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TOPIC: Great War Pilot Profiles

Great War Pilot Profiles 6 years 5 months ago #132822

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I thought this would be of interest to many on the board; maybe several people can contribute a profile of a different historical pilot. I said something about Frank Luke in an offhanded way in a zep mission and received a ? in return, so I thought I would start with Frank Luke Jr. Back in the ice age, when I was in grade school, I read "Frank Luke; Balloon Buster" and it was my introduction to WWI aviation combat, and I have been hooked ever since, so ladies and gentlemen, I give you Frank Luke:



Source: Wikipedia, though there are many interesting pages on the internets concerning Frank Luke

Frank Luke Jr. (May 19, 1897 – September 29, 1918) was an American fighter ace, ranking second among U.S. Army Air Service pilots after Captain Eddie Rickenbacker in number of aerial victories during World War I (Rickenbacker was credited with 26 victories, while Luke's official score was 18). Frank Luke was the first airman to receive the Medal of Honor. Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, a U.S. Air Force pilot training installation since World War II, is named in his honor.

Luke was born May 19, 1897 in Phoenix, Arizona after his family emigrated from Germany to America in 1873 and settled in Arizona. Frank was his family's fifth child, and he grew up excelling in sports, working in copper mines, and participating in bare-knuckle boxing matches. Following America's entry into World War I in April 1917, Frank enlisted in the Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps on September 25, 1917, and received pilot training in Texas and California. After being commissioned a Second Lieutenant in March 1918, he deployed to France for further training, and in July was assigned to the 27th Aero Squadron. Although Luke was still a second lieutenant at the time of his death, Stephen Skinner's book "The Stand" notes that he later received a posthumous promotion to first lieutenant.

Because of his arrogance and his occasional tendencies to fly alone and to disobey orders, Luke was disliked by some of his peers and superiors. But the 27th was under standing orders to destroy German observation balloons. Because of this, Luke, along with his close friend Lt. Joseph Frank Wehner, continually volunteered to attack these important targets despite the fact that they were heavily defended by anti-aircraft guns on the ground. The two pilots began a remarkable string of victories together, with Luke attacking the balloons and Wehner flying protective cover. Wehner was killed in action on September 18, 1918, in a dogfight with Fokker D.VIIs which were attacking Luke. Luke then shot down two of these D.VIIs and two balloons, thereby achieving his 13th official kill - a Halberstadt C type observation plane of 'Flieger Abteilung' 36.

Between September 12 and September 29, Luke was credited with shooting down 14 German balloons and four airplanes: These 18 victories, which Luke earned during just ten sorties in eight days, was a feat unsurpassed by any pilot in World War I.

Luke's final flight took place during the first phase of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. On September 28, after achieving his 14th and 15th victories, he landed his SPAD XIII at the French aerodrome at Cicognes where he spent the night, claiming engine trouble. When he returned to the 1st Pursuit Group's base at Rembercourt the next day, he was confronted by Lt. Grant, his squadron's commanding officer (C.O.). Despite being under threat of arrest by Grant for being AWOL, Luke took off without authorization and flew to a forward airbase at Verdun, where his sympathetic Group commander, Major Hartney, cancelled the arrest order and gave Luke tacit approval to continue his balloon hunting. That evening Luke flew to the front to attack three balloons in the vicinity of Dun-sur-Meuse, six miles behind the German lines. He first dropped a message to a nearby U.S. balloon company, alerting them to observe his imminent attacks. Luke shot down the enemy balloons, but was then severely wounded by a single machine-gun bullet fired from a hilltop above him, a mile east of the last balloon site he had attacked. Luke landed in a field just west of the small village of Murvaux- after strafing a group of German soldiers on the ground - near the Ruisseau de Bradon, a stream leading to the Meuse River. Although weakened by his wound, he made his way toward the stream, intending to reach the cover of its adjacent underbrush, but finally collapsed some 200 meters from his airplane. Approached by German infantry, Luke drew his Colt Model 1911 pistol and fired a few rounds at his attackers before dying. Reports that a day later his body was found with an empty gun and a bullet hole in his chest, with seven dead Germans in front of him were proven erroneous. According to author Skinner, the fatal bullet, fired from the hilltop machine gun position, had entered near Luke's right shoulder, passed through his body, and exited from his left side.

On September 30 the Germans buried Luke in the Murvaux cemetery, from where his body was retrieved two months later by American forces. His final resting place is the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery and Memorial, located east of the village of Romagne-sous-Montfaucon. After the US Army obtained sworn testimony from French and American sources, Luke was awarded a posthumous Medal of Honor. The presentation was made to Frank Luke, Sr., in Phoenix in May 1919. The family later donated the medal to the National Museum of the United States Air Force near Dayton, Ohio. The Museum's small exhibit honoring Lt Frank Luke also contains his flying goggles, the gunsight from his last SPAD, documents written by Luke, and other personal items. The Museum's Early Years Gallery displays a fully restored SPAD XIII of the type flown by Luke.

Eddie Rickenbacker said of Luke: "He was the most daring aviator and greatest fighter pilot of the entire war. His life is one of the brightest glories of our Air Service. He went on a rampage and shot down fourteen enemy aircraft, including ten balloons, in eight days. No other ace, even the dreaded Richthofen, had ever come close to that."
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Great War Pilot Profiles 6 years 5 months ago #132889

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Thanks for sharing that, balloon busting wasn't as easy as it is in this game, it was one of the toughest jobs around as they were well defended.

Anyone that has ever wondered about my profile pic, it's Robert A. Little, Australia's highest scoring ace of WW1 (and of all time) with 47 kills.

You can read about him here: Robert A. Little

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Great War Pilot Profiles 6 years 5 months ago #133050

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Thanks for that link, a good read. There is often little focus on the Royal Naval Air Service as it seems eclipsed in coverage by the Flying Corp of the British Army. Speaking of Flying Corp, that was also the title of one of the classic WWI scout plane games, and it featured Jasta 11 and its pilots, one of my favorite is in profile below, Karl Allmenröder:



Source: pourlemerite.org

He was award the Pour le Mérite for recognition of distinguished military service and leadership. It was awarded on his 24th aerial victory on the 9th of June 1917.

Born May 3, 1896 in Wald near Sollingen
Jasta 11
30 Victories
Awards: Pour le Mérite, Iron Cross First Class and Second Class,Knight's Cross of the house of Hohenzollern with Swords, posthumously awarded Oldenburg Friedrich August Cross 1st and 2nd and the Bayern Militar Kronen Order 4th Class

Karl Allmenröder was the son of a Lutheran Pastor and at the age of 18 was a pre-med student at the University of Marburg. When the war broke out he volunteered for duty and his first assignment was with the Field Artillery Regiment 62 at Oldenburg. After training he was transfered to the Eastern Front to be assigned to the Reserve Field Artillery Regiment 20. During this early perios he spent time in Russia, Poland, and Galicia.

After receiving the Iron Cross First Class and a promotion to Oberleutnant on 30 March 1915, he and his brother, Willi decided to take up the challenges involved in being a part of the Flying Corps. A year later after applying he was sent, March 16 1915, to flying school at Halberstadt. By the end of the year, he had completed his training and received his pilot's badge. He and his brother were both assigned to Jasta 11, which eventually came under command of Manfred von Richthofen.

Karl was a quiet, honest, and good natured young man that took his duties seriously and earnestly wanted to prove himself worthy of his comrade's friendship. His naickname was Karlchen and he was well liked by his fellow officers and pilots. In February 1917 he scored his first victory. Within three months he acheived his 20th victory and moved to the position of eighth of leading aces. One June 9 he scored his 24th victory and was awarded the Knight's Cross of the house of Hohenzollern with Swords. On June 14th he received the Pour le Mérite.

He was shot down near Ypres while attempting a second kill for the same day, 7 June 1917. It was his 30th victory. His plane crashed into no-man's land and a German patrol made it's way into the field and recovered his body. He was 21 years old.
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Great War Pilot Profiles 6 years 4 months ago #133942

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If you asked someone who the most decorated WWI pilot from Canada was, most would probably answer "Billy Bishop" as he racked up an astounding record, mostly under the RFC banner. He famously stood in a filthy trench inn his mounted infantry unit and watched a dogfight, quipping "it's clean up there, I'll bet you don't get any mud or horse **** on you up there. At least if you die it would be a clean death".

Actually the honor of most decorated Canadian pilot (and most decorated Canadian serviceman of any conflict) goes to William Barker, who scored 50 victories before injuries that removed him from the front.

Source: BillyBishop.net



Barker joined the Canadian Mounted Rifles in December 1914. He spent a year in the trenches before transferring to the Royal Flying Corps in April 1916. After starting out as a mechanic, he qualified as an observer in August 1916 and shot down his first enemy aircraft from the rear seat of a B.E.2d. Posted to England in November 1916, he soloed after 55 minutes of dual instruction and received his pilot's certificate in January 1917. A month later, he was back in France flying an R.E.8 until wounded by anti-aircraft fire on 7 August 1917. When he recovered, he served as a flight instructor before returning to combat duty in France. In November 1917, his squadron was reassigned to Italy where Barker's Sopwith Camel became the single most successful fighter aircraft of the war. Logging more than 379 hours of flight time, Barker shot down 46 enemy aircraft before Camel #B6313 was retired from service and dismantled on 2 October 1918. That month, he assumed command of the air combat school at Hounslow.

Deciding he needed to brush up on air combat techniques for his new assignment, Barker joined 201 Squadron for ten days in France. During that time, he saw no action and was about to return to England when he decided to make one more excursion over the front. On 27 October 1918, alone and flying a Sopwith Snipe, he encountered sixty Fokker D.VIIs flying in stepped formation. In an epic battle with Jagdgeschwader 3, Barker shot down four enemy aircraft despite appalling wounds to both legs and his elbow. Fainting from pain and loss of blood, he managed to crash land his Snipe within the safety of the British lines. For his actions that day, Barker received the Victoria Cross (VC). Aside from his VC, and the other awards mentioned above, he also received Three Mentions-in-Dispatches.

The above is the "official" history of William George "Will" Barker. After the war, Will went into business with the other Canadian fighter VC winner, Billy Bishop. Unfortunately the venture failed. Barker then went into the new Royal Canadian Air Force, where he helped pioneer many innovations, including parachutes for all air crew members. He served in the RCAF from 1920 to 1924, and was Acting Director of the Royal Canadian Air Force on its official founding day, April 1, 1924. After leaving the RCAF, he then went into the tobacco business. And in January of 1930 became the Vice-President of Fairchild-Canada. He was killed in a flying accident on March 12, 1930 at Rockcliffe aerodrome at Ottawa.
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Great War Pilot Profiles 6 years 4 months ago #133945

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Great thread dude. Veryiformative and handy. Its nice some people get into this and careto unearth aces of ww1 that where forgotten and behind in time.
Retired in the skies of Dogfight.
Raising Hell in the skies of Warthunder

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Great War Pilot Profiles 6 years 4 months ago #133948

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Very Cool!!!!

Flyin and dyin

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Great War Pilot Profiles 6 years 4 months ago #134314

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Thanks guys, I'll put one up every now and then.
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Great War Pilot Profiles 6 years 4 months ago #134320

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Welcome to the forum Longrifle!

Thank you for your valuable contribution. This thread is definitely some of the good stuff and worthy of the "cool threads" section.
I've enjoyed fighting with and against you recently and look forward to more.
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Great War Pilot Profiles 6 years 4 months ago #134329

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There is a great book about Frank Luke called Terror of Autumn Skies.
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Great War Pilot Profiles 6 years 4 months ago #134850

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If you have ever been to Paris, the Musée d'Orsay is usually high on the list of places to visit, with its vast collection of impressionist works lit by the soaring openess of the former railway station. Just outside of that major tourist destination is the lesser known Musée de la Légion d'honneur, where French military heroes are honored.

One of the recipients of the Légion d'honneur featured in the museum is Georges Guynemer, and in his portrait you will note the aviators wings on his sleeve. Born Georges Marie Ludovic Jules Guynemer, his selfless dignity, unlike many of the contemporary French high scoring aviators, and courage in battle helped him become a national hero to a people beaten down by the cost of the war.



Source: militaryhistory.about.com

Born on December 24, 1894, Georges Guynemer was the son of a wealthy family from Compiègne. A frail and sickly child, Guynemer was schooled at home until age fourteen when he was enrolled in the Lycée de Compiègne. A driven student, Guynemer was not adept at sports, but did show great proficiency at target shooting. Visiting the Panhard automotive factory as a child, he developed a keen interest in mechanics, though his true passion became aviation after flying for the first time in 1911. At school, he continued to excel and passed his exams with high honors in 1912.

As in the past, his health soon began to fail, and Guynemer's parents took him to the south of France to recover. By the time he had regained his strength, World War I had broken out. Immediately applying to the Aviation Militaire (French Air Service), Guynemer was rejected due to his health issues. Not to be deterred, he finally passed the medical examination on the fourth attempt after his father intervened on his behalf. Assigned to Pau as a mechanic on November 23, 1914, Guynemer routinely pressed his superiors to allow him to take flight training.

Georges Guynemer in World War I:

Guynemer's persistence finally paid off and he was sent to flight school in March 1915. While in training he was known for his dedication to mastering his aircraft's controls and instruments, as well as repeatedly practicing maneuvers. Graduating, he was promoted to corporal on May 8, and assigned to Escadrille MS.3 at Vauciennes. Flying a Morane-Saulnier L two-seat monoplane, Guynemer took off on his first mission on June 10 with Private Jean Guerder as his observer. On July 19, Guynemer and Gueder scored their first victory when they downed a German Aviatik and received the Médaille Militaire.

Transitioning to the Nieuport 10 and then the Nieuport 11, Guynemer continued to have success and became an ace on February 3, 1916, when he downed two German aircraft. Dubbing his aircraft Le Vieux Charles (Old Charles) in reference to a well-liked former member of the squadron, Guynemer was wounded in the arm and face on March 13 by fragments of his windscreen. (Longrifle's note: I have read other places that he flew his former comrades aircraft named so, and kept the name on all subsequent aircraft for luck). Sent home to recover, he was promoted to second lieutenant on April 12. Returning to action in mid-1916, he was given a new Nieuport 17. Picking up where he left off, he raised his tally to 14 by late August.

In early September, Guynemer's squadron, by now redesignated Escadrille N.3, became one of the first units to get the new SPAD VII fighter. Immediately taking to the aircraft, Guynemer downed an Aviatik C.II over Hyencourt two days after receiving his new fighter. On September 23, he downed two more enemy aircraft (plus an unconfirmed third), but was struck by friendly anti-aircraft fire while returning to base. Forced to make a crash landing, he credited the SPAD's sturdiness for saving him on impact. All told, Guynemer was downed seven times during his career.

An ace of considerable renown, Guynemer used his position to work with SPAD on improving their fighters. This led to refinements in the SPAD VII and the development of its successor the SPAD XIII. Guynemer also suggested altering the SPAD VII to accommodate a cannon. The result was the SPAD XII, a larger version of the VII, which featured a 37mm cannon firing through the propeller shaft. While SPAD finished the XII, Guynemer continued flying over the trenches with great success. Promoted to lieutenant on December 31, 1916, he finished the year with 25 kills.

Fighting on through the spring, Guynemer managed a triple kill on March 16, before bettering this feat with a quadruple kill on May 25. That June, Guynemer engaged the famous ace Ernst Udet, but let him go in a sign of knightly chivalry when the German's guns jammed. In July, Guynemer finally received his SPAD XII. Dubbing the cannon-equipped fighter his "Magic Machine," he scored two confirmed kills with the 37mm cannon. (Longrifle's note: the 37mm was an advanced idea, but required a skilled pilot to manually reload while flying, and in addition to changing the handling and weight of the aircraft it produced tremendous recoil to be absorbed by the light frame, as well as filled the aircraft with smoke). Taking a few days to visit his family that month, he rebuffed his father's pleas to move into a training position with the Aviation Militaire.

Scoring his 50th kill on July 28, Guynemer became the toast of France and a national hero. Despite his success in the SPAD XII, he abandoned it for the SPAD XIII in August and resumed his aerial success scoring a victory on the 20th. His 53rd overall, it was to be his last. Taking off on September 11, Guynemer and Sub-Lieutenant Benjamin Bozon-Verduraz attacked a German two-seater northeast of Ypres. After diving on the enemy, Bozon-Verduraz spotted a flight of eight German fighters. Evading them, he went in search of Guynemer, but never found him.

Returning to the airfield, he asked if Guynemer had returned but was told that he had not. Listed as missing in action for a month, Guynemer's death was finally confirmed by the Germans who stated that a sergeant in the 413th Regiment found and identified the pilot's body. His remains were never recovered as an artillery barrage forced the Germans back and destroyed the crash site. The sergeant reported that Guynemer had been shot in the head and that his leg was broken. Lieutenant Kurt Wissemann of Jasta 3 was officially credited with bringing down the French ace.

Guynemer's total of 53 kills allowed him to finish as France's second-highest scoring ace of World War I behind René Fonck who downed 75 enemy aircraft.
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Great War Pilot Profiles 6 years 4 months ago #135670

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Continuing the "forgotten pilot" theme, below is a profile of Austro-Hungarian Godwin von Brumoski (from what is now Poland). Son of a military family, he began as many Great War pilots did; in the artillery as an aerial observer, and went on to become the most successful ace of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.



Source: www.ivanberrymandirect.com/artist_feature_brumowski.html

The history of war in the air is populated by great pilots and brave crews. Some, it seems, were born to fly, others to fight. And then there are those few that excel at both, but possess that extra quality – the ability to lead and to organize, to adapt and innovate. Oswald Boelcke, Manfred von Richthofen and Max Immelmann were among this number, all of them fighting for the German cause on the Western Front during the First World War. But there are others, equally brilliant and also fighting under the Black Cross, whose contribution was no less significant and who have gone largely uncelebrated, often due to political changes and shifts in public opinion that are formed with the hindsight afforded by peace, where the context and relevance of those opinions become confused.

One such great pilot and leader was Godwin von Brumowski, a product of the Imperial and Royal Army of Austria-Hungary, a gifted and bright professional artillery officer from Wadowice, Galicia. Born on 26th July, 1889, Brumowski became an officer of Feld-Artillerie Regt No6, fighting the war in Russia where he attained the rank of Oberleutnant and was awarded the Bronze and Silver Military Medals for his gallantry. In mid 1915, he transferred to the Luftfahrtruppen (LFT), whose resources had been stretched to breaking point when Italy entered the war on 15th May 1915. Like many before him, he began his flying career as an observer and was soon picked out as an outstanding officer who demonstrated bravery and dependability from the outset.

Piloted by Otto Jindra, Brumowski’s Knoller-Albatros B.1 took part in a daring raid on 12th April 1916 when they, together with six other Austro-Hungarian aircraft, bombed a military review that was taking place in the city of Chotin, attended by none other than Tsar Nicholas II. Several Moraine-Saulnier fighters were dispatched to attack the Austro-Hungarian raiders, but it was Brumowski and Jindra who came off best, shooting down two of their opponents. Thus began a chain of victories that would see Brumowski rise to become the ace of aces in the Austro-Hungarian Air Service.

Despite receiving no formal flying training, he quickly demonstrated a natural ability at the controls and was soon flying a variety of types, both observation aircraft and single-seat fighters, quickly finding himself in command of a Fliegerkompanie (Flik) where he was able now to develop his leadership qualities. By 1917, he had become an ace for the first time and was rewarded with the command of Flik 41J, the first Austro-Hungarian fighter squadron but, before assuming this new responsibility, he sought permission to be posted temporarily to Germany’s Jasta 24 so that he could observe and absorb the tactics and methods that had earned them a reputation as an efficient and fearsome fighting unit. Whilst there, he met and was impressed by the great Manfred von Richthofen, an encounter that was influence Brumowski’s choice of aircraft colour later. Armed with the knowledge gained on the Western Front and with better organization and new aircraft becoming available to him, Brumowski was now in a position to implement the new ideas on the Italian Isonzo Front where, now equipped with the excellent Hansa-Brandenburg D.1 Starstrutter single-seat fighter, he could really begin to press the fight home. In charge of Flik 41J (Jagt, Hunter), his aircraft proved to be comparable in performance with most contemporary German fighters (in all but armament) and massively superior to most aircraft being operated by the Italians.

Brumowski was to demonstrate his ingenuity in many ways during this period, not least by adopting his own method of laying out the ammunition belts in the overwing gun pod of his D.1 to avoid jamming, a common complaint among Flik 41J pilots at this time. With the gun inaccessible during flight and prone to jamming due to condensation in the pod, Brumowski realized that by disengaging the ammunition belt from the drum and spreading it in layers, the problem was instantly solved, allowing him to do what he was to prove best at, namely taking down the enemy in considerable numbers. He also began to experiment with camouflage on his little Starstrutter, numbered 28.69, overpainting the bright white linen-covered wings with tiny green spirals that helped to disguise his machine against the dark, forested hills of the Isonzo river valleys.

Flik 41J was now considered “one of the finest fighter squadrons – if not the finest – in the entire LFT”, Brumowski leading them with an iron hand, but inspiring his young pilots too with his self-imposed high standards and high expectations. And he knew his own worth to his country: When advised by the Inspector General of the Austro-Hungarian Army Air Service, Generaloberst Erzherzog Josef Ferdinand, to apply for his country’s highest military award, the Knights Cross of the Military Order of Maria Theresa, he replied, “If I have earned this award by my service, then it should be cause enough for the Commander-in-Chief to present it to me. It is not my duty to ask or demand it.” It was the only military award he was never to receive.

It was a frustrating time for him however, hampered by a shortage of aircraft and forced by those higher than him to use his valuable fighters as escorts for bombers and observers instead of organizing them into large patrolling and hunting groups, as had become the practice on the Western Front. It was a fight that he was eventually to win, a triumph of determination and forward-thinking over an out-dated official policy. Now, he was able to mount a serious campaign against the Italians by organizing other Jagdkompagnien into proper scout fighting units.

It was mid 1917 and his score was continuing to escalate but, in August, he initiated a period of extraordinary success, sending eighteen enemy aircraft to their doom in just nineteen days, most of these during the intense fighting of the Eleventh Battle of the Isonzo that raged on until the middle of September.

By the Autumn of that same year, his squadron was beginning to receive the new Oeffag built Albatros D.III, a machine that Brumowski took to with some reluctance but soon realized that, with this aircraft, he could aspire to even greater things. Again, he set about modifying and customizing his aircraft to tailor it to his specific needs and flying style. A number of Albatros D.IIIs were put at his disposal, all of them immediately recognizable by the fact that after October 1917 he had them all painted a vivid red, following the example of Manfred von Richthofen, the ‘Red Baron’, but added his own unique touch by painting a macabre skull motif on the fuselage sides and upper decking. He scored his first victory in an Albatros on 19th August 1917, sending down a Caudron two-seater in flames whilst flying D.III 153.06, becoming a ‘triple ace’ in the process.

Yet more victories were to follow, but not without incident. On 1st February 1918, Brumowski found himself abandoned by his wingmen and left to fight off eight Sopwith Camels single handed. On this occasion, it was he that came off the worst, managing to nurse his badly damaged D.III 153.45 back to base, the aircraft becoming engulfed in flames at some point, probably due to a hit in the fuel tank which was situated between the pilot and engine.

The aircraft was subsequently rebuilt, but not before Brumowski again found himself hugely outnumbered by the enemy, this time whilst flying 153.52 just three days later.This time his aircraft was written off when it flipped onto its back upon landing, its pilot escaping without serious injury despite near-catastrophic failure of both its wings. Brumowski described how he found the aircraft actually easier to fly when the second wing failed as it balanced the controls enough for him to make it safely home. Such was his character, his report of the events of that day ending with the words, “Apart from that, nothing happened.”

And so, this is how it continued, Brumowski in constant competition with his friend and fellow Flik 41J ace Frank Linke-Crawford, the two of them conspiring to send down as many Aeronautica del Regio Esercito aircraft as they could, sometimes sharing the victories, in the course of which their machines were often damaged by enemy gunfire. Many observation balloons fell to his guns too, adding to his reputation as an adversary to be much feared.

By this time, the fight against the Italians was no longer their only concern however, as the Royal Flying Corps had rushed three squadrons of Sopwith Camels to the front, as Brumowski had discovered to his cost. Not only this, but the Italians were re-organising and re-equipping and, in March 1918, the German jastas that had offered some support to the Austro-Hungarian campaign were all being recalled to the Western Front for the last great effort to repel the Allies over France and Belgium. Brumowski found his Luftfahrtruppe once again left to continue the fight alone with just thirteen Jagdkompagnien at his disposal, all of them extremely low on pilots, planes, spares, fuel and equipment, but still determined to see the great fight through to its inevitable conclusion.

He scored his final victory on 20th June 1918 when he shot down an Italian Ansaldo SVA-5 that was trying to bomb the last remaining bridge over the Piave River, which was desperately needed by the retreating Austro-Hungarian troops, after which, on the 25th, he was ordered to take an extended leave having flown 435 missions.

Just before the end of the Great War, he was put in charge of all the fighter squadrons of the Austro-Hungarian Army of the Isonzo and, when the end finally came in November of 1918, Hauptmann Godwin von Brumowski had raised his victory tally to 35 confirmed, with many more ‘probables’, making him the highest scoring pilot of the Imperial and Royal forces of Austro-Hungary. He had fought with great distinction and had survived everything that the Great War could throw at him. He was a national hero of the great and ancient empire that disintegrated after the November 3rd 1918 armistice.

With the war now over, Brumowski struggled to fit in to civilian life. He was demoralized by the defeat of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and became a restless individual who seemed completely unable to the new world around him. He lived for a short time in Vienna, before moving to Transylvania to manage his Mother-in-law’s estate, but he hated the lifestyle and yearned to return to flying.

He eventually formed a successful flying school between the wars and it was in his role as an instructor that he was to tragically lose his life at Schiphol airport in an accident on 3rd June, 1936.
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Great War Pilot Profiles 6 years 4 months ago #135681

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Longrifle, I just wanted to say ThankYou. All of these stories are amazing, thanks for taking the time to put these up. As said before, it's always a joy to see you in game. VonKopp



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Great War Pilot Profiles 6 years 4 months ago #135800

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The level 31, MORAF paint scheme. Flown by Bruno Loerzer.







May 1918 members of "Jasta" 26; From left to right, Buder, Klassen, Riemer, Zogmann, Weiß (z.b.V.), Fritz Loerzer, Bruno Loerzer {in middle}, Mar; at far right Fritz Beckhardt
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Great War Pilot Profiles 6 years 4 months ago #135801

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From Wikipedia:

Born in Berlin, Loerzer was a prewar army officer who learned to fly in 1914. Hermann Göring flew as Loerzer's observer from 28 October 1914 until late June 1915. Transferring to fighters, Loerzer flew with two Jagdstaffeln in 1916 before joining Jagdstaffel 26 in January 1917. By then he had scored two victories over French aircraft. His tally reached 20 victories at the end of October and he received the Pour le Mérite in February 1918.

The same month, he took command of the newly formed Jagdgeschwader III, the third of Germany's famed "flying circuses." His aces included his brother Fritz, who claimed 11 victories. Leading Jasta 26 and three other squadrons, with Hermann Dahlmann's support as adjutant and wingman, Loerzer proved a successful wing commander. Equipped with the new BMW-engined Fokker D.VII, JG III cut a wide swath through Allied formations in the summer of 1918, and his own score mounted steadily. He achieved his last ten victories in September when he reached his final score of 44 victories. Shortly before the armistice, he was promoted to Hauptmann (captain).

Loerzer illegally fought with the Freikorps from December 1918 until March 1920, helping to create an atmosphere of chaos and lawlessness in Germany. He commanded FA 427 in the Baltic area, supporting the Eiserne Division in the tactical air role.

During the 1930s he was a leader in various civil aviation organizations (National Socialist Flying Corps: NSFK), and rejoined the Luftwaffe in 1935 with the rank of Oberst (colonel).

Loerzer benefited from his long friendship with Göring, becoming Inspector of Fighters with rank of major general in 1938. During the early war years he was commander of II Fliegerkorps (Air Corps), being awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) in May 1940.

His II Air Corps participated in the invasion of Russia in the summer of 1941, as a section of Kesselring's 2nd Air Fleet—in support of Fieldmarshall von Bock.

His unit was transferred to Messina, Sicily in October 1941, and he remained there until the middle of 1943, when his section returned to the Italian mainland.

Göring promoted Loerzer to Generaloberst in February 1943 and in June 1944 was chief of the National Socialist Leadership Branch of the Luftwaffe. He retired in April 1945.

Loerzer died in 1960, at the age of 69.

Awards and decorations:

Iron Cross (1914)
2nd Class
1st Class
Knight's Cross Second Class of the Order of the Zähringer Lion with Swords
Knight's Cross of the Royal House Order of Hohenzollern with Swords
Pour le Mérite on 12 February 1918 as Oberleutnant and leader of Jagdstaffel 26
Cross of Honor
Sudetenland Medal with Prague Castle Bar
Iron Cross (1939)
2nd Class
1st Class
Combined Pilots-Observation Badge in Gold with Diamonds
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 29 May 1940 as Generalleutnant and commanding general of the II. Fliegerkorps
Mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht (7 August 1941)
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Great War Pilot Profiles 6 years 4 months ago #135822

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Jasta 26, black and white color scheme. On the flight line.


Loerzer next to his Albatross. (The one in the game)


Bruno Loerzer sporting his Blue Max.

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Great War Pilot Profiles 6 years 4 months ago #135848

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Taken from puorlemerit.org



Bruno Loerzer
Oberleutnant, Commander, Jasta 26



He was award the Pour le Mérite for distinguished military service, leadership, and his 20th aerial victory.

Born January 22, 1891 in Berlin
Jasta 26, Jasta 3
44 Victories
Awards: Iron Cross, Pour le Mérite, Hohenzollern Ritter Kreuz

The following bio was provided by Stephen Luczkowski:
Bruno Loerzer was born on 22 Jan. 1891 in Berlin. He was a cadet with the Baden 112th. Inf. rgt. before attending Military School in Potsdam..after graduation he returned to his old unit and was commissioned a Leutnant 1913. He was very interested in early aviation...after taking flying lessons..he was hooked.and quickly volunteered for service with the air corp. He was accepted and shortly after the First World War broke out in August l914. It was during a visit to another fellow officer from the 112th. RGT. who was in the Hospital...a Hermann Goring...that he convinced his friend to join him in the Air Corp. The two friends would be linked together for the balance of the war ..and beyond. In 1915..both Bruno and Hermann flew together as observers.. on observation missions. They were both hungry for action..Bruno trained as a fighter pilot..and was first assigned to the Boelcke Squadron ..where he learned a great deal from the great Boelcke. In March 1916..he scored his first victory...and then a second . Shortly after he was wounded..upon recovery he returned to his old unit. He was awarded the Iron Cross in 1917..as well as the Hohenzollern Ritter Kreuz..and of course a wound badge.

In January 1917 he was assigned the task of forming the Fighter Squadron 26...they fought the British and French..it was in this unit that he flew missions with his brother Fritz...who was known as the flying pastor. When Bruno Loerzer scored his 20th. victory he was awarded Germany's highest military award.the Pour Le Merite..it was awarded on Febuary 12th.1918. Three days later he was given command of Fighter Squadron 111...on Sept.2,1918..the squadron shot down 26 enemy planes without a single lo-ss..to the squadron. Field-Marshal von Hindenburg sent him a telegram congratulating him on his outstanding combat achievements. Bruno Loerzer scored 44 total victories and finished the war as the number 7 surviving ace..right after Ernst Udet. His friend Goring..also when on to become a fighter ace..winning the Blue Max...he ended his career as the Leader of the Richthofen Squadron. After the war ....both Bruno and Hermann were instrumental in re-establishing the New German Luftwaffe...Hermann as head of Air forces picked his old friend Bruno Loerzer to be the President of the DLV...a for-runner of the Luftwaffe. Bruno went on to Command units in the Second World War...especially during the Battle of Britian..and the Italian campaign...he was awarded the Ritter Kreuz in1940....he was promoted to General-Colonel on Feb.16th.1943...in 1944 he was made head of Luftwaffe Personnel. He was often seen in the company of his old friend Reich-Marshal Goring.

Bruno is often seen in photo's from Adolf Hitler's headquarters at Raustenburg..in East Prussia. Bruno was able to escape to Bavaria in early 1945..he was captured at Berchtesgarden...by American forces. He was kept in a military prisoner-of -war camps until 1947..one of which was Dachau..the infamous death-camp..converted to house German military personnel. In 1947 as a cilivian he settled in Hamburg...where he remained till his death..on Aug.8th.1960...at the time of his death..he was the highest Pour le Merite winner from WW1. One side note...during the Nuremburg trails he was asked to be a character wittness for Reich-Marshal GORING...Bruno politely refused....the spell that Hermann Goring had over him had finally come to an end along with the Third Reich.
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Great War Pilot Profiles 6 years 4 months ago #135868

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Thank you Longrifle for this amazing thread, and tanks to the others fellas for their contribution .This thread is very informative, and I hope everyone in this community visit this thread. We must learn from the real heroes, their actions and their chivalry between comrades and with the enemy. The latter is something that should be remembered and observed when dealing with other players, despite been known that this is just a virtual game... Thank you guys.
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Great War Pilot Profiles 6 years 4 months ago #137264

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Hmmm. It looks like I will have to reload the pics, they were linking, not copied here, so apologies.

Continuing the theme, below is a short biography of the highly decorated (winner of the Russian Empire's Order of St. George, 4th class, Order of St. Vladimir, 4th class, Order of St. Anne, 2nd, 3rd and 4th classes, Order of St. Stanislaus, 2nd and 3rd classes, and Gold Sword for Bravery, as well as the British Distinguished Service Order, Military Cross, and Distinguished Flying Cross, as well as the French Chevalier of the Legion of Honour and Croix de guerre) of another former cavalryman, the leading ace of the Imperial Russian Air Force, Alexander Kazakov.

Flying planes of other allied nations, Kazakov became the highest scoring ace of the Russian Empire, and survived the war only to perish in the Russian Revolution a scant year later. He is also famous for scoring his first victory, and some subsequent ones, by ramming an opponent.



Source: Wikipedia

Born to a Russian noble family in Kherson Governorate, Kazakov graduated from Yelizavetgrad cavalry school in 1908. He did his stint in cavalry, but in 1913 he began formal training as a pilot and graduated at the beginning of World War I from Gatchina military aviation school.

Alexander Kazakov flew in Morane-Saulnier, Spad – SА2, Nieuport 11 and Nieuport 17 planes and is alleged to have the largest number of victories over enemy aircraft among Imperial Russian Air Force pilots. Unofficially he shot down 32 German and Austro-Hungarian planes, although his official tally is only 20 because only planes crashed in Russian-held territory were counted.

Russian military aviation tradition during World War I was different from that of its Western allies and rivals and the individual scores of pilots were considered to be of lesser value compared to their contribution to the overall war effort.

On 31 March 1915 Kazakov successfully repeated the aerial ramming attack first attempted by Pyotr Nesterov, using a Morane-Saulnier G as his piloted projectile. For this bit of daring, he was awarded the Order of Saint Anne, first in the Fourth Class, then in the Third. He was appointed to command of 19th Corps Fighter Detachment in September 1915. Here he had Nieuport 10s and Nieuport 11s to fly.Between 27 June and 21 December 1916, he racked up four more victories to become an ace.

Five months later, Kazakov resumed his winning streak with his sixth victory on 6 May 1917, which was shared with Ernst Leman and Pavel Argeyev. By 25 May, with his eighth win, he switched to a Nieuport 17, which he used henceforth. Between 1915 and 1917 he fought on the Russian front as well as in Romania and participated in the Brusilov Offensive as a commander of 1st Combat Air Group.

In January 1918, in the wake of the Russian Revolution, Kazakov resigned his Russian commission. During the Russian Civil War Kazakov joined the Slavo-British Allied Legion in Arkhangelsk and fought against the Bolshevik Red Army airforce.

On 1 August 1918 Kazakov became a major in the Royal Air Force and was appointed to be commanding officer in charge of an aviation squadron of the Slavo-British Allied Legion made up of Sopwith Camel planes. After the British withdrawal from Russia which left the Russian White Army in a desperate situation, Kazakov died in a plane crash during an air show on 1 August 1919 which was performed to boost the morale of the Russian anti-Bolshevik troops. Most witnesses of the incident, including British ace Ira Jones, thought Kazakov committed suicide.
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Great War Pilot Profiles 6 years 4 months ago #137285

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Very good thread Longrifle.
Could you list Eugene Bullard here also?
I'm on my phone and can't access the info.
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Great War Pilot Profiles 6 years 4 months ago #137370

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Good one, dent. Probably familiar to many here in his loose portrayal in the movie Flyboys, Eugene Bullard was the first and one of only two black pilots who served as aviators in The Great War, and the only African American.



Source: Wikipedia

Bullard was born in Columbus, Georgia, one of the 10 children of William O. Bullard, nicknamed "Big Chief Ox", and his wife Josephine Thomas, a Creek Indian. He was a student at Twenty-eighth Street School in 1901-1906, where he learned to read and write. As a teenager, Eugene Bullard stowed away on a ship bound for Scotland, seeking to escape racial discrimination (he later claimed to have witnessed his father's narrow escape from lynching). Bullard arrived at Aberdeen before making his way south to Glasgow. He became a boxer in England and also worked in a music hall.

On a visit to Paris, Bullard decided to settle in France. At the outbreak of World War I, according to his personnel file at the French Ministry of Defense, he enlisted on October 19, 1914 in the 1st Regiment of Foreign Legion (1er Régiment étranger since volunteers from overseas in 1914 were allowed to serve only in the French colonial troops.

As a machine gunner, Bullard was in 1915 in combat on the Somme front in Picardy: in May and June 1915 at Artois, and in the fall of the same year took part in a second Champagne offensive (25th September - 6th November 1915) along the Meuse river. The 1st and the 2nd Foreign legion regiments were fighting as a part of the 1st Moroccan brigade (1re Brigade Marocaine) of the 1st Moroccan division (la Division Marocaine). Formed by Hubert Lyautey, a Resident-General of Morocco, at the outbreak of WWI, it was a mix of the Metropolitan and Colonial French troops, including legionnaires, zouaves and tirailleurs. Towards the end of the war, the 1st Moroccan division became one of the most decorated unit in the French army.

The Foreign Legion suffered high casualties in 1915. It started the year with 21,887 soldiers, NCOs and officers, and ended with 10,683. As a result, the Foreign Legion units fighting on the Western front were put in reserve for reinforcement and reorganization. On November 11, 1915, 3,316 survivors from the 1st and the 2nd Etranger were merged into one unit - the Marching Regiment of Foreign Legion (Le régiment de marche de la légion étrangère), which in 1920 became the 3rd Regiment (3e régiment étranger d'infanterie) of the French Foreign Legion.

As for Americans and other volunteers, they were allowed to transfer to the Metropolitan French Army units, including the 170th Line Infantry Regiment. 170th had a reputation of crack troops and was nicknamed Les Hirondelles de la Mort, or The Swallows of Death. Bullard opted to serve in the 170th Infantry Regiment to which fact testifies his collar military insignia. In the beginning of 1916, 170th Infantry along with the 48th Infantry Division (48e division d'infanterie) to which it belonged, was sent to Verdun.

As a part of the 170th Infantry, Bullard fought and was seriously wounded in March 1916 during the Battle of Verdun. After recovering from his wounds, Bullard volunteered on October 2, 1916 to join the French Air Service (Aéronautique Militaire) as an air gunner, and went through training at the Aerial Gunnery School in Cazaux, Gironde. Later, he went through initial flight training at Châteauroux and Avord and received his pilot's license number 6950 from the Aéro-Club de France on May 5, 1917. Like many other American aviators, Bullard wanted to join the famous aero squadron Escadrille Americaine N.124, the Lafayette Escadrille, but after enrolling 38 American pilots in spring and summer of 1916, it stopped accepting new flyers. Therefore, after receiving more training at Avord, Bullard on November 15, 1916, joined 269 American aviators at the Lafayette Flying Corps of the French Air Service, which was a designation rather than a unit. American volunteers flew with French pilots in different pursuit and bomber/reconnaissance aero squadrons on the Western Front. Edmund L. Gros, who facilitated the incorporation of American pilots in the French Air Service, listed in the October 1917 issue of Flying, an official publication of the Aero Club of America, Bullard's name in the member roster of the Lafayette Flying Corps.

On June 28, 1917 Bullard was promoted to the rank of corporal. On August 27, 1917 he was assigned to the Escadrille N.93 based at Beauzée-sur-Aire south of Verdun, where he stayed till September 13. The squadron was equipped with Nieuport and Spad aircraft that bore a flying duck as nose art. Bullard's service record also includes the aero squadron N.85 (Escadrille SPA 85), September 13, 1917 - November 11, 1917, which had a bull insignia. He took part in about twenty combat missions, and is sometimes credited with shooting down one or two German aircraft (sources differ). However, the French authorities did not confirm Bullard's victories.

When the United States entered the war, the United States Army Air Service convened a medical board to recruit Americans serving in the Lafayette Flying Corps to the Air Service of the American Expeditionary Forces. Bullard went through the medical examination, but was not called in since only white pilots were allowed to serve. A time later, while being on short break from duty in Paris, Bullard allegedly got into a fight with a French officer and was punished by being transferred to the service battalion of the 170th in January 1918. As a noncombatant, he served past the Armistice being finally discharged on October 24, 1919.

For his World War I service Bullard was awarded the Croix de Guerre, Médaille militaire, Croix du combattant volontaire 1914–1918, and Médaille de Verdun, among others. Following his discharge, Bullard returned to Paris. In Paris, Bullard found employment as a drummer and a nightclub manager at "Le Grand Duc" and eventually became the owner of his own nightclub, "L'Escadrille". He married Marcelle Straumann from a wealthy family in 1923, but the marriage ended in divorce in 1935, with Bullard gaining custody of their two surviving children, daughters Jacqueline and Lolita. As a popular jazz venue, "Le Grand Duc" gained him many famous friends, including Josephine Baker, Louis Armstrong, Langston Hughes and French flying ace Charles Nungesser. When World War II began in September 1939, Bullard, who spoke German, agreed to a request from the French government to spy on Germans frequenting his nightclub.

After the German invasion of France in May 1940, Bullard fled from Paris with his daughters. He volunteered with the 51st Infantry defending Orléans when he met an officer whom he knew from fighting at Verdun. He was wounded in the fighting but was able to escape to neutral Spain, and in July 1940 he returned to the United States.

Bullard spent some time in a New York hospital and never fully recovered from his wound. Moreover, he found the fame he enjoyed in France had not followed him to the United States. He worked as a perfume salesman, a security guard, and as an interpreter for Louis Armstrong, but his back injury severely restricted him. He attempted to regain his nightclub in Paris, but his property had been destroyed during the WWII. He received a financial settlement from the French government, which he used to buy an apartment in Harlem, New York City.

Eugene Bullard was among those attacked at a concert held by black entertainer and activist Paul Robeson in Peekskill, New York to benefit the Civil Rights Congress (the Peekskill Riots). Graphic pictures of Eugene Bullard being beaten by two policeman, a state trooper and a concert goer were published in Susan Robeson's biography of her grandfather.

In the 1950s, Bullard was a relative stranger in his own homeland. His daughters had married, and he lived alone in his apartment, which was decorated with pictures of his famous friends and a framed case containing his fifteen French war medals. His final job was as an elevator operator at the Rockefeller Center, where his fame as the “Black Swallow of Death” was unknown. In 1954, the French government invited Bullard to Paris to help rekindle the everlasting flame at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe. In 1959 he was made a chevalier (knight) of the Légion d'honneur. While this gained him some recognition, his last years were spent in relative obscurity and poverty in New York City.

He died in New York City of stomach cancer on October 12, 1961 at age 66. Eugene Bullard was buried with military honors in the French War Veterans' section of Flushing Cemetery in the New York City borough of Queens. On 23 August 1994, thirty-three years after his death, and seventy-seven years to the day after the physical that should have allowed him to fly for his own country, Eugene Bullard was posthumously commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force.
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Great War Pilot Profiles 6 years 4 months ago #137501

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My game name in Doggfight is Hells Hand Maiden. This name was given to Billy Bishop by the Germans during WW1. Since I am a Canadian and live close by to Billy Bishops home town of Owen Sound Ontario I chose this name of a famous Cdn who was awarded the VC.

Born in Owen Sound, Ontario on Feb 8, 1894.
Educated at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario.
Qualified as a pilot in December, 1916.
Joined the Royal Flying Corps.
Flew a Nieuport 17.
From March 25, 1917 to June 19, 1918, he destroyed over 25 enemy aircraft.
Participated in over 170 air battles.
In total given credit for 72 kills, third highest ace allied total.
In one battle he shot down 5 enemy aircraft in a space of 5 minutes.
In 1918 he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel and given command of 85th squadron.
Awarded the Military Cross, Distinguished Service Award and Victoria Cross by King George V.
Had a reputation as an accurate shooter but a lousy pilot.
Was instrumental in helping create the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Germans nicknamed him "Hell's Handmaiden."


HHM
HHM
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Great War Pilot Profiles 6 years 4 months ago #137513

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Not sure why Barker is more decorated than Bishop. Bishop had 72 kills to Barkers 50. Bishop had the third highest kills in all of WW1.

Thanks for posting the info about Barker.

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Great War Pilot Profiles 6 years 4 months ago #137515

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Excellent choice; Owen Sound is also the home of the Billy Bishop museum, which also does research and archival work on the Great War. Note the source of the profile for William Barker was BillyBishop.net, a site run by the museum.



William Avery "Billy, Bish, or Bill" Bishop was only 15 years old when he made his initial "flight", in an aircraft he had constructed himself. It was a “plane” assembled from scrap cardboard, an old wooden crate, and some string. He launched it from the roof of his family’s three-story house in Owen Sound, Ont., and somehow managed to escape serious injury.
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Great War Pilot Profiles 6 years 4 months ago #137518

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doggfight wrote: Not sure why Barker is more decorated than Bishop. Bishop had 72 kills to Barkers 50. Bishop had the third highest kills in all of WW1.

Thanks for posting the info about Barker.

HHM


The title is driven by the number of foreign medals and mentions in dispatches, decorations of the mother country being equivalent. Barker was involved in some furious aerial combats over friendly lines, leading to mentions in dispatches, and also under counted his score as several planes destroyed by him were done so when not on official missions. To the contrary, nearly every account of Bishop mentions that there are no witnesses to many of his credits, which would normally render them unacceptable for official scoring. Many writers even question his tally as German post-war records often do not corroborate his accounts. Either way, both men were aggressive pilots who not only led formations of aircraft to battle but also participated in lone wolf missions bent on killing as many of the enemy as possible, and were astonishingly good at it, destroying an amazing tally of German aircraft and downing several accomplished German aces in the process.
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Great War Pilot Profiles 6 years 4 months ago #138736

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Departing from the current theme of only covering high scoring aces, this is a great story about a brave young (really young) man that deserves mention, and another Canadian pilot to boot.



Source: www.constable.ca/caah/mcleod.htm

Alan McLeod wasn't a fighter pilot, and he didn't rack up a massive kill of German planes, but he and his gunner/observer were daring aces all the same.

Alan Arnett McLeod was born in 1899 in Stonewall, Manitoba. He had a simple childhood typical of the early 1900's. He was a shy and unassuming child, slight of build and quiet. His father was the medical doctor in Stonewall, and later Winnipeg. Being the area doctor he owned an early Ford, and Alan enjoyed driving it down the back country roads. Early on he developed an affinity for the military. He enrolled in The 34th Fort Garry Horse in 1913, at age 14. He was 4 years under age, but the officers looked the other way. It was peace time and there was little doing. Mostly he groomed horses, shoveled manure and the like. But he was thrilled, they even let him wear a uniform.

When the "Great Adventure" started in 1914, Alan was sent home, with a riding crop as a souvenir, the officers were not so callous as to take a 14 year-old boy to France. He tried several times to enlist in the army in Winnipeg, but he was rebuffed each time and sent back to home and school. He tried to enroll in the cadet wing of the Royal Flying Corps then taking enlistment in Toronto. They insisted on a birth certificate, when they saw he was 17 he was rejected, but they promised to process his application when he turned 18. As soon as he turned 18 he quit school and headed to Winnipeg to start his enrollment in the RFC. His imagination had been captured by stories of flying and fighting in the air. He was signed up as a pilot-in-training and sent to Long Branch just outside of Toronto for pilot training. He turned out to be a natural at it, throwing his AVRO 504 around the sky with abandon. An 18-year old's ignorance of mortality probably played a big role in his abandon. He soloed on his fifth day of in-flight instruction with only 3 hours of experience in aircraft. He proceeded on to Camp Borden for "intermediate" training and graduated with fewer than 50 hours of flying experience. On August 20, 1917 he was shipped off to France in the Matagama as a new 2nd Lieutenant in the RFC.


His trip over was relatively eventful, nearing the coast of Ireland they were chased by a surfaced U-boat and had to put in to port for several days to shake off the Germans. He arrived in London on September 1, 1917.

They proceeded to a training base near Winchester to ensure the English that the "colonials" could actually fly. Of course, McLeod wanted to be a fighter pilot like his classmates Don MacLaren and Bill Claxton. MacLaren became the 4th highest scoring Canadian ace with 54 German planes to his credit, and Claxton downed 40. But fate held something else in store for McLeod. He was originally posted to 82 Squadron flying "scouts". When his CO found he was only 18 he decided he was too young for combat, and had Alan posted to 51 Squadron, a Home Defence squadron flying an antiquated R.A.F. BE12 "fighter" against Zeppelins at night. He was sorely dissappointed to be separated from his class-mates and not to be on scouts. It turned out that night flying was very hazardous, as there were so many things that could go wrong. The airfields weren't well lit, balloons were suspended over London from long cables that could tear the wing off of a BE12, and the weather was unpredicable. He spent two exciting weeks flying from a field near London trying to deter Zeppelins. He even managed to get shot down by a Zeppelin gunner. He made a decent landing and considered it to be part of the adventure of war.

He improved his flying abilities, but that was all. By November, 1917 many pilots had been killed in the battles for Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele. He managed to convince the general in command of his group to change his age to 19 on his forms, and he was sent to the Pilot Pool at St. Omer, France. However, he still didn't get into a scout aircraft. Many of the pilots and machines lost in the fighting were reconnaissance aircraft doing artillery spotting and aerial photography of German positions. He went to war as a two-seat bomber pilot, so he practiced bombing runs, aerial photography and artillery spotting. He was posted to 2 Squadron, a Corps Squadron working for the area HQ, near Hesdigneul in northern France.

The squadron flew the Armstong-Whitworth FK8, two-seat bomber. It was massive by WWI standards, a very sturdy aircraft, but no match for German fighters. It was big, ungainly and slow in speed and climb rate. It was however, a good bombing and photography platform and came well armed for the time with a forward firing Vickers and a rear firing Lewis machine gun.

His first "get-acquainted flight" with the Ack-W was disastrous. He demolished the landing gear and was grounded for a week. The squadron commander posted the most experienced gunner/observer he had to fly with Alan, in the hopes that he would survive long enough to get some experience. On December 17 he went over the lines for the first time. McLeod and Lt. Fred Higgins did the standard artillery spotting work over the front. Their job was to patrol up and down the front line until they spotted their target, then they would circle near it and called up artillery with a wire-less using Morse Code. They spotted the fall of shot and called in corrections until the artillery was on target. Then they would call for a barrage on the target until it was destroyed. This was the main work of Corps Squadrons, and was very important. The fighters, who got all the glory, were there mainly to either defend their artillery and photographic aircraft or to intercept German aircraft bent on doing the same job on their positions.

They flew nearly every second day. On the 19th, his log book simply stated "Unsuccessful shoot on BY-75 owing to mist. Scrap with 8 Huns, 1 spun away." These were probably Albatros DIIIs. In two-seaters, then as now, both men were credited with the award of a victory, as it was a team effort. In this case it would have been called "Out of Control, or OOC for short.

This wasn't what Alan had planned for himself in the air and he tried to transfer to a fighter squadron, but was denied. So, he decided to use his lumbering bomber as a fighter whenever he got the chance. He and his observers took to cruising behind German lines when their regular work was finished, looking for Huns to shoot up. The Huns usually found them. One day they got into trouble attacking a fast German scout that got behind them. Alan managed to avoid the aircraft with skillful flying until he could regain their own lines, as the Germans were loath to fly into British airspace. They found out that his even-more inexperienced observer hadn't fired a round because his safety was still on. On Dec. 22 they again were jumped by Germans and had most of the controls shot away. Fortunately aircraft of the day were good gliders, and they managed to coast down behind Allied lines. Poor weather kept them grounded throughout Christmas until early January. On the 3rd he was up with Lt. Reginald Key when he spotted a large troop congregation in the town of La Basseé. He dove down and attacked them with his machine gun, apparently causing considerable casualties.

He and gunner Lt. Comber, became famous on the front. Under attack by three Fokker Dr.I triplanes, Comber kept them off until they made it over the lines to Allied territory. The Fokkers peeled off, not willing to chase them into British airspace. McLeod seeing they had dismissed the Ack-W as lost to them, wheeled around in a wide circle and made for the nearest Hun aircraft. He managed to sneak up on the German, who wasn't expecting such audacious behaviour from a bomber, and fired when the pilot filled his gun site. The Dr.I reared up, stalled and fell over onto a wing and dropped to the ground. He was awarded a "Destroyed" victory only after a British balloon observer corroberated his story. No one would believe him or Comber, bombers just did not shoot down enemy fighters.

Several weeks later he and Key attacked a German observation balloon at 2,000 feet near Beauvin. He had to fly 12 miles behind German lines to get to it, and plunge through a shrapnel field of AA before he could fire on it. But he put 100 rounds into it and blew it into a flaming rag. This was dangerous work, the "drachens" were protected by high powered, long-range machine guns, AA guns and fighters. It required fast and nimble flying, not something one could coax from an Armstrong-Whitworth. He was mentioned in dispatches for this and given another "Destroyed" to his credit.

Two days later he and Key had their next notable exploit. They were detailed to an artillery shoot near La Basseé but were frequently interrupted by a particularly accurate AA battery. He flew low over the remaining trees and, with much heavy machine-gun fire directed at them, straffed the battery, then he accurately dropped 20 lb bombs onto it and left it a smoking ruin. On returning to the lines they attacked a column of infantry. Then they successfully completed their artillery shoot. He was awarded with two weeks leave in London for this work. This was nearly his undoing, for the Savoy Hotel, where he was staying, was hit during a Zeppelin raid. Forty-nine people were killed and 127 injured. He was not among them.

When he got back to France he found out that Lt. Key was being transferred to bolster another squadron with his experience. Key wrote of McLeod:

"Alan would take on anything, and I was willing to go anywhere with him. I had absolute confidence in him. He was the finest pilot I have ever flown with, devoid of fear, and always merry and bright. We were in many scraps together and often after getting out of a very tight corner by sheer piloting, with six or seven Huns on our tail, he would turn round to me and laugh out loud."
McLeod got a new gunner, Lt. A.W. Hammond. A very experienced man with a Military Cross to his credit. They did artillery spotting in the morning and then went up at noon in a group of three aircraft to photograph behind the German lines to a distance of 10 or 12 miles. The work was becoming increasingly dangerous as the Germans had taken to flying in large groups (a Jagdgeschwader, equivalent to a British wing), initiated by Rittmeister Manfred von Richthofen, to counter the superior abilities of the British fighters. The Germans often painted their aircraft in colorful variations on a theme, and because they would travel en masse up and down their sector, the British called JG I "Richthofen's Circus". Richthofen's old unit, Jasta 11 (also called a staffel equivalent to a squadron) the aircraft were mostly red with various individual decorations, Jasta 6 had black and white zebra stripes on the elevators, while Jasta 10 used a yellow theme. The British decided that three machines would attract too much attention, and so cut the photographic patrols to one aircraft in the vain hopes of avoiding detection.

McLeod and Hammond were a very strong team, and were given a roving commission when not on organised patrols. They would usually do an artillery shoot in the morning and spent the afternoons bombing anything German that looked vaguely threatening. After rearming in the late afternoon they became a fighter and trench straffer. Sometimes they did all three in one mission. Often the aircraft came back shot to pieces.

By March 21, 1918 the final German offensive was in full swing. The initial advance by the Germans was fierce and the Allies fell back. They threw everything they had into the desperate fight to stop the advance. All British aircraft were detailed to bomb and strafe the infantry and artillery.

McLeod and Hammond were flying three missions a day, bombing and straffing anything and everything. On the evening of March 26 they were detailed, with six other aircraft, on a bombing mission, with the heaviest bomb load manageable and extra ammunition. The morning of March 27 dawned and they took off on the mission to Bray-sur-Somme, near Albert, but lost their way in fog. They were forced to land at a neighbouring field, home of 43 Squadron, damaging the landing gear in the process. It wasn't until just after noon that the plane was fixed, by then all of the 2 Squadron planes had gone home. The CO of 43 Squadron sent up a flight to "test" the air for the massed forces of JG 1, Richthofen's Circus. They came back shortly stating that the weather was terrible, with continuing fog and low cloud. However, McLeod and Hammond continued on with their original mission and found a likely artillery battery to bomb. Before they could begin a bomb run a Fokker Dridecker appeared out of the cloud 200 yds away and slightly below them. It was faster and much more agile than a heavily loaded bomber, but McLeod skillfully manouevered so that Hammond could get a shot in. With three bursts from Hammond's Lewis gun the triplane flipped over on it's back and plunged to earth. They congratulated each other. While doing so, the skies cleared somewhat and another Fokker triplane dove down on them, followed by six more. Now they were really in for it.

The German machines swarmed around them, taking turns diving, firing and pulling up. Hammond and McLeod in turn made good use of their guns, firing just enough to keep the enemy at bay and at the same time conserving their ammunition. With further skilful handling of the bomber McLeod placed Hammond so he got the chance of a sustained burst of fire at a Fokker that had dove very close to them. The force of the bullets shattered the German aircraft so that it broke off at the pilot's seat and the wreckage fell away on fire.

Lt. Hans Kirschstein of Jasta 6, an experienced pilot and soon to be a top-scoring ace, dove under the bomber and fired up into it's belly. McLeod was wounded three times in the side and Hammond was slumped in his seat, wounded six times. To make matters worse, the fuel tank was punctured and caught the aircraft on fire. Sensing an easy kill another German cut close in. Hammond struggled up and, despite having the use of only one arm fired a volley into the Fokker. It fell away from the fight, although it likely did not crash, as the Germans did not report any losses from JG1 that day.

It seemed like the end, they were on fire, chased and surrounded by enemy aircraft behind German lines and both men were wounded. McLeod climbed out of his cockpit onto the left, lower wing to avoid the flames and yawed the Ack-W to fan the flames to the right side. By now, Hammond had to lie along the rim of his cockpit as the flames had destroyed the bottom of the aircraft and his seat had fallen out. Another Fokker bore in on them, coming in for the kill, and put two more bullets into McLeod, but he side-slipped the Armstrong-Whitworth for Hammond to get a shot in. He did, and this one spun down out of control.

Kirschstein came back to the attack, and kept on attacking putting Hammond's gun out of commission, and hitting the aircraft time and again. Finally, the bomber was obviously doomed, and heading for British airspace so he pulled away hunting for more British. Lt. Kirschstein was successful again 5 minutes later, shooting down his third victem, a Camel pilot. He was awarded the victory over McLeod and Hammond, but he would die before either of them.

McLeod continued to side-slip the bomber over the German lines managing to flatten out the glide to crash in no-mans-land. Somehow, they were both still alive, although Hammond, with six wounds and badly burned, was unable to move. With a fire burning around their eight bombs and a load of ammunition to motivate him, McLeod struggled up and hauled Hammond towards a shell hole. The bombs blew up, wounding McLeod again and scattered burning debris all around them. German soldiers in forward positions fired at them and McLeod was hit a sixth time. They lay in a shell hole until night fall when they were rescued by soldiers of the South African Scottish Regiment. Amazingly they were still alive. Sixty years later one of them recollected
"We attended their wounds but could not safely get them away until dusk. Both were burnt and in a bad way. Captain Ward and I cheered them as best we could until dark enough for our bearers to carry them back to a dressing station. In trying to cheer McLeod I said "You will be in Blighty in a few days." He said, "That's just the trouble, I would like to have a crack at that so-and-so that brought me down." The observer was too bad to talk; both smelt terribly of burnt flesh."

They managed to survive a three mile stetcher trip and primitive surgery to remove bullets and patch wounds at a forward aide station. They were taken to Amiens in an ambulance and to a Casualty Clearing Station where they were cleaned, and their wounds re-dressed. They were seperated in this journey. McLeod was shipped back to England to the Prince of Wales's Hospital in London. For months Alan lay between life and death, but by the beginning of September he appeared to be recovering well.
He was convalescing in England when he was awarded the Victoria Cross, and Hammond received a bar to his Military Cross.

"His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned officer of the Royal Air Force, for services displaying outstanding bravery:

2nd Lieutenant Alan Arnett McLeod, Royal Air Force.

While flying with his observer, Lieutenant A. W. Hammond, M.C., attacking hostile formations by bombs and machine gun fire, he was assailed at a height of 5,000 feet by eight enemy triplanes which dived at him from all directions, firing from their front guns. By skilful manoeuvring he enabled his observer to fire bursts at each machine in turn, shooting three of them down out of control. By this time Lieutenant McLeod had received five wounds, and while continuing the engagement a bullet penetrated his petrol tank and set the machine on fire.

He then climbed out on to the left bottom plane, controlling his machine from the side of the fusilage, and by sideslipping steeply kept the flames to one side, thus enabling the observer to continue firing until the ground was reached.

The observer had been wounded six times when the machine crashed in "No Man's Land" and 2nd Lieutenant McLeod, notwithstanding his own wounds, dragged him away from the burning wreckage at great personal risk from heavy machine-gun fire from the enemy's lines. This very gallant pilot was again wounded by a bomb whilst engaged in this act of rescue, but he persevered until he had placed Lieutenant Hammond in comparative safety, before falling himself from exhaustion and loss of blood."

On the 4th, he attended the investiture at Buckingham Palace with his father, who had sailed over to tend his son. Due to weakness, he was not able to attend a luncheon that he and his father had been invited to with the King at Windsor Castle.

A few days later Alan and his father returned to Canada to continue his recuperation. Unfortunately, the highly virulent Spanish Influenza was striking Canada as well as the rest of the world, and he contracted the virus. In his weakened state he developed pneumonia and died in Winnipeg five days before the Armistice.

Dr. David Christie, of Westminster Church in Winnipeg wrote this eulogy in the Manitoba Free Press.

"Alan McLeod was the finest flower of chivalry. The old days of knighthood are over, but for the very fairest blossoms of the spirit of knighthood the world has had to wait till the twentieth century. It is these dauntless boys who have saved civilization. The heroism of the Crusades pales before the incredible and quiet courage of such boys who gave us a new interpretation of Calvary. I saw Alan within a few hours of his death. He faced the last enemy with the same joyous confidence with which he started on what he called the very happiest part of his life. For our children's children names like Alan McLeod's will be written in letters of splendour in the annals of Canada."

As a final honour Alan McLeod was inducted into the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame in 1973.

Despite Dr. Christie's words, Alan McLeod does not appear on any of the "official" ace lists, or on a list of bomber aces of WWI compiled by Norman Franks, although he was credited with shooting down 5 aircraft and a balloon.
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Great War Pilot Profiles 6 years 4 months ago #138740

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I really dig this thread LR. Good stuff.
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Great War Pilot Profiles 6 years 3 months ago #141434

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In an ode to the unusual, following is the story of Sir Grahame Donald, who would later go on the be a senior officer in the RAF between wars and during WWII.

Source: www.telegraph.co.uk/news/1925057/Those-m...n-of-the-RAF....html

One summer's afternoon in 1917, Grahame Donald attempted a new manoeuvre in his Sopwith Camel. He flew the machine up and over, and as he reached the top of his loop, hanging upside down, 6,000ft above the ground, his safety belt snapped and he fell out. He was not wearing a parachute; they were not issued to British pilots in the belief that their availability would impair fighting spirit.

Hurtling to earth, with nothing to break his fall, Donald's death was seconds away – but it didn't come. In an interview given 55 years later, he explained: "The first 2,000 ft passed very quickly and terra firma looked damnably 'firma'. As I fell, I began to hear my faithful little Camel somewhere nearby. Suddenly I fell back on to her."

The Camel had continued its loop downwards, and Donald landed on its top wing. He grabbed it with both hands, hooked one foot into the cockpit, wrestled himself back in, struggled to take control, and executed "an unusually good landing".
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Great War Pilot Profiles 6 years 3 months ago #141472

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Psssshhhhh, no way! I wouldnt buy that for a second! Good for a laugh though :)
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Great War Pilot Profiles 6 years 3 months ago #141660

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Donald, shown in the picture above, swore by the story until his death. From his book:

As I was approaching the airfield at 6000 feet, I decided to try a new maneuver which might prove useful in combat. It was to be a half loop and then I would roll at the top and fly off in the opposite direction. I pulled her up into a neat half loop but I was going rather slowly and hanging upside down in the air. With an efficient safety belt that would have been no trouble at all. But our standard belts were a 100% unsafe. Mine stretched a little and suddenly I dived clean through it and fell out of the cockpit. There was nothing between me and the ground. The first 2000 feet passed very quickly and terra firma looked damnably firmer.

As I fell, I began to hear my faithful little Camel somewhere nearby. Suddenly, I fell back onto her. I was able to grip onto her top plane and that saved me from slithering straight through the propeller, which was glistening beautifully in the evening sunshine. She was now diving noisily at about 140 miles per hour. I was hanging onto her with my left hand, and with one foot hooked into the cockpit, I managed to reach down with my other hand and I pulled her control stick backwards to pull her gently out of her dive. This was a mistake. She immediately went into the most appalling inverted spin. Even with two hands on the top plane I was slipping. I had about two and half thousand feet left. Remembering that everything was inverted, I managed to get my right foot on the control stick and managed to push it forwards. The Camel stopped spinning in half a turn and went into a smooth glide, but upside down. It was now easy to reach my hand down, or up, and pull her gently down and round into a normal glide. I grabbed the seat cushion which was obstructing the cockpit, chucked it over the side, and sat back down.

I was now at about 800 feet, but in spite of the extraordinary battering she had received, my little Camel was flying perfectly. One or two of the wings were a bit loose, but nothing was broken. I turned the engine off in case of strain, so my approach was made in silence. I made an unusually good landing, but there was noone there to applaud. Every man and jack of the squadron had mysteriously disappeared. After about a minute or so, heads began popping up like bunny rabbits from every hole. Apparently as I had pressed my foot on the control stick, I had also pressed both triggers, and the entire airfield had been sprinkled with bullets. Very wisely, the ground crew dived as one man for the nearest ditch.
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Great War Pilot Profiles 6 years 3 months ago #141840

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Paul Bäumer

Nickname "Der Eiserne Adler" (The Iron Eagle)
Born 11 May 1896
Duisburg Ruhrort
Died 15 July 1927 (aged 31)
Near Copenhagen, Denmark
Allegiance German Empire
Service/branch Infantry, Luftstreitkräfte
Years of service 1914-1918
Rank Leutnant
Unit FA 7, Jastas 2 & 5

Awards Pour le Mérite, Military Merit Cross, Iron Cross 1st & 2nd Class, Silver Wound Badge

Paul Wilhelm Bäumer (11 May 1896 – 15 July 1927) was a German fighter ace in World War I.

Bäumer was born in Meiderich.

Involvement in World War 1

Bäumer learned to fly before the war but joined the infantry and was wounded in the leg in 1915. He transferred to the air service as a dental assistant before being accepted for military pilot training. In 1917, he gained experience on two-seaters with FA7 before acceptance as a noncommissioned fighter pilot.
Bäumer joined Jagdstaffel 5 in June 1917, scoring three victories in July before going to the elite Jasta Boelcke.


Albatros D.V of Paul Bäumer while with Jagdstaffel 5
Bäumer claimed heavily, reaching 18 victories by year end. He was commissioned in April 1918. On 29 May Bäumer was injured in a crash, breaking his jaw, and he returned to the Jasta in September. With the arrival of the Fokker D.VII he claimed even more success, including 16 in September. Nicknamed 'The Iron Eagle' and with a personal emblem of an Edelweiss on his aircraft. He was one of the few pilots in World War I whose lives were saved by parachute deployment, when he was shot down in flames in September. He received the Pour le Mérite shortly before the Armistice and was finally credited with 43 victories, ranking ninth among German aces.
Post-War Career

After the war, Bäumer worked briefly in the dockyards before he became a dentist, and reportedly one of his patients, Erich Maria Remarque, used Bäumer's name for the protagonist of his antiwar novel All Quiet on the Western Front.
Continuing his interest in flying, he founded his own aircraft company in Hamburg. Bäumer died in an air crash at Copenhagen on 15 July 1927, age 31, while test flying a Rohrbach Rofix fighter.






Taken from: warnepieces.blogspot.com/2013/.../paul-baumer-putting-some-teeth-into.ht...

There’s nothing magical about it and I don’t rely on in numerology, but I happen to like the number 9. So it is not unusual that I would be drawn to the ace who is number 9 on the list of Germany’s most successful combat pilots during World War One, Paul Wilhelm Bäumer. He’s not a household name like Von Richthofen or Rickenbacker, and he didn’t have glamor attached to him like Voss or Nungesser. Still, he proved to be an outstanding combat pilot racking up 43 confirmed victories in about a year and a half of fighting over the Western Front.

Paul Bäumer was born May 11, 1896 in Duisburg-Ruhrart, and trained as a dental assistant prior to the war. His seemingly unexciting occupation was soon augmented by an interest in aviation and he attained his private pilot's license shortly before the war broke out in 1914. Surprisingly, even though he had his license, he tried to enter the navy and was turned down. Not to be deterred, he enlisted in the German Army, serving in the 70th Infantry, and saw combat on the French front near St. Quentin. In 1915 he was posted to the 21st Army Corp on the Russian front where he received a severe wound in the left arm. While recovering in the hospital, he applied for a transfer to the Air Service and was finally sent as a dental assistant, eventually volunteering for pilot training in late 1916. He was promoted to Gefreiter (Corporal) in February 1917 serving as a ferry pilot and instructor. On March 26, he was posted to Fleiger Abteilung No.7 flying two-seaters, where three days later he was promoted to Unteroffizier. In May, after winning the Iron Cross 2nd Class, he volunteered for fighter training, and on June 28th he was sent to Jasta 2, better known as Jasta Boelcke, but then transferred to Jasta 5 a couple of days later. It was here that Bäumer gained his initial success, as a 'balloon buster', bringing down three enemy observation balloons while flying an Albatross D.V. He was then transferred back to the famed Jasta 2 in August 1917, and would achieved a further 40 victories to become the squadron's top-scoring pilot.

After winning the Iron Cross 1st Class and the Golden Military Merit Cross, he was commissioned on April 10, 1918 and flew an Edelweiss-adorned Albatros D.V in which he scored his first 18 victories. In May he began flying a Fokker Dr.1 Triplane and downed 4 more Allied aircraft. The scoring stopped for a few months when he was injured in a crash-landing on May 29th, breaking his jaw among other injuries.

Bäumer was one of the few pilots to take the Pfalz D.VIII into combat, but he scored no victories in the aircraft. Some sources report it is this aircraft he was flying on May 29th when he crash-landed.

When he had sufficiently recovered, thus cementing his nickname of ‘The Iron Eagle’, he returned to flying in September in the superlative Fokker D.VII. He was to claim even more success, an eventual 21 victories in this type, 16 scored in September alone. Bäumer was one of the few pilots in World War One whose lives were saved by a parachute when he was shot down in flames in late September and bailed out of his stricken Fokker. He was recommended for the Pour le Mérite and received it on November 2, 1918 just before the Armistice. With his previously awarded Golden Military Merit Cross, Bäumer was one of only five pilots to receive both medals. With a final tally of 43 victories, he is ranked ninth among German aces.

Following the armistice Bäumer worked briefly in the Hamburg dockyards of Blohm und Voss before returning to his earlier training in dentistry. Reportedly, one of his patients was Erich Maria Remarque, who would go on to use Bäumer's name for the protagonist of his novel ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’. Bäumer never lost interest in aviation and continued to fly, eventually forming a civil aircraft construction and pilot training company called Bäumer-Aero-Gesellschaft in Hamburg. He was a mentor to Thea Rosche, a German aviatrix, who was planning a flight from America to Germany. He also established what at the time was claimed to be a world altitude record for small aircraft by climbing to 24,278 feet, as well as setting new world speed records for an aircraft carrying a pilot and a passenger.

Bäumer was killed July 15, 1927 during an evening exhibition in Copenhagen, Denmark. While rolling out at an altitude of 2,000 feet, the motor on his Rohrbach Ro.IX Rofix apparently failed and the machine spun into the Øresund, the waters to the east of Copenhagen, with such velocity that the aircraft bored itself several yards into the mud under the water, taking Bäumer with it. His remains were recovered and he is buried at Ohesdorf, near Hamburg.

From Wikipedia

Jasta 5

Royal Prussian Jagdstaffel 5, commonly abbreviated to Jasta 5, was created on January 21, 1916 [1] and mobilized on 21 August 1916, as one of the first fighter units of the predecessor to the Luftwaffe, the Luftstreitkräfte. Many of the first pilots of the Jasta came out of KEK Avillers, itself an early attempt to organize and utilize fighter planes as winged weapons. Jasta 5 began its service career at Bechamp near Verdun, in support of 5 Armee. On 29 September 1916, it moved to the Somme to the 1 Armee area of operations. On 11 March 1917, Jasta 5 moved into Boistrancourt; it spent the next year operating from there, in support of the 2 Armee. In March 1918, the Jasta was joined by Jasta 46 thus forming the beginning of Jagdgruppe 2; the new JG was commanded by Flashar, along with his command of the Jasta. In July, command passed to Otto Schmidt; in August, it was joined in the JG by Jasta 34 and Jasta 37. With approximately 253 victories at war's end [2] , Jasta 5 had the third highest total of any squadron in the Luftstreitkräfte. Its casualties came to 19 pilots Killed in Action, 3 Killed in Flying Accidents, 8 Wounded in Action, and 1 injured in an accident.[3]

There were several notable pilots and flying aces who served and scored with Jasta 5. Pilots earning Prussia's highest decoration for valour, the Pour le Mèrite (Blue Max)who served at one time or another in Jast 5 included (alphabetically):[6]

Paul Bäumer
Hans Berr
Heinrich Gontermann
Hermann Göring
Otto Könnecke***
Bruno Loerzer
Fritz Rumey***
Werner Voss[7]

Könnecke and Rumey were two of the three members of the "golden triumvirate", who were responsible for 40% of the total victories of the Jasta. The third member of the triumvirate not listed is Josef Mai, who although nominated and eligible for the award, was not officially awarded the Pour le Mèrite prior to the end of hostilities.

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