by: Stephen T. Lawson [ ]
“Cavalry Officer to Recon pilot”The World War I History, Memories, and Photographs of Leonhard Rempe, 1914-1921, by Dr. Paul L. Rempe
Published - January 15, 2016
ISBN - 978-1-61121-321-8
Size - 10 3/8 X 7 1/4"
Cost - USD $22.95
Pages - 112, 79 images and 3 maps
About the book"Like thousands of other young men answering his Emperor’s call to arms, twenty-one year old Leonhard Rempe joined the military in 1914. By 1918, he had seen action on both European fronts from the back of a horse and the cockpit of plane. Initially he served with the cavalry in the 35th (1st West Prussian) Field Artillery of the XX Armee-Korps, fighting against the Russians on the Eastern Front.
Arriving at Ellis Island in the spring of 1923 to start his life as an American, he brought with him flight reports, service records and medical documents, and scores of remarkable photographs documenting his wartime service, most of which are published for the first time in this publication. " (Info from publishers website.)
The reviewWhen the cavalry was absorbed into the infantry in 1916, Trooper Rempe exchanged his cavalry spurs for the cockpit and transferred to the Western front. Flying reconnaissance planes was physically hazardous. His health was at risk from these high altitude duties. One of these even mentioned “the bends”. A malady we often associate with deep sea diving. Other problems were hysteria, internal cramps and severe joint pains. During his career he became acquainted with many pilots and crew who flew for the Kaiser. Like so many of his fellow pilots, Rempe survived several forced to land / crashes, and was shot down over Reims, France, in March of 1918.
After the war's end, (now) Ltn. des Res. Rempe returned to a defeated Germany in the midst of turmoil and revolution and served briefly in Maercker’s Freikorps regiment with the Flieger Abteilung Nr. 423 dedicated to preserving the peace and the new Weimar government against German Communists. He also flew for a brief time in the Polizei Flieger Staffel.
One of the highlights for me was the serial numbers listed of the LVG C.VI and Fokker D.VII (OAW) that he was assigned to fly. Descriptions of the flight characteristics of his Rumpler C.IV are spot on with what we know from other good sources. On page 41 we see what is labelled as a machine gun used by Rempe's observer. It is the typical Parabellum 14 with an allied Lewis machine gun mounted at its side.
Most sons don’t get to see in side their father’s life. Author Dr. Paul Rempe provides keen insight into the harsh realities of his father’s wartime service. “From German Cavalry Officer to Reconnaissance Pilot” is one of the finest factual references I have seen. For any research fiend, devotee or enthusiast of the genre I highly recommend it.
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