Air Aces of World War One

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Leutnant Werner Voss – German Ace 1897 / 1917 Part 5

On the 30th of July 1917, Voss moved to take permanent command of Jagdstaffel 10 a unit of Jagdegeschwader 1 von Richtofen’s Flying Circus, relieving Ernst Frieherr von Althaus at Richtofen’s request. A brand new silvery Pfalz D.III awaited him on arrival, but he deemed it inferior to his old Albatros D.V, although he may have scored four victories with the Pfalz.

In late August the rotary engine F.I Prototype was assigned to Voss as his personal aircraft. In his childhood Voss had flown Japanese Fighting Kites and the decorations on these gave him the inspiration to paint his aircraft cowling with two eyes, eyebrows and a moustache. The arrival of the new fighter bought many celebrity visitors. On the 31st of August, Anthony Fokker visited with German Chancellor Georg Michaelis and Major General Ernst von Lossberg to see and film the new triplane. on The 9th of September Crown Prinz Wilhelm would also visit Jasta 10.

By the 11th of September 1917, the young Ace had raised his total to 47, second only to Richtofen’s 61. In the process he had his closest call yet in combat, after shooting down six victory Ace Oscar McMaking, He had in turn been attacked by Captain Norman Macmillan, Macmillan dove his Camel to within 20 feet of Voss, His machine guns spurting tracers close to the German’s head. The No.45 Squadron Ace saw Voss turn his head twice before taking evasive action. Then a two-seater R.E.8 blundered between them almost colliding with Macmillan’s Camel, in the confusion Voss dove away and made good his escape. Macmillan claimed an out of control victory on his return to base.

The following day, Voss signed himself out on leave using his authority as Staffelfuhrer.     His first stop was Berlin, where he was honoured receiving a an autographed photograph on Kaiser Wilhelm II from the Emperor’s own hands. from the 15th to the 17th he was at the Fokker factory in Schwerin, accompanied by his girlfriend Ilse. His leave authorisation also cleared him for Dussldorf and his hometown of Krefeld, but it is unknown if he visited them. He returned to duty on the 22nd.

To Be Continued……………..

(C) Damian Grange 2018

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