Picture – Courtesy of Pinterest
Oberleutnant Ernst Udet – German Ace 1896 / 1941 Pt.5
By late November, Udet was a triple Ace and Jastafuhrer modelling his attacks on those of Guynemer, coming in high out of the sun to pick out the rear aircraft before the rest of the squadron knew what had happened. Having witnessed one of these attacks, his commander in Jasta 37, selected Udet for command over more senior pilots. Udet’s ascension to command on November the 7th 1917 was followed six days later by the award of the Royal House Order of Hohenzollern. Despite his seemingly frivolous nature, drinking late in to the night and playboy lifestyle, Udet proved an excellent Squadron commander. He spent many hours coaching new fighter pilots, with an emphasis on marksmanship being an essential for success.
Udet’s success attracted him attention for his skill, earning him an invitation to join the “Flying Circus” Jagdegeshwader 1, an elite unit of German fighter Aces under the command of Manfred von Richtofen, popularly known as the Red Baron. Richtofen drove up to Udet one day as he was attempting to pitch a tent in the rain in Flanders, pointing out that Udet had attained 29 victories, Richtofen said,’Then you would actually seem ripe to join us, would you like to?’, which Udet accepted. After watching him shoot down an artillery spotter in a frontal attack, Richtofen gave Udet command of Jasta11,his own former command. The group commanded by Richtofen also included Jasta’s 4,6 and 10, Udet’s enthusiasm for Richtofen was unbounded, a leader who demanded total loyalty and dedication from his pilots, immediately cashiering anyone who fell out of line.
To Be Continued………………………
(C) Damian Grange 2019