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Victory 06

Event ID: 137

25 October 1916

50.08418066681578, 2.8588760814347087
South end of Bapaume

Source ID: 13

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

ISBN: 9781898697275

Combat Report: 0935 hrs, near Bapaume. BE two-seater. About 0900

I attacked enemy plane above trenches near Lesboefs. Unbroken cover of cloud at 2.000 metres altitude. Plane came from the German side and after some 200 shots he went down in large right hand curves and was forced back by the strong wind to the south end of Bapaume. Finally the machine crashed. It was plane No. 6629. Motor dashed into the earth, therefore number not legible. Occupant, a Lieutenant, seriously wounded by a shot in the bowels. Plane itself cannot be brought back, as under heavy fire. As I first saw the enemy plane there was no other German machine in the vicinity, and also during the fight no machine approached the scene of action. As the enemy plane started to go down, I saw a German Rumpler machine and several Hallberstadter planes. One of these machines came down to the ground. It was Vizefeldwebel Müller of Jagdstaffel 5. He claims to have discharged first at 300 metres and then at 1.000 metres distance, some 500 shots at enemy plane. Afterwards his gun jammed and the sight of his gun flew away. Quite apart from these curious circumstances, a child knows that one cannot hit a plane from such a ridiculous distance. Then a second plane, a Rumpler, came down, also claiming his share of the loot. But all other planes were perfectly sure that he had not taken part in the fight.

Weather: fine with occasional clouds.

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

    It is possible Richthofen was flying a new Albatros D.II, a model ordered into production August 1916. Regarding Albatros manufacture norms, generally there was an approximate window of two months between production order and arrival of the first machines, which in this case identifies October as when the D.IIs appeared with Jasta 2. However, the exact date of the August production order is unknown and if inked at the end of August, the first D.II arrivals likely would have been closer to November. An album of Jasta 2 photographs includes shots of the D.II presumed to be Richthofen’s (darkly overpainted with a white stripe on the nose, similar to the appearance of Albatros D.I 391/16) amongst photographs of Oswald Boelcke, which speculatively dates these D.II photos as being taken before or around the time of Boelcke’s 28 October death.Being that Richthofen’s Albatros D.II is thought to have been 481/16, this means that the D.II was a very early production machine (the tenth out of a batch of fifty) and it would have been one of the earliest to arrive. Still, while it is possible Jasta 2 began receiving Albatros D.IIs in mid-October, suggesting Richthofen could have flown one during his fifth victory on the 15th of that month, their arrival is unknown precisely. Additionally, it is possible that for a brief period Richthofen flew both the Albatros D.I and D.II. The arrival of the D.II did not mean the extent D.Is just “went away”. Many Jasta 2 photographs show both models were used simultaneously, and Richthofen’s later combat reports reveal he often switched between machines during consecutive sorties.

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