Book information



The Kaiser’s Yanks

One of the most fascinating subjects when studying history is the possibilities, the “what-ifs” of any event. The Kaiser’s Yanks takes a look at how some Americans may have been drawn into the First World War on the side of Germany. We tend to look at Germany through the eyes of their role in the next war, World War Two. But at the time the First World War broke out, Americans were NOT inclined toward the British. Animosity was still harbored toward “John Bull” and Americans were suspicious about British Imperialistic moves. Plus, there was strong support in the upper Midwest around the Great Lakes area for the Central Powers, particularly for Germany.
Those who enjoy early aviation, military history and gripping adventure will enjoy this novel that mixes historical fact with the possibility of American involvement that could have been.


The Kaiser’s Yanks – Chapter Thirty Four

Freidrich had just started looking around to see if they were still alone when out of nowhere two French SPAD 13’s dropped through a small patch of clouds above them. They were colored a pale tannish-yellow and Freidrich immediately noticed the emblem of the well known Storks fighter group painted on their sides, the lead SPAD also had a brilliant red, white and blue band around the fuselage under the stork emblem. The French aviators did not appear to have seen them as they continued to dive on the LVG. Jimmy wasted no time and banked sharply to the left, following the French airplanes down. Freidrich checked the sky all around them, looking to see if any other French fighters were above them and setting the two of them up for an ambush. When he saw no other airplanes, he dove hard on Jimmy’s tail.

The lead Frenchman swooped in on the LVG as its gunner, who fortunately was not caught off guard, took aim and fired several short bursts at the SPADs with his Parabellum machine gun. Friedrich saw bits of fabric snap off the Frenchman’s wings from the German gunner’s bullets, but the SPAD pilot never wavered, closed the distance, and poured a stream of fire at the German two-seater as it tried to maneuver out of the way.       

The LVG pilot, recognizing the danger, began to weave and oscillate the airplane so that the SPAD’s gunfire only struck portions of the rear fuselage and right wing. The two Frenchmen dove under the LVG with Jimmy and Freidrich hot on their tails. The rear Frenchman looked back and seemed startled to find two German fighters closing the distance on them. Friedrich could almost imagine the Frenchman’s shocked thought of Where did they come from? when the lead SPAD abruptly turned hard to the right and began to swing back around toward the approaching Albatros’ of Jimmy and Friedrich, his wingman flying off to the left. The French pilot hadn’t been able to get his nose far enough around to fire on them before they roared past and split; Jimmy rolling left to follow the wingman and Friedrich climbing to the right to cut off the other SPAD.

Norman Prince, Kiffin Rockwell, Raoul Lufbery, Bill Thaw, James McConnell, Bert Hall, and many young men like them from the New England region of the U.S., left the safety of neutral America in 1914-1915 and offered their services to France in her fight against Germany. They were motivated to repay France for French assistance during America’s Revolutionary War through Marquis de Lafayette, a French aristocrat and military officer who served in the Continental Army and aided in training and developing American troops into a fighting force.

Unbeknownst to them, nine American boys from the Midwestern states around the Great Lakes also left the safety of American Neutrality and offered their services to Imperial Germany. They were motivated by a desire to repay Prussian help during the American Revolution from General Freidrich Wilhelm von Steuben, a Prussian aristocrat and military officer who taught American recruits military drill and discipline and prepared them to fight the British Army. To honor the Prussian officer, the American squadron is named Jasta von Steuben by the Kaiser himself, in recognition of the American pilot’s service to Imperial Germany. This is the story of what might have been.

About the author

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Gary C. Warne is an avid aviation enthusiast and military historian with a keen interest in World War One. His initial interest was piqued when he learned both of his grandfathers served in the First World War. Since then, he has studied all aspects of history but found he was most passionate about World War One.

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