Black Fokker Leader: Carl Degelow - The First World War’s by Peter Kilduff

By Peter Kilduff

Black Fokker chief: Carl Degelow - the 1st international War’s final Airfighter Knight

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Extra resources for Black Fokker Leader: Carl Degelow - The First World War’s last Airfighter Knight

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On 23 December 1915 Yanchenko was transferred to the 3rd KAO, and three months later he requested a posting to fighter aviation. Assigned to the 7th AOI, he served with such success in this unit during July and August 1916 that he was awarded the soldier’s St George Cross 2nd and 1st Class and promoted to Praporshchik. That summer the pilots of the 7th AOI had been engaged in aerial combat over the Brzeżany-Halych-Bolshovtsy-Buchach sector of the front. On 8 July, in accordance with a 2nd AK order, Yanchenko was awarded the soldier’s St George Cross 2nd Class No 10528 ‘for air combat with enemy aeroplanes’.

With the onset of war the 3rd KAO was attached to the staff of the 3rd AK of the 1st Army, which was fighting in Eastern Prussia. Commanded by Shtabs-Kapitan Georgy Myachkov, the 3rd KAO had five Nieuport IVs and eight officers (five pilots and three observers). The only pilot to have risen through the ranks was Makijonek. On 8 August Makijonek, flying in difficult conditions, succeeded in finding units of the Guards cavalry corps of Gen Khan-Nakhichevansky and handing over an order to him from the 3rd AK commander.

The following day the commander of the 7th Army took off in a Voisin biplane on a reconnaissance mission, as he wanted to see the position of German forces for himself. He was escorted by a flight of three fighters from the 19th KAO, the aircraft being flown by Praporshchiks Smirnov and Leman and Poruchik Guber. Again, no enemy aircraft were encountered. On 15 August Smirnov ‘met an enemy aeroplane west of Gorodok and joined battle, which lasted until all my cartridges were spent’. The following day ‘north of Skala at 1915 hrs, I attacked two enemy aeroplanes.

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