Oskar Gustav Rudolf Berthold

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Rudolf Berthold was born on 24 March 1891 at Ditterswind, Bravaria, in Germany. He started his military career as a Fähnrich in the Infantry, receiving the rank of leutnant on January 27th, January 1912. In 1913 he paid for his own flight lessons, having Oswald Boelcke among his fellow students and qualified as a pilot in September. Next year, his further training as a military pilot was interrupted by the outbreak of the war, on July 17th, 1914, when he was transferred to the air services. He served in many recon missions as an observer, receiving two Iron Crosses.

He became a military pilot on January 18th, 1915. He joined FFA 223 and flew recon missions with Leutnant Josef Grüner as the observer, on an unarmed two-seater, using a pistol for defence. Later they got machinegun. He also flew an AEG G.II from August to mid-September, and another from the 1st of October. On September 21st, he was promoted to Oberleutnant. In December, when Hans Joachim Buddecke was transferred to Turkey, he got his Fokker E.III, the only one available at that unit. The fighter units were formed and on January 11th, 1916, Berthold was put in charge of KEK Vaux and scored his first victory against a Voisin LA on February 2nd.

On August 24th, 1916, KEK Vaux was transformed into Jagdstaffel 4. On October 17th, Berthold was put in charge of Jagdstaffel 14. On August 12th, 1917, he took command of Jagdstaffel 18 that was later grouped with other Jastas into Jagdgruppe 7, again commanded by him.

Berthold flew the Pfalz D.III serial number 4004/17 in Autumn 1917, alternating with the Albatros D.III and preferring it to the Albatros D.Va. On the 10th of October he was been wounded and crippled in his right arm. He was promoted to Hauptmann on October 26th but took a long time to recover. Returning to service on May 1918, he flew with the use of a single arm. In the meantime he had been appointed to command of Jagdgeschwader 2 and switched all the men of Jasta 18 to Jasta 15. In this period he used a Pfalz D.IIIa with his personal insigna, alternating this with Fokker D.VIIs. On the 10th of August he shot down his 43th and 44th victory. He was shot down and unable to use his parachute, because of his crippled arm, he was injured and hospitalised - it was the end of his war career.


Pfalz D.IIIa Unknown serial


Jagdgeschwader 2