That Germany's three most famous aces of World War I: Manfred von Richthofen, Lothar von Richthofen and Werner Voss flew only one sortie together? And that this, plate E from the fantastic AVG 13 Albatros D.III: Johannisthal, OAW, and Oeffag variants, is the first piece of artwork ever to depict this mission?
The following is the colour plate description found in the book:
On September 2, 1917, Jasta 2 ace Werner Voss flew to LaBrayelle airfield to visit his former comrade Manfred von Richthofen, now Staffelfuehrer of Jasta 11. After a "long and delightful conversation" Voss took off for his return journey, with Richthofen accompanying. Flying a "roundabout way over the Front" the pair happened upon a third Albatross D.III flown by Richthofen's brother, Lothar, who had become seperated from his flight during an earlier sortie. This chance meeting is the only know sortie involving these three men, who eventually accounted for 168 credited victories betweenthem.
Soon they spotted several No.43 Squadron Sopwith Strutters flyin gover British territory. To Richthofen they seemed hesitant to engage in battle ( he later opined that it was because he had been recognized by the color of his red Albatros) but soon he wass involved with a Strutter who "knew what it was all about and was a very good shot. I found that out very well, to my sorrow." After drifting with the wind into German territory, eventually the Strutter dived into the thin undercast to disengage but Richthofen followed and shot its fuel tanks, causing the Strutter to emit " a white vapor of fuel" behind it. The damaged fuel tank lost pressure and led to engine failure, forcing the aircraft to glide to a successful dead-stick landing for Richthofen's 33rd victory. Yet his combat report claims events were not so smooth and that the Strutter continued firing at him, hitting his Albatross "very severely." This got Richthofen's dander up enough to prosecute a punitive post-landing strafing attack against the downed Strutter. Although Richthofen believed this attack had killed one of the strutter's crewmen, there were no further injuries.
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