Werner Voss and Manfred von Richtofen
Leutnant Werner Voss – German Ace 1897 / 1917 Part 4
Voss disregarded military procedure and went outside the chain of command to petition higher headquarters for Walz’s removal.Faced with such a case of insubordination, all three men were transferred out of the Jagdstaffeln. Lersner was packed off to a bomber unit. Discovering his betrayal, Walz requested re-assignment on the grounds that his honour had been impuned. On the 20th of May 1917, Flight Commander Voss was sent to Jagdstaffel 5 to assume temporary command.
Voss was bequeathed an Albatros D.III in the Squadrons insignia. During his brief spell with Jasta 5, Voss scored a further half dozen victories. Voss was slightly wounded on the 6th of June 1917 by Flight Sub-Lieutenant Christopher Draper, but soon returned to duty. The R.N.A.S credited Draper with an “out of control” victory. Voss had to trade in his damaged Albatros D.III for a fresh one.
Meanwhile Voss went on leave to Krefeld with Richtofen, surviving photographs show then displaying their aircraft for the Voss clan. Pater Familias Maximilian Voss Snr, issued an open invitation for Richtofen’s use of the Voss Family hunting lodge. After this leave, Voss was given acting command of Jagdstaffel 29, five days later he was given temporary command of Jagdstaffel 14.
Voss was one of the test pilots for the F.I Triplane prototype which developed into the Fokker DR.I. He was summoned to Schwerin, and on the 5th of July 1917 was one of the first to test fly the Fokker F.I s/n 103/17. Although the Fokker had its faults, such as its slow speed and slowness in a dive, Voss loved the new aircraft. It was easy to fly, with light controls, could out-manoeuvre any previous aircraft, mounted twin machine guns and had a rapid rate of climb. That same climbing ability that put it at 1,100 metres within three minutes of take off lent itself to the combat tactic of zooming upwards out of combat to gain the height advantage on opponents. Voss enthusiastically recommended the Fokkers adoption, whilst never progressing to test the Pfalz DR.I. Voss left Schwerin with an assignment for command of another Staffel.
To Be Continued ………………
(C) Damian Grange 2018