WW2 Fighter Pilot
Birthday: May 19 1891
Place of Birth: Giebichenstein; near Halle (Saale)
Nickname: Father of Air Fighting Tactics and the Father of the German Fighter Air Force
Date of Death: October 28, 1916
Place of Death: Near Douai
A WW1 German Fighter Pilot, Oswald Boelcke was a great fighter pilot. At a young age he created the Dicta Boelcke which was a set of rules for combat fighting, techniques and tactics to optimise a pilot's chances of success and survival in air battles.
Background and Early Life
As a son of a school teacher, Oswald Boelcke was raised with the strong opinions of his father who was a nationalist and a militarist. When he was a young boy he suffered from severe case of whooping cough. To make up his fragile health, he was encouraged to get involve into sports so it would boost his stamina. He joined different sports like swimming, tennis, rowing and gymnastics but he did not become popular with this sports. Although he was not successful in sports, he was very studious. He does extremely well in mathematics and physics. He wrote a letter to Kaiser asking for an appointment in the military school. He was granted; however, his parents did not allow him. Instead he went to Herzog Friedrichs-Gymnasium and graduated in 1911.
Personal Life and Family
Oswald Boelcke was born on May 19, 1891 in Halle, Germany. He was the youngest child among the 4 children of a school teacher. He was the only one born in Germany as his older siblings were born in Buenos Aires. Their father has instilled in them in their younger years strong views of nationalism and militarism. His last name was originally spelt in German as Bolcke but his brother adopted Boelcke, the Latin spelling, although it is pronounced the same way.
Work and Career
Oswald Boelcke was one of the most influential German fighter pilots during the World War I. He was also known as one of the tactician as he had created the formal rules of air fighting and techniques which was called Dicta Boelcke. He was known as the Father of the German Fighter Air Force and Father of Air Fighting Tactics.
On October 28, 1916 Boelcke, together with Manfred von Richthofen and Erwin Böhme and other 3 pilots set out for a combat mission. While they were patrolling they engaged in a dogfight with single-seater DH.2 fighters. During the battle Boelcke and Bohme were unaware that both of them were attacking the same aircraft. Boelcke tried to avoid Bohme, unfortunately it was too late and Bohme hit Boelcke’s wing tearing off the upper wing of Boelcke’s aircraft. Bohme crash landed and survived while Boelcke died in a high impact crash. He may have survived if his lap belt had not malfunctioned.
Influence & Legacy
Oswald Boelcke is a great example of how a fighter pilot should be but the most important legacy he had left to the Germans was the Dicta Boelcke. This is a set of rules he has created for air combat, techniques and tactics on how to become a standard pilot. He stressed on formation fighting instead of fighting single-handed in order to succeed in each battle.
Oswald Boelcke Quote
"I fly close to my man, aim well and then of course he falls down".
- "Try to secure advantages before attacking. If possible, keep the sun behind you".
- "Always carry through an attack when you have started it".
- "Fire only at close range, and only when your opponent is properly in your sights".
- "Always keep your eye on your opponent, and never let yourself be deceived by ruses".
- "In any form of attack it is essential to assail your opponent from behind".
- "If your opponent dives on you, do not try to evade his onslaught, but fly to meet it".
- "When over the enemy's lines never forget your own line of retreat".
- "For the Staffel: Attack on principle in groups of four or six. When the fight breaks up into a series of single combats, take care that several do not go for one opponent".
|Medals and Awards|
- Pour le Mérite on January 12 1916 after his eighth victory
- Iron Cross
First Class, January 27, 1915
Second Class, December 10, 1914
- Royal House Order of Hohenzollern, Knight’s Cross with Swords on November 1, 1916 after his sixth victory
- Lifesaving Medal on December 12, 1915 for saving Albert DePlace from drowning in the canal, August 29, 1915
- Naming of Boelcke Barracks in Koblenz
- Honour cup for winning a dogfight on December 24, 1915
- House Order of Albert the Bear, Knight’s Cross, 1st and 2nd class
- Friedrich Cross, 2nd class on January 31, 1915
- Military Merit Order, 4th class with Swords on November 13,1915
- Order of Bravery, 3rd class in the Kingdom of Bulgaria on August 9, 1916
- Turkish War Medal of 1915 by the Ottoman Empire. He was awarded it personally by Enver Pascha on July 15,1916
- Imtiyaz Medal in the Ottoman Empire
- Gallipoli Star by the Ottoman Empire and "Iron Crescent" on July 23, 1916
- Saxe-Ernestine House Order, Knights Cross 1st class with Swords on July 13, 1916
- Order of the Iron Crown, 3rd class with war decoration in Austria on October 29,1916
- Knight of the Military Merit Order in Württemberg
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Oswald Boelcke - WW2 Fighter Ace