Otto Könnecke
Leutnant, Jasta 5

He was awarded the Pour le Merite for distinguished military service, leadership, and his 32nd aerial victory.

Born 20 December 1892 in Strassberg in the Sangerhausen region
Jasta 25, Jasta 5
33 (35 according to Jasta 5 records) Victories
Awards: Golden Military Merit Cross, Knight's Cross with Swords of the Hohenzollern House Order, and the Pour le Merite. NOTE: He was one of only five individuals to receive the Golden Military Merit Cross and the Pour le Merite.

PLM: 26 September 1918

He was born the son of a carpenter and followed in his father's footsteps by coming a carpenter's apprentice after his schooling. He attended the Building Trade School in Frankfurt am Main where he studied to perfect his trade. By 1911 he grew bored of this mundane life and volunteered for service with the Railroad Regiment 3 at Hanau. Two years later he transferred to the Flyer Battalion 4 at Metz where he became a pilot. Before the war he served with various units and served as an instructor for awhile until he was sent to Jasta 25 when the war broke out and was needed elsewhere. He was later transfered to Jasta 5.

While in Jasta 5, Vizefeldwebel and Officer Candidate Otto Könnecke gained his first aerial victory against a French Farman on 5 February 1917. This was followed by more aircraft and several balloons. He was recognized for his skill and bravery and was promoted to the rank of Leutnant. Prior to receiving the rank of Leutnant, High Command acknowledged his skill and dedication with the Golden Military Merit Cross. He is one of five holders of the Pour le Merite to also have this award. He is also one of few Pour le Merite recipients to have started out as an enlisted man.

He often flew an Albatros DV in 1917 with a green fuselage, tail, and elevators, edged red with a thin red line round the fuselage just in front of the tail. The machine also had black and white checkerboard markings, edged in red, just ahead of the fuselage cross, red spinner. He officially ended the war with 33 victories, but according to Jasta 5 records he should have been given 35 victories to his name.

After the war Könnecke was one of the first pilots to be involved in using aircraft as the exclusive means of transport. In 1926 he joined the newly formed Luftansa as a pilot, and he also played an active role in the re-establishment of the civil air traffic, so it was no surprise that in 1935 he was called upon to assist in the development of the new German Luftwaffe. He returned to uniform with that organization, and was given command of the Flying School at Scrau. He obtained the rank of Major. Otto Könnecke died in Germany on 25 January 1956.

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