The Aerodrome Home Page
Aces of WWI
Aircraft of WWI
Books and Videos
The Aerodrome Forum
Sign the Guestbook
Help
WWI Web Sites
Medals & Decorations
The Aerodrome News
Search The Aerodrome
Today in History




Name: Oswald Boelcke
Orden Pour le Mérite (Blue Max)
Iron Cross 1st and 2nd class
Oswald Boelcke
Country: Germany
Rank: Hauptmann
Units: Jasta 2
Victories: 40
Born: 19 May 1891
Place of Birth: Giebichenstein; near Halle, Saxony
Died: 28 October 1916 Killed In Action
Place of Death: Near Douai, France
Cemetery: Ehrenfriedhof (Cemetery of Honor), Dessau
 
 
In 1915, Boelcke was the pilot chosen to test Anthony Fokker's new machine gun synchronizing device. It was a great success and Boelcke used the new invention to become the first German ace. He and Max Immelmann were awarded the Orden Pour le Mérite on 12 January 1916. They were the first two pilots to receive Prussia's highest award for bravery. By the summer of the same year, Immelmann had been killed and Boelcke, promoted to Hauptmann on 22 May 1916, was Germany's leading ace. Author of the "Dicta Boelcke," he developed rules for air combat, many of which remain relevant today. While flying an infantry support mission, Boelcke's Albatros D.II briefly collided with that of Erwin Böhme. Böhme survived but Boelcke was killed.
"I fly close to my man, aim well and then of course he falls down." Oswald Boelcke1

"Whatever Boelcke told us was taken as Gospel!" Manfred von Richthofen

"I will be like Boelcke." German pilots' motto

1 Robert L. Shaw, Fighter Combat: Tactics and Maneuvering (Annapolis: United States Naval Institute, 1985) 62.
 
Dicta Boelcke
1. Always try to secure an advantageous position before attacking. Climb before and during the approach in order to surprise the enemy from above, and dive on him swiftly from the rear when the moment to attack is at hand.
2. Try to place yourself between the sun and the enemy. This puts the glare of the sun in the enemy's eyes and makes it difficult to see you and impossible for him to shoot with any accuracy.
3. Do not fire the machine guns until the enemy is within range and you have him squarely within your sights.
4. Attack when the enemy least expects it or when he is preoccupied with other duties such as observation, photography or bombing.
5. Never turn your back and try to run away from an enemy fighter. If you are surprised by an attack on your tail, turn and face the enemy with your guns.
6. Keep your eye on the enemy and do not let him deceive you with tricks. If your opponent appears damaged, follow him down until he crashes to be sure he is not faking.
7. Foolish acts of bravery only bring death. The Jasta must fight as a unit with close teamwork between all pilots. The signal of its leaders must be obeyed.
 
Opponents
#34 Patrick Langan-ByrneEngland
 
Victories
Date Time Unit Aircraft Opponent Location
1 04 Jul 1915 FA 62   Morane Parasol Valenciennes
2 19 Aug 1915 p.m. FA 62   Bristol Biplane Front lines
3 09 Sep 1915 p.m. FA 62   Morane two-seater French lines
4 25 Sep 1915 FA 62   Voisin -or- Farman Pont-a-Mousson
5 16 Oct 1915 a.m. FA 62   Voisin B.I St. Souplet
6 30 Oct 1915 a.m. FA 62   Two-seater French Tahure
7 05 Jan 1916 FA 62   B.E.2c (1734) Harnes
8 12 Jan 1916 a.m. FA 62   R.E.7 (2287) NE of Tourcoing
9 14 Jan 1916 abt 1015 FA 62   B.E.2c (4087) Near Flers
10 12 Mar 1916 1130 FA 62   Farman E of Mare
11 13 Mar 1916 1300 FA 62   Voisin Malincourt
12 19 Mar 1916 1300 FA 62   Farman Cuissy
13 21 Mar 1916 1115 FA 62   Farman Fossers Wood
14 28 Apr 1916 a.m. FA 62   Caudron Near Vaux
15 01 May 1916 p.m. FA 62   Biplane French French lines
16 18 May 1916 p.m. FA 62   Caudron two-engine Near Ripont
17 21 May 1916 a.m. FA 62   Nieuport Morte Homme
18 21 May 1916 p.m. FA 62   Nieuport Boisse-de-Hesse
19 27 Jun 1916 p.m. FA 62   Nieuport Douaumont
20 02 Sep 1916 1915 Jasta 2   D.H.2 (7895) NE of Thiepval
21 08 Sep 1916 1825 Jasta 2   F.E.2b (4921) Flers
22 09 Sep 1916 1840 Jasta 2   D.H.2 (7842) Thiepval, SW of Bapaume
23 14 Sep 1916 0915 Jasta 2   Sopwith 1½ Strutter (A987) Morval
24 14 Sep 1916 1010 Jasta 2   D.H.2 (7873) Driencourt
25 15 Sep 1916 0800 Jasta 2   Sopwith 1½ Strutter (A895) Hesbecourt
26 15 Sep 1916 0815 Jasta 2   Sopwith 1½ Strutter (A1903) Eterpigny
27 17 Sep 1916 1135 Jasta 2   F.E.2b (7019) Equancourt
28 19 Sep 1916 1930 Jasta 2   Morane 1 (A204) Grevillerswald
29 27 Sep 1916 abt 1000 Jasta 2   Martinsyde G.100 (A1568) Ervillers
30 01 Oct 1916 Jasta 2   Scout NW of Flers
31 07 Oct 1916 Jasta 2   Nieuport 12 Morval
32 10 Oct 1916 p.m. Jasta 2   F.E.2b Morval
33 16 Oct 1916 1420 Jasta 2   B.E.2d (6745) Hébuterne
34 16 Oct 1916 1745 Jasta 2   D.H.2 (A2542) N of Beaulencourt
35 17 Oct 1916 1210 Jasta 2   F.E.2b W of Bullecourt
36 20 Oct 1916 1030 Jasta 2   F.E.2b (7674) W of Agny
37 22 Oct 1916 1150 Jasta 2   Sopwith 1½ Strutter Grevillers Wood
38 22 Oct 1916 1540 Jasta 2   B.E.12 (6654) SW of Bapaume
39 25 Oct 1916 1210 Jasta 2   B.E.2c (5831) Puisieux-au-Mont
40 26 Oct 1916 1645 Jasta 2 Albatros D.II (386/16) B.E.2c SW of Serre
 
Books
Franks, Norman, Frank Bailey and Russell Guest. Above the Lines: A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces of the German Air Service, Naval Air Service and Flanders Marine Corps, 1914-1918. London: Grub Street, 1993

Treadwell, Terry C. and Alan C. Wood. German Knights of the Air 1914-1918: The Holders of the Orden Pour le Mérite. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1998
 
Aces · Aircraft · Books · Forum · Guests · Help · Links · Medals · News · Search · Today