What follows is a rather long
narrative of my attempts to identify an obscure, possibly field-made part for a Rumpler C. IV. The twists and turns might be fun for you who have been in the same boat before, so to speak.
Here are a top and bottom (but which is which?) view of a piece of wood measuring 12" x 13-½" which came with a note attached stating that it was a "Panel from German Rumpler C.IV plane shot down near St. Benoit Woevre, France by Battery B, 2nd aircraft battalion, C.A.C., 18 October 1918. George H. Brush, 1st Lt.CAC."
Dieter Groschel thought it might be a writing tablet for the observer in the rear cockpit and indicated that Rick Duiven lists a crew of FA(A) 203 Uffz Bruno Schulze and Oblt Halbritter (KUK) as POW on the same date.
Imagine my surprise when I came across these two (no, not Dieter and Rick, I mean Schulze and Halbritter) in the Gorrell records at the National Archives. Those records include a "Summary of Air Information" of the "G.H.Q., American E.F., Second Section, General Staff, Oct.22, 1918" pages 2 and 3 marked 147 and 148 (Roll 43, Gorrell), "Interrogation of a pilot belonging to the 203rd reconnaissance flight, and his passenger, an artillery officer," shown below.
The report states that a "Rumpler C. 4" was brought down by French anti-aircraft fire in the Bois de Vigneulles at 4pm on Oct. 18, 1918, and the crew were an N.C.O. pilot of the "203rd Reconnaissance Flight" and the passenger is a "first lieutenant of the Austro-Hungarian Heavy Artillery." The report does not state their names but the date and unit and type of aircraft are the same and in both cases the pilot is listed as an N.C.O. and the observer is Austro-Hungarian. In the interrogation summary credit is given to French anti-aircraft fire for bringing down the aircraft while the note with the artifact says that it was brought down by AEF artillery.
The interrogation report states the aircraft came down in the Bois de Vigneulles and the note with the artifact says that it came down "near St. Benoit Woevre." The map provided below by Dieter indicates that Bois de Vigneulles is just southeast of St. Benoit-en-Woevre by a fraction of a mile.
The location of the map is indicated by the yellow box overlaying the aerial photograph.
My research ended at this point with no definitive tie-in to the veteran who supposedly brought the artifact back, "George H. Brush." Then I came across the following on the web at airdefenseartillery.com:
THE ANTIAIRCRAFT SERVICE AT WAR
Battery B found its machine guns useful on several occasions. Sgt. Hugh A Miller and Pvt. Herbert E. Fears, manning two Hotchkiss guns, drove off a fighter attack on the guns on 6 October, and on 18 October 1st Lt. George H. Brush found that his machine gunners had hit a Rumpler C.IV thirteen times, although a piece of high-explosive. shell through the gas tank had actually brought the plane down. Battery B, manning guns of the Section 57 Demi-Fixe on alternate days with French gunners, was emplaced during that time to protect the 69th Balloon Company.121
I am next going to follow-up the footnote, 121, to see what it says.
If anyone has any ideas as to what part this could be, please let me know. I understand from my good friend, Marco Fernandez-Sommerau, that it does not appear in any Rumpler C.IV drawings, so it must be a field-made addition.