New location, same format. As part of my relentless categorising the Fun Friday Facts have moved to become part of the larger History section. They can now be found under the Second World War heading. And now to business…
Colonel-General Ernst Udet, chief technical director of the German air force (1941) had a diet that consisted exclusively of meat.
Interesting. You will, of course, remember Udet from his dashing exploits in the First World War, where he was a great German air-ace, second only to Manfred von Richthofen, the legendary Red Baron in terms of victories (62 to 80). He was a gouty buffoon of a man. His peculiar dining habits left him in chronic ill health for large periods at a time that was critical for German operations in the Eastern Front. The Luftwaffe’s technological superiority of the early war years had faded away in the wake of Russian air reforms in 1941. It badly need to reinvent its image. But, whatever his past glories, Udet was singularly unqualified for the job. Indeed his only contribution to air force development was to insist that all bomber aircraft, even the large, four-engined craft, should have a dive bombing capability. This pointless and taxing demand, which was subsequently abandoned after a great deal of time and effort and vast sums of money, set German bomber development years behind that of the Allies.
Eventually the strains of his office overwhelmed the beleaguered man and on 17 November 1941, with a courage bought by two bottles of brandy coursing through his meat-clogged veins, Udet shot himself in the head. But by this point it was too late. The prospect of developing German air strategy with long-range bombing and enhanced battlefield firepower evaporated. Priority switched to defending the Reich against the Anglo-American bombing campaigns, (see they did do something!). Air superiority on the Eastern front passed to the Russians. It was never recovered.
Udet, we hardly knew thee. RIP.