WWI Two German Flying Aces Picture Postcard
Black and white, obverse entitled "Unser erfolgreicher Flieger Oberleutnant von Cossel und Vizefeldwebel Windisch", both men standing and wearing two orders in the centre of their upper chests, von Cossel with an Iron Cross 1st Class and Observer Badge below, Windisch with an Iron Cross 1st Class and Pilot's Badge below, inscribed "401 Postkartenvertrieb W. Sanke BERLIN N. 37. / Nachdruck wird gerichtlich verfolgt." in the lower left corner, inscribed "Copyright Adolph Jessen Schleswig." in the lower right corner, reverse with postcard style backer, 86 mm x 136 mm, small stain on the reverse, near mint. Footnote: Leutnant Rudolf Friedrich Otto Windisch (1897-1918) was a World War I fighter ace credited with twenty-two victories. On the night of October 2-3, 1916, he set out on what is arguably the first case of air-supported espionage. He landed behind Russian lines and dropped off Oberleutnant Maximillian von Cossel (1893-1967) near the Rowno to Brody rail line. Cossel destroyed a railroad bridge that was of strategic importance to the Russians. Windisch swooped in on the 3rd to pick Cossel up and carry him back to safety. This feat earned him the Prussian Order of the Crown (4th Class with Swords), the Kaiser presenting it to him on October 18, 1916. Windisch would be the only pilot so honoured. His last victory was on the afternoon of May 27, 1918. Immediately after he shot down this last Spad, he was jumped by several other enemy scouts. A bullet through the gas tank forced him to land behind French lines, about fifty meters from his final victim. The International Red Cross reported Windisch was a prisoner of war on several occasions. On the assumption he was alive, he was awarded the Pour le Merite on June 6, 1918. The reports differed on whether or not he had been injured, with some rumours saying he had died in captivity. Nothing more would ever be heard of Windisch.