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Ernst Wilhelm von Hoeppner
Photographic portrait of General von Hoeppner
Born (1860-01-14)January 14, 1860
Died September 26, 1922(1922-09-26) (aged 62)
Place of birth Tonnin, Wollin, Pomerania
Place of death Groß-Mokratz, Wollin, Pomerania
Buried at Tonnin, Wollin, Pomerania
Allegiance  German Empire
Years of service 1879 – 1919
Rank General der Kavallerie (General of Cavalry)
Commands held 75th Reserve Division
Battles/wars World War I
Awards Pour le Mérite
Other work Military historian

Ernst Wilhelm von Hoeppner (14 January 1860 – 26 September 1922) was a German cavalry officer who served as the Commanding General of the German Air Service (Luftstreitkräfte) during World War I.

Early life and military career

Ernst von Hoeppner was born in Tonnin on the island of Wollin in Pomerania on 14 January 1860. He attended the Cadet School in Potsdam from 1872 and in 1879 he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the 6th Magdeburg Dragoon Regiment. He attended the Prussian Military Academy in 1890. From 1893 to 1899, he was a member of the 14th Dragoon Regiment stationed at Colmar in Alsace, commanding a squadron.[1]

In 1902 von Hoeppner was appointed to the General Staff. He was appointed as a staff officer with the IX Army Corps in Altona in 1904. By 1906 he was a lieutenant colonel and was commander of the 13th Hussars Regiment in Diedenhofen. Two years later he was appointed chief of staff of the VII Army Corps. In September 1912 he was made commander of the 4th Cavalry Brigade in Bromberg and the following year inherited his title of nobility.

World War I

von Hoeppner in consultation with his Chief of Staff, Oberst-Lieutenant Thomsen

At the start of World War I von Hoeppner was Chief of Staff at the III Army Corps headquarters. He remained in this post until spring of 1915 when he took up command of the 14th Reserve Division. Later in 1915 he was appointed Chief of Staff of the II Army Corps and in 1916 he became the commander of the 75th Reserve Division.[1]

In October 1916, General Ludendorff decided that the German Air Service needed greater unity of command with a general officer having authority over all the Army's aerial combat and anti-aircraft units both in the field and at home. Ludendorff chose von Hoeppner as the new air commander and it was at this time the Air Service was renamed from Fliegertruppe to Luftstreitkräfte. Von Hoeppner was given the title of Kommandierender General der Luftstreitkräfte (Commanding General of the Air Service - sometimes abbreviated to Kogenluft in German), holding the rank of Lieutenant-General. He was directly responsible to Hindenburg at Supreme Army Command.[2]

Von Hoeppner reorganized the fragmented air services, greatly increasing the number of Jastas (squadrons) and forming them into Jagdgeschwader (wings).[3] Priority was given to the development of strategies for massed air attacks.[4] In 1917 he was awarded the Pour le Mérite even though as a senior commander he was not directly involved in air combat. The award was resented by some of his junior officers.[5]

Post war

After the war, the German Air Service was dissolved. The German War Ministry issued orders for Von Hoepppner's post to be disestablished on 16 January 1919 although he appears to have continued as Commanding General for a few more days. His final order to his Air Service personnel was issued on 21 January.[6] He then took up command of the 18th Army Corps on 10 April 1919 but resigned from active service at his own request at the end of November 1919. He retired as general of cavalry with permission to wear the uniform of the 13th Hussars Regiment. In 1921 he published Deutschlands Krieg in der Luft ("Germany's War in the Air"), a study of the German Air Service from 1914 to 1918. On 26 September 1922 von Hoeppner died in Groß-Mokratz on the island of Wollin in the Baltic Sea and was buried in his birthplace, Tonnin.[1]

In popular culture

In the 2008 biopic film, General von Hoeppner is portrayed by actor Axel Prahl.

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "von Hoeppner, Ernst" (in German). Retrieved 2009-02-05. 
  2. Lawson, Eric; Lawson, Jane (2002). The First Air Campaign. Da Capo Press. p. 96. ISBN 0-306-81213-4. 
  3. Higham, Robin D S (2003). 100 Years of Air Power & Aviation. Texas A&M University Press. p. 43. ISBN 1-58544-241-0. Retrieved 2209-02-05. 
  4. Kilduff, Peter (2007). Red Baron. David & Charles. p. 76. ISBN 978-0-7153-2809-5.,M1. Retrieved 2009-02-05. 
  5. Winkler, Gretchen; von Tiedemann, K M. "Air Pour le Mérite winners". Retrieved 2009-02-05. 
  6. von Hoeppner, Ernst (1994) [First published in 1921 in German]. Germany's War in the Air. trans. J Hawley Larned. Nashville: Battery Press. p. 172. ISBN 0-89839-195-4. 
Military offices
Preceded by
Hermann Thomsen
As Chief of Field Air Forces
Chef des Feldflugwesens
Commanding General of the Imperial German Army Air Service
Kommandierender General der Luftstreitkräfte

1916 – 1919
Air Service disestablished
Preceded by
Günther von Etzel
Commander of the XVIII Army Corps
Corps disestablished

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