The Kia ora coo-ee : the magazine for the ANZACS in the Middle East, 1918
We were lying peacefully on our backs under the protecting shade of a prickly thingumie tree, mostly wooing Morpheus, when a rapid series of reverberating reports, six in number, drove a little consciousness into our reposing brains. A few seconds later a corresponding number of reports, muffled by distance into fuzzy pops, proclaimed "Archie".
"Taube", dreamily remarked Joe, with his customary verbosity. "Aiwa", agreed Dick, from the velvety depths of somnolent ennui. Stirred into a semblance of interest, those who could see without the fatigue of twisting watched the shrapnel and H.E. explosions making fairy traceries against the solid blue.
"See'im?" asked Joe.
"M'hm," Old Bill replied.
"Near the shots?"
"Arf a mile, seven o'clock."
"Rotten shots, 'Archies' ".
"Not too much of the rotten, lad," grunted Old Bill, warmly, in defence of the gunners.
"Never hit 'em, anyway", retorted Joe, rising on his elbows.
"That's 'cos the 'Archies' aint developed enough", explained Old Bill.
"Room, for inventions for knockingTaubes,"the almost inaudible comment escaped Dick. "W'y don't you invent somethin', Bill?"
"I might, too, easy", hinted Old Bill, darkly.
"You'd think they'd be able to invent somethin' decent, wouldn't you?", commented Jim, with a prodigious yawn.
"Somethin' like your mouth for 'em to fall into, for instance," said Joe, unkindly.
Jim refused to acknowledge the remark, and continued:
"I was just thinkin'; if they could get a big bomb and send it up on a small balloon on a long string, so that when a Taube bumped into it he'd come down in feathers."
"Huh!" Old Bill snorted contemptuously. "Just as if they wouldn't see it, an' dodge it".
Jim didn't like his idea being so ruthlessly trampled into the dust, and rose to defend it.
"Well", he further explained, "you could tie a sausage to it, and, as most of the Taube pilots are Huns, they'd naturally smell it and gravitate to it."
"There y' are; that's a decent shot," exclaimed Old Bill. "Those gunners ain't too crook, considerin'."
"I tell you what would be bonzin', though," broke in Joe. "if they could get a lot o' big, extra powerful magnets, and stick 'em up on high posts, that'd draw 'em down, an' they'd get stuck on 'em."
"No, but I'll just tell you what I reckon would be a practical idea", Old Bill began again with ponderous carelessness. "Instead of using shrapnel in the antis, they orter have a long shell, an' have a lot o' pig-nets— well, not exactly pig-nets, but strong rope
nets—an' have a lot o' fish-hooks or somethin' like that on 'em, an' on the top edge a lot o' little balloons with chunks o' lead on the bottom edge to keep it upright; so that, when the shell busted, it 'ud fling out all these nets an' some of 'em 'ud be sure to get stuck in the Taubes' propellors, an', of course, down they'd come."
Old Bill swelled visibly as he finished explaining his great idea.
"It's an urgent necessity", he reflected as no one evinced a desire to challenge his idea or agree with it, ''its an urgent necessity that somethin' be done to stop those Taubes."
At the moment a sinister hum developed into a nerve-tearing, pulsating "zzzzZZZZ!" that seemed to be heading straight for us.
"Strikes me", yawned Alf, partly aroused from comatose by the metallic visitors, "that there's a long sight more need for the invention of a steel umbrella with a rubber top, to deaden any noise likely to wake a bloke who hasn't slept for a month...." and his voice trailed away into soft silence.