A Grandstand Seat: The American Balloon Service in World War by Eileen Lebow

By Eileen Lebow

The little-known American Balloon provider labored in wrestle to assist direct artillery fireplace extra appropriately and supply crucial intelligence on enemy troop hobbies in the course of global warfare I. German use of statement balloons to direct artillery hearth in August of 1914 compelled the Allies to increase an analogous strength. With the U.S. access into the battle in 1917, the balloon carrier, ranging from scratch, advanced into an efficient, disciplined battling unit, whose achievements are regrettably overshadowed through these of the flying aces. memories from balloon veterans shape the root of this e-book, the 1st to photograph lifestyles as a gasbagger within the 3 significant American engagements of the war.Amazingly, existence as an observer suspended in a wicker basket lower than an elephantine hydrogen balloon proved much less lethal than piloting an plane. From his grandstand seat, the observer saved tabs at the battle under him and telephoned important info to headquarters command. those reviews have been usually the single actual intelligence on hand. Balloonists be mindful the battle as a superb experience, one that a lot of them lived to inform approximately.

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Over East St. Louis the balloon stalled, and the cadets, with little sand left, decided to head down. Spotting a field just north of a railroad yard, they threw the drag rope over to lessen downward and horizontal speed, the rope threatening to catch between two railroad cars in the yard below. In a frantic effort to lighten the load, shoes, leggings, jackets, empty sand bags, all went overboard, and the drag rope lifted to carry them over the train. Valving again to release gas, the basket hit hard and bounced, facing the Illinois Traction Company's high-speed electric line to Chicago.

It was the one time seasickness threatened. For those of higher rank, the voyage was not entirely unpleasant. There were entertainments, usually by casual groups, endless bridge and poker games (the Colonel forbade using money, but the players settled up privately afterwards), and French lessons for the interested; and the food, though not gourmet quality, was better than what the enlisted men ate at THE AMERICANS ARE HERE! 43 their two meals a day. There was plenty of time to read and discuss what lay ahead.

When Major Fleischmann gave the lecture, the men had a hard time to keep from laughing—he lisped. Not content to lecture, he brought "protection by the gross," urging everyone to help themselves to the product—bashful men could ask for an envelope. " 11 Early in their Omaha training, a silent movie portraying the benefits of keeping pure was shown. As the hero resisted one temptation, then another, and still another—all scantily clad—the audience supplied comments progressively more raucous and boisterous.

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