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World War One: Fokker Dr.1 Triplane Hans Weiss

Weiss served as the Commanding Officer of Jasta 11 from the 8th April 1918 until his death on 2nd May 1918, which means that he was the Squadron's CO at the time of Manfred von Richthofens death on the 21st April.


Hans Weiss (1892 - 1918)




16 (including 5 balloons)


19 April 1892


2 May 1918

One detailed account of the Death of the Red Baron indicates that von Richthofen and Weiss began their day (on the 21st April 1918) by attacking two RE8 reconnaissance aircraft from No 3 Squadron Royal Australian Flying Corps. During this engagement a bullet cut one of Weiss's rudder cables and he had to return to base. Following this engagement von Richthofen went on to attack a formation of Sopwith Camels, and was subsequently shot down and killed.

WeissSome reports suggest that Weiss' aircraft was painted all-over white - a colour he adopted because of his name - in German weiss means white. However the aircraft was not white all over but had the colour applied to the upper surface of the top wing, rear fuselage and tail unit and on the upper fuselage decking from the cockpit aft. This was a colour display common in Jagdgeschwader 1 for a formation leader, and when viewed from above would cause Weiss' triplane to appear predominantly white. All struts, fabric wheel covers and engine cowlings were painted in red, the identifying colour of Jasta 11.

Dr.1On May 2nd Weiss himself was killed when he was shot down over Méricourt by Canadian ace Lt Merril Taylor of 209 Squadron. Lt Taylor mentioned a "white triplane" in his combat report. However, other 209 Squadron pilots described the enemy formation as "red-nosed triplanes" (i.e. the common Jasta 11 adornment), so it is safe to assume the aircraft was Weiss's partially white aircraft.




The view from Weiss' Dr.1 during a patrol with Richard Wenzl.


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