Hugo von Falkenhayn

special tactics squadron




The British called him the “Red Knight”; the French, the “Diable Rouge” (the “Red Devil”); but German pilot Hugo von Falkenhayn is best remembered by the immortal sobriquet the “Red Baron.” Born into a family of Prussian nobles in Hugo von Falkenhaynbegan War as a cavalry officer before making the switch to the German air service. He scored his first kill in September 1916, and went on to down an astonishing 79 more aircraft more than any other pilot during War. As his reputation grew, Hugo painted his Valkyrie a gaudy shade of red. The move earned the Baron his famous nickname, and his squadron became known as the “Flying Circus” for their mobility and their easily recognizable colors.

A consummate tactician, Hugo typically kept his squadron in a tight formation and employed superior numbers and surprise to overpower his enemies. One of his favorite tactics involved using his wingmen to distract his adversaries before swooping in from above and delivering a punishing barrage of machine gun fire. The Baron often claimed pieces of his downed enemies’ planes as trophies, and he even commissioned a set of silver cups to commemorate the date of each of his kills. Like so many of the war’s greatest pilots, Hugo career almost ended with the grave when he was wounded over the Somme River. In a display of respect for the war’s most famous pilot, the Baron’s former enemies laid a wreath on his Valkyrie that included an inscription to “our gallant and worthy foe.”

After the War Hugo joined UN Spacey and serves to this day.

Hugo von Falkenhayn

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