Our Fighting Forces #60: "Balloon For A Hawk!"

Our Fighting Forces #60
"Balloon For A Hawk!"
March - April, 1961

Script: Bob Haney
Art: Russ Heath

Early in the war, an American pilot enlisted in a French squadron. 

In order to conceal his nervousness, the pilot decides to make a dramatic
entrance at the French air base.  WHIIIP!  The American flips his brand
new Spad over in a double roll, with the Chanclair Aerodome heading up
towards him at full speed.  The pilot lands his humble craft on the
ground... and figures that the French pilots will be impressed by his
American antics.  Colonel Jacques, the French commander was far from
being impressed.  If he is to beat the Hawk, it will not be with stunts.
The colonel figures that the Americans are fine fighters on land and sea,
but this is the first war to be fought in the sky.  Seeing the medals on
the commander's uniform for downing many Fokkers drew silent respect from
the pilot.  Jacques could only wonder what the American would have in
store for him and his men.

Although the French pilots in Chanclair Squadron did not speak, the new
recruit guessed that they were measuring his chances against the Hawk.
The evening found the French wingmen playing a new game.  Each man would
throw darts at the balloons representing an enemy Fokker, with the big
red one being the Hawk himself.  The American takes careful aim... POP!
It is a bull's-eye, but he knows that his fellow pilots are just trying
to build up his confidence.  The morning finds the pilot in his craft,
awaiting the signal to soar off with his squadron.  He is determined to
prove his worth in the sky, and for all the other American pilots who
will follow him.

A lone Fokker appears overhead... The Hawk!  With the plane in his
sights, the American opens fire... RATATAT!  In the blink of an eye, the
Fokker has disappeared, but an entire staffel have come in its place.
Instead of flying into a crossfire, the enemy planes pass him by.  RATAT!
BWEE!  The pilot discovers to his dismay that the Hawk had been
following him on his tail. 

TATATAT!  RATATAT!  Although he tries to turn several times, the American
is but a clay pigeon in the Hawk's sights.  RATAT!  RATATAT!  The enemy
pilot grins... RATTATATAT-TAT!  With his plane hit, the American's craft
is now in a dive, but his squadron have come to the rescue.  RATAT!

WHEEEEE!  The American pilot's chance to show what he could do in the sky
was over before he had even started.  Two hands manage to pull the
wounded craft from its dive.  WHOOOOSH!  It made its way over mud and
hedges through No Man's Land... to return to Chanclair Field... SCREEE!
When he awakens, the lieutenant is greeted by Colonel Jacques, and is
grounded immediately.  Although he still wants to prove his worth, the
commander tells him that the Yanks will help beat the enemy on the
ground.  Now from his hospital bed, the young pilot can only look up at
the sky, and know that it will be a while before the Americans get their
chance to fly in the air.

Although he is able to bring down the red balloon with a dart, the
American knows that getting the Hawk will be more difficult.  WHAM!  As
the pilot makes his way along the field, he sees a landing Spad get shot
down by the Hawk.  The sight of the downed craft causes the lieutenant to
enter another Spad, and use it as another chance to prove the Yanks's
right to fight in the air.  BRATAT!  TATTATAT  Although he opens up on
the Hawk, the enemy pilot is able to maneuver his craft out of the way
with ease.

BRATAT!  The sky was their field of battle, with the Hawk able to remain
out of the American's sights, and not returning fire.  RATATAT!  The
lieutenant discovers to his horror that they were now over the Hawk's
field.  KRUMP!  As the Spad makes a pancake landing, the Amerikaner pilot
is taking prisoner, and is given an unfavorable assessment by the Hawk
himself.  Struck by the enemy pilot's words, he makes a break for it, and
the Hawk instructs his men not to open fire.  CRACK!  The lieutenant ran
to the only unguarded area on the field... a balloon.

CREEEK!  The next moment finds him casting off, and heading upwards...
until his ascent is stopped by a cable.  RATAT!  Swinging the machine gun
around, the pilot decides that it's time for a balloon against Hawk.  The
Fokker flew by so closely that the lieutenant could see the Hawk's
grin...  RATAT!  RATAT!  Instead of a game of darts, the American was
hanging for his life from a balloon.  BRATATTA!  With the Hawk tearing
the large balloon bit by bit, the enemy pilot's playful antics work
against him... RATATAT!  ZINNG!  VIIP!  SNAP!  The cable is cut and the
balloon is now free!

RATATAT!  Even though he is now free, the lieutenant wondered what a
balloon could do against the Hawk?  RATATAT!  With the sand pouring out
of the bags, the balloon is lightened, and is sent even higher.  The
Fokker's bullets find their target, and the balloon is now on fire.  As
the gas leaves the wounded bag, the balloon falls from the sky...

THUNNG!  The flames are blown out by the fall, with the balloon caught in
a tree branch, and the Hawk coming down to inspect his handiwork.
RATATAT!  The Fokker's bullets filled the sky with red, but the American
kept his hands on the hot grips of the machine gun.  RATAT!  RATAT RATAT!
RATTATATTA  While the Hawk continued to grin his deadly grin, the
lieutenant continued to fire... a balloon for a Hawk!  RATATRATATAT!

WHAAOOOM  For the American pilot, it's as if the sun itself turns his
world bright-red.  Sometime later, the lieutenant comes out of a fog, and
sees the smiling faces of the French pilots.  He has proven to them that
Yanks can fight anywhere.  From the skies to the trees.  The colonel
presents him with a souvenir on his victory against the Hawk... a red

This story was reprinted in Star Spangled War Stories #146 (August -
September, 1969).

For some reason, the splash page from the original story was not used in
the reprint.

The American pilot had a lot of sand when he took on the Hawk, but the
lieutenant bagged him in the end.

Steve Chung
"Balloon For A Review!"