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Name: Heinrich Gontermann Balloon-Buster
Orden Pour le Mérite (Blue Max)
Knight's Cross of the Royal House Order of Hohenzollern
Knight's Cross of the Military Order of Max-Joseph
Iron Cross 1st class
Heinrich Gontermann
Country: Germany
Rank: Leutnant
Units: FA 25
Jasta 5, 15
Kampfstaffel Tergnier
Victories: 39
Born: 25 February 1896
Place of Birth: Siegen, Southern Westphalia
Died: 30 October 1917 Killed In Flying Accident
Place of Death: La Neuville, near Marle
 
 
   The son of a cavalry officer, Heinrich Gontermann joined the 6th Uhlan Cavalry Regiment in August 1914. Serving at the Front, he was wounded in action in September 1914. He was promoted to Leutnant in the spring of 1915 and awarded the Iron Cross, second class. Having been transferred to the 80th Fusilier Regiment in October 1915, Gontermann's application for transfer to the air service was accepted and he completed pilot training in early 1916. After flying the Roland C.II with Kampfstaffel Tergnier and the AGO C.I with FA 25, he was sent to Jastaschule, graduating on 11 November 1916. Posted to Jasta 5, he scored his first victory on 14 November 1916. On 5 March 1917 he was awarded the Iron Cross, first class. By the end of April 1917 he had downed 17 enemy aircraft and was made Staffelführer of Jasta 15. With this unit he bagged 22 more victories. On 30 October 1917, while testing a new Fokker DR.I (115/17), Gontermann was fatally injured in a crash when the upper wing failed.
   Prior to his death, Gontermann scored 18 victories against Allied balloons. On the evening of 19 August 1917 he shot down four of them in three minutes.
 
Victories
Date Time Unit Aircraft Opponent Location
1 14 Nov 1916 1630 Jasta 5   F.E.2b Morval
2 06 Mar 1917 1315 Jasta 5   F.E.2b S of Mory
3 11 Mar 1917 1245 Jasta 5   F.E.2b S of Bapaume
4 17 Mar 1917 1430 Jasta 5   F.E.2b St. Pierre
5 24 Mar 1917 0855 Jasta 5   Sopwith 1½ Strutter Oisy-le-Verge
6 25 Mar 1917 0925 Jasta 5   Sopwith 1½ Strutter Haplincourt
7 06 Apr 1917 0815 Jasta 5   F.E.2b Neuville
8 08 Apr 1917 Jasta 5   Balloon W of St. Quentin
9 13 Apr 1917 0905 Jasta 5   F.E.2d Vitry
10 13 Apr 1917 1940 Jasta 5   Balloon SE of St. Quentin
11 14 Apr 1917 Jasta 5   B.E.2c Metz-en-Couture
12 16 Apr 1917 1650 Jasta 5   Balloon Manancourt
13 16 Apr 1917 1700 Jasta 5   Balloon Manancourt
14 22 Apr 1917 0930 Jasta 5   Balloon Arras
u/c 22 Apr 1917 Jasta 5   Balloon Arras
15 23 Apr 1917 1925 Jasta 5   R.E.8 SE of Arras
16 24 Apr 1917 0900 Jasta 5   Sopwith Triplane (N5467) Bailleul
17 26 Apr 1917 1150 Jasta 5   Balloon Near Arras
18 04 May 1917 Jasta 15   SPAD SE of Caronne
19 10 May 1917 1230 Jasta 15   SPAD Berry-au-Bac
20 10 May 1917 1820 Jasta 15   Caudron R.4 Berry-au-Bac
21 11 May 1917 1030 Jasta 15   SPAD Berry-au-Bac
22 24 Jun 1917 1515 Jasta 15   Balloon Pontavert
23 27 Jun 1917 1200 Jasta 15   Balloon SE of Reims
24 16 Jul 1917 1400 Jasta 15   Balloon S of Reims
25 24 Jul 1917 0945 Jasta 15   SPAD Staudecken
26 05 Aug 1917 1940 Jasta 15   Nieuport SW of Staudecken
27 09 Aug 1917 Jasta 15   Balloon Foret de Hesse
28 09 Aug 1917 Jasta 15   Balloon Foret de Hesse
29 17 Aug 1917 1205 Jasta 15   Balloon Aisne
30 17 Aug 1917 1205 Jasta 15   Balloon Aisne
31 19 Aug 1917 1040 Jasta 15   SPAD SW of Jouy
32 19 Aug 1917 1923 Jasta 15   Balloon S of Aisne-Tal
33 19 Aug 1917 1924 Jasta 15   Balloon S of Aisne-Tal
34 19 Aug 1917 1925 Jasta 15   Balloon S of Aisne-Tal
35 19 Aug 1917 1926 Jasta 15   Balloon S of Aisne-Tal
36 15 Sep 1917 0720 Jasta 15   Caudron Cerny
37 30 Sep 1917 1145 Jasta 15   SPAD Staudecken
38 30 Sep 1917 1250 Jasta 15   Caudron R.11 NE of La Fère
39 02 Oct 1917 1335 Jasta 15   SPAD Laon
 
Books
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
 
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