German Aircraft numbers ?
Thu, 8 Dec 1994 13:29:21 -0500

Thanks for your diligent homework re: Boelcke's planes. Two questions did
come to mind. I had never given the numbering system of German planes too
much thought before. Now I have a whole new area to obsess over. :-)
>From recent e-mail, I understand that the last number refers to the year of
manufacture (i.e. x/17 for planes made in 1917).
What about the first number, the production serial number? They must have
begun afresh with a new model or manufacturer. I rather doubt that Boelcke's
E-I (#3/15) was the third plane made for Germany in 1915. It might have been
Fokker's third officially accepted machine, or the third of the E-series.
That might mean there could have been more than one of a number. (e.g. an
Albatros C-II numbered 123/16 and a Halberstadt D-II numbered 123/16) How did
that work?
Did the manufacturer or the government assign the numbers?

The second question regards the national markings. You (Mick) mentioned in an
earlier e-message that the Eiseneres Kreuz on white square background was a
1914 to June 1916 feature. I've got (book) photos of late '16 planes like
Alb. D-Is and D-IIs produced in August and Sept. with the black cross on
white square.

I'm reasonably sure that the manufacturer put on the first (official?) paint
job. Did they "official" guidelines for national markings? Was the German
government not too strict about such guidelines? Seems I've seen Dr. Is with
the black cross in white field, as well as the black cross with white
(Oh no, another area to obsess over.)

Thanks again everyone. Feel free to chime in here. Don't let me hog all the
bandwidth. I appreciate your patience and forbearance.

-- Micheal S.