Oswald Boelcke
Oswald Boelcke
Oswald Boelcke
  • Country: Germany
  • Rank: Hauptmann
  • Units: Jasta 2
  • Victories: 40
  • Date Of Birth: May 19, 1891
  • Place of Birth: Giebichstein, Saxony
  • Date Of Death: October 28, 1916
  • Place of Death: Unknown
  • Buried: Ehrenfriedhof, Dessau

Germany’s First Ace

In 1915, Boelcke was the pilot chosen to test Anthony Fokker’s new machine gun synchronizing device installed on a Fokker Eindecker. It was a great success and Boelcke used the new invention to become the first German ace. Boelcke and Max Immelmann were awarded the Orden Pour le Mérite (Blue Max) on January 12, 1916. They 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 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.

Dicta Boelcke

  1. Always try to secure an advantageous position before attacking. Climb before and during the approach in order to surprise the enemy from above, and dive on him swiftly from the rear when the moment to attack is at hand.
  2. Try to place yourself between the sun and the enemy. This puts the glare of the sun in the enemy’s eyes and makes it difficult to see you and impossible for him to shoot with any accuracy.
  3. Do not fire the machine guns until the enemy is within range and you have him squarely within your sights.
  4. Attack when the enemy least expects it or when he is preoccupied with other duties such as observation, photography or bombing.
  5. Never turn your back and try to run away from an enemy fighter. If you are surprised by an attack on your tail, turn and face the enemy with your guns.
  6. Keep your eye on the enemy and do not let him deceive you with tricks. If your opponent appears damaged, follow him down until he crashes to be sure he is not faking.
  7. Foolish acts of bravery only bring death. The Jasta must fight as a unit with close teamwork between all pilots. The signal of its leaders must be obeyed.