Julius Arigi
Julius Arigi was a flying ace
Flying ace
A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down several enemy aircraft during aerial combat. The actual number of aerial victories required to officially qualify as an "ace" has varied, but is usually considered to be five or more...

 of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 with a total of 32 credited victories. He was Austro-Hungary's most highly decorated ace. His victory total was second only to Godwin Brumowski. Arigi was considered a superb natural pilot. He was also a technical innovator responsible for engineering changes in the aircraft he flew.

Early life

Julius Arigi was born in Děčín
Děčín is a town in the Ústí nad Labem Region in the north of the Czech Republic. It is the largest town and administrative seat of the Děčín District.-Geography:...

, Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

, to a Sudeten German family. Before joining the military, he was a waiter and an electrician.

He volunteered in October 1913 for Fortress Artillery Regiment No. 1 of the Austro-Hungarian Army
Austro-Hungarian Army
The Austro-Hungarian Army was the ground force of the Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy from 1867 to 1918. It was composed of three parts: the joint army , the Austrian Landwehr , and the Hungarian Honvédség .In the wake of fighting between the...


Aerial Service

In March 1914, he transferred to the Luftfahrtruppen (air service). He trained as a pilot, passing final tests on 26 November 1914, to become Zügsfuhrer (sergeant
Sergeant is a rank used in some form by most militaries, police forces, and other uniformed organizations around the world. Its origins are the Latin serviens, "one who serves", through the French term Sergent....


Initially during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, Arigi was assigned to Fliegerkompanie 6, based in southern Dalmatia
Dalmatia is a historical region on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. It stretches from the island of Rab in the northwest to the Bay of Kotor in the southeast. The hinterland, the Dalmatian Zagora, ranges from fifty kilometers in width in the north to just a few kilometers in the south....

, flying Lloyd Type LS 2 and Lohner biplane
A biplane is a fixed-wing aircraft with two superimposed main wings. The Wright brothers' Wright Flyer used a biplane design, as did most aircraft in the early years of aviation. While a biplane wing structure has a structural advantage, it produces more drag than a similar monoplane wing...

 aircraft in operations against Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

n and Montenegrin
Montenegro Montenegrin: Crna Gora Црна Гора , meaning "Black Mountain") is a country located in Southeastern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast and Albania to the...

 forces. On 20 December 1914, Arigi and his observer, Leutnant Levak, crashlanded a Lohner 140 in the Adriatic Sea; fortunately for them, in the shallow water.

In October 1915, Arigi became a prisoner of war
Prisoner of war
A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...

 when he was forced down due to engine failure during a reconnaissance flight behind enemy lines in Montenegro. He escaped captivity on his sixth try in January 1916, however, by stealing an enemy staff car belonging to Prince Nicholas
Nicholas I of Montenegro
Nikola I Mirkov Petrović-Njegoš was the only king of Montenegro, reigning as king from 1910 to 1918 and as prince from 1860 to 1910. He was also a poet, notably penning "Onamo, 'namo!", a popular song from Montenegro.-Early life:Nikola was born in the village of Njeguši, the ancient home of the...

 of Montenegro
Montenegro Montenegrin: Crna Gora Црна Гора , meaning "Black Mountain") is a country located in Southeastern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast and Albania to the...

, and rejoining his unit which later moved to Albania
Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...


While flying on the Albanian front, Arigi sank an Italian steamboat in the port of Valona (now Vlore).

On 22 August 1916, Stabsfeldwebel (Staff Sergeant) Arigi ignored standing orders that an officer had to be aboard to command his plane. He took Feldwebel (Sergeant Major) Johann Lasi
Johann Lasi
Stabfeldwebel Johann Lasi was a World War I flying ace credited with five aerial victories.-References:...

 along to engage six Italian
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

Farman Aviation Works was an aeronautic enterprise founded and run by the brothers; Richard, Henri, and Maurice Farman. They designed and constructed aircraft and engines from 1908 until 1936; during the French nationalization and rationalization of its aerospace industry, Farman's assets were...

 aircraft over the Skumbi
Shkumbin is a river in central Albania, flowing into the Adriatic Sea. It is considered the dividing line for the two dialects of the Albanian language: Tosk and Gheg ....

An estuary is a partly enclosed coastal body of water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea....

 in a Hansa-Brandenburg C.I
Hansa-Brandenburg C.I
-See also:-References:# Munson, Kenneth - Bombers, Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft 1914 - 1919 ISBN 0 7537 0918 X# # # -External links:* ....

 aircraft. They shot five of the Farmans down, and Arigi became an ace in this one sortie.

Towards the end of 1916, he was transferred to the Isonzo front in Italy. There he mostly flew escort missions in a Hansa-Brandenburg D.I
Hansa-Brandenburg D.I
|-See also:-Bibliography:*Angelucci, Enzo . World Encyclopedia of Military Aircraft. London: Jane's, 1981. ISBN 0 7106 0148 4.*Gray, Peter and Thetford, Owen. German Aircraft of the First World War. London: Putnam, 1962....

 single seat fighter. By May, 1917, his victory total was up to 12.

He was unhappy with the tail assembly of this aircraft because he felt it lacked directional stability. He redesigned the horn-balanced rudder with a low aspect fin and a plain rudder. His redesign was later copied from his plane and became standard on the D1. He was awarded 500 kronen for his innovation.

He then spent a short time in Fliegerkompanie 41J, but clashed with its commanding officer, Hauptmann Godwin Brumowski
Godwin Brumowski
Godwin Brumowski was the most successful fighter ace of the Austro-Hungarian Air Force during World War I. He was officially credited with 35 air victories, with 8 others unconfirmed because they fell behind Allied lines...

. In August, he was transferred to newly formed Fliegerkompanie 55J at Haidenschaft. He would score 13 victories while with Flik 55J, running his total to 25. Ten of those victories were scored as he cooperated with two other Austro-Hungarian aces, Hauptmann (Captain) Josef von Maier
Josef von Maier
Hauptmann Josef von Maier was a World War I flying ace credited with seven aerial victories.-Reference:...

 and Lieutenant (Second Lieutenant) József Kiss
József Kiss
Lieutenant József Kiss was a World War I flying ace for the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He was credited with 19 aerial victories. He was the most successful Hungarian ace in the war....


In April, 1918, he was transferred back to Flik 6 on the Albanian front. In his short stay there, he scored 3 more kills while flying an Avatik D1. In summer, 1918, he was again transferred, to Flik 1J at Igalo in Dalmatia. There he was equipped with two new Avatik D1 fighters, which he used to score his final four victories.

His combat career extended over four years; his last victory was scored on 23 August 1918. He spent the tag end of the war as a factory test pilot.

Although Arigi had not served on World War I's premier front for fighter aviation—the Western Front—his service was especially notable. He had flown mediocre aircraft in fronts notorious for changeable weather; mountainous terrain and over-water flights complicated matters. He had declined a personal offer from his emperor of a desk job in Vienna, with an accompanying promotion as a commissioned officer, to remain at the front.

Post World War I

After the war, he co-founded Ikarus, one of Czechoslovakia's pioneer civil aviation companies. Also while in Czechoslovakia, he helped select new airfields; he also indulged in espionage. He became an ardent Nazi.

In 1935, he partnered with a friend from World War I, fellow ace Benno Fiala von Fernbrugg
Benno Fiala von Fernbrugg
Hauptmann Benno Fiala von Fernbrugg , Order of the Iron Crown, Order of Leopold, Military Merit Cross, Military Merit Medal, Gold Medal for Bravery, Iron Cross was an Austro-Hungarian fighter ace with 28 victories to his credit during World War I. He was the third ranking ace of the...

, in forming the Wiener-Nieustadt Airport Management Association.

He became a Luftwaffe fighter instructor beginning in 1938. Two of his students became some of the most successful aces of World War II—Walter Nowotny
Walter Nowotny
Major Walter "Nowi" Nowotny was an Austrian-born German fighter ace of World War II. He is credited with 258 aerial victories in 442 combat missions...

 (258 victories) and Hans-Joachim Marseille
Hans-Joachim Marseille
Hans-Joachim Marseille was a Luftwaffe fighter pilot and flying ace during World War II. He is noted for his aerial battles during the North African Campaign and his bohemian lifestyle. One of the best fighter pilots of World War II, he was nicknamed the "Star of Africa"...

 (158 victories). Their ability to repeatedly shoot down multiple enemies on the same sortie can be traced to Arigi's teaching them to close to minimum range before firing. Arigi later noted that while both students were quietly eager, Nowotny was naturally talented but Marseille had to work for mastery.

Arigi died in his sleep of natural causes in Attersee
Attersee (town)
Attersee is a village located at the western shore of lake Attersee in Upper Austria, Austria.The village center lies between the lake and the slopes of the Buchberg and is the location of a Baroque pilgrimage church from which marvelous views across the lake and up to the "Höllengebirge" can be...

, Austria.
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