When gathering matherials for thread under same title on 777 forums, I often come across facts that are interesting to fans of Jasta Boelcke or JG1, but too detailed for "general" WW1 aviation. I keep the copy of this thread on J2 forums to cover all the details like changes of leaders, bios of pilots most people never heard of etc, that would bore most people of 777 forums - and I have quite a lot on JG1 that's not suitable for that forum, too.
So, I propose a thread dedicated to history of JG1, and squadrons that made it, posted 100 years after it unfurled. Please get rid of if you don't like the idea .
And, of course, please contibute! I never wanted to run such a thread by myself, let alone three, more to initiate it and see it grow. I propose to keep stuff important to JG1 here and move stuff interesting to everyone to 777 forums.
Ekhm. 100 year ago, future JG1 founder, Manfred von Richthoffen, started making name for himself...
Day after death of Stefan Kirmaier, MvR was top scoring pilot of Jasta 2, and one of three ten-victories aces competing for position of third best living German pilot. Next day, he moved firmly to third place with his 11th victory, after 15 victories Jewish-German pilot Wilhelm Frankl (of Jasta 4, so I will write of him more),and 12 victories Walter Höhndorf (who at this time was either in Jasta 1 or already in Jasta 4, but wasn't scoring anymore). More importantly, he gained recognition by shooting down the father of RFC fighter force. This was a stepping stone of MvRs career, which eventually led to him forming JG1.
To say that Hawker was a legend among RFC would be understatement. He left his footprint on many aspects of pilots craft; spin recovery techniques, design of service boots suitable for flying, design of gunsights and ammo drums - the man was very involved, dedicated, and succesful at improving the lot and the efficiency of RFC pilots. His aggressive doctrine, summarised in his "attack everything" order, wasn'texactly Dicta Boelcke, but he brought much needed attitude to the fledgeling RFC fighters. He was given Victoria Cross for downing three enemy planes in one sortie, using unsynchronised gun shooting sideways at angle.
So, 100 years ago, Hawker went on patrol with Captain Andrews, who was one of two pilots who killed Kirmaier day ago. Hawker at the moment was a squadron CO, and officially not flying; he attached himself to the flights to work on leadership of his officers. Their patrol spotted flight of five Jasta 2 Albatrosen. They set off to climb for altitude, and in climb, engines of two wingmen failed, forcing them to RTB. Andrews and Hawker dived on five Germans anyway, which avoided the attack and initiated a turn fight. Quickly, Andrews was hit in the engine and had to glide for home, while Harker went for Albatros piloted by Manfred von Richthofen. The rest is history.
My Englishman was a good sportsman, but by and by the thing became a little too hot for him. He had to decide whether he would land on German ground or whether he would fly back to the English lines. Of course he tried the latter, after having endeavored in vain to escape me by loopings and such like tricks. At that time his first bullets were flying around me, for hitherto neither of us had been able to do any shooting.
When he had come down to about three hundred feet he tried to escape by flying in a zig-zag course during which, as is well known, it is difficult for an observer to shoot. That was my most favorable moment. I followed him at an altitude of from two hun-
dred and fifty feet to one hundred and fifty feet, firing all the time. The Englishman could not help falling. But the jamming of my gun nearly robbed me of my success.
My opponent fell, shot through the head, one hundred and fifty feet behind our line. His machine gun was dug out of the ground and it ornaments the entrance of my dwelling.
Without a flying leader (Jasta 2 was led by its not-flying adjutant, Karl Bodenchatz, who was also JG1 adjutant through its existence so we'll hear more of him), the strong-willed, ten-victories MvR was likely best choice to lead patrols in the air. Bagging Hawker must have only helped other pilots look up to him. In next month, Leutnant von Richthofen was turning from one of Bloelckes students then one of best wingmen in the Staffel, into independent leader capable of taking over Jasta 11.