That the inhabitants of the Crater had a weapon that could aim on a flying animal should give the readers a hint that these monks were more than mere monks. Of course, fixing a high caliber weapon to the saddle is a refinement that, in a more recent age, gave birth to the conventional combat airplane, which, in turn, evolved into the real fighter plane.
When the pilot Roland Garros shot down his first airplane in 1915, his opponents – both upset and incredulous – said they couldn’t figure out how he did it. He shot down two more this way, worrying victories for his opponents. When his Morane-Saulnier L had to land on enemy ground due to a malfunction, the mystery was solved: Garros had a machine gun mounted on the hood that shot through the barrel of the airscrew and didn’t blow it apart because a piece of steel deflected the bullets that coincided with the propellers. The Germans immediately called Anthony Fokker, who in a matter of days designed his own system to synchronize machine gun and airscrew.
This is Roland Garros’ deflector mounted in a Morane-Saulnier N, an exceptional monoplane that helped rule the air during the French monopoly of the Garros system. It proved superior to anything.
And this is the Fokker E III, dubbed “The Whip” due to the absolute supremacy it achieved during 1915 because its machine gun was synchronized with the airscrew. This lasted until its opponents devised their own synchronization system.