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Old 1 September 2002, 07:53 AM   #1
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USAS LTs Goettler & Bleckley of 50th Aero Sqdn flew a DH-4 on their Medal Of Honor mission(s) over the Lost Battalion. This aircraft is represented in various renderings as aircraft number two and as aircraft number six.
Does anybody have the correct side number and serial number for this aircraft? References?

Thanks for any help here!


'Tis better to break ground and head into the wind,
Than to break wind and head into the ground.
Old 1 September 2002, 09:09 AM   #2
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Alan Durkota's book "Medal of Honor Aviators of WWI" gives 32169 as the serial number of number 2, and states that it was flown by B&G during their first mission of the day. The damage it received prevented it from being used for their afternoon mission, fo rwhich they flew #6. He also recites serials for planes numbered 3, 5, 8, and 9 in the text, but only shows a serial for plane #6 on a color profile. It is 32517.
Old 1 September 2002, 09:23 AM   #3
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Dear VonL,
You've probably already checked out , which presently features an in-depth account of "The 'Lost' Battalion"; it shows paintings of both aircraft, i.e. #s 2 & 6.

If you refer to Sloan's * Wings of Honor, page 357, you can read the following: "At that moment there was no real evidence that Goettler and Bleckley had made contact with the 'lost battalion'."
Sloan claims that it was actually Robert Anderson and Woodville Rogers, also of 50th Sqn, on the morning of 7 October 1918. (Sloan does make some errors, however, mis-identifying a photo of Joe Wehner, Luke's wingman).

James J. Hudson, in his Hostile Skies, confirms Sloan.

I would think that, possibly, while Bleckley did, as his dying gesture, get that note into the poilu's hand, it took some time for such intelligence to get back to hq, by which time Anderson and Rogers had already made their flight...

Is it possible that #2 was Goettler and Bleckley's, while #6 belonged to Anderson and Rogers? (Actually, Sfabert just beat me to the punch, an example of speed over age, I guess!)

Very Best Regards, and welcome aboard!,
Captain Lewis
Old 1 September 2002, 11:12 AM   #4
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Great info, guys - THANK YOU x 10 - !!!

Am also attempting to cross-reference aerial victories and losses of the 28th Pursuit Squadron with known German victories & losses, by Jasta, aircraft type & pilot. Most of the 28 PS activity occurred from Aug-Nov 1918.

Old 1 September 2002, 11:52 AM   #5
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Is it possible that #2 was Goettler and Bleckley's, while #6 belonged to Anderson and Rogers? (Actually, Sfabert just beat me to the punch, an example of speed over age, I guess!)
Durkota's book lists the planes and crews involved in the morning flight as follows:

2 - Goettler and Bleckley
3 - Lt. Morse
6 - Pickrell and George
8 - Phillips and Brown
12 - Slater
14 - Bird and Bolt

Durkota states that #8 and #14 crashed due to damage, and Slater came back wounded. He states that #6 was usually flown by Pickrell and George.

No sources are given for any of these statements.
Old 1 September 2002, 01:05 PM   #6
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One way to nail it down might be to sift through the Gorrell history materials for the 50th AS to see which airframes stayed on the maintenence reports - if he got those.
Old 2 September 2002, 07:01 AM   #7
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Dear VonL,
Concerning the data you requested about the 28th Pursuit, here is the best that I was able to come up with: it only covers Sept '18, and it's from Bloody April... Black September (by Norman Franks, Russel Guest, and Frank Bailey; Guest was actually the main author of the "Black September" section of the book).

The 28th lost four aircraft that month (all were the SPAD XIII):

8 Sept 2/Lt L.Moriarty, WIA

12 Sept 1/Lt G.B. Woods, POW

13 Sept Lt W.S. Stephenson, KIA

18 Sept 1/Lt F. Philbrick, KIA

Hope this is of some use to you, Von.
Captain Lewis
Old 2 September 2002, 08:49 AM   #8
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CPT Lewis - Thanks for checking this out.

Have got 'Wings Of Honor' handy and your list matches Sloan's, with a couple of minor differences:

*Sloan lists LTs Bell, Buckley, Miles, Moriarity, Philbrick, Stephenson & Woods (KIA, WIA, etc.) for Sept 1918. Buckley & Bell collided over the aerodrome during formation assembly.
*Sept. was a bleak month for these guys. Their only other losses were LTs Allein & Merrill (both KIA in Oct) and LT Brown, who became a POW on 04 Nov.
*Sloan's September KIA dates show one day later than Guest's. What would account for that?
Old 2 September 2002, 09:25 AM   #9
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Try to get hold of a copy of Trevor Henshaw's The Sky Their Battlefield. Pages 459 to 472 detail USAS casualties from Captain J E Miller, 95th Pursuit Sqn, KIA in SPAD 7 #3144 on 9 March 1918 to 2nd Lt L M Bruck and 2nd Lt W A White of the 91st Observation Sqn, both KIA in a Salmson 2A2 on 10 November 1918.

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Old 2 September 2002, 10:56 AM   #10
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Oh, good Christ, Von, you would have to bring up accuracy (BTW, did you catch Al Lowe's post on "Arch Whitehouse", implying that it was alright to embellish the facts, specifically one's score?)...

Here goes:

James J. Hudson, in his Hostile Skies has Woods downed and POW on 14 Sept-- believe it-- because this was the "the third day of the Mihiel offensive, [on which] the sun appeared for the first time in the campaign."
*But Von, it gets even better--
*Hudson also has "Louis Moriarity" flying on this day, six days after Guest has him WIA; perhaps the wounds weren't that serious?
*Since Sloan has Louis WIA on 28 Sept, while Guest claims it was 8 Sept, I think what we have here is typographical error. Advantage, Sloan...

*Sloan has Miles "in hospital", whereas Guest doesn't mention him; this is because Guest is concerned with combat casualties (which is also why he doesn't list Buckley and Bell; whom, by the way, Sloan lists as KIC and KIA, respectively-- another typo! Penalty, Sloan, one point...).

*And what happened to Philbrick? Sloan makes no mention of him at all...

*One thing I can say, Von-- when there's a difference of one day (or so) in whatever account cited, it was usually caused by when the action took place and when it was reported...

*So, was it Goettler and Bleckley, or Anderson and Rogers, a day later?

Captain Lewis
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