Hans Kirschstein served with the 3rd Pioneer Battalion in Poland, France and Macedonia where he contracted malaria in 1915. In February 1916 he transferred to the air service and was sent to flying school in May. Upon graduating he was posted to FA 19 where he was awarded the Iron Cross, second class, for bombing Dover, England. In 1917 Kirschstein served with FA 256 and FA 3. He attended Jastaschule in February 1918 and was posted to Jasta 6 on 13 March 1918. With this unit he earned the Iron Cross, first class, and the Knight's Cross with Swords of the Royal House Order of Hohenzollern. Having scored 24 victories, he assumed command of Jasta 6 on 10 June 1918. After downing three more enemy aircraft, bringing his total to 27, he was awarded the Blue Max on 24 June 1918. Soon afterwards, Kirschstein was killed in a crash on a return flight from Fismes in a Hannover CL.II piloted by Leutnant Johannes Markgraf. A board of inquiry later concluded the crash was the result of pilot error.