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Old 1 March 2008, 02:31 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Wolff's last days.

Forumites,
You may remember the threads in the past when the subject of the location of the Pionier Park at Nachtigal was discussed. I could not find the exact location of Nachtigal, which was given as north of Wervicq, because there was no Nachtigal given on a large scale contemporary map of the area. I found one just east of the Roulers to Menin road, but this could hardly be described as ‘north’ of Wervicq.
To try and solve this I consulted a very respected German researcher and he told me that this Nachtigal was a shelled area near a small railway station on the Menin to Geluwe road which the Germans called Nachtigal. (my italics) and that this is where the photos of Wolff in 102/17 were taken. He also said that a Pionierpark is only a small ‘stockground’ and not the location of a Pionierkompanie. I feel sure that the fact that the Germans only called this railway station Nachtigal would explain why it is not marked on the contemporary maps of the area.
However, this information - which I do not doubt - seems to me to throw up a couple of anomalies. This location of Nachtigal puts it within five miles of the front line, well within the range of allied artillery ( borne out by my source, who says it was a shelled area) yet none of the twenty or so soldiers surrounding the Wolff triplane are wearing any protective hats and seem very unconcerned about the possibility of being shelled. The landing of the Wolff triplane could hardly have been missed by the observers from the allied trenches and that would surely have led at least to the possibility of it being shelled, especially when surrounded by a large group of troops. Would their officers have allowed a large group of men to congregate around the triplane with this possibility in mind.
The other thing I find strange is the position of Wolff’s fatal crash on 15 September 1917. The contemporary records, JIFH and the Verlustliste, give this as north of Wervicq, only the Jasta 11 War Diary, I’m told, gives it specifically as Nachtigal north of Wervicq. Given the War Diary is correct, and I see no reason to doubt that it is, this means that of all the places that Wolff could have crashed after being shot down, he crashed at the self-same very small, minor location, where he had landed (for some unknown reason) and been photographed only a few days before. I find this a very strange coincidence.
Has anyone any thoughts or comments on these two points.

Sorry, the italics seemed to have disappeared. These should be 'shelled area' and 'called' in the second paragraph, and 'Nachtigal' in the last para.

Last edited by alex_revell; 1 March 2008 at 02:38 AM. Reason: No italics. Post pasted in.
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Old 1 March 2008, 05:39 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Alex,

"people man" historians often lacks essential knowledge of military history, knowledge which helps when writing about the Air War of WWI.

"Pionierpark is only a small stockground". That's wrong.

"Pionierpark means only a stockground, even a small one, and is not the location of a Pionierkompanie." (Even = selbst). A Pionierpark was a large depot for the Pioniereinheiten, but during a battle like the Flandernschlacht a lot of flexibility was in demand. Pionierparks were not "etatisiert".

A shelled area is not necessarily the battleground. It could be an area far behind the front, but with interesting objects to be shelled in a sudden attack, like an airdrome or a Pionierpark.

For sure there exists maps with the railroad station Nachtigal. I think the Flemish called it Nachtegaal, a common name for a whole area.

Regards,
Rudol

PS You know the adress you can send the CR of McCudden of 17.10.17, if you like.

Last edited by passat54; 1 March 2008 at 06:12 AM.
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Old 2 March 2008, 07:59 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Alex,

you mixed up between Geluwe and Geluveld (you were told). That are two different villages!

Exact name for the station was: Kleinbahnhof Nachtigall.

Regards,
Rudol

PS Adress for CR is still the same
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Old 2 March 2008, 08:12 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Passat54
The reason I decided that Gheluwe was actually meant was because the railway did not extend as far as Geluvelt, it ended just after Koelberg.
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Old 2 March 2008, 10:18 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Alex,

on my British map of February 1917 (Scale 1:40,000) Koelenberg is a farm near the road, in the middle between Gheluvelt and Gheluwe. But no railroad is marked.

On my German map of 1915 the place is called Vieux Chien and the railroad is marked, running then to Becelaere and from here to Gheluvelt.

Regards,
Rudol

Last edited by passat54; 2 March 2008 at 11:00 AM.
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Old 2 March 2008, 12:56 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Taz and Alex,

"Nachtegaal" is just found on a battle map of a Feldartillerie-Regiment for the period of 16.9.-27.09.1917

The French name of the area, where also a small wood is placed, reads Vieux-Chien. A little bit West of Koelenberg.

No doubt, that the soldiers surrounding the Triplane are from the Feldartillerie-Regiment.

Regards.
Rudol

Last edited by passat54; 2 March 2008 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 3 March 2008, 02:51 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by passat54 View Post
Taz and Alex,

"Nachtegaal" is just found on a battle map of a Feldartillerie-Regiment for the period of 16.9.-27.09.1917

The French name of the area, where also a small wood is placed, reads Vieux-Chien. A little bit West of Koelenberg.

No doubt, that the soldiers surrounding the Triplane are from the Feldartillerie-Regiment.

Regards.
Rudol
Passat54
On my ordnance survey maps, dated May 1916 there is no Vieux-Chien marked west of Koelberg, although a small wood is shown. The maps are 1/100.000 and show literally thousands of houses, farms, railways etc. No station is shown, but presumably this was because it was a stop named by the German forces and would not be marked on a British/French map of the time.
In the OTF article, Terry Phillips and Manfred Thiemeyer say, or at the very least seem to imply, that the men surrounding the triplane are members of Pionierkompanie 89, and that the photos were taken by a member of the unit, Kompanie-Photograph Gefreiter Meridan. Are you now saying that the soldiers surrounding the triplane are 'no doubt' from a Feldartillerie Regt and that Phillips and Thiemeyer are incorrect.
If your location of Nachtigal, as a little to the west of Koelberg, is correct, then this places it even nearer to the Front Line and well within range of artillery. Which reinforces my point of why are the soldiers not wearing any steel hemets, nor seem to be worried about the triplane's landing, so near the front line, attracting any shelling
I am disapponted that the thread has not attracted any comments or thoughts from other forumites. It seems that they are willing to discuss
ad infinitum - dare I say ad nauseam - the question of who shot down von R, even though it has been established/accepted for many years that it was groundfire, than discuss the last days of a great pilot such as Wolff. We will never know who fired the shot that killed von R, nor does it matter - it certainly doesn't matter to von R. I might as well try to find the name of the workman at the Royal Aircraft Factory who fitted the incorrect air filter to McCudden's SE5, causing his fatal crash.
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Old 3 March 2008, 06:51 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Alex,

"The photographs of Obltn. Wolff are taken shortly before his death (15.9.),
because the Pionierkompanie 89 arrived to the Flandern area after the 10th
of September. All the time Wolff was airborne at Marckebeeke (Marcke)." (31.08.04)

That's the legend which Manfred wrote for the two Wolff photographs, when Taz was so kind and made the whole album available to him.

The article in Over The Front, you so often mentioned here, is written by Terry Phillips and Aaron Weaver. Also in the acknowledgments you will not find the name of Manfred Thiemeyer.

By the way, it's a great article, thanks to the authors! Even when Taz located Pionierkompanie 89 with Pionierpark Nachtigal, which may be doubtfull for the exact place.


Regards,
Rudol

Last edited by passat54; 3 March 2008 at 07:18 AM.
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Old 3 March 2008, 07:51 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Passat54
I'm puzzled by your last paragraph. Are you now saying that the location for the photographs and Pionierkompanie 89 that Taz has given as north of Wervicq, and which we have been discussing, may not be correct.
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Old 3 March 2008, 10:43 AM   #10 (permalink)
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no further interest, deleted

Last edited by passat54; 3 March 2008 at 02:24 PM.
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