19 July 1912|
|Died||25 August 1941
near Yelnya, southwest of Bryansk
|Years of service||1931–41|
|Commands held||1./JG 51, I./JG 51|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves|
Hauptmann Hermann-Friedrich "Jupp" Joppien (19 July 1912 – 25 August 1941) was German World War II Luftwaffe Flying ace and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (German: 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. It was Germany's highest military decoration at the time of its presentation to Hermann-Friedrich Joppien.[Note 1] Joppien was killed in action with Soviet fighters on 25 August 1941.
Hermann-Friedrich Joppien was born on 19 July 1912 in Bochum in the Province of Westphalia, a province of the Kingdom of Prussia. Joppien joined the military service with an Infantry Regiment in October 1931.
In mid 1939 Joppien was posted to the 1st Staffel (squadron), Jagdgeschwader 51 (JG 51—51st Fighter Wing).[Note 2] He claimed his first victory, a French Morane-Saulnier M.S.406 on 23 November 1939, although Joppien's aircraft undercarriage had been damaged and his aircraft overturned on landing, Joppien escaping injury. Joppien claimed four victories during the 1940 French campaign. On 6 August 1940 Joppien became Staffelkapitän (squadron leader), 1./JG 51. Joppien then claimed 26 victories during the air battles over England. Joppien was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and on 18 October 1940 appointed Gruppenkommandeur (group commander), I./JG 51. He recorded his 40th claim on 21 April 1941. He was awarded the Oak Leaves to his Knight's Cross on 23 April for achieving 40 victories.
Joppien led I./JG 51 during the invasion of the Soviet Union and on 30 June 1941 shot down five Russian bombers near Bobruysk, Belarussian SSR. 12 victories followed in July, including four Tupolev SB-2 bombers shot down on 2 July and another three SB-2s on 24 July.
However, after his 58th victory on 5 July, Joppien was wounded by bomber return fire and spent several weeks in hospital. On 25 August 1941 Joppien engaged in combat with Soviet fighters and bombers near Yelnya, southwest of Bryansk. In the subsequent action Joppien was shot down and killed in his Bf 109 F-2 (Werknummer 9670—factory number) "Black <<" by a Russian MiG-3 fighter.
"Jupp" Joppien was officially credited with 70 victories and the fourth highest scoring fighter pilot at the time of his death. His victory total included 42 aerial victories claimed over the Western Front among them 23 Supermarine Spitfires.
- Iron Cross (1939)
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
- Mentioned three times in the Wehrmachtbericht
References in the Wehrmachtbericht
|Date||Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording||Direct English translation|
|Tuesday, 22 April 1941||Hauptmann Joppin errang seinen 40. Luftsieg.||Hauptmann Joppien achieved his 40th aerial victory.|
|Tuesday, 1 July 1941||...Oberstleutnant Mölders errang hierbei seinen 82., Hauptmann Joppien seinen 52. Luftsieg.||...Oberstleutnant Mölders achieved hereby his 82nd., Hauptmann Joppien his 52nd aerial victory.|
|Friday, 29 August 1941||Hauptmann Joppien, Inhaber des Eichenlaubes zum Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes, Gruppenkommandeur in einem Jagdgeschwader, kehrte nach seinem 70.. Luftsieg vom Feindflug nicht zurück. Mit ihm verliert die Luftwaffe einen ihrer kühnsten und erfolgreichsten Jagdflieger.||Hauptmann Joppien, recipient of the Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, group commander in a fighter wing, did not return from a combat mission after his 70th aerial victory. With him the Luftwaffe loses one of their most daring and successful fighter pilots.|
- Until late September 1941, the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves 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 as highest military order was surpassed on 28 September 1941 by the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern).
- For an explanation of Luftwaffe unit designations see Organisation of the Luftwaffe during World War II.
- According to Scherzer as Oberleutnant and pilot in the I./JG 51
- Weal 2006, p. 68.
- Thomas 1997, p. 331.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 245.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 423.
- Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, p. 500.
- Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, p. 598.
- Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, p. 659.
- 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.
- 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.
- Weal, John (2006). Jagdgeschwader 51 'Mölders'. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84603-045-1.
- 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.
- Frey, Gerhard; Herrmann, Hajo: Helden der Wehrmacht III - Unsterbliche deutsche Soldaten (in German). München, Germany: FZ-Verlag GmbH, 2007. ISBN 978-3-924309-82-4.
- "Aces of the Luftwaffe". Hermann-Friedrich Joppien. Retrieved 12 May 2007.
- "Ritterkreuzträger 1939–45". Hermann-Friedrich Joppien (in German). Retrieved 11 August 2009.
- "Lexikon der Wehrmacht". Hermann-Friedrich Joppien (in German). Retrieved 16 August 2012.