Ernst Koschel

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Ernst Koschel
Prof. Dr. med. et. Dr. phil. Ernst Koschel.jpg
Luftwaffe military physician
Prof. Dr. med. et. Dr. phil. Ernst Koschel
Birth name Ernst Otto Wilhelm Koschel
Birth date 21 May 1875(1875-05-21)
Place of birth Hannover, Province of Hanover, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire
Death date 21 August 1961 (aged 86)
Place of death Tegernsee, Bavaria, West Germany
Allegiance German Empire German Empire
Germany Weimar Republic
National Socialist Germany National Socialist Germany
Service/branch War and service flag of Prussia (1895–1918).png Prussian Army
Iron Cross of the Luftstreitkräfte.png Imperial German Army
War Ensign of the Reichswehr, 1919 - 1935.png Preliminary Reichswehr
Luftwaffe eagle.jpg Luftwaffe
Rank Generalstabsarzt
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Iron Cross
War Merit Cross
Relations ∞ 1905 Martha Luise Eltester

Ernst Otto Wilhelm Koschel (21 May 1875 – 21 August 1961) was a German physician, expert of aviation medicine and military doctor (Sanitätsoffizier), finally in the rank of general in World War II.

It is amazing how many scientific achievements he, as chief medical officer with the Chief of Field Aviation (Chef der Sanitätsabteilung des Chefs des Feldflugwesens), offered the Fliegertruppe, whose pilots, flying higher and faster, suffered from the Fliegerkrankheit, the altitude sickness also known by mountain climbers. He was friends with his counterpart from the Royal Flying Corps after WWI. He helped Martin William Flack (head of aviator examinations, RFC) with his scientific articles.[1]

Life (chronology)

Aviation lecture from 1913 by Stabsarzt Dr. Koschel with the title: "What Requirements Must Be Placed on the Health of Aircraft Pilots?"[2]
Dr. Koschel while testing new parachutes for the observation balloon troops (Feldluftschiffer)[3]
Fliegeruntersuchungsstelle Berlin, 1935
  • Student at the Gymnasium in Breslau und Berlin
  • 10 March 1894 Abitur
  • Entered the Army as a One-Year-Volunteer in the 1st Kaiser-Alexander-Guards-Grenadier-Regiment in Berlin (31 Mar / 01 Apr 1894-30 Sep 1894)
  • Discharged to Reserve (30 Sep 1894)
  • Studies at the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Academy (Kaiser-Wilhelms-Akademie) for Military Medical Training Affairs in Berlin (01 Oct 1894-30 Sep 1898)
    • 15 March 1898 Received PhD (Dr. med.) with the dissertationDie Syphilis der Speicheldrüsen“ ("Syphilis of the Salivary Glands")
  • Reactivated as Unterarzt in the Colbergsches Grenadier-Regiment „Graf Gneisenau“ (2. Pommersches) Nr. 9 (01 Oct 1898-06 Sep 1901)
    • 30 September 1899 Commanded to a Practical Course at the Charite Clinic in Berlin
    • 15 March 1900 State examination
  • Medic in the Airship-Battalion and Training as a Free-Balloon-Pilot (01 Oct 1901-17 Aug 1903)
    • Sanitätsoffizier im Luftschiffer-Bataillon in Berlin sowie Ausbildung als Freiballonführer; It is unknown whether he was awarded the field airshipman's balloon pilot's badge (Ballonführerabzeichen der Feldluftschiffer), but it is assumed.
      • Koschel was member of the Imperial Aero Club and many Aviation clubs, he later won numerous prizes in balloon races.
  • Medic in the Königin Augusta Garde-Grenadier-Regiment Nr. 4 (18 Aug 1903-26 Jan 1907)
    • At the same time, Specialised Medical Training at the Mental-Hospital (Nervenheilanstalt „Haus Schönow“) in Zehlendorf near Berlin (20/21 Aug 1903-31 Aug 1905)
  • Battalion-Physician in the 3. Garde-Regiment zu Fuß (27 Jan 1907-26 Jan 1908)
  • Battalion-Physician in the Königin Augusta Garde-Grenadier-Regiment Nr. 4 (27 Jan 1908-01 Aug 1914)
  • Regiments-Physician of the Königin Augusta Garde-Grenadier-Regiment Nr. 4 (02 Aug 1914-15 Dec 1914)
  • Adjutant of the Army-Medic of Army-Detachment "Strantz" (16 Dec 1914-Jan 1915)
  • Chief physician of the 5th Army Officers' Convalescent Home in Joeuf (Jan 1915-01 Jan 1916)
  • Chief of the Medical-Department of the Commanding General of the Luftstreitkräfte at the Imperial Grand Headquarters (Großes Hauptquartier Seiner Majestät des Kaisers und Königs) in Charleville for the purpose of utilizing his knowledge in the field of aviation medicine (Jan 1916-Nov 1918)
    • June to July 1916 Tour of inspection to the Bulgarian air crews in the Balkans.
    • 17 February 1917 Transfer to Münster; There he dedicated himself, among other things, to improving the parachute system, initially made some improvements to the attachment of the parachute to the human body and showed how and when one had to jump off in order to reach the ground safely, testing this himself by jumping at 500 meters.
    • Training as Observer of the Fliegertruppe at the Artillery-Flying-School Alt-Antz in Courland (25 Jun 1917-13 Jul 1917)
    • August 1917 He was assigned to the Imperial German Navy in Nordholz to demonstrate the naval airship crews in the use of the aerial oxygen device.
    • After he had visited the air stations in the west down to Reichsland Elsaß-Lothringen, he received precise medical examinations of the airmen, especially their complaints about health-damaging symptoms, but also learned through self-flights. He was able to procure the necessary material with which the principles for the airmen's health conditions were established. Afterwards, he undertook detailed experiments in the pneumatic chamber to research the influence of air dilution in a physiological and psychological relationship and then constructed with the help of expert technicians a device that automatically supplied the air crews with the necessary oxygen during high flight, making them independent of the manual apparatus. His publications about these experiments have now become epoch-making for the entire aviation industry, were translated into almost all languages ​​and had earned him widespread recognition.
    • 19 August 1918 Received with the distinction "magna cum laude" a doctorate (Dr. phil.) at the University of Münster with the dissertationUntersuchungen über geistige Leistungen beim Aufenthalt in verdünnter Luft“ ("Studies on Mental Performance When in Rarefied Air")
    • The necessary retreat of the army after conclusion of the ceasefire was only just achieved at the last moment. Railway carriages for the repatriation of the Great Headquarters were obtained. The departure took place on 14 November 1918.
  • Department-Medic at the Military Gymnastics Institute (Militärturnanstalt) Wünsdorf (Jan 1919)
  • Resumption of private medical activity (Oct 1919)
  • Detached to the Netherlands and Granted Leave (Feb 1920-09 Apr 1920)
    • Invitation from the Dutch government (War Ministry) to the University of Utrecht and the Soesterberge air camp to give lectures on his aviation medical experiences
  • Retired from the preliminary Reichswehr (09 Apr 1920)
    • The German Scientific Society for Aviation appointed him a board member.
  • Specialist in internal and nervous (mental) disorders in Berlin (1920-30 Apr 1935)
    • 3 October 1925 Commissioned with the representation of the German Reich in questions of air medical matters at the 12th International Red Cross Conference in Geneva.
    • at the same time medical advisor for fitness to fly (suitability for flying or Fliegertauglichkeit) at the Reich Ministry of Transport, and later at the Reich Aviation Ministry
  • Medical examiner (Vertrauensarzt) of the Deutsche Lufthansa AG (01 Apr 1926-30 Apr 1935)
  • Medical-Leader with Special Duties (Sanitätsführer z. b. V.) the German Air Sports Association; DLV (26 Mar 1934-30 Apr 1935)
    • 5 September 1934 Approval to wear the DLV double wings and the pilot's dagger by the Reich Minister of Aviation; Document signed on behalf of Erhard Milch (de).
  • Entered Luftwaffe Service as Supplemental-Officer or E-Offizier (Active-Officer from 01 May 1940)
    • Officer with Special Duties of the RLM and C-in-C Luftwaffe (01 May 1935-20 May 1935)
  • Head of the Berlin Aviator Examination Center (Fliegeruntersuchungsstelle) or Air Crew Examination Facility (21 May 1935-30 Apr 1944)
  • Retired (30 Apr 1944)[4]


Ernst Otto Wilhelm Koschel was the son of railway construction and operations inspector Baurat (building councilor) Friedrich Wilhelm Koschel (1830–1916) and his wife Helene Wilhelmine, née Pfotenhauer (1847–1918).


On 12 October 1905, Oberarzt Dr. Koschel married his fiancée Martha Luise Eltester (1881–1963). They had two daughters:

  • Christa Hildegard (1906–1987)
  • Helga Helene Paula (1909–1983)


  • 1.4.1894 One-year volunteer (Einjährig-Freiwilliger)
  • 1.10.1898 Unterarzt​ (equivalent to a Officer Cadet or Fähnrich)
  • 16.6.1900 Assistenzarzt (equivalent to a 2nd Lieutenant)
  • 16.12.1902 Oberarzt (equivalent to a 1st Lieutenant)
  • 27.1.1907 Stabsarzt (equivalent to a Captain)
  • 18.12.1917 Oberstabsarzt (equivalent to a Major) without Patent
    • 8.2.1918 Patent received
  • 1.5.1935 Oberfeldarzt (equivalent to a Lieutenant Colonel of the Luftwaffe)
  • 1.8.1936 Oberstarzt (equivalent to a Colonel of the Luftwaffe)
  • 1.5.1940 Charakter als Generalarzt (honorary Generalarzt) and transferred to the active members of the medical officer corps (Sanitätsoffizierkorps)
  • 1.4.1941 Generalarzt (equivalent to a Major General of the Luftwaffe)
  • 1.4.1944 Generalstabsarzt (equivalent to a Lieutenant General of the Luftwaffe)

Awards, decorations and honours

Ernst Koschel, ribbin bar.jpg


  • Titular Professor on 30 January 1939
  • Honour Rapier (Ehrendegen) of the Reichsmarschall on 28 October 1940
  • Picture of the Reichsmarschall in a silver frame[6] on 31 May 1944


  1. For example: Der Mensch im Flugzeug – Seine Eignung zum Flugdienst und die funktionellen Störungen, die derselbe mit sich bringen kann (The Human in the Airplane - His Suitability for Flight and the Functional Disorders That This Can Bring With It) by Martin William Flack, in: "Handbuch der normalen und pathologischen Physiologie", Berlin 1930, pp. 362–379; Correction of the work by Ernst Koschel, for which the Englishman thanks his “respected friend and colleague” on page 379.
  2. Generalstabsarzt der Luftwaffe Ernst Otto Wilhelm Koschel
  3. Source: Great-Grandson at GMIC, 2024
  4. Generalstabsarzt Ernst Koschel
  5. Generalstabsarzt Prof. Dr. Dr. Ernst Koschel
  6. Nichttragbare Auszeichnungen der Luftwaffe