Saturday – June 10th 2017
Will be the 23rd 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
Schedule for Saturday – June 10th 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 Roger Connor, NASM Curator
From Archie to Ack-Ack
In July 1918, the German III Army Corps headquarters in the aftermath of the Kaiserschlacht stated in a memo to its commanders, “It is evident that during our offensives we have suffered extremely heavy losses from the enemy’s aviators.” This call to arms for improved anti-aircraft defense illustrated the challenge of the ground arms in response to the growing effectiveness of tactical aviation. From the protection of vulnerable aviation assets like observation balloons to defense against strategic bombardment of interior population centers, the technology of anti-aircraft defense evolved in parallel with military aviation. This presentation details the equipment and armament of aircraft defense supplemented with after-action reports and lessons-learned.
11:45AM - 12:30PM – Presentation by Jon Guttman, Author and Historian
The Amerikaprogramm and the Rise of the Jagdgeschwader
On April 6, 1917 the United States declared war on Germany. Anticipating the potential the Americans had for fielding a formidable air arm, the command of the Luftstreitskräfte (Kogenluft) proposed a plan to virtually double its strength by the time the U.S. Army arrived in Europe in force. Called the Amerikaprogramm, it involved the doubling on paper of the Jagdstaffeln, which would be filled with aircraft and pilots by early 1918. In practice, this took the form of small cadres of experienced officers leading various numbers (usually under strength) of airmen with relatively hasty training. As for the production of aircraft, by the end of 1917 the Germans still had yet to perfect a type capable of equaling the overall performance of the latest Allied fighters. Only when the Fokker D.VII began reaching the front in April 1918 could they boast such a plane, but until they were more widely available the Amerikaprogramm units had to make due with either ageing Albatros D.Vs, D.Vas, Pfalz D.IIIs and D.IIIas, or settle for second best with a variety of supplemental types, such as the Fokker D.VI, LFG Roland D.VI or Pfalz D.XII. Meanwhile, in April 1917 the Germans experimented with organizing and coordinating a temporary Jagdgruppe of Jagdstaffeln 3, 4, 11 and 33. This proved successful enough for further such Jagdgruppen to be formed, but on June 26 a permanent such grouping was organized to be sent wherever local air superiority was needed. Commanded by Hauptmann Manfred Freiherr von Richthofen and consisting of Jasta 4, 6, 10 and 11, Jagdgeschwader Nr.1 would become notorious over the Western Front as the Red Baron’s Flying Circus.
12:30PM - 1:15PM – Lunch at McDonalds or at McDonalds Café, or if you are inclined of course you can brown-bag-it.
1:20PM -1:35PM – 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
1:45PM – 2:30PM - Presentation by Chris Moore, NASM Curator
A Machine gun, A Pilot, And A Dog: Collecting a WWI Artifact at NASM
Offers to donate artifacts to the National Air and Space Museum many times come out of the blue and can lead to some interesting back stories. NASM aircraft armament curator Chris Moore relates the story of how the offer of a Spandau machine gun led to research into the service of observation pilot Ray Krout in the 135th Aero Squadron during WWI. Chris will relate a history of this notable squadron and Ray Krouts’ service during the war, as well as the story of one of the squadron’s more well-known members.
2:45PM - 3:30PM - 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.
4:00PM – Meeting room closes
4:00 – 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.