Monday, September 18, 2017

French Ace, Jean Marie Luc Gilbert Sardier

Sardier was born 5/5 1897 in Riom, France. At the age of 17 he joined the French army in 1914. In 1915 he requested, and was granted, a transfer to the French Air Service and by mid 1916 he became breveted as a pilot and observer with Spa77 (Escadrille 77).

As a member of the "Les Sportifs" of Escadrille 77, his victory list began on November 7th, 1916. By August of 1918 he had accumulated 13 victories, 5 of which were balloons.
Shortly after his 13th victory he was given command of Spa48. Here he would finish the war, flying a Spad S.VII.
During this long run, he teamed with several other aces in scoring, including fellow aces Maurice Boyau, Laurent B. Ruamps, Francis Guerrier, and Marcel Haegelen.

At war’s end Sardier had 15 victories and 8 shared. His honors and awards included; the Legion of Honor, the M√©daille Militaire, the Croix de Guerre, the Distinguished Service Cross and the Military Medal.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Sage Type 2

The Frederick Sage & Company, an established woodworking firm located in London, began an aircraft department in early 1915. They hired test pilot and designer, E.C. Gordon England to lead the department and Clifford Tinson, formerly deputy to Frank Barnwell at the Bristol Aeroplane Company, to lead the design department.

Tinson's first design for Sage was a two-seat biplane, the Sage Type 2. It was a small two seater of the fighter/scout type. It used the conventional wire-braced wood-and-fabric construction but was of original concept designed with considerable care, to reduce aerodynamic drag.

The pilot and gunner sat in an enclosed, glazed cabin that filled the gap between the fuselage and upper wing. Because of the lack of effective gun synchronising gear to allow a fixed gun to fire through the propeller disc, an aperture was cut in the upper wing above the observer's seat so the gunner could stand with head and shoulders above the wing, giving him a good allround field of fire for his Lewis gun, including forward over the propeller.

The 100hp Gnome Monosoupape nine-cylinder rotary engine was fully cowled, fitted with a four bladed propeller and a large prop spinner.

Remarkably small, the Type 2 had rod-actuated ailerons in the upper wing only.

First flown August 10, 1916, it proved to possess a very good performance, but gun synchronization had meanwhile become available, and after the sole prototype had been wrecked in a forced landing on September 20, 1916, no attempt was made to rebuild the aircraft or develop it.


Monday, September 11, 2017

German Ace, Oberleutnant Fritz Otto Bernert

Born March 6th, 1893 in Ratibor, Prussia.
He was serving in the 173rd Infantry Regiment World War I began. He was wounded four times in late 1914 and his fourth wound, inflicted by a bayonet, severed the major nerve in his left arm. Upon recovery, it became apparent his left arm was essentially useless, and he was invalided out of the infantry.

He then applied to the Luftstreitkräfte and trained to be an aerial observer. Upon graduation, he flew reconnaissance missions for FFA 27 and 71 through 1915.
Hiding his disability, he then applied for pilot's training and was accepted. The fact that he wore glasses also did not bar him from service.

He transferred to a temporary grouping of pilots mostly from FFA 71, for his initial assignment to a fighter unit. By March, 1916, he had his pilot's license and was assigned to KEK Vaux. In April 1916, he scored his first victory.
Because KEK Vaux was an ad hoc fighter unit, it was equipped with Halberstadt D.II planes and reorganized into a full-fledged Prussian fighter squadron, Jasta 4 in August 1916.

Bernert scored the new squadron's first victory in September and became an ace on November 9th, 1916, scoring his fifth, sixth, and seventh triumphs.

On 1 March 1917, he was transferred to Jasta 2. Bernert scored his first victory in this unit in March and in April, he achieved the status of double ace with his tenth win.
He scored 14 more times in April, including a record five victories on April 24th, all in a twenty-minute span, to run his total to 24. He was awarded the Pour le Merite in April.

On May 1st, Bernert was appointed to command Jagdstaffel 6. His final three victories came in May, he completed the war with 27 victories, with an unconfirmed 28th on May 19th. 

Bernert was severely wounded again in August 1917. This wound removed him from command and kept him in the hospital for three months. It took him off flight status. Upon release from the hospital, he was promoted to Oberleutnant and was transferred to Berlin as Inspector of Air.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Germany’s Junkers D.I (factory designation J 9) monoplane was the first all-metal fighter to enter service late in World War I.

The prototype, a private venture by Junkers designated the J 7, first flew on 17 September 1917, powered by a 160 hp Mercedes D III engine. It went through nearly a half-dozen detail changes in its design during its tests. When it was demonstrated to the Idflieg in April 1918 it proved impressive enough to result in an order for three additional aircraft for trials. 
However, the changes made by Junkers were significant enough for the firm to redesignate the next example the J 9, which was supplied to the Idflieg instead of the three J 7s ordered.

During tests, combat pilots felt it lacked the needed maneuverability for fighter tactics then current.
It was suggested that, in view of the comparative invulnerability of its metal structure, it should be produced as a specialized "balloon attack" aircraft. Accordingly, contracts were issued for the D.I for this role between May and November 1918. It is thought that 60 aircraft were ordered.

Information on engines used is a bit sketchy. It seems one D.I was test flown with an 185 hp Benz Bz IIIb eight-cylinder V-engine, and another, powered by an 185 hp BMW IIIa engine. The craft reportedly had a loaded weight of 1,839 lb, maximum speed of 140 mph and a service ceiling of 9,842 feet.

I find no firm record of the number delivered or the number being used in combat during WW I, but it seems a few were active with the Geschwader Sachsenberg in Kurland against Bolshevik insurgents.

Monday, September 4, 2017

German Ace, Friedrich Manschott

Born February 21st, 1893 in Reichartshausen, Germany. 
Like so many aviators of The Great War, Manschott’s promising career lasted only a few months and little has been written about him.
Vizefeldwebel (staff sergeant) Manschott earned his flyer's badge on August 10th, 1916. His first assignment was to a reconnaissance unit, FA 203. There he downed his first foe, a Farman, on 15 December 1916.
Shortly afterwards he was then transferred to a fighter unit, Jasta 7. Between January 5th and March 15th, he scored ten victories.

On March 16th, 1917, immediately after he had shot down his third ballon, he was engaged by four Caudrons and was killed in the combat near Fort Vaux, Meuse, France.
He was credited with 12 aerial victories.