Uniform of Lieutenant Max Immelmann, the `Eagle Of Lille`.

In the military museum of the German army in Dresden is one of the most rare uniforms of all. It is the complete uniform of the famous fighter pilot Max Immelmann (born: 21.09.1890, killed in action 18.06.1916). Immelmann came from an industrial family background in Dresden. From early on he was interested in technology. In 1905 he joined the Royal Sachsen Cadet´s Institute as a cadet. Wanting to study at Dresden Technical University, he left the Institute in 1912. He ap-plied to join the Aviation unit in 1914, and became a member in November of that same year.

Soon after his successful pilot´s exam he was transferred to the Field Aircraft Detachment 10 in Belgium, where he shortly after that changed to the FFA 62. On August 1st, 1915 he succeeded in shooting out a British aircraft from a group of nine machines, even though his own machine-gun stalled several times. He came down next to the emergency-landed British machine and personally took both pilots as prisoners. For this he was awarded the Iron Cross 1st class.

We can see this medal (illustrated) with his name and the date engraved on the reverse side. In January 1916 Immelmann was awarded the Pour lé Mérite which is also illustrated here. Immelmann was not only a courageous airman, he was an excellent tactician. He was the first flyer to attack from the direction of the sun, so that his enemy could not notice how close he was. Taking advantage of height and speed he used airspace completely, which was more than a match for his opponents.

Uniform of Lieutenant Max Immelmann, the `Eagle Of Lille`
Iron Cross 1st class
Immelmanns Aviator Badge
Immelmanns Aviator Badge

One of his flying manoeuvres during combat has been named after him. The so-called Immelmann-Roll is a half-loop with a subsequent turn/roll. In this manner a pilot gains not only height but changes flight direction at the same time.

After his promotion to First Lieutenant in April 1916, he took part in a patrol flight on June 18th over Annay with three other machines. Immelmann was killed, it seems, by friendly-fire from his own artillery unit in combat over Sallaumines in northern France.


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