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Max Ritter von Müller (1887 - 1918) credited with 36 victories. Physically Müller was small in stature, being only 5 foot one inch tall. He joined the army flying school at Schleissheim on 1 December 1913 and was a fully qualified pilot when the war broke out. Flying with FA 1b as a reconnaissance pilot he carried out several missions. On 18 August 1914 he crashed during take-off due to engine failure, both Muller’s legs were broken. However, he overcame his injuries to pull his unconscious observer from the wreckage Upon his return in October he was bestowed the Silver Award of his native Bavaria's Medal for Bravery. Muller was posted to the Prussian Jasta 2 on 1 September 1916, and scored his first victory downing a DH.2 of No. 24 Squadron, RFC, the pilot being captured. By the end of 1916 Muller had become an Ace and a year after Müller had joined Jasta 2, he had an impressive score of 27 victories and earned the Pour le Merite. The Blue Max, as it was better known was awarded on 3 September 1917.
Max Muller - Albatros DV
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With several other distinguished medals that had been awarded to him, Muller became one of the most highly decorated aces in the entire German air service, second only to Manfred von Richthofen.On 9 January 1918, whilst on a patrol over Moorslede, Müller's flight came across an RE.8 of No. 21 Squadron and two SE5a fighters of No 60 Squadron, after a lengthy battle, bullets struck his fuel tank, fire quickly burned through the interior panel of the cockpit, Müller, who wasn't wearing a parachute, jumped to his death.Müller's final victory toll included 22 enemy fighter planes among his 36 victims. He was also an ace over aces, having downed five aces himself. After the war, Müller was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Military Order of Max Joseph which conferred a knighthood on him.The painting shows Muller flying his Albatros DV in combat with a Spad of 23 Squadron in 1917. Though Muller painted his aircraft in various colours it was usual for him to include the black comet motif.