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  • Christoph Freiherr (Baron) von Pittel & Heinrich Freiherr (Baron) von Pittel

    This one-of-a-kind frame tells the story of a father and son, both recipients of the highest military honour of the Austro-Hungarian Empire: the Military Order of Maria Theresa. Two captioned boxes at the top indicate the honours for which both men received the decoration. The left box is for the father, stating: “Christoph Freiherr (Baron) von Pittel, for Belfort on July 4th 1815 as Captain in the Engineer Corps.” His son is described in the right box as “Heinrich Freiherr (Baron) von Pittel, for Goražde on October 21st 1869 as Major in the 52nd Infantry Regiment Erzherzog (Archduke) Franz Karl.”

    Below is a framed newspaper article from the Salzburg Times, dated Tuesday September 3rd 1816, which tells the story of Christoph Freiherr von Pittel's formal decoration as Ritter (Knight) of the Maria Therese Order. The article describes the festivities that took place in his honour as a celebration that the walls of Salzburg had never before witnessed. The Infantry Regiment Erzherzog Rudolph was garrisoned at Salzburg at the time, and the reveille of the troops ushered in the day and its festivities.

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  • Hansgeorg Bätcher

    Hansgeorg Bätcher, the son of an engineer, was born on January 13th, 1914 in Finsterwalde. As a child Batcher dreamt of becoming a pilot and had achieved every requirement to become a glider pilot by the age of 17. In January 1935 he joined the newly formed Luftwaffe division and much to his disappointment began training as an observer. Batcher still had dreams of becoming a head pilot so on his off-duty time he began clocking hours on a multi-engine plane. In October 1938 he had once again achieved his goals and his long sought after dreams of becoming a pilot.

    During Batcher’s time in the war he completed an outstanding 658 combat missions. He told place and witnessed some of the most prominent battles in the war. He participated in the invasion of Poland in 1939, and in the invasion of France in 1940. During one mission, he was shot down and captured in Rouen on the 5th of June, 1940. He was released following France’s surrender, and for a short time acted as a flying instructor. He continued active service in May 1941 with KGr.100 “Wiking,” fitted with Heinkel He 111 Bombers. In July 1941 he was made Staffelkapitän of KGR. 100, and deployed on the Eastern Front. His unit was flying missions over Moscow in late summer and fall of 1941. During these missions he earned the Bomber Clasp in Bronze in August, Silver in September, and Gold in November. In early 1942, KG 100 was conducting maritime attacks against Soviet naval targets in the Black Sea. Bätcher had the distinction of being the most successful Pilot during this operation, sinking several Soviet vessels. In March of the same year he was promoted to Hauptmann. In the summer of 1942 he was engaged in the aerial assault of Sevastopol, and on July 2nd he successfully carried out his 300th mission.

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