Emil Thuy

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Emil Thuy
Emil Thuy.jpg
Birth date 11 March 1894 (1894-03-11)
Place of birth Hagen, Province of Westphalia, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire
Death date 11 June 1930 (1930-06-12) (aged 36)
Place of death Near Smolensk, Soviet Union
Resting place Invalids' Cemetery (Invalidenfriedhof), Berlin, Germany
Allegiance  German Empire
Service/branch Iron Cross of the Luftstreitkräfte.png Imperial German Army
Years of service 1914–1918/1930
Rank Leutnant der Reserve
Unit Flieger-Abteilung (Artillerie) 53
Royal Saxon Jagdstaffel 21
Royal Württemberg Jagdstaffel 28
Commands held Jagdstaffel 28w
Jagdgruppe 7
Awards Pour le Mérite
Other work Engineer

Emil Thuy (11 March 1894 – 11 June 1930) was a German officer of the Imperial German Army. Between 1915 and 1918, the World War I flying ace of the Luftstreitkräfte shot down 35[1] or 36[2] enemy planes (Luftsiege). He was also involved in the covert founding of the Finnish Air Force and the secret fighter school of the Reichswehr at Lipetsk, Soviet Union.


A truck hauls Thuy’s dismantled Albatros D.V along a country road as Royal Saxon Jagdstaffel 21 moves to a new airfield in July 1917.
Emil Thuy was born in Hagen [other sources state in Barmen near Wuppertal], Germany, the son of a factory owner [tool factory; his mother owned a drugstore]. He was interested in airplanes even as a child, building models and testing a glider. After graduation from secondary school, he worked for a while in a colliery in Lebanon, Germany. He then enrolled in 1913 in the Faculty of Mining at the Technical University of Clausthal; he was interested in metallurgical engineering. In August 1914, Thuy volunteered to serve as a pioneer, which was the German equivalent of a combat engineer. After only six weeks basic training, he was rushed into combat. In November 1914, he was so severely wounded as to be considered unfit for further military service. Nevertheless, when he recuperated, he volunteered for the Luftstreitkräfte. He underwent aviation training in Berlin. He then reported for duty with FFA 53, which was a reconnaissance unit that spotted and directed artillery fire from the air. He reported in on 10 July 1915 as a Vizefeldwebel or non-commissioned pilot. He would remain with FFA 53 until 1 November 1916. Despite flying a two seater plane poorly suited for combat, he scored his first victory on 8 September 1915. On 1 November 1916, he entered fighter pilot training, graduating only 18 days later. He was then assigned to Jagdstaffel 21, then equipped with Albatros fighters. He was commissioned a leutnant (lieutenant) in the reserves on 27 March 1917 after three weeks training. On 16 April 1917, after joining Saxon Jagdstaffel 21 [under Eduard-Maria Joseph Schleich ], he scored his second victory. He began to tally triumphs on a regular basis [leading young pilots as Kettenführer, among them Karl Thom ]. By the time he left Jasta 21 on 29 September 1917, his list read 14, with number 14 being shot down on 22 September. He then transferred to command Jasta 28 (Württemberg), which had lost two commanders killed in action in the previous month. On 24 September, he scored his first victory with his new squadron. He continued to accumulate wins on a steady basis, by ones and twos. He was injured in a crash on 2 February 1918. On the 20th, he was discharged from hospital and returned to duty. On 30 June 1918, he was awarded the Blue Max (Pour le Merite). At about this time, he changed aircraft from the Pfalz D.III he had been flying, to a Fokker D.VII. In July, Jagdgruppe 7 was founded, incorporating his Jasta and three others [among them Jasta 57 with Hans Viebig ]. Thuy commanded both JG 7 and Jasta 28 simultaneously. He ended his victory string by shooting a double on 14 October 1918.
Thuy resumed his studies and upon graduation, joined his father in the family's factory in Hagen. He wrote treatises on aviation on the side. As a result, he received an offer from Siemens-Schuckert to be a "technical consultant" for the Finnish Air Force. Thuy was a member of a paramilitary veterans organization known as the Stahlhelmbund, which was the armed wing of the German National People's Party. He was active in the resistance to the French and Belgian occupation of the Ruhr (Ruhrkampf). He then went to Finland in early 1923 as an Oberleutnant or senior lieutenant. He was the head of the aerial gunnery department of the Finnish Air Force Flying School, departing finally about 16 August 1924. The Treaty of Versailles banned Germany from having an air force. To get around this, a secret training base was established in the Soviet Union, at Lipetsk, in 1924. Thuy was offered the opportunity to serve there [on behalf of the Reichswehr Ministry, but it is not known, if he officially belonged to the Reichswehr] and accepted. On 11 June 1930, while flying from Moscow to Berlin as part of this mission, Thuy crashed fatally in the vicinity of Smolensk. He was testing a secret Albatros L 76 reconnaissance airplane at the time.[3]

Awards, decorations and honours

Awards and decorations

Honours (excerpt)

  • 1934: The Emil-Thuy-Straße, the former Schützenstraße (where his family home was), a street in Hagen (Westphalia), was named in honour of Emil Thuy
  • 21 April 1936: The Thuyring, the former Sachsenring, a street in the aviator district (Fliegerviertel) of Berlin-Tempelhof, was named in honour of Emil Thuy
  • 10 November 1941: Renaming of Comradeship 1 of the former fraternity Turnerschaft Germania (Turnerschaft Rheno-Germania) to Comradeship "Emil Thuy"[4]


Three known passenger and transport planes of the Deutsche Luft Hansa (DLH) were named in honour of Emil Thuy:

  • D-ABAN (first D-3382) Junkers Ju 52/3mge (WNr. 4044) since 1934, sold to Eurasia China, renamed Marshall Chiang Kai-shek on 1 September 1934
  • D-AKYS Junkers Ju 52/3m (WNr.5098) from 1935 to 1939, sold to Spain and named "Ebro"
  • D-ADBW Junkers Ju 52/3mte (WNr. 6650), in service since 27 October 1939, later used in WWII by the Luftwaffe, chartered since 1942 (Luftfeldpoststaffel), sold to the Luftwaffe in 1944, shot down as a plane of the 5. Staffel/Transportgeschwader 2 (TG2) over Rivia, Italy on 30 January 1944