KITS 03/2021

Albatros D.Va, Jasta 37, Wynghenge Airfield, France, late 1917/early 1918

Udet was named commander of Jasta 37 on November 7, 1917, after the previous Jasta commander Oblt. Kurt Grasshoff has been posted

away to lead Jasta 37. In his new position Udet flew this black-fuselage D.Va during the winter of 1917/18. The chevron marking on the nose

was applied in unusual position. On all his three known Albatros fighters in this unit the “LO” was applied in an angular manner. The lower

wings of this aircraft were covered in five-colour aircraft fabric (Flugzeugstoff), while the upper surfaces were most likely painted in the usual

two-tone camouflage. This mix was seen on at least one other Jasta 37 Albatros fighter, too. Two white stripe markings can be seen on the

leading edge of the upper wing in photos, and we have interpreted this as two chevrons similar to the ones on the nose. Unfortunately, no

clear view showing the top surface of the upper wing is known. One day, possibly during an icy winter day during February 1918, this aircraft

flipped, most likely during a failed landing attempt. Udet would remain with Jasta 37 until March 8, 1918, when he was posted away to join

the most famous German fighter units of them all, Manfred von Richthofen´s Jasta 11.

Fokker Dr.I, 586/17, Jasta 4, Airfield “La Ferme Puisieux” near Laon, France, late May 1918

After a few short weeks of flying with Jasta 11, Udet had developed otitis media (ear infection) and was sent home to Munich on April 8,

1918 to recover. He had returned to JG I on May 22 and was appointed as commander of Jasta 4. Previously, Jasta 6 ace Lt. Hans Kirschstein

had acted as deputy commander of Jasta 4, but he returned to Jasta 6 when it re-equipped with the Fokker D.VII on May 15, 1918. Udet

overtook Kirschstein´s Dr.I painted with oblique black and white stripes on the fuselage and upper wing to throw off the aim of a pursuer. He

called his planes in that marking "Die optische Täuschung" (the optical illusion). The stripes on the tail were the unit markings of his parent

Jasta 6. Udet just added the famous "LO" to the fuselage sides to personalize the plane, but it would only serve him for a short time. The “O”

of his personal marking become rounded with this aircraft, more changes to the design of this monogram would follow soon. At some point

in late May or early June, one of the cylinders of the rotary engine detached while the engine was running, tearing apart the engine cowling

and damaging the upper wing. The plane was written off. Such things happened to Oberursel engines… National insignias on the wings were

changed most likely during the early days of the June 1918.

34 eduard

INFO Eduard - March 2021