Monday, April 10, 2017

Hans-Joachim Buddecke

At the age of 14, Buddecke followed his father's footsteps into the Army. He started as a Cadet and in 1910, he received his commission as Leutnant. 

Somewhat a free spirit he left the army in 1913 and he moved to America to start a new life. Here, he worked as a mechanic in an automobile factory. His enthusiasm for flying turned into a passion and saving his earnings, he purchased a Nieuport monoplane and taught himself fly. 
His dreams were to start his own business in the aviation field but when war was declared he returned to Germany and immediately joined the German Flying Service.
When Buddecke first arrived at the Western Front in September 1914 and flew as an observer but because of his previous civilian experience on monoplanes he was transferred to a single-seater fighter pilot with FFA 23.

It was soon apparent that Buddecke was a natural pilot and gained the respect of those around him. When the first Fokker Eindecker aircraft delivered at the unit. His good friend, Rudolph Berthold, suggested that he should fly the first Eindecker and the two of them, Buddecke and Berthold, flying the Eindecker and an AEG G.II, respectively, formed a small Kampfstaffel (fighter squadron) within the unit, intercepting British reconnaissance aircraft.

Buddecke scored his and the new unit's first victory on 19 September 1915 and followed this up with confirmed claims on 23 October and 11 November and an unconfirmed victory on 6 December 1915.

He was then sent to Gallipoli to fly the Halberstadt D.II and Fokker E.III with Ottoman FA 6 against the Royal Naval Air Service. The Turkish campaign was successful, with four confirmed victories and seven unconfirmed.
He was recalled to the Western Front in late August 1916 as leader of the newly formed Royal Prussian Jagdstaffel 4. During September he had three more victories bringing his total to 13 confirmed.
He once again was sent back to Turkey to fly with Ottoman FA 5, here he spent most of 1917.

Early 1918 saw him back in France and on March 10 he fell victim to Sopwith Camels of 3 Naval Squadron RNAS and was killed during an aerial combat above Lens, France on 10 March 1918.

Buddecke saw combat in three theaters during the war: Bulgaria, Turkey, and the Western Front and was the third German ace to earn the Pour le Méritein (Blue Max). 

Related image

He is officially credited with thirteen victories but historians estimate that figure is well below actual victories. In the early days of the war no records were kept of aircraft destroyed and records from the Ottoman campaigns are it question.


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