Re: Guynemer's fate

Erik Pilawskii (
Mon, 7 Aug 1995 10:01:02 -0700 (PDT)


> 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.

Wissemann, according to this source, was the pilot of "an Albatros two-
seater", though which unit is not given. I think the author is disgusted
by the idea of Guynemer being defeated by such an opponent, and goes to
length to refute this claim....
> 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.

Agreed, seeing that he *was* piloting a S.XIII (one source stated that
it was also in 'natural finish', strangely). I had thought that he'd be
recognizable in "Vieux Charles" [pardon the spelling hack, there], but it
turns out he wasn't in it.

> 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!)

Oh, I don't know about that. My understanding is that the various sides
were *very* well aware of each other's aces. In the first place, each
read the other's magazines, newspapers, and such widely. When, for
example, Immelmann and Boelke were awarded the P.l'M., the story was
published in the London Times. Next, some pilots maintained rivalries with
particular enemy pilots, even occasionally issuing challenges to their
specific airfield!-- all of which would be entirely impossible if they
did not know who and where these men were, exactly. Furthermore, Guynemer
*was already* specifically identified in "Vieux Charles" by Udet, who
thought the French Ace had spared him in combat (Guynemer claimed his
guns had simply jammed). Lastly, the extemely close ranges of that day
would easily permit this kind of recognition, at the very least of such a/c
markings as red color, stripes, huge letters/numbers, and so forth.
> 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.
Well, agreed. But, this isn't my pet thoery, either. Just throwing it
"Here's to your Enemies' enemies!..."
--Old Irish Toast