Godwin von Brumowski – Austro- Hungarian Ace 1889 / 1936 Pt 3
In August 1917, Brumowski scored a remarkable run of victories, being credited with 12 confirmed and 6 unconfirmed kills between the 10th and 28th of August. Two of these victories, on the 19th and 20th were achieved due to the partial transition to a new aircraft, The Albatros Dlll, with twin synchronised machine guns. He scored once again on the 20th using the Albatros and twice more flying the Hansa- Brandenburg Dl. By the end of August the transition was complete, from then on all his victories were won flying the Albatros. On the 9th of October 1917, he shot down and burned an observation balloon for his 22nd victory; The aircraft he flew on that day was painted all red in emulation of von Richtofen, with the addition of mustard painted skulls either side of the fuselage and later, also on top of the fuselage. From this time on all of his aircraft would be painted in this fashion.
On the 1st of February 1918, Brumowski became entangled in a dogfight with eight enemy fighters. Some of the 26 bullets that hit his aircraft, ignited the fuel tank built in the upper wing. He managed to escape and land at his home field without serious injury, one of the few to survive an in air fire. The fire ate the fabric of the upper wing and the inner fabric of the lower wing, he managed to land what was virtually a skeleton aircraft.
Three days later, while fling another Albatros he got in to a fight with eight English fighters and took multiple machine gun hits. With his wings breaking up he still managed to land, although the aircraft flipped over and was totally destroyed.
Brumowski fought on until 23rd of June 1918, when he was ordered on an extended leave. His last successful sortie was on the 19th of June when he scored his 35th victory and suffered 37 hits to his plane. He had flown 439 combat sorties, but his combat career was ended.
Also on 23rd June he was invited by Generaloberst Ferdinand to make the customary mandatory application for Austro-Hungaria’s highest decoration, The Knights Cross of the Military Order of Maria Theresa, The Reply from Brumowski was, ‘If I have earned this award through my service, them it should be cause enough for the Commander in Chief to present it to me, it is not my duty to ask for or demand it!’
Brumowski never received this award. On October 11th, although still only an Hauptmann he was given command of all the Austro- Hungarian fighter squadrons on the Italian Front. The was ended a month later.
Brumowski’s victory tally was 35, including 12 shared and 8 unconfirmed which fell behind allied lines. On his death in 1936 his daughter commented, ‘He was a very unique and interesting person, either very much loved, or hated, and even considered crazy by many.’ He died in a plane crash while instructing a student pilot at Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands.
(C) Damian Grange 2018