Talk:Oswald Boelcke

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Good articleOswald Boelcke has been listed as one of the Warfare good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Article milestones
DateProcessResult
October 1, 2018Good article nomineeListed
Did You Know
A fact from this article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page in the "Did you know?" column on December 7, 2018.
The text of the entry was: Did you know ... that Oswald Boelcke has been described as the father of air combat tactics, the organization of squadrons, and the German Air Force?
On this day...A fact from this article was featured on Wikipedia's Main Page in the "On this day..." column on January 12, 2021.

Changes[edit]

Removed minor vandalism. Skip Jordan 14:40, 14 March 2006 (UTC)


I've made some corrections, basing on sources:

  • He didn't "come under the tutelage of Max Immelmann", because Immelmann had similar skill at that time, and none of them had air victories by then.
  • there was: "Boelcke won his first aerial combat on July 4, 1915" - in fact he was a pilot, while his observer shot this plane down. The first 'real' victory of Boelcke himself was on September 19.

The rules of the German air service awarded both pilot and observer a victory in this circumstance.

Georgejdorner (talk) 14:07, 5 July 2010 (UTC)


  • In January 1916 he was still Flying Fokker E.IV, not "a new biplane". Pibwl 19:31, 18 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Hello, I´m from the German wikipedia and I want to tell you that the correct name is "Boelcke"; the name was not used with an umlaut. Greetings --195.243.129.130 11:33, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)(User Grimmi59_rade in the German wikipedia)

I added this:

"Among them were his famed combat rules, called "Boelcke's Dicta", which were the first systematic analysis of air combat and continued to be applicable through World War Two."

I'm inclined to say they form the basis of all fighter tactics, for they certainly were copied (if unconsciously) by Claire Chennault in Pursuit Aviation, & many Dicta are still applicable, but I don't know enough about it. Anybody want to take it on? Trekphiler 05:34, 27 December 2005 (UTC)

See Dicta Boelcke.Georgejdorner (talk) 05:17, 25 December 2017 (UTC)

Pronunciation[edit]

Is his name, Boelcke, really pronounced as "bowl-key"? I heard it like this on a show on the History Channel and was kind of surprised.. I guess I had only read about him up to that point, and reading doesn't necessarily mean I'll get the pronunciation right :) FranksValli 08:51, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

Hmm, just found a video on YouTube with the pronunciation as "bowl-ka", which is a lot closer to what I had in mind (although I was thinking of it simply pronounced as "bulk"). FranksValli 09:02, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

Rewritten: "Death in Action"[edit]

I've completely rewritten that section of the article for historical reasons. There were several errors made in it which have also been corrected. To accompany this fact, I've added more information on the great ace than was previously available. Apologies for it taking 6 edits, however, but my enter key became stuck.VonV (talk) 21:18, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

I hadn't heard anywhere else that Richthoven was also involved in the accident that killed Boelcke - do you have a source for that one? The seat belt thing sounds most implausible - the seat belt worn by pilots in 1914/18 did little more than hold the wearer in his seat if the plane turned over suddenly - it was a simple lap strap (far from the full harness worn by pilots in WWII) and would have been of little use in a bad crash. In fact at this time pilots often released their belts just before a crash, so as to be "thrown clear" in case the wreck exploded or burst into flames on impact.--Soundofmusicals (talk) 03:03, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

I believe you will find the description of Boelcke's death--with Richthofen's involvement--in Early German Aces of World War I. That's where I recall reading it.

Georgejdorner (talk) 14:07, 5 July 2010 (UTC)


This section is now far too long - we need to edit Richthofen's remarks (incidentally, his memoirs were NOT "posthumous" but published a few months before his death). --Soundofmusicals (talk) 07:07, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Minor Point[edit]

I would suggest that the referral to Lanoe Hawker having been shot down by von R. should be amended to reflect that he was the most famous RFC pilot of the time; others came along later who became much more famous. Scoop100 (talk) 15:56, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

The real point about Hawker was that Richthofen admired him - calling him the "English Boelcke" - and that he was Richthofen's only "ace" victim. It is really not very realistic to talk of "famous" British pilots at this period - they got more publicity later (for instance when Ball was killed it made quite a stir) - but at this stage there was a not a lot of "fame" attached to being a British fighter pilot. I have edited the sentence accordingly --Soundofmusicals (talk) 03:21, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

"Death in action" section[edit]

This is currently NOT very encyclopedic!! The language needs to be toned down several notches, remember this is an encyclopedia and NOT an emotive eulogy. I also question the appropriateness of the full quotations from Richthofen etc.

Just a warning that I may attack this, and to give the author a chance to fix it himself. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 03:25, 5 July 2010 (UTC)


Sound,

Although I can't locate the History edit where I did it, my memory says I copied in those long quotes in the Death in action section. Rereading them, I would have to agree that they need to be pruned--drastically.

Georgejdorner (talk) 14:07, 5 July 2010 (UTC)


So it has taken me a little while to return to this...but that abundant jungle of quoted verbiage has been trimmed back to tidy gardens of text.Georgejdorner (talk) 05:20, 25 December 2017 (UTC)

Great new source[edit]

http://www.jastaboelcke.de/aces/oswald_boelcke/boelcke_field_reports.htm appears to be a translation of a biography partially written by Oswald's father, plus a compilation of his official and personal correspondence.

Georgejdorner (talk) 15:09, 28 March 2011 (UTC)

This is poorly written[edit]

Just a warning that I may be descending on it soon - there is quite a lot that reads like the well intentioned work of someone with English as a second (or third?) language. Some translation and clarification needs to follow. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 00:32, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

  • No need. I have returned to the fray.Georgejdorner (talk) 04:28, 23 December 2017 (UTC)

funny mixture[edit]

What is the reason for this "Engman" Royal Prussian Jagdstaffel 2? If you want to use the german Jagdstaffel instead of fighting squadron you should make the whole thing original (Königlich Preussische Jagdstaffel 2). This way its only funny.--WerWil (talk) 18:51, 28 October 2016 (UTC)

  • I quoted a source written in English for the unit designation I used.Georgejdorner (talk) 03:39, 23 December 2017 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Graduation[edit]

Not the end of the world - but in the note it makes a point about him graduating "at Easter" - I'm not studying in Germany at the beginning of the last century, but here and now (and I suspect there and then) there is often a gap of weeks or even months between completing ones studies, passing one's last exams etc. and actually "graduating". The sources may also be referring to the end of an "Easter term" which might be :fixed in the calendar rather than mobile, like Easter itself. Just a thought. WWIReferences (talk) 20:20, 14 February 2018 (UTC

The sources say "Easter", with no reference to term. I resorted to a perpetual calendar to confirm the date for that year's Easter, since the source did not specify. And even if he completed his studies and passed his exams prior to his enlistment, how likely would it be that he would get leave to attend his graduation?Georgejdorner (talk) 21:28, 14 February 2018 (UTC)
Hi George! have noticed your nick on lots of WW1 articles so we may be meeting again! Well he either did or he didn't get leave - I suspect that given the great respect for university studies in Germany he did, but who can say? Not disputing your calculation of Easter but this may, or may not, be relevant, as I said. No big deal - exploring what happens when you run the cursor over an article and that note popped up! WWIReferences (talk) 21:54, 14 February 2018 (UTC)
Well, I strive to be as accurate as the sources allow. (OR alert!) Judging from my own military service, leave during basic training is awfully unusual.Georgejdorner (talk) 19:05, 15 February 2018 (UTC)

Main image[edit]

Can probably be copied to Commons because a lower quality version of the same image has been asserted to be in EU public domain: [1] Catrìona (talk) 17:36, 21 August 2018 (UTC)

Boelcke's barracks[edit]

Hello,

It is horrifying to learn that the Nazis befouled Boelcke's patriotic legacy by using the barracks named after him for a death camp. However, I feel the details, which were none of Boelcke's doing, detract from from the article. I would plump for the Nazi usage of the barracks being described as "horrific" or other fitting descriptive(s), but cutting the details as irrelevant to the life of Oswald Boelcke.

I thought I should consult with you, as a matter of courtesy, as you have reference to the source.

Georgejdorner (talk) 18:21, 24 August 2018 (UTC)

I agree that it's horrifying, but my understanding is that we cover topics in relation to their coverage in RS and pertinence. The claim that the barracks were a defining image of concentration camp horror, cited to an eminently reliable tertiary source which specifically mentions Oswald Boelcke, indicates a greater notability and therefore due coverage than the aviation units named after him. An image of said barracks was already in the Mittelbau-Dora article (which perhaps could be included here, but I did not because I thought it would be too distracting) and a Google search for "Boelcke Kaserne" gets twice as many hits as "Oswald Boelcke", a further indication that it is highly notable. Simply describing the barracks as "horrifying" may go against WP:Words to watch; it was for that reason that I went with verifiable facts. I don't think that two short sentences in this case constitute undue weight in this case. Perhaps the GA reviewer will have a third opinion. I've preserved my original wording below.

A Luftwaffe barracks named after him later became a subcamp of Mittelbau-Dora. More than 1,000 corpses were found upon the liberation of the Boelcke-Kaserne[a] subcamp by the US Army, and pictures taken there were "in many places... the defining image of National Socialist camp terror".[1]

  1. ^ German: Boelcke's barracks

References

  1. ^ USHMM 2009, p. 990.
Catrìona (talk) 18:47, 24 August 2018 (UTC)
Now that you mention pertinence...another way of saying relevance...let's take a look. The barracks being named for Boelcke is his legacy. However, the murders committed there are the legacy of the Nazi Party. It is absurd to credit the responsibility for them to a monarchist who died before the Nazi Party existed. The deaths in the barracks are entirely irrelevant so far as Boelcke's legacy is concerned.Georgejdorner (talk) 01:53, 28 August 2018 (UTC)

This deceptively simple-seeming RfC concerns the "legacy" (and the scare quotes are quite justified here) of First World War German fighter ace, Oswald Boelcke. Boelcke was widely-respected during and after his lifetime, and his name was used for various purposes. Various streets were named after him and his name was also attached to a barracks in Königsberg.

Although many of his students and followers subsequently embraced the NSDAP, by all accounts Boelcke himself was entirely untainted by Nazism. However, the National Socialists subsequently exploited Boelcke's name for propaganda purposes, and the barracks was subsequently turned into the Boelcke-Kaserne concentration camp. The question before the RfC was how to describe this in Boelcke's article, noting that it's profoundly unfair to Boelcke's memory to describe a death camp as part of his "legacy".

In doing my background reading for this RfC I checked the equivalent article on the German Wikipedia. De.wiki is, for obvious reasons, very sensitive to these matters and its editors have done a lot of thinking about how to deal with Nazism. De.wiki does cover the matter in Boelcke's article but it doesn't use the word "legacy". It says "Namensgebung", i.e., things named after Boelcke. The de.wiki article ends with a bucket list of these things, which we wouldn't do here; but their general approach does lend support to my reading of the consensus in this RfC. Which is:-

Q: Should we mention the concentration camp in this article?
A: Yes.

Q: Should we describe the concentration camp under the heading of "Legacy"?
A: No.

In other words, Boelcke's legacy is the international fame and reverence he commands and the continuing relevance of his rules for air combat. He didn't bequeath us a concentration camp; that's the result of his name being used without consent. I think the best outcome of this RfC would be to find language that expresses this thought in a pithy way.

I would suggest that the content currently under "Legacy" is divided into two separate headings, one called "Legacy" and one called ... well, I don't know. "Aftermath"? "Posterity"? I'm struggling for the right word, personally, but I'm sure editors can improve on my suggestions there.

I do hope this helps. If anyone has any comments, questions or complaints about this close, please could they direct them to my talk page in the first instance.—S Marshall T/C 20:57, 12 February 2019 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Request for comment: Boelcke's legacy[edit]

During the GA Review of this article, a mild dispute arose concerning Oswald Boelcke's legacy. I have waited out the GA Review and a subsequent DYK before posting this Rfc. I believe the dispute is best described by reposting the discussion from the article Talk page, as it was rational and straightforward. I would appreciate the sense of the community to help decide whether or not an edit is warranted on this point in dispute. Georgejdorner (talk) 16:42, 25 December 2018 (UTC)

Hello,

It is horrifying to learn that the Nazis befouled Boelcke's patriotic legacy by using the barracks named after him for a death camp. However, I feel the details, which were none of Boelcke's doing, detract from from the article. I would plump for the Nazi usage of the barracks being described as "horrific" or other fitting descriptive(s), but cutting the details as irrelevant to the life of Oswald Boelcke.

I thought I should consult with you, as a matter of courtesy, as you have reference to the source.

Georgejdorner (talk) 18:21, 24 August 2018 (UTC)

I agree that it's horrifying, but my understanding is that we cover topics in relation to their coverage in RS and pertinence. The claim that the barracks were a defining image of concentration camp horror, cited to an eminently reliable tertiary source which specifically mentions Oswald Boelcke, indicates a greater notability and therefore due coverage than the aviation units named after him. An image of said barracks was already in the Mittelbau-Dora article (which perhaps could be included here, but I did not because I thought it would be too distracting) and a Google search for "Boelcke Kaserne" gets twice as many hits as "Oswald Boelcke", a further indication that it is highly notable. Simply describing the barracks as "horrifying" may go against WP:Words to watch; it was for that reason that I went with verifiable facts. I don't think that two short sentences in this case constitute undue weight in this case. Perhaps the GA reviewer will have a third opinion. I've preserved my original wording below.

A Luftwaffe barracks named after him later became a subcamp of Mittelbau-Dora. More than 1,000 corpses were found upon the liberation of the Boelcke-Kaserne[a] subcamp by the US Army, and pictures taken there were "in many places... the defining image of National Socialist camp terror".[1]

  1. ^ German: Boelcke's barracks

References

  1. ^ USHMM 2009, p. 990.
Catrìona (talk) 18:47, 24 August 2018 (UTC)
Now that you mention pertinence...another way of saying relevance...let's take a look. The barracks being named for Boelcke is his legacy. However, the murders committed there are the legacy of the Nazi Party. It is absurd to credit the responsibility for them to a monarchist who died before the Nazi Party existed. The deaths in the barracks are entirely irrelevant so far as Boelcke's legacy is concerned.Georgejdorner (talk) 01:53, 28 August 2018 (UTC)

The GA Reviewer had his own comment at the time:

Just a quick note. The material regarding the concentration camp is relevant to Boelcke's legacy, as his name has been associated with it, and it should be included, along with the links to the two articles. I don't think its inclusion is undue. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 00:26, 24 September 2018 (UTC)
    • To quote Head: "He [meaning Boelcke] is one of the few German heroes of the Great War who was not tainted by later association with Naziism..." Which seems a fair summary, given the absurdity that Boelcke died before the Nazi party was even founded.Georgejdorner (talk) 01:13, 26 September 2018 (UTC)

— Preceding unsigned comment added by Georgejdorner (talkcontribs) 16:35, 25 December 2018 (UTC)

  • I still support inclusion of the above two sentences. Just to clarify, no one is trying to smear Boelcke or blame him for the crimes of Nazism. Obviously he is not responsible for such crimes, since he was no longer alive. However, there is a notable connection between him and a Nazi concentration camp which ended up named after him. That's why it deserves a mention in the article. buidhe (formerly Catrìona) 19:55, 6 January 2019 (UTC)
  • I agree; should be mentioned. Yes, it's unfortunate Nazis exploited his fame, but it's part of history and noteworthy. DonFB (talk) 03:06, 7 January 2019 (UTC)
  • I remain convinced that what is currently said regarding the camp is pertinent to Boelcke's article. In fact, our goal of comprehensive coverage would not be met unless there was mention of it. I also don't think mentioning it is undue. Cheers, Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 03:52, 7 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Remove. A legacy is defined as either a bequest in a will, or something handed down by a predecessor. Oswald Boelcke did not hand anything down to the Nazis as his successors, nor did he will them anything. I believe the mention of the death camps in his barracks should be removed from this article, though certainly deserving of inclusion in articles based on the Nazi regime.Georgejdorner (talk) 15:36, 7 January 2019 (UTC)
    Other dictionary definitions of legacy:
    Longman: 1 something that happens or exists as a result of things that happened at an earlier time
    Cambridge: (American English) something that is a result of events in the past
    --Pipetricker (talk) 12:21, 10 January 2019 (UTC)
    I quoted the Oxford dictionary above. In my recollection, there has been a consensus that this is the "official" WP dictionary.Georgejdorner (talk) 15:18, 10 January 2019 (UTC)
  • The Nazi use of the camp is not part of Boelcke's legacy, if that use is considered relevant to the article it should be made clear that it is not part of his legacy. Cheers, · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 17:22, 7 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support the inclusion of the mention of the camp as it is relevant to Boelcke. Zawed (talk) 05:52, 9 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support inclusion. This is an important historical datum and should not be omitted. "Legacy" is not limited to "stuff the subject would be proud about", or even "stuff the subject is personally responsible for". The current formulation: Boelcke was one of the few German heroes of World War I who was not associated with Nazism. Nevertheless, the Third Reich named Kampfgeschwader 27, a Luftwaffe medium bomber wing, for Boelcke. Also, Luftwaffe barracks named after him later became a subcamp of the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp.[...] - seems about as fair as could be asked and should not leave anyone in doubt as to cause and effect. --Elmidae (talk · contribs) 15:25, 10 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support ' the above wording. It seems to correctly describe the situation. DGG ( talk ) 04:44, 15 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Remove The Nazis named a LUFTWAFFE BARRACKS after him. That's (only) once removed in wp:Relevance (i.e. not directly about him) and IMO combined with other factors worth mentioning in the article. The fact that the Luftwaffe barracks named after him were later transformed into a concentration camp is twice removed in relevance. Could be totally left out or else get only the briefest of mentions. Discussion or characterization about how bad concentration camps were is three times-removed in relevance and IMHO should not be covered at all in the article. North8000 (talk) 14:16, 15 January 2019 (UTC)
    • Is there any counter-argument to North8000's characterization of relevance?Georgejdorner (talk) 17:20, 17 January 2019 (UTC)
      • If I may summarize the above Rfc discussion:
      • The general sense is that mention of the concentration camp should be kept. However, North8000 makes the case that information that is three times removed in relevance should be removed. I propose removing "More than 1,000 corpses were found upon the liberation of the barracks by the US Army, and pictures taken there were "in many places... the defining image of National Socialist camp terror"." as third order relevance.Georgejdorner (talk) 07:02, 26 January 2019 (UTC)
I would agree with that. The camp is linked and has its own full article, so as long as the link is there, no additional factoids need necessarily be included here. --Elmidae (talk · contribs) 08:29, 26 January 2019 (UTC)
I think that that is a good plan. North8000 (talk) 19:01, 26 January 2019 (UTC)
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.