19 August 1917|
|Died||2 March 1944
near Montmédy, France
|Buried at||German War Cemetery St. Desiré de Lisieux, Normandy|
|Years of service||1937 – 1944|
|Commands held||7./JG 2, III./JG 2, JG 2|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords|
Egon "Connie" Mayer (born 19 August 1917, Konstanz – killed in action 2 March 1944, near Montmédy) was a German World War II fighter ace who served in the Luftwaffe from 1937 until his death in 1944. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves and Swords was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. Mayer shot down 102 enemy aircraft. His victories were all claimed over the Western Front in 353 missions and included 26 four-engine bombers, 51 Supermarine Spitfires and 12 P-47 Thunderbolts. Mayer was the first fighter pilot to score 100 victories entirely on the western front. His final command was Geschwaderkommodore of the Jagdgeschwader 2 "Richthofen" fighter wing.
World War II
Egon Mayer joined the Luftwaffe in 1937. After regular peacetime training, Fahnenjunker (cadet) Mayer was transferred to I./Jagdgeschwader 2 (JG 2—2nd Fighter Wing) on 6 December 1939.[Note 1] He was serving with 6./JG 2 when he shot down a French Morane and claimed his first victory on 13 June 1940. On 10 June 1941, Oberleutnant Mayer was appointed Staffelkapitän (squadron leader) of 7./JG 2, based at St Pol-Brias. On 1 August 1941, after 20 victories, Mayer was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. On 19 August, his 25th birthday, Mayer shot down two Spitfires over Dieppe during Operation Jubilee. In November 1942, Hauptmann Mayer was appointed Gruppenkommandeur (group commander) of III./JG 2. On 23 November, Mayer claimed his first victories over United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) four-engine bombers, when he shot down two B-17 Flying Fortress and a B-24 Liberator. Together with Georg-Peter Eder, Mayer developed the head-on attack as the most effective tactic against the Allied daylight heavy combat box bomber formations.
It was in June 1943 when Mayer encountered a future ace from the 56th Fighter Group, of the 8th Air Force. His name was Robert S. Johnson. Johnson's Republic P-47D Thunderbolt had been badly shot-up by a gaggle of Focke Wulf Fw 190's during a routine mission. As Johnson limped home, with a canopy that wouldn't open, hydraulic fluid and oil covering his windscreen, Mayer pulled along beside him, in his FW-190. Mayer looked the wounded P-47 over, and then circled to come in from Johnson's six-oclock, and give it the "coup de grace." The first gun pass failed to knock the heavy American fighter out of the sky. Mayer made two more runs on Johnson, without success. After running out of ammunition, Mayer pulled alongside Johnson, saluted him and headed for home. Johnson landed his plane, and counted more than 200 holes, without even moving around the airplane. He also saw that a 20mm cannon shell had exploded just behind his headrest, making it impossible to open his canopy.
Egon Mayer was honored with the Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross on 16 April 1943 after 63 aerial victories. Oberstleutnant Mayer was appointed Geschwaderkommodore (wing commander) of JG 2 on 1 July 1943, thus succeeding Oberst Walter Oesau. His final score stood at 102, when he was shot down by a P-47 Thunderbolt near Montmédy in Focke-Wulf Fw 190 A-6 (Werknummer 470468—factory number) on 2 March 1944. He was posthumously decorated with the Swords to the Knight's Cross.
He was buried at the cemetery of Beaumont-le-Roger, France and later re-interred at the German War Cemetery, St. Desiré de Lisieux. In An Ace of the Eighth by Norman Fortier, the author claims Mayer was shot down by Lt. Walter Gresham of the 358th Fighter Squadron, 355th Fighter Group. The claim is based on gun camera footage and recollections of Mayer's wingman, who was forced to bail out during the action.
- Wound Badge in Silver
- German Cross in Gold on 16 July 1942 as Oberleutnant in the 7./JG 2 "Richthofen"
- Front Flying Clasp of the Luftwaffe for Fighter Pilots in Gold with Pennant "300"
- Combined Pilots-Observation Badge
- Iron Cross (1939)
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords
- Knight's Cross on 1 August 1941 as Leutnant of the Reserves and pilot in JG 2 "Richthofen"[Note 2]
- 232nd Oak Leaves on 16 April 1943 as Hauptmann and Gruppenkommandeur of the III./JG 2 "Richthofen"
- 51st Swords on 2 March 1944 as Oberstleutnant and Geschwaderkommodore of JG 2 "Richthofen"
- Berger 2000, p. 215.
- Johnson 1999, pp. 169–189.
- Fellgiebel p. 37, 60
- Berger 2000, p. 214.
- Patzwall and Scherzer 2001, p. 299.
- Thomas 1998, p. 65.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 531.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 531.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 68.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 42.
- Berger, Florian (1999). Mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern. Die höchstdekorierten Soldaten des Zweiten Weltkrieges [With Oak Leaves and Swords. The Highest Decorated Soldiers of the Second World War] (in German). Vienna, Austria: Selbstverlag Florian Berger. ISBN 978-3-9501307-0-6.
- Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 – Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtsteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches] (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6.
- Forsyth, Robert (2009). Fw 190 Sturmböcke vs B-17 Flying Fortress Europe 1944–45. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84603-941-6.
- Fortier, Norman. An Ace of the Eighth. Presidio Press-Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-89141-806-7.
- Johnson, Robert S. (1999), Thunderbolt, Spartanburg, South Carolina: The Honoribus Press. ISBN 1-885354-05-3.
- Obermaier, Ernst (1989). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Luftwaffe Jagdflieger 1939 – 1945 [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the Luftwaffe Fighter Force 1941 – 1945] (in German). Mainz, Germany: Verlag Dieter Hoffmann. ISBN 978-3-87341-065-7.
- Patzwall, Klaus D.; Scherzer, Veit (2001). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II [The German Cross 1941 – 1945 History and Recipients Volume 2] (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8.
- Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
- Thomas, Franz (1998). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 2: L–Z [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 2: L–Z] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2300-9.
- Weal, John (1996). Focke-Wulf Fw 190 Aces of the Western Front. London, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-85532-595-0.
- Weal, John (2000). Jagdgeschwader 2 'Richthofen'. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-046-3.
- "Aces of the Luftwaffe". Egon Mayer. Retrieved 15 March 2007.
- "Lexikon der Wehrmacht". Egon Mayer (in German). Retrieved 18 June 2012.
- "Ritterkreuzträger 1939–45". Egon Mayer (in German). Retrieved 18 June 2012.
Major Walter Oesau
|Commander of Jagdgeschwader 2 Richthofen
1 July 1943 – 2 March 1944
Major Kurt Ubben