By James Miller
The arrival and deployment of the Royal Flying Corps' Airco DH 2 in 1916 successfully eradicated the 'scourge' of aerial dominance loved by way of the Fokker Eindecker monoplanes. Spearheaded via No 24 Sqn and led by means of Victoria go recipient Lanoe Hawker, the ungainly but nimble DH 2 - with its rotary engine 'pusher' configuration affording first-class visibility and taking out the necessity for a synchronised computer gun - had wrested air superiority from the Germans through the spring after which maintained it during the conflict of the Somme that summer season. in spite of the fact that, by means of autumn German reorganisation had visible the delivery of the Jagdstaffel and arrival of the recent Albatros D II, a swish inline-engined computing device equipped for velocity and twin-gun firepower. therefore, for the rest of the yr an epic fight for aerial superiority raged above the horrors of the Somme battlefields, pitting the manoeuvrable but under-gunned DH 2s - which have been additionally suffering from sundry engine malfunctions - opposed to the fewer nimble but larger armed and speedier Albatros D IIs. finally the Germans might regain air superiority, 3 squadron commanders - of whom have been thought of pinnacles in their respective air forces - might lose their lives, and an up-and-coming pilot (Manfred von Richthofen) may triumph in a mythical dogfight and accomplish unimagined heights struggling with with strategies discovered from a fallen mentor.
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Additional resources for DH 2 vs Albatros D I/D II: Western Front 1916 (Duel, Volume 42)
Boelcke’s skill and leadership had a profound effect on the Staffel, and its morale soared. ‘It is somewhat unique how Boelcke conveys his spirit to each and every one 54 DH 2 7873 is inspected by Jasta 2 pilots Otto Höhne (in cockpit), Oswald Boelcke (centre) and Manfred von Richthofen (right). com of his students, how he carries them all away,’ wrote Böhme. ‘They follow him wherever he leads. Not one would leave him in the lurch! He is a born leader! ’ Future 80-victory ace and Orden Pour le Mérite decorated Manfred von Richthofen, then a leutnant with Jasta 2, had similar sentiments, writing retrospectively: It was a wonderful time at our squadron.
There was no possibility that anyone would be left behind. The thought never came to us. And so we roamed bright and merry, diminishing our enemies. On Saturday, 28 October, Boelcke and his Staffelkamerad, and personal friend, Böhme had just sat down to enjoy a game of chess when Jasta 2 ‘were called shortly after four o’clock during an infantry attack on the front’. Boelcke had flown several sorties already that day, but he led his Staffel of Albatros D Is and D IIs aloft again into the cloudy, stormy skies.
32 Sqn’s Maj Lionel Rees VC. Seconded to the RFC from the Royal Garrison Artillery, Rees was an experienced and aggressive aviator who on 1 July 1916 attacked a formation of LFG Roland C IIs, downing two of them and leaving the rest ‘scattered in twos and ones all over the sky’. (Alex Revell) 52 Rees was credited with a Walfisch sent down out of control and another forced to land, and for his actions that day he received the Victoria Cross (VC). Back at No. 24 Sqn, commander Hawker’s ‘ATTACK EVERYTHING’ directive reverberated throughout the unit, and on 21 July a DH 2 patrol happened upon five Walfischen near Roisel, escorted by five Eindeckers.