BOOK – SEPTEMBER EVENING: THE LIFE AND FINAL COMBAT OF THE GERMAN WORLD WAR ONE ACE WERNER VOSS BY BARRY DIGGENS
Manfred von Richthofen is arguably the best-known WW I airman whether we are discussing German or Allied pilots. Two other German pilots who both served with Der Rote Baron, however, may well have been better pilots. Ernst Udet survived the war with sixty-two victories, while Werner Voss did not, with forty-eight victories. Von Richthofen was a supreme leader, his training and organizational skills are legendary. Yet at an airplane’s controls both Voss and Udet were sheer geniuses. One post-WW I story has it that while flying at an air show, Udet was able to snatch a handkerchief from the runway with his airplane’s wingtip. THAT takes control!
The subject of this book, Werner Voss (1897-1917), started the war as a Hussar in 1914. He soon transferred to the Air Service. After training in two-seaters, he was assigned to Jasta 2 in November 1916, where he met Manfred von Richthofen. They were to remain friends until Voss’s 1917 death. By 6 April 1917, Voss had achieved twenty-four victories and was awarded the PLM. That summer, following a thirty-day leave, he did testing for the Fokker Triplane. He was also assigned as the Jasta 10’s commander on 30 July. It was one of JG 1’s (commanded by von Richthofen) four Jastas.
While Manfred von Richthofen perished on 21 April 1918 in WW I’s most infamous air battle, Voss met his fate in the war’s most spectacular air battle on 23 September 1917. During the eight-minute air battle, Voss engaged NINE British airplanes from 56 Squadron (eight minutes is an eternity as most dogfights only lasted a few seconds). 56 Squadron was Jasta 11’s British equivalent and contained many of Britain’s best pilots. In this air battle, Voss damaged one plane that had to leave the fight. The remaining eight were all struck by bullets from Voss’s airplane. Eventually he was shot down in his Fokker Triplane. If I described this air battle as epic, it would be a gross understatement!
The book is well illustrated and deals with Werner Voss’s complete life. It is amazing to me that he was among the most accomplished pilots of WW I and was dead by the age of twenty. Most pilots’ lives were quite short. Somebody who lived to his mid 20’s, like Manfred von Richthofen, was quite unusual. Older aces like Oswald Boelcke and Eduard Ritter von Schleich were downright ancient!
This book is the first complete biography on Werner Voss. It is in excellent condition, and comes complete with its dust jacket. I have seen this book online for as much as $163.00.