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Submitted on
September 22, 2012
Image Size
6.5 MB
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3,434 (1 today)
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Camera Data

Shutter Speed
10/5000 second
Focal Length
19 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Feb 23, 2002, 6:52:21 PM
Paint.NET v3.5.10
Fatal Damage by zulumike Fatal Damage by zulumike
A British Airco D.H. 2 destroys a German observation balloon but has paid for it. The aircraft has also been destroyed by a German anti-aircraft gun called a "flaming onion" which was a 37 mm revolving-barrel anti-aircraft gun used by the German army during World War I, the name referring to both the gun, and especially the flares it fired. The term could also be applied to any sort of anti-aircraft fire that used a visible tracer.

The actual weapon was a Gatling type, smooth bore, short barreled automatic revolver called a 'lichtspucker' (light spitter) that was designed to fire flares at low velocity in rapid sequence across a battle area. This gun had five barrels and could launch a 37 mm artillery shell about five thousand feet (1500 m). To maximize the chance of a strike, all five rounds were discharged as rapidly as possible, giving the 'string of flaming onions' effect. Because most other rounds were fired slowly due to the nature of anti-aircraft artillery at the time, this gun's rapid rate of fire left many fliers thinking that the rounds were attached to a string and they feared being shredded by it.

Credits: The aircraft, balloon and groundwork is based on a flight from Rise of Flight, the sky is from my collections of skies. All editing done with GIMP.
Thanks for Looking.
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Hidden by Owner
zulumike Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The aircraft is from "Rise of Flight" which is flown into a position that I liked. Then I tear up the aircraft to a painted Background. This particular composition was one of my longest works but was fun to do.
warrior1944 Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2012
Wow, just wow! Amazing work! :D
147CombatMedic Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2012
Very cool!
zulumike Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank You much for the feedback. Cheers.
914four Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This is awesome. I recently read the biography of a Canadian RAF pilot who died in the first world war (written from his diary), his description of the flaming onions was not nearly as impressive.
zulumike Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank You.

What was the pilot's name?
914four Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I got the nationality wrong (I've since read another book that features a Canadian WWI pilot called "Three Cheers for Me" by Donald Jack); the pilot I was referring to was Lt Frank Luke, and he was American with the AEF, second only to Eddie Rickenbacker in the number of aircraft he shot down. He is best known for his ability to down balloons, which is why he saw so much AA.
zulumike Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks, I read a book about Frank Luke also.
I think he was brought down by AA and then killed on the ground. He chose not to surrender.
914four Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Yes, there are more than one school of thought as to how he died exactly, but it's well documented that he had more than once sworn he would never be taken prisoner, and he used his service weapon to fire on the German troops who found him. According to Wikipedia, the bullet that killed him was from a ground based machine gun that hit him while he was flying.
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