1/28 Revell Fokker Dr-1 Triplane, Prototype “F-103” as flown by Werner Voss, September 23rd, 1917
Well it’s done… Finally. My original intent was to have the build completed and an article posted here on the Imodeler website by September 23rd, 2017. But Mother Nature with Hurricane Irma, and a few other bumps in life’s road prevented this from happening. But hey, at least I tried…
Much has been written about Werner Voss. Some things are true while others are simply fabrications that were written years after his death.
Rather than add confusion to his story, I will simply stick to the better known facts about him.
Werner Voss was born on April 13th, 1887, in Krefeld Germany, and died a little over 20 years later on September 23rd, 1917 a little North of Frezenberg, West Flanders, Belgium .
Voss joined the military at the age of 17, became a motorcyclist and mechanic. Shortly thereafter he was a Cavalryman. He served as a Cavalryman with the 11th Hussar Regiment where he was stationed on the Eastern Front. While on the Eastern Front, Voss earned the Iron Cross 2nd Class.
Shortly after receiving the Iron Cross, he was “reclassified” as a reservist, because he reportedly had weak ankles and flat feet !
Werner then transferred to the German Air Service on August 1st, 1915.
Werner Voss started flight training on September 1st, 1915, and performed his first “solo” flight later that month on the 28th. He was reported to be a “Natural” pilot. He graduated from flight school in February 1916, and was retained at the school as an instructor !
At this time he was the youngest instructor in the German Air Service.
Believe it or not, German pilots did not receive their wings right away upon graduation. Instead they often served as an observer first, then finally in a pilots position. Once they flew combat as a pilot, only then were they presented with “official” wings…
Werner was presented with his official pilot’s badge on May 28th, 1916. Shortly thereafter he applied for a transfer to a single seat “Scouting Unit” that we would call fighters today… He was assigned to Jagdstafell 2 on November 21st, 1916. Once assigned to Jasta 2, he met and became friends with none other than Manfred Von Richtofen.
Voss scored his very first aerial victory on the morning of November 26, 1916 and added a second “kill” later that same day in the afternoon, just 5 days after his posting to Jasta 2.
Voss was killed in aerial combat with No.56 Squadron “B Flight” in a swirling dogfight that lasted around 10 minutes. No. 56 Squadron during this fight consisted of other British Aces such as James McCudden, and Arthur Rhys Davis. Voss reportedly scored hits on each of the British planes he faced that day.
At the time of his death Voss had achieved 48 confirmed victories, and had earned the “Blue Max”. To quote James McCudden, “His flying was wonderful, his courage magnificent and in my opinion he was the bravest German airman whom it has been my privilege to see fight.”.
This dogfight still evokes controversy even to this day. Voss’ body was recovered the next day from the crash site and was examined by a British field surgeon. It was determined that he had suffered a single rifle caliber wound that entered the right side of his chest, and exited just behind his left shoulder. This wound would have likely killed Voss in a minute or less. This was most likely fired by Lt. Reginald Hoidge of “C” flight which had recently joined in the dogfight…
(Voss’ friend Manfred Von Richtofen would later suffer a very eerily similar wound and die , also in a Fokker Dr-1, but seven months later on April 21st, 1918).
I have included a photo I found online that shows Werner Voss standing with his friend, Manfred Von Richtofen. Voss is on the left in the photo. This is the last picture in the series for this article, and is number #38.
Voss also suffered from two additional rifle caliber wounds to his lower back. These two bullets exited the front of his abdomen. The last two injuries were more than likely fired by Rhys-Davis.
After the post mortem exam, Voss’ body was buried in a typical front line soldier’s grave. The grave was then hit with an incoming artillery barrage and his remains were lost forever. A few small pieces of the Triplane were recovered from “No Man’s Land” a month later. I believe these parts currently reside in the Imperial War Museum.
This plane was built using the old Revell kit. Mine was a Revell of Germany variant and the kit parts suffered from a lot of flashing. But after all, these molds have been around the block a few times since 1957, which was the copyright date I found molded inside the fuselage …
Here’s a link to the build thread that shows all of the modifications done to the model to better represent one of the early prototype machines, of which Fokker built three…
I also would like to thank Paul Nash for his assistance with providing more details and information about the earlier Fokker Triplane prototypes.
In addition to thanking Paul, I want to thank everyone who contributed comments and words of encouragement along the way during this build.
I took some of the better known pictures of Voss and his Fokker and tried to pose the model in the same fashion as the original photos… Then I tinkered a little with gray scale effects on the pictures I took of the model to see just how close I came.
Now after looking closely at these photographs, I definitely need to construct a photo box …
37 additional images. Click to enlarge.