KITS 03/2021

Fokker Dr.I 593/17, Jasta 4, Beugneux-Cramoiselles Airfield, France, early June 1918 Jasta 4

Jasta 4 converted to the Fokker Dr.I on April 20, 1918 while Udet was away from the front. This aircraft was apparently a reserve Triplane

that Udet used as a replacement of the striped Triplane, damaged beyond repair. Photos show the aircraft in use at Jasta 4 in early June 1918

at Beugneux-Cramoiselle airfield. The chevron he had used previously on his Albatros D.Va at Jasta 37 re-appeared on this Dr.I, now painted

onto the horizontal tailplane. The outline of his „LO!“ marking had only been applied as a chalk outline on the fuselage sides, as a guide for

the painter who would complete the marking later. No photo showing the „LO!“ marking properly applied to this aircraft is known. Apparently, not much effort was made to personalize it, as Udet and his men were hoping to get the new D.VII soon.

Fokker D.VII (O.A.W.), 20xx/18, Jasta 4, Beugneux-Cramoiselles Airfield, France, June 1918

Jasta 4 finally received the new Fokker D.VII on June 13, 1918. All these were license built O.A.W. machines, replacing their out-dated

Triplanes. Immediately, a new unit marking, consisting of black 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 of an event to mark his plane in a more recognizable style. The fuselage was supposedly fully painted red, possibly as a reference to his previous service at Jasta 11. The wings were striped in red and white,

similar to the Kirschstein´s plane, but with the stripes slanted in the opposite direction. The number of stripes is usually thought to be higher

than we show 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. All other stripes visible on the photo were simply drawn into it! By comparison with another tiny photo, shown in

a TV documentary, we have come up with our interpretation of the upper wing stripe layout. The nose and wheel covers may have retained

the black Jasta 4 unit markings or were painted red as well. Available photos leave the possibility of both these options. This beautiful plane

was lost on June 29, 1918 in combat with a French Breguet Br. 14 observation plane.

INFO Eduard - March 2021