Who's Who - Franz Buchner

Franz Buchner Lieutenant Franz Buchner (1898-1920) was a high-scoring German air ace of the First World War, achieving 40 'kills' during 1917 and 1918.

Born on 2 January 1898 in Leipzig Buchner enlisted with the German Army - the infantry - in 1914 while aged 16.  He was posted to service on the Eastern Front in 1915 following recuperation from the effects of typhoid fever.  This was duly followed by service on the Western Front in 1916 until his evacuation as a consequence of a wound received in early April 1916.

Returning to active service Buchner applied for and received a transfer to the German Imperial Air Service, initially with FFA 270 and then with Jasta 9 from March 1917.  It was while attached to Jasta 9 that Buchner achieved his first air victory on 17 August 1917, after which he was attached to Jasta 13.

Not initially a particularly successful fighter pilot - he gained only one further air success before the close of 1917 - Buchner's tally rose sharply from the summer of 1918 onwards.  By the end of the war he had achieved the impressive tally of 40 victories.  On 10 October 1918 he survived a mid-air crash with a fellow Jasta pilot by using his parachute.

One of relatively few high-scoring fighter pilots to survive the war Buchner was subsequently killed during Germany's post-war revolution on 18 March 1920 near Leipzig at the age of 22.

An "incendiary shell" is an artillery shell packed with highly flammable material, such as magnesium and phosphorous, intended to start and spread fire when detonated.

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