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Remembered Today:

German Aircraft No. 18?

IRC Kevin

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I've got a reference to a German aircraft (type not given) bearing the number '18' on it (no mention if on wings or fuselage) dropping a bomb on trench at Givenchy on 10th April 1918, which wounded 14 soldiers, three of whom died from their wounds. Is this a squadron marking or an individual marking and if so, is it possible to identify the pilot?

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A bombing attack on a trench could point to a Schlachtflieger (battle flier) unit but also other units could have done this. The mentioned number could be the individual number of the aircraft within the unit. There were two patterns of numbers (which I am aware of): Sometimes the airplanes would get running numbers from 1, 2 ... 6 ...8 (probably depending on the number of airplanes in the unit). In a second pattern the last two digits of the German serial number were used to "characterise" the plane. For example "18" could be part of a military serial number, e.g. Cl.II 2018/17 (in this example 17 is year of order: 1917).

For the identification we would need a list of all serial numbers in action on 10th April and - even worse - know the crews flying machines with "18" on 10th April 1918 in this sector. You need more lack than brains to identify the crew (I think it was a 2-seater, if your source is not claiming a 1-seater). However, one could try to "encircle" the potential German aviation units in this sector for this day. And one could ask if any collector has a picture with a German battle airplane with "18" painted on.

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I am still wondering if Givenchy is Givenchy-en-Gohelle south of Lens or Givenchy-lés-la-Bassée north of Lens. I had a look at "Schlachtflieger!" and found the following "Schlachtgruppen" (battle groups) of German 6th Army in action in this area during Operation "Georgette", from North to South:

Schlagru D based in Ronchin with Schlasta 24b and 25 b under command of Oberleutnant Miller (indeed, Miller and not Müller),

Schlagru C based in Houplin with Schlasta 9 and 21 under command of Oberleutnant Hanesse,

Schlagru B based in Tourmignies with Schlasta 16 and 29b under command of Rittmeister von Zobel and

Schlagru A based in Faumont with Schlasta 3 and 19 under command of Hauptmann Aschenborn

The units more in the south would be more likely to have attacked one of both locations with name Givenchy.

However, I noticed that the following Schlasta had numbers from 1 to 6 (which are excluding them): 24b, 9, 16 and 19.

The "tactical" numbers of the other 4 are not known.

Then I realized that Schlasta 12 in the German 2nd Army (southern neighbour of 6th Army) is the role model for the afore mentioned "last two digits"-carrying numbers. There are pictures displaying numbers 01, 13 and 49. The unit was based at the Römer Ferme (Roman Ferme) between 9 and 12 April. The location makes me some headache. I think I have seen it linked to a location (town, village) earlier but can not remember the source.

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Hello Jasta, Thanks for the response. the Givenchy is Givenchy-lés-la-Bassée.



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