Aces of Jagdstaffel 17 by Greg VanWyngarden

By Greg VanWyngarden

Initially shaped to aid within the defence of town of Metz opposed to French bombing raids, Royal Prussian Jagdstaffel 17 could move directly to turn into probably the most distinguish German fighter devices of worldwide warfare 1. Its first victory was once scored by means of the pilot whose tale is inextricably interwoven with that of his unit - the 'Blue Max' recipient Julius Buckler. He used to be principally chargeable for inspiring the unit's specific Esprit de Corps, expressed in its recognized and designated 'battle-cry' of 'Malaula!' certainly, in its ultimate days the unit won the nickname Zirkus Buckler, or the 'Buckler Circus'. in addition to Buckler, Jasta 17 boasted such aces as Karl Strasser, Alfred Fleischer and Christian Donhauser. moreover, the roster integrated vibrant characters just like the profitable Jewish airman Jakob Wolff, who at over forty eight years of age was once the oldest German fighter pilot of the warfare. the tale of this illustrious unit is instructed with many first-hand debts by means of Buckler, Fleischer and others, in addition as...

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5 hours flying time, and took part in 15 aerial combats. However, few had much experience in aerial combat, and it was a steep learning curve for all. With his usual self-deprecating humour, Buckler recalled, ‘In the time from 11 November up to 24 December 1916, I imagined that I’d fought the most ferocious air combats ever because I was using the most ammunition in the Staffel. ’ It was in one of these ‘ferocious air combats’, however, that Buckler achieved the honour of claiming Jasta 17’s first undisputed aerial victory on 17 December; Ltn d R Heinz Sachsenberg, seen here at Metz-Frescaty, was posted to Jasta 17 from AFP 1 on 9 December 1916.

Here, a Jasta 17 Albatros D III has collided with a Roland D II ‘Haifisch’, destroying both machines in the process Jasta 17’s activity slackened off a little in March, with 97 hours recorded in just 75 flights, resulting in 11 combats. On 11 March Vzfw Rieger claimed to have destroyed a Nieuport near Cormicy, and this was confirmed in Nachrichtenblatt Nr 7 (although some modern sources mark it as unconfirmed). Buckler had a lack of success on the 21st when he attacked a Nieuport without confirmation.

Wolff claimed to have shot down a Caudron in this aeroplane on 16 August 1916 but its demise was not confirmed (N W O’Connor) The Kampfstaffel Metz pilots assembled for a group photograph, circa September 1916. They are, from left to right, Vzfw Jakob Wolff, Vzfw Eduard Ey, Offz Stv Neumann, Ltn Hermann Göring, unknown, Oblt Stefan Kirmaier, Hptm Kurt Schmickaly (the unit CO, with cigar), Ltn Georg Zeumer and Offz Stv Kern. Zeumer is famous for having been Manfred von Richthofen’s pilot when the latter flew as an observer in FFA 69.

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