Page:Air Service Boys over the Rhine.djvu/29

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19
ANXIOUS DAYS

send back messages by carrier pigeons which are carried on the craft.

By far the most dangerous work, however, is that of "relage" or fire control. This means that two men go up in a big machine that carries a large equipment. Their craft is heavy and unwieldy, and has such a spread of wing surface that it is not easily turned, and if attacked by a German Fokker has little chance of escape. A machine gun is carried for defense.

It is a function of those in the machine to send word back to the battery officers of the effect of the shots they are firing, that the elevation and range may be corrected. And those who go out on "relage" work are in danger not only from the fire of the enemy's batteries, but often, also, from their own.

Tom and Jack had their share of danger and glory during the week they were on duty following the receipt of the two pieces of news. They went up together and alone, and once, coming back from a successful trip over the enemy's lines, Tom's machine was struck by several missiles. His cheek was cut by one, and his metal stability control was severed so that his craft started to plunge.

Tom thought it was his end, but he grasped the broken parts of the control rod in one hand, and steered with the other, bringing his machine