werner voss vs 8 brits

Discussion in 'World War I' started by ace7861, Sep 5, 2007.

  1. ace7861

    ace7861 New Member

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    Werner Voss (April 13, 1897–September 23, 1917) was a World War I German fighter pilot and ace. Born in Krefeld, the first son of an industrial dyer, Voss was at one time a friend and rival of the renowned Manfred von Richthofen, but lacked the Red Baron's aristocratic background.

    Enlisting in the 2nd Westphalian Hussar regiment Nr. 11 in 1914, like many cavalrymen he eventually transferred to the Luftstreitkräfte or German Air Service, learning to fly at Egelsberg near his home town. Evidently a natural pilot, upon graduating he was immediately enrolled as an instructor, before departing to the front where he had to serve with Kampfstaffel 20 of Kampfgeschwader IV as an observer before he could earn his pilot's badge. Transferring to scout aircraft, he was posted to Oswald Boelcke's Jasta (Jagdstaffel) 2 where he flew as Manfred von Richthofen's wingman. At the age of only 18 years, he scored his first victory on November 27, 1916. Flying an Albatros D.III scout aircraft decorated with an Iron cross and heart motifs (for good luck), he achieved 38 credited victories.

    He was subsequently promoted to temporary commands at Jastas 5, 29, and 14 before moving to a permanent command at Jasta 10 as part of Richthofen's Jagdgeschwader I (JG I) (or "Flying Circus" as it later became known to the Allies). Having tested one of the F.1 prototypes (103/17, Wk. Nr.1730) of the Fokker Dr.I triplane scout for Anthony Fokker, Voss evidently adapted his flying style to the rotary engined triplane, being credited with a further 10 victories with this new aircraft, bringing his total to 48 aircraft. He adorned the cowling of his new aircraft by painting two eyes, eyebrows, and a moustache (a face motif thought by some to derive from Japanese kites). Voss was known for being a loner and an inspirational, rather than effective, leader (modern writers often describe him as 'mercurial').

    He was finally shot down after single-handedly engaging in combat with eight Royal Aircraft Factory SE5s of 60 and 56 Squadrons of the Royal Flying Corps on September 23, 1917, over Poelcappelle. Although the SE5's were flown by some of the RFC's best aces (James McCudden, Richard Maybery, Keith Muspratt, Reginald Hoidge, Arthur Rhys Davids and Hammersley) by exploiting the triplane's superior rate of climb and its ability to slip turn, Voss continually outflew his opponents and fought bravely, before succumbing to an attack generally credited to Lieutenant Arthur Rhys Davids of 56 Squadron. His aircraft crashed near Plum Farm north of Frezenberg in Belgium. Only the rudder, cowling, and parts of the undercarriage were salvaged and the aircraft was the subject of a report by 2nd Lieutenant G. Barfoot-Saunt.


    The famous Fokker Dr.I silver-grey of Voss during his last battle.
    McCudden's Se5 plane during the dogfight when Voss was killed.One of the British pilots he fought against that day, Major James McCudden, a recipient of the V.C. who would become a leading English ace of World War I before being himself killed in an aircraft accident in the summer of 1918, expressed sincere regret at his death; "His flying was wonderful, his courage magnificent and in my opinion he was the bravest German airman whom it has been my privilege to see fight."
     
  2. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Good thread and post but next time if it is about WW1 post it in the WW1 section. I moved it this time though.
     
  3. delcyros

    delcyros Well-Known Member

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    He was always together with Albert Ball my favoured ww1 ace. Unlike v. Richthofen, Voss used his outstanding marksmanship to damage the engine, not trying to kill the pilot (this he believed would give the pilot at least a chance to belly land his plane while Voss would be credited with the "shot down"). Good post, btw.
     
  4. johnbr

    johnbr Well-Known Member

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    Yes great post on a great ace.
     
  5. tcrean7828

    tcrean7828 New Member

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  6. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    Good post ....and further link..TC!

    Have tried to get into the Let Let Let site but it won't let me register?:(
     
  7. CharlesBronson

    CharlesBronson Well-Known Member

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    Actually I have my doubts about if he really was capable to scape off the S.E.5s in case that he wanted to.
    Despite the good climbing characteristics of the triplane the speed of the brit fighter was too much for comparison.

    The last picture of Voss next to his brothers Max and Otto.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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  9. HoHun

    HoHun Active Member

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    Hi Charles,

    >Actually I have my doubts about if he really was capable to scape off the S.E.5s in case that he wanted to.

    So had I, but in the lengthy account linked above, I found two quotes by the men he opposed who thought he could have gotten away. In the first instance, the red-nosed Albatros that had come to his help was still in the fight so maybe he felt obliged to help the Albatros pilot, but if I read it correctly, in the second instance, he was alone already. (Of course, the simple explanation could be that he did not know that he had outclimbed all of them - hard to keep track of half a dozen opponents in a dogfight -, and re-engaged because he could not afford to hesitate in his actions if there were still one or too aircraft above him.)

    I'd like to know more about the Albatros pilot, by the way ... but I'll admit that so far I have only superficially browsed the text I'm quoting, it's too thick with embelleshing adjectives for me to stomach it all in one session ;)

    Regards,

    Henning (HoHun)
     
  10. CharlesBronson

    CharlesBronson Well-Known Member

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    Yea, yea, I know, the triplane was more maneouvrable, but I think you still need speed to scape.

    That is a good point. It is possible that Voss felt he couldnt scape the S.E. 5 once he was spotted and he decide to fight his way to his own lines.
     
  11. HoHun

    HoHun Active Member

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    Hi Charles,

    >That is a good point. It is possible that Voss felt he couldnt scape the S.E. 5 once he was spotted and he decide to fight his way to his own lines.

    Hm, I actually meant that he was in a good position, but didn't have the situational awareness to exploit it by climbing out. The faster SE5a's might not have been able to catch him on that route ... but maybe he wasn't certain in that moment that there wasn't another SE5a diving onto his tail, or zooming up at him from below, unseen.

    In a one-versus-many dogfight, it's very difficult to keep track of every enemy, and just sitting still for a few seconds can get you killed very quickly.

    I imagine that Voss might have suspected that there were more SE5a's than he saw at that moment, so he attacked those he saw since that would put pressure at them (and perhaps he could force more of them to break off combat) and at the same time lead to tight manoeuvres that would it make hard for an unseen enemy to line up on Voss himself.

    Information is a limited resource in combat just like altitude, and it's possible that Voss had made good the altitude to break off combat, but not gathered the information that it was safe to break off at that moment.

    Regards,

    Henning (HoHun)
     
  12. CharlesBronson

    CharlesBronson Well-Known Member

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    I understand that, my post should said "That is a good point. It is also possible that Voss felt he couldnt scape...."


    [​IMG]
     
  13. HoHun

    HoHun Active Member

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    Hi Charles,

    >I understand that, my post should said "That is a good point. It is also possible that Voss felt he couldnt scape...."

    Ah, I see! You're right :)

    I believe WW1 performance parameters are not as well-known as WW2 perforance parameters, and I have no clear idea if a Fokker Dr. I could actually outclimb an SE5a in the long run, without zooming or using a steep climb angle simply to throw the SE5a off target.

    It's my impression that WW1 fighter performance will be tougher to research due to the fixed propellers that had one well-defined working point (today probably unknown), and also very different wing sections that gave widely varying polars (the thin RAF 15 versus some of the very thick Göttingen profiles, for example).

    There certainly seems to be less data on WW1 fighters easily available, too ...

    Regards,

    Henning (HoHun)
     
  14. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    I think you're right. IIRC one account said that he had several oppourtunities to escape but instead turned again into the fighters. Can't remember the source.

    Some pics of his Fokker.
     

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  15. CharlesBronson

    CharlesBronson Well-Known Member

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    Agreed on the relative "grey zone" of information about the ww1 planes, the maximum speed for the DR1 is quoted as 161 km/h and the one for S.E.5 is 205. The thing that caught most my attention is the altitudes, in "The Red flying Fighter" Richtofen said he patrols at 5000 meters wich is remarkable considering that there was no compressor, no heat cockpit and so.

    Nice pictures, here an account of the Voss last Fight in "Dr1 aces of WW1" by N. Frank and G. Vanwyngarden.
     

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  16. tcrean7828

    tcrean7828 New Member

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    Mates,
    My book, 'Leutenant d.R. Werner Voss and the Pilots of Jasta 10' goes to the publisher later this week.

    until then -

    tom:D
     
  17. Soundbreaker Welch?

    Soundbreaker Welch? Active Member

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    Terrific but sad story. I still love WWI airplanes. They have such an airy feel to them.

    That last picture of Voss is a bit chilling. His brothers probably didn't expect him to die that day.
     
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