Julius Arigi

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Julius Arigi
Julius Arigi.jpg
Born (1895-10-03)3 October 1895
Tetschen, Bohemia (Austria-Hungary, now Czech Republic)
Died 1 August 1981(1981-08-01) (aged 85)
Attersee, Austria
Allegiance Austro-Hungarian Empire
Service/branch Artillery, Air Service
Years of service 1913 - 1918, 1938 - 1945
Rank Stabsfeldwebel (Staff Sergeant)
Unit Artillery Regiment 1, Fliegerkompanies 6, 41J, 55J, 1J
Awards Medal for Bravery (1 gold award, 4 silver)
Other work Fighter instructor for Luftwaffe

Julius Arigi (3 October 1895 – 1 August 1981) was a flying ace of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in World War I with a total of 32 credited victories. He was Austro-Hungary's most highly decorated ace. His victory total was second only to Godwin Brumowski.[1] Arigi was considered a superb natural pilot.[2] He was also a technical innovator responsible for engineering changes in the aircraft he flew.

Early life[edit]

Julius Arigi was born in Děčín, Bohemia, to a Sudeten German family.[2] Before joining the military, he was a waiter and an electrician.[citation needed]

He volunteered in October 1913 for Fortress Artillery Regiment No. 1 of the Austro-Hungarian Army.[2]

Aerial Service[edit]

In March 1914, he transferred to the Luftfahrtruppen (air service). He trained as a pilot, passing final tests on 26 November 1914, to become Zügsfuhrer (sergeant).[1][2]

Initially during World War I, Arigi was assigned to Fliegerkompanie 6, based in southern Dalmatia, flying Lloyd Type LS 2 and Lohner biplane aircraft in operations against Serbian and Montenegrin forces. On 20 December 1914, Arigi and his observer, Leutnant Levak, crashlanded a Lohner 140 in the Adriatic Sea; fortunately for them, in the shallow water.

In October 1915, Arigi became a prisoner of war when he was forced down due to engine failure during a reconnaissance flight behind enemy lines in Montenegro. He escaped captivity on his sixth try in January 1916, however, by stealing an enemy staff car belonging to Prince Nicholas of Montenegro, and rejoining his unit which later moved to Albania.[2]

While flying on the Albanian front, Arigi sank an Italian steamboat in the port of Valona (now Vlore).[3][4]

On 22 August 1916, Stabsfeldwebel (Staff Sergeant) Arigi ignored standing orders that an officer had to be aboard to command his plane. He took Feldwebel (Sergeant Major) Johann Lasi along to engage six Italian Farman aircraft over the Skumbi estuary in a Hansa-Brandenburg C.I aircraft. They shot five of the Farmans down,[2][4] and Arigi became an ace in this one sortie.

Towards the end of 1916, he was transferred to the Isonzo front in Italy. There he mostly flew escort missions in a Hansa-Brandenburg D.I single seat fighter. By May, 1917, his victory total was up to 12.[5]

He was unhappy with the tail assembly of this aircraft because he felt it lacked directional stability. He redesigned the horn-balanced rudder with a low aspect fin and a plain rudder. His redesign was later copied from his plane and became standard on the D1.[6] He was awarded 500 kronen for his innovation.[7]

He then spent a short time in Fliegerkompanie 41J, but clashed with its commanding officer, Hauptmann Godwin Brumowski. In August, he was transferred to newly formed Fliegerkompanie 55J at Haidenschaft. He would score 13 victories while with Flik 55J, running his total to 25. Ten of those victories were scored as he cooperated with two other Austro-Hungarian aces, Hauptmann (Captain) Josef von Maier and Lieutenant (Second Lieutenant) József Kiss.[6][8]

In April, 1918, he was transferred back to Flik 6 on the Albanian front. In his short stay there, he scored 3 more kills while flying an Avatik D1.[8] In summer, 1918, he was again transferred, to Flik 1J at Igalo in Dalmatia. There he was equipped with two new Avatik D1 fighters, which he used to score his final four victories.[6]

His combat career extended over four years;[9] his last victory was scored on 23 August 1918.[8] He spent the last days of the war as a factory test pilot.[6]

Although Arigi had not served on World War I's premier front for fighter aviation—the Western Front—his service was especially notable. He had flown mediocre aircraft in fronts notorious for changeable weather; mountainous terrain and over-water flights complicated matters.[10] He had declined a personal offer from his emperor of a desk job in Vienna, with an accompanying promotion as a commissioned officer, to remain at the front.[4]

Post World War I[edit]

After the war, he co-founded Ikarus, one of Czechoslovakia's pioneer civil aviation companies. Also while in Czechoslovakia, he helped select new airfields; he also indulged in espionage. He became an ardent Nazi.[1]

In 1935, he partnered with a friend from World War I, fellow ace Benno Fiala von Fernbrugg, in forming the Wiener-Nieustadt Airport Management Association.

He became a Luftwaffe fighter instructor beginning in 1938. Two of his students became some of the most successful aces of World War II—Walter Nowotny (258 victories) and Hans-Joachim Marseille (158 victories).[11] Their ability to repeatedly shoot down multiple enemies on the same sortie can be traced to Arigi's teaching them to close to minimum range before firing. Arigi later noted that while both students were quietly eager, Nowotny was naturally talented but Marseille had to work for mastery.[4]

Arigi died in his sleep of natural causes in Attersee, Austria.

Inline citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b c http://www.firstworldwar.com/bio/arigi.htm
  2. ^ a b c d e f Austro-Hungarian Aces of World War 1. p. 55. 
  3. ^ Austro-Hungarian Aces of World War 1. p. 56. 
  4. ^ a b c d http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/1891268066/ref=sib_dp_ptu#
  5. ^ http://www.theaerodrome.com/aces/austrhun/arigi.php Retrieved on 2 April 2010.
  6. ^ a b c d Austro-Hungarian Aces of World War 1. p. 56. 
  7. ^ http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/1891268015/ref=sib_dp_ptu#
  8. ^ a b c http://www.theaerodrome.com/aces/austrhun/arigi.php Retrieved on 3 April 2010.
  9. ^ Austro-Hungarian Aces of World War 1. pp. 55, 57. 
  10. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=YmwNv_9_cL4C
  11. ^ Austro-Hungarian Aces of World War 1. p. 57. 

References[edit]

  1. "Above the War Fronts, Vol. IV". Franks, N., Guest, R. & Alegi, G. Grub Street, London. ISBN 1-898697-56-6
  2. http://www.firstworldwar.com/bio/arigi.htm Accessed 21 November 2008.
  3. http://forum.combatace.com/index.php?autocom=downloads&showfile=5988 Accessed 21 November 2008.
  4. Austro Hungarian Aces of World War I. Christopher Chant. Osprey Publishing, 2002. ISBN 1-84176-376-4, ISBN 978-1-84176-376-7.
  5. Austro-Hungarian Army Aircraft of World War One. Peter M. Grosz, et al. Flying Machines Press, 1993. ISBN 0-9637110-0-8, ISBN 978-0-9637110-0-7.
  6. Air Aces of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, 1914-1918. Martin Dr. O'Connor. Flying Machines Pr, 1995. ISBN 0-9637110-1-6, ISBN 978-0-9637110-1-4.
  7. http://www.theaerodrome.com/aces/austrhun/arigi.php Accessed 21 November 2008.
  8. Brandenburg D.I. (Great War Aircraft in Profile, Volume 2) (Great War Aircraft in Profile). K. Meindl