The discussion of Billy Bishop
’s combat claims in The Aerodrome Forum has caused me to dig out my microfilm copies of some World War I records. I will attempt to explain what documentation exists on the German, British, French and American victory claims and losses.
The first source everyone goes to for German World War I aviation is the Nachrichtenblatt der Luftstreitkräfte (Intelligence Journal of the Aerial Forces is my dirty translation). I believe it has been referred to on the forum as The Nacht (the night), which is incorrect. It was published from March 1, 1917 to October 31, 1918, and was classified Geheim (secret). It can be difficult to read at times, since it was typeset in Fraktur (or a similar font). By the March 28, 1918 issue it is in a Roman typeface. It was published by Der kommandierende General der Luftstreitkräfte (Kogenluft). The first issue at least consists of several parts:
- Tatigkeit der Luftstreitkräfte in der Vorwoche. (Air Force Activity in the Previous Week)
- Kriegsereignisse. (War results)
- Nachrichten vom Feind. (Intelligence of the Enemy)
- Nachrichten über Neutrale. (Intelligence of the Neutrals)
- Verschiedenes. Zeitungsnachrichten. (Newspaper reports)
- Abschüsse feindlicher Flugzeuge im Januar 1917. (Enemy Aircraft Shot Down in January 1917)
- Durch Flieger wurden abgeschossen. (By Flyers)
- Durch Flakwurden abgeschossen. (By Flak)
- Durch anderweitige Gründe zur Landung gezwungen. (Forced to Land)
The victory lists (up to about January 1918) contain date, rank, name, aircraft claimed, location, unit and assigned victory number. About January the list stops supplying the location. About May 1918 it stops supplying the unit. Only the last name is given, except in a few cases. The last issue, October 31, 1918, covers the victories credited during August 1918. The Nachrichtenblatt was widely distributed during the war, and the entire series can be found on microfilm (in particular at the Hoover Institution on War, Peace and Revolution
, on the Stanford University (California) campus).