Austrian Aircraft 1918-22

1. Phonix C.I
Serial No. unknown, Polizeiflugstaffel, Fischamend,1920. Fuselage is Light Brown/Tan (Methuen 4C6) with Varnished Wood visible plus Green (Methuen 28F6) camouflage patches. These patches had Dark Green Mottle on them. Upper flying surfaces are Light Brown/Tan with Green/Dark Green Mottle patches. Metal cowlings and inspection panels are Blueish Grey. Lower surfaces of the wings are in Clear Varnished Linen. All wing and fuselage crosses have been painted out. Red/White/Red striping has been applied on the rudder and both surfaces of the elevators. Serial number has been overpainted with a dark coloured rectangle.

2. Phonix C.I
Serial No. 121.75, Polizeiflugstaffel, Fischamend, 1921. Colouring is similar to drawing no. 1. Wing crosses have been painted out. Red/White/Red striping has been applied to the rudder and both surfaces of the elevators only. The White striping has been inexpertly applied, or has worn off, as the early style tail cross is still very visible, as is the camouflage on the elevators. Serial number is Black.

3. Albatros D.III (Oef) BA 253
Serial no. unknown, Upper Austrian Air Traffic Company (Oberoesterreichischer Flugverkehrs Geselschaft), 1919/21. The fuselage inscription is in White and reads '1.O.O.FLUGVERKEHRS-GES.'. This aircraft appears to have a Khaki painted fuselage with wings remaining in Clear Doped Fabric. Elevators appear to be in a darker fabric than the remainder of the wings. Struts are Black.

75 years years ago in April 1922, the full terms of the Treaty of St. Germain came into effect, and the last of Austria's military aircraft were destroyed. The full ten page version of this article in Insignia Magazine Issue 5 looks at the development of Austria's military aviation from the armistice in 1918 until 1922, and also covers Austria's use of military aircraft in the pioneering years of civil aviation. The article includes almost thirty rare photographs.

With the defeat of the central powers in WWI, the air forces of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy began to disintegrate in parallel with the collapse of the empire during late October/early November.

Many airmen of the k.u.k. Luftfahrtruppe suddenly found that they were now nationals of the newly independent states of Poland, Czecho-Slovakia, Hungary and the Slovene, Croat and Serb National Council that emerged in October and November 1918, and attempted to reach these new national boundaries. Some took their aircraft with them with the aim of contributing to the new states' air forces. Because of the lack of fuel and the crumbling infrastructure, many of these aircraft were abandoned on Austrian territory, ending up being ransacked by the local population, or taken over by the assorted military groups (Heimwehr) that had formed during the chaos. Others were appropriated by the police.

In one instance, the aircraft of Flik 102G were confiscated by the Slovenes when they landed at Laibach (now Ljubljana) while withdrawing from Aviano. To further illustrate the chaotic state of affairs, the CO of Flik 102G, Rudolf Weber, an ace with six victories, was unlucky enough to be shot dead by Austrian militia at the border in Styria while attempting to return home.

Pictures and text taken from Issue 5 of Insignia Magazine.

All pictures and text © Blue Rider Publishing 2013