17
$\begingroup$

I recently acquired what appears to be an extremely rare photograph. It was purchased at an estate sale auction in Europe. The photo was listed simply as "Flieger in seinem Doppeldecker "Bülow" (aviator in his biplane "Bülow"). No other I.D.

enter image description here

The "Flieger" is recognizable as Ace Leutnant Walter von Bülow, but he seems to be sitting in the rear seat, of a 2-seater biplane. This is evidently a photo from very early in his service (FA22? FA300?), before he joined Jasta 18 where he flew an Albatros D.III. This plane is clearly no Albatros D.III.

Based on the triangular bracing over the fuselage, I suspected this could be some AEG or Rumpler design. What's leaving me completely confused, is that the wings have a third pair of struts, just visible at the left edge of the photo. Could this be a single-engine two-seater bomber of some type?

The photo doesn't give much to go on, but I know this aircraft must be from early in the war; probably pre-1917.

Can anyone help me identify this plane?

enter image description here

$\endgroup$
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Can you tell us what is written under "Bülow"? or add a close up view? It seems to start with "Deutsche". Also on this page, the service records: Apr 15 to Sep 15: FEA 5 ⌾ Sep 15 to Mar 16: FA 22 ⌾ Mar 16 to Jun 16: FA 300 ⌾ Jul 16 to Dec 16: FA 300 ⌾ Dec 16 to May 17: Jasta 18 ⌾ May 17 to Dec 17: Jasta 36 ⌾ Dec 17 to Jan 18: Jasta 2. $\endgroup$ – mins Mar 25 '17 at 12:37
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Gypaets answer below appears to be correct: Deutsche Flugzeug Werke Leipzig. There also appear to be some numbers underneath "Leipzig". I can make out " 2 5 " then something else - might be letters... $\endgroup$ – mknechtle Mar 26 '17 at 5:18
21
$\begingroup$

My best guess for the text below BÜLOW is "Deutsche Flugzeug Werke (newline) Leipzig". enter image description here

Having three pairs of struts on each wing would make it a DFW B.I, C.I or C.II, as later models only had two pairs of them.

http://flyingmachines.ru/Site2/Crafts/Craft25582.htm

The small gap between the wings matches the photo too.

While some prototypes got a machine gun, the standard version of the DFW B.I was unarmed.

According to the book "German Aircraft of the First World War" (Peter Gray & Owen Thetford) the only difference between the C.I and C.II version is the position of the pilot (C.I: pilot in rear seat). Another source mentions the change of the machine gun from Parabellum to a synchronized one. A synchronization gear only makes sense attached to a fixed machine gun below the upper wing.

With a gun over the upper wing and assuming that Bülow is sitting in the pilot's seat, I'd say that the airplane is a DFW C.I.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Deutsche Flugzeug Werke Leipzig appears to be correct. There also appear to be some numbers underneath "Leipzig". I can make out " 2 5 " then something else - might be letters... . So based on your plane ID, and the service record "mins" reported - which I also believe is correct - this is definitely pre-Jasta 18 service. $\endgroup$ – mknechtle Mar 26 '17 at 5:23
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I would venture the guess that the numbers are a date: 2.5.15, a manufacturing or commission date, so that would place the photo in Bülow's time in the Feldflieger-Abteilung (FFA) 22 which used early C-I types of different manufacturers. I would rule out an earlier time in the Feldflieger-Ersatz-Abteilung (FEA) 5 which was a training unit and most likely did frown on the personalisation of aircraft and would fly unarmed. After 3 air victories in late 1915 he would have been in a better position to put his name on a fuselage. The FA 300 used Pfalz single-seater monoplanes. $\endgroup$ – Peter Kämpf Mar 26 '17 at 9:31
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Good Grief. There are no other known photos that clearly show von Bülow in the cockpit of his plane; this photo is from before he became famous; and photos of this type of plane are likewise very rare. I want to sell this photo, but how in the world do I set a price on such a thing? It's irreplaceable! $\endgroup$ – mknechtle Mar 26 '17 at 23:52

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.