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Fokker F.I 103/17, Jasta 11, Ltn. Werner Voss, Knights of the Skies, September 1917

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Item Number: ACE-45

Fokker F.I 103/17, Jasta 11, Ltn. Werner Voss, Knights of the Skies, September 1917

The Fokker F.I was a prototype German fighter triplane.  The first three aircraft were designated F.I.  Werner Voss was to fly the F.I 103/17.  Manfred Von Richthofen flew F.I 102/17 in September 1917, scoring his 60th victory in this aircraft.  F.I 101/17 was tested to destruction in August 1918.

Werner Voss was a WWI German flying ace, credited with 48 aerial victories.

After flight school and six months in a bomber unit, he joined a newly formed fighter squadron, Jagdstaffel 2, on 21st November 1916, where he befriended Manfred Von Richthofen.

By April 6th, 1917, Voss had scored 24 victories and was awarded Germany’s highest award, the Puor Le Merite.  The medal’s mandatory month’s leave removed Voss from the battlefield during “Bloody April”.  Even though in his absence, Richthofen scored 13 victories.  Richthofen regarded Voss as his only possible rival as the top scoring ace of the war.

Soon after Voss returned from leave, he was at odds with his squadron commander.  He was detailed from his squadron to evaluate new fighter aircraft and became enthusiastic about the Fokker Triplane.

Voss was one of the test pilots for the F.I triplane prototype which developed into the Fokker DR.I.  

Although the Fokker had some drawbacks, such as its low speed and slowness in a dive, Voss loved the new craft.  It was easy to fly with light controls, could out-manouvre any previous aircraft, mounted twin guns, and had a rapid rate of climb.  The same climbing ability that put it at 1,000 meters within three minutes of takeoff lent itself to the combat tactic of zooming upwards out of combat to gain the height advantage on opponents.

In late August 1917, the rotary engine F.I prototype was assigned to Voss as his personal aircraft.  In his childhood, Voss had flown Japanese Fighting Kites with his cousins in Krefeld.  It is assumed the decorations on the kites gave him the inspiration to paint the nose cowling of his triplane, with two eyes, eyebrows and a moustache.

Voss’ last stand came on 23rd September 1917, just hours after his 48th victory. He was to fall in solo opposition to eight British aces. He was described by his pre-eminent foe James McCudden as “the bravest German airman”.

Released in JANUARY 2021.