Early German Aces of World War I
by Greg VanWyngarden
The Fokker Eindecker (monoplane) can truly be said to have begun the age of fighter aviation. With the development of its revolutionary synchronised system that enabled the machine gun to fire through the propellor, Fokker E I pilots caused consternation in the Allied air services as they began to reap a harvest of victims in the summer of 1915. While the first victory with a Fokker E-type is now believed to have been earned by Kurt Wintgens on 1 July 1915, it was the exploits of Max Immelmann and Oswald Boelcke that made the machine legendary. These men, along with others such as Parschau and Hohndorf, received the adulation of the German public along with such honors as the first awards of the coveted Blue Max. They created the tactics and principles of German fighter aviation as they did so, developing doctrine that is still relevant to today's fighter pilots.
However, by the end of 1916, the glory days of the lone hunter and his Fokker Eindecker were over. They were replaced by a succeeding generation of biplane fighters which would be flown in new formations - the Jagdstaffeln or 'hunting groups'. The story of these first Fokker and Halberstadt biplane fighters and their pilots concludes this volume.
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