Ernst Freiherr von Althaus

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Ernst Freiherr von Althaus
Nickname(s) Hussar Althaus; Altstiefel (Old Shoe)
Born (1890-03-19)19 March 1890
Coburg, Kingdom of Bavaria
Died 29 November 1946(1946-11-29) (aged 56)
Allegiance German Empire German Empire
Service/branch Cavalry; aviation
Years of service 1909 - 1918
Rank Oberleutnant
Unit 1st Saxon Husaren-Regiment Nr. 18, FA 23, KEK Vaux, KEK Sivry, KEK Jamitz, Jasta 14
Commands held Jasta 10, Jastaschule II
Awards Pour le Mérite, Royal House Order of Hohenzollern, Iron Cross First and Second Class, Saxon Military Order of Saint Henry, Saxe-Ernestine House Order, Brunswick War Merit Cross Second Class, Hesse Honor Decoration for Bravery[1]
Other work Director of County Court of Berlin during World War II

Ernst Freiherr von Althaus (19 March 1890 – 29 November 1946) was a German flying ace in World War I, credited with nine confirmed aerial victories, as well as eight unconfirmed ones. He was one of the original Fokker Eindekker pilots who became known collectively as the Fokker Scourge.[2]

Early life and infantry service[edit]

Ernst Freiherr von Althaus was born in Coburg; he was the son of the Adjutant to the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.[3] He joined the 1st Saxon Husaren-Regiment Nr. 18 as an ensign[4] in Grossenhain in 1909 and was serving in that unit at the outbreak of war.[5] He was a bon vivant who enjoyed poker and women.[6]

At the start of war, von Althaus was a leutnant with his unit. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Military Order of St. Henry[7] on 27 January 1915[8] for an action when he led a patrol of 15 hussars into a French village which led and captured twenty-two prisoners. In the spring of 1915 he transferred to the Fliegertruppen and trained at FEA 6 at Grossenhain.[9]

Aerial service[edit]

He was promoted to Oberleutnant on 6 August 1915[10] before being posted to FA 23 on 20 September[11] where he led long distance flights.[12] He also served in KEK Vaux, KEK Sivry, and KEK Jamitz.[13]

On 3 December 1915, he shot down a Royal Aircraft Factory BE.2c near Roye. In February 1916, he scored twice more, in March again, and on 30 April became an ace.[14] He was wounded in the process. During his stay in hospital, he met the nurse who would become his wife.[15]

During the early summer of 1916, he was awarded the Royal House Order of Hohenzollern.[16] On 22 July 1916, he notched his eighth win, thus earning the Pour le Mérite.[17] He continued with KEK Vaux when it became Jasta 4, and was wounded in action with them on 4 March 1917. Althaus then transferred to Jasta 14. Manfred von Richthofen personally requested Althaus's transfer to Jasta 10. Althaus took command on 6 July 1917. He made a bit of a splash, marking his Albatros D.V's chrome yellow fuselage with the five dots and a dash that Morse Coded his nickname initials of 'H A'.[18]

He scored one last victory here, after a year's break, on 24 July 1917.[19] However, four days before, at the Red Baron's request, he had relinquished command of Jasta 10 to Werner Voss. Althaus's failing eyesight caused his removal from command and combat;[20] he also seems to have been regarded as a scandalous gambler.[21] He shifted to commanding Jastaschule II, but that assignment was also ended by his diminishing vision. In a reversal of the usual system of transfers, Althaus shifted back into the command of an infantry company at Verdun. After a battle in which his company was reduced to fifteen men, he was captured by Americans on 15 October 1918, and not repatriated until September 1919.[22]

Post World War I[edit]

Althaus studied law. He became a lawyer despite his total loss of vision by 1937. He did well enough that during World War II, he rose to become Landgerichtsdirektor (Director) of the County Court of Berlin. In 1945, he served briefly as an interpreter for the victorious Allies. He died of illness the following year.[23]

Decorations and awards[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Above the Lines: The Aces and Fighter Units of the German Air Service, Naval Air Service and Flanders Marine Corps 1914–1918. p. 61. 
  2. ^ Above the Lines: The Aces and Fighter Units of the German Air Service, Naval Air Service and Flanders Marine Corps 1914–1918. p. 61. 
  3. ^ http://www.pourlemerite.org/wwi/air/althaus.html Retrieved on 25 April 2010.
  4. ^ Above the Lines: The Aces and Fighter Units of the German Air Service, Naval Air Service and Flanders Marine Corps 1914–1918. p. 61. 
  5. ^ van Wyngarden, Early German Aces, p.19
  6. ^ http://www.pourlemerite.org/wwi/air/althaus.html Retrieved on 25 April 2010.
  7. ^ http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&u=http://www.flieger-album.de/logbuch.php&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=1&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dwww.flieger-album.de/logbuch.php%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Doff%26client%3Dsafari%26rls%3Den-us Retrieved on 24 April 2010.
  8. ^ Above the Lines: The Aces and Fighter Units of the German Air Service, Naval Air Service and Flanders Marine Corps 1914–1918. p. 61. 
  9. ^ van Wyngarden, Early German Aces, p.19
  10. ^ Above the Lines: The Aces and Fighter Units of the German Air Service, Naval Air Service and Flanders Marine Corps 1914–1918. p. 61. 
  11. ^ Above the Lines: The Aces and Fighter Units of the German Air Service, Naval Air Service and Flanders Marine Corps 1914–1918. p. 61. 
  12. ^ http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&u=http://www.flieger-album.de/logbuch.php&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=1&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dwww.flieger-album.de/logbuch.php%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Doff%26client%3Dsafari%26rls%3Den-us Retrieved on 24 April 2010.
  13. ^ Above the Lines: The Aces and Fighter Units of the German Air Service, Naval Air Service and Flanders Marine Corps 1914–1918. p. 61. 
  14. ^ http://www.theaerodrome.com/aces/germany/althaus.php Retrieved on 25 April 2010.
  15. ^ Above the Lines: The Aces and Fighter Units of the German Air Service, Naval Air Service and Flanders Marine Corps 1914–1918. p. 61. 
  16. ^ Above the Lines: The Aces and Fighter Units of the German Air Service, Naval Air Service and Flanders Marine Corps 1914–1918. p. 61. 
  17. ^ http://www.pourlemerite.org/wwi/air/althaus.html Retrieved on 25 April 2010.
  18. ^ Above the Lines: The Aces and Fighter Units of the German Air Service, Naval Air Service and Flanders Marine Corps 1914–1918. p. 61. 
  19. ^ http://www.theaerodrome.com/aces/germany/althaus.php Retrieved on 25 April 2010.
  20. ^ http://www.pourlemerite.org/wwi/air/althaus.html Retrieved on 25 April 2010.
  21. ^ Early German Aces of World War I. p. 79. 
  22. ^ Above the Lines: The Aces and Fighter Units of the German Air Service, Naval Air Service and Flanders Marine Corps 1914–1918. p. 61. 
  23. ^ Above the Lines: The Aces and Fighter Units of the German Air Service, Naval Air Service and Flanders Marine Corps 1914–1918. p. 61. 

References[edit]

  • Franks, Norman, et al. (1993) Above the Lines: The Aces and Fighter Units of the German Air Service, Naval Air Service and Flanders Marine Corps, 1914-1918. Grub Street, London. ISBN 0-948817-73-9, ISBN 978-0-948817-73-1.
  • van Wyngarden, Greg (2006). Early German Aces of World War I, Osprey Publishing Ltd., Oxford. ISBN 1-84176-997-5

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