Monday, December 26, 2011

Breguet Br.14A2 1919-1922

Breguet Br.14A2 of the Second Greco-Turkish War

It is good to get back to work on my projects after thee last month. As I said earlier I have been working on some of the later examples of World War One aircraft. Today offering is a few of the aircraft which fought in the Second Greco-Turkish War. There will be more of these aircraft to come.

When the Treaty of Versailles was signed on November 11 of 1918, it was called the war to end all wars. With hindsight we can see just how out of touch they were. All the treaty did was set the stage for even more warfare, both in the long and short term future. The combination of shifting fortunes of nations a rise in nationalism in the Baltic, and availability of weapons left over from WWI was a recipe for a new string of smaller but no less fierce wars.

When Turkey was reeling from their ill-fated participation in WWI, Greece saw an opportunity for expansion. Even though Turkey had been on the losing side of the Great War, their army still had more troops and armament than the Greeks. The Turks crushed the Greek forces and the Treaty of Laussane formalized the cessation of hostilities in 1923. In the end this military misadventure proved to be a mistake which would topple the Greek monarchy and bring about military rule. The Second Greco-Turkish War would bring about the current state of affairs in the Middle east.

This Turkish Bre.14.A2 has a fairly standard French camouflage pattern. The aircraft bears the new red square and star and crescent rudder markings.

The basic fuselage scheme is similar to the Turkish example shown above. Notable is the black wavy line over-painted on the Greek insignia on the fuselage. The rudder is painted in the standard Greek identification pattern.

The paint scheme is more muted on this example and the serial numbers on the rudder have been over-painted. Like the previous aircraft the forward section is bare metal.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Germany - Jasta 6 Fokker D.VII

Three Fokker D.VII Jagdgeschwader Nr.I Jasta 6

I had a 3 day weekend so I took time for rest, relaxation and consolidation. For a change of pace I am posting some of a series aircraft from Jasta 6 I've been working on. In between all the chaos I have also been busy working up some Turkish and Greek planes from the Greek Turkish War for my main profile gallery which should make one of my readers happy.

This airplane is an early D.VII flown by Richard Wenzl who commanded the Jasta in part of 1918. What sets it apart from other Fokker D.VII in Jasta 6 is the streaked khaki paint scheme on the fuselage instead of a lozenge pattern. The wings are covered in a 5 colored lozenge pattern fabric. The forward fuselage and tail plane are painted with the distinctive diagonal black and white stripes associated with the jasta. As with many example in Jasta 6 the wheel covers are also done in a striped pattern.

The scheme is similar to many Jasta D.VII. The fuselage is covered in a 4 color Lozenge and the wings in a 5 color pattern. The black and yellow stripes are the personal markings of the pilot, Ltn. Werner Noldecke.

Once again this D.VII is the basic Jasta scheme. The white shield with a spade on it is the personal insignia of an unidentified pilot.

History of Jagdstaffel 6

Royal Prussian Jagdstaffel 6 was founded on 25 August 1916. It was one of the original units of the Luftstreitkräfte, which was the forerunner to the Luftwaffe. The jasta was formed from Fokkerstaffel Sivry, itself an early attempt to use the new winged weapons of fighter aircraft. On 29 September, it was assigned to 2 Armee and refurbished with Albatros D.I fighters.

When Manfred von Richthofen formed Jagdgeschwader 1 on 24 June 1917, Jasta 6 moved to Markebecke on 2 July to join them. The squadron would remain part of the Flying Circus for the rest of the war. In June, July, and August of 1917, the jasta lost a commanding officer per month to enemy action, even as the unit moved from one hot spot to another. It also struggled with technological problems, as it needed genuine castor oil to lubricate the rotary engines of its airplanes.

Jasta 6, at the end of the war, moved back into FEA 9, Darmstadt. On 16 November 1918, they disbanded and passed into history. They had been credited with 196 confirmed aerial victories, at the cost of ten pilots killed in action, 9 wounded in action, two killed in flying accidents, four Injured in flying accidents, and two pilots taken prisoner of war.

Although most notable aces in the squadron rose to command at one time or another, Franz Hemer and Kurt Küppers served in its ranks and earned honors without succeeding to the helm.

When the squadron was formed, it had eight Fokker Eindeckers, mostly Fokker E.IVs, which it used for its first month of operations. It added Albatros D.Is on strength in September 1916, and had at least one Fokker D.V assigned. Albatros D.IIIs were put into service in March 1917. By June 1917, Albatros D.Vs had been added to the squadron's roster, as well as Fokker Triplanes. Many of the aircraft wore a unit marking of black and white stripes on their elevators; personal insignia went on the fuselage. On the later triplanes, the engine cowling was painted scarlet and white in a petal pattern. By May 1918, the unit was re-equipped with some Fokker D.VIIs. In August, it received some Fokker D.VIIIs, but had to withdraw them from service due to lack of castor oil to lubricate their air-cooled rotary engines.


  1. Jagdstaffel 6. (2011, October 18). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 01:12, December 11, 2011, from
  2. Above the Lines: The Aces and Fighter Units of the German Air Service, Naval Air Service and Flanders Marine Corps, 1914-1918. Norman L. R. Franks, Frank W. Bailey, Russell Guest. Grub Street, 1993. ISBN 0948817739, 9780948817731.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Germany - 1916 LFG Roland C.II pt.2

Early C Class Aircraft and Kagohl Units

The Kagohl (Kampfgeschwader der Obersten Heersleitung) were aerial units which operated under the Commander of the German Armies. The organization consisted to a Headquarters Staff and six Kampfstaffeln, each consisting of six C Class aircraft. They had their own ground transport and used the German railway system for rapid deployment. Their original concept, was strategic bombing of England. The flaw in the plan was C class aircraft lacked the operational range to bomb England. Instead of performing strategic bombing missions; they operated as tactical bomber units. During the battle of Verdun, They patrolled the front attempting to prevent French bomber operations against the German front. Some Kagohls also served on the Eastern front.

Kagohl 2 consisted of Kampfstaffeln(Kasta) Nr.7-12. Kasta Nr.8 was founded on December 20, 1915. The Kasta flew LFG Roland C.II, and one of the unit's claim to fame is Manfred von Richthofen served with them early in his career.

Three Roland LFG From Kagohl 2/Kasta 8

LFG Roland C.II Mont-Morville Aerodrome - 1916

This example shows some of the features of the early LFG C.II. Of note is the lack of a forward mounted gun and the round roll cage. The finish is called sky. The actual color could vary from pale blue to light gray or off-white.

This example is one of the first aircraft that von Richthofen flew in combat. He flew this LFG Roland while serving with Kasta 8 on the Eastern Front.

The finish on this example is lighter. Besides the vertical bands the finish and structure of the aircraft is the same as the previous profiles.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

France - 1917 Salmson 2a

Three French Salmson 2a

Late in the war many French Escadrille were supplied with the excellent Salmson SAL 2a. Today I am posting samples of some of the more successful units. I am working on more examples and will follow up with updates soon.

This is a very well known SAL.2a which flew in the 1st Escadrille. The insignia is a blue snail. I have no information on the crew or serial number. I used a drawing by Bob Pearson as the primary source for the marking information.

I began research on this aircraft with photo and details I found at This Escadrille used an elephant as their insignia. Different flights carried black, white, or the most definitive version which was a charging elephant with a green cover with gold trim. This is the insignia I used on this profile.

I used Bob Pearson's color profile and photos from as references for this profile. The 32th Escadrille used a seagull in flight or on a naval life preserver as their insignia.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Germany - 1916 Halberstadt CL.II part 2

Burning the Candle at Both Ends

Recently I have been working outdoors in the elements. During the holiday season I end up sleep deprived and a bit fuzzy around the edges. When I get home I mainly work on finishing new master files for a new push after the new year. It has been consolidation time for me, however it is needed to avoiding wasting time and energy with changing things piecemeal instead of building the structure in a logical modular manner. The past few days I have been busy preparing for things to come. One project is working up all of Manfred von Richtofen's aircraft, I have found several lists of his planes which will give me an outline to follow. This will include the two seat aircraft he served as the gunner/observer in. I have finished a couple of the profiles for this, including a LFG Roland C.II from Staffel 8, KAGOHL 2. I will post some of them soon. Today I am posting some of the new Halberstadt CL.II profiles I have done.

This example served in Schlasta 23b during 1916. The aircraft is finished in two different camouflage schemes. The fuselage is painted with a speckled pattern and other surfaces are finished in a five color lozenge pattern.

This example has an unusual scheme. The red and white flame pattern over the speckled fuselage makes it easy to identify. All the lozenge is a five color scheme. It was a fun profile to do.

This pair of CL.II were assigned to Schlasta 23b are both painted in nearly identical schemes. Both have a female in white on the rear section of the fuselage. Nr. 2 bears the name “Brünhilde” and Nr. 5 bears the name “Thea” Both have white numbers mid-plane, a white chevron which is the Schlasta identifier. The red stripe bordered in white I am not sure what its significance is.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Germany - 1918 Halberstadt CL.IV

The Most Effective Ground Attack Aircraft of WWW I

The holidays have thrown my posting schedule for a loop. In the US we have been celebrating Thanksgiving. A day of feasting on large flightless birds and tables groaning under the weight of side dishes. I have recuperated from digestive torpor in time to post today. I am into my early 6 weeks of doing full time charity work to bring food and Christmas gifts to those who are unable to provide for them self.

I decided to post some of my new profiles of one of my favorite planes of the war. I will post a few more when I get the time.

This striking example was the aircraft flown by the CO of Schlachtstaffel 21 in the Battle of Chateau Thierry in mid-July of 1918. The white fuselage with white strikes made it a high priority on my profile list. The wings are standard five color lozenge fabric, while the tail plane is white.

The color scheme of this plane is a matter of conjecture. Most show it as varnished wood over-painted with the black and white design. Other references show it as a blue gray under surface with the black and white markings. In all the examples the wings were covered in German five color lozenge cloth. None of the sources had any information on what unit it served in or the identity of the flight crew.

The fuselage on this example is painted in a four color camouflage pattern, The diagonal stripe has a thin black stripe separating th red and yellow areas. The skull and crossbones is a favorite marking used by many nations. I assume it was a personal marking and not a unit identifier. The black number on the rudder is somewhat common, however most still bore the numbers on the fuselage.

The Halberstadt CL.IV was one of the most effective ground attack aircraft of World War I, relying on its good maneuverability to avoid ground fire. It appeared on the Western Front towards the end of the German offensives in 1918. Karl Thies, chief designer of the Halberstädter Flugzeugwerke, G.m.b.H., designed the CL.IV as a replacement for the CL.II, which was very successful in harassing Allied troops. Purpose of an improved version was to create a superior ground attack aircraft.

The new CL.IV featured a shorter, strengthened fuselage and a horizontal stabilizer of greater span and higher aspect ratio than that of the CL.II. These changes, along with a one-piece, horn-balanced elevator, gave the CL.IV much greater maneuverability than the CL.II. After tests were completed of the prototype in April 1918, at least 450 were ordered from Halberstadt, and an additional 250 aircraft from a subcontractor, LFG (Roland).

As with the CL.II, the CL.IV was powered by a single 160 hp (120 kW), 6 cylinder in-line, water cooled Mercedes aircraft engine. The aircraft was armed with a fixed forward-firing 0.312 in (7.92 mm) LMG 08/15 “Spandau” synchronized machine gun, and a single trainable 0.312 in (7.92 mm) “Parabellum” MG14 machine gun, on a ring mount in the observer's cockpit.

Flights of four to six CL.IVs flew close support missions, at an altitude of less than one hundred feet, suppressing enemy infantry and artillery fire just ahead of the advancing German troops. After these late German offensives stalled, Halberstadt CL.IVs were used to disrupt advancing Allied offensives by striking at enemy troop assembly points and night sorties were also made against Allied airfields and interception missions against Allied bombers as they returned from their missions.


  1. From Wikipedia Halberstadt CL.IV, ""

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Germany - 1916 Halberstadt CL.II

Germany and Ground Attack Aircraft

I took a break from working on American units this weekend. What that means is I just shifted focus back to German aircraft and their operational organization. I took the opportunity to work up several models of Halberstadt aircraft and more Fokker D.VII.

As early as 1916 Germany developed purpose built Ground attack aircraft which supported infantry units. Armed with machine guns and anti-personel bombs these aircraft performed their missions well. One of the best designs was the Halberstadt CL.II.

This example is painted in the standard scheme set by Rudolf Berthold after March 1918, when Hptm. Adolf Tutschek died and command passed to him. The red nose could indicate this example was attached to Jasta 15. The cross on the rudder is the Maltese cross in use in 1918.

This example has a very striking paint scheme. The name Martha is probably the name of the pilot's girlfriend. The number 3 on the rudder is unusual, The side mounted boxes for anti-personel munitions are absent. The wings are done in the standard lozenge scheme, a dark pattern on the upper surfaces, lighter on the lower. The tail plane is painted in the orange and dark green motif. Once again the Maltese crosses indicate the aircraft is in use in 1918.

This example is painted in a speckled pattern. The rear fuselage section is white with a yellow stripe separating the dark section from the white. The number in the white diamond may be an aircraft identifier. The wings are standard lozenge and the tail plane is white. The side boxes are mounted on the fuselage.

The Halberstadt CL.II was the first German purpose designed aircraft for the ground attack role. The Halberstädter Flugzeug Werke began supplying the German Halberstadt D-II during the summer of 1916. The plane was created to provide air support for ground troops.

The CL.II was powered by the reliable 160 hp (120 kW), 6 cylinder in-line, water cooled Mercedes aircraft engine. and armed with three machine-guns and five 22-pound (10 kg) anti-personnel bombs, the plane soon established itself as the best ground attack fighters of the war.


  1. From Wikipedia Halberstadt CL.II, ""
  2. Angelucci, Enzo (ed.). "World Encyclopedia of Military Aircraft". London: Jane's, 1981. ISBN 0 7106 0148 4.
  3. Gray, Peter and Thetford, Owen. "German Aircraft of the First World War". London: Putnam, 1962.
  4. Green, William and Swanborough, Gordon. "The Complete Book of Fighters". New York: Smithmark, 1994. ISBN 0-8317-3939-8.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

United States - 1918 Salmson 2a

Salmson 2a in the 1st Observation Group

I have been busy working on American aircraft groups and I have just finished a new master file for the Salmson 2a. So far I have done several French, American, and one British profile. The SAL 2a has a lot of detail to contend with. Once again it is fun with louvers time. I have worked up an easy way to add them. I make one louver, trim the image to give me the proper spacing, make a new image window the correct size and use a fill tool to make a row of them as long as I want. As long as I do the math before creating the new window I get a clean even row of them without any irregularities. A bit of copy pasting to a layer and the I have what I need fast and easy. Then all I need to do is tweak the opacity and the layer blending mode and I am done. Keeping them isolated on a single layer keeps things simple if I need to play with them later.

1st Aero Squadron 1st Observation Group U.S.A.S.

Salmson 2a 1st Aero Squadron - 1918
Salmson 2a 1st Aero Squadron - 1918

When the United States declared war on Germany on 6 April 1917, the 1st Aero Squadron was still based at Columbus, New Mexico. The Army ordered the 1st Aero Squadron to Fort Jay, New York City, to accompany the 1st Division to France. The squadron arrived in August 1917, too late to join the 1st Division, but sailed for France on its own under the command of Major Ralph Royce. It arrived at Le Havre on 3 September 1917, the first U.S. squadron in France.

Untested U.S. squadrons were initially sent to a fairly inactive sector of the Front north of Toul to acquire combat experience at minimum risk. The 1st Aero Squadron trained at Avord, Issoudun and Amanty, France, during the winter of 1917–18. While at Amanty a member of the squadron, Lt. Stephen W. Thompson, achieved the first aerial victory by the U.S. military. The aircraft used by the squadron were the Curtiss AR-1, Spad XIII pursuit plane, and Salmson 2 observation plane.

On 8 April 1918, the 1st Aero Squadron was assigned to an aerodrome at Ourches, and was joined shortly after by the 12th and 88th Aero Squadrons to form the 1st Corps Observation Group, the first U.S. air group. The group served as an observation unit for both the French XXXVIII Corps and the U.S. I Corps, moving its location nine times between April and November.

88th Aero Squadron 1st Observation Group U.S.A.S.

Salmson 2a 88th Aero Squadron - 1918
Salmson 2a 88th Aero Squadron - 1918
Activated in the summer of 1917 as the Air Service 88th Aero Squadron; deployed to France during World War I and served on the Western Front. Engaged in combat as a corps observation squadron with I, III, IV, and V Army Corps, May 30 – November 10, 1918. After the armistice subsequently served with VII Army Corps in occupation force, November 1918 – May 1919 when the squadron returned to the United States

90th Aero Squadron 1st Observation Group U.S.A.S.

Salmson 2a 90th Aero Squadron  - 1918
Salmson 2a 90th Aero Squadron - 1918

The 90th Fighter Squadron was initially activated on 20 August 1917, as the 90th Aero Squadron. Its first location was at Kelly Field, San Antonio, Texas. The first few months of its existence were consumed by the necessary training to prepare the men for operations in France during World War I. On 12 November 1917, the men of the 90th arrived at Le Havre, France. The initial cadre of officers and enlisted men began preparing the infrastructure necessary to support their flying mission. The air contingent arrived soon after this first group.

The squadron's first aircraft were the Sopwith 1½ Strutter ground attack aircraft. The squadron upgraded to Salmson 2-A2s, SPAD Xis, and Breguet BR-14 observation aircraft. Pilots flew from Colombey-les-Belles and scored seven confirmed aerial victories (against aircraft) and participated in the final allied offensives. The 90th earned a positive reputation for its ground attack missions during its continuous participation in the air offensive over Saint-Mihiel. Its first commander, First Lieutenant William G. Schauffler, designed the 90th's Pair o' Dice emblem displaying natural sevens during this campaign.

Monday, November 14, 2011

United States - 1918 DH-4

Never a Dull Moment

Work on the new section on the overview of American aero squadrons is going slowly but steadily. It has reminded me of the fact that nothing is simple, and each door you open is not an exit but another set of rooms and doors still unexplored.Besides laying out new pages and nailing down the navigation in a coherent manner, I am busy working on new master files and two new sets of unit insignias for this section. One insignia set is virtual decals for use on profiles, the other set is larger images to use in the articles.

Overview of the De Havilland DH-4

Designed in 1916 by Geoffrey de Havilland, the D.H.4 was the only British design manufactured by the Americans. It was easily identified by its rectangular fuselage and deep frontal radiator. Versatile, heavily armed and equipped with a powerful twelve cylinder engine. American built DH-4 used the Liberty engine. This biplane which operated as an observation aircraft and daylight bomber was fast and maneuverable. The American version was manufactured by Dayton-Wright and was called the “Liberty Plane”.

Sometimes called the “Flaming Coffin”, its huge fuel tank was dangerously positioned between the pilot and observer, hindering communication. Produced in vast numbers, 6295, of which 4846 were built in the United States, many D.H.4s were modified for civilian air service after the war.

Squadron-D Day Wing Northern Bombing Group U.S.M.C.

Dayton-Wright DH-4 Squadron-D Day Wing Northern Bombing Group U.S.M.C. sn D-5 A-3293 La-Frene France Oct 1918

Dayton-Wright DH-4 Squadron-D Day Wing Northern Bombing Group U.S.M.C.

This American built Dayton-Wright DH-4 Liberty Plane flew in then Squadron-D Day Wing Northern Bombing Group of the United States Marine Corps. The profile shows the aircraft when at La-Frene, France during Oct of 1918. The white D-5 is the flight and airplane identifier. The Insignia is for the Marine Corps. The fuselage, wings and tail plane are painted olive drab on the upper surfaces and light gray on the lower areas. The wing roundels are added in the standard 4 place configuration (Upper wing top surface, Lower wing bottom surface). The landing gear struts are the newer reinforced design.

50th Aero Squadron - 1st Observation Group U.S.A.S.

Airco D.H.4 50th Aero Squadron - 1918

Airco D.H.4 50th Aero Squadron - 1918

The 50th was known as the Dutch Girl Squadron. They borrowed their squadron insignia from the label on a kitchen cleanser popular during that time. It went with their motto: “Cleaning up on Germany”. The examples I have seen have unbordered black numbers, and olive drab upper surfaces and varnished fabric on the lower surfaces. The wings on their American built DH-4 have roundels in the standard 4 spot scheme.

During Meuse-Argonne offensive the 50th Aero Squadron earned their reputation for heroism supporting the offensive by flying contact patrols where they were in constant communication with ground units and providing vital intelligence. On the 5th of October Elements of the U.S. 77th Infantry Division (Who became known as the “Lost Battalion”) were cut off and surrounded on a heavily forested hillside northeast of the town of Binarville. The U.S. Army came up with a plan to resupply them from the air. The mission was give to the 50th. During attempts to locate the men, 1st Lt. Harold Goettler and 2nd Lt. Erwin Bleckley were brought down by ground fire on their second flight of the day Both men died and were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross that was upgraded in 1922 to the Medal of Honor.

11 th Aero Squadron 1st Bombardment Group U.S.A.S.

Airco D.H.4 11th Aero Squadron - 1918

Airco D.H.4 11th Aero Squadron - 1918

The unit insignia was taken from a cartoon character Jiggs, invented five years before by an 11th Squadron officer, George McManus, whose comic strip, “Bringing Up Father,” was the first of its kind to attract a worldwide readership.. The positioning of it is standard for the squadron. The white identifier number does not have a border. The lower wing surfaces are varnished fabric.

The unit was first organized on June 26, 1917 as the 11th Aero Squadron, part of the 1st Day Bombardment Group at Camp Kelly, Texas. During the Great War the 11th was moved from Camp Kelly, and on January 1st 1918 was relocated to England. On August 12, 1918 it was sent to France, where it remained until April 21 1919.

Friday, November 11, 2011

France - 1918 Breguet Br.14

Two Pairs of Breguet 14's

First off I want to thank all the veterans who have served us well in times of war defending freedom we should never take for granted. As long as we tell their stories they shall never be forgotten.

My posting schedule has been a bit erratic recently. Between working on new masters and profiles, working up the pages for the U.S.A.S. Pursuit, Observer, and Bombardment Groups, and the squadrons serving in them, I have been frazzled.

Today's post is a mixed bag of Breguet 14's in French service. The difference between the two versions of this aircraft are easy to spot.

This Breguet Br.14A2 from the Autumn of 1918 was powered by a Renault engine. The blue is not typical. The insignia for the 234th Escadrille is a stylized Gallic angel on a blue field.

The paint scheme is fairly standard. The unit markings area white dragon and quartered blue and white circle. The wing struts are light gray.

Another example of a standard French camouflage scheme. The unit insignia is a red origami bird with eyes added to the head. The wing struts are natural wood.

Most examples I have seen of Breguet 14's in the 504th Escadrille bear the red and white banding and the red cross. The lower red stripe is unusual.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

U.S.A - 1918 The 9th Aero Squadron

Breguet 14 Aplenty

Once again I have got on an obsessive roll. After a lot of research I have found plenty of material for working up profiles of the Breguet 14a.2 and 14b.2. I decided to continue by posting examples which served in another aero squadron during 1918.

The 9th Aero Squadron U.S.A.S. & The Breguet 14 A2

During the closing days of WWI the 9th Aero Sqn spent a good deal of time conducting night reconnaissance. To reduce visibility of the aircraft when performing night missions, aircraft of the First and Second flights were painted in black.

In the postwar era the aircraft of the First Flight were decorated with a tooth filled mouth and eye reminiscent of an Orca. The unit insignia of searchlight beams which formed an “IX” were also added after the Armistice. This example carried an unusual pattern on its tail fin, the colors are conjectural.

The Second Flight marked their aircraft with a swastika on the fin. This aircraft carried the name “JIMMY” below the pilot's cockpit.

The Third Flight retained the original French five-color camouflage scheme, with red and white checks on the tail fin and tailplane. The profiles above depict the aircraft at two stages in its career. When the flight originally chose the red checkerboard theme, the checks were painted directly on the camouflaged tail fin. This aircraft is unique in that the aft fuselage also carried checks. Eventually the areas exposing the camouflage were filled in with white as seen in the second profile. One point of interest is the complete lack of all armament on this plane even the Scarff mount in the rear cockpit has been removed.

History of the 9th Bombardment Squadron

The 9th Bombardment Squadron began as the 9th Aero Squadron at Camp Kelly, Texas on 14 June 1917. World War I had begun in April of that year and the unit was targeted for overseas combat duty. Their first European stop was Winchester, England in December 1917. Following the holidays, the unit moved on to Grantham, England to train for combat flying the Sopwith Scout. After eight months of intensive training, the unit moved to the front in August 1918. While in Colombyles-Belles, France, the 9th was assigned to the 1st Army Observation Group. Also, after arrival in France, the unit began flying a new aircraft; the French Brequet 14. That aircraft would be used extensively to perform the unit's mission - night reconnaissance. By specializing in night reconnaissance, the 9th gained the unique distinction of being the first in the American Air Service to do so. However, their missions were not without danger. In one case, two of the 9th aircraft were engaged by seven enemy Fokkers. The 9th's aircraft not only shot down two German aircraft, but completed their photographic mission.

As the war progressed the unit participated in many night missions and battles. Most famous of those battles were the Battle of Lorraine, Battle of St. Michiel, and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. For those, the unit earned their first battle streamers. After the war had drawn to a close, the unit was moved to Trier, Germany to serve as part of the occupation force under the Third Army on 5 December 1918.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

US - 1918 96th Aero Squadron

America's 1st Bombardment Squadron & the Breguet Br.14

As part of the ongoing work on the U.S.A.S during the First World War I began fleshing out details for the 1st Bombardment Group. This means a need for new master files for both the AIRCO DH-4 and the Breguet Br.14. Since the 96th Aero Squadron was the first squadron of the group deployed I began by making a new master file for the Breguet Br.14 to replace the one lost during the great crash. Once I have finished some French, Belgian, and Greek profiles I will get busy with a new DH-4 master. Here is a short excerpt from some upcoming pages on

This Breguet Br.14 is painted in a standard French scheme, including the rudder which has the original identification information. The four pane windows were intended to improve visibility for the observer. As with most aircraft in the 96th, the numbers are red with white borders. The wings are camouflage pattern on the top surfaces and varnished fabric on the lower. The wings have a standard positioning scheme for the roundels, Two on the top surface of the upper and two on the lower surface of the lower bottom wing. As with all the examples shown today none of them have wheel covers.

This is Major Brown's plane from the unfortunate incident which resulted in the capture of 6 aircraft and crew near Coblenz, Germany. The plane has command stripes on the fuselage and the rudder has been repainted. The red numbers have no border. There was no squadron insignia on the fuselage.

This example has slightly different paint scheme, and no windows on the fuselage. It does have the word “PHOTO” painted near the pilot's position. 20 kg french bombs are mounted on hard points under the lower wing. The rudder carries the standard markings.

This example has all the standard features you would expect for a typical Breguet Br.14 serving with the 96th Aero Squadron during 1918. The tail plane is painted in the standard french camouflage pattern.

A Short History of the 96th Aero Squadron

The 96th Aero Squadron was America's first bomber group and was formed at Kelly Field, Texas. Originally consisting of 80 men, largely college graduates or college dropouts, volunteers all, and something of an elite group, since their aeronautical qualifications were the highest in the U.S. Army Air Service. Just before embarking upon its first aerial warfare, the squadron decided upon its insignia, a black triangle outlined by a white strip enclosing the profile of a red devil thumbing his nose at the ground with his right hand. In his left, he held a white bomb. This distinctive emblem was designed by the squadron's talented graphic artist, Harry O. Lawson.

The 96th's first attack was a six Breguet raid against the railway yards at Dommary-Baroncourt - a village located in between Thionville, Metz and Verdun - on June 12. The six planes dropped a ton of bombs across the rail yards, hitting the railway lines and a warehouse. This ton per raid average would be maintained during the month of August when formations of 10 Breguets, on average, dropped a total of 21.1 tons of bombs during 14 flying days and a total of 20 missions.

On July 10 a flight of six Breguet 14B.2 bombers from the 96th Day Bombardment Squadron bombers got lost. The weather had turned to rain about an hour after the flight took off, bringing the clouds down to 100 meters (330 feet) reducing the visibility to near zero. The planes were running short on fuel and faced with the dilemma whether they would land under power or to attempt gliding to a landing. The flight landed near Coblenz, Germany, and fell into German hands without firing a shot. The Germans sent back a humorous message which was dropped at one of the allied airdromes. It said, “We thank you for the fine airplanes and equipment which you have sent us, but what shall we do with the Major Harry K. Brown?” In all fairness, the mistake was both understandable and unfortunate.

There was only one other Breguet operational for the rest of July which the 96th duly used for bombing practice. 11 more Breguets arrived on August 1st which allowed operations to continue as they had before. The squadron flew for 14 days during August – probably the number of days the weather allowed bombing operations. And during that time they dropped 21.1 tons of bombs during 20 bombing raids. The German airfield and the railway station at Conflans were favorite targets in spite of its heavy anti-aircraft defenses. Following rivers made for good navigation and easier orientation. The village was located at the junction of the Moselle and Madon rivers which made it relatively easy to find. The 96th hit Conflans with a total of 15,000 kilograms of bombs over the course of the war – meaning that 96th's efforts against just this 2.5 square mile village of 2,500 people accounted for one quarter of all bombs dropped by all four Day Bombardment squadrons against all targets during the entire war. During one raid on August 20th against Conflans, the 96th destroyed 40 German aircraft while they were still in railway boxcars and also killed fifty workmen and soldiers.

In spite of the set backs experienced by the 96th it had been the most successful of the bomber squadrons of World War One and it was the only US bomber squadron operating in combat for four months before other bomber squadrons started to go into action. It was the 96th that wrote the book on American bomber tactics and operational procedures.


  1. 1st Bombardment Group during World War I Retrieved 12:19, November 2, 2011, from
  2. 96th Bomb Squadron. (2011, September 28). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 22:19, November 5, 2011, from
  3. Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, AL: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
  4. Joseph, Frank: Last Of The Red Devils. Galde Press, Inc., 2003.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Italy - 1916 - Nieuport-Macchi

Italian Manufactured Nieuport 11

While working on profiles for the Nieuport-Macchi 11 I have has a problem. The sources provide very little information on who fllew them and what units they served in. I seem to not be alone coming up dry on the hunt for deeper understanding. I have read those words Pilot and Unit unknown more often than not. I am not fond of being unable to establish the pedigree of a aircraft profile, but sometimes you just have to settle for what you can find.

Italy began to produce their own version of the Nieuport 11. Production was licensed to Macchi who produced several other aircraft including: Hanriot HD-1, and flying boats. It was not till later that Italy produced Italian designed fighters.

The broad strip of Italian national colors add visual interest. Italian Nieuport 11s carried their serial numbers on the fuselage and not the rudder. The cowling in this example was not painted. Some drawings show this aircraft with reinforcement tape on the seams. I have done another drawing with them, however I posted this one to show what my old master file looked like in contrast to the new one used for the other profiles.

This example has a personal insignia which combines the Italian roundel with an ornate letter A. It has the reinforcement tape and the colored wing tips. The port side wingtips are red and the starboard ones are green. The theme is carried on to the cowling which is painted in the red, white, and green sections.

This example has the same red, white and green theme as above. the thin tri-color wraps around the fuselage. The serial numbers are not painted the aircraft.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

France - 1915 Nieuport 11

Three French Nieuport 11 “Bébé”

I have been busy working on new master files and insignias for new profiles. But I took a break to flesh out some of the new profiles. I have always loved the more flamboyant color schemes and I decided to do a batch of Nieuports 11s sporting the French Tri-color scheme which was a popular theme with several pilots.

The Nieuport 11 “Bébé” was an improvement over the Nieuport 10. It was nimble, relatively quick, and easy to fly. In the early war it was a favorite of many pilots serving in French, Italian, Belgian, and Russian air forces.

I am not sure who was the pilot for this example. However we know it was used by Escadrille N67 during 1915. The dark brown lines along the fuselage is a reinforcement tape used to strengthen the seams where the fabric sections meet. The rudder markings give the serial number and the maximum weight limit for ammunition, fuel, lubricant and pilot. The cowling was painted yellow. The tri-color scheme on the wheel covers adds visual interest.

This is one of several Nieuport 11 flown by the famous French Ace Jean Navarre. He was attached to Escadrille N67 which served in the area around Verdun during the Spring of 1916. The rudder markings have the serial number for the aircraft. The pennant style insignia was painted on the top and sides of the fuselage. As was the standard practice no roundels were painted on the fuselage. The reinforcement tape was also used on the wing edges. The cowling is unfinished metal and the wheel covers are simple varnished cloth.

This Nieuport 11 was flown by the French Ace Lt. Armand de Turenne while assigned to Escadrille N48 during 1916. The tri-color theme covers the entire fuselage. Some sources say the forward blue section was in fact plain yellow varnish. The horn and shield was his family coat of arms. The cowling is unfinished metal as with many Nieuport 11. The wheel covers are painted blue. The rudder carries standard markings.

The small Nieuport 11 biplane was affectionately known as the "Bébé" (baby). Originally designed for racing, this light plane was fast and extremely maneuverable. Its only major problem was in the design of its wing struts. In a steep dive, the struts allowed the wings to twist, sometimes with disastrous results. Used by the British and French to counter the Fokker E.III, the Nieuport 11 was disadvantaged by its lack of a synchronized machine gun.


  1. From Wikipedia Nieuport 11, ""
  2. Angelucci, Enzio, ed. "The Rand McNally Encyclopedia of Military Aircraft". New York: The Military Press, 1983, p. 53. ISBN 0-517-41021-4.
  3. Bruce, J.M. "The Aeroplanes of the Royal Flying Corps" (Military Wing). London:Putnam, 1982, p.326. ISBN 0 370 30084 x.
  4. Chant, Christopher and Michael J.H. Taylor. "The World's Greatest Aircraft". Edison NJ: Cartwell Books Inc., 2007, p. 14. ISBN 0-7858-2010-8.
  5. Cheesman E.F., ed. "Fighter Aircraft of the 1914-1918 War". Letchworth, UK: Harleyford Publications, 1960, p. 92. ISBN 978-0-8306-8350-5.
  6. Cooksley, Peter. "Nieuport Fighters in Action". Carrollton, Texas: Squadron/Signal Publications, 1997. ISBN 0-89747-377-9.
  7. Fitzsimons, Bernard, ed. "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the 20th Century Weapons and Warfare". London: Purnell & Sons Ltd., 1967/1969, p. 1989. ISBN 0-8393-6175-0.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Britain 1915 Morane-Saulnier Type N

Morane-Saulnier Type N in the Royal Flying Corps

Today I am wrapping up my series on the Morane-Saulnier Type N with some examples Flown by the British Royal Flying Corps. Throughout the early days of the war Britain operated many French designs. Some of the types used were manufactured by Caudron, Farman, Morane-Saulnier, Nieuport, and SPAD. Eventually Britain manufactured some of these types under license. Eventually British aircraft companies provided the bulk of the designs flown by the RFC and RNS.

This example is less gaudy than most Morane-Saulnier Type N you see. As with most British aircraft National Roundels are paint on the side of the fuselage. Another common theme is the serial numbers run parallel with the line of the fuselage and are not painted following the center line.

Not all pilots flying the Type N kept the conic prop cover. Some removed it to provide better cooling for the engine and to prevent it from coming loose from vibration from both the engine and impacts of bullets striking the deflector guards.

This paint schme is fairly common except for the tri-color stripe running diagonally on the fuselage.The Morane-Saulnier logo on the cowling is painted black instead of white. The rudders on British Type N carry no markings.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Germany 1917 Pfalz D.IIIa Jasta 30

Three Pfalz D.IIIa From Jasta 30

Many Pfalz D.III were mainly silver in color with black markings. However some Jasta used a consistent paint scheme to aid in unit identification. Jasta 10 had yellow noses, Jasta 40 were black with white aft sections, Jasta 18 had their iconic red and blue paint scheme. Jasta 30 was easy to spot because of their large diamond shaped unit insignia. The color of the diamond was not always consistent but the shape was easy to see.

This example is painted overall with a mixture of varnish and aluminum powder, except for the rudder which is painted white with black trim and the Iron Cross. The diamond Jasta insignia is yellow-orange with black border and the fuelage has a black chevron style stripe. The Iron Crosses on the wings and fuselage do not have a border.

The basic paint scheme is similar to the previous example except the diamond and the empanage are painted red. The tail plane is silver. The rudder cross has been painted over.

The aluminum finished fuselage has striking black stripes and a red diamond. The empanage is painted white with black border. The Maltese Cross indicates this aircraft was still flying after the spring of 1918 The wings are covered in four color lozenge fabric. The wings have dark lozenges on the top surfaces and a lighter pattern on the bottom. There are white bordered Iron crosses on the upper top wing an the lower bottom wing. The wheel cover is covered with the same fabric used on the upper wing surfaces.