2. Below us the Front


February 1916

Franz Becker passes his pilot’s course, and is posted to a two-seater squadron in the East. He flies the slow, vulnerable biplane while his observer takes photographs, drops bombs, and defends them against Russian fighters with their only armament – a single machine-gun.

The war in the East is still one of movement, fought on the vast open plains. Germany’s main ally, Austria-Hungary, is unreliable, its forces undermined by internal conflict and dissent. The Front would collapse without the deployment of German troops, as Franz and his comrades are only too aware.

Life becomes even more precarious when the squadron is moved to the Western Front, where they meet more determined opposition from the French and English.

At the same time Franz’s closest friend, Karl von Leussow, is fighting for his life in the blood-soaked earth of Verdun.