17 September 1916 – A new order

After the carnage of two days ago, the RFC once again ran into the full force of Jastas 2 and 4, again suffering severe losses. Jasta 2 had received new aeroplanes and today they flew for the first time in formation led by ttheir commander Oswald Boelcke.

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Manfred Von Richthofen

Lieutenant Manfred Richthofen a footnote in one of his first missions for Jasta 2 the other day, was more successful today shooting down an FE2b from 11 Squadron with 2nd Lieutenant Lionel Bertram Frank Morris and Lieutenant Tom Rees on board.  Richthofen describes the fight:

“The Englishman nearest to me was travelling in a large boat painted with dark colors.
I did not reflect very long but took my aim and shot. He also fired and so did I, and both of us missed our aim. A struggle began and the great point for me was to get to the rear of the fellow because I could only shoot forward with my gun. He was differently placed for his machine gun was movable. It could fire in all directions.

Apparently he was no beginner, for he knew exactly that his last hour had arrived
at the moment when I got at the back of him…My Englishman twisted and turned, going criss-cross. I did not think for a moment that the hostile squadron contained other Englishmen who conceivably might come to the aid of their comrade. I was animated by a single thought: “The man in front of me must come down, whatever happens.” At last a favorable moment arrived. My opponent had apparently lost sight of me. Instead of twisting and turning he flew straight along. In a fraction of a second I was at his back with my excellent machine. I give a short series of shots with my machine gun. I had gone so close that I was afraid I might dash into the Englishman. Suddenly, I nearly yelled with joy for the propeller of the enemy machine had stopped
turning. I had shot his engine to pieces ; the enemy was compelled to land, for it was impossible for him to reach his own lines. The English machine was curiously swinging to and fro. Probably something had happened to the pilot. The observer was no longer visible. His machine gun was apparently deserted. Obviously I had hit the observer and he had fallen from his seat.
.
The Englishman landed close to the flying ground of one of our squadrons. I was so excited that I landed also and my eagerness was so great that I nearly smashed up my
machine. The English flying machine and my own stood close together. I rushed to
the English machine and saw that a lot of soldiers were running towards my enemy.
When I arrived I discovered that my assumption had been correct. I had shot the
engine to pieces and both the pilot and observer were severely wounded. The observer died at once and the pilot while being transported to the nearest dressing station.”

11 Squadron lost three other aircraft today, along with a further two from 12 Squadron and another from 23 Squadron.

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