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Old 26 September 2002, 02:02 PM   #1
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My question deals with the quality of fledgling pilots that reached the front later in the war as opposed to the time during the zenith of German air acendancy, say, around mid 1917.
Were German pilots who reached the front of the same quality in 1918 as they were in 1917? Or was the high command forced to send newly-minted airmen to their new posts without proper training, due to attrition and swinging fortunes of war? I'm not suggesting that they were intentionally lax, but how would one compare the new pilot in 1917 to the new pilot of 1918?...or WERE there any differences.
I haven't seen any articles dealing with German pilot training. Can someone point me in the right direction? Thanks.
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Old 26 September 2002, 02:16 PM   #2
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"In 1916 it was deemed appropriate that the student pilot needed at least six months of instruction before being sent to the front. *As the conflict wore on this training period became *shorter and shorter, as more and more pilots were needed at the front. *By 1918 this training period had been reduced to 3 to 4 months."

* *Quoted directly from the Schusta/Schlasta book which Dan and I are trying to get finished!!!

* *So, to answer your question, they were not as well trained (nor as long trained) in 1918 vs. 1917. * * R.
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Old 26 September 2002, 04:44 PM   #3
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In addition to what Rick stated, there was a further decline in the operational training of fighter pilots. In 1916, when the Jagdstaffeln were formed, the pilots came from other front units, the Kasta, Fl.Abt. and Fl.Abt A. and all had several months of front service. This remain so until the summer of 1917.
With the demands established by the "Amerika Program" of increasing the number of Jagdstaffeln from 40 to 80 by 1 March 1918. This could only be accomplished by direct entry into the newly formed Jastas.
The training schools had to provide replacement pilots to the existing Jastas as well as providing pilots to the newly formed units.
In the original establishment a Jasta had 14 pilots, and 14 aircraft and 4 spares aircrft in the Jasta as well as 3 aircraft at the Armee Flugpark.
After August 1917, the aircraft inventory fell, first no spares in the Jasta, and by 1 March 1918, the inventory of pilots was around 10 in units numbering over Jasta 41 and around 12 in the original 40 Jasta.
The new units which were composed of new pilots with no front experience were deployed for the most part on the French front.
As the demand for Jasta on the British front grew starting with the 21 March German attack on the British 5th Army, and the subsequent German Offensives pulled the new untested unit from the French front and put them into the hot air war opposite the British Armies. The French got their turn in May with the Battle of the Marne, Matz in June and Reims in July.
The new units did not fare well and their victory scores reflect their lack of training and in some cases poor leadership.
I hope I have answered your question.
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german, pilot, training, 1917, 1918

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