Albert Leo Schlageter was from the South of Germany, a small town named Schoenau, 13 miles South East of Freiburg, set amidst the vast Black Forest landscape. At the outbreak of the First World War he enlisted in the army at age 19, and was soon to become an officer in the Artillery.

Wounded twice, he was fortunate to survive the campaign. At the ceasing of hostilities he led his battery back to the Rhine River, where he dismissed his men. Within a short time he joined the Freikorps, a group of paramilitary units, and assisted in the expulsion of the Bolsheviks from Riga in 1919. After further actions - against the Poles, he returned to the Rhineland to disrupt the French occupation. The French had occupied the area as part of the Versailles treaty, and were busying themselves draining the German economy by their administration of reparation payments. These payments included much of the local Ruhr coal production and other industrial output, and were largely responsible for the high inflation which crippled the country in the early 20's.

Schlageter was captured after blowing up a section of the Duisburg to Düsseldorf rail track. He received a sentence of death by firing squad, and was executed on 26th May 1923. His burial plot became a nationalist shrine and, when the French withdrew, a tall stainless-steel cross was erected on the site, and ceremonies were held on the anniversary of his execution each year. He had become a local Rhineland hero.

The coming years were to see the restoration of the Rhineland back under German control and military occupation. In 1938 the Geschwader, then JG 132, were based at Cologne and Düsseldorf airports. The local people felt a great pride in them and adopted them as their own with Invitations to civil ceremonies and parades became frequent occurrences. The Geschwader responded by holding air shows, which were very popular with the local people who attended in large numbers.

With pride and honor restored, it was suggested that the Geschwader take the name of a local hero. The name "Schlageter" was accepted by the Luftwaffe High Command, and the honor title, Jagdgeschwader 132 "Schlageter", awarded at a ceremony on 11th December 1938. A suitable emblem was adopted, a gothic S in a shield, and was displayed on all the units aircraft from 1939-1941.


a very early version of the regular Geschwader emblem

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