Berthold and Buddecke
Picture – Courtesy of Pinterest
Hauptmann Rudolf Berthold – Germany’s Iron Knight 1891 / 1920 Pt 3
Meanwhile Berthold had damaged his original G.II in a landing accident on the 15th of September and had to return to piloting an old two-seater. Shortly thereafter he returned to Germany to collect a replacement G.II. By the 1st of October 1915 he was using it as a gunship for air defence missions as well as for bombing. On the 6th of November one of these missions turned deadly; a British FB5 gunner mortally wounded Gruner. Berthold was depressed by his friend’s death and sent on home leave.
In early December Buddecke was seconded to the Turkish air Force and Berthold fell heir to his Eindekker. He was accompanying Ernt Frieherr von Althaus when the latter shot down enemy aircraft on both the 5th and 28th of December 1915. as the Germans pioneered the use of aircraft with synchronised guns, they began to group the new aerial weapons into ad hoc units to provide protection for reconnaissance and bombing aircraft. These new units were dubbed Kampfseinsitzer Kommando ( single seat fighter detachment ). On the 11th of January 1916, Kampfseinsitzer Kommando Vaux was formed near FFA 223 and Berthold was placed in command. Even as these pioneering units formed, on the 14th of January 1916, Royal Flying Corps Headquarters directed that any reconnaissance aircraft crossing over German held territory must have at least three protective aircraft.
On the 2nd of February 1916, both Berthold and von Althaus shot down a Voisin LA apiece. It was Berthold’s first Aerial victory. He scored another three days later. Then on the 10th on February Berthold was himself downed, with a punctured fuel tank and a slightly wounded left hand. He was rewarded with one of the 12 Military Merit Orders awarded to aviators during the First World War.
Berthold continued to fly a bomber on missions as well as patrolling in his fighter. After he had scored another victory, he was honoured by his native Kingdom of Bavaria, this time with the Knight’s Cross of the Military Order of Saint Henry on the 15th of April.
To Be Continued……………………..
(C) Damian Grange 2019