A very rare, early section of WW1 Fabric Cross from German Aircraft, measuring 64 x 52cms.
Although there were very few aircraft in service at the start of the war; 232 front line aircraft (others in reserve/aircraft parks), it very quickly became apparent for the need to mark their aircraft as a means of identification. As such the German aviation service ordered that their aircraft were to be marked with a black Cross Patée from August 1914.
Initially there was no standard size or dimensions of the Cross Patée to be applied to aircraft. With no standardisation, crosses were painted onto aircraft by different manufacturers or in the field by mechanics in a way that suited them. Period photos from 1914 show all sorts of different variations of crosses; sometimes on the same aircraft! However into 1915, photos suggest crosses painted started to move away from thinner (like this one) and other similar types, to a bolder more visible type. The type and dimensions of the Cross Patée to be painted on aircraft was finally standardised in early/mid 1916. This standard type would be used throughout the war until replace by the Balkan Cross in April 1918.
This exact Cross is shown on pages 10- 13 of the reference book; ‘Feldzug Volume 2 1915’. Here, Michael Baldwin gives a very good description of the cross, the history of this type and need not be repeated. Copies of these pages are on this PDF writeup but will also be supplied with the cross and can be emailed to a potential buyer. However I have taken this a step further with the graphics below in an effort to establish the probable original full size of the cross and probable position on the aircraft. I have used an LVG BI as an aircraft to base these graphics on….
….SEE PDF writeup….
The fabric itself is in excellent condition. There is some usual flaking to the paint, with a few flecks of black paint sticking to the white background where the cross has been folded. However as can be seen the appearance of the cross has hardly been affected. It is currently housed in a lightweight clip frame.
All fabric crosses from German WW1 aircraft are very scarce, with late war Balkan Crosses being the most numerous. However this particular style of cross is incredibly rare as it would only have been on an aircraft in service during the early months of WW1, the first year at most. If not unique, we would only be talking of perhaps a handful of such having survived. Cross comes complete with copies of pages from Feldzug 1915 and Graphics, printed and on CD.