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Claims Documentation
Claims Documentation
Frank Olynyk
Published by Frank_Olynyk
30 December 1998
Page 5

Some source material was published between the wars: the history of Jagdgeschwader 1 (the Bodenschatz diary), or the history of Jagdgeschwader 2. Some pilot’s wrote autobiographies which contain claim information (Udet’s has a list of his victories, and those of Jasta 4 while under his command). A pilot named Jentsch who served briefly with Jasta B (the renamed Jasta 2 after Boelcke’s death) included a complete list of all victories in the back of his book (but without times). Several of the FliegerAbteilungs had their histories published.

A German magazine named Ruhmesblatter was published for a period in the 1930s, but was shut down when the editor was discovered to be a Jew. In each issue he published all claims that occurred in the corresponding week during the war. So the period of January to March, for 1915, 1916, 1917 and 1918 is, to some extent, documented here. But unfortunately, he seems to have published all claims, not just those which were approved by Kogenluft (the publisher of Nachrichtenblatt. And the dates are frequently off by a day, which could be due to using a 24-hour period other than midnight to midnight as the reporting period in the KTB or other daily reports. Ruhmesblatter is not considered to be a completely reliable source, but has to be used with discretion, and in comparison with all other sources.
But today, the major source for otherwise lost information, is the notes made by Erich Tornuss in the 1930s. There were apparently others, but I have not been able to get any information on them. Some people were able to correspond with Tornuss (Peter Kilduff, for example), until Tornuss found it best to stop, since he lived in East Germany and felt he was attracting too much attention. Whether his own notes exist today, and if so where, I do not know. However, the late German researcher Gustav Bock made frequent visits to Tornuss, made notes during these visits, and smuggled them back into West Germany. What the reaction of the Communists would have been to someone smuggling World War One information into West Germany is anyone’s guess; but it only takes one guard to decide that it is military information, and therefore a state secret. So this was at some risk to himself (and probably Tornuss as well). Bock organized this material, and made it available to other researchers. My German Victory List data base has 8188 entries in it, with claims for 7543 victories; 3328 of the entries reference Tornuss in whole or in part.
Tornuss went though the Jasta Kriegstagebuchs, making notes on what interested him. Claims, and losses in particular. But he made no particular note of the first names of the pilots. Which is why so many of them are known only by their last name. A 1919 issue of Flugsport listed all the pilots with 4 or more victories, on the back cover (it had been listing the aces with some regularity during the war), but only for the Army, not the Navy (that’s NAVY, Barrett) aces. Which is why we know their names; and the names of the dead ones are in the necrology noted above. But if you survived the war with three or fewer victories, we may only know your name if your records survived in one of the Archives outside of Berlin (Bavaria, in particular). If I remember correctly, one of the surviving Jasta KTBs uses first names when a pilot first joins the unit, the other does not. (And one of them is typed, and the other is in German handwriting, very difficult for a non-German to read.)

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