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Josef Jacobs
May 15, 1894 - July 29, 1978
Place of birth Kreuzkapelle, Rhineland
Place of death Munich
Allegiance German Empire
Service/branch Luftstreitkräfte
Years of service 1914 - 1919
Rank Leutnant
Unit FFA 11, Jastas 7, 12, 22
Awards Pour le Mérite

Josef Carl Peter Jacobs (May 15, 1894 - July 29, 1978) was the joint 4th German flying ace with 48 victories (equal with Lt. Werner Voss) during the First World War.

Josef Jacobs was born in Kreuzkapelle, Rhineland, German Empire, and learned to fly in 1912, aged 18, due to an interest in aviation. When war broke out, he joined up for the Imperial German Army Air Service to train as a pilot; whereby he was posted to FEA 9.

Jacobs was then posted to FA 11 (a reconnaissance squadron) for a year, flying long-range sorties over Allied lines. His first victory over a French Caudron occurred in February 1916, however, it was unconfirmed, due to lack of independent witnesses. He then transferred to Fokker Staffel West (FSW), to fly Fokker E.III Eindecker and finally achieved his first official victory, either over an enemy balloon or aircraft. Fokker Staffel West became Jasta 12 in October 1916, although a month later Jacobs transferred to Jasta 22, then under the command of Oberlt. Erich Honemanns, who was a personal friend. He achieved his second victory (this time over a Caudron RIV) in January 1917. He achieved three officially claimed and many more unclaimed victories whilst at Jasta 22, where he remained until August 1917, when he transferred to Jasta 7 as its commander.

From early 1918 onwards, Jacobs started flying the Fokker Dr.I triplane with Jasta 7, and had his aircraft finished in a distinctive black scheme. The Dr I was his favoured mount until October 1918 and he used its manouevibility to his advantage, becoming the triplane's highest scoring ace, with over 30 confirmed victories.

Jacobs' victory tally slowly rose, until at 24 victories (achieved on July 19, 1918) he was awarded the coveted Pour le Mérite. Jacobs would remain with Jasta 7 until the armistice; his final victory tally was 48 enemy aircraft and balloons. Jacobs continued to fight against the Bolshevik forces in the Baltic in 1919, with Kommando Sachsenberg.

After the war, he briefly became a flying instructor in the Turkish Army, before completely withdrawing from military activity. He became a director in the Alder works and later owned his own aircraft manufacturing company in Erfurt in the 1930s. In addition to aviation, Jacobs was a keen participant in bob sleighing and car and speedboat racing.

When the NSDAP came into power he became a Major in the Reserves, although refused to join the Luftwaffe after being asked by Hermann Göring. Jacobs then moved his company to Holland during the World War 2 and at one stage went into hiding, after refusing to let Göring become a major shareholder in his company.

Jacobs died in Munich, Bavaria, Germany in 1978.

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