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Old 27 November 2009, 10:46 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Siemens-Schuckert D. III/IV in Switzerland

Hello everyone

I'm a new guy and although I've never built WW1 plane before, I have quite some experience in scratch building WW1 vehicles.
I have just ordered the new Roden SSW D.III kit and - as I live in Schaffhausen in Switzerland – I am very interested in the two SSW D.IIIs that both landed near my hometown in November 13th 1918.

Until now I found just some miscellaneous information in that foum, i.E. …

SSW D. III, No 8356/17, Kest 4b or 5
Fritz Beckhardt / white swastika / landed near Rapperswil

SSW D. III, No 8356/17, Kest ?
? / Totenkopf / landed ?

SSW D. III, No 8344/17, Kest ?
Arnold Eger / ? / landed near Schaffhausen


SSW D. III, No 1618/18, , Kest ?
Arnold Eger / ? / landed near Schaffhausen


Could someone provide me with further information or links?
Thanks!
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Old 27 November 2009, 12:26 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hello There,

Welcome to the Forum!

According to my late friend Peter Grosz, on November 12 and 13, 1918, twelve German pilots (at least some of them from Kest 5) landed their aircraft in Switzerland to avoid having to hand them over to the Allies. Peter states that this is SSW D.III 8356/17, and was flown by pilot Lange of Kest 5. It appears here with its German markings painted over with Swiss insignia:


Here is a better known photo of the same machine, showing the rudder now entirely (?) overpainted in red with a white cross.


As for the swastika-marked machine, it was reportedly flown by Fritz Beckhardt of Kest 5. Some of our members on this forum know considerably more about that machine than I do, so I'll leave it to them to comment.
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Old 28 November 2009, 04:55 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thank a lot, Greg

According to the book “Die Flugzeuge der Schweizerischen Fliegertruppe seit 1914” there were two SSW D.III’s and one SSW D.IV that landed in November 1918 in Switzerland.

Unfortunately my English isn’t as good as it should be, so I’m not sure if I understand everything right, and whether that older thread comes to annother conclusion …

Kest 5 SSW D.III markings query


Form me it seems as if …
SSW D.III, No 8356/17 was flown by pilot Lange of Kest 5 (black overpainted fuselage and also carried a skull and cross bones)


But what’s about the second D.III and the D.IV mentioned above?
There must further be a picture of the second D III without its wings on a flatcar.

Cheers, Peter
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Old 28 November 2009, 05:54 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Hello all,

@Greg: thanks for sharing this wonderful sharp photos!

The first photo was also published in [IFW 4/1921] as part of a small article:
Quote:
"Siemens" Jagdflugzeug D 4 der schweizerischen Fliegertruppe. Die in der Schweiz erscheinende Zeitschrift "La Suisse aérienne" bringt unter der Ueberschrift "Unser Titelbild" folgende Beschreibung des "Siemens"-Jagdflugzeuges:
Dieses kurz vor dem Waffenstillstand in Deutschland an der Front erschienene Jagdflugzeug war wohl das vollkommenste, was während des Krieges im Jagdflugzeugbau geleistet wurde. Ausgerüstet ist diese Maschine mit dem Siemens - Halke - Umlaufmotor von 160 PS. Die Steigfähigkeit ist eine außerordentliche. Bei den Abnahmeflügen wurden 6000 m in 15 Minuten, 8100 m in 36 Minuten erreicht. Der Motor ist ein überkomprimierter Umlaufmotor von 11 Zylindern (der einzige seiner Art).
In seinem Aufbau gleicht das Siemens-Flugzeug mit wenigen Abänderungen den normalen Typen der Jagdflugzeuge. Es ist ausgerüstet mit zwei motorgekuppelten Maschinengewehren. Hervorgehoben sei noch die große Bruchfestigkeit, die bei den Sturz- und Rückenflügen, ausgeführt mit dieser Maschine, die geforderten Daten weit überstieg.
Das Flugzeug wurde im November 1918 in der Schweiz interniert und im Frühjahr 1920 von Deutschland der Eidgenossenschaft überlassen.
Die Maschine hat im Laufe dieses Jahres eine gründliche Revision erfahren und soll demnächst unsern Jagdlliegern, die sich leider in einige wenige solcher Flugzeuge verschiedenster Art teilen müssen, zur Verfügung gestellt werden.
Cheers, Marcus
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Old 28 November 2009, 06:53 AM   #5 (permalink)
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What an inexpensive way to equip one's air force?
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Old 28 November 2009, 08:16 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Hi There,

Maze, thanks so much for sharing that information!

In the Peter M. Grosz collection, there was also this photo of the Totenkopf-marked D.III. It would appear that this was taken at Kest 5 prior to the war's end, as it seems to show a German pilot (maybe Lange?) with his teddy bear mascot,and a Fokker D.VI in the background. Unfortunately, the top edge of the fuselage was clumsily retouched on the original photo.


Here is the swastika-marked machine of Fritz Beckhardt. If I'm not mistaken, Beckhardt was a member of Kest 5 at this time. If you'll do a forum archives search, you can find out quite a bit about Beckhardt. This shows the machine in Switzerland, somewhat the worse for wear:


There may be a problem with assigning the serial 8356/17 to the Totenkopf-marked machine. I wonder if Peter may have been slightly confused by references in the Swiss archives? The problem is, here is another Kest 5 SSW D.III interned in Switzerland. The original caption from Peter stated THIS was 8356/17 - and if you look close, the number marked on the wheel cover does indeed seem to be 8356, though the final digit is unclear. The unknown pilot's personal marking was based on the epaulette badge of his former unit. In the old "Profile Publication" on the SSW D.III and D.IV, this Peter Grosz photo is indeed captioned as showing 8356/17.


I would be interested in hearing what can be found in Swiss archives about these aircraft.
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Old 28 November 2009, 10:40 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Hi Greg et al.

According to the contemporaneous Swiss Army’s internal report dated “den 22. November 1918“: on 13.11.18 four pilots [Gustav MICHELS, Hans WEISSBACH, Ernst BRANTIN and FRITZ BECKHARDT], all belonging to Kest 5, landed at Rapperswil in three aircraft.

BECKHARDT’S landing is recorded in that report as, “auf Flugzeug: S.Scht. 8356/1917”.

Quote:
"But what’s about the second D.III and the D.IV mentioned above?"
Peter. According to the same report, the other two Siemen Schuckerts, (both of which landed at Schaffhaussen on 13.11.18), were flown by Heinrich DEMBOWSKY in 1618/18, and Arnold EGER in 8344/17, both from KEST 5. Neither, needless to say, was flown by pilot Lange.


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Last edited by mikec; 28 November 2009 at 12:23 PM.
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Old 28 November 2009, 11:30 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks for that very interesting info, Mike!! I was hoping you would join in here.

It's appreciated.

Greg
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Old 28 November 2009, 01:32 PM   #9 (permalink)
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At first I would like to thank you. I really appreciate our interesting informations and those beautiful pictures.
Unfortunately I am not so familiar with serial numbers yet. Does that mean 8344/17 flown by Arnold Eger was a D. III and 1618/18 flown by Heinrich DEMBOWSKY was eventually a D.IV? And if so, which one was the Totenkopf-marked machine and which that with the elaborate Monogram?

Annother question: I read somewhere, that the Totenkopf-machine was an early production version that later had been brought up to later modification standards. What had been modified?

Peter
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Old 28 November 2009, 01:47 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gregvan View Post
Thanks for that very interesting info, Mike!! I was hoping you would join in here.

It's appreciated.

Greg
You're welcome, Greg.

Following a hunch, does anyone know anything about the pilot for 8358/17 described elsewhere on this site in the following terms.

Quote:
SSW D.III 8358/17, delivered on 19th April 1918,
After rebuilt by Siemens delivered to Kest 5 on 10th Aug. 1918
I cheerfully admit I know next to nothing about WW1 aviation, but given that Kest 5 seems to have decamped substantially to Switzerland at war's end, it occurs to me that possibly 8358 was misread for 8356 by Peter Grosz, or whoever. It might explain the mystery, since in an old photo 8 and 6 might be easily confusable.

So proceeding from that conjecture, is there any known reason why the Lange plane couldn't in fact have been 8358/17? In other words, is 8358 otherwise accouunted for?

Mike.
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Last edited by mikec; 28 November 2009 at 02:06 PM.
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