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Discuss World War I and the early years of aviation thru 1934.
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Albatros D.Va
JackFlash
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Posted: Tuesday, July 26, 2011 - 06:10 AM UTC

WNW has done it again! Sheet #30018 depicts Albatros D.Va machines from various Jastas. And is the second sheet that is dedicated to various machines from different Jagdstaffels that have the factory varnished fuselages and includes five known profiles.

Link to Item

If you have comments or questions please post them here.

Thanks!
JackFlash
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Posted: Friday, July 29, 2011 - 08:39 PM UTC
Here are some comments from the author and writer Greg VanWyngarden.

"The supposition is that "STROPP" was flown by Unteroffizier Erich Gürgenz, who was wounded and shot down on 3 April 1918 and died the following day. Gürgenz was born on 10 September 1885 in Berlin and joined Jagdstaffel 46 on 10 February 1918. He made his sole victory claim on 12 March with an SE 5a. It has been claimed that his victor was Adjutant Paul Petit of Escadrille SPA 154.

However, there's no absolute proof that Gürgenz was the pilot of STROPP. It is, though, a reasonable hypothesis."
JackFlash
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Posted: Friday, July 29, 2011 - 08:40 PM UTC
GVW continues.

"For those who don't have access to them, here are some of the descriptions and stories about "STROPP" that Stephen and others have referenced:

In “Cross & Cockade” (US) Volume 4, No. 2, 1093, renowned aviation historian Peter M. Bowers wrote an article on STROPP. Here are the relevant passages:

“I had made extensive notes on this machine during the 1930’s, including tracings and dimensions of the insignia (thanks to my Grandmother being a good friend of the director, which made it possible to visit after hours, set up ladders, etc.) Unfortunately, all these notes were lost when my home was burned in 1939, so all I’m going on is an enthusiast’s memory of some twenty-five years.

“I first saw the ship, hanging up in the “War Room” (of the DeYoung Museum) in 1930, but I didn’t know what it was at the time. In those days the old Flying Aces magazine was coming out with a two-page spread of very simple line sketches and brief descriptions of WWI ships by C.B. Colby. When the Halberstadt CL.II appeared in this series, I thought that’s what the Museum ship was because of a cut-out behind the pilot’s cockpit that made it look like a two-seater. Such obvious differences as a round fuselage for an Albatros versus a flat-sider for a Halberstadt (not too evident from the Flying Aces drawing) didn’t sink into a 12-year-old mind. Detailed identification was further complicated by the fact that the rudder and ailerons were not installed, nor were the wing struts. The only identification was a framed placard proclaiming it to be a captured German aeroplane and that it was a gift of the French government.

“I remember the colors and markings very well. The fuselage was natural varnished wood, blending to a yellow stabilizer with black diagonal stripes. I could not tell if this pattern was repeated on the top side because the dust was too thick to see through when I was up on the ladder. Whether the darker shade on top of the fuselage was paint or accumulated grime, I don’t know. The word “STROPP” in lower-case German letters, black with a white border, appeared on one side of the fuselage; and if I recall, the word “SCHENCK” was on the other side (sic). White-bordered Formée Crosses were on the fuselage and part of one was on each fin.

“I never did see the coloring on the top of the upper wing, but the bottom side was painted a shiny, dark grey; obvious (even as a kid) as a restoration. The lower wing was covered with a lozenge camouflage fabric. I gave up trying to trace that pattern by holding tracing paper up against the bottom surface. The bottom side of the wing carried straight sided open-end crosses painted over the Formée type. Since it wasn’t logical to find such a mixing of national markings on a combat type, I concluded much later that this particular Albatros was actually made up of parts of two different machines captured at different times.

“Sometime in the middle 1930’s, the WPA did a restoration job on the airplane, in spite of recent reports to the contrary. By this time I was considerably more savvy on the subject of WWI airplanes and found plenty to scream about. The hole behind the cockpit was neatly patched, so now we will never know whether it was actually a second cockpit, or not. I didn’t look into it in the earlier “ladder” days for evidence of a seat or other signs of occupancy. New dummy struts were made, of wood instead of steel tubing, and very fat and out of proportion. Worse, a fourth center section strut was added to each side. Rudder and ailerons were still off, I could never get close enough to check other details as the “War Room” was always closed or alterations during my rare post-restoration visits, and I had to peer through locked grills from an adjacent room.

“When the “War Room” was finally re-opened, it had been so altered that the ceiling was no longer high enough to hang the bird safely out of reach. With the grubby paws of little monsters getting at it, the museum retired it from storage, where it was when last I came to see it around 1940…Colonel Kimbrough S. Brown reports seeing it in the Smithsonian’s warehouse and that the rudder and ailerons are installed with it.”
__________________________________________________ ___________

In Volume 5 No. 1 of Cross & Cockade, Volume 5 No.1, 1964, the journal published a letter from one Frank J. Macintosh of San Francisco, who also supplied the only known photo of the Albatros hanging from the ceiling of the DeYoung Museum. Macintosh wrote:

“My enthusiasm for the Journal compels me to take umbrage with the article by Peter Bowers as he, relying on childhood memories, chose to describe a particular aircraft with which I am better acquainted.

“The Albatros D.Va in the DeYoung Museum (San Francisco) was original, and I can assure you that no second seat was evident. There was a hole prior to 1936, underneath and behind the cockpit cause by the curious and/or looters.

“The word, or name, ‘Stropp’ appeared on both sides of the fuselage. Only the right aileron was missing. The rudder was looted crudely, being sawed off, leaving the rudder post attached. All metal cowlings were gone; also missing were the shock-cords and axle fairing.

“The renovation done in 1936 amounted mainly to the struts, as mentioned by Bowers, the basketball-sized hole underneath being patched with fabric, and some plywood being applied around the nose. As for coloring; the wings were as Pete described, the fuselage all-varnish with only the ‘Stropp’ business on the sides. The stabilizer-elevator had the diagonal black-yellow stripes which originated on top, with one vertical stripe on the fin which obliterated the serial number.

"I last saw this aircraft in October 1943, and sat in the cockpit. Little did I realize it was to be sold at public auction for $500 several years later."
JackFlash
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Posted: Friday, July 29, 2011 - 08:42 PM UTC
In Cross & Cockade Volume 11, No. 4, 1970, in the “Research Notes” column on page 378 published (no doubt for the first time) a Clayton Knight photo of “STROPP” at an exhibition in a hall bedecked with flag bunting, etc. In the photo the rudder, ailerons, elevator and all metal cowling panels are intact, as well as the interplane struts. The wheels lack tires. There is no hole behind the cockpit. In the same column, Peter published the photo of a charred fuselage from Albatros D.III in the same flag-bedecked hall, with the remnants of an X and a horizontal dark line painted on the fuselage.



In Volume 12, No. 2, 1971, again in the Research Notes column included information from a letter from Charles W. Daniels. “Charles W. Daniels notes that he first saw the aircraft on display at the DeYoung Museum in the early 1920’s. The aircraft and a number of other war trophies had been donated by Congressman Julius Kahn. The Albatros did have tires at that time (unlike its sad state in the photo used in this column), but these were made by the Continental Rubber Company of England, indicating replacement. “The fuselage was the natural dirty yellow varnish color with the word STROPP and the usual ‘patee’ crosses painted on both sides. Both were black, outlined in white. The horizontal stabilizer and elevator were painted in diagonal black and yellow stripes emanating from the fuselage and running outward. The fin was yellow and evidence of a stripe was to be seen, although not distinctly. No serial number was visible. The prop spinner was badly dented and it and the wheel covers were painted yellow. The wings were covered with lozenge-printed fabric, both top and bottom, and were decorated with ‘straight’ (or Greek) crosses. I last saw STROPP during the 1930’s. At that time the undersides of the wings had been re-painted gray.”

“John F. Connors had the good fortune to examine Albatros D.Va, D.7161/17,while embarked on a college history project last summer. His observations parallel those of Daniels, although Connors notes that, despite more than fifty years of little serious attention, the aircraft is remarkably intact.”
JackFlash
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Posted: Friday, July 29, 2011 - 08:45 PM UTC
"Here's the other photo, taken at the same location as the previous photo. This was taken sometime (early?) during the machine's tour across the country on the "Victory Loan Special" train. It was in remarkably good shape at this time.



Here's a photo of the "Victory Loan Special". I wish I knew where this was taken."
JackFlash
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Posted: Friday, July 29, 2011 - 08:47 PM UTC
"Nice connection, Tim....but I don't think so. Yes, I know there were similar trophy/loan tours throughout Canada (I've done some studying on that topic with our Canadian member Edward Soye), but nearly all of the available material on "Stropp" has it only traveling through the USA. Of course, I could be wrong. There is another photo of the "Victory Loan Special" in Mesa, Arizona. We also have some evidence that it may have gone through Waco Texas, and some of the associated trophies were in Chicago for a time. We know that STROPP wound up in San Francisco. Here's a close-up of the cockpit in some unknown location.


Here 'tis in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. I think it went directly to the DeYoung Museum after this. It was in pretty bad shape.


Obviously, the sign "Must Not Handle" had been ignored - though I wouldn't want to mess with the lady in the hat! You can see the damage to the top and bottom of the fuselage in these shots."
JackFlash
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Posted: Friday, July 29, 2011 - 08:48 PM UTC
"Here's one final view in Golden gate Park, SF. Pretty sad."

JackFlash
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Posted: Friday, July 29, 2011 - 08:51 PM UTC
GVW continues.
"It's my belief that the fuselage and tail of "Stropp" do not match the wings that were with the airplane when it arrived at the Smithsonian, in pretty bad condition. The aircraft was, IMHO, cobbled together with wings from at least two (perhaps three) different Albatros D.Va'aircraft - probably before the machine ever left France. The location of the Iron Crosses on the upper wing identify that component as having come from an O.A.W.-built D.Va, while the fuselage and tail are obviously Albatros (Johannisthal) built. The Balkenkreuz insignia on the lower wings that were with the airframe do not match those on the upper wing, and some of the wing components were covered in five-color printed fabric while others were painted in green and mauve, etc. When Bob Mikesh and the Smithsonian restored the aircraft, they (incorrectly, IMHO) chose to cover the wings with lozenge fabric because it looked "better", I guess.

Analysis of fabric samples from the original tailplane show that beneath the yellow and dark green stripes, the original fabric was painted in mauve and green above and pale blue below. This comes from analysis of fabric samples supplied by Frank Garove to Alan D. Toelle (who did the analysis). Therefore, I believe that all the fabric-covered surfaces were probably in green/mauve and pale blue painted finish when this machine left the factory."
JackFlash
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Posted: Friday, July 29, 2011 - 09:06 PM UTC
Here are a few references just on "Stropp":
1. Cross & Cockade USA Vol. 4 #2, Pp.195-7 1963.
2. Cross & Cockade USA Vol. 5 #1, Pp83-4 1964.
3. Cross & Cockade USA Vol.12 #2, p.190 1971.
4. Cross & Ccokade USA Vol.23 #3, Pp.273 -281 1982.
5. WWI Aero (?)Stropp a Mystery Solved? (drafted previous to 1986.)
6. Cross & Cockade Int. Vol.26 #3, Pp.133-130, Esp p.118 1995.
7. Albatros D.Va-German Fighter of WWI by Mikesh, Smithsonian Inst.Press,1980.
JackFlash
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Colorado, United States
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Posted: Wednesday, August 03, 2011 - 01:57 AM UTC
Here are a few Aeroscale links to the pertinent WNW decals on "Stropp".

Review of #32015

Kit #32015