Austro-Hungarian Albatros Aces of World War 1 (Paperback)

By Paolo Varriale, Harry Dempsey (Illustrator)

Osprey Publishing (UK), 9781849087476, 96pp.

Publication Date: December 18, 2012



Austro-Hungarian industry produced a series of poor fighter types such as the Phonix D I and Hansa-Brandenburg D I during the early stages of the war, and it was not until licence-built examples of the battle-proven Albatros and D II and D III began to reach Fliegerkompagnien, or Fliks, in May 1917 that the fortunes of pilots began to look up. Unlike the German-built Albatrosen, which initially suffered wing failures in flight, the Oeffag aircraft were far more robust than German D IIs and D IIIs. They also displayed superior speed, climb, manoeuvrability and infinitely safer flight characteristics. Such attributes were used to the full by all the leading Austro-Hungarian aces, including Brumowski, Arigi, Kiss and Linke-Crawford, who fought Italian pilots in Hanriots and SPADs, as well as British pilots in Camels and Bristol Fighters. The exploits of Austro-Hungarian aces were initially brought to the attention of English-speaking readers in the 1980s through the pioneering work of Martin O'Connor. An additional 30 years of additional research has allowed Paolo Varriale to integrate and update his work, rectifying some inaccuracies and adding new details and a large number of unpublished photographs. The careful crosschecking of Allied sources with Austrian and German records form the basis for a detailed reconstruction of the dogfights fought by the leading aces. This painstaking research allows many myths to be exposed and errors to be corrected. The book will cover the use of Albatros fighters on the Italian and Eastern Fronts, from the fighters' initial arrival in mid 1917 through to the last days of war. It will also chart the careers of the Austro-Hungarian aces that flew the D II and D III, their successes and their defeats, with additional information about their personal background and their post-war lives in the nations born from the collapse of the Hapsburg Empire. Some 49 pilots achieved acedom during World War 1, and the bulk of these pilots made their claims flying the 586 Oeffag-built Albatrosen.

About the Author

Paolo Varriale is the Curator of the Baracca Museum and a World War 1 consultant to the Italian Air Force Historical Office, which has published his tomes on Italian World War 1 aviation units and aces. A staff writer of the online aerospace journal Dedalo News (, he is widely published in Italian and foreign aviation magazines. A life-long enthusiast of vintage aircraft, he served for many years on the Board of Directors of GAVS (Italian historical aircraft preservation association), and has participated in the restoration of various aircraft. He also wrote Aircraft of the Aces 89 - Italian Aces of World War 1 for Osprey.

Praise For Austro-Hungarian Albatros Aces of World War 1

"Like other books in this series, the author has a look at the build up of the AH air force as well as the aircraft they used. In any war, the number of units grew as the need required and the same here. The author has devoted several pages to showing the increasing order of battle in this regard that includes the planes they flew. As this book is on Albatros aces, those successes gained by pilots flying other types are not fully covered. However, their missions flying the Albatros are. In addition to the usual 'there I was' tales, there are a goodly number of period photographs of these planes. I have to say that seeing something different like this is a real delight. As is the norm with Osprey books, there are several pages of full color profiles as well as a deeper explanation of these images in the appendices in the back of the book. It all makes for a very interesting read, especially if you are looking for something a bit different from the norm. It is well written and tells the tales well. It was a book I very much enjoyed reading and can highly recommend it to you."
--Scott Van Aken, (February 2013)

“…a recommendation for military and aviation history collections alike … provides a fine survey of the Austro-Hungarian industry as a whole and the pilots who flew the Albatros fighters during World War I. Vintage black and white photos accompany color illustrations throughout during the course of a discussion that pinpoints the achievements and challenges of these fighter pilots and their planes. A fine in-depth pick for World War 1 collections.”
- The Midwest Book Review (March 2013)