Airpower in the colonies

Discussions on all aspects of the German Colonies and Overseas Expeditions. Hosted by Chris Dale.
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Chris Dale
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Post by Chris Dale » 19 Aug 2007 19:32

Hi CJ,
In "Escape from England" by Gunther Plüschow (published in English byRipping Yarns) he mentions shooting down a Japanese planes very briefly-

"Next time I was more careful. And on sighting one of my enemy coleagues I followed and shot him down with my Parabellum pistol, after firing thirty times."

He also mentions an Austrian pilot there very briefly-

"My friend, Clobuzar, an Austrian ex-aviator- who now served on the Kaiserin Elisabet (sic) - once said to me: "Do you call this an areodrome? It is at best a children's playground."

The website http://www.tsingtau.info/ spells his name differently-

"Klobucar, von, Viktor
*1878, +28.06.1965 Zagreb
08.1914 Linienschiffsleutnant auf k.u.k. Kreuzer "Kaiserin Elisabeth";
11.1914 gefangen im Lager Kumamoto (Gef.-Nr. 3474, Heimatort: Susak bei Fiume), 09.06.1915 im Lager Kurume, 08.1918 im Lager Aonogahara, 12.1919 entlassen"

He is also mentioned on Glenn's excellent website here-
http://www.austro-hungarian-army.co.uk/ ... eflug.html

Hope that helps.
Cheers
Chris

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Chris Dale
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Post by Chris Dale » 21 Nov 2007 15:26

Here's a quick summary of the German aircraft in the colonies as far as I've been able to deduce...
Cheers
Chris


German East Africa
A civilian pilot, Bruno Brüchner, was the first pilot to fly in German Africa. He was sponsored by a confectionary company, Rudolf Hertzog, so take part in various air shows in Africa with an AGO pusher Biplane made by Pfalz. He first stopped off in German South West Africa in May 1914 to fly several displays, then travelled to German East Africa to fly shows there but the events were cancelled by the outbreak of the First World War. In August 1914 he and his mechanic and the biplane were incorporated into the Schutztruppe. During one of the first reconnaissance missions over the Northern coastline of German East Africa Brüchner was shot down by a British gunboat. He managed to land on the coast but was badly injured and the plane severely damaged. Both were out of action. The plane was repaired at Dar-Es-Salaam and Brüchner's place was taken by Oberleutnant Erich Henneberger, a Schutztruppe officer who had previously passed his pilot's test in Germany. Before he saw action he crashed during a test flight and was killed. His observer, Leutnant der Reserve von Gusmann, was badly injured and the plane again was wrecked. This time the plane was rebuilt on floats as a seaplane to assist the SMS Königsberg in time for Brüchner's recovery from his injuries. Soon however, petrol supplies ran low and the plane was dismantled.

German South West Africa
When Brüchner sallied to German South West Africa, two other pilots were onboard the same ship sent to form a new Schutztruppe air force. One was Leutnant Alexander von Scheele, an army pilot who was appointed to command the new Schutztruppe air force, the other was Willy Trück, an Aviatik factory pilot. A third pilot, the Austro-Hungarian, Paul Fiedler, joined them shortly after. They had two aeroplanes between them, an Aviatik and a Roland, both biplanes. Trück and Fiedler initially performed test flights on the aircraft under the supervision of Scheele and it was reported that neither aircraft was particularly fit for flight in the the climate of South West Africa. Before the aeroplanes could be replaced however, war broke out and they were pressed into service. Von Scheele now took over the role of piloting the Aviatik from Trück, while Fiedler flew the Roland. Both pilots flew many sorties over South African lines during the campaign, gaining valuable information on enemy troop movements (Fiedler was also a keen and useful photographer) and dropping bombs on enemy positions. Both pilots were injured and both planes were damaged to various extents throughout the campaign by crashes and enemy gunfire often meaning their grounding for weeks at a time. The last mission was flown by von Scheele in May 1915. The Schutztruppe surrendered in July and both planes were destroyed before falling into enemy hands.

Tsingtao
In July 1914 the imperial navy sent two aeroplanes to the German naval base at Tsingtao. Both aeroplanes were Rumpler Taube monoplanes. The pilots were Gunter Plüschow and Friedrich Müllerskowski. Müllerskowski was badly injured and his aeroplane wrecked in a test flight in July 1914 leaving Plüschow as the only active pilot with an aeroplane in Tsingtao when war broke out. During the siege he ran spotting missions over the Japanese lines and claimed to have shot down a Japanese aeroplane with his pistol. When the garrison surrendered and went into captivity he was ordered to escape by flying his aeroplane into China, where he crash landed and started an epic journey back to Germany.

Cameroon
Two aeroplanes, a Rumpler Taube monoplane and a Jeannin monoplane were sent to the Schutztruppe in Cameroon during 1914. They arrived just before the outbreak of war and were still unassembled in their packing crates when they were captured by British troops. The airfield to which they had not yet been delivered was being built at Garua in the North of the colony by Hans Surén, a Schutztruppe officer who had previously passed his pilot's test in Germany. The captured aeroplanes were sent, still cased, to assist the newly formed South African air force but did not see action.

....and here's some information on the flyers, if you have any more details on these pilots please let me know, for example if you can fill in any of the missing dates of birth/death....

Bruno Brüchner (1881-1948) was born in Ebersach, Saxony. He gained his pilot's licence (No. 53) in 1911. He was a civilian pilot who sailed with his wife to Africa to perform flying displays for the National Exhibitions in Windhoek and Dar-Es-Salaam. When the war broke out he offered his services to the Schutztruppe of German East Africa (as described above). Brüchner and his wife were interned by the British in East Africa during the war where he suffered from malaria. After the war he returned to Germany where he bought land on the Obersalzberg Mountain including Berchtesgaden, until Adolf Hitler acquired it from him in 1938.

Leutnant Alexander von Scheele (18__-1939) was an army officer who passed his pilot's test (No. 169) in 1912. In 1914 he was appointed to command the new Schutztruppe air force. He flew many combat and reconnaissance missions over South African lines during the war in an Aviatik biplane (see above). In May 1915 he was injured in a crash and did not recover to fly again before the end of the campaign. He was kept as a prisoner of war at Okahandja until the end of the war. He initially emigrated to Argentina before returning to Germany to join the Luftwaffe where he attained the rank of Oberst. He was killed while flying as a passenger in an air accident in Spain shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War.

Leutnant Paul Fiedler (18__-1955) joined the Austro-Hungarian army in 1903. He was promoted to the rank of Leutnant der Reserve in 1909 and retired into civilian life. In 1910 he passed his pilot's licence (No. 19 in the Austro-Hungarian system). He sailed to German South West Africa to fly test flights for the early Schutztruppe air force. In August 1914 he was conscripted into the Schutztruppe with the rank of Leutnant. He flew many combat and reconnaissance missions over South African lines during the war In a Roland biplane (see above). After the surrender of German South West Africa, Trück along with other non-regular members of the Schutztruppe gave his word not to take up arms against the Entente and was released on parole. Following the war he briefly returned to Austria, then again to South West Africa where he managed a farm until 1926 when he again returned to Europe.

Willy Trück, (1889?-1981) was an Aviatik factory pilot, He sailed to German South West Africa to fly test flights in the Aviatik aircraft for the early Schutztruppe air force. In August 1914 he was conscripted into the Schutztruppe, although von Scheele took over the piloting of the Aviatik in wartime. After the surrender of German South West Africa, Trück along with other non-regular members of the Schutztruppe gave his word not to take up arms against the Entente and was released on parole. Following the war Trück stayed on in South West Africa as a businessman, pilot and farmer. He died in Cape Town in 1981.

Leutnant zur See Gunther Plüschow (1886-1931) - nick-named the "Dragon Pilot" due to a tattoo of a dragon on his left arm- was a naval officer who passed his pilot's test after only three days of flying in February 1914. He was sent straight to Tsingtao with his aeroplane arriving in July. When war broke out he was the only German airman available for active duty in Tsingtao. During the siege he ran spotting missions in a Rumpler Taube over the Japanese lines and claimed to have shot down a Japanese aeroplane with his pistol. When the garrison surrendered and went into captivity he was ordered to escape by flying his aeroplane into China, where he crash landed and started an epic journey back to Germany. When the garrison surrendered and went into captivity he escaped and made his way back to Germany via China, Japan, America and Gibraltar where he was briefly captured by the British and taken to England, only to escape once more and make his way back to Germany via Holland. He was the only German prisoner to escape from a British mainland POW camp during either World War. He also wrote several books including one on his experiences in China and his journey back to Germany called "Escape from England" (published by Ripping Yarns). After the war he explored uncharted areas of Chile and Patagonia where he died in a flying accident in 1931.

Oberleutnant Erich Henneberger (18....-1914) became an army officer in 1907, originally with the rank of Leutnant. After passing his pilot's test he was transferred to the East African Schutztruppe in June 1914. When Bruno Brüchner was recovering from wounds received when shot down by a British gunboat, Henneberger took his place as German East Africa's only pilot. However, before he saw action, he crashed and was killed during a test flight in November 1914.

Leutnant der Reserve Wilhelm Gutzmer von Gusmann (18__-1917) was Henneberger's observer, He was injured in Henneberger's fatal crash in 1914 but later made a full recovery in hospital. He then fought with the Schutztruppe until he died of wounds received at the Battle of Mahenge in June 1917.

Leutnant Friedrich Müllerskowski (1886-19__) joined the German infantry in 1907 and transferred to the Seebatallion in 1912. He passed his pilot's test in Germany before being posted out to Tsingtao where he was badly injured in a test flight days before the outbreak of war. He thus did not see active service during the siege of Tsingtao, being relased from hospital only shortly before the German surrender. For the remainder of the war he was held as a prisoner of war in Japan at the Kumamoto and Kurume camps and returned to Germany in 1919 where he rejoined the army. In 1920 he retired with the rank of Major.

Linienschiffsleutnant Viktor Klobucar (1878-1965) of the Austro-Hungarian imperial and royal navy passed his pilot's test in 1913. In 1914 he was an officer on the SMS Kaiserin Elisabeth at Tsingtao and became good friends with Gunther Plüschow . Although he was not posted in this role as a pilot, nor did he have an aeroplane at Tsingtao, he is included on this list simply as another potential pilot in the German colonies. He fought at the siege of Tsingtao and was captured by the Japanese. He spent the rest of the war in the Japanese prisoner of war camps at Kumamoto, Kurume and Aonogahara before being released in 1919. He died in Zagreb in 1965.

Leutnant Hans Surén (1885-1972) earned his commission as a Leutnant in the imperial German army in 1905. He passed his pilot's test in 1912 and the following year was posted to the Cameroon Schutztruppe. In 1914 he was ordered to prepare an airfield at Garua in the North of the colony and was presumably intended to pilot one of the aeroplanes sent from Germany. Surén never flew in Cameroon as the aeroplanes never arrived at his airfield, they both having been captured by the British while en route. After the war he wrote books extolling the values of a healthy sporting life, nude bathing and aryan supremacy. Although Hitler was an admirer of his books, Surén spent the last years of Nazi rule in prison having fallen foul of the regime.

Hauptmann Eugen Kirch (.....) earned his commission as a Leutnant in the German 28th Infantry Regiment (2nd Rhineland) in 1895. He served in the Cameroon Schutztruppe in 1912 and on his return to Germany in 1913 passed his pilot's test. He was one of the pilots designated to fly the aeroplanes sent to Cameroon in 1914 but war broke out before he set sail, thus leaving him stranded in Germany. During the First World War he served in the 3rd Flying Battalion (3. Flieger-Batallion) and later commanded the 4th Flying Battalion on the Western Front.

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 28 Nov 2007 14:51


Utrecht
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Post by Utrecht » 28 Nov 2007 19:19

Thanks for the interesting input guys!

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Gregorus
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Re: Airpower in the colonies

Post by Gregorus » 23 Feb 2009 18:43

Deutsch Ostafrika

Otto type B

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Dicere est argentym, tacere aurum

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Re: Airpower in the colonies

Post by Bwana Tucke -Tucke » 20 Jul 2010 00:47

the most comprehensive book about the German airplanes in the colonies is: Seifert, Karl-Dieter: Deutsche Flieger über den Kolonien, ISBN 978-3-86619-019-1 Publisher VDM Hein Nickel vdm_nickel@t-online.de 136 pages 58 pictures an 12 documents
Best Wishes from Windhoek
Carsten Möhle

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Chris Dale
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Re: Airpower in the colonies

Post by Chris Dale » 27 Jul 2010 22:24

Hi Carsten,

Thanks for the recommendation, I've just ordered it...

Cheers
Chris

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Chris Dale
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Re: Airpower in the colonies

Post by Chris Dale » 04 Aug 2010 22:48

The book "Deutsche Flieger in den Kolonien" has arrived very quickly. Lots of good information and photos. Mostly photos I'd seen before but printed with much better detail.

Here's something I noticed.... see in the photos that Gregorius posted from Wiki Commons of the Otto pusher in DOA... it's the same plane in all the photos. After an early crash it was re-built as a seaplane with floats. Also notice the front bow of the fuselage has been rebuilt in a less pointed shape... that's a lot of work they're doing on it. I can't imagine someone rebuilding the fuselage of a modern plane in a shack in Africa and getting it to fly again!

Cheers
Chris

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danebrog
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Re: Airpower in the colonies

Post by danebrog » 05 Aug 2010 11:46

Hello Chris

Bruno Buechner, who piloted the plane was an exerienced airplane builder, especially Flotplanes.
Before war he was also a famous air-racer in germany with his own planes
BTW he was the first teacher of Anthony Fokker, although Fokker mentioned at this time he hadn´t as much experience as himself

The reconstruct bears the all signs of Buechners former planes: the nacelle, the floaters and also the rebuild Wings with 4 struts instead of the former three

http://www.fokkerf27.nl/index.php?option ... view&id=17&Itemid=53&lang=en
http://www.theaerodrome.com/forum/aircr ... #post14465
http://www.theaerodrome.com/forum/aircr ... ane-2.html

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Chris Dale
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Re: Airpower in the colonies

Post by Chris Dale » 05 Aug 2010 12:27

Hi Danebrog,

Thanks for the clarification and those links. Good to hear he was a friend of Fokker's. I guess the early flyers were a bit of a clique and many of them knew each other...

Here's something else odd that I noticed... I wonder if anyone can help me here? There are online lists of the 817 pilots who passed their flying exam in Germany before the outbreak of war. See here- http://www.frontflieger.de/3-alteadler.html

They include most of the pilots in the colonies but some pilots such as Plueschow, Henneberger and Eugen Kirch don't appear on the lists, despite wearing pilot's badges in pre-war photos. Any clues as to why they're not on the list?

Cheers
Chris

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Re: Airpower in the colonies

Post by Regenzeit » 27 Jan 2015 21:15

Two planes were used by the Germans in German Southwest-Africa during WWI. One Aviatic and one Roland Biplane. They were mainly used for reconnaissance purposes, but on various occasions also dropped improvised bombs (made from Artillery-grenades) or even Gewehrgranaten (Rifle-grenades?) You will find lengthy articles as well as photos about it in the newly released book:
"Der 1. Weltkrieg in Deutsch-Südwestafrika 1914/15" Volume 3, Kämpfe im Süden"; sold at Militariaverlag Weber: office@militariafachbuch.de, as well as at Namibiana Buchdepot: buchdepot@namibiana.de

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