Monday, July 17, 2017

Austrian Ace, Hauptmann Raoul Stojsavljevic

Raoul was born July 29th, 1887 in Innsbruck, Austria. He attended a military middle school and following his graduation from the Military Academy at Wiener-Neustadt he was commissioned as a Leutnant. In April 1913 he started flying training at Wiener-Neustadt from which he was awarded an Austrian pilot certificate on July 2nd the same year. He would also be promoted to Oberleutnant in the same year.
On mobilisation in 1914, his squadron - Fliegerkompanie (FliK) 1 was assigned to the Northeastern front in Galicia. He flew numerous reconnaissance sorties with Flik 1 before being transferred to Flik 13 as deputy company commander and senior pilot at the end of November 1914.

In February 1915, while piloting a two-seater on his 49th operational sortie, accompanied by observer Leutnant Johannes Reichel he was compelled to execute an emergency landing in a snow storm behind enemy lines. Captured by the Russians they spent six days in captivity before managing to escape. They spent the next two months dodging the Russians before finally repatriating themselves.

Following Italy's entry into the war in May and the opening of the Southwestern front, he was transferred to the South Tyrol based Flik 17 followed by his promotion to Hauptmann.

On September 1st, 1915 he was appointed as company commander of Flik 16 at Villach, Austria where he would lead the company in its primary mission of providing reconnaissance sorties in support of the Austro-Hungarian forces defending the Carinthian border sector of the front. 
At Flik 16, Raoul gained his first four aerial victories in two-seat aircraft and on February 13th,1917 he became an ace after shooting down a Farman two-seater.

Raoul pioneered the art of high speed photographic reconnaissance and at the same time, doubled his existing score to ten confirmed victories, his last being November 21st, 1917.

The following January he was severely wounded during the execution of a reconnaissance sortie while flying a Hansa-Brandenburg C1 fighter in which an enemy round shattered a thigh bone. He successfully managed to land his badly shot up aircraft, behind friendly lines.
Following surgery and recuperation he returned to duty in October 1918 and was assigned as commander of the officers' flying school at Wiener-Neustadt where he remained until the end of the war. 

Among Hauptmann Raoul Stojsavljevic's awards were;

Prussian Iron Cross 1st and 2nd class, from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, The Knight's Cross of the Order of Leopold, Order of the Iron Crown, Military Merit Cross and The Golden Bravery Medal

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