I am hoping that some of our German members can help me out here.
Ernst Jünger's book In Stahlgewittern
, translated into English (by Michael Hoffmann) as Storm of Steel
is a powerful memoir of the savagery and fascination of modern, total war seen through the eyes of a storm troop commander who won the Pour le Mérite
. In the final paragraphs of the last chapter, he casually relates something of interest to those of us interested in aviation, particularly Jagdgeschwader I 'Richthofen'.
Very late in the war, Jünger received the last of his many wounds ("leaving out trifles such as ricochets and grazes, I was hit at least fourteen times.") when he was shot in the lung. Two weeks later, he was on a hospital train in Germany and was taken off at Hannover, "and was put up in the Clementine infirmary."
Then comes the interesting part: "I shared my room with a young fighter pilot from Richthofen's squadron (Geschwader
), a man named [Paul] Wenzel, one of the tall and fearless types our nation still produces. He lived up to the motto of his squadron, 'Hard - and crazy with it!' and had already brought down a dozen opponents in songle combat, although the last had splintered his upper arm with a bullet first."
"The first time I went out, I went with him (Wenzel), my brother, and a few comrades who were awaiting their transport, to the rooms of the old Hanoverian Gibraltar Regiment. Since our war-worthiness was being put into question, we felt the urgent need to prove ourselves by vaulting an enormous armchair. We didn't do too well; Wenzel broke his arm all over again, and the following day I was back in bed with a temperature of 40."
Now, we know that Paul Wenzel did indeed score 10 victories in Jasta 6 and was acting commander from 19 July until 11 August when he was severely wounded. Bodenschatz says he was "lightly wounded" on 1 August but remained with the unit, then he shot down a DH 9 on 9 August as his 10th victory. On 11 August Bodenschatz states he was wounded in air combat, delivered to the hospital in St. Quentin. He was permananently struck off the strength of JG I on 30 August. Neal O'Connor's Volume VII has a great photo of Wenzel still at Jasta 6 after his first "light" wounding with his right arm in a sling, along with Matzdorf, Reimers, Rolff and Franz Hemer
. He was indeed quite tall as Jünger states.
I have NEVER seen anything about a "motto" for JG I, and Jünger's book is the first place I've seen it in an English translation. I am hoping that one of our German friends has a German edition of Jünger's book, and can provide us with the original German version of "Hard - and crazy with it!".
I suspect it may be a rather difficult idiomatic phrase.
Any comments and corrections are welcome.