Mid-Atlantic Chapter Meeting October 28, 2017

Saturday – October 28th 2017
will be the 24th meeting of the
Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the
League of World War I Aviation Historians.

The meeting is at the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center on the Hangar Floor Level, Classroom 2a and2b

Udvar Hazy

Schedule for Saturday – October 28th 2017

10:00AM - Museum door opens

Pre-meeting Book Exchange…. we are going to continue our book exchange. The idea is for attending members to go through their own collection and find aviation or WWI books that they no longer want and exchange them for equal or lesser value.  How does that work… if you have a paperback you can exchange it for another paperback if you have a hardcover you can exchange it for a hardcover or paperback. The limit will be four (4) books per member. Special thanks to Frank Garove a member of the group who made a generous donation of nearly 100 aviation books.

10:15AM - 10:30AM – Meeting begins in Classroom 2a and 2b – Nuts, Bolts, Stick and Fabric (the opening remarks and our short business meeting)

10:30AM - 11:30AM – Presentation by Steve Suddaby, Author and Historian
Aerial Bombardment: The Big Question

Steve was invited to contribute an essay on aerial bombardment to a book of essays on WWI aviation that NASM will publish in 2018.  His presentation will preview that essay, discussing the big question of whether WWI tactical or strategic bombing had a critical impact on the course of the war.  Steve will review a number of circumstances in which bombing could be called successful and use those to try to answer the question of whether any of them reached the level of having a critical impact.  He will also examine the impacts of WWI bombing on events between the wars.  Since this question has not been explored comprehensively in the past, Steve hopes that this discussion with the audience will help him refine his perspective on these issues.

11:45AM - 12:30PM – Presentation by Jenns Robertson, Research Historian
One Last Mission...The Bombing of the Ostfriesland Battleship

With the conclusion of World War I, what was to be the role of the airplane in future militaries? What could this new weapon of war do? Many theorists had forwarded ideas on how it could be used, but experimentation needed to be done in order to find out what roles and missions the airplane could perform, and what organizational structure would command and control them. One of the most heralded events in the early twenties was the dramatic sinking of the Ostfriesland battleship by aircraft commanded by Billy Mitchell, showing that aircraft could sink ships at sea. This galvanized public opinion, and eventually led to the court martial of Col Mitchell.

Recently 140 pictures have come to light from the dusty shelves of the Air Force Historical Research Agency that illuminate the preparations for and execution of the Ostfriesland tests, and also illustrate the American air arsenal at that time. They illustrate that the series of tests were more complex than popular history presents, and provide an interesting window on the role played by World War I aircraft in defining the future of air power.

12:30PM - 1:15PM – Lunch at McDonalds or at McDonalds Café, or if you are inclined of course you can brown-bag-it.

1:30PM -2:15PM – Works in Progress (WiP)!

Typically we have some interesting WIP’s that will be shared at these meetings… 

If you have something to share please do so this section of the meeting it is the perfect opportunity to share, request and exchange information, and some very good opportunities have come at this portion of the meeting

2:30PM – 3:15PM - Presentation by Jon Guttman, Author and Historian
September 1917: Fall of a Generation of Heroes.

From the inception of the fighter plane in April 1915, a growing cadre of outstanding pilots accumulated scores of five or more to rate the French sobriquet of as or “ace.” Largely due to the relatively mobile and “clean” war they fought compared to the frustrating impasse in the trenches, a cultish interest centered around the best of them in French and German circles (and, in spite of efforts to discourage it, among the British to a more restrained degree). In the middle of the Third Battle of Ypres, however, the law of averages seemed to catch up with a disturbing number of these new heroes in the month of September. On September 10, 1917, Georges Matton, nine-victory ace and leader of escadrille Spa.48, was killed at the hands of a German yet to come fully into his stride, Josef Jacobs. The next day came the most devastating loss to France when Georges Guynemer, the driven ace of aces from N.3 with 53 victories, did not return from a patrol. September 15 saw the death of Leutnant Kurt Wolff, commander of Jasta 11 and 33-victory recipient of the Orden Pour le Mérite, while “borrowing” Manfred von Richthofen’s new Fokker F.I triplane. On September 22, it was the turn of Vizefeldwebel Fritz Kosmahl, most of whose seven victories had been scored in two-seaters, to fall mortally wounded in an Albatros D.V of Jasta 26. The next day virtuoso Werner Voss, Pour le Mérite recipient and principal rival to the Red Baron with 48 victories, was killed in the only other Fokker F.I at the front, after an epic one-man dogfight with two flights of SE.5as from No.56 Squadron. On the 27th Oberleutnant Kurt Waldhausen downed an Re.8 and two balloons, raising his score to six, only to see his quick grab for glory terminated as a prisoner of war, who down by Lieutenant J.H. Tudhope of No. 40 Squadron, RFC and Flight Commander C.D. Booker of Naval 8. The next day Leutnant Kurt Wissemann of Jasta 3, who claimed to have killed Guynemer for his fifth victory, was killed and claimed by future French ace of aces René Fonck of N.103 (in fact, Wissemann did not kill Guynemer and Fonck did not kill Wissemann!).

All in all, it had been a dramatic month that established some legends, not all of them based on fact. In succeeding months, a newer generation of fighter pilots would be taking their deadly game a lot more seriously as the squadrons proliferated and air superiority increasingly became not so much desirable as essential to victory on the ground—a point also made in September by the stunning debut of the Halberstadt CL.II as a ground attack plane.

3:30PM – Meeting room closes

3:30 – 5:30PM On your own tour of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

5:30PM – The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center closes

We would appreciate an RSVP as soon as possible so that we can gauge the number of people planning to attend.

There is no formal membership required to attend therefore if you know of anyone who is interested in this aspect of aviation history they are most welcome.

The parent organization, the League of World War I Aviation Historians, publishes a periodic journal and there are dues for that, if anyone wants to join, they are welcome on their own to do so outside of this meeting.

There is no fee for attending the meeting, although there is a $15 parking fee at the museum, therefore consider carpooling.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate contacting us:

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The sessions from the previous meeting are available on the League’s YouTube channel…http://goo.gl/0lCrox