Who's Who - Erich Lowenhardt
Erich Lowenhardt (1897-1918) was one of the German Air Service's highest-scoring fighter pilots of the First World War, with 54 victories prior to his death from an aerial collision in August 1918.
Born on 7 April 1897 in Breslau, Lowenhardt - the son of a doctor - began his military service with a Germany Army infantry regiment, a not unusual path to air service at the time.
Having successfully negotiated a transfer to the German Air Service Lowenhardt rapidly established a reputation as a fearsome exponent of the air war. Ultimately amassing some 54 victories by the summer of 1918, his death in a mid-air collision near Chaulnes on 10 August 1918 while flying with Jasta 10 proved a blow to the German Air Service. Following the collision Lowenhardt jumped from his aircraft, as did Alfred Wenz (with whom he collided). Wenz survived but Lowenhardt was killed when his parachute failed to open.
Lowenhardt had earlier been awarded the prestigious Pour le Merite on 31 May 1918.
In preparation for the Battle of the Somme, the British launched a seven-day artillery bombardment in which 1,500 guns fired 1.6 million rounds.
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