Jasta 18: The Red Noses (Aviation Elite Units)

By Greg VanWyngarden

The background of Royal Prussian Jagdstaffel (or Jasta) 18 is without doubt one of the extra distinct and intricate of German fighter squadrons of worldwide struggle I. in truth, the unit might be stated to have had anything of a cut up character. shaped in Flanders on the finish of October 1916, the Jasta was once first commanded via Oblt von Grieffenhagen, who led it to 35 victories in 9 months. In August 1917, the competitive and important Oblt Rudolf Berthold took over the Staffel and taken a cadre of professional pilots with him from his former command. Berthold molded his new unit right into a committed crew of hunters, and left his stamp at the unit with a awesome colour scheme of red-nosed Pfalz and Albatros warring parties with darkish blue fuselage and tail surfaces. This booklet tells the whole tale of the unit: its victories, defeats, and the nice aces who flew the red-nosed combatants

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Veltjens ultimately chalked up the 1st victory of 1918 on 18 February, while he claimed a Sopwith Camel introduced down close to Violaines at approximately 1230 hrs. Oddly sufficient it had additionally been Veltjens who completed the former victory for Jasta 18 long ago on 15 November 1917. victories in jut over thirteen weeks hardly ever made for a creditable checklist. It needs to be stated that lower than Obit Turck's management the Jasta functionality were unfortunately less than par. Then, ultimately, in early March got here the inside track that should have gladdened the hearts of the outdated palms — the indomitable Berthold, now a hauptmann, was once returning to Jasta 18.

On 1 October 1913, as a one-year volunteer, he joined /. Kompanie Luftschijfer-Bataillon Nr four at Mannheim. Strahle made a few flights in Zeppelin Z VII, yet upon the outbreak of warfare he used to be despatched off to Brussels to assist build an airship shed as he had now not accomplished a few classes that have been required for lively Zeppelin carrier. Upon finishing touch of the shed, Strahle was once published to Luftschijferbataillon Stollwerk and was once disappointingly assigned to infantry accountability within the Flanders trenches. Having been promoted to leutnant der reserve on four June 1915, he eventually controlled a move to aviation and arrived at FEA eight in Graudenz in November for education.

There, he may positioned his nice event to take advantage of as an teacher for the remainder of the struggle. in fact, the query now at the minds of Strahle, Runge, Jahns and the opposite pilots used to be who could now command the Staffed rather than selling a person from in the unit, Kogenluft Ernst von Hoeppner selected to usher in an interloper to take over Jasta 18. while the pilots discovered who their new chief used to be, they without doubt reacted with admiration, astonishment and, probably, a few degree of trepidation. Rudolf Berthold was once coming to Flanders.

Zero > Josef Veltjens scored Jasta 18's first victory considering 15 November 1917 while he was once credited with a Sopwith on 18 February 1918. The jacket he wears right here, coated with a tiger epidermis, used to be a prized ownership. He was once nonetheless donning it whilst he joined the Freikorps armoured automobile unit Tank department Liittwitz in December 1918 to assist overwhelm the 'Spartakus' rebellion in Berlin (A E Ferko) As his outdated commander Hptm Wilberg had informed Berthold again in November, 'We want you within the spring, no longer the wintry weather! ' and so he gamely again to provide his companies within the nice offensive.

A letter written through Berthold on 6 October unearths his delight within the accomplishments of his boys, in addition to the toll that the former month's excellent attempt had taken on him; 'My Jasta 18 has develop into a crack unit. Already in September it introduced its rating to 32 victories [sic - Berthold can have counted Veltjens' "forced to land" claims]. in terms of aerial strive against, there at the moment are not more pilots who must take a again seat a result of loss of a victory. whilst it acknowledged in military orders a couple of days in the past "The battle-tested Jasta 18", it confirmed that folks regularly see what a huge issue this Staffel - which as soon as stood to date within the historical past — has turn into during this terrible fight in Flanders.

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