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Bruno Stachel

Bruno Stachel

Born in Upper Silesia, then German Empire, Bruno Stachel was a son of town dentist. As a young man he participated in the Great War, first as infrantryman, than as an NCO, then, after first wound and recovery, as a pilot – first in recon two seater then in fighter from Jasta 32. The second wound caused by his would-be first victory put him out of fighting – by the time he recovered, the war was over, Empire lost. Stachel fought to preserve the German state in Freikorpsen, against communist and pro-Polish insurgents, but found it a hollow and disgusting enterprise. In his eyes civil war was more dirty and brutal than trenches, his own comerades almost as harmful to new Germany as insurgents they fought, while his home town was lost to new Polish state in plebiscite.

Like many Great War veterans Bruno tried his strength as businessman only to repeatedly fail. Fortunately, many of his wartime friends made careers in Reichswehr and by 1930 Stachel was a comissioned officer. From Reichswehr he observed German state deteriorate, sad but secure in old Imperial doctrine that prohibited soldiers from having political sympathies – or antipathies. With creation of Luftwaffe he briefly became an instructor, before being promoted to command position in one of new Kampfgeschwaderen. He commanded from behind the desk for first two years of the war, sending bomber pilots against mostly military targets in all European campaigns, gradually realising that war he was fighting for was little better than street fighting of 1920s.

Bruno reached his limit during early invasion of Soviet Union, when was visited by two low ranking SS-men. They requested as many men as Stachel could spare to form up execution squads to liquidate Jews, Soviet Political Officers and other "scum". Stachel ordered his entire command to assemble in full dress uniforms, explained the request of SS and threatened to resign if any of his men volunteers. To their honour, none did.

The NSDAP was furious with Stachel and his former comerade Herman Göring was not willing to protect him. Yet, he was to well known in Germany for Nazis to simply get rid of him; it wasn't 1944 yet. Instead, he was stripped of his command and given offer he could not refuse – to „volunteer” for active service as a pilot. The Nazis are no doubt hoping the enemy will kill him; he's not young man anymore, the planes are faster, gunnery more difficult and pace of air combat much more different than anything he experienced. Bruno does not mind; he can fight enemies of German people, only cause still worth fighting for, without second thoughts. 25 years ago he failed to score his first victory - or maybe to die in cockpit without seeing the defeat. Perhaps this is his second chance.

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