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History of the German KEK and Fokkerstaffels


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About the Author

JOHAN R. RYHEUL was born in Bruges, Flanders, and has written various articles for local and international magazines on archaeological and First World War subjects. Ryheul has participated in First World War documentaries for the BBC and The History Channel. He has written nine books in Dutch about First World War aerial and naval warfare.


"... looks into the histories of Kampfeinsitzer Kommandos (also known as KEKs) and the Fokkerstaffels (the first of these fighter units), which appeared in 1915-1916. The author presents each of these units, their notable pilots, and the actions that took place over the front as well as the aerodrome locations. Familiar names such as Boelcke, Immelmann, Buddecke, Frankl, Wintgens, von Althaus, Loerzer, and their contemporaries fill the pages along with their "first" actions. The accounting of these early combats is the heart of this work, details of which proffer a foretaste of what was yet to come. The author has taken a great deal of effort to locate where the aerodromes were and provides the reader with a view of their locality using modern maps. It would have been even more valuable had the geographic coordinates been included, though the author does give a descriptive caption of their locations. Reading this work has shown just how widely dispersed these 26 units were; with bases ranging from the Vosges to Flanders there is good reason for the term "Fokker Scourge" having entered in the wartime vocabulary. With over 250 images there is a good visual representation accompanying the text. Ryheul makes clever use of digital imaging technology with a variety of "then and now" composited images. This technique works by combining a 100-year-old photograph with a recent color image of the same view of the locality, thereby creating a sense of connection to the past. The bibliography is useful though the details of the archival research material are not provided and only the institutional name is listed. This book is a good example of the level of study that is being undertaken by a growing group of dedicated researchers and historians; it is a valuable work and one that warrants attention."--Aerodrome
"a good example of the level of study that is being under taken by a growing group of dedicated researchers and historians. It is a valuable work and one that warrants attention from those interested in the first major war in the air."--Air Power History, Summer 2016

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