Heinrich Gontermann
Leutnant (Reserve), Commander, Jasta 15

He was award the Pour le Merite for distinguished military service, leadership, and his 21st aerial victory.

Born February 25, 1896 in Siegen in southern Westphalia
Jasta 5 and Jasta 15
39 Victories
Awards: Iron Cross 1st and 2nd class, Knight's Cross with Swords of the Hohenzollern House Order, the Bavarian Order of Max Josef, and the Pour le Merite.

PLM: 14 May 1917

He was the son of a cavalry officer. On 14 August 1914 he enlisted and was immediately sent to the front lines where he was wounded in action. By the end of the 1915, he requested a transfer to Air Service. He served as a pilot and observer on AGO C.II.s. He later petitioned for transfer to a fighter unit and was posted to Jasta 5 under the leadership of Oberleutnant Hans Berr on November 11, 1916. In 1917 he was made Staffelführer of Jasta 15.

He soon earned a reputation as being a Balloon Buster or Balloon Specialist. Of his total victory score 18 were balloon victories. Balloons were not considered easy targets since there was a certain amount of tactical danger involved in the approach and destruction of the object. On Easter morning 1917, Gontermann destroyed his first balloon and jokingly refered to it as his "first egg" and later he would score four "eggs" in one day. He was considered a superb marksman. His blossuming career was ended while flying one of the new Tri-Fokkers. The machine suffered structural failure while he was flying and he crashed landed. Heinrich Gontermann was pulled from the wreckage alive, but he died from the injuries he received. He was 21 years old.

The remains of Gontermann's plane after the crash.

 Jasta 5

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