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Old 23 September 2007, 02:22 PM   #1
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Ludendorff's Son

Erich Ludendorff lost a son, a pilot, during the spring offensive of 1918. Any forumites have details concerning the young man in question?
Thanks.
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Old 23 September 2007, 06:47 PM   #2
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Hi Retread,

Actually, Ludendorff lost two stepsons, both pilots, during the war. They were both sons of his wife, Margarethe. The eldest was Franz Pernet, a pilot with Jasta Boelcke; he was killed in action on 5 September 1917, shot down into the sea by 2/Lt Keith R. Park (yes, the Battle of Britain Park) and 2/AM H. Lindfield of No 48 Sqn (Bristol Fighters). Franz was 22 years old and had flown with Fl Abt. 14. I don't believe his body was ever recovered.

On 22 March 1918, Ludendorff's second stepson died, and this is the one you're after. He was Ltn Erich Pernet, the 20-year-old pilot of an LVG C.V (apparently) from Fl. Abt. 29; his observer was Ltn. Karl Westphal. They were shot down by Camels of No. 73 Sqn, specifically Capt. Thomas S. Sharpe, and fell to earth northeast of Nesle. Sharpe would himself be shot down and captured only five days later, apparently as the 71st victory of MvR himself.

According to a book by German artilleryman Herbert Sulzbach, "With the German Guns," it was Sulzbach who found the wreckage of the LVG and recognized Erich's body as Ludendorff's son by the unit patch on his sleeve. There had been a notice put out to all front line units to search for the wreck of the plane and the airmen. Sulzbach claimed he received a telegram of thanks from Ludendorff himself, for finding the second of his two stepsons so that Erich, at least, could have a proper burial.

You can find out a bit more about Franz Pernet in Norman Frank's superb book "Jasta Boelcke", or in my upcoming little volume from Osprey on the same subject.

Greg
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Old 24 September 2007, 11:17 PM   #3
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Thanks Greg. I notice the Pernet brothers have been identified variously as Ludendorff's grandson's , stepson's and in the case of Erich Pernet his son.
I have a copy of Norman Frank's "Jasta Boelcke" and from it I see Franz Pernet flew with that unit from June 1917 until his death September 5th of the same year. There is also a revealing photo of Pernet with the rest of the Jasta as well as former Jasta B member Werner Voss and visiting Austrian-Hungarian aviator Raoul Stojsaviljevic. Taken in June, Pernet certainly appears the "greenest" most boyish looking of the bunch.This is in direct contrast to Voss who is seated immediately behind Pernet and is obviously displaying the stress of combat.While only twenty years old at the time of this photograph he could easily have passed for fourty or more. In fact Pernet was older than Voss.
Included in the book is an extract from a letter Franz Pernet had written to his mother , " you cannot imagine what a heavenly feeling it is when a day's fighting is successfully over, to lie down in bed and say to oneself before going to sleep, " Thank God! You have another twelve hours to live." The certainy of the thing is so pleasant." A simple statement that implies much of the prolonged stress endured by so many in modern combat.
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"In the final analysis, war is far more than an extension of politics. It is the most complex, demanding, and unpredictable of all human endeavors - as learned from 1914 to 1918." - from (with slight alteration) the introduction of "Pyrrhic Victory" by Robert A. Doughty (US Army Ret.).

"Frankly, I had enjoyed the war." Adrian Carton de Wiart

Last edited by retread; 25 September 2007 at 02:36 AM.
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Old 25 September 2007, 05:16 AM   #4
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Arrow Another Stepson Heinz Pernet

Another Stepson of Ludendorff was a Lt. Heinz Pernet-who was part of 1923 Beer Hall Putsch. Photo at Heinz Pernet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Was he also in Air Service?
What was his fate after 1923? Member of Freikorps?
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Old 25 September 2007, 05:46 AM   #5
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According to TJP, Franz Pernet joined Jasta B in June '17 so he was only there a couple of months. No victories. KIA at age 22.
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Old 27 September 2007, 09:09 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gregvan View Post
Actually, Ludendorff lost two stepsons, both pilots, during the war. They were both sons of his wife, Margarethe. The eldest was Franz Pernet, a pilot with Jasta Boelcke; he was killed in action on 5 September 1917, shot down into the sea by 2/Lt Keith R. Park (yes, the Battle of Britain Park) and 2/AM H. Lindfield of No 48 Sqn (Bristol Fighters). Franz was 22 years old and had flown with Fl Abt. 14. I don't believe his body was ever recovered.
... he was recovered and burried in ... < Berlin > ...just like his brother!

Thorsten
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Old 27 September 2007, 02:37 PM   #7
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Thanks for the correction and the info, Thorsten!

Greg
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