Willi Gabriel

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Willi Gabriel
Born (1893-12-31)31 December 1893
Bromberg, present day Poland
Died 1 July 1968(1968-07-01) (aged 74)
Berlin, Germany
Allegiance Germany
Service/branch Aviation
Rank Vizefeldwebel
Unit FA 34, FA 21, FA 44, FA 207, SS 15, Jasta 11
Awards Iron Cross

Vizefeldwebel (later Hauptmann) Willi Gabriel was a World War I flying ace credited with eleven aerial victories.[1][2]

Gabriel built his own airplanes prior to World War I. He was called up for military service when the war began. Early in 1915, he began a series of assignments to artillery cooperation units, often in company with his twin brother. Willi Gabriel was eventually stationed in Schutzstaffel 15, where he and his observer shot down a Spad on 22 March 1918. Wilhelm Reinhard then requested Gabriel's assignment to Jagdgruppe 1, and Gabriel was posted to Jasta 11 on 15 April.[3] He scored on 19 May, then six times in June, including two balloons.[2] Hermann Göring then came to command JG 1, much to Gabriel's displeasure. On 18 July 1918, Gabriel flew a solo mission without permission and shot down three French airplanes. Upon his return, he was ordered to remain on the ground. However, he disobeyed Göring's orders, took off, and shot down a fourth Frenchman. Upon his return from this sortie, he was banished from combat despite his success.[1]

In 1938, he flew Fokker Dr.Is in two movies, DIII 88 and Pour le Merite. He returned to duty during World War II, rising to the rank of Hauptmann.[4]

The Fokker D-VII built by Cole Palen, which flew in the Rhinebeck Aerodrome shows of the 1960s and 1970s, was painted in the scheme of Willi Gabriel, in tribute to him.

Sources of information[edit]

  1. ^ a b Above the Lines: The Aces and Fighter Units of the German Air Service, Naval Air Service and Flanders Marine Corps 1914 - 1918. pp. 112–113. 
  2. ^ a b http://www.theaerodrome.com/aces/germany/gabriel.php Retrieved on 15 April 2010.
  3. ^ Above the Lines: The Aces and Fighter Units of the German Air Service, Naval Air Service and Flanders Marine Corps 1914 - 1918. p. 112. 
  4. ^ Above the Lines: The Aces and Fighter Units of the German Air Service, Naval Air Service and Flanders Marine Corps 1914 - 1918. p. 113. 

References[edit]

Above the Lines: The Aces and Fighter Units of the German Air Service, Naval Air Service and Flanders Marine Corps 1914 - 1918 Norman L. R. Franks, et al. Grub Street, 1993. ISBN 0-948817-73-9, ISBN 978-0-948817-73-1.