Helmut Lipfert (6 August 1916 – 10 August 1990) was a German Luftwaffe fighter ace and recipient of Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves. Lipfert ranks as the world's thirteenth fighter ace. Lipfert was credited with 203 victories achieved in 687 combat missions. All his victories were claimed over the Eastern front and included a P-51 Mustang, 41 Yakovlev Yak-1, 41 Yakovlev Yak-9 fighters, two four-engine bombers and 39 Ilyushin Il-2 ground-attack aircraft. He was shot down fifteen times, without being injured.
He is remembered by contemporaries as a consistent, professional pilot and leader. He withdrew often from squadron mates into long periods of contemplation. Helmut Lipfert joined the Luftwaffe in 1941 and underwent fighter pilot training. Lipfert was posted to 6./Jagdgeschwader 52 (JG 52—52nd Fighter Wing), based on the Eastern Front, on 16 December 1942. His first kill was a Lavochkin La-5, a powerful radial engined fighter, on the 30 January 1943, in Malaya-Balabinka (Southern Russia). In September 1943, Lipfert assumed command of 6./JG 52. On 8 October, he shot down five Russian aircraft (kills 30 to 34). Four more are shot down on 5 December and his score raises to 72. By the end of 1943 his victories total had reached 80. On 5 April 1944 his 90th air victory had won him the Knight's Cross (Ritterkreuz). Six days later, 11 April 1944, an “all-white Sturmovik” provided him with his century. But the last Germans had to evacuate from Crimea in May, retiring to Kherson. There, the Luftwaffe Gruppen were subjected to near-constant Soviet bombing raids, and Lipfert's 6./JG 52, in particular, lost a number of aircraft. The 11 June 1944 he destroyed his first American four engined bomber, a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress on the sky of Tateroi (victory number 127). Two weeks later, on the 24 of June, he downed a Consolidated B-24 Liberator over Ştefăneşti in the historical Romanian region of Moldavia ("victim" number 128). His 150th claim came on 24 October 1944: a Yakovlev Yak-7 over Feherto, Hungary. Hauptmann Lipfert was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of I./JG 53 (based in Hungary) on 15 February 1945. And on 8 April 1945 was the last “experten” to pass quote 200. Eight days later, 16 April 1945, he shot down his last victim, a Yakovlev Yak-9, a formidable Russian dogfighter, in the sky of Goding.
The following day he was awarded the Eichenlaub (Nr 837) for his 203 victories. After the dissolution of I./JG 53, Lipfert was transferred to 7./JG 52, until the end of the conflict. He claimed 27 unconfirmed victories. After the end of the war he was not turned over to the Soviet forces (unlike Erich Hartmann). After the war, he became a school teacher, and was seldom seen by his war comrades. He died on 10 August 1990
- ^ According to Scherzer as Leutnant (war officer).
- ^ According to Scherzer as Hauptmann (war officer).
- ^ a b Toliver & Constable 1996, p. 250.
- ^ a b Weal 2002, p. 83.
- ^ Shores 1983, p. 107.
- ^ a b c MacLean 2007, p. 220.
- ^ Obermaier 1989, p. 76.
- ^ Patzwall and Scherzer 2001, p. 281.
- ^ Fellgiebel 2000, pp. 293, 496.
- ^ a b Scherzer 2007, p. 509.
- ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 102.
- Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939-1945. Friedburg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 3-7909-0284-5.
- Lipfert, Helmut and Girbig, Werner (1993). The War Diary of Hauptmann Helmut Lipfert – JG 52 on the Russian Front 1943-1945. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Military History. ISBN 0-88740-446-4.
- MacLean, French L. (2007). Luftwaffe Efficiency & Promotion Reports — For the Knight's Cross Winners. Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Military History. ISBN 978-0-7643-2657-8.
- Obermaier, Ernst (1989). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Luftwaffe Jagdflieger 1939 - 1945 (in German). Mainz, Germany: Verlag Dieter Hoffmann. ISBN 3-87341-065-6.
- Patzwall, Klaus D. and Scherzer, Veit (2001). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 - 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II. Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 3-931533-45-X.
- 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 (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
- Shores, Christopher, Air Aces, Greenwich, CT, Bison Books, 1983. ISBN 0-86124-104-5.
- Toliver Raymond F. & Trevor J. Constable (1996). Fighter Aces of the Luftwaffe. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Military/Aviation History. ISBN 0-88740-909-1.
- Weal, John (2002). German Aces of the Russian Front. Oxford, Uk: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-620-8.
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