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Victory 03

Event ID: 131

30 September 1916

50.10435494558121, 2.913033188950037
Near Frémicourt

Source ID: 13

Under the guns of the Red Baron, Norman Franks, Hal Giblin and Nigel McCrery

ISBN: 9781898697275

Combat Report: 1150 hrs, near Lagnicourt About 1150 I attacked, accompanied by four planes of our Staffel above our aerodrome at Lagnicourt and at 3.000 metres altitude, a Vickers Squadron. I singled out a machine and after some 200 shots, the enemy plane started gliding down towards Cambrai. Finally it began to make circles. The shooting had stopped and I saw that the machine was flying uncontrolled. As we were already rather far away from our front lines, I left the crippled plane and selected a new adversary. Later on I could observe the aforementioned machine, pursued by a German Albatros machine, crash burning to the ground near Fremicourt. The machine burnt to ashes. Weather: bright and fine all day, with occasional clouds in the afternoon.

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  1. Source: Inside the victories of Manfred von richthofen – Volume 1, James F. Miller, Aeronaut Books, 2016

    The colors and markings description of Richthofen’s Albatros D.I is the result of “reverse engineering” several photographs of Richthofen standing near an overpainted Albatros D.II with a white stripe around its engine cowl. Reasonable circumstantial photographic provenance suggests (but does not prove) this D.II was his personal machine, regardless of its serial number (which cannot be seen). Researcher Lance Bronnenkant generously provided new photographs first published in his Blue Max Airmen Series Vol. 5 that shows a Jasta 2 Albatros D.I overpainted in the same manner, also with a white stripe around its engine cowl. The logical speculative conclusion based on the similar markings is this D.I likely was also Richthofen’s.

    In photographs of this machine, the “3” and the “1” in the serial number can be determined but the middle digit cannot, aside from its round shape suggesting 0,3,6,8 or 9. That the serial number begins with a 3 identifies the machine as from the 12 Albatros D-type pre-production machines, numbered 380/16 to 391/16; which eliminates 0,3, and 6 as the middle digit and limits the remaining choices to either 381/16 or 391/16. Careful scrutiny via Photoshop reveals the right side of the middle digit is a continuous arc, more closely resembling a 9 than an 8, which would have a midpoint indentation. The digit thickness is consistent with a 9 as well, whereas an 8 would be very thin on its upper right side, and that is not present in the photograph. 391/16 is a well-known machine that was studied and photographed extensively after it was brought down by a bullet to the radiator and subsequently captured intact (16 November 1916, pilot Ltn. Karl Büttner, PoW). It was repaired and test-flown by the British until it crashed via unknown circumstances and presumably destroyed. If 391/16 were formerly Richthofen’s there is no trace of any overpainted white nose stripe in any post-capture photograph, although ostensibly Büttner would have removed Richthofen’s personal white stripe when adding his own markings, a large “Bü” on both sides of the fuselage adjacent the cockpit. Additionally, at some point a thin white outline had been added to at least the port fuselage cross.

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