Rudolph Berthold’s final dogfight came on August 10, 1918, when he shot down two RAF DH-4 bombers, but collided with the second of these victories and crashed into a house. It should also be noted that he flew with one hand because of past injuries.
Berthold started his career as a soldier with the 3rd Brandenberg Infantry regiment in 1910. He learned to fly at his own expense in 1913. Thus he transferred to the German Air Service when war broke out in August 1914, and over the next two years flew as an Observer in a Halberstadt and DFW two seaters with FFA 23, winning the Iron Cross 1st and 2nd class. Switching to Fokker Eindeckers later in 1916, Berthold was injured in the first of several crashes in his wartime career in April 1916, by which time he already had 5 victories. In October 1916, he joined Jasta 14. He served with this unit until May 1917 when he was wounded in combat with a RFC scout, suffering a fractured skull, broken nose, pelvis and thigh. In August he was given command of Jasta 18, although during a dogfight a bullet crippled his upper arm in October. He refused to retire, however, and received the Pour le Mérite in October 1917. The arm wound would prevent him from flying with both hands yet he continued to fly.
In March 1918 he returned to active service and took command of the 2nd Jagdgeschwader, transferring his Jasta 18 personnel into Jasta 15. Despite being in constant pain from his unhealed injuries, Berthold continued flying. He refused any surgical help because he was believed an operation would make it impossible for him to continue flying. Berthold didn't even have the bullet removed from his arm. Through the summer of 1918 Berthold continued flying, increasingly relying on morphine for pain relief. Such was his strength of will he also taught himself to write with his left hand.
With JG 2, Berthold often flew a Pfalz D.III in preference to the Albatros D.V, until May 1918 when the new Fokker D.VII entered service.Berthold had a personal insignia of a winged sword on the side of the blue fuselages and red noses sported by all aircraft of Jasta 15.
The sky is an original digital painting. The aircraft models from Rise of Flight.
Art work was done using Photoshop, Paint.Net and GIMP. Cheers, Mike
Old soldiers seldom have anything but respect and affection for those, who like themselves, survived the conflict.
Sadly we have seen the passing of the last veterans of that war. But they have joined their comrades in the hallowed halls of memory where they are again young .