Straightening out his craft, he headed it directly toward that of his enemy. The latter tried to steer out of the way when it was seen what the game would be, but he was unable to do so.
They came together with what must have been a fearful crash, though of course not the faintest echo of it could be heard down in the woods. And then, locked together in a death embrace, the two machines hurtled over and over to earth, bursting into flames as they fell. They smashed down in a swamp, and all four airmen were killed—the two brave Americans and their perhaps no less intrepid German fighters.
“It’s going to be a tight squeeze!” murmured Roger, as he and the others gazed aloft. “There’s three of our machines done for and here come some more Germans. Oh, this is fierce!”
“More German machines? Where!” cried Jimmy.
“There!” and Roger pointed to the sky behind the German planes. “Ten more of ’em!” he cried. “Now we’re done for, sure!”
“Those aren’t Hun planes! They’re French!” yelled Bob. “See, they’re French! They’ve circled up behind the Germans! Now we have ’em between two fires!”
And this was just what happened. The French, seeing that the battle of the air was going against their American allies, had hastily sent up a squadron of speedy craft. These arose very high, flew over and above the Germans, out of sight, and then, coming down, attacked them in the rear.
This was too much for Fritz. He had no taste for a battle against even less odds than this. The Fokkers turned to flee, but it was too late for all but two of them. These managed to elude the American and French cloud-fighters and disappeared in the mist in the direction of the German lines. It was presumed they reached there safely.
One after another the German machines were sent down, though at a price, for three Frenchmen were killed and another American went to his death. But he had paved the way with two Hun craft to his credit.
“Now it’s over—all but the shouting!” cried Roger, and he was capering about in an improvised dance of joy when Bob cried:
“Look! Look! Here comes a German machine down, and it’s going to land right about here! Oh, boy! This is bringing ’em down for keeps!”
His chums looked to where he pointed. A German craft was coming down, but in such fashion that showed it was in volplane control, at least. Swiftly it came down, headed for a field not far from the woods, in the edge of which were the five Brothers.
Swiftly as falls a bird with a broken wing, down came the German aeroplane. It was now within plain sight of the Americans stationed in the woods, and, as it happened, a squad, of which our five Brothers formed the major part, were nearer than anyone else.
“I can see their faces!” cried Bob. “They look worried all right!”