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“Lives of the Aces in Pictures – Part 34: Lt. Rudolph von Eschwege” by Eugene Frandzen

Link - Posted by David on April 1, 2015 @ 6:00 am in

Back with another of Eugene Frandzen’s “Lives of the Aces in Pictures” from the pages of Flying Aces Magazine. The series ran for almost four years with a different Ace featured each month. This time around we have the April 1935 installment featuring the illustrated biography of the “German Eagle” himself—Lieutenant Rudolph von Eschwege!

Rudolph von Eschwege, known as the Eagle of the Aegean, was a German Ace who fought on the lesser known Balkan front and based at Drama, Greece. However, von Eschwege had been enlisted in the army before the war, and first saw combat with the 3rd Mounted Jaeger Regiment on the Western Front. It was several months later that he would take pilot training and transfer to aviation. First with a reconnaissance unit until he was commissioned in the Autumn of 1916 and tranfered to the Macedonian Front.

Unlike on the Western Front, German aircraft in Macedonia were greatly outnumbered. And young von Eschwege was given a tall order. He was responsible for protecting all German aircraft as well as intercepting any identified Allied aircraft along 37 miles of the Struma River and 62 miles of the Aegean coast—and he was also supposed to protect the Bulgarian 10th Division from aerial attacks. All this essentially on his own. With the odds against him—where Allied craft outnumbered Central Powers 10 to 1—Eschwege managed to carve out a fierce reputaion in the air. He is credited with 20 confirmed and 6 unconfirmed victories.

He was killed in action on the 21st of November 1917 when he attacked a British observation balloon that had been fitted with a dummy observer and 500 pounds of high explosives.

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