Deutsch-Amerika v.2 no.25 June 17, 1916 : Immelmann and the Iron Cross, War Bread and Food Shipments


Caption at bottom of photograph: Sunday Concert in the Enemy's Country
The local militia band performs at the square in front of the Cambrai townhall


"The Eagle of Lille"

During the war no other pilot has been covered as much by the domestic and foreign newspapers as German aviator Immelmann, who started as a lieutenant in the Air Corps Reserves but who is now promoted to First Lieutenant in active service in the Air Force. In an interesting article about the 'Northern Goshawk" by Beach Thomas in the London Daily Mail we find the following excerpt: "His method is less heroic than scientific. He does not seek adventure as such nor does he seek danger if he can avoid it. It is his sole intention to destroy any aircraft which dares to insert itself into his domain. His technique is completely different from that of the English. His plan is simple. He rises to a very high altitude, up to about 13,000 feet in order reach the desired point of observation then glides for a long stretch of flight back to the ground. His manoever is to soar diagonally, get behind the enemy and fire continually until the distant between him and the enemy is minimal. With that he either hits the enemy or misses him just like a true goshawk. He makes only one pass and if it fails he makes no further attempt. He never varies his tactics and does not repeat his attack. Undoubtedly Immelmann deserves the enthusiastic recognition given to him. He's been given the title 'The Eagle of Lille,' named after the city over which he predominantly flies."

A war reporter who visited the German main headquarters, asserted as follows: "I had the opportunity to speak with two captured English airmen about the German Air force. The names of Immelmann and Boelcke were known to them and they spoke of them with great animation in keeping with the English temprament. They said Immelmann was more familiar to them and they honestly admitted that he might be a problem for them. His plane is unbelievably fast and manoeverable and it demonstrated a propensity for dancing up and down whenever one wanted to attack it by surprise. This man and his machine are thorns in the side of the English Air Force. When I asked them if they hated him both young men looked quite astonished. 'Hate? Why? He flies, he fights, and he shoots good. He is a soldier. We do not hate soldiers.' 'I've been told there's a price on his head,' I said. But neither English pilot knew anything about that. Perhaps the French prisoners of war who told me this story weren't telling the truth. In answer to my question whether there were sometimes 100 Pound bets over battles between record-holding English pilots and Immelmann, 20-year-old Percy Shaw and 20-year-old Ernest Colemen appeared completely surprised and finally said, 'Oh, no! You are mistaken.' Then I asked if they knew how many enemy aircraft Immelmann had downed. They intimated eight, or maybe ten but they considered thirteen an exaggerated number. But in the long run it really didn't make a difference. For each lost aircraft England would build a new one and sign up a dozen new pilots. Among those maybe one would be an English Immelmann. To my question whether there were any Englsih pilots with similar records Coleman replied, 'The English know how to fly and shoot too.' Percy Shaw added that he had heard of a lieutenant who had brought down two German machines. 'Unfortunately we just lost that pilot,' he continued. 'There was no shame since Immelmann prevailed over him. He was a fine navigator and leader. One time I served as his machine gunner. Although later I served with an equally good pilot, it was Immelmann who shot at us from below and caused our engine to catch fire. I thought less about imminent death than capture.

Caption under photograph at top center: First Lieutenant Immelmann, the Master Pilot.
Caption under photograph at bottom left: Army Corps Commander General von Spalding.
Caption under photgraph at bottom right: fieldmarshall General von Bulow in Berlin.


"The Eagle of Lille," continued

When I felt the ground below my feet again I didn't know if I should laugh or cry. I survived. I jumped uninjured from the machine but now what! I had often read in our newspapers and heard from my comrades that it would be dreadful to land in the hands of the Germans. I was prepared for anything!' At my interjection, how could anybody believe something so ridiculous, he replied, 'German brutality is a common topic of conversation and that means more than just harshness but I must admit since my capture I have been well treated and I am once again happy.' I left the English pilots in order to seek out Immelmann, an unassuming and reserved soldier with large, peaceful eyes. He never spoke of the dangers inherent to his air battles. Risk and luck are personal experiences which he keeps to himself. It is in his character as a pilot to act quickly but speak little just as it is for other reasonable men. His manners are refined and his voice conveys warmth when he speaks about the personal letter he received from the Kaiser. He was particularly happy and proud that the Kaiser congratulated him on his twelfth victory. It's reported that when the Kaiser had to cross out twelve and write in the number thirteen he remarked, "One cannot write as quickly as Immelmann can shoot."

Immelmann's conrades take great pleasure in his successes. They claim that he can literally sniff out the prospect of prey. Boelcke possesses the same instinct. Each is suddenly overcome by the desire to go hunting. They climb into their extraordinarily fast machines and quickly seek out the enemy. and then there is their shooting prowess. One of the last Englishmen in battle with Immelmann was known for his courage. He continued firing after his plane had been hit and he was in a dive. Turning away from his machine gun he raised his fist to Immelmann as he went down. Among the ten awards earned for bravery you'll find the "Pour le Mérite" [Order of Merit] and the highest order of commendation from Saxony. He is also the recipient of numerous letters of commendation. The commandant of his battle unit merrily told me that for good or bad, he had to appoint someone to open Immelmann's mail, choose a hardy soldier to read the flood of praises, and someone who can write to fulfill requests for autographs.

_____

The Braggarts

Three artists sit in a cafe and talk about their work. "I just painted a marble column which looked so realistic that when the canvas was thrown in water it immediately sank to the bottom."

"I've got you beat," said the second artist. "When I hung a thermometer over my North Pole landscape the temperature immediately dropped to 20 degrees below zero."

"All that's nothing," said the third artist. "My Samson portrait is so life-like that he has to get his hair cut every week."

*

Just like Papa

Young Fritz is sent to the barber's to get a haircut. "Mr. Barber," he says, "I'd like my hair cut just like my father's with a beautiful white bare patch at the crown."

Caption under photograph at top left: In the Officer's part of the Vernon [British Columbia] POW Camp.
Next to the dog sits Karl con Mackensen, Lieutenant of the Death-Head Hussars, Nephew of the Fieldmarshal — Front right Dr. J. Schmiedl. Next to him Bank director Walter Bornemann and Transfer Agent H. Ulrich.

Caption under photograph at top center: Dr. J. Schmidel in the Vernon Camp. A quiet corner (The Doctor wrote on the back of the picture) — Table, pen stand, lamp with shade, and other small items we procured ourselves. (as our readers know, Dr. Schmidel also wrote a drama.)

Caption under photogrpah at top right: Prisoner Gymnastics. This picture was taken by H. Stollenwerk which he procured for himself in the prison camp


The Iron Cross

Despite its simplicity, the Iron Cross is the most coveted German award which can be bestowed for personal bravery in defense of the Fatherland. It was instituted on March 10, 1813 by King Friedrich Wilhelm III in Breslau. As a simple award of no monetary value it symbolizes the difficult and stark age which brought it into existence. Classes for the award come in the Grand Cross and the Knight's Cross, first and second class. On July 19 1870, the day of the French declaration of war, the award was redesigned from its original form by King Wilhelm I and revised again at the outbreak of hostilities in August 1914 by King Wilhelm II.

It may be of interest to learn how this little cross of iron came into being. [Text too muddled to translate rest of paragraph.]

A dark October day sat over Berlin as I made my way past two of the four workplaces to which the Award Commission assigns the task of manufacturing the Iron Cross. Rain gently fell and the ground felt cold. The flags, which would fly for a few more days to celebrate the fall of Antwerp, were hung like rows of garland strewn from house to house and tower to tower. The old streets in the heart of Berlin demonstrated their perennial importance. There was little indication of war. Only here and there did one find dispersed among the usual businesses signs of the war — ladies in deep mourning, a militiaman in uniform, a child at play wearing a soldier's cap. Sabers and trumpets left reminders that far away in a foreign land our sons and brothers sacrificed their blood, their youth, and their lives for us and our meager existences.

I stood before the door of a huge house of business. The street on which it resides is one of the oldest in Berlin. It's also a street where houses with basement entrances stretch out to the walkways and winding staircases and courtyards are found. There's an ancient wheat beer tavern here and through the dark gateway lies a smith's forge. I rode up the elevator of the house which turned out to be a brand new establishment. I went up four flights then I went into a work space which seemed not just filled with the cool air of modern machinery but also with the magic breeze of old-world crafting, in a word, a veritable goldmine.

The foreman, forever with a finished cross in his hand, led me to the smelting furnace where the pure silver is smelted into the prescribed alloy mixture of 935/1000. Whereas I got to see the object and the work in person, the reader may refer to the accompanying photographs. The silver block taken from the black oven appears only partially liquified but it is pourable and pure white when taken from the darkly glowing forge.

Captions - Left: From raw material to Iron Cross — Molding the silver pieces.
Right: Pressing the silver metal into silver edging. Engraving the molded block for the silver edge.


The semi-solid metal is rolled out to a half millimeter in thickness and cut into strips then squares This all happens with fairytale-like quickness. It is then sent to a hand-operated press. However there is an important interim step whereby the steel layer is produced. An artist etches a design on a copper plate with extremely sharp instruments. A lab coated technician engraves one of the four designs onto the steel and adds the rim decoration which form the Iron Cross. Never too many markings or too few. When the work is finished the steel is annealed. It's finished in the press and then it's sent off.

Men and machines work day and night with the counterweights of the presses swinging in a semicircle above the heads of the workers. Day and night the pieces of the crosses fly from the hard-working machines. So the fragile silver will not peel off it is put onto a small press rather than the large one, which is about 120 spindles strong. It's fun to watch as the bright silver stream jiggles under the press, spreads out shimmering on the brick plate and expands. This facility alone produces between three to four thousand cross frames. They are carefully placed in baskets, polished, filed then sent to the goldsmith. The stamping facility has done its job.

In the meantime the iron foundry produces the iron center for the crosses. The forges of Hephestus do their work. Then the iron is moved through old, winding streets. Rain still falls and it's not pleasant hurrying down these streets in perpetual darkness. But then the afternoon newspaper arrives and brings new and happy reports. The foolish heart beats once again and the Iron Cross, which I now see in my mind, all at once sparkles seductively.

Captions: Above left - Cutting the silver frame from the stamped metal piece.
Above right - Polishing the cross to a high finish.
Below - Soldering the Iron Cross.

_____

The Sugar-Coated War Bread Pill

Someone writes from Brussels: No, really! During these twenty months of war Le Figaro has had no other subject for its jokes than German war bread. Over there they write "Pain k.k." which to the reader is supposed to sound like the blaring of trumpets in irony. [Translator's note: Pain k.k. = Pain Krieg Kartoffeln = War Bread made with Potatoes.] On first glance one can't believe his eyes. An entire issue of Figaro without a single war bread joke! Perhaps the current editorial staff over the past twenty months has used up its entire inventory of satire? To say that would be evil slander. But to all appearances the war is an even bigger satirist than the war bread jokes of Figaro. Even the French now have their war bread: "Pain complète." [Complete Bread] The French say it is baked in accordance with the regulations of the Administrative cooks. They say this with a note of Courteline irony. The war bread satirist of Figaro must look back with melancholy as the object of his wit has backfired on him. War bread appeals to him so little that it's no longer funny to him to make fun of German war bread. His particular form of resentment has caused someone in the government chambers to believe that he must recommend French war bread, often with excessive amounts of praise for its healthful, nutritional and economical value. "Eh bien, ça non!" [Hey, not so!] protests Figaro. "If our reformers are attempting to impose on us the idea that this bread is better and more thorough nutrition it would have been better if they hadn't." And he concludes his narrative with the unamused argument, "If the measure is necessary, fine but spare us the sugar-coated pill. We wish to make it clear that this is a national safety measure and not an undertaking to make the citizenry happy." This sounds like a calm and insightful remark. Who would have thought that the satirical dragon's poison of Le Figaro would turn into a pious mindset...Unquestionably it deals not just with German war bread but their own...Only the moral of this story is lacking: Don't make fun of your enemy's war bread until you have tasted your own.


A sample of the articles from Le Figaro: 89 years of Le Figaro 1854 – 1942 imaged and searchable at http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb34355551z/date


Le Figaro, 8/9/1915 no.221 p.3

Anecdote from the front

German prisoners of war always have ravenous appetites. Once they’re taken they want to eat and gluttonously absorb whatever they’re given, above all else the bread.

One of them who was taken in the last round up did great work for our soldiers as did his comrades. But then everyone watched him in amazement as he ate German bread before the French bread.

Someone asked him the reason for this action. The prisoner responded, “French bread is like cake but German bread sits better in the stomach.

He was thoroughly interrogated and they learned that the kraut officers convinced their soldiers of this monstrosity of a lie to avoid comments against German war bread.


Le Figaro, 1/11/1916 no.11 p.3

Touring the War

The Misery in Germany

From the Morning Post in Amsterdam, fifth of this month: People arriving in Holland from a journey across Germany report that the economic situation in that county is becoming critical.

They say that everywhere the population is despondent and desperately wants peace. In most regions there exists veritable famine. Only people of means can procure nourishment in sufficient quantities. The largest majority of Germans, the middle class and the artisans, do not get enough to eat.

The famed war bread is scarcely edible. In many towns in the Rhine region they make a soup with herrings and peels from potatoes. Soldiers in the garrisons suffer a bit less than the rest of the population but the prisoners of war suffer much.

Riots have broken out in Berlin, Cologne, Dresden, Chemnitz, Breslau, Munster, Aachen, Duisburg and Essen. In this last town a crowd assembled in front of the mayor’s house and windows were broken.

In the opinion of the travelers there will surely come a time when the populace will force the German government to sue for peace.


Le Figaro, 4/22/1916 no. 113 p.2

Useless Gilding

We’re going to have “Complete Bread”, the composition of which shall be regulated by the administration (the same administration which 628 days ago decided it was necessary to the national defense to keep brioche but ban croissants.)

For the sake of those in the trenchs everyone is ready to suffer this and other inconveniences and such small sacrifices will merely enhance the art of conversation.

However someone from the halls of parliament the other day declared that this bread was “more healthy, more nourishing, more economical,” etc.

Well, it’s not! If our reformers are imposing on us the idea that this bread is better and more thorough nutrition it would have been better if they had left things alone.

If need be we will again eat the bread of 70-71 but don’t gild the crust. You can lie to the clocks, you can modify our flour, etc. But let it be known that this is a national precaution and not a measure taken for our individual well being.


News, ads and humor from Deutsch-Amerika, January 1, 1916, v.2 no.1


No Starvation!

The International Import & Export Commission Syndicate, No. 2-4 Stone St., New York has sent an enormous number of food supplies to Germany and Austro-Hungary. This has been done with the assistance of its European Import & Export houses. We owe them all our thanks. Much dire need has been alleviated due to their tireless and efficient activities.The New York firm enjoys a reputation for absolute reliability and receives so many referrals that on a daily basis there is a massive number of orders sent in from all corners of the globe via mail, telegraph, and telephone or delivered in person. As a result of the enormous number of food items the syndicate receives, it sends these supplies out to princes and other highly-placed individuals and newspapers in the old homeland. From there they are distributed by committees or dispersed directly to the neediest families. Thus far all attempts by the English to appropriate the enormous volume of orders going through these New York firms to the European houses have failed. Over and over again the goal-minded leadership of these houses has found the means to defeat this lurking and snooping foe.


Humor

A Law of Wartime.
During the march a soldier says to a pretty young woman putting on some lipstick: Hey, give me a kiss. It's the law!

Battle Report.
You were at Soissons. Tell us about it.
We were ordered to go into U formation. We advanced. The French uselessly tried to surround the formation...
How come it was useless?
They went into a wedge formation.

A Gift of Love.
Are you sending your wife a lot of love gifts?
Of course. — Every day I send her a thousand kisses!

Military Intelligence.
Have you ever seen a goulash cannon? [A German Army Mobile Kitchen]
Parts here, parts there.
What does that mean?
I've seen goulash, I've seen cannons, but I've never seen them together.

A Modern Fairytale.
A young girl goes into the forest. She's having a wonderful time when suddenly she meets a fairy! She asks the fairy, "Where did you come from?"
"I live here," replied the fairy.
"But I never knew fairies lived here."
"You're the only one who's seen me because you are a small and happy child."
"If you've always been here how come people haven't seen you?"
To this the fairy replied, "Because I ask to borrow money!"

Austria.
They love their frills and love to dance.
They love kissing and crowded affairs.
Their days are short and their festivals long.
Their hearts are as light as air.
Then you say Phäakenland [Corfu]
Scene of lightning and fire brand.
A great time for changing things
When fate spreads its iron wings.

Men afraid, their hands shaking,
No one sleeps soundly at all.
Girls alone, no boys attending,
They all rose to the Kaiser's call.
They've lost all their happy stance,
They no longer sing and dance.
Their song is an ancient one,
God preserve each mother's son.

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WELCOME GIFTS OF LOVE

Mailed directly from the United States to Germany and Austro-Hungary

We send directly from the Continent with the help of our Rotterdam Office to Germany or Austro-Hungary and even to the Front. Food supply packages composed of the following contents: Bratwurst, Liver Paste, Liverwurst, Mettwurst, Dutch Cheese, Marmelade, Sardines in oil, Sprats, Salmon, Mackerel and Herring. All items recognized for their fine quality.


4 pound package ... $2.00
8 pound package ... $4.00
16 pound package ... $7.50

100 of the finest Turkish cigarettes ...$2.00
100 of the finest cigars ......................$3.75

We also take orders for assortment packages for "FORGOTTEN WARRIORS" and PRISONERS OF WAR

Guaranteed carefully handled. Proof of receipt sent via post card. All items postage and tax free. Money Orders or checks accepted.

Here's an except from a letter sent to us ackonwledging receipt of package:
"What great joy you have given us again today. I wish you had been with us when the package arrived and we unpack the wonderful contents. We were moved to tears by so much love. And the assortment of goods was magnificent, so wonderfully according to our tastes and appropriate to our circumstances. This evening we are satisfied, happy and grateful for your love and care."

TRANSATLANTIC RELIEF PACKAGE COMPANY
22-24 State St., N.Y. (In the building of the Royal General Consulate of Austria)


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