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Remembered Today:

German aircraft shot down 1/10/1917 Polygon Wood


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On 1st October 1917, Corporal Outhwaite of the 9th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment (presumably using a Lewis gun) shot down a German aircraft at around 10.30am that was strafing British troops from a height of around 200 feet. The aircraft crashed in No Mans Land in (what remained of) Polygon Wood, near Ypres, during the Battle of Passchendaele. Does anyone know which aircraft this was, or could have been?

Thanks, Rob

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Not much, but might help someone else fill in the missing link with the aircraft.

In looking through "Casualties of the German Air Services" there was one death recorded on that day in the area around Polygon Wood - Ltn d R Fritz Cleis of Jasta 33. His aircraft was shot down over Hooge.

Regards

Steve

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The Jasta War Chronology credits the victory over Ltn d R Friedrich Cleiss of Jasta 33 in his Albatros D.V to Capt W A Wright of No 45 Sqn RFC in Camel B3903 and Lt Reeder and Cpl Holmes of No 53 Sqn in RE 8 A3405. The Albatros was allotted the captured aircraft serial number G 56, so it probably ended up behind the British lines, rather than in No Man's Land.

Perhaps the crew of the strafing aeroplane brought down by Cpl Outhwaite wasn't injured.

Gareth

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The principal aircraft the Germans used for ground strafing at that period was the Halberstadt CLII. The other, larger C-type two-seaters had the artillery co-op and recon work to do, and I don't think it was common for single seaters at this point to be used in this way - it became more common in1918 when fighter pilots had to join in with bigger picture rather than rack up their scores.

So I'm speculating but I would have thought a Halberstadt would be a safe bet.

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From the book 'Polygon Wood' by Nigel Cave;

'An enemy aircraft, flying at about two hundred feet, was brought down by ground fire at about 10.30am, landing in No Man's Land, where it and the crew were destroyed by shell fire'

As it says 'crew' instead of pilot, it sounds like a two-seater to me, plus it says they were 'destroyed', so implying killed, however this account was from the Leicesters, so perhaps the crew slipped out of sight back to enemy lines unnoticed by the British, who presumed they'd been killed by the shell fire

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  • 11 years later...
On 14/09/2008 at 18:13, Dolphin said:

The Jasta War Chronology credits the victory over Ltn d R Friedrich Cleiss of Jasta 33 in his Albatros D.V to Capt W A Wright of No 45 Sqn RFC in Camel B3903 and Lt Reeder and Cpl Holmes of No 53 Sqn in RE 8 A3405. The Albatros was allotted the captured aircraft serial number G 56, so it probably ended up behind the British lines, rather than in No Man's Land.

Perhaps the crew of the strafing aeroplane brought down by Cpl Outhwaite wasn't injured.

Gareth

 

 

Can anyone shed any more details on Lt. Reeder/Cpl Holmes downing? Any dates/locations etc? Lt Reeder must have survived as he was later killed flying (as T.Capt) with 6Sq on 1/1/18 in RE.8 B6493.

 

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1 hour ago, Renick said:

 

 

Can anyone shed any more details on Lt. Reeder/Cpl Holmes downing? Any dates/locations etc? Lt Reeder must have survived as he was later killed flying (as T.Capt) with 6Sq on 1/1/18 in RE.8 B6493.

 

 

Nobody talked about Reeder and Holmes being shot down... It is they who apparently shot down a German plane.

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On 14/09/2008 at 17:10, RobL said:

On 1st October 1917, Corporal Outhwaite of the 9th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment (presumably using a Lewis gun) shot down a German aircraft at around 10.30am that was strafing British troops from a height of around 200 feet. The aircraft crashed in No Mans Land in (what remained of) Polygon Wood, near Ypres, during the Battle of Passchendaele. Does anyone know which aircraft this was, or could have been?

Thanks, Rob

 

I checked the Kofl 4 Wochenbericht and the only loss is for Ltn Cleiss of Jasta 33 near Hooge (in aerial combat). No other German plane was lost that day in area of the 4th Army.

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4 hours ago, AOK4 said:

 

Nobody talked about Reeder and Holmes being shot down... It is they who apparently shot down a German plane.


 

So it did! My reading comprehension apparently goes out the window at 0200.... Thanks for the correction.

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topgun1918

 

The combat report submitted by Reeder and Holmes gives the serial number of their RE8 as A3402, the locality of the encounter as Zillebeke Lake and the time as 4:15 pm.

 

A3402 is clearly in error, since this was an Avro 504A; I believe that A3405 is also incorrect since this appear to be one of a batch of R.E.8s allotted to No 42 Reserve Squadron in late 1916.  I would suggest that the correct serial is B3402 which went to No 53 Squadron on 20 July 1917; B3405 went to No 4 Squadron on 23 July 1917 and remained there until 10 April 1918.

 

The remarks section of the report gives the enemy machine as being a single seater with yellowish planes and apparently armed with two guns.

 

Reeder's report reads: At 4.15 pm when flying at 5,500 feet over Zillebeke Lake, I was attacked by an enemy single seater machine, which approached from the left front and was masked by the top plane until within a few hundred feet.  The E.A. opened fire at close range and I went into a left hand spiral whilst the gunner fired one drum.  I afterwards observed a machine going East through the mist.  This was apparently a second E.A.  The gunner states that he fired at the E.A. at a range of 100 feet and that it fell out of control.  This machine is confirmed by artillery to have been brought down by an R.E.8 in 28.I.27.  It broke up in the air.

 

The report is signed R Reeder, Lieut.

10th Manchester Regt (T)

Attached 53 Squadron R.F.C.

 

The given map reference, Sheet 28 I.27, is an area about 1,300 yards south of Zillebeke Lake.

 

In his log for Jasta 33, the late Rick Duiven gives “Ltn.d.R. Fritz Cleis is KIA over Hooge”.  Hooge is located on Sheet 28 at I.18, about 1,700 yards north-east of Zillebeke.

 

Nothing I have suggests a second E.A. was involved and reference to this machine might well be a mis-identification of Wright's Camel.

 

G.56 was apparently the number given to Albatros DV D2129.17, flown by Vzfw Ernst Clausnitzer of Jasta 4 who was shot down on 16 July 1917 by Lieut Langlands of No 23 Squadron [although there is a suggestion that this serial was actually allotted on 15 July 1917].  It would seem that the wreckage of Cleiss' machine was given the serial G.78, noted as 'unknown type' which would tally with the report that the machine broke up.

 

Graeme

 

Edited by topgun1918
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