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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 mayyang.com skies. All editing done with GIMP.
Thanks for Looking.
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:iconsteamking4468:
Steamking4468 Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2015
Just amazing artwork. Poor pilot in the DH2. The DH2 were also noted for blowing cylinder heads from time to time. Pretty rugged aircraft and one that helped to stem the Fokker Scourage that had taken place in the early years of the war. Lovely stuff indeed
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:iconjohneybrooks:
johneybrooks Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2015
Fascinating information I haven’t been experienced such information in quite a long time. water extraction
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you, artwork becomes more interesting with good research and facts. The illustrators of the past were the best in telling a good story.
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:iconzulumike:
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.
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:iconemanicas:
Emanicas Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2014
Rise of Flights damage model is so so good.
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank You, I appreciate it.
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:iconwarrior1944:
warrior1944 Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2012
Wow, just wow! Amazing work! :D
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:icon147combatmedic:
147CombatMedic Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2012
Very cool!
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank You much for the feedback. Cheers.
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:icon914four:
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.
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank You.

What was the pilot's name?
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:icon914four:
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.
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:iconzulumike:
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.
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:icon914four:
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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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Also went back read about him, it concurs with your statement, thanks.
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:icon914four:
914four Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I have many first and second world war books, but Wikipedia is so much faster :-)
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
True, I base a lot of my references, including photos also when building an artwork composition.
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:iconthefailmaster:
thefailmaster Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
wow, that's a very interesting description there
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank You, a piece of history I found interesting.
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:iconrekalnus:
Rekalnus Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Really illustrates the fragile nature of these craft as we come up on the 100th anniversary of their use. Brave mixed heavily with foolish.
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I am still amazed that the Brtish did not issue parachutes to their pilots. How many could have been saved?

Also it was not until 1917 that they improved on the armament. The early years they relied on small caliber bullets piercing holes in the balloon then maybe the tracers would ignite the hydrogen gas. In 1917 the incinderary .45 caliber bullet was introdued. The French also developed rockets in 1918 and were banned after the war.

The early aircraft were light and fragile because the engines were developing slowly as far as increase in horsepower. The Spad was a heavy plane that could take punishment but it had a powwerful engine for its day.

The P-47 was a perfect example of a heavy well protected aircraft with a powerful engine that was noted for survivability yet fast,
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:icontripehound:
Tripehound Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Sorry to butt in, but I can't help but try to imagine the emotion that would have been felt by the aircrew, on seeing those in the balloons use parachutes, while knowing full well that they had none themselves.

The British did not issue parachutes because they were considered an unnescessary extra weight.
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Unofficially the reason was given in a report by British Air Board that was not published at the time: "It is the opinion of the board that the presence of such an apparatus might impair the fighting spirit of pilots and cause them to abandon machines which might otherwise be capable of returning to base for repair." However, the Royal Flying Corps did decide to use them to drop Allied spies behind enemy lines.

Pilots such as Major Mick Mannock became increasingly angry about the decision to deny British pilots the right to use parachutes. He pointed out that by 1917 they were being used by pilots in the German Airforce, French Army Air Service and the United States Air Service Instead of carrying parachutes, RFC pilots carried revolvers instead. As Mannock explained, unable to carry a parachute, he had a revolver "to finish myself as soon as I see the first signs of flames." Ultimately Mannock would go down in flames.
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:iconputrick:
putrick Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2012
That doesn´t look good. Nicely done!
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank You, When I read about those "flaming onions" I knew I had to do an aircraft being blown out of the sky. This was risky business by the aviators and the odds were stacked against them on "balloon busting".
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank You, I always thought it would be a piece of cake taking out a balloon, but the more I read it was not an easy target.
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:iconputrick:
putrick Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2012
The machine guns at the time probably couldn´t hit shit, unless you were very close and even at those speeds, margin for error was probably slim.
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The danger involved in attacking balloons was immense. The balloon ground parimeter was surrounded by AA and machine guns. Unlike normal AA fire directed at a passing plane that had to estimate altitude, AA fire protecting a balloon knew your altitude (same as the balloon plus a bit more) and could put up a lethal curtain of fire that you had to fly through.

If you got through the high explosive AA then you were probably low enough to attract ground fire from machine guns and rifles. Very dangerous, probably more so than the HE.

Finally there was the fighter cover. If you attacked the balloon you exposed you rear end to enemy fighters and effectively handed them an altitude advantage to go along with it. Also very dangerous.

Of the (76) balloons aces, during WW I 30% were killed, captured or wounded.
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:iconputrick:
putrick Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2012
Auch. Thx 4 sharing.
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:iconmedjugore:
Medjugore Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Done with GIMP!? i should truly reconsider my gimp view!
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
GIMP has worked for me for three years.

It has everything you need in my opinion and besides a lot more user friendly and its free. Cheers.
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:iconkanyiko:
kanyiko Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Very impressively done! ^_^

I guess "Fatal damage" is a very apt name in this case - RFC pilots of the time usually didn't carry parachutes, as it "encouraged cowardly behaviour" (or at least, so their commanders said).
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank You,

The RFC considered the aircraft more valuable than the pilot. He was expected to bring his damage plane home. Ernst Udet bailed out three times and lived to score many more victories.
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:iconkanyiko:
kanyiko Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Seemed to fit in with the logic of their Army counterparts - "throw enough sods in front of Fritz' machine guns, and we might actually win an inch or two of ground by the end of the day..."
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I often wonder how many pilots would have been saved if the pilots had been wearing these "cumbersome" parachutes.

The British pilots were even denied from purchasing their own parachute.
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:iconkanyiko:
kanyiko Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Perhaps a couple, but I think there would have been surprisingly few. Don't forget, the RFC lost an awful lot of pilots in take-off or landing accidents, and for those who died in combat, many would have been too low to use a parachute anyway, or would probably have been disabled from using theirs due to injuries sustained during their dogfights or encounters with enemy artillery.

And of course, even if they had managed to use their parachute - the unlucky ones who would have had to use them close to, or over the frontlines would probably have bought the farm anyway, either by being shot at by the opposing side, or by being unlucky enough to land in no-man's land...

Perhaps the parachutes might have been able to save one in five or one in ten, but certainly not much more.

And don't forget, of course, that the 'cumbersome' concern did have some validity in the beginning! Many aircraft designs of the time were barely powerful enough with all of the necessary hardware crammed in, so adding the weight of a parachute (15-20 kg per person) might have detracted even more from a marginal performance, enough to have a severe impact on the manoeuverability or speed, certainly in the case of some of the fighter designs. In the case of a Camel, for instance, a parachute would have accounted for about 9% of its payload, and in the case of a DH.9, 5%.

Not to mention that these early parachutes weren't as efficient or reliable as the ones we are used to - something the pilots of the Luftstreitkräfte found out to their cost...

Still, even if only a tenth of the RFC's losses could have been saved, that would still account to about 950 men...
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:iconpanzerlin:
Panzerlin Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Very well done. I love how this turned out! :D
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank You, Cheers.
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:iconaviatorgriffin:
AviatorGriffin Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Oh WOW! This is really well done! The damage to the wings and the fuselage look amazing, and the way it looks with the wing folding in is just awesome!
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank You, glad you like it.

This is initially set up by many "takes" or screenshots by flying this scene in "Rise of Flight" game. However, final editing and painting still takes some time for the final edit.
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:iconaviatorgriffin:
AviatorGriffin Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
huh, well either way it looks very nice!
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Aprreciate the feedback, Thanks.
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:iconaviatorgriffin:
AviatorGriffin Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
No problem!
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Submitted on
September 22, 2012
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6.5 MB
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4200×3150
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Camera Data

Make
OLYMPUS OPTICAL CO.,LTD
Model
C2000Z
Shutter Speed
10/5000 second
Aperture
F/4.0
Focal Length
19 mm
ISO Speed
100
Date Taken
Feb 23, 2002, 6:52:21 PM
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Paint.NET v3.5.10
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