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Военная историяJagdstaffel 5 Volume One

Jagdstaffel 5 Volume One
Jagdstaffel 5 Volume One (Windsock Datafile Special)
By G. K. Merrill

Publisher: Albatros 2004 59 Pages
ISBN: 190220767X

Our fascination with German fighter squadrons (Jagdstaffeln, -Jastas for short) stems from several sources. Certainly, the almost Wagnerian quality of their efforts played a role. These young teutonic knights setting off on their chargers to do epic and noble battle against a superior foe stirs the soul and tends to obscure the fact that most of them met horrible, often flaming, death in ways that were far from heroic. The successes of the German air forces {Luftstreitkrafte) were legendary, however, and included nearly total domination over their British opponents during 'Bloody April' 1917 during which 40% of British air assets were lost. They also had huge successes during 'Black September' 1918, when numbers of the redoubt­able Fokker D.VII fighter had increased so that most Jastas had them, the pilots to man them, the fuel to propel them, and the ammunition to arm them. During this month the Luftstreitkrafte destroyed more enemy aircraft than in any month of the war, yet the numbers of their opponents actually increased during the month. The overwhelming superiority in numbers and greatly increased quality of their opposition, along with shortages in all things needed to wage an air war, led the German air forces along the road to Gotterdammerung, an inevitable and total defeat in fact, if not in spirit.
Within the rise and fall of the Luftstreitkrafte there were certain Jastas that particularly exemplified the passage of events, the triumphs, the losses and the ultimate defeat. Most of these were the Kanonenstaffeln, the squadrons of Kanone or aces. Well illustrating many of the aspects of German First World War fighter operations was Kdnigliche PreuBische Jagdstaffeln, Jasta 5, truly an ace squadron. Sources will always differ on the exact number of victories 'scored' by a particular unit; Jasta 5 is credited with 253 by one source, 263 by another, a third says 'over 300'. Jasta 5 was the third highest scoring German unit as it followed Jastas 11 and 2 (Boelcke) in its victory total.

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