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Wilhelm "Willi" Reinhard (12 March 1891 – 3 July 1918) was a German pilot during World War I. Reinhard was born in Düsseldorf and became a flying ace during the war, credited with 20 victories.

Wilhelm Reinhard
Born12 March 1891
Died3 July 1918(1918-07-03) (aged 27)
Adlershof, near Berlin
Allegiance German Empire
Service/branchWar Ensign of Germany Luftstreitkräfte
Years of service1909–1918
Commands held
Battles/warsWorld War I

Entering military service in 1909 as an officer cadet, Reinhard was assigned to the Bavarian Foot Artillery regiment nr.14. He was severely wounded in the leg in November 1914 during the First Battle of Ypres. Although too badly wounded for service in the Trenches, he was accepted for pilot training, returning to active service in June 1915 flying with FeldFlieger Abteilung (A) 205 (FAA 205), being wounded again in December 1915.[1] He was posted to the Balkans with FA 28. In mid-1917 he was transferred to Jasta 11 in France and scored his first victory (over British ace Geoffrey Hornblower Cock), but was again wounded on 4 September 1917. He then joined Jasta 6 as Commanding Officer in November. He was promoted to Hauptmann in March 1918. Following the death of Rittmeister Manfred von Richthofen, Reinhard assumed command of Jagdgeschwader 1 on 22 April 1918.

In July 1918, he attended aircraft trials near Adlershof. After Hermann Göring finished test flying a Dornier-Zeppelin D.I prototype that was supposed to have been grounded pending structural upgrades, Reinhard took it up for a test flight and was killed when the top wing broke free while pulling out of a dive. Following Reinhard's death, Göring assumed command of JG 1 on 8 July 1918.

In popular cultureEdit

The death of Reinhard flying a prototype is closely paralleled in the book and film The Blue Max.


  1. ^ Whetton 1979,pp.205-206.
  • Whetton, Douglass. "Wilhelm Reinhard successor to Richthofen". Aircraft Illustrated, May 1979, Vol. 12 No. 5. pp. 205–207.

External linksEdit

Military offices
Preceded by
Manfred von Richthofen
Commanding Officer of Fighter Wing No. 1 (German Empire)
Succeeded by
Hermann Göring