Aces of Jagdstaffel 17 by Greg VanWyngarden

By Greg VanWyngarden

Initially shaped to help within the defence of the town of Metz opposed to French bombing raids, Royal Prussian Jagdstaffel 17 might move directly to turn into some of the most distinguish German fighter devices of global struggle 1. Its first victory used to be scored via the pilot whose tale is inextricably interwoven with that of his unit - the 'Blue Max' recipient Julius Buckler. He used to be mostly answerable for inspiring the unit's precise Esprit de Corps, expressed in its well-known and designated 'battle-cry' of 'Malaula!' certainly, in its ultimate days the unit received the nickname Zirkus Buckler, or the 'Buckler Circus'. along with Buckler, Jasta 17 boasted such aces as Karl Strasser, Alfred Fleischer and Christian Donhauser. additionally, the roster integrated vibrant characters just like the winning Jewish airman Jakob Wolff, who at over forty eight years of age was once the oldest German fighter pilot of the struggle. the tale of this illustrious unit is informed with many first-hand bills by way of Buckler, Fleischer and others, in addition as...

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Der Kampfruf meiner Staffel (‘Malaula! The Battle-cry of My Squadron’). It was a popular book in its day, and its ‘ripping yarns’ style of storytelling still makes for exciting reading. ’ is basically an oral history, and poor history at that. It is a collection of an old pilot’s tales, recounted without reference to official records. It gives us an evocative glimpse of the character of its author, but it provides few dates (when it does, they are often in error) or hard reliable facts. Nevertheless, some insights can be gleaned from this work, as ably translated by Adam Wait and edited by Norman Franks, and kindly quoted with their permission.

Armee] admitted to Stofl 5 and the Feldflugchef that the aerial protection of Metz was definitely insufficient. After all, combat aircraft had been retained to protect other cities of only indirect military significance in the interior [such as Trier and Cologne, which were only rarely or never attacked by enemy aircraft], while – during good flying weather – the Festung Metz, standing so near the enemy, was attacked daily. ‘It was proposed by the Governor of Metz, von Oven, that half a Jagdstaffel would be transferred to Metz.

He had already received the Iron Cross 2nd Class in August, but in hand-to-hand combat he suffered a broken left shoulder and a wound to the knee. After his recovery he was declared ‘fit for garrison duty’ only, so he began submitting petitions for a transfer to the air service. At the end of November his persistence was rewarded with a transfer to FEA 6 in Grossenhain, Saxony, for pilot training. He moved on to the DFW flight school in Leipzig-Lindenthal in December, and passed the field pilot’s examination after only four weeks – earning him an extra four-week leave.

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