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Keller, Guido

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Guido Keller
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06.02.1892 Miláno /
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09.11.1929 Otricoli /
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stíhač 1. sv. války
Básník, politik a intelektuál
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Guido Keller was born in Milan in 1892. He came from an old aristocratic family of swiss poke Keller von Kellerer, who settled in Lombardy in the mid-eighteenth century. Guido's grandfather was one of the first milan of the patricians, who, in spite of aristocratic traditions, promote the industrialization of northern Italy. Mother came from a noble lombard blood, of the genus Osnago.

After finishing elementary school Keller sent his parents to study in a strict boarding school in Switzerland, sought after famous houses, but Guido here only lasted a couple of years. He couldn't overcome his dismissive attitude to the education system. Not that you shouldn't intellectual interests. On the contrary. He loved philosophy, music, fine art, classic Italian and foreign literature. He hated, however, conventional teaching methods and discipline. Because in the end the school left to devote himself to the study itself and completely free. At the same time, it is also widely dedicated to different sports. He was an enthusiastic admirer of the ancient past, the spartan ideal of beauty of the body, heroism, athletics, and other skills.

In the army

As an Italian nationalist, with the temperamental Guido, in which in addition exhibit the romantic desire for adventure, decided to join voluntarily the ranks of the Italian army. And it to the latest and most romantic weapon - to the air force.

In January 1915 the Italian army was formed by training a battalion of civilian pilots in Mirafiori. Guido immediately signed up and soon distinguished himself as one of the best pilot of the pupils. After a few hours in the air was able to fly alone.

In the training also had a curious accident. When scrolling with your Blériotem on the edge of the airport caught the propeller on the ground and the engine shut off. Because Guido didn't want to walk far into the hangar to summon a mechanic, decided to crank up the engine itself. He climbed from the cockpit and began to hand-crank the propeller. After several attempts engine started up, propellers spin, however, since Guido left too open gas injection, the revolutions of the propeller quickly began to increase and the aircraft started. Keller quickly circulated the wing in a futile attempt to get in time into the cabin. When he saw that he has no chance to catch it, grabbed the end of the wings and braced his feet in a desperate attempt to stop "fleeing" the plane. This is, of course, because of their "weights" on the wing, he began to spin on the spot. Keller wouldn't let him, but suddenly he lost his balance, staggered forward and ended up with his head in the radius of the rotating propeller. The propeller hit him in the head; Keller fell in a daze with your face zbroceným blood. Fortunately, it turns out that the skull was not penetrated, the propeller only partially scalped. Blériot, meanwhile, started up, drove off, however, just a few feet and then overturned.

Keller was quickly transported to the hospital, where his wound treated. In the hospital, then stayed after about two weeks, then returned to the airport.

Keller no problem obtaining a civil decree on airplanes Blériot and immediately enlisted in the air force. He wore, however, the uniform of the royal engineers, because the Italian air force yet as a separate weapon doesn't exist. The airmen were recruited from their tribal regiments and wore their uniforms.


Day 1. June 1915 won the Keller military pilot decree on the aircraft type SAML Aviatik (that at that time Italy produced in license) and 15. November of the same year became commander of the 3. squadron (3a Squadriglia) equipped with machines of this type. Squadron was stationed in Brescia and its first task was the implementation of reconnaissance flights behind the lines of the enemy. Keller immediately made several such flights, which manifested itself as a skillful and courageous pilot. On the other hand, however, often his courage was not too out of place - Keller was reckless aesthete and loved flying, so he often happened, that "admiring" the landscape or the sunset and "forgetting" to enemy anti-aircraft fire and the threat of fighters. Of course, that's probably not encourage enthusiasm in the ranks of his observers.

The end of the year 1915 the headquarters of the air force, concerned about the bombing of the city of Verona, decided on the establishment of the group, in Italy, the first of its kind, designed to defend the city. They were chosen by the best pilots, skilled and courageous, Keller among them. These pilots were not concentrated in any particular unit, they would continue to dislokováni in their departments, only had the task of starting against possible intruders during the announcement of the alarm.

3. the wing had the task to protect Brescia and 4. squadron (also armed with machine Aviatik) Verona. Machines Aviatik for this purpose, however, too unfit. It was a two-seater reconnaissance aircraft, whose performances were for deployment in the role of fighters completely inadequate. Also, their armament was weak - on reconnaissance flights until now were flying only with a rifle, which had an observer. Now, however, hastily implemented in the armament machine guns.

Just on such a machine, the Keller the end of the year 1915 he graduated from his first "fight". One day, late in the evening, when the sun was setting, she started howling alarm siren. Keller, although discouraged colleagues (night flying was in its infancy and start so late in the evening was considered a gamble), lifted into the air his Aviatik, (which had a fixed machine gun Fiat and "machine gun" Villar Perosa observer) and ascended to a height where he assumed to find the enemy. In the bright moonlight and with a little luck, he actually managed to catch a glimpse of some sort of aircraft. Shortened the distance and got within striking distance, but just before the start of the fire, identified the foreign aircraft as the Italian seaplane. (As he was later explained on the ground, the alarm was declared, in addition to the airport in Brescia, also the base of seaplanes in Desenzano. Seaplane, therefore, looking for intruders like him.) however, Before Keller could break away, the pilot of the seaplane it noticed, and in the belief that this is the austrian Aviatik, blow up in the Keller aeroplane volley of shots. Thankfully were not fatal, however, Keller returned home with a damaged aircraft.

Guido Keller served as a pilot on the machines Aviatik about a year, during which he performed a large amount of reconnaissance flights. Several times he returned to base with the aircraft hit by anti-aircraft fire. But his goal was to go through a special training on the fighters. Finally, he was on such a course sent and 22. December 1916 he gained a pilot's license for aeroplanes Nieuport 11.


28. February 1917 was then Keller assigned to 80a Squadriglii, armed with just aircraft of this type.

Keller (second from left) with friends on the fuselage Nieuport 11 80. fighter per seuta

Keller for new units has proved himself as a brave man and an excellent pilot, on the other hand, however, he was undoubtedly a very eccentric personality. He was of small stature, with tousled hair and a moustache coiled up like a musketeer.

Stranger still was his behavior both in the air and on the ground. Keller sometimes flew only in his pajamas, but the cockpit of his aeroplane resembled a lounge - Keller in it had tea service, a package of crackers, and because he had a habit of in-flight read, to my thigh drive tied the book.

If just doesn't fly, he wasn't any less freakish. In his spare time he practiced gymnastics, took place the marching exercise, jogging. Refused to live with the other officers, and sleeping in a tent or in a cave. He was also an enthusiastic nudistou, so often it was possible to see the naked in a tree, sunning herself.

Just so devious was in the air. His recklessness and disregard for discipline is often sent into deadly dangerous situations.

Once, for example, went to the east over the sea to the mouth of the river Isonzo, to when you return to watch the sunset. He was, however, taken aback by the three austrian planes, to which is additionally added one seaplane transfer from Trieste. Keller fight against the odds accepted and led him to so vigorously and relentlessly that the enemy pilots will eventually be released and return home. Keller landed up in the dark with the plane prošpikovaným bullets.

Another time was Keller and the other fighter early in the morning on patrol deep in the enemy's lines, north of lake Garda, when at them suddenly from the thin layer of clouds triggered the three enemy fighters. Keller immediately drew, he stood up to the attack and then lunged at one of the attackers, sprinkled it with missiles and forced him to quickly escape.

His colleague meanwhile chased another, and finally shot down the third opponent. These two fights have followed so fast behind, that Keller did not have time to come to the aid of his companion. Both Italian fighters lost each other in the clouds, Keller's colleague flew to Verona, where they had for such cases an arranged meeting. After a long fruitless waiting he returned to the base, but after Guido gone. Hours of tantalizing passed, it was clear that Keller could not have fuel. The commander of the calling unit in the area, when here came the engine and Keller landed. He stepped out of the aeroplane with a huge bouquet of flowers and walked towards my colleague, who said: "First, I must congratulate you on that fight this morning. You've been really great."

"Forget about the fight... Why did you immediately flown to the reunion to Verona?" replied the indignant pilot.

"Huh! I first raced with his screaming plane just above the surface of the lake Lago di Garda. You don't know the lyricism of flight, the thrill of speed..."

"And then? You have been hanging out on a hunt?"

"Then I landed on a small backup airport at the foot of the mountains near Brescia. I slept the whole afternoon. Then I went for this bouquet. It is for you. I think you've earned it."

With such a pilot certainly wasn't easy to serve. Keller was, however, in spite of their peculiarities of a valid backup, as evidenced by his honours Silver medal for valor (Keller already at that time probably served at 73. Squadriglie): "Lieutenant of the royal engineers supplementary 1. air group, 73. air squadron - the pilot assigned to fighter squadron, the participant of a number of major sorties, vyznamenávající is constantly your bravery and skill. 24. April 1917 with great courage and coolness boldly built two enemy planes and fire your machine gun one hit, the other forced to return to their own territory. 26. may 1917 saw the enemy aircraft, attacked him, and although his fighter plane was hit, he continued to fight until forced to escape."

In the middle of the following month then Keller participated in a completely unique fights in the history of the air war. Early in the morning crossed the line and at the enemy airport dropped a metal case with attached flag. Inside was a challenge to a duel, which was to be held the following day. Noteworthy however, was that in a duel should not be used in weapons, fighting only for honour, not for life. The winner should be the pilot who can get behind the opponent's tail and stay there. It was further determined that at the agreed place to meet two squadrons, of which from each will compete in a duel after one of the airmen. In conclusion the report stated: "... Your white smoke tells me that you have agreed to my proposal. "

The austrians really challenge was accepted and the next day is over the front appeared two squadrons. Keller, of course, couldn't miss, although apparently, he wasn't Italian duelantem. An austrian, he was exceptionally skilled, but his Italian counterpart, eventually prevailed. The austrians then headed home and the Italians is gallantly doporovodili up over the airport. Then at the Trieste turned to home, bid farewell to the airmen of both sides salutováním and friendly zamáváním.

Chivalry, however, vrzy faded. In the autumn occurred the battle of Caporetto. Italian front began to crumble, even the elite 91. squadron had to retreat and had the loss, in particular when in-depth attacks against the advancing austro-Hungarian infantry. Immediately asked for reinforcements, and 1. 11. 1917 was sent 5 the capable pilots from other squadrons, Keller among them.

Keller immediately joined in the fighting. 91. squadron was at that time transferred to the subordination of 1. the army and transferred to the airport to Nove di Bassano. In an effort to stabilize the front are her Fallout continue to be used for in-depth attacks on the ground units of the enemy. Keller, of course, these types of events are also, of course, occurs also of course to air fights. 23. November Keller along with the other pilot got into a sharp fight with the overwhelming force of austrian fighters. Keller managed to shoot down one machine despite the fact that with a severely damaged aircraft, he faced six enemy machines.

The hectic deployment is also evidenced by the Kellerovo decorating other Silver medal for valor:

"Lieutenant of the royal engineers supplementary 91. air squadron "Baracca"- a Still admirable for the courage, endurance and strength, twelve times in a couple of days went off just a few feet above the enemy trenches, to effectively shelled. 23. November, 1917, together with a friend of the squadron, knocking the enemy aircraft and his aircraft was in combat repeatedly and severely affected. 26. may 1918 was on patrol with other pilots of the squadron and participated in the destruction of the nepřítelského fighter, which crashed in flames."

Pilots 91. squadron. Keller almost not visible, standing in front of the engine Fallout as the seventh from the right. To the right of him, the unit commander Maggiore F. Baracca

Operations continued essentially according to the same scheme: patrol against enemy observation machines, the accompaniments of their own bombers Caproni and attacks against ground targets. The latter task was an unpopular and often criticized. The then fighter aircraft did not have any protection fuel nadrží, engine or crew. Therefore, these attacks very risky and often led to losses, while from the implementation of these actions, nobody was exempt, not even the famous aces, and hence the threatened loss of experienced airmen.

When a similar event was in October 1918, shortly before the conclusion of the truce, shot down himself Guido Keller. Was fired on that day from machine gun austrian position in Codegy, when after repeated attacks from an altitude of a few meters suddenly felt a dull pain in the left thigh. Bullet him shot through and through. At the same time noticed that the cables of the rudder were přestřeleny. Quickly tried to assess the situation. He was too deep behind enemy lines and rapidly losing blood. The damaged machine was very difficult to manage. He then, turned off the engine and sat the machine on a rough terrain full of potholes. When seated with the Fallout overturned. Stunned, bruised and weakened by loss of blood, yet he had the strength to unfasten the seat belt and fell out of the cab. To him, she hurried the group of austria-Hungarian soldiers.

Keller was in an unenviable situation. Normally there was no reason to worry, but a while ago after the austrian soldiers shot and quite a few of them killed or wounded. He could not, therefore, wait no scruples or mercy. Keller decided to go to the counter and when the soldiers rushed up, taking advantage of his perfect knowledge of German and yelled at them: "Stand to attention, I'm an Italian officer! I am entitled to the tribute! I'm hurt, immediately take me to the hospital!"

Austrian soldiers used to drill and scared the wild because of the Italian pilot, immediately obeyed and brought him to the nearest hospital, from where they trekked to the hospital in Sacile (in Pordenone).

Italy has concluded with Austria-Hungary 3. November 1918 ceasefire. It also ended the fighting career of Guido Keller with this total account: he performed 116 patrol and escort missions, 137 long-distance and reconnaissance flights. 7 of the austrian aircraft shot down in aerial combat, of which 3 was officially confirmed, participated in the destruction of several others. He was decorated three Silver medals for valor.

Quotes to the third vyznemenání wrapped up its combat activities: "Lieutenant of the royal engineers supplementary 91. air squadron "Baracca" - a brave pilot with a unique vigor, 12. and 30. July and 30. August 1918, he shot down three enemy aircraft. In other battles escaped the entire enemy patrol and lit the drifting balloon. Repeatedly exposed to the serious danger and was hit several times in the fight. When our victorious offensive in October 1918, he worked tirelessly himself, shelled the airport and the grouping of enemy troops to the time, than wasn't his apparatus hit and with přestřeleným management and injuries in his thigh crashed near Codegy. For some time he remained in captivity."

Adventure in Fiume

Soon after the end of the war Keller was involved in the next adventure of the enterprise together with his friend G. dAnnunziem. Keller met him already during the war, and quickly became friends, linking is indeed similar intellectual interests, they both were poets and dreamers. After the war Keller to dAnnunziovi joined in Venice and later followed him into the Fiume.

Immediately after the signing of the armistice there has been a controversy about the city of Fiume (today's Rijeka), which initially belonged to the rozpadnuvšímu Austria-Hungary. The city, however, laid claim to Italy, for here there was a very strong Italian minority (about 88 % of the population). Fiume was occupied by the Italian troops 5. November 1918, two days after the signing of the treaty of the armistice between Italy and Austria, to pressure the other powers, however, eventually had to the Italian sections of the city once again to leave. In April of the following year, the United states vetoed the annexation of Fiume to Italy, then in may the newly formed Yugoslavia rejected the compromise proposed by France, to make the city become an independent state. The peace treaty with Austria of 10. September 1919 left this question unresolved.

And at this moment launched into action Keller's a great friend of Gabriele d'annunzio. In just two days with a handful of volunteers to Fiume occupied. Immediately, due to the huge notoriety of the "soldier-poet", whose legendary acts performed in the course of the recent conflict were vivid in the minds of all Italians, poured in thousands of men into the Fiume. Most of them were war veterans, among them seventy airmen, including four holders of Gold medals for valor, six ec, some of the participants of the famous "letákového raid" at Vienna, and a number of other prominent figures from the ranks of military pilots.

One of them was Keller, who has served in the role of dAnnunziova secretary.

In Fiume was trying to Keller to establish a new order. Remove the ingrained conventions and spark a revolution. Keller here he founded the esoteric society Yoga, into whose ranks were recruited the most outstanding inteletuálové then, of all possible worldviews and philosophy, there were next to each other fascists, democrats, nationalists, liberals, etc. All together tried to find the way to a resurgence of spirit and a better person.

Keller also had an idea for a new army. He wanted to completely change the existing military law, to cancel the rank higher than captain and rebuild the army according to the old ancient pattern.

Keller soon began to his ideas put into practice. Founded by an elite group of volunteers who created the personal d Annunziovu personal guard. Nudist Keller had resistance to background "sešňerovaným" stejnokrojům, so his man was often possible to see the singing of the march on Fiume only in shorts and with bare chests. Keller men often often devoted themselves to physical exercise, especially swimming and rowing. Keller tried to maintain an iron discipline, men were not allowed to leave the evening of the barracks, but Guido is for them to sought to provide evening entertainment. On the other hand, however, also need to split your unit into two sections which then fought each other in the abandoned tower sharp hand grenades and, of course, were wounded.

The political situation, however, in the meantime, began to intensify. 8. 9. 1920 D'annunzio declared the regent Carnarským (which was a new dAnnunziův name for fiumskou area), 13. September then occupied the nearby small town of Rabac and the islands of Krk and Rab. The answer was the conclusion of the compromise Rappalské the treaty between Italy and Yugoslavia of 12. 11. 1920, Fiume declared the free state, independent from both countries. The newly created state immediately acknowledged by the USA, France and the United Kingdom. D'annunzio agreement refused to recognize the and 14. November, 1920, therefore, Keller made his most famous years. Started off the day in an aeroplane of the type SVA and headed over Rome, to rouse the people, and gained to their side public opinion. A bouquet of red roses dropped on the Vatican, the other on the Quirinal (the seat of the Italian royal family) "for the queen and the people, as a token of love" and eventually headed over Montecitorio (the seat of the Italian parliament), where he threw a "tool of enamelled iron", to which was tied a strip of red cloth and accompanied by a report: "Guido Keller - of its shining wing - gives to parliament and the government, which holds for so long with lies and fear, a tangible allegory of your values."

The subject, meanwhile, landed on the roof of the hotel Milan. According to the then print "... some of the employees got on the roof and carefully approached the place where he fell, until it was slowly get to know that it's not a bomb, but the object, which is usually laid on the bedside table, just a little bigger than usual..."

The mysterious object was nothing else than an enamel potty, similar to what got Keller to immortalize.

the Famous photo of Guido Keller sitting on a potty

The keller years or dAnnunziův resistance in the end were to no avail. When the Italian government concluded that the situation cannot be resolved peacefully, she decided to dAnnunziovo army of the squeeze force. 24. 12. 1920 launched the Italian troops artillery shelling of the city and dAnnunziovy forces after a hard fight pushed out. DAnnunzio capitulated on 30. 12. after five days of resistance. The experience of the "Bloody christmas" keller severely shaken and for a long time trying to find mental balance, and even with the help of drugs, particularly cocaine.


In the end however, it probably saved your love for flying. First, he unsuccessfully attempted to establish in Turkey a pilot school, later in Berlin devoted bezmotorovému flying.

In 1925, however, it has already been can be found in the ranks of the Italian colonial air force, where he served in a reconnaissance squadron in Benghazi. Here in one attack against local rebels, fighting against the Italian occupiers, dropped off the engine of his SVA and Keller had to make an emergency landing in the desert. Eventually, however, it saved a bunch of Arabs, who belonged to the rebel forces.

Then again the air force left and went to South America, where he survey a possible commercial air routes for seaplanes along the rivers and coast of Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela. On that occasion undertook a series of adventurous expeditions after south american rivers.

When he returned home in 1928, Keller teamed up with futurists fascinated by their "dream projects", such as "the Conquest of the sun" (air show, which included the collaboration of the painter futurist and pilot Fedele Azari).

Rainy night 9. November, 1929, however, all his dreams cut a tragic accident. That day with him in the car traveled two friends, Victor Montiglio (the holder of the Golden medal for valor from the first world war), and an air force captain Giovanni Battista Salina. Friends rushed to Rome, but in the dark and on slippery road the car skidded and crashed into the wall of the bridge near Otricoli. Keller and Montiglio died instantly, Salina succumbed to his injuries twenty-four hours after in the hospital. So dotlouklo adventurous at heart, the intellectual, the artist and pilot Guido Keller.

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