Karl Emil Schäfer

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Karl Emil Schäfer
Karl-Emil Schäfer.jpg
Nickname(s) Karlchen (Charlie)
Born 17 December 1891
Krefeld
Died 5 June 1917(1917-06-05) (aged 25)
Becelaere-Zandvoorde
Allegiance German Empire
Service/branch Luftstreitkräfte
Years of service 1914 - 1917
Rank Leutnant
Unit Jasta 11, 28 (Commander), Kasta 8, 11
Awards Pour le Mérite, Iron Cross First and Second Class, Knight’s Cross with Swords of the Royal House Order of Hohenzollern, Wound Badge

Karl Emil Schäfer (17 December 1891 – 5 June 1917) was a German pilot during World War I; he became one of the major German flying aces of the war, with 30 confirmed aerial victories.[1]

Early life and infantry service[edit]

Schäfer was born in Krefeld and joined the 10th Jäger Regiment of the Prussian Army for his military service. An engineering student who spoke fluent French and English, he was a fine drawer, and was studying in Paris when the war broke out but managed to return to Germany and was assigned to the 7th Jäger reserve Regiment. He won the Iron Cross 2nd class and was promoted to Vizefeldwebel during September 1914, before being badly wounded and hospitalised for six months. After returning to the front line he was commissioned in May 1915.

Flying service[edit]

Requesting flying duties Schäfer trained as a pilot and served over the Eastern Front with KG 2 from July 1916 onwards. He moved to the west and now flew with Kasta 11 of KG 2, where he gained his first victory. With just this single victory, he impudently telegraphed Manfred von Richthofen, who was assembling a "top gun" (kanone) squadron at Jasta 11, "Can you use me?" Richthofen replied, "You have already been requested."

Schäfer was then posted to Jasta 11 on 21 February 1917. In intensive operations during Bloody April he became a flying ace, being credited with 21 victories and awarded the Pour le Mérite. While a member of Jasta 11, "Karlchen" (Charlie) became known as the squadron's prankster and recorded many vivid incidents in combat and at play.[citation needed] He flew an Albatros D-III with red and black markings.[2] Somehow amidst all this he found time to pen his autobiography, Vom Jaeger zum Flieger - From Soldier to Pilot.

Command and death in action[edit]

Schäfer was then given command of Jasta 28 on 26 April, and after gaining further victories for a total of 30 claims Schäfer was shot down and killed in action on 5 June 1917 in combat with No. 20 Squadron, by ace crew Lt. Harold Satchell and Lt. Thomas Lewis. Satchell and Lewis' fire did not strike Schäfer, but disabled his plane, which broke in midair. They reported that the Albatos fell in flames; German ace witness Max Ritter von Müller reported seeing it break up, but noted no fire. Photos of the wreckage show no scorching and the wings still attached to the plane.[3] Nevertheless, Jasta 28 comrades recovered Schäfer's body, noting that it had no bullet wounds, but that every bone in his body had been broken.[citation needed]

{{COMBAT RECORD Karl Emil Schäfer

No. Date Time Unit Aircraft Opponent Location

1 22 Jan 1917 Kasta 11 Albatros D. 2 Caudron W of Pont-a-Mousson

2 04 Mar 1917 1150 Jasta 11 Albatros D. 3 Sopwith 1½ Strutter (A1109) SW of Haisnes

u/c 04 Mar 1917 Jasta 11 D.H.2 -or- F.E.8 Near Lens

u/c 04 Mar 1917 Jasta 11 D.H.2 -or- F.E.8 Near Bethune

3 06 Mar 1917 1145 Jasta 11 Sopwith 1½ Strutter (A978) Lens

4 06 Mar 1917 1155 Jasta 11 Sopwith 1½ Strutter Lens

5 09 Mar 1917 1120 Jasta 11 F.E.8 (6397) Faschoda

6 09 Mar 1917 1122 Jasta 11 F.E.8 (4874) Pont-a-Vendin

7 11 Mar 1917 1120 Jasta 11 B.E.2c (6232) Loosbogen

8 24 Mar 1917 0900 Jasta 11 Sopwith 1½ Strutter Anzin, near Arras

9 03 Apr 1917 1620 Jasta 11 F.E.2d (6371) S of Lens

10 06 Apr 1917 1020 Jasta 11 B.E.2 Givenchy

11 06 Apr 1917 1037 Jasta 11 B.E.2 W of Vimy

12 07 Apr 1917 1745 Jasta 11 Nieuport 23 Mecatal

13 08 Apr 1917 1440 Jasta 11 D.H.4 Epinoy

14 09 Apr 1917 1900 Jasta 11 B.E.2d (5742) Aise Roulette

15 11 Apr 1917 0910 Jasta 11 Bristol F.2a (A3318) Fampaux

16 11 Apr 1917 1250 Jasta 11 B.E.2e Arras

17 13 Apr 1917 1830 Jasta 11 F.E.2b (A6372) Le Point du Jour

18 14 Apr 1917 1705 Jasta 11 F.E.2b (4877) Lievin-Eleu

19 14 Apr 1917 1720 Jasta 11 B.E -or- Bristol F.2a La Coulette

20 21 Apr 1917 1745 Jasta 11 Nieuport Scout (A6797) E of Fresnes

21 22 Apr 1917 2020 Jasta 11 F.E.2b NW of Moncy-Tilloy

22 25 Apr 1917 1040 Jasta 11 F.E.2b (A837) Bailleul

23 25 Apr 1917 2030 Jasta 11 Bristol F.2a (A3352) Bahnhoff Roeux

24 01 May 1917 1240 Jasta 28 Farman Dixmude

25 01 May 1917 1300 Jasta 28 Nieuport Scout E of Poperinghe

26 09 May 1917 1900 Jasta 28 Sopwith 1½ Strutter Warneton

27 18 May 1917 1110 Jasta 28 F.E.2d Hollebeke

28 23 May 1917 1615 Jasta 28 F.E.2d Warenton

29 23 May 1917 1845 Jasta 28 Sopwith Pup Wytschaetebogen

30 04 Jun 1917 1410 Jasta 28 D.H.4 (A7420) Moorslede}}

See also[edit]

List of World War I flying aces

References[edit]

Endnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Pusher Aces of World War 1. p. 81. 
  2. ^ Pusher Aces of World War 1. p. 81. 
  3. ^ Pusher Aces of World War 1. p. 80–82. 

External links[edit]