Pilot's Beer: First World War Aces
This month is the 100th Anniversary of the United States entering the First World War. So I chose a couple of German cans featuring a pair of famous fighter pilots, French Georges Guynemer (December 24, 1894 – September 11,1917 (missing, presumed dead) and German Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen (May 2, 1892 – April 21, 1918), AKA, "The Red Baron."
Guynemer was one of the leading French aces during the First World War with 54 victories. Originally a mechanic, he gained access to flight school and became a fighter pilot. Naming his planes Vieux Charles (Old Charles) he worked his way to squadron commander. He was the first Allied pilot to shoot down a German heavy bomber. By 1917 he was flying a Spad XII which, at his request, was armed with a cannon firing through the propeller shaft. It had to be loaded and reloaded by the pilot during flight.
On September 11, 1917 he disappeared, having last been seen diving on a German 2-seater. The rookie pilot with him lost sight of Guynemer when he had to deal with the appearance of some German fighters. Reports from the Germans clamed Guynemer was shot down and buried with full honors in German-occupied Belgium.
The episode The Last Flight from season one of the The Twilight Zone was loosely based on the disappearance of Guynemer with a fictional speculation as to what happened to him.
Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen (i.e. The Red Baron")
Of course, I have to include this here!
Click for "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron" (opens new window)
These cans were issued by Engel Brauerei in Germany in the mid 1990s. They also issued the Bombers Beer (I featured one as my June 2005 COM). This brewery has issued a lot of cans in metal bottles over the past 20+ years. They used several styles of metal bottles. They issued several "Pilots Beer" cans in multiple series, plus cans with motorcycles and pretty girls. They seem to have close din 2001. If so, issuing cans with interesting themes seems to have not been enough of a marketing strategy.
FWIW I found this on a German discussion board...Fliegerbier was formerly a beer with particularly low alcohol content, just for airmen (pilots) so that the nich fall drunk into the fall bombers rise. And because they want to take the bottles, they are made of aluminum because they are light and unbreakable.