A graduate of Universitat Heidelberg, the fourth
Count Blitzenspeicher followed his forebears into the military service. He
began as a pilot in the Weltkrieg and flew formations with a brash young
squadron leader named Hermann Goering, a member of Rittmeister Manfred Albrecht
Freiherr von Richthofen's Jagdgeschwader Eine.
After defeat, and the exile of the Kaiser, the aristocracy fell into hard times with the rest of the country. Count Blitzenspeicher initially offset his penury by selling salvage mufflers and tailpipes on the street corner, dancing for money in the park with his pet monkey, and selling hand printed accounts of his war exploits complete with watercoloured images of battle.
It was during those dark times that he began reading American Photoplay magazines. The stories sparked his imagination which blossomed alongside his growing interest in American cigarettes.
Over time, he became consumed and made his way to America during the twenties, betting heavily on the margin and cleaning up in the stock market. Then tragedy struck... a death in the family. In early 1929, he hastened home on the maiden voyage of das Graf Zeppelin. To a dignified gathering of faithful family retainers and family members, Count Blitzenspeicher gave a stirring eulogy to his former dance partner and, after burying the family pet, resolved to make a new go of it in the cradle of desperate anamneses.
In one grand stroke, he retrieved the mortgage to his ancestral estate, whence came the finances for his American adventure, and reassumed the burdens of the peerage.
But, the muffled drums of impending war were, once again, troubling the horizon. Dramatically, he fought with the prospect of returning to military service. What would he wear... Navy or Army? Torn and despaired, the Count finally decided that his place was beside his antecedents in service on the seas.
The new government was all too happy to reinstate his military commission and he returned to active service, with a commission of Frigatenkapitan. His conditions were that he be allowed to form his own sailing unit and design the uniforms, weapons, and war vessel.
The Count's U-5000 was a custom submersible made from his own exacting plans and specifications in neo-medieval style. Count von Blitzenspeicher let the boat contract to Blohm und Voss and paid the entire bill for its construction. Note U-5000's unique faux stone conning turret, echoing the heraldic tradition of his lineage.
Drawing from his early years, the Count summoned the incalculable skills of his former wardrobe mistress in creating a wardrobe of unique new uniforms that would immediately distinguish his crew.
As in all wartime projects, however, there were the inevitable kinks to be ironed out. Peach colored cotton blouson frocks gathered at the waste with matching patent leather belts and gold lame tights just wouldn't do.
So, with time running short, the Count resolved to make do with standard issue uniforms. It was a crushing reversal that would haunt him throughout the war.
But, as with all who are called to greatness, Count von Blitzenspeicher rebounded manfully from a nasty bout with depression to take his fellow officers by storm with a radical new wartime posture. He became the first (and only) German Naval commander to fly the American Flag from his U-boat as a sign of wartime goodwill and received the Ritterkruz with diamonds for his wartime service in the U-5000 as a combat zone goodwill ambassador off the coast of West South Africa.
Among his triumphs on active duty was the teaching of the entire Hutu nation to artfully pirouette and prance within their traditional native dance while ever at-the-ready with foil or saber. He, single-handedly, cemented German relations with the peoples of the bush by conceiving and introducing the Hutu tutu, a simple unisex grass dance and combat dress.
Sharing of the rich overflow of his childhood ballet training, Count Blitzenspeicher was a fearless patron of culture, tirelessly popularizing the hurdy-gurdy and conducting joint ballet and fencing classes throughout the African subcontinent.
On this original picture postkarte, you can see the Count calmly astride his faithful mount, Astrid, as angry waves crest the bow of the dauntless Cinderella auf See (U-5000)!
Blitzenspeicher material, and other original artwork and text, on this site are, unless otherwise indicated or attributed, copyrighted by the author. Many hours went into the creation of this site so please respect the copyright on this material by not copying or otherwise attempting to use any of it without asking permission. March 26, 1999.
This page patiently created in AOLpress by Caped Vixen. Last update October 17, 1999.