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Remembered Today:

Info on German units in France 1918


simon2
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Morning,

Can anyone tell me what German Air Force units were in the Flesquieres Salient area South West of Cambrai around March 1918.My great grandad was wounded by a plane on the 21/03/1918.I am trying to find out if possible what unit was operating in this area at the time and what type of aircraft they used.It would be interesting to find out as I would like to add notes to my GG's record and possibly build a model of the aircraft trying to be as accurate as can be.

Many thanks,

Simon.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Simon

There is a map in the official history of the war in the air, vol iv, which details German air force dispositions at the start of the German offensive, 21 March 1918. Around Cambrai, the closest were just to the east at Carnieres and Boussieres:

No. 32 FLAB

No 46 JAGDST

No 210 FLABV

FLAB were reconnaissence squadrons, JAGDST were fighter squadron, FLABV were artillery flight.

The history talks of action over the salient, but does not mention the German units involved. Important to be aware that there were many German flights in the entire area of the offensive, so no guarantee that the closest to Cambrai were the ones involved. I cannot see any details of the actual German air activity. Can tell you that German air power totalled 730 aircraft for the offensive, 326 of which were single-seater.

Good luck!

Andrew

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Hi,

It would be interesting to have a little more detail about the circimstances in which he was wounded and exactly or more approx. where. Was he in the air, on the land, what unit, what function, all those little things may help.

Best from Johan

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Johan,Andrew may thanks for replying,

In response to Johan,

My GG was Harold Francis Evans PLY 16385 Royal Marines Light Infantry, RND, 1 RM , 188th Brigade. At the time he was wounded he was in the front line within the Flesquieres Salient, south west of Cambrai. I believe it was a fighting withdrawal when a plane straffed the area with I'd guess a machine gun.The round entered his right shoulder in a downward arc and lodged very close to his heart.I am still researching so I may be able to accurately pinpoint his position in time.Hope this helps.

In response to Andrew,

The info you supplied gave me a lot to go on. I think NO.46 JAGDST would be the obvious choice as it was a fighter unit.Unfortunately as most of my relatives were infantry, the airforce is not my area of expertise.As the other two were observation and reconnaisance I take it they were more likely not to be armed.Also do you know what type of aircraft the NO.46 would have been using.

Thanks again.

Simon.

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Simon

Royal Prussian Jagdstaffel, or Jasta, 46 was based at Bévillers from 12 to 23 March 1918, and was part of Jagdgruppe 2 (with Jasta 5). It was an average German fighter unit, and would have been equipped with the Albatros D.V and D.Va, as well as the Pfalz D.IIIa, in March 1918. The unit marking at the time was a yellow and green diagonally striped tail (see below).

The other German units mentioned by Andrew, Feldflieger Abteilung, or FA 32 and Flieger Abteilung (A) 210 were certainly armed (a fixed forward firing machine gun for the pilot and a rotating machine gun for the observer); they could have flown a number of aircraft types, including Albatros, DFW, LVG or Rumpler.

There were specialist German ground attack units, the Schlachtstaffeln, who generally flew the Halberstadt Cl.II, the Hannover Cl.IIIa and the Junkers J.I.

Although this might be a bit confusing, I hope that it helps a little.

Gareth

post-45-1128081398.jpg

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Gareth,

What can I say ?.

Exactly what the doctor ordered.

The photo you posted, are the markings accurate.Including the camouflage,fuselage and wings.

It is a shame I cannot narrow it down to a particular type of aircraft.The No.32 and 210 units, would the armament have been used primarily for protection rather than offensive tactics?. If so I could in theory narrow it down a little.I'll just have to make a couple of models.

Does any one know if existing diaries,flight records etc survive for that part of the war.?

Yet again my thanks goes out for the knowledge gained and the helpfullness of our members.

Simon.

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Simon,

I think that Gareth also mentioned something extremely interesting on the matter, the Schlachtstaffeln, which were specialised in such attacks, although some Kasta units were also strong in this matter.

Maybe it is worthwile to place your question on the forum at theaerodrome.com where the two specialists on the matter (Dan-San Abbott and Rick Duiven) can help you perhaps further.

Best from Johan

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Johan,

Thanks I will take your advice and see if they can add to it.

All the best,

Simon.

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The photo you posted, are the markings accurate.Including the  camouflage,fuselage and wings.

Simon

The markings are as accurate as could be determined when the aeroplane was restored in the late 1970s by the US National Air and Space Museum. The machine is Albatros D.Va 7161/17 and it apparently ended up in Allied hands between 17 March and 15 April 1918 - the circumstances are unknown, as the records appear to have been lost in the confusion that followed the major German offensive of 21 March.

D.7161/17 displays the standard Albatros finish of five-coloured 'lozenge' patterned fabric on the wings (the lower surfaces being in lighter colours than the upper) and a varnished plywood fuselage. The metal panels around the nose, plus the fabric wheel covers, are painted green, and the tail has been painted in Jasta 46's yellow and green stripes. The origin of the individual Stropp marking on the fuselage isn't known. I've attached a drawing which gives shows the underside colours.

D.7161/17 is one of the world's two surviving Albatros scouts, the other is D.Va 5390/17 in the Australian War Memorial's collection.

You asked about the purpose of the armament on the two seaters of FA 32 and FA(A) 210. Although they were primarily for defence, crews would naturally also use them against any targets of opportunity. I'm sure that on 21 March 1918, with the great offensive starting, German aircrews would have been shooting at anything they could see on the Allied side of the lines. At the same time, the specialist ground attack aircraft of the Schlachtstaffeln would have been very aggressively attacking whatever they could find.

Good luck

Gareth

post-45-1128119457.jpg

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Gareth,

Your a star ! thankyou very much.

Simon.

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