Lt. Ernst Udet, Jasta 4, Beugneux-Cramoiselles Airfield, France, June 1918
Jasta 4 received the new Fokkers D.VII on June 13, 1918. All these were license-built OAW aircraft. Immediately, a new unit marking, consisting of black-painted noses, wheel covers and struts, was introduced. This marking was certainly inspired by the black fuselages of Jasta 37. Udet was named the acting commander of Jagdgeschwader “Von Richthofen” on June 18, and although he only held this position for one day, it was probably enough to mark his plane in a more recognizable style. The fuselage was supposedly fully painted red, possibly as a reference to Udet’s previous service with Jasta 11. The wings were striped in red and white. The number of stripes is usually thought to be higher than we portray here, but the famous photo of this plane is heavily retouched. Close inspection reveals that only the stripe going through the right-wing cross is original. By comparison with another photo, shown in a TV documentary, we have our interpretation of the upper wing stripes layout. The aircraft did not survive long, as it was lost on June 29. At 7:40 a.m. over the village of Cutry Udet attacked a French Breguet, but the observer returned fire and managed to rip the steering lines of Udet’s Fokker with his fire and Udet had to bail out from the uncontrollable aircraft. The nose and wheel covers may have retained the black Jasta 4 unit colour or they were painted red as well. Available photos leave the possibility of both these options.
VzFlgMstr. Franz Mayer, MFJ III, Jabbeke, Belgium, September 1918
Franz Mayer was credited with three or four victories during WWI, depending on the source and flew with the marine unit MFJ III (formed from the personnel of MFJ I and MFJ II on June 23, 1918). Mayer’s Fokker D.VII from the OAW production was of early-mid batch and sported attractive paint scheme of white fuselage with yellow nose and diagonal black stripes on both sides. The interesting feature is the fuselage cross. On well-known and good quality photo of the plane it is quite clear the cross was of the same color as the front of the fuselage, i.e. yellow. There is nothing known about the reasoning behind this unusual approach, the yellow color was probably used to make the cross better visible within the fuselage black stripes. Both wings were left in four-color version of the printed Flugzeugstoff, the elevator was yellow with three black stripes denoting the MFJ III unit.
Lt. Walter Blume, Jasta 9, Sissone, France, September 1918
Walter Blume was very interesting person not only as a WWI fighter, but also as the post-war aircraft designer. Born in Hirschberg (Jelenia Góra, Poland today) he was just 18 at the outbreak of WWI and, as a member of the Jaeger battalion, was wounded early. He decided to become a pilot afterwards and after the training he joined the Fliegertruppe in June 1915. After the spell with two-seaters, he was assigned to the Jasta 26 in January 1917 and started his tally of 28 aerial victories there on May 10, 1917, downing an D.H.9. He had been wounded on November 29, 1917, and spent three months in hospital. Returning to the action he was appointed CO of Jasta 9 on March 5, 1918. On October 2, 1918, he was awarded Pour le Mérite and the same day he scored his penultimate 27th victory. After the war he became successful aircraft designer working for Albatros and Arado and was a force behind the early German jets. Blume flew several D.VIIs with similar marking of the black fuselage with stylized B letter. This one D.VII from early-mid production batch had half-white top wing and the white strip on the bottom of the lower wing as the marks of his CO status.
Lt. d. R. Kurt Monnington, Jasta 18, Montoy-Flanville, France, August 1918
Kurt Monnington is well known pilot today thanks to his personal symbol, the detailed skull, he had painted on his aircraft. He kept it also after receiving the D.VII, complementing the Jasta 18 symbol, the black raven with it. Monnington had served with FA 62 before he was posted to Jasta 15 in 1917. The famous Berthold´s swap of personnel between Jastas 15 and 18 meant that Monnington became member of the new Jasta 18 in March 1918 as well as all his other comrades from former Jasta 15. He scored his first victory on May 11, 1918, downing the S.E.5a, which stayed as his only victory over enemy fighter. All the other victims were to be double seaters. The most interesting of his score of nine kills is the double-victory on August 13, 1918. Monnington declared pair of D.H.9s as his 5th and 6th victories, but in fact they were victims of flak fire and consequent crash. Monnington´s D.VII (OAW) was painted in the famous scheme of “new” Jasta 18 with red nose and white fuselage. Rims of the rudder and elevator had a black outline, also on the edges of the fuselage were neat black stripes painted. Both wings were red, at least from the upper side. It is not certain, whether the red color was applied to the bottom as well, so it is up to modeler to decide, whether to paint them, or leave them in the Flugzeugstoff (Lozenge) fabric.
Uffz. Alfred Bäder, Jasta 65, Tichémont, France, November 1918
Alfred Bäder was born on September 20, 1893, in Tübingen, Wurtemburg. After an injury sustained in summer 1916 with Infanterie Regiment Nr. 180, he went through pilot training and subsequent fighter pilot training at Jastaschule II, being finally assigned to Jasta 65 on August 31, 1918. Less than a week later he was shot down by a Salmson 2A2 of 91st Aero Squadron flown by 1Lt Victor H. Strahm and Capt. James E. Wallis near Rembercourt. He eventually shot down two USAAC Salmsons in a kind of revenge. The first one belonged to 99th Aero Squadron and was shot down on October 2. The second one was from 91st Aero Squadron and Bäder sent it down on November 8, 1918. His wartime Fokker D.VII from early OAW production sported a very colorful and complex illustration of Seven Schwabians, the group of villagers from a medieval fairy tale collected by the Grimm brothers. The story makes fun of the people from the then Duchy of Swabia, the villagers portrayed in the tale are foolish and so they all die finally. The illustration was painted on both sides of the fuselage and differed from each other. Bäder sent a photograph of this aircraft as a postcard to his injured colleague Wilhelm Scheutzel, to whom this aircraft was wrongly attributed for many years.
Lt. d. R. Hans Besser, Jasta 12, Chéry-les-Pouilly, France, August 1918
Hans Besser was a member of Jasta 12 by the first half of July 1918, and he stayed with them till the end of the war. It is not known when exactly he joined the unit, nor details about his previous service. Besser was credited with two victories over American DH.4s, which he achieved on September 18 and 26, 1918. During the second encounter, Besser hit the bombs of his opponent with his first burst, causing the massive explosion of the aircraft of No. 20 Aero Squadron at an altitude of 15,000 ft (4,500 m). The blast killed 2/Lt. D. B. Harris and 2/Lt. E. Forbes, while Besser barely avoided it. No details about his post-war life are available. Besser flew at least three Fokkers D.VII with his personal broom marking. “Besen ist Besser” (meaning “broom is better”) was the saying used for his planes by his comrades in Jasta 12. The fuselage was painted in blue with white nose. The wings were left in the Flugzeugstoff (Lozenge) printed fabric of four-color pattern on both upper and bottom sides. Although the early batch of the OAW production, the aircraft was already fitted with later version of the exhaust manifold, called the “saxophone” because of its shape.