Gordon Gollob in October 1941
16 June 1912|
|Died||8 September 1987
|Buried at||Sulingen, Village cemetery|
|Allegiance|| First Austrian Republic (to 1938)
|Years of service||1933–45|
|Unit||ZG 76, JG 3, JG 54, JG 77, Luftflotte 5|
|Commands held||II./JG 3, JG 77, Jafü 5 and General der Jagdflieger|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds|
Gordon Max Gollob (16 June 1912, Vienna – 8 September 1987) was an Austrian-born German fighter pilot and flying ace in the Luftwaffe from 1938 to 1945 during World War II, and an ardent Nazi. A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down five or more enemy aircraft during aerial combat. He rose to the position of General der Jagdflieger, and was one of only 27 to receive the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub, Schwertern und Brillanten). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade the Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. At the time of its presentation to Gollob it was Germany's highest military decoration.[Note 1]
Gollob was credited with 150 aerial victories—that is, 150 aerial combat encounters resulting in the destruction of the enemy aircraft—achieved in 340 missions. He recorded 144 victories over the Eastern Front. Gollob was the first pilot in aviation history to claim 150 aerial victories.
Gollob was born in Vienna. In 1933 he joined the Austrian Bundesheer as an officer cadet, the year after he completed his flying training. He rose to command a training unit, the Schulstaffel A. When Austria was annexed by Germany in 1938, Gollob joined the Luftwaffe with the rank of Oberleutnant. On 15 March 1939 Gollob was posted to the 3./Zerstörergeschwader 76 (ZG 76) [Note 2] flying the Bf 110 twin-engined fighter.
World War II
The early years
ZG 76 was stationed on the Polish border and took part in Fall Weiss, the invasion of Poland from 1 September 1939. Gollob scored his first victories over Poland, and continued his success when ZG 76 took part in the Battle of the Heligoland Bight.
On 8 April 1940, Gollob was appointed Staffelkapitän of 3./ZG 76. The unit took part in Operation Weserübung (Germany's assault on Denmark and Norway) and Gollob had two more victories over Norway. Later that year Gollob shot down a Spitfire during the Battle of Britain. He was then given night fighter training and assigned to II./Jagdgeschwader 3 (JG 3) on 7 September. JG 3 was stationed on the Channel Front, and saw much action. On 9 October Gollob was appointed Staffelkapitän of 4./JG 3.
The tally increases
In 1941 the unit was transferred east to take part in Operation Barbarossa, the code name for Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II. A few days after the invasion started, on 27 June, Gollob was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of II./JG 3, and promoted to Hauptmann. Against the weak Soviet Air Force he proved quite successful, downing 18 enemy aircraft in August alone. On 18 September he was awarded the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes for his 42 victories. In October he had an impressive 37 'kills', including nine in one day on 18 October. On 26 October he was awarded the Eichenlaub after reaching 85 victories. In December Gollob was pulled from frontline service, and transferred to a testing unit, where he was to help with the development of the next version of the Bf 109.
After a brief spell at the Stabschwarm of Jagdgeschwader 54 (JG 54), Gollob, now a Major, assumed command over Jagdgeschwader 77 (JG 77) as Geschwaderkommodore on 16 May 1942. JG 77 was given the task of supporting the hard fighting over the Kerch straits on the Crimean peninsula. JG 77, led by such experts as Gollob and Heinrich Bär leading I./JG 77, "took over" the air space over the Kerch-Taman area. Intense rivalry ensued between Gollob and Bär, each striving to outperform the other. On 20 May Gollob reached victory number 100. On 23 June he was awarded the Schwerter, after his tally had risen to 107. Only two months later he reached 150 victories, becoming the Luftwaffe's highest scoring pilot at that point. For this he was awarded the Brillanten to his Ritterkreuz on 29 August, only the third man to receive such honours.
An anonymous JG 77 pilot described Gollob's methods; "Gollob flew from Kerch together with his wingman. They positioned themselves at a low altitude beneath a Soviet formation. Then they started climbing in spirals, carefully maintaining their position beneath the enemy formation. Before the peacefully flying Soviets had even suspected any mischief, the two planes at the bottom of their formation had been shot down and the two Germans were gone."
On 1 October 1942, now an Oberst (colonel), Gollob was posted to the staff of Jagdfliegerführer 3 [Note 3] on the Channel Front, and on 15 October he was appointed Jagdfliegerführer 5, being responsible for the tactical fighter command over northwestern France.
In April 1944 Gollob was transferred to the personal staff of General der Jagdflieger Adolf Galland, to advise on the development of the jet aircraft projects. However, he had a falling out with Galland in September, and was transferred to Kommando der Erprobungstellen, or HQ of test units. In November Gollob was appointed commander of the Jäger-Sonderstab - or special fighter command - for the Ardennes offensive. In January 1945 Gollob was appointed General der Jagerflieger, following Galland's sacking by the OKL: Oberkommando der Luftwaffe (air force high command) after the costly Operation Bodenplatte.
"Well, I will say this, then I will say nothing else about Gollob. Losses soared under his leadership everywhere he went, much like Göring in the first war. He placed leaders in command of units not because of their competence, but due to their loyalty to the Nazi Party, which were very few in the Jagdwaffe." 
Gollob was regarded as a competent pilot, but a poor leader due to his eagerness to impress superiors and his unhealthy competitive spirit.
After the war
After being released from captivity following the surrender, Gollob made a living as a contributor to Aircraft Magazines and lecturing. In 1948 he became a foreman of the Federation of Independents (Verbandes der Unabhängigen) in Austria. From 1951 he started working for a company making motors and vehicles. He had two sons and a daughter with his wife. Gollob died in Sulingen, Diepholz, Lower Saxony on 7 September 1987.
- Front Flying Clasp of the Luftwaffe in Gold with Pennant "300"
- Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe (21 July 1941) 
- Combined Pilots-Observation Badge in Gold with Diamonds
- Crimea Shield
- Iron Cross (1939)
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds
- Knight's Cross on 18 September 1941 as Hauptmann and Gruppenkommandeur of II./JG 3 
- 38th Oak Leaves on 26 October 1941 as Hauptmann and Gruppenkommandeur of II./JG 3 [Note 4]
- 13th Swords on 23 June 1942 as Hauptmann and Geschwaderkommodore of JG 77 
- 3rd Diamonds on 30 August 1942 as Major and Geschwaderkommodore of JG 77 
- Mentioned three times in the Wehrmachtbericht (25 November 1941, 20 June 1942 and 31 August 1942)
|Date||Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording||Direct English translation|
|Saturday 25 October 1941||Hauptmann Gollob errang am 20 Oktober seinen 30., Major Lützow am 24 Oktober seinen 101. Luftsieg.||Hauptmann Gollob achieved on 20 October his 30th, Major Lützow on 24 October his 101st aerial victory.|
|Saturday 20 June 1942||Hauptmann Gollob, Kommodore eines Jagdgeschwaders, errang seinen 101. Luftsieg.||Hauptmann Gollob, commander of a fighter wing, achieved his 101st aerial victory.|
|Monday 31 August 1942||Am 29. August errang Major Gollob, Kommodore eines Jagdgeschwaders, an der Ostfront seinen 150. Luftsieg.||Major Gollob, commander of a fighter wing, on 29 August achieved on the Eastern Front his 150th aerial victory.|
- In 1942, the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds was second only to the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross (Großkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes), which was awarded only to senior commanders for winning a major battle or campaign, in the military order of the Third Reich. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds as the highest military order was surpassed on 29 December 1944 by the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Goldenem Eichenlaub, Schwertern und Brillanten).
- For an explanation of the meaning of Luftwaffe unit designation see Organization of the Luftwaffe during World War II
- A Jagdfliegerführer, or Jafü, was the commander of the Fighter forces of a Luftflotte. For more details see Organization of the Luftwaffe during World War II
- According to German author Veit Scherzer on 25 October 1941.
- Spick 1996, pp. 3–4.
- Prien. JG 77, p. 1018
- Obermaier 1989, p. 19.
- Thomas 1997, p. 208.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 341.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 199.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 55.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 40.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 36.
- Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, p. 708.
- Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 2, p. 168.
- Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 2, p. 268.
- 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 Wehrmachtteile [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.
- Fraschka, Günther (1994). Knights of the Reich. Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Military/Aviation History. ISBN 978-0-88740-580-8.
- 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.
- Prien, Jochen (1993). Jagdgeschwader 77. ISBN 3-923457-19-7.
- Schaulen, Fritjof (2003). Eichenlaubträger 1940 – 1945 Zeitgeschichte in Farbe I Abraham – Huppertz [Oak Leaves Bearers 1940 – 1945 Contemporary History in Color I Abraham – Huppertz] (in German). Selent, Germany: Pour le Mérite. ISBN 978-3-932381-20-1.
- 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.
- Spick, Mike (1996). Luftwaffe Fighter Aces. New York: Ivy Books. ISBN 978-0-8041-1696-1.
- Williamson, Gordon (2006). Knight's Cross with Diamonds Recipients 1941–45. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84176-644-7.
- Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, 1. September 1939 bis 31. Dezember 1941 [The Wehrmacht Reports 1939–1945 Volume 1, 1 September 1939 to 31 December 1941] (in German). München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 978-3-423-05944-2.
- Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 2, 1. Januar 1942 bis 31. Dezember 1943 [The Wehrmacht Reports 1939–1945 Volume 2, 1 January 1942 to 31 December 1943] (in German). München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 978-3-423-05944-2.
- "Zum Leben geprügelt". Der Spiegel (in German) 21. 1950. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
- "Der Graf ist verboten". Der Spiegel (in German) 36. 1950. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
- "Gordon Gollob". Aces of the Luftwaffe. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
- "Gordon Gollob". Adlertag (in German). Retrieved 24 February 2014.
- "Gordon Gollob". Lexikon der Wehrmacht (in German). Retrieved 24 February 2014.
- "Gordon Gollob". Ritterkreuzträger 1939–45 (in German). Retrieved 24 February 2014.
- World War 2 Magazine interview with Johannes Steinhoff
- World War II Awards
Major Gotthard Handrick
|Commander of Jagdgeschwader 77 Herz As
16 May 1942 – 30 September 1942
Major Joachim Müncheberg
Major Karl Hentschel
|Commander of Jagdfliegerführer 3
15 October 1942 – 6 September 1943
|Commander of Jagdfliegerführer 5
6 September 1943 – May 1944
Generalleutnant Adolf Galland
|General der Jagdflieger
31 January 1945 – 8 May 1945