Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

Shot down by French Flak - or: The Sturdyness of a Pfalz D.IIIa

Recommended Posts

Shot down by French Flak - or: The Sturdyness of a Pfalz D.IIIa


(Excerpt from K. F. Kurt Jentsch: "Beim Jagdflug tödlich verunglückt?")


I am still reading Karl Friedrich Kurt Jentsch's book "Beim Jagdflug tödlich verunglückt?".

Now I came to a passage, where he is getting shot down by Flak, and how his sturdy

Pfalz D.IIIa faithfully carries him back over the lines, before "she dies".


I thought you might like to share this part, and since I don't know of any translations

of the book, I translated it for you to share.

The people back in Jentsch's days expressed many things even different to nowadays

Germans, and I have tried to keep his own 'speech' as far as possible (so excuse me,

when it doesn't read like proper English).


I posted it in the other forum; here is the link:



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

If I should have had to make a choice out of all OFFers I know, who this story would come closest to -

I would have picked your name immediately, Bullet!



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Olham: He says he heard a Frenchman nearby. Did he make it his side of the lines, or was he captured?


Ooops! Just re-read the opening lines of your post again. He made it.

Edited by Hauksbee

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, Hauksbee, he made it; and he even survived the war.

I have visited the Canal near Chauvignon and that water bassin (in Google Maps) , and found one crater-

like pool next to the modern motorway - it could be a mine crater, and even that one Jentsch dropped into.

I guess the French he heard were soldiers right over the Canal on the other side, shouting to

each other about the crashed craft.

Edited by Olham

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the translation, Olham. I really enjoy reading the anecdotes. When I have similar flights I usually end up in the trees or detonate :)

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Addition to above translation:

I have read on now, and Jentsch did not come down on German held terrain, but in no man's land.


Covered with mud, he was quite well camouflaged, and he did what he had learned in basic trainings:

he crawled through the lowest furrows in the terrain towards the German lines. When he reached

the first barbed wire barricades, he knew there were always small gaps for the most forward patrols

to slip through. He found one and moved on, still crawling.

When he saw a first single German soldier with a rifle, he approached him from behind (quite risky,

I thought!) and spoke to him, when he was close enough. The soldier was quite shocked, but had

a calm and warm Bavarian temper.

"Ah, there you've got away fine again!" he said, "the primary position is still quite a way behind."

He led Jentsch through the running trench; they came to a search light and barbed wire barricades.

At a railtrack near the main position two officers took him over. They looked at him with deep

mistrust; only when he peeled out of his jacket, and they saw the Iron Cross and his aviator's badge,

they became friendlier.

There Jentsch was brought into a deep dugout built of solid wooden beams. The Bavarians gave

him some Zwieback and cold tea. They told him, that he had to wait for the darkness.

"The French have full insight into all our positions here; they would start firing at once. The artillery

should begin any minute. They always try to destroy planes, which come down in no man's land."

And really, the artillery began only minutes after that. The earth was shaking from close impacts.

but the dugout was solidly built.

In wire beds left and right, soldiers were sleeping; candles in empty bottles' necks were lighting the

dugout dimmly. Smoking cigarettes, Jentsch told them what happened.

After darkness ad fallen, an Unteroffizier lead Jentsch all the way to the rearward lines. Still running

through trenches with very bad vision, Jentsch fell several times. The French arty was still firing,

and sometimes a close granade came hurling over with the characteristic deep howling. Impacts.

From a shallow slope, they could see the occasional white flares going up over the front lines.

At 10 PM they reached Molinchart. All windows were blinded; no light could be seen.

From the artillery commander's house Jentsch can make a round-call for Jasta 61. After a while,

they answer, and they get their Staffelführer to the phone.

"Here is Vizefeldwebel Jentsch".

"Jentsch?" A doubtful voice. "Jentsch is dead!"

"Not yet, Herr Oberleutnant, I'm alive!" He told them, where he was right now.

After many worried and caring questions, Oblt. von Daniels told him he'd send a car.

The telephone room of the artillery commander was very comfortably warm from an iron stove

and the light of carbide lamps. They served Jentsch some army bred and liver sausage.

Around midnight, a car with screened off headlights appeared.

With a food package, Oberleutnant Daniels climbed out. He had insisted to come in person.


During the ride back Jentsch heard, that they had already reported his death to the army

high command. At 2 h in the night they arrive at Voyenne. The comrades had set up a meal

table for Jentsch in the mess. A bowl with a mix of delicious stuff, and even a bottle of wine.

Jentsch's brother (who was his mechanic) had organised some sweet confection.

Deeply moved by so much attention and attachment, Jentsch ate what he could.

Fifteen minutes later he dropped himself onto his bed like a dead. He slept deep and well.

They let him sleep until 11 AM - no one was allowed to disturb him.

When he entered the office, Feldwebel Gröpler congratulated him to his return, and handed

the 'Tagesbefehl' of the 7. Army to him. He read:

"Flugzeugführer Vizefeldwebel Jentsch, Jagdstaffel 61, beim Jagdflug tödlich verunglückt."

("Pilot Vizefeldwebel Jentsch, Jagdstaffel 61, killed in an accident on a fighter sortie.")


The big Behrens came in and shook Jentsch's hand on his "rebirth".

"The condemned live long" he said smiling.

Edited by Olham

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  


Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..