Karl Albrecht

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Karl Albrecht
Alter Adler Albrecht, Karl, zuletzt Oberst der Luftwaffe, 1880-1942.jpg
Birth date 25 November 1880(1880-11-25)
Place of birth Mergentheim, Kingdom of Württemberg, German Empire
Death date 1 May 1942 (aged 61)
Allegiance  German Empire
 Weimar Republic
 National Socialist Germany
Service/branch Flagge und Wappen, Deutsches Reich, Königreich Württemberg, valid from 1817 to 1918.png Army of Württemberg
Iron Cross of the Luftstreitkräfte.png Imperial German Army
Luftwaffe eagle.jpg Luftwaffe Luftwaffe
Rank Oberst
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Iron Cross
House Order of Hohenzollern

Karl Albrecht (25 November 1880 – 1 May 1942) was a German officer of the Army of Württemberg, the Imperial German Army and the Wehrmacht, finally Oberst of the Luftwaffe in World War II. The flight pioneers who, before the outbreak of the First World War on 1 August 1914, had passed the pilot's test in accordance with the regulations of the German Aviation Association (Deutscher Luftfahrer-Verband) in Germany founded in 1902, were honorably called "Alte Adler" ("old eagles"). Albrecht belonged to this elite.


Rumpler Eindecker, between 1910 and 1914 one of the best-known trainer aircraft of the Fliegertruppe
Karl Albrecht, Alter Adler.jpg
Albrecht, Karl I.jpg

Karl Albrecht joined the Army of Württemberg and was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant on 19 August 1902 in the 3rd Company of the Infanterie-Regiment „Kaiser Wilhelm, König von Preußen“ (2. Württembergisches) Nr. 120 in Ulm. His older Fritz (who would later temporarily transfer from the infantry to the pioneers), who had been commisioned on 27 January 1900, served in the same regiment (2nd Company). In 1907/08, Leutnant Albrecht was commanded to the Prussian Eisenbahn-Regiment Nr. 1 of the Garde-Korps in Berlin for two years. Afterwards, he was commanded to the Military Technical Academy (MTA) in Charlottenburg for a two-year course in the traffic department (Verkehrsabteilung). This is were his first interest for flying was awakened. On 18 August 1911, he was promoted to 1st Lieutenant and transfered to the Prussian Eisenbahn-Regiment Nr. 1, in which he had already served once. He lived in Schöneberg (Stubenrauchstraße 5).

He begann with his lessons to become a pilot (Flugzeugführer) at the Johannisthal airfield. He trained on a Erich-Rumpler-Taube Eindecker and showed great talent. On 26 April 1912, he received his flight license (pilot's certificate) FAI-No. 185. From 12 to 21 May 1912, he took part in the second German reliability flight on the Upper Rhine (II. Deutscher Zuverlässigkeitsflug am Oberrhein) and flew as navigator in the 3rd stage Saarbrücken–Mainz. His pilot was Oberleutnant Hans Erwin Barends (1880–1952), another Alter Adler (1 April 1912), who would later become Generalmajor. He had a water pipe failure during the flight. However, by climbing onto the front of the Rumpler Taube, he repaired the damage, severely burning his hands in the process. As a result of this incident, the planes lost their orientation and had to descend near Otterberg for orientation. The men received the I. Honorary Award of the Southwest Group. In the reconnaissance competition, Barends and Albrecht made first place and received the honorary awards of His Highness Prince Wilhelm of Saxe-Weimar (for Barends) and His Serene Highness Prince Otto of Schaumburg-Lippe (for Albrecht).[1][2]

Oberleutnant Albrecht was transferred to the 4th Württemberg Company of the Prussian Eisenbahn-Bataillon Nr. 4 in Berlin (subordinated to the 1. Eisenbahn-Brigade), where he stayed until his transfer to the Imperial German Air Service for World War I. On 15 June 1913, Kaiser Wilhelm II celebrated the silver jubilee of his reign. On 15 June, Oberleutnant Albrecht flew from Munster to Brunswick in a Rumpler Taube and needed for the entire distance, about 100 km as the crow flies, one hour. On the same day, Lieutenant von Mühlich-Hofmann flew the same route in a Fokker monoplane with Lieutenant Kolbe as observer, and it also took about an hour. Both flight officers were invited to dinner at the castle. On 16 June 1913, both machines made several sightseeing flights over Braunschweig on the occasion of the Kaiser's anniversary celebrations. The return flight to Munster took place early on 17 June, with Lieutenant von Hartwig flying with Lieutenant Albrecht as an observer.


In WWI, since 8 November 1914 (date of Patent) Hauptmann (Captain), he served with the Feldflieger-Abteilung 47 (FFA 47) as well as the Feldflieger-Abteilung 64 (FFA 64), maybe also with Feldflieger-Abteilung 12. He served with distinction as commander of a flying Abteilung, especially on the Eastern Front. After the war, he was discharged and received the Charakter als Major a. D. (honorary major, retired).


Albrecht was reactivated by the Luftwaffe of the Wehrmacht, where he was promoted to Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant Colonel) and Oberst (Colonel), serving in WWII until 1942.

Awards and decorations (military)

  • Württemberg Rescue Medal (WR/WRM) as of Rangliste 1906
    • The Rescue Medal was donated on 18 June 1897 by Wilhelm II, King of Württemberg. The medal was awarded in silver and gold. People were honored who saved human lives through courageous and self-sacrificing actions at the risk of their own lives. The medal was primarily awarded in silver. Only in very special exceptions should the medal be awarded in gold. Only 217 awards are known.
  • Friedrichs-Orden, Knight's Cross 2nd Class (WF3b)
  • Prussian Order of the Crown (Preußischer Kronenorden), 4th Class (PKrO4)[3]
  • German Military Pilot’s Badge (Militär-Flugzeugführer-Abzeichen)


  • Iron Cross (1914), 2nd and 1st Class
    • 1st Class in 1915 (published in FLUGSPORT, Nr. 3, 1915)
  • Honor goblet for the winner in air combat (Ehrenbecher für den Sieger im Luftkampf)
  • Military Merit Order (Württemberg), Knight's Cross (WMV3/WM3) on 20 March 1915 in the Feldflieger-Abteilung 47 (FFA 47)
  • Hanseatic Cross of Hamburg (Hamburgisches Hanseatenkreuz; HH)
  • Baden Order of the Zähringer Lion (Orden vom Zähringer Löwen), Knight's Cross II. Class with Oak Leaves and Swords (BZL3b⚔mE/BZ3b⚔mE)
  • Austrian Military Merit Cross, 3rd Class with War Decoration (ÖM3K)
  • House Order of Hohenzollern, Knight's Cross with Swords (HOH3⚔)

Between wars

WWII (excerpt)