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Victory 58

Event ID: 35

16 August 1917

50.96316338673082, 2.9594966323496976
Polygon Wood

Source ID: 13

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

ISBN: 9781898697275

Combat Report: 0755 hrs. At about 0755, accompanied by four aircraft of Staffel 11, I pursued a small flight of Nieuports. After a long chase, I attacked an opponent and after a short fight I shot up his engine and fuel tank. The aeroplane went into a tail spin. I followed right after it until just above the ground, gave it one more shot, so that the aeroplane crashed south-west of Houthulst Forest and went right into the ground. As I was about 50 metres behind him, I passed through a cloud of gas from the explosion that made it hard to see for a brief moment. Weather: fine.

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  1. source: Inside the victories of Manfred von richthofen – Volume 2, James F. Miller, Aeronaut Books, 2016

    l . Floyd Gibbons wrote this combat report was missing from the Reichsarchiv, and similarly it is missing from the translated reports at the National Archives in London. Based on the successive page numbers of the translated versions, the 58th report is not amongst those translated. Report 57 is on the bottom of page 29 and report 59 is on the top of page 30. I.e., they did not forget to copy and send it; the 58th report is not amongst the original translated versions from the 1920s. However, upon inquiry the National Archives revealed it has two copies, AIR/ 1/686/21/13/2250 (possessed by the author) and AIR/2397/262/l. Via email, the source of this work’s combat report (Norman Franks) wrote the translated reports he received from the NA contained all 80. He cannot recall which version he has, but likely it is the latter.

    2. Richthofen referenced this combat in a letter to his mother: “1 have only made two combat flights since my return being wounded. Both were successful, but after both of them I was completely exhausted. During the first one (No. 58, I nearly became air sick.”

    3. The author can find no definitive connection between Richthofen and D.2059/17. It is attributed he flew this machine during victories 58 and 59, but his 59th victory claim (again, the 58th is missing from the translated reports) does not state the serial number of his airplane. However, photographs reveal D.2059/17 was displayed prominently at Marckebeke airfield during Gen. Ludendorff’s visit 19 August 1917— which fits within the timeline for Richthofen’s 58th and 59th victories 16 and 26 August respectively—and it is plausible-to-likely that the Geschwaderkommandeur’s airplane would be chosen for such presentation. Additionally, as will be seen, after Richthofen’s 26 August victory his Albatros was damaged and removed from the line, just as Fokker’s new F. Is arrived at JGI. Was this Albatros repaired and then subsequently shipped off for museum display? Photographs taken at the Berlin Zeughaus show a pristine Albatros D.V attributed to be Richthofen’s. It appears to have been completely overpainted red, with reapplied white-bordered crosses, but unfortunately the serial number is not visible on the vertical stabilizer. However, diamond-shaped external braces are visible at the fuselage/ empennage junction, a feature often seen on second production batch D.Vs (D.1962-2361/17), including D .2059/17. These points certainly are not definitive evidence of ownership, but the connections fit well enough to be at least circumstantial possibility.

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