In November 1917, 56 Squadron moved to Laviéville aerodrome in preperation for the battle of Cambrai. On 23 November they had their first combat with a group of Albatros scouts. This flight was led by a pilot flying a greentailed Albatros, described by McCudden as having a red nose, a yellow fuselage, and with a letter K on the top plane. The 56 Sqdn pilots were to meet this group of Albatros pilots several time over the next two months and later nicknamed this pilot as 'Greentail. On December 6 McCudden's flight flew a combat with a group of Albatros, led by 'Greentail', but with the other Albatros pilots flying aircraft with different coloured tails - red, light blue, black, yellow, and black and white striped. In early November the only Jasta operation in the area was Jasta 5, JG 1 not moving into the area until 22 November. However, the Albatros flight met on December 6 could not have been from JG.Nr.1 as its war diary shows that none of its pilots were in action on the days that 56 Sqdn reported having been in action with Greentail and his flight, so these Albatros must have been from Jasta 5. My question is: Most of the Albatros in the photos of Jasta 5 show the majority of the tails painted green, although there are several in other colours. McCudden was noted for being accurate in his observations, and the colours of the tails he mentioned were confirmed by other pilots in 56 Sqdn. So was there a brief period when Jasta 5 flew Albatros with different coloured tails, a period not covered by any of the known photographs of the jasta. Your thoughts on this would be appreciated.
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I just now saw your request.
If you are The Alex Revell, we are all honored having such a popular and respected historian of WW1 on our site.
I enjoyed your books on No56 and No60 squad though I feel more affiliated with the German Jagdstaffeln (especially the Württemberg ones... my native country).
We are just a humble little groupe playing a flight sim in the Name of one of the best Jastas Germany had to offer.
But (I think) we are all no historians like you. Our knowlage is based on books from the windsock, osprey, aeronaut, grub street, shiffer... series or from information we can get out of the web.
So I´m so sorry, I don´t think we can really help you with proved facts.
My personal opinion is, that Jasta 5 carried the green and red tail at least since July 1917 (Albatros D.III) and kept them untill the end of the war (Fokker D.VII) (even a change of commander didn´t affect the colour of the squad). They were very proud of this marking.
So I can´t imagine that during a short periode of time not captured by photogrphical evidence there was such a great variaty of personal tail-colours in Jasta 5 as described by McCudden.
But who knows.
Perhabs some german historian like Bruno Schmäling, Michael Schmeelke, Manfred Thiemeyer or Jörg Mückler could help.
Could you please keep us updated.
Thanks in advance... and we are always interested in pictures of airplanes of Jasta 5!
Markus alias J5_Bauernopfer
P.S.: Excuse my bad english