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Cappy Aerodrome - April 1918

Cappy Aerodrome - A commissioned painting by Michael O'Neal

Cappy Aerodrome - April 1918
(15" x 7” Oil on Board – 2003)

Skimming over the airfield at Cappy, France are three Fokker Triplanes of JagdGeshwader I. Commanded by Rittmeister Manfred von Richthofen, J.G. I consisted of four fighter squadrons, Jagdstaffels – 4, 6, 10 and 11 – which hosted some of Germany’s most successful fighter pilots.

Among the pilots assigned to J.G. I were Manfred’s younger brother Lothar and his cousin Wolfram. Here, the three fly together. Wolfram flies the stripe tailed Triplane, Lothar’s Triplane bears a yellow tail – a tribute to his former Hussar unit, while Manfred, “The Red Baron”, flies his trademark blood red Fokker. Altogether the three accounted for 128 victories.

History records the impossibility of this scene. Lothar was shot down and wounded in March, before Wolfram was ever assigned to the JagdGeshwader. Although Manfred flew with Lothar through much of the younger von Richthofen’s career and with Wolfram through most of April, the three never had the opportunity to fly together.

Lothar survived the war with 40 victories. Wolfram scored 8 and also saw the end of the war. Manfred, Germany’s leading ace, was shot down 21 April 1918. This painting is a tribute to the von Richthofens – Germany’s leading “fighter pilot family” during WW I.