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Old 8 February 2008, 02:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
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When was Allmenroder actually shot down?

The present wisdom in regards the death of the 30 vic Jasta 11 ace generally runs as follows: As acting staffelfuhrer Karl Allmenroder was shot down and killed at 0945 on 27 Jun 17 (date given in all official documents). Some sources have given a long range shot by a British pilot, others that his a/c was hit by AA when returning from an airfight; that his Albatros crashed a complete wreck in front of German positions at Klien Zillebeke (this is 2.5 km SE of Zillebeke on road to Zandevoorde). As the story goes, that night a patrol went out into no-mans-land and recovered his body. Thereafter following a funeral parade (Courtrai?) he was buried in his home town of Wald near Solingen. There is also an interesting 1938 account to be found in Neal O'Connor's 'Aviation Awards of Imperial Germany...' Appendix XIX. An account from the viewpoint of a soldier of Bav Res Inf Rgt 6 holding the line at Klein Zillebeke. This tells of an airfight apparently on the morning of the 27th with British a/c, in which Allmenroder pursued a smoking British a/c across the lines, only to come under AA fire as he recrossed the lines - to spin and crash 200m from British lines.

Now there is no evidence I am aware of which indicates any British losses or indeed any airfighting on the 27th prior to the late afternoon. My suspicion being bad weather.

Now if one takes a latteral approach then the details of Allmenroder's downing actually fit the events of his 30th luftseige on the late evening of the 26th. This occured after a patrol from 1 Sqn dived on a 6 strong formation of Albatros scouts - mostly painted red - at 2100(BT) over Becelaere. In the ensuing combat Allmenroder downed Lt CC Steert (KIA) who's Nieup B1649 crashed in the second line of British trenches near Ypres. Allmenroder's victim is listed as a Nieuport 'jenseits' Ypres 2200(GT).

Now it is interesting that 2Lt Reeves claimed a 'yellow' scout OOC in this engagement, whilst Sgt GP Olley - let me quote the CR: "..I attacked a red scout with a four bladed propellor and dived on him and fired at 30 yards range. After manoeuvering for position I again dived on him and fired the remainder of the drum at close range. The EA went down rolling over and over, I was unable to see it crash owing to the presence of other EA."

Now if I may be allowed some speculation, could it be that Allmenroder was actually shot down on the evening of the 26th - sent down by Olley and finished off by AA? That the 0945 on 27 June represents the time either of Allmenroder's expiery or the the reporting of his death by the patrol that was sent out on the night of 26/27 june?

Moreover could the unreconciled G55 Alb DV 2129/17 reported on 16 Jul 17 actually be his a/c. The date merely reflecting when a British patrol was able to inspect the wreck?
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Old 9 February 2008, 01:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Time

Bonjour Russ

Interesting. Of course, many a theory is based upon or refuted by the notation of a time that someone made with precision or with abandon. I wonder would Allmenröder have flown a sortie that did not end until after 22:00 on the 26th and a mission that began before 9:45 on the 27th ... perhaps someone with great knowledge of Jasta 11 would know whether a pilot would fly the last mission of one day and then the first mission following.

Do you have the book The Imperial German Eagles In World War I by Bronnenkant? A book to hasten the beating of the heart of any Germanophile! Much information is provided about the death of Allmenröder.

Included is a letter written by Manfred von Richthofen to Wilhelm Allmenröder which includes a passage that can only cause controversy: "Yesterday, dear Carl fell in aerial combat. A triplane shot from 800 meters away. Actually, one can hardly say he was involved in a fight ... 800 meters!". That is not proof that that supposition made by Collishaw was correct, but, the similarity of description is uncanny. Specific details as to time and location are not included by von Richthofen but further information imparted includes the following: "The plane swung around in the direction of Germany. Carl throttled back quite a bit and the machine fell ever more steeply into a nosedive. It dove straight down to the earth from 2,000 meters. It is assumed that he was mortally wounded and lost conciousness immediately. The fight was close behind the lines and the airplane smashed into no-man's land. He flew a D.III, a good, old, proven machine".

It would seem that von Richthofen was traveling to or in Hamburg to visit the wounded Lothar von Richthofen at the time so the actual source or accuracy of the data is not known. Similar details are to be found in The Red Baron Combat Wing by Kilduff. Curses Russ, I have more to write ... or quote, but maintaining a modicum of the social graces means that the time before the monitor must end for the day.

I Hope To Return To The Sky Tomorrow
Salut!
Kirk
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Old 9 February 2008, 06:47 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Allmenroder down

Kirk

Thanks for your comments. No I don't have the said book by Lance Bronnenkant. Glad to hear it warms the heart of Germanophiles. One would gather then, that it milks well worn convictions? I've fingured through 'Red Baron Combat Wing' but its just an English translation of JIHF. Much of that info is in the old Harlyford's 'Von Richthofen and the Flying Circus'. Actually got to see a copy of the original 1930's JIHF in the library of the Aust War Museum - but as my German was not too good, I only photo copied the claim / loss data at the end.

Yeah aware of the old Collishaw connection, but the bottom line as I see it; is that I can find no evidence of any airfighting on the morning of 27 June. It all kicks off in the late afternoon. I wonder if the 800 m, actually reflected the distance Allmenroder was away from his Jasta mates. MvR of course would have been relying on a call from Js 11 for details.

It is also likely he was flying a DIII, I think #2129 could reflect a DIII serial, possibly the DV identification for G 55 owes a lot to a more modern hand. The same type of hands who routinely change the Combat Report identifications like 'Albatros Scout' & 'EA scout' to Albatros DIII & DV in many modern books - similarly the likes of 'Sopwith-1' in German reports all too often become Camels. The intention is well meaning, but it can lead to confusion.

Would like to hear more.

Cheers
Russ
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Old 9 February 2008, 11:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RussGannon View Post
"..I attacked a red scout with a four bladed propellor..."
RussG
Enemy a/c identification often being imprecise, the above observation struck my curiosity: How easy is it to distinguish a (rotating) 4-bladed prop from a 2-bladed one?
CC
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Old 10 February 2008, 08:39 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Bonjour

crankcase

I wonder if the engine of the Albatros described was damaged and thus the propellor was turning at reduced revolutions and thereby creating the impression of having four blades ... would such an illusion be created by that circumstance?

Russ

To continue from where interrupted by those who insist on recognizing the here and now rather than conceiving of the there and then ... Bronnenkant includes further details from the article that was printed in the Wuppertal newspaper that was quoted by Neal O' Connor which describe effort to retrieve the body of Allmenröder. Four men under the command of an n.c.o., Reinhold Boxberger, left for and arrived at the site of the crashed aircraft on the evening of the June 29. Bronnenkant, offering a summation of the article, wrote "The wrecked airplane's wings and tail section dotted the landscape in fragments, but the engine and cockpit were buried deep in the earth. To make matters worse, the plane had crashed in the middle of a war cemetery that contained corpses from the 1916 campaigns, and the smell and fumes threatened to overcome Boxberger and his team. The nevertheless began removing the soil on either side of the buried cockpit until they reached their goal over two hours later". Following further travails the body of Allmenröder was retrieved and awards were distributed to the members of the party. Obviously the impact of the aircraft into the earth was great. Does the description of the remains match what is know about G.55 Russ?

I referred to another source, the all but useless tome the Pour le Mérite and Germany's First Aces by Angolia and Hackney. The book is essentially a translation of Zwei Generation Luftwaffe by Roeingh which was a serialized publication published in 1941 ... it is easy to imagine the prose style of that ... Nonetheless, despite the disparaging comments, a statement about the death of Allmenröder may be worth quoting: "On the day that he achieved his 30th victory, 27th June 1917, while attempting to down his second kill for the day, he became the victim. A British fighter maneuvered into position, fired, and Allmenroeder's plane was seriously hit. The young Leutnant crashed in the no-man's land between British and German positions". Obviously the statement is based on German sources. What is interesting is the reference to the "second kill for the day". The contradiction with accepted data is, of course that the last victory was made on the 26th and the death occurred on the 27th ... was Allmenröder actually sent down following the final victory?

Russ, I do not know if the information provided is actually of any use in proving the theory put forth, but, it is evident that some German sources believe that Allmenröder was initially sent down as a result of aerial combat and there may be some confusion involving dates.

Salut!
Kirk

Last edited by Kirk R. Lowry; 10 February 2008 at 11:56 AM. Reason: Adding punctuation for the pause that refreshes
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Old 10 February 2008, 05:00 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Allmenroder Down

Kirk

Many thanks for the additional details. The 1941 account tends to add weight to my Sgt Olley / 26 June scenerio. Obviously the German accounts favour 27 June, but my experience is that records can be wrong from time to time in regards dates and times.

G 55 is an anomaly - there is very little data about it aside from the a/c serial number and the 16 Jul 17 date. No British claims or German loss details for the said date can account for it. But I've long suspected that the dates given with G No's reflect the date when the downed German planes was examined. One will find quite a few G Numbers noting downed Fokker DVII's and other a/c in the final months without any apparent matching German loss. Suspect they represents wrecks of earlier downing's which the advancing British troops - this includes the Canadian Divisions and they were inexorably driving the Germans back from 8 Aug 18 onwards - would come across.

Again thanks for your imput.

Russ
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Old 11 February 2008, 07:56 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RussGannon View Post
Kirk
It is also likely he was flying a DIII, I think #2129 could reflect a DIII serial, possibly the DV identification for G 55 owes a lot to a more modern hand. The same type of hands who routinely change the Combat Report identifications like 'Albatros Scout' & 'EA scout' to Albatros DIII & DV in many modern books - similarly the likes of 'Sopwith-1' in German reports all too often become Camels. The intention is well meaning, but it can lead to confusion.
Cheers
Russ
Regarding the D III vs. D V question, I spent a fair amount of time going through Albatros datafiles and other sources and compiled a spreadsheet with German Serial numbers and aircraft types. On my spreadsheet 2129/17 was assigned to an Albatros D V but 2129/16 was assigned to an Albatros D III.
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Old 11 February 2008, 08:08 AM   #8 (permalink)
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MvR's letter is interesting. My understanding is that although Collishaw did not make a claim, a squadron colleague, who had been shot down the previous day, and was in the area, was informed by one of his captors that Allmenroder had been shot down by a triplane. Right or wrong, clearly at one point more than one German thought Allmenroder was shot down!
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Old 11 February 2008, 02:17 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Yes, that tale was related by Gerald Nash who was sent down wounded (in a controversial action that would be best dealt with on an individual thread) by Carl Allmenröder to become a prisoner of war on June 25. Days later tolling church bells induced an enquiry and he was told, to quote The Fighters by Funderburk, "that Allmenröder had been shot down by one of the Black Flight Triplanes". After the conclusion of hostilities Nash related the story to Raymond Collishaw who assumed that a burst fired at an Albatros was responsible for the demise of Allmenröder.

However, the incident is known to have occurred following an inconclusive action with a two seat aircraft at 18:10. We know that Allmenröder was dead by 9:45 ... and, if the supposition by Russ is correct, the day before. Thus it was not Collishaw who was responsible (and did not file a claim such a victory), nor another pilot from Naval 10 as the first sortie of the day was not made until the afternoon ... which also indicates that the weather may have prevented flying in the morning.

Perhaps it was a triplane flown by another squadron which led Manfred von Richthofen to make the statement ...

Salut!
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Old 11 February 2008, 07:13 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Allmenroder Down

Kirk, D Filsell & Alien (love your movies)

Thanks for all the imput. The mudied pool looks a little less murky.

Many thanks

Russ

Last edited by R Gannon; 11 February 2008 at 07:14 PM. Reason: correction to D Filsell's user name.
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