|Born||27 July 1914
|Died||26 May 1944
|Years of service||1933–1944|
|Commands held||SG 4|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves|
Georg Dörffel (27 July 1914 – 26 May 1944) was a highly decorated Oberstleutnant in the Luftwaffe during World War II, and one of only 882 recipients of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. Georg Dörffel was killed on 26 May 1944, north of Rome. During his career he flew 1004 missions as a ground assault pilot.[Notes 1] He was posthumously promoted to Oberstleutnant.
Georg Dörffel joined the military service in Infanterie-Regiment 22 (22nd infantry regiment) in 1933. In 1935 he transferred to the Luftwaffe holding the rank of Oberfähnrich (senior officer candidate). At first he served as an observer in a Kampfgeschwader (ground attack wing) before transferring as to the 5.(Schlacht)/Lehrgeschwader 2 (5.(S)/LG 2—5th ground attack squadron of the 2nd demonstration wing) flying the Henschel Hs 123 ground attack aircraft.
With this squadron as part of the II.(Schlacht)/LG 2 (2nd ground attack group of the 2nd demonstration wing) he flew as a Leutnant (Second Lieutenant) and pilot during the Invasion of Poland and Battle of France. The group was responsible of repelling a large enemy tank formation north of Cambrai on 17 May 1940 which threatened the flank of the German advance. Dörffel received the Iron Cross (Eisernes Kreuz) 2nd and 1st Class for this action on 21 May 1940.
Dörffel was shot down twice during the campaign in the west, the first time on 14 May 1940 near Tirlemont, Belgium and in June 1940 near Dunkirk. He was wounded on both occasions. In October 1940 he was appointed Staffelkapitän (squadron leader) of the 5.(S)/LG 2, which was re-designated 5./Schlachtgeschwader 1 (5th squadron of the 1st ground attack wing) in early 1942. In this role and position he flew in the Battle of Britain and from April 1941 in the Balkans Campaign.
With the beginning of Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, Dörffel was transferred to the Eastern Front, particularly in support of the central and southern sectors, providing air support to the German ground forces. Together with the squadron leader of the 2.(S)/LG 2, Oberleutnant Alfred Druschel, he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 21 August 1941 after over 200 combat missions. He was shot down near Skvorin at the Don River on 1 July 1942. Dörffel flew his 600th combat mission on 16 August 1942. He was appointed acting Gruppenkommandeur (group commander) of the I./SG 1 (1st group of the 1st ground attack wing) on 2 March 1943 followed by his official appointment as group leader on 11 June 1943.
Dörffel flew his 800th mission of the war in July 1943 followed by his 900th mission one month later. He was promoted to Major on 1 September 1943. In early October 1943 he flew 19 combat missions on one day against the attacking Red Army forces crossing the Dnieper River near Kiev. He flew his 1,000th combat mission of the war on 6 October 1943, claiming his 30th aerial victory on that flight. He was grounded one day later and transferred and appointed commander of the Schlachtfliegerschule (ground attack fliers school) at Prossnitz. In early May 1944 he took command of Schlachtgeschwader 4 (SG 4—4th ground attack wing) stationed in Italy as Geschwaderkommodore (wing commander).
Georg Dörffel was killed in action on 26 May 1944 north-west of Rome, Italy. Dörffel was forced to bail out of his Focke-Wulf Fw 190 F-8 (Werknummer—factory number—580 464) following an attack on a four-engined bomber formation. He probably struck his head on the tailplane; his parachute failed to open. He was buried in Pomezia, Italy, and posthumously promoted to Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant Colonel).
Awards and decorations
- Aviator badge
- Front Flying Clasp of the Luftwaffe in Gold with Pennant "1000"
- Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe (17 November 1941)
- Iron Cross (1939)
- Wound Badge (1939)
- in Black
- Eastern Front Medal
- German Cross in Gold on 24 January 1942 as Oberleutnant in the 5./Lehrgeschwader 2
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
- For a list of Luftwaffe ground attack aces see List of German World War II Ground Attack aces
- Obermaier 1976, pp. 62–63.
- Obermaier 1976, p. 63.
- Brütting 1995, p. 156.
- Patzwall and Scherzer 2001, p. 89.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 275.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 162.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 68.
- Brütting, Georg (1995). Das waren die deutschen Stuka-Asse 1939 – 1945 [These were the German Stuka Aces 1939 - 1945] (in German). Stuttgart, Germany: Motorbuch. ISBN 978-3-87943-433-6.
- 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.
- Obermaier, Ernst (1976). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Luftwaffe 1939–1945 Band II Stuka- und Schlachtflieger [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the Luftwaffe 1941 – 1945 Volume II Dive Bomber and Attack Aircraft] (in German). Mainz, Germany: Verlag Dieter Hoffmann. ISBN 978-3-87341-021-3.
- 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 (1997). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 1: A–K [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 1: A–K] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2299-6.
Major Alfred Druschel
|Commander of I. Schlachtgeschwader 1
March 1943 – September 1943
Hauptmann Siegfried Steinhof
formed from Stab/Schlachtgeschwader 2
|Commander of Schlachtgeschwader 4
18 October 1943 – 26 May 1944
Major Ewald Janssen