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. . .
Air Fleets In a Death Grapple.
German, French; British and Russian Aeroplanes and
Dirigibles Battling Among the Clouds.
ATTLES in the air! -Aeroplanes darting at dirigible balloons, piercing
meir tnm envelopes and exploding tbeir gasoline tanks until attacker
and attacked fall to death.! Maddened with the war fury, the aviator
is glad to die, if so he can but take with him the enemv who'dismitt
with him the mastery of the atmosphere.
War in the air is a reality. Long the dream of the poet and novelist who
"sanv red" in the glare of the sun, it has in the present European war fulfilled
all the dread prophecies that have been made about it. The military aviator
circling ever upward and outward in his search for his foe. has come upon him
in the upper reaches of the air. There have been sharp, short skirmishes for
position, each man intent upon guiding his own machine aright and seckinvr
to deal a deathblow to. the other's aeroplane.' Speed up the propeller, fetii
the engine to the last ounce of power! There he is, circling around and look
ing for you. And then, in the last fatal dash, drive the nose of your machim
into him! Your planes lock and tangle in a mortal embrace you fall, thou
sands and thousands of feet but before you land you have the fierce conscious
ness or naving dragged your foe with you to death!
Already we have had such cases. And we have had. too. the stories of the
gun and the rifle on land tilted until they pointed almost to the zenith.
sending sneii or bullet Into aeroplanes and the dirigible balloons and bringing
them down to the ground with their occupants in a helpless, shapeless mass.
, Men are fighting with guns on land and sea and in the air. The last ucde
filed element has been made to serve the purposes of slaughter. Aeroplanes
and dirigibles carry guns especially designed for waging aerial battles ami
bombs for dropping from the heights on armies and cities.
All the great fighting powers of Europe are playing at the dreadful, deadly
aerial fighting game. Great Britain. France ami Russia send their hones ainft
In aeroplanes. Germany and Austria spread their faith abroad on the heavens
in monster aingioie oauoons. ur the heavier than air flying machines Great
Britain has 400, France 1,100 and Russia 800. To Germany Is credited the
ownership of 1.000. and Austria-Hungary has about 400.
In dirigibles Germany is richer than, any other country, . thanks to the
efforts of Zeppelin, Parseval and others. She has thirty "battle airships,"
while France ha-s only twenty and Great Britain seven. Austria-Hungary
planned to build sjx. but that was before the great war began. Just how far
they are toward completion no one knows but the Austrian ffencral staff. And
its members will not tell
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