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Old 3 May 2005, 01:32 PM   #51 (permalink)
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Lorenz,

that is indeed a very interesting or even sensational information in the SS-files. Nevertheless there is more proof needed because the SS is not the Luftwaffe and not keeping own records about air victories in WWI.

I think nobody will doubt that Hermann Göring himself had the power to order his subordinates to "delete" or reduce a pilots victory score. Despite that I doubt that his men could and would delete or change all the many combat reports, daily and weekly reports or even the printed (!)Nachrichtenblatt of 1917/18 with the intend to reduce a pilots score. With other words: faking is not so easy because it is not enough to change only one victory number. A faker will nearly always make mistakes or forget to erase or change data. So the victories of FB´s units should be checked for "strange phenomena".

As well you should consider also other opportunities. Could you imagine that Göring himself did "increase" your grandfathers score (via phone call or written note to the SS) with the intend to have a better reasoning for his release?
Or did the SS simply mix his name with the name of the dead ace Frankl or another pilot?

Is the source for the oral history (he had xx victories) in the family known? For example: His documents from the war time confirmed XX victories or
he got the "Hohenzollern" because he achieved xx victories.

Did FB himself mention his victory score (confirmed victories, unconfirmed victories, hostile airplanes forced to land behind enemy lines)?
etc.

VBR
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Old 19 May 2005, 12:39 AM   #52 (permalink)
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Beckhardt's Hohenzollern - update

Quote:
Originally Posted by rammjaeger
That all is indeed very interesting, Mike!

O´Connor has also another photograph in this book on page 418 with the following subtitle:
"Above: A replication of the Grossordensschnalle of Vzfw. Fritz Beckhardt: The Iron Cross 2nd Class, the Hessian General Honor Decoration "for Bravery" and the Princely Hohenzollern Silver Merit Medal with Swords."

O´Connor was a serious researcher and would not write that based on assumptions or "a qualified guess" but errors are always possible.
As well FB could have owned the described Medal and also the "Hausorden von Hohenzollern".
Willi Geile produced a book with the title "Die Ritter des königlichen Hausordens von Hohenzollern mit Schwertern im Ersten Weltkrieg" (published by PHV Phaleristischer Verlag Michael Autengruber) - but sadly I am not owning this book.
Therefore I think it is the best if an expert for awards, medals etc. is dealing with the subject and tries to answer your questions.
We can only learn this way.
Hannes:

A discussion of Fritz Beckhardt’s Hohenzollern, (including a photo of it), can now be seen on :
www.wehrmacht-awards.com/forums/showthread.php?t=99881
[“What medal, my grandfather’s, am I describing, exactly?”]

Regards. Mike

Last edited by mikec; 19 May 2005 at 12:46 AM.
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Old 19 May 2005, 02:16 AM   #53 (permalink)
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Fritz Beckhardt's Victory Score.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rammjaeger

Did FB himself mention his victory score (confirmed victories, unconfirmed victories, hostile airplanes forced to land behind enemy lines)?
etc.
Also;

Originally posted by me on 14 February 2005:

Quote:
Unfortunately there still remains in my mind too wide a gap between the public version of Fritz Beckhardt's wartime achievements' and the account related to me by his daughter, for me to be able to agree with "Soderbaum" that, "his WW1 career"[now]"seems well known (except the 2 possible missing victories)". This is however something that I may return to later.


Regarding FB’s victory score, my mother told me that it was - and I quote:
“in the early twenties; twentyone or twentytwo”.
This is as I understand it,what she was told by FB himself. I have no more detailed breakdown of that figure.


I have been reluctant to post the exact number before now. This was because it was so much greater than any existing published figure that it would have been dismissed out of hand as a completely unevidenced fantasy by those with the authority to pronounce on such matters.
However the discovery by Lorenz of the SS file crediting Beckhardt with 17 victories at least makes me more comfortable about publicly stating Beckhardt’s claim about himself.

How to best account for the claim of 17 victories in the document unearthed by Lorenz is something I shall return to shortly. As Hannes' earlier post implied, the choices are in essence that it was either an error , or an untruth or it was generally accurate.
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Old 19 May 2005, 12:11 PM   #54 (permalink)
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he was meaning Flieger-Abteilung 3 (?) flying long range reconnaissance for any A.O.K.4
This is right

BD Belgium near Isegehem
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Old 20 May 2005, 10:14 AM   #55 (permalink)
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Thank you, Mike!

That is all very interesting. You are right - 17 victories in the SS-file and 21 or 22 in the oral history is not so different. Maybe he did have 17 confirmed plus 4, 5 unconfirmed or forced to land or unconfirmed because of EOW.
As well FB´s awards are rather uncommon for a NCO. Successful long range activities could result in high awards but fighter pilots were faster (more often) honoured by the Prussians.

By the way did your mother ever mention an approaching promotion to Leutnant for FB?

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Old 20 May 2005, 11:04 PM   #56 (permalink)
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Thanks for the contribution.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rammjaeger
By the way did your mother ever mention an approaching promotion to Leutnant for FB?

I am aware of some inconsistencies as to his precise rank at the end of the war.
Most concrete is the reference in “German Fighter Aces” [Treadwell and Wood]:

Quote:
The Siemens-Schuckert DIII was now looked upon differently and because of it’s superb climbing ability, was used by Kest 4a,4b,5,6 and 8 as interceptors. It is recorded on one sortie,Oberleutnant Fritz Beckhardt shot down two Breguet B.14s at a height of 23,000 ft whilst they were on a reconnaissance mission, [page 305]**.
Also there’s also another published reference somewhere I’ve come across, [I can’t remember exactly where at the moment], that refers to him as “Leutnant Beckhardt”.

Finally, at his trial in 1936 there is an indirect reference to something that suggests he may have claimed either actual officer status, or at least recommendation for promotion, by the war‘s end.

So in summary, yes it could be true but like so many things the overall picture is confused. As ever any additional info by anyone would be appreciated.
Regards, Mike.
__________________________________________________ ___

** - Also I’d love to know more details of this encounter if anyone has them: when and where the encounter occurred, when and where the details were recorded etc.
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Old 17 June 2005, 05:57 AM   #57 (permalink)
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Question medals

Hi Mike,

will you please check what medals FB was awarded. I do not find him in any of the name lists in this site (see "medals"), but I know for shure that we have several medals, at least the iron cross, but many more.

Why don't they have his name here?
Yours,
Lorenz
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Old 17 June 2005, 08:21 AM   #58 (permalink)
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Lorenz,

This site is and was always dedicated to aces - that means to aviators with at least five offical confirmed victories in air combat.
Fritz Beckhardt was not among them according to the traditional knowlege. Therefore you can not expect to find his name here.

If one of the above mentioned higher victory numbers can be substanciated for FB then he can find his place here too and I think Scott will add him on the list.
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Old 20 June 2005, 02:13 AM   #59 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorenz
Hi Mike,

will you please check what medals FB was awarded. I do not find him in any of the name lists in this site (see "medals"), but I know for shure that we have several medals, at least the iron cross, but many more.

Why don't they have his name here?
Yours,
Lorenz
Lorenz:
The awards are;
Prussia: Iron Cross; 1st Class

Prussia: Iron Cross; 2nd Class
Prussia: Imperial Hohenzollern House Order, Member’s Cross, with swords. [= the rarest Prussian medal of ww1; only 17(?) awarded ].
Hessen: Bravery Medal
Bavaria: Millitary Merit Cross, 3rd Class, with swords
Baden: War Merit Cross

Hessen: War Decoration of Honour [ = Hessen’s highest WW1 bravery award]

Prussia: Pilot’s Badge [maker mark: “C.L. Juncker“]

Wound Badge, black grade

Hamburg Field Honour Badge
Germany, Cross of Honour 1914-1918, combatants grade
---------------------------------------------------------

In addition:
- his combination pin lapel features a miniature Baden Bravery Medal; [ the full size medal is missing].
- I understand that aviation historian Neal O’Connor wrote that he is listed in the rolls as having been awarded the Principality of Hohenzollern: Silver Merit Medal, with swords. This too is absent.

Given the above it is at least possible that other medals might also have gone missing.

Mike
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Old 20 June 2005, 04:15 AM   #60 (permalink)
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Was Beckhardt an Ace?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rammjaeger
Lorenz,

This site is and was always dedicated to aces - that means to aviators with at least five offical confirmed victories in air combat.
Fritz Beckhardt was not among them according to the traditional knowlege. Therefore you can not expect to find his name here.

If one of the above mentioned higher victory numbers can be substanciated for FB then he can find his place here too and I think Scott will add him on the list.
An interesting and very real question.

There is an article in Volume 16, Issue 4 of “Cross and Cockade” ,entitled “Jasta 26 During Operation Michael” by s/o called Ben Levendowski.

In that article Levendowski records the victory score of Beckhardt as, “10 victories”.

Since it might be suggested that this figure comes from a fundamentally corrupted and/or unreliable source, I will list Levendowski’s total scores for other Jasta 26 pilots serving at that time, [spring 1918], and compare them with those posted on the “Aces” section of The Aerodrome website.

Jasta 26 Pilot Name:


Vfw Erich Buder: Levendowski gives him 12 victories, The Aerodrome gives him 12 victories


Vfw Fritz Classen: Levendowski gives him 10 victories, The Aerodrome gives him 9 victories


Ltn.d.R. “Fritz” or “Paul”
or “Klaus” , “Riemer” or
“Reimer!) Levendowski gives him 7 victories, The Aerodrome gives him 7 or 8 victories


Ltn.d.R. Fritz Loerzer: Levendowski gives him 10 victories, The Aerodrome gives him 10 victories


Ofstlvtr Otto Esswein: Levendowski gives him 12 victories, The Aerodrome gives him 12 victories


Vfw Otto Fruhner: Levendowski gives him 27 victories, The Aerodrome gives him 27 victories


Ltn Helmut Lange: Levendowski gives him 7 victories, The Aerodrome gives him 7 victories


Vfw Fritz Beckhardt: Levendowski gives him 10 victories, The Aerodrome gives him 1 victory


From the above listings we can reasonably infer two things;

1. Firstly that Levendowski’s information base which underpinned his article, and which included Beckhardt’s score, wasn’t fundamentally corrupted and inaccurate, and

2. Secondly it’s safe to assume that his sources regarding Beckhardt didn’t derive from the SS report of Buchenwald Concentration Camp.


Which raises the questions of who Levendowski was, and what were the sources that enabled Levendowski to describe Beckhardt in terms which would place Beckhardt as comfortably meeting the criteria for “Ace” status?
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