Air Aces of World War One

Picture – Courtesy of Pinterest

Oberleutnant Ernst Udet – German Ace 1896 / 1941 Pt. 6

  At the same time, Richtofen treated his pilots with every consideration and when it came to requisitioning supplies he traded favours for autographed photographs of himself that read, “Dedicated to my esteemed fighting companion” Udet remarked that because of the photographs, ” sausage and ham never ran out.” One night the squadron invited a captured English flyer for dinner, treating him as a guest. When he excused himself to go to the bathroom, the German’s secretly watched to see if he would try to escape. On his return the Englishman remarked, “I would never forgive myself for disappointing such hosts.” He did however escape from another squadron, maybe the food wasn’t as good.

Richtofen was shot down in France in 1918. At the time Udet was not at the front as he had been sent on leave due to a severe ear infection which he had avoided having treated as long as he could. Udet said about Richtofen, “He was the least complicated man I ever knew. Entirely Prussian and the greatest of soldiers.” Before returning to JG.1 and remaining there against Doctor’s advice until the end of the war, commanding Jasta 4. While on leave, Udet had re-acquainted himself with his childhood sweetheart Eleanor “Lo” Zink, notified that he was about to receive the Pour Le Merite, He had one made up in advance to impress her. M0st of the aircraft that he flew had the “LO” painted on the sides of the fuselage, also on his Fokker D.VII tailplane was the message, ” Du Doch Nicht” ( Definately not you ). Udet scored 20 victories in August 1918 alone. He became a national hero with a score of 62 victories, second only to Manfred von Richtofen, the Red Baron, his friend and leader.

(C) Damian Grange 2019


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