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The 90th & 91st Aero Squadrons

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The 90th & 91st Aero Squadrons
Leonaur Original
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Author(s): Leland M. Carver Gustaf A. Lindstrom A. T. Foster George C. Kenney Horace Moss Guilbert
Date Published: 2015/09
Page Count: 160
Softcover ISBN-13: 978-1-78282-450-3
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-1-78282-449-7

The U. S Army’s ‘eyes in the sky’ on the Western Front

The enormous loss of life among European populations in the First World War created a sense of national sacrifice which is memorialised in virtually every city, town and village. So it is understandable why Europeans have viewed the Great War as their conflict to the detriment of the contribution made by the United States of America, which joined the Allied cause in April 1917 when the fighting had taken its toll for almost three years. The war ended in November 1918 and victory was in no small measure due to the contribution American Forces made at sea, on land and in the skies. America’s sacrifice might be thought small by the standard of losses in this war, but still almost 322,000 were killed or wounded. This book concerns the wartime actions of two flying squadrons of the American Expeditionary Force. The 90th Aero Squadron was a short range corps observation unit providing tactical reconnaissance flying Salmsons and Breguets, and with Sopwiths and Spads in a fighter role, for III Corps of the U. S Army. The squadron flew 256 missions over the Western Front. The 91st Aero Squadron, by contrast, was a long range strategic reconnaissance unit tasked providing aerial intelligence from the entire length of the U. S First Army’s front in France. Its observation aircraft included Salmsons, Breguets and de Haviland DH-4’s among others, with Spads in the fighter role. The 91st scored 21 enemy kills creating ‘aces’ of four of its pilots.

Leonaur editions are newly typeset and are not facsimiles; each title is available in softcover and hardback with dustjacket.

Lieutenants M. O. White and J. C. Sherrick, at 11:25 o’clock on September 26, 1918, while on a surveillance mission over Bois de Forges, at 300 metres, were engaged in combat with six Fokker scouts. Their plane was untouched and none of their shots seemed to take effect on the enemy.
Lieuts. John Livingston and Pressley B. Shuss, while on an infantry liaison mission over Sivry sur Meuse, on September 26, 1918, at 150 metres altitude, were met by six Fokker scouts. The enemy did not succeed in getting into position to attack. Lieutenant Shuss’ fire appeared to be very accurate but he did not succeed in bringing the enemy down.
Lieuts. W. B. Schauffler, Jr., and Fred A. Tillman, while on a reconnaissance from Forges to Dannevoux, on September 26, 1918, at 300 metres altitude, met a patrol of twelve enemy scouts. Five manoeuvred for position but only one attacked, which Lieutenant Schauffler drove off with fire from his forward gun. No hits were made by either pilot.
On September 28, 1918, Lieuts. H. R. Ellis and H. L. Borden, while flying over Brieulles, on a reconnaissance mission, at an altitude of 250 metres, met six Fokker scouts. Inviting combat several times, they were finally attacked from two sides but drove the enemy off by well-directed machine gun fire. Time, 12:50 o’clock.
While performing a reconnaissance mission on September 29, 1918, 300 metres over the Bois de Forges, Lieut. F. H. Hart, Pilot, and Lieut. A. T. Grier, Observer, were fired upon by a Breguet, presumably flown by the enemy. The fire was returned without result. Time, 7:00 o’clock.
Lieut. Leland M. Carver, pilot, and Lieut. Gustaf T. Lindstrom, observer, while flying over the Bois de Cote Lemont at an altitude of 500 metres, at 7:23 o’clock, October 2, 1918, engaged in a running fight with two groups of enemy scouts. Five planes attacked in the first group and four in the second. Apparently no shots took effect from either side.
Lieut. John Livingston, Pilot, and Lieut. H. L. Borden, Observer, while about to commence an artillery reglage on a hostile battery in the Bois de Chaume, at 11:40 o’clock, October 3, 1918, in company with two protection planes, were attacked at 800 metres altitude by nine enemy Fokkers. The Boche dived on the formation from the clouds. Lieutenant Borden opened a hot fire on the attacking planes with apparently good results. His plane suffered no damage.
Lieut. H. H. Cowle, pilot, and Lieut. Walter Frances, observer, while acting as protection for the above reglage plane, took part in the same fight. Lieutenant Frances fired over 200 rounds at the enemy, several tracers taking effect in the wings and fuselage of the hostile planes. One enemy plane was seen to fall, but recovered after falling 50 metres. The American plane was not damaged.
Lieut. Loren Rohrer, pilot, with Lieutenant Vinson, observer, also took part in the above engagement. Lieutenants Rohrer and Vinson, being the rear plane in the formation, were the principal targets of the enemy. Lieutenant Vinson fired 100 rounds from his guns with apparently good effect, and saw several bullets hit the enemy. He saw one plane start to fall, but had no time to watch it down. His plane was riddled with bullets, brace wires cut, and the upper wing set on fire by incendiary bullets.
Flying over Bois de Lartelle, on a reconnaissance mission, at 9:00 o’clock on October 5, 1918, at 800 metres altitude, Lieut. Norris E. Pierson, pilot, and Lieut. Van B. Hayden, observer, engaged five enemy Fokkers in a running fight. About thirty-five rounds were fired by Lieutenant Hayden without apparent effect. Due to the fine speed and manoeuvring ability of the Salmson, the Boches could not get into a good attacking position.
Lieutenants Pierson and Hayden, at 9:20 o’clock, on October 10, 1918, while flying on an infantry contact mission over Cunel, met four Fokkers, who dived and opened fire. Some of our Spads then put the enemy to flight.
While flying over Fountaine at 7:05 o’clock, October 21, 1918, and performing an infantry contact mission at 300 metres altitude.<br> Lieutenant Hart, pilot, and Lieutenant Grier, observer, engaged in combat with an enemy Rumpler biplane, which was apparently out to locate the Boche front line. After making several attacks upon the Rumpler, they succeeded in forcing him to quit his mission and to leave the vicinity.
Lieut. W. E. Kinsley, pilot, and Lieut. A. E. Parr, observer, while on a special reconnaissance to Villers devant Dun, at 13:20 o’clock, on the 29th of October, 1918, at 300 metres altitude, were attacked by two Fokker scouts. Beating them off with machine gun fire, the Americans turned and gave chase, following the Boches to Aincreville, firing as often as possible. The enemy fire shattered one strut and broke a spar in the aileron of the lower right wing. One of the enemy was seen to be hit, but not out of control. Flying as protection for another observation plane, Lieut. W. E. Kinsley, pilot, and Lieut. L. M. Hall, observer, while flying over the Font de Dienlle at 600 metres altitude on November 4, 1918, were attacked by five enemy scouts. The enemy fire was very poor, but Lieutenant Hall by good shooting forced the enemy to turn off and retire. Time, 14:15 o’clock.
Lieut. E. H. Greist, pilot, and Lieutenant Borden, observer, while returning from a reconnaissance mission in the vicinity of Brandville at 12:48 o’clock on November 4, 1918, at 500 metres altitude, were being heavily archied when they were suddenly attacked by a single black Fokker, who got a position on their tail. Lieutenant Borden opened fire at the Boche as he dived and saw his bullets entering the fuselage and passing all around the enemy plane. Three times the Fokker attacked, but the last two times he veered off as Lieutenant Borden’s tracers began to flash by him. The Salmson suffered considerable damage, fifteen bullets having passed through the plane, piercing the oil tank, wings and fuselage.
While on a reconnaissance mission near Fontaine at 11:10 o’clock on November 6, 1918, Lieut. Marshall G. Lee, pilot, and Lieut. H. W. Phillips, observer, were attacked by a group of four Fokkers, one plane leaving the formation to attack them. Lieutenant Phillips opened fire, and the Boche at once turned away and returned to his own lines. No damage was done to the Salmson.