Tag Archives: Jasta 6

17 July 1917 – 70 Squadron mauled

The weather was poor for much of the day on the Western Front, but in the evening some patrols were able to get up. German aircraft were also out in Force.

The biggest fight of the day came about when a patrol of five Sopwith Camels from 70 Squadron encountered an enemy scout which they drove down. They then engaged a formation of six 2-seaters with Captain Noel William Ward Webb, Lieutenant Joseph Cecil Smith and Lieutenant Edward Gribbin each claiming to have sent one down.

They were then attacked by Albatros scouts from above and  a 5 strong patrol from B flight 56 Squadron led by Captain Ian Henry David Henderson came to their aid. They were then joined  by 8 FE’s from 20 Squadron (led by Captain Frank Douglas Stevens) along with DH5’s from 32 Squadron. Further German scouts joined in until there were around 30 enemy aircraft (from Jastas 6, 8, 11 and 36).

Despite the number of aircraft involved the fighting was relatively indecisive. A large number of claims by the British side actually resulted in only three German pilots being wounded.

70 Squadron lost two of their new Camels. Lieutenant William Edington Grossett was shot down and taken prisoner in Camel N6332. Lieutenant Charles Service Workman MC was shot down and severely wounded in Camel B3779. He later died of his wounds.

 

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24 June 1917 – Flying Circus

It has become apparent to the German High Command that they would always be outnumbered in air operations over the Western Front as the average Jasta could only muster some six or eight aircraft in total for a patrol, and would often face one Allied formation after another.

In order to maintain some impact and local command of the air the Jastas began to fly in larger, composite groups to carry out operations.

Today this was made official with the formation of Jagdgeschwader 1 (JG 1) by combining Jastas 4,6, 10 and 11. Manfred Von Richthofen is in command. This became known to the British as the Flying Circus.

Its role is simple, to achieve localized air superiority wherever it was sent and to deny Allied air operations over a specific location. The unit will be mobile, and JG 1 and its supporting logistical infrastructure will travel to wherever local air superiority is needed.

Initially based at Marke (Jasta 11), Cuene (Jasta 4), Bissegem (Jasta 6) and Heule (Jasta 10), Richthofen has freedom to select his unit commanders and recruit individual pilots into JG 1, and alternately to transfer out any pilots he does not feel were up to standard.

In the longer run, this policy had the effect of making the Jagdgeschwader an elite unit, but robbing lesser Jastas of their best pilots also reduced the overall standard of the average unit. JG 1 itself suffered a dilution of talent when competent members were posted away to command their own Jastas in late 1917, when the number of Jastas were doubled from 40 to 80.

25 March 1917 – 70 Squadron annihilated

Despite the losses yesterday, 70 Squadron was sent out again at dawn to reconnoitre Cambrai to determine the extent of the German withdrawal. Six Sopwith Strutters set off and one returned (A956) with engine trouble to report the rest were engaged over Cambrai by 9 enemy scouts from Jastas 5 and 6. In the end, they were the lucky ones as the other six were shot down and the 12 crew killed.

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Eric Joseph Henderson

 

Those killed were:

  • Lieutenant Charles Stewart Vane-Tempest and 2nd Lieutenant Fred Allinson MC (7763) claimed by Leutnant Karl Deilmann from Jasta 6
  • Capt Eric Joseph Henderson MC and 2nd Lieutenant John Moir Sim (A2986) claimed by Leutnant Heinrich Gontermann from Jasta 5

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    John Moir Sim

  • 2nd Lieutenant Harry Butler and Lieutenant Leslie Archibald Norris (A884) claimed by Vitzfeldwebel Häussler from Jasta 5
  • Lieutenant John Stephen Cooper and 2nd Lieutenant Alexander Norman MacQueen (A954) claimed by Edmund Nathanael from, Jasta 5

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    Alexander Norman MacQueen

  • Lieutenant Leonard Stanley Ward-Price and Lieutenant Harry Athelstan Chuter (A958) claimed by Paul Hoppe from Jasta 5.