30 July 1917|
|Died||8 April 1999
|Unit||JG 54, EJGr Ost, JG 7|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross|
Fritz Tegtmeier (30 July 1917 – 8 April 1999) was a German World War II Luftwaffe 146 aerial victories Flying ace and recipient of the coveted Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down five or more enemy aircraft during aerial combat.
Fritz Tegtmeier was posted to the 2nd Squadron (Staffel) of Jagdgeschwader 54 (2./JG 54) in October 1940. He was severely injured on 17 November 1940 when his aircraft crashed due to engine fire. He returned to his Staffel in the spring of 1941 and claimed his first aerial victory on 22 June 1941, the first day of Operation Barbarossa on the Eastern Front. Tegtmeier with seven aerial victories claimed, was again severely injured on 10 September 1941 in a midair collision with a Messerschmitt Bf 110 near Gatschina. He bailed out with his parachute and was put in convalescence for many months. He returned to active duty in April 1942 and was assigned to the 1./JG 54. By the end of 1942 he had claimed 29 aerial victories. He claimed aerial victories number 36 and 37 on 23 January 1943. On 3 May 1943 he claimed numbers 51–53 and was posted to Ergänzungs-Jagdgruppe Ost as fighter pilot instructor. He returned to front line duty, this time with the 3./JG 54, in September 1943. In November 1943 he achieved his 75th aerial victory. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) on 28 March 1944 following his 99th aerial victory. Tegtmeier was promoted to Leutnant on 20 April 1944. He claimed his 100th and 101st aerial victory on 3 May 1944. In October 1944 he was made Staffelkapitän of the 3./JG 54. By the end of 1944 his score of aerial victories stood at 139 claims. When he was transferred to Jagdgeschwader 7 for flight training on the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter in March 1945 his score stood at 146 aerial victories. Fritz Tegtmeier had been nominated for the Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub).
- Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe (5 October 1942)
- German Cross in Gold on 23 January 1943 as Oberfeldwebel in the I./JG 54
- Iron Cross (1939) 2nd and 1st Class
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 28 March 1944 as Oberfeldwebel and pilot in the 2./JG 54[Note 1]
- Spick 1996, p. 229.
- Spick 1996, pp. 3–4.
- Weal 2001, p. 43.
- Weal 2001, p. 108.
- Obermaier 1989, p. 214.
- Patzwall and Scherzer 2001, p. 470.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 419.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 738.
- 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.
- 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.
- Spick, Mike (1996). Luftwaffe Fighter Aces. New York: Ivy Books. ISBN 978-0-8041-1696-1.
- Weal, John (2001). Jagdgeschwader 54 'Grünherz'. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-286-5.
- "Fritz Tegtmeier". World War 2 Awards.com. Retrieved 29 April 2013.