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2001 Closed threads from 2001 (read only)

 
 
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Old 23 April 2001, 10:47 PM   #1
Dave Watts
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Hi all,

I had been discussing early Fokker D.VIIs with Greg VanWyngarden, and he was kind enough to send me some photos along with a few pages from Richard Wenzl's book, "Richthofen-Flieger" in which he mentions the D.VII in his daily "diary log". Here is an excerpt;

"Towards evening on 9 May, we took off.....

..... Now a second battle began. ......

To my left, L÷wenhardt in his new biplane (Fokker DVII) already had one in front of him; Rautter (of Jasta 4) and Kirschstein were working off to my right."

This is one of the earliest dates I have seen quoted for a D.VII in service.

Has anyone seen any earlier dates quoted?

Thanks!

Best,
Dave W.

 
Old 24 April 2001, 11:06 AM   #2
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Dave:
I most seriouly doubt the accuracy of the of the date of 9 May 1918 as stated in Richard Wenzl's book, "Richthofen Flieger" as the date that Jasta 4, 6 and 10 had Fok. D.VII on strength.
Jasta 10 was the first to be equipped with the Fok. D.VII, followed by Jasta 11 and Jasta 6 and Jasta 4 was the last to receive the Fok. D.VII, Jasta 10 did not receive their Fok. D.VII until the Jagdgeschwader Nr.1 "Richthofen" had been transferred to Guise Airfield in the German 18.Armee for rest, repair and overhaul and re-equipping of their airplanes during the period of 21 May to 26 May 1918. I refer you to page 101 of "Jagd in Flandern Himmel" by Bodenschatz, and to the english translation by Jan Hayzlett, "Hunting With Richthofen", page 92. It clearly states that the pilots "....familiarized themselves thoroughly with new Fokker D.VII," Jasta 6 did not get their Fok. D.VIIs until early June. When Udet arrived at Jasta 4 on 20 May, they were equipped with the Fok. DR.I and they did not receive the Fok. D.VII until around mid June. I am not even sure Jasta 11 had them until after they arrived at Puisieux Ferme on the night of 26 May 1918. Bodenschatz's narrative is based on the actual War Diary of Jagdschwader Nr.1 "Richthofen". I would consider it to be considerably more accurate than Wenzl's book written some time after the war. BodenSchatz had the KTB of JG.Nr.1. I know "Jagd in Flandern Himmel" was published in 1935, however Bodenschatz had the KTB!
Blue skies,
Dan

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Old 25 April 2001, 06:57 AM   #3
rammjaeger
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Dan-San,

I don┤t wish to moan but despite having the KTB Bodenschatz was making repeatedly wrong statements, some maybe in error but some others ...!?

B. was not reporting all victories and losses as well as coming and going pilots. He gives some wrong data and claims nonsense about Freiherr von Althaus. He claims Udet was downed by Flak (source: KTB???) if the latter was downed by a French Breguet. etc.

Therefore I think it is justified to raise the question and to try to check the reliability of Bodenschatz also in this matter.

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Old 25 April 2001, 09:42 PM   #4
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Hi all,

Here are the timeline entries leading up to and including May 9th.** See which ones you can confirm or which you can shoot down.** Thanks for the help!

Timelines for Richard Wenzl.

April 1st
Reports to MvR, sees Bodenschatz and receives transfer to Jasta 11.** That night he bunks with Wolfram vR.

April 6th
Flying under MvR, later that day with Udet, (leader of Jasta 11 w/22 victories), who shoots down his 23rd, (a Sopwith Camel), before going on vacation.
MvR yields a Bristol victory to Wolff.
L÷wenhardt, Weiss, and Kirschstein all score a victory.

April 19th
MvR scores one.
Weiss scores one.
Gussmann gets shot in the thigh.

April 20th
MvR shoots down 79th and 80th.

April 21st
Many details of the day, and Wenzl is the one who took the photos of MvR with Moritz.

Late April
Weiss leading Jasta 11, gets up to 18 victories.

May 1st
New living quarters Weiss had built for him.

May 2nd
At 2:30 pm they engage Camels, Weiss in his newly painted all white Dr.I is shot in the head, dead, crashes.
Scholz fatal crashes on the airfield.

May 3rd
Just is wounded
Wolff and LvR are gone in Berlin for MvR's funeral.
Wenzl was only fit pilot to fly, so he joined Jasta 4 and 6 and part of the time with the Geschwader as a unit as well.

May 9th
Took off in Geschwader formation.** Engage 8 Camels, Wenzl almost rams Reinhardt, and brakes five ribs, (he says "spars"), in the top wing of his Dr.I.
Winterfeld from Jasta 4 involved in attack and scores a Camel that Wenzl felt he had scored.
All 8 Camels shot down.
Later he joins up with L÷wenhardt, (in his new D.VII), Rautter of Jasta 4, Kirschstein, and Paul Wenzl of Jasta 6.
In total they shoot down 18 this day.

Dan-San,

Could it be that L÷wenhardt was with another Jasta than 11, since you are certain they didn't have D.VIIs till later?

I am assuming that you have the information that shows L÷wenhardt with Jasta 11 on May 9th.

Was Jasta 11 the first to have D.VIIs or was it Jasta 4, 6, or 10?

Thanks again for the help Hannes and all, and maybe we can confirm or find flaws with Wenzl's account.

Best,
Dave W.
 
Old 26 April 2001, 02:51 AM   #5
rammjaeger
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Hi Dave,

here my try to answer:

"April 1st
Reports to MvR, sees Bodenschatz and receives transfer to Jasta 11. That night he bunks with Wolfram vR."
Bodenschatz reports Wenzl came in the evening of the 27th March together with Lt. Wei▀.

"April 6th
Flying under MvR, later that day with Udet, (leader of Jasta 11 w/22 victories), who shoots down his 23rd, (a Sopwith Camel), before going on vacation.
MvR yields a Bristol victory to Wolff.
L÷wenhardt, Weiss, and Kirschstein all score a victory."
L÷wenhardt did not score this day, the others are O.K. (We are maybe not knowing all unconfirmed claims.)

"April 19th
MvR scores one.
Weiss scores one.
Gussmann gets shot in the thigh."
NO claims this day, Wolff severly wounded.

"April 20th
MvR shoots down 79th and 80th."
O.K.

"April 21st
Many details of the day, and Wenzl is the one who took the photos of MvR with Moritz."
??

"Late April
Weiss leading Jasta 11, gets up to 18 victories."
16+2 unconfirmed. I remember some sources saying he had more and was in the tube for the PlM.

"May 1st
New living quarters Weiss had built for him."
Possible. No combat activities this day.

"May 2nd
At 2:30 pm they engage Camels, Weiss in his newly painted all white Dr.I is shot in the head, dead, crashes.
Scholz fatal crashes on the airfield."
Bodenschatz says the same (no time given). Surprisingly TJWC claims both were KIA fighting 209 Sqn.

"May 3rd
Just is wounded
Wolff and LvR are gone in Berlin for MvR's funeral.
Wenzl was only fit pilot to fly, so he joined Jasta 4 and 6 and part of the time with the Geschwader as a unit as well."
O.K.

"May 9th
Took off in Geschwader formation. Engage 8 Camels, Wenzl almost rams Reinhardt, and brakes five ribs, (he says "spars") , in the top wing of his Dr.I.
Winterfeld from Jasta 4 involved in attack and scores a Camel that Wenzl felt he had scored.
All 8 Camels shot down.
Later he joins up with L÷wenhardt, (in his new D.VII), Rautter of Jasta 4, Kirschstein, and Paul Wenzl of Jasta 6.
In total they shoot down 18 this day."

The German Jasta pilots scored 18 + 1 unconfirmed this day. 6 were Camels. JaGeRi scored only 4 this day and only Reinhards victory was a Camel.

On 10th May Jasta pilots scored 15 victories. JaGeRi scored 11 victories this day including 7 Camels! Also Winterfeld scored this day!

IMHO Wenzl confused events of the 9th and 10th May.

VBR
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Old 26 April 2001, 06:51 AM   #6
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Loewenhardt was with Jasta 10, not Jasta 11.
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Old 26 April 2001, 10:20 AM   #7
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Hannes:
I am aware of deficiencies in Bodenschatz's "Jagd in Flandern Himmel". In the first half of the book is his narrative was undoubtably writen from the KTB of JG. Nr.1 Richthofen, and the second part is a summarized edition of the KTB. There is no doubt that this section is incomplete. For example there are no listings of any aircraft being returned to any AFP or any aircraft being received by any of the component Jasta. It's too bad because it would have answered a lot of murky questions if the complete KTB had been printed. Coupled with that are the several errors that wound up in the two parts. I rely more on Part 2 for information, because the source is directly from the the KTB.
Dave:
Oblt. Erich L÷wenhardt served in Jasta 10, he was never in Jasta 11.
From the data I have collected, Jasta 10 was the first Jasta to the receive the Fok.D.VII, the second was Jasta 11, then Jasta 6 and lastly Jasta 4. I believe the equipping took place at Guise Airfield in the German 18. Armee during the period of 21 to 26 May 1918 when JG.Nr.1 Richthofen stood down for re-equipping and repair of their equipment prior to the the Second Battle of the Marne which started on 27 May 1918. One possible explanation for Wenzl's statement of L÷wenhardt having a Fok.D.VII on at least 9 May 1918, was his status as a high scoring ace, and that his unit was scheduled to be the first re-equipped with the Fok. D.VII, He got the very first one!, That's kind of nice, I like the thought.
Hannes, when I research sometime, I always check as many sources as possible to verify the facts, there are too many who will jump your bones, if you don't!
Wenzl's book raises a question about when Jasta 10 began receiving the Fok. D.VII.
I seriously doubt that Jasta 10 had received them as early as 9 May 1918.
It is possible that L÷wenhardt received his Fok. D.VII early, and the rest of Jasta 10 got theirs at Guise airfield sometime between 21- 26 May 1918.
blue skies,
Dan-San
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Old 26 April 2001, 10:35 PM   #8
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Dan-San,

I used different sources for my answer including Bodenschatz, Grub Street and some German sources.
It is relatively easy to see that the fight against the Camels decribed by Wenzl occured in the evening of the 10th May and not the day before.

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Old 27 April 2001, 05:18 PM   #9
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Hi,

Forgive my error with respect to L÷wenhardt being with Jasta 10. My Jasta knowledge has always been lacking. The point of Jasta 10 brings up a question.

There is a well published photo of "Fritz" Friedrichs in a plane he has just landed through two other D.VIIs, damaging all three planes. The D.VII he is in is 234/18, and not only a very early production aircraft, but in transition markings, as the Jasta personnel have only had a chance to paint over the Rudder and fuselage crosses to the newer form.

My question is, when did Friedrichs serve with Jasta 10?

Aircraft 244/18 is also an early production aircraft, and it was flown (first?) by Heldmann, when was he with Jasta 10?

Lastly, what were L÷wenhardt's dates of service with Jasta 10?

Thanks,
Best,
Dave W.
 
Old 27 April 2001, 08:13 PM   #10
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Hi Dave,

I hope you received the rest of "Richthofen-Flieger" which I sent. To comment on some of the points raised in this thread:

Wenzl wrote his book "Richthofen Flieger" some time around 1930 - this was five years before Bodenschatz wrote "Jadg in Flanderns Himmel". Actually, Bodenschatz must have thought Wenzl was pretty accurate, since he plagiarized large portions of it in his book - verbatim !! I am not aware of what personal or official records Wenzl used in the preparation of his book, but most of it seems pretty accurate to me.Of course, the book is not totally infallible either.

Dan and I are in agreement that Jasta 10 was probably the first unit in JG I to receive the Fokker D.VII. This was the only JG I unit that never received the Dr I in quantity, and was still flying its worn-out Albatros D.Va and Pfalz D.IIIa machines - thus they were first in line for the D.VII's. It seems possible Loewenhardt, as their reigning 'hot-shot'and CO, would have obtained one of the first ones. Loewenhardt's entire career as a fighter pilot was spent in Jasta 10, from March 1917 until his death on 10 August 1918.For someone who scored probably over 30 victories flying D.VII's, there are very few known photos of his aircraft - I know of only one, which is an in-flight picture and doesn't reveal many details. What we do know is that he flew largely yellow D.VII's. Both Friedrichs and Heldmann also served lengthy careers as fighter pilots in Jasta 10.

As you know, Dave, Wenzl never actually says that Loewenhardt was in Jasta 11, but it is easy to understand your mistaken impression. He specifically says "Towards evening on 9 May, we took off again in Geschwader formation [i.e., four Jastas]...I was able to get a clean shot at my Tommy ...until he suddenly rushed downward into the depths, apparently wounded, and made moves to land. As he did so,I saw that it was being attacked by another triplane which did not fire, however. It was Winterfeld from Jasta 4...Now a second battle began...I headed high overhead and for the front in my splendid triplane...To my left Loewenhardt in his new biplane (Fokker D VII) already had one in front of him..." Thus, it is clear that Jastas 11 and 4 (and 6) were still flying triplanes, and Loewenhardt's "new biplane" made an impression. I cannot vouch for this D VII being in combat as early as May 9, but Wenzl was there and I wasn't.

By the way, in his book,"German Fighter Units June 1917-1918", Alex Imrie states on page 21 that "At the beginning of May the first large number of Fokker D VIIs reached the front". I'm sure Dan will have a reaction to that one !!

However, Jasta 10 was not the only unit to receive D.VIIs in May. Ltn. Rudolf Windisch, the Pour-le-Merite ace of Jasta 66 took off in his D.VII (apparently OAW-built 2035/18) and was brought down in French lines (he later died under mysterious circumstances)on May 27. We're sure it was a D.VII because of the famous photo of Windisch in the cockpit of his aircraft decorated with the "white stag" emblem (there were a couple of earlier threads explaining the origins of this insignia). All of this might raise the question, when did the first OAW-built D.VIIs reach the front ?

I'm sure I haven't solved the question, but maybe have provided some food for thought.

Greg
 
 

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