.
Here, we meet Pilot Jimmie Milton in the middle of a dog fight with squadron of Nazi pilots. Jimmie is holding his own, because he’s flying with his fellow wing mates, but he’s blowing a fuse because one member of his squadron, Jack Fitcher, is flying like a hot shot on his own, taking out as many Nazi pilots as he can. While the allied squad won the bout, and Fitcher came out alive, Millton is biting his tongue until they get back at base to have a word with Fitch.

Fitch and Milton decide to hit the bar and have a chat about the fight they had that day.
During the convo, it’s revealed one of the Nazi pilots in the squadron they fought is named Litcher. A pilot that killed Fitch’s father 21 years ago in World War One. Milton exclaims that his quest for revenge is having him go in half cocked without a plan and without back up. He’s going to get himself killed. Litcher doesn’t give a damn, and will do what it takes to take out Litcher. Milton makes a deal, that if Fitch stays in formation, during their patrols, that he’ll help take Litcher down, will pull back his fellow wing men and let Fitch take out Litcher himself. Fitch agrees.(This seem wildly out of protocol that a real army would function like, but hey, its fiction).
The reassurance that Fitch would play it safe, is short lived. Later, Milton gets word Fitch headed out alone to go find Litcher. Fitch does, and the fight doesn’t go as you might think. Litcher is one hell of a pilot. 21 years ago, remember, beware an old man in a profession where men usually die young, though, this isn’t completly the case. Word is, Litcher’s guns jammed during the dog fight with Fitch. Fitch, having some sense of honor, stopped firing, grabbed some chalk and drew a clock pointing at noon the side of his plane. Signifying a re-match with Litcher.

Litcher agrees. Fitch managed to doge Milton stopping him from going out alone to fight Litcher, Fitch made it out alone. Milton geared up with his squadron to go help Fitch, but they don’t make it in time, and Fitch, the damned fool, flew right into a trap!

Shot down by a squadron of Nazi Pilots.
Litcher shall die! Milton, is now possessed with the image of Litcher, and revenge soon begins to consume him.
Not too long after the death of Fitch, other airmen begin to see a change in Miltons personality. He becomes irritable and quick to provoke.
Flash forward, Milton gets a chance to take out Litcher after he and his squadron take out other Nazi Pilots. Milton tells his wing men to hold back and let him take out Litcher himself. They abide, and again, Litcher is one clever pilot. Years of experience keeps Milton just out of reach of his revenge, but Miltons blind determination manages to shoot out Litcher’s engine. Milton, however, has taken more damage than Litcher during this bout, suddenly *KRAKOOM* Milton is struck by a thunderbolt! Milton holds it together just enough to control the crash of his plane.
Milton awakes in a hospital bed. His fellow airmen come to visit. Lets him know, Litcher survived, landed his plane at their base. Prisoner of war. They found a diary in Litchers plane. There was something in it they though Milton should know.
Litcher was saddened by the death of Fitch. He held no ill will towards his fallen enemy and only had the utmost respect for him, being spared fire when his guns jammed. The ambush that got Fitch killed wasn’t planned by Litcher. He was unaware of another squadron of Nazi Pilots. Saddened by Fitches death, Litcher erected a tombstone for Fitch at his crash site. Milton, overcome with emotion, holds back a tear.”He’s talking about Jack Fitch”. His airmen, decide to leave, wondering what this war is doing to them, bringing them to see their enemy as human.

If I recall, there was a story like this that did happen. Similar, but of course, this pulp is dramatized for a read. Anyway, reading this was engaging. The characters quest for revenge destroyed them is a lesson to be learned, as well as the grey areas of your enemies. No doubt the war was horrific, but this read here was meant to flesh out the individuals involved with the war, more than the war itself.

The magazine is a good read, and free on the net in various pulp archives. One written note struck me while I was reading another article called “Germany cannot win!” It reads:
Incidentally, the Russo-Nazi pact has one great advantage to America. One-hundred-percent Americans can now criticize Communism without having the epithets “Nazi! Fascist!” hurled at them- can criticize Fascism, without being called reds. Now that the mask has been stripped from these twin forms of totalitarianism, the Dies Committee can proceed in their great work, unhampered by false accusations.
Even then, Americans were dealing with both ends of the political spectrum. I think that’s what was great about America. That it was able to balance itself out between the two. A hard line to walk.
Forgive the butchered format, I’m trying something I’m unfamiliar with, thanks for reading.

 

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