Thirty victories, twenty or twenty-one of which occurred on the Somme: such is the schedule of these extraordinary flights. The last one surpassed all the rest. He fought unarmed, with nothing but his machine, like a knight who, with sword broken, manages his horse and brings his adversary to bay. What a scene it was when the German pilot and passenger, prisoners, became aware that Guynemer’s machine-gun had been out of action! Once more he had imposed his will upon others, and his power of domination had fascinated his enemies.
In the beginning of February, 1917, the Storks Escadrille left the Somme after six months’ fighting, and flew into Lorraine.
AT THE ZENITH
The destiny of a Guynemer is to surpass himself. Part of his power, however, must lie in the perfection of his weapons. Why could he not forge them himself? In him, the mechanician and the gunsmith were impatient to serve the pilot and the fighter. Nothing in the science of aviation was unknown to him, and Guynemer in the factory was always the same Guynemer. He worked with the same nervous tension when he overhauled his machine-guns to avoid the too frequent and too troublesome jamming, or when he improved the arrangement of the instruments and tools in his airplane in accordance with his superior practical experience, as when he chased an enemy. He wanted to compel the obedience of matter, as he compelled the enemy to surrender.