Monday, 25 April 2016

On the way to the power. Compiled by Alex Halley

Below you can find a list of personalities with a short Bio, whose love for avionics, passion for creation and crossing barriers, has left an indelible mark in the history. These people in determined way, have contributed to the building of the Luftwaffe with its subsequent strength and innovation. Please, don't focus on political views, later crimes or other stuff...just for the role they played in the development of aviation and technology, which today is shared by all of us, basically every day.

Fokker D-VII
Anthony Fokker (1890, Kediri, Java, Netherlands East Indies [now Indonesia] -1939, New York City, N.Y., U.S.), Dutch airman and pioneer aircraft manufacturer who during World War I produced more than 40 types of airplanes (designed by Reinhold Platz) for the German
High Command. Initially he offered his designs to both combatants, but the Allies turned him down. Fokker built his first plane in 1910 and taught himself to fly. In 1912 he established a small aircraft factory at Johannisthal, near Berlin. During World War I he introduced the gear system that made it possible to fire a machine gun through the propeller arc without hitting the blades; the propeller itself, by means of levers and gears, operated the gun at properly timed intervals. His first aircraft, Spin I, was produced in 1910, but was able only to manage 100 yard flights.  Its successor, Spin II, was similarly unsuccessful the following year.  It was the 'plane's third incarnation, Spin III, that proved a success, and it was this model that initially interested the German authorities in 1913. Consequently his aircraft company rapidly grew as orders continued to grow; he subsequently took out German citizenship.
Among the successful biplane and triplane designs produced by Fokker during the war was the D-VII, developed in 1917 with the assistance of advice from Manfred von Richthofen (the 'Red Baron').  The D-VII, which went into service on the Western Front in April 1918, proved stronger and faster than the Allied machines in use at that time. Fokker's company also invented the so-called 'interrupter gear' that made it possible for a machine gun to fire through the aircraft's propeller blades.  Fokker's development of the interrupter gear pre-empted French efforts led by Roland Garros along similar lines (the French however had concentrated upon the development of deflector blades). This device initially gave German pilots a significant advantage over their Allied counterparts when attached to Fokker 'E' aircraft, while the latter's governments scrambled to develop an equivalent mechanism (the Airco DH2 and the Nieuport 17). With war over Fokker turned to the development of commercial aircraft, this time in Holland.  During the 1920s he sold aircraft based upon the D-VII to the Dutch air force. Fokker moved to the United States in 1922, and was later naturalised.  He served for a period as president of the Fokker Aircraft Corporation of America.

Oswald Boelcke (1891-1916) In 1915, Boelcke was the pilot chosen to test
Oswald Boelcke, (right) who is regarded as the father of the
German fighter air force, shot down Robert Wilson (left),
 of the 32 Squadron Royal Flying Corps,
 before inviting him to join him for coffee

Anthony Fokker's new machine gun synchronizing device. It was a great success and Boelcke used the new invention to become the first German ace. He and Max Immelmann were the first two pilots to receive Prussia's highest award for bravery. By the summer of the same year, Immelmann had been killed and Boelcke, promoted to Hauptmann on 22 May 1916, was Germany's leading ace. Author of the "Dicta Boelcke," he developed rules for air combat, many of which remain relevant today. While flying an infantry support mission, Boelcke's Albatros D.II briefly collided with that of Erwin Böhme. Böhme survived but Boelcke was killed.

Max Immelmann (1890-1916) In 1905, he was enrolled in the Dresden Cadet School. He joined the Eisenbahnregiment (Railway Regiment) Nr. 2 in 1911 as an Ensign, in pursuit of a commission. He left the army in March 1912 to study mechanical engineering in Dresden. He returned to service on the outbreak of war, as a reserve officer candidate. He was assigned to Eisenbahnregiment Nr. 1, but soon transferred to aviation. When World War I started, Immelmann was called to active service, transferred to the Luftstreitkräfte and was sent for pilot training at Johannisthal Air Field in November 1914. He was initially stationed in northern France. Immelmann served as a pilot with Feldflieger Abteilung (Field Flier Detachment) 10 from February to April 1915, and then in FFA 62 by early May 1915. On several occasions he engaged in combat while flying the L.V.G. two-seaters with which his units were equipped, but never with any success. On 3 June 1915, he was shot down by a French pilot but managed to land safely behind German lines. Immelmann was decorated with the Iron Cross, Second Class for preserving his aircraft. Max Immelmann and Oswald Boelcke were awarded the Orden Pour le Mérite on 12 January 1916. Later that year, Immelmann was killed in a dogfight with seven British aircraft. His death, like that of many other aces, was controversial. While the British credited the pilot of an F.E.2b with his loss, the Germans proclaimed that the synchronized machine gun on Immelmann's Fokker E.III malfunctioned and he shot his own propeller off. However, after examining the wreckage, Anthony Fokker concluded that Immelmann's aircraft was brought down by German anti-aircraft fire.

Manfred von Richthofen (1892-1918) earned widespread fame as a World War I ace fighter pilot. He borne in Breslau/Wrocław [My hometown :) ]. After starting the war as a German cavalry officer on the Eastern Front, Richthofen served in the infantry before seeking his pilot’s license. He transferred to the Imperial Air Service in 1915, and the following year began to distinguish himself in battle. Becoming one of the first members of Jasta 2 in 1916. He quickly distinguished himself as a fighter pilot, and during 1917 became leader of Jasta 11 and then the larger unit Jagdgeschwader 1 (better known as the "Flying Circus"). Richthofen developed a formidable reputation in his bright red Fokker triplane. He was credited with 80 kills before being shot down, his legend as the fearsome Red Baron enduring well after his death. After his first confirmed victory, Richthofen contacted a jeweller in Berlin and ordered a silver cup engraved with the date and the type of enemy aircraft. He continued this until he had 60 cups, by which time the dwindling supply of silver in blockaded Germany meant that silver cups like this could no longer be supplied. Richthofen discontinued his orders at this stage, rather than accept cups made from base metal.

 Instead of using risky, aggressive tactics like his brother Lothar (40 victories), Manfred observed a set of maxims (known as the "Dicta Boelcke") to assure success for both the squadron and its pilots. He was not a spectacular or aerobatic pilot, like his brother or the renowned Werner Voss, however, he was a noted tactician and squadron leader and a fine marksman. Typically, he would dive from above to attack with the advantage of the sun behind him, with other pilots of his Jasta covering his rear and flanks.

Ernst Udet (1896-1941) was the second-highest scoring German flying ace of World War I. He was one of the youngest aces and was the highest scoring German ace to survive the war (at the age of 22). His 62 confirmed victories were second only to Manfred von Richthofen, his commander in the Flying Circus. Udet rose to become a squadron commander under Richthofen, and later under Hermann Göring. Following Germany's defeat, Udet spent the 1920s and early 1930s as a stunt pilot, international barnstormer, light aircraft manufacturer, and playboy. In 1933, he joined the then-ruling Nazi Party and became involved in the early development of the Luftwaffe. He used his networking skills to become appointed director of research and development for the burgeoning air force. He was especially influential in the adoption of dive bombing techniques as well as the Stuka dive bomber. By 1939, Udet had risen to the post of Director-General of Equipment for the Luftwaffe. However, the stress of the position and his distaste for administrative duties led to an increasing dependence on alcohol. When World War II began, the Luftwaffe's needs for equipment outstripped Germany's production capacity. Udet's
former comrade Hermann Göring first lied to Adolf Hitler about these material shortcomings when the Luftwaffe lost the Battle of Britain, then deflected the Führer's wrath onto Udet. Operation Barbarossa, when Germany attacked the Soviet Union to open a second front in the war, appears to have been the final straw for Udet. On 17 November 1941, he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.

Hermann Göring (1893-1946), born in Rosenheim, Bavaria, the son of a prominent judge. He entered the German Royal Military Academy at Gross Lichterfeide outside Berlin in his teens and graduated in 1911. At the beginning of World War I he saw service as an infantry lieutenant but soon transfered to the air corps. During the war he racked up 22 aerial kills, earning the coveted Blue Max and a promotion to commanding officer of Manfred von Richthofen's "Flying Circus" in 1918 after that famous ace was killed in action. In the years following World War I Göring became one of Adolf Hitler's most devoted followers. The former war hero was named head of Hitler's private army, the Brownshirts, a Nazi paramilitary organization similar to the Blackshirt fascist group in Italy commanded by Benito Mussolini, in 1922. Göring took part in the unsuccessful "Beer Hall Putsch" attempt to overthrow the Bavarian state government in 1923, was wounded and spent some time in prison. In 1933, after Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany, Göring became commissioner for aviation and in 1935 commander in chief of the newly established German Air Force (the Luftwaffe).
By the opening days of World War II, Göring had built the Luftwaffe into the largest air force in the world. His planes performed superbly in the "blitzkrieg" campaigns against Poland, the Low Countries, Norway and France. In recognition of his work, Göring was promoted to Reichsmarschall (a rank above field marshal) on June 19, 1940.

Ernst Heinkel (1888-958), borne at Grunbach in Wurttenburg. Designing and building his first aircraft in 1910 (crashed and burned). Two years later became chief designer of the Albatros company and in 1914 transferred to the Hansa Brandenburg Flugzeugwerke where he designed round forty different aircraft types. On 1 December 1922 he formed his own company Ernst Heinkel Flugzeugwerke  in Warnemünde on the Baltic coast. It was one of his aircraft, the He51, which formed initial equipment of many of the Luftwaffe's fighters units. He built the He 70, which set eight world speed records in the early 1930s; the He 176, first aircraft to fly successfully with reaction motors; the He 178, first turbojet-powered aircraft; and the He 111 and He 162, widely used by Germany’s air force during World War II. Though he fell into disfavour with the Nazis late in the war, he was arrested by the Allies and tried for war crimes; he was released after the trial. Because his firm had been dissolved, he began a new company in 1950 to manufacture bicycles, motorbikes, and midget autos.

Prof. Heinrich Focke (1890-1979) he and his older brother, Wilhelm patenting a design for a pusher type aeroplane in December 1908. In 1909 brothers were joined by George Wolf, producing their first successful aircfraft the A5 in 1912. Following the  construction of A7, Focke in conjuction with Wulf and Dr. Werner Naumann, formed the Focke-Wulf Flugzeugbau. Although the company was reasonably successful it wasn't until Kurt Tank became chief designer that it achieved it greatest success. On 1 September 1945, Focke signed a contract with the French company SNCASE and assisted in development of their SE-3000 passenger helicopter, which was based on the Focke-Achgelis Fa 223 Drache and which first flew in 1948. In 1950, he worked as a designer with the North German Automobile Company (Norddeutsche Fahrzeugwerke) of Wilhelmshaven. In 1952, Focke and other members of his former design team were employed by Brazil's Centro Técnico Aeroespacial (CTA), at the time the air force's technical center, to develop a Convertiplane, the Convertiplano, which drew heavily on Focke's wartime work on the Fa 269. Also recruited was Bussmann, a transmission specialist formerly of BMW. The Convertiplano was built using the fuselage and wings of a Supermarine Spitfire Mk 15, which was believed to be one delivered to Argentina as a sales example. Britain refused to supply the Armstrong Siddeley Double Mamba engine originally selected and the design was altered to accept a mid-mounted 2200 hp Wright engine instead as used in the Lockheed Constellation, which necessitated a redesign of the transmission due to the increase in weight and vibration. Some 40 workers and US$8 million were devoted to the project, and more than 300 takeoffs were achieved.

Prof. Hugo Junkers (1859-1935), forming the Junkers company at Dessau for the manufacture of gas fired boilers, heating and ventilation equipment in 1895. He first became interested in aviation in 1909, being convinced that sheet metal construction could be applied to aircraft. In  1915 he built the J1, the world's first all-metal aircraft, which was nicknamed "Tin Dinkey". Despite its weight, the J1 was faster than any of its contemporiariers. The company continued witha series of successful metal aircraft including F13, the first metal airliner. Prof. Junekrs died in 1935. his name is also linked to some of the most successful German warplanes of the Second World War, Hugo Junkers himself had nothing to do with their development. He was forced out of his own company by the Nazi government in 1934.

Claudius Dornier - (1884-1969) completed his education in 1907 at Munich’s technical college and three years later began working for Ferdinand, Graf von Zeppelin, at the Zeppelin airship factory at Friedrichshafen. In 1911 he designed the first all-metal plane, and Zeppelin permitted him to found a separate division of the company, the Dornier aircraft works at Friedrichshafen. Wooden and metal fighters designed by Dornier were used by Germany in World War I, after which he assumed full control of his aircraft factory (Dornier Flugzeugwerke). During the 1920s he built widely used seaplanes, and in 1929 he introduced the Do X, at the time the world’s largest aircraft. With a wingspan of 157 feet (48 metres) and length of 130 feet (40 metres), the Do X was powered by 12 engines and carried 169 passengers; in 1931 it flew from Germany to New York City. Because of its great cost, however, the Do X was abandoned. During World War II the Dornier 17, a twin-engined bomber, was a standby of the Luftwaffe.

Prof.  Willy Messerschmitt (1898-1978) joining the Bayerische Flugzeugwerke in 1927 and forming a design team that repeatedly pushed the boundaries of aircraft performance, their Bf 108 Taifun and Bf 109 designs setting records and winning competitions in the second half of the 1930s. Messerschmitt AG was incorporated as a separate company on July 11 1938, with Willy Messerschmitt as chairman and managing directory, and produced many innovative aircraft for wartime Germany, including the Me 262 Schwalbe, the world's first jet fighter aircraft used in combat, and the rocket-powered Me 163 Komet. Other Messerschmitt aircraft included the Bf 110 twin-engine fighter-bomber, its less-effective successor Me 210, the Me 410 Hornisse, the enormous Me 321 Gigant transport glider, and its six-engined follow on, the Me 323.

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