124th Squadron, also known as Lafayette Escadrille or Escadrille Américaine, was a group of volunteer American pilots working alongside the French military at Ravenelle, near the Western Front during World War I. They flew with a series of old planes given by the French and the longest any reconnaissance photographer had lasted with the squadron had been eight days before Indiana Jones broke the record by surviving his two-week temporary assignment with the group in 1917.
History[edit | edit source]
Indiana Jones was sent to join Lafayette Escadrille temporarily by the French Secret Service in February, 1917. During his first day there, Indy met his old friend, Hobey Baker, and Charles Nungesser who boasted that he just shot down Lothar von Richtoffen, the brother of Baron Manfred von Richthofen.
After learning that his predecessors' survival record was eight days, Indy got his first taste of the dangers involved in flying low over enemy territory when General Robert Nivelle needed photos taken of a reported arms build up at a railroad yard in Hamme, about 40 kilometers behind the enemy lines. Indy flew with Harold Green in a Sopwith two-seater, covered by Hobie and Carl Wellman, while the rest of the squadron made a diversionary patrol over Sector 2. Jones managed to get the photos taken, but a squadron of German fighters attacked them and their plane was hit. They were forced to make an emergency landing in German territory, only to be captured by Manfred von Richthofen.
Back at the 124th Squadron base, the other men reported in and Baker immediately headed back to search for Indy and Green. He found Indy escaping German capture and the two arrived back at the base just as a German plane dropped a challenge to Charles Nungesser by von Richthofen. Nungesser accepted the challenge and asked Indy to accompany him to take photos of his victory.
The next day Indy flew with Hobey as they and Nungesser headed off. Nungesser managed to hit von Richthofen, but a full German squadron suddenly attacked them and Nungesser was shot down. Indy and Hobey returned to the base and developed the film which confirmed that Nungesser had shot down von Richthofen. Nungesser was brought back to the base having been rescued from No Man's Land where his plane crashed. Nungesser said goodbye to Indy as he headed for Paris, but promised return in time to return Indy to the city when his assignment was up.
Indy managed to survive on many reconnaissance missions over the next week, but on the last day of his assignment the squad was called in by Raoul Lufbery and told about a possible new German airfield that intelligence had learned of. They believed it to be the home-base of recent night bombings that had been made by the Germans. Indy was ordered to fly with Hobey and capture pictures of the airfield to determine exactly its location.
The 124th Squadron flew over the enemy lines and Indy got the pictures, but von Richthofen and a squadron of German fighters attacked. looking for revenege, Richthofen shot up Indy and Hobie's plane and they began to plummet towards the ground. At the last minute they managed to pull out of their fall and landed the plane back at the base.
When Indy prepared to leave, he was told by Hobey and Raoul that President Woodrow Wilson had declared war on Germany bringing America into the war and as a consequence, the 124th squadron was to be turned over to the Americans. Indy explained that he just hoped he never had to fly again.
Members[edit | edit source]
- Tex Adams
- Hobey Baker
- David Balfour
- Ricky Eyres
- Tom Fallon
- Harold Green
- Len Hall
- Blade Hollister
- Indiana Jones / Henri Defense
- Nick Laws
- Raoul Lufbery
- Steve Nash
- Charles Nungesser
- Pat Redfield
- Greg Sohrweide
- Peter Walpole
- Carl Wellman
- Whiskey (Mascot)
Appearances[edit | edit source]
- The Mata Hari Affair
- The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles – "Young Indiana Jones and the Attack of the Hawkmen" → Attack of the Hawkmen
Sources[edit | edit source]
- The World of Indiana Jones
- Indiana Jones: The Ultimate Guide
- Flying High for France - The Lafayette Escadrille (Non-fiction source)