Re: Guynemer's fate

Bill Shatzer (
Sat, 5 Aug 1995 01:02:47 -0700

Well, the Albatros Aces and Airplanes book on Guynemer gives his 'final'
aircraft as SPAD XIII S 504 and the German pilot who downed him as
Ltn. Kurt Wissemann of Jasta 3. I really don't have any information
to dispute this and no real reason to attribute Guynemer's downing
to Voss rather than Wissemann.

As far as Voss being able to ID Guynemer's SPAD however, I think
this would be stretching it a bit. SPAD XIII S 504, from the
photos, seems for be a fairly typical Spa. 3 aircraft with *no*
particularly distinctive markings save the '2' on the fuselage
side. The 'Vieux Charles' is not visible in any of the photos -
maybe it's there on the port side of the fuselage and just hidden
in the photos by the folks clustered around the aircraft. But the
'Vieux Charles' is *not* present on the starboard side of the
fuselage and, if it's on the port side, it's gotta be fairly small.
Thus it seems that Voss (or just about anybody else) could have
engaged Guynemer without being aware of who it was. There's no
particular reason to believe that any of the Germans knew that
Guynemer flew a/c no. '2' and the other distinctive markings,
if any, of S 504 are not sufficiently prominent that they are
likely to have registered during a 'hot and heavy' aerial
combat. (heck, maybe even the '2' didn't register!)

So, if Voss downed Guynemer, there's no particular reason to
believe he knew who he'd got. Conversely, there is no
particular reason to believe the Voss rather than Wissemann
was the pilot that dun it. I think I'd be inclined to
go with the official German credits (Wissemann) in the absense of
convincing evidence to the contrary.


"The one duty we owe to history is to rewrite it."  Oscar Wilde