24 October 1912|
|Died||4 November 1988
|Buried at||City cemetery in Engen|
|Years of service||1936–45|
|Unit||JG 51, EJGr Merseburg, JG 52, JG 50 and JG 11|
|Commands held||JG 50 (21 June 1943)
JG 11 (11 November 1943)
JG 52 (1 October 1944)
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds|
|Other work||Salesman for an electronics manufacturer|
Colonel Hermann Graf (24 October 1912 – 4 November 1988) was a German Luftwaffe Second World War fighter ace. A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down five or more enemy aircraft during aerial combat. He served on both the Eastern and Western Fronts. He became the first pilot in aviation history to claim 200 aerial victories—that is, 200 aerial combat encounters resulting in the destruction of the enemy aircraft. He claimed 212 aerial victories in over 830 combat missions, 202 of which were on the Eastern Front.[Note 1]
Graf, a pre-war football player and glider pilot, joined the Luftwaffe in 1935 and initially selected for transport aviation was posted to Jagdgeschwader 51 (JG 51—51st Fighter Wing) in May 1939. At the outbreak of war he was stationed on the German–Franco border flying uneventful patrols. Serving as a flight instructor he was stationed in Romania as part of a German military mission training Romanian pilots. Graf flew a few ground support missions in the closing days of the German invasion of Crete.
In the late spring, 1941 Graf claimed his first aerial victory on 4 August 1941 during Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) after 45 Eastern Front victories on 24 January 1942. By 16 September 1942 his number of victories had increased to 172 for which he was honored with the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub, Schwertern und Brillanten). At the time of its presentation to Graf it was Germany's highest military decoration.[Note 2] On 26 September 1942 he became the first fighter pilot in aviation history to claim 200 enemy aircraft shot down.
Now a national hero, Graf was taken off combat operations and posted to a fighter pilot training school in France before being tasked with leadership of a high flying de Havilland Mosquito intercept unit called Jagdgeschwader 50 (JG 50—Fighter Wing 50). In November 1943 Graf returned to combat operations. He was appointed Geschwaderkommodore (Wing Commander) of Jagdgeschwader 11 (JG 11—11th Fighter Wing) and claimed his last aerial victory on 29 March 1944. He was severely injured during this encounter and after a period of convalescence became Geschwaderkommodore of Jagdgeschwader 52 (JG 52—52nd Fighter Wing). He and the remainder of JG 52 surrendered to units of the United States Army on 8 May 1945, and were turned over to the Red Army. Graf was held in Soviet captivity until 1949. After the war he worked as an electronic sales manager and died of Parkinson's disease in his home town of Engen on 4 November 1988.
- 1 Early life
- 2 World War II
- 3 Prisoner of war
- 4 Later life
- 5 Aerial victory credits
- 6 Awards
- 7 Notes
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Hermann Anton Graf was born on 24 October 1912 in Engen in the Grand Duchy of Baden not far from the Swiss border, the son of Wilhelm Graf (1878–1937), a small farmer, and his wife Maria, née Sailer (1877–1953). He was the third of three children, with two older brothers, Wilhelm Wilhelm (1904–1981) and Josef Wilhelm (1909–1981). His father had fought in World War I as an artillery soldier and was awarded the Iron Cross (Eisernes Kreuz). He did not return home until Hermann was six years old. The young Hermann's main reference point in his life was his mother, and the bond he formed with her lasted the remainder of her life. Inflation in the Weimar Republic in 1923 wiped out all the family savings. From a very early age, Hermann learned to work very hard to make a living.
As a young boy, Graf was fascinated by football. He started with the football club DJK Engen (Deutsche Jugendkraft—Litteral for "German Youthful Strength", a Catholic sports organisation dating back to 1920) and later became a goalkeeper in FC Höhen. In his teens, he had been selected to join a group of talented young football players who were trained by Sepp Herberger, a former forward (1921–1925) of the German national football team and later head coach of the German team winning the 1954 FIFA World Cup. A broken thumb ended all of Graf's early hopes for a career on the national football team.
Graf graduated from the Volksschule (primary school) in 1926 at the age of thirteen. Since the savings for Graf's higher education had been lost in the 1923 inflation, he had no option but to apply for a vocational education. For the next three years, Graf worked as a locksmith apprentice at a local factory. A locksmith had a low income and when he received an offer to work as a clerk apprentice, he gladly accepted a change in careers. In this position, Graf helped Jewish families escape to Switzerland at a time when the "J" stamp in German Jews' passport had been demanded by Germany's neighbouring countries. He took a great personal risk and came close to getting caught. Graf was assisted by Gruppenführer (Group Leader) Albert Keller of the Nazi Glider Club NSFK in Engen, who cleared all the tracks that Graf had left.
Amateur pilot and joining the Luftwaffe
Graf saw his first aircraft when he was twelve years old causing an emotional conflict between his passion for football and aviation. He had started working at the Engen town Hall in 1930, saving all his money to buy a glider. Before his 20th birthday he contributed a homemade glider to the newly founded Engen Glider Club. Every Sunday he would go out to the nearby Ballenberg mountain until an almost fatal crash destroyed his glider in the fall of 1932. In 1935 when Adolf Hitler nullified the Treaty of Versailles, Hermann Graf applied for flight training in the newly created Luftwaffe.
Graf was accepted for the Luftwaffe 's A pilot training school in Karlsruhe on 2 June 1936. Following basic training, flight training progressed through the levels A1, A2 and B1, B2, referred to as A/B flight training. Graf's A training included theoretical and practical training in aerobatics, navigation, long-distance flights and dead-stick landings, graduating from A2 on 25 September 1936. Graf joined the B1 school in Ulm-Dornstadt on 4 October 1937. The B courses included high-altitude flights, instrument flights, night landings and training to handle the aircraft in difficult situations. He completed his B1 training on 23 December 1937 and progressed to B2 training in Karlsruhe on 19 January 1938, completing on 31 May 1938.
After the B2 course the pilots were either selected for fighter pilot training and transferred to a Jagdfliegerschule (fighter pilot school) or chosen for bomber or transport pilot training at a C flight school. Graf, at the age of 26, was initially thought to be too old for fighter pilot training and selected for the transport pilot C school. Largely due to the fact that the fighter force was in dire need for new officers Unteroffizier (non-commissioned officer) Graf, without training on modern fighter aircraft, was transferred to the 2. Staffel (2nd squadron) of the I./Jagdgeschwader 51 (I./JG 51—1st group of the 51st fighter wing) at Bad Aibling on 31 May 1939 after he had completed his officers candidate training at Neubiberg.[Note 3] I./JG 51 was equipped with the most modern German fighter aircraft at the time, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 E1. Graf, who had never flown a modern fighter aircraft before, ended his first flight on the Bf 109 with a crash. In July 1939, I./JG 51 was briefly reequipped with the Czechoslovakian built Avia B-534 biplane, giving Graf an opportunity to show his flying skills as well as to reestablish his self-confidence.
World War II
At the outbreak of war on 1 September 1939 I./JG 51 was stationed at the French border at Speyer and Graf was promoted to Feldwebel (sergeant). I./JG 51 exchanged the Avia B-534 biplanes again for the Bf 109 and was tasked with protection of Germany's Western border during the Phoney War—the phase in the months following Britain and France's declaration of war on Germany in September 1939 and preceding the Battle of France in May 1940. Graf flew 21 combat sorties without firing his guns and was still considered an unreliable pilot. On 20 January 1940, his Gruppenkommandeur (Group Commander) Hans-Heinrich Brustellin had Graf transferred to the Ergänzungs-Jagdgruppe Merseburg (a supplementary training unit stationed at Merseburg) where he provided newly trained fighter pilots from the fighter pilot schools with combat experience as an instructor. His assignment led to the promotion to Leutnant (second lieutenant) on 1 May 1940. At Merseburg Graf met and befriended two fighter pilot trainees Alfred Grislawski and Heinrich Füllgrabe. Ergänzungs-Jagdgruppe Merseburg at the time was under the command of Major (Major) Gotthard Handrick, the 1936 Olympic gold medalist and former commander of Jagdgruppe 88 of the "Condor Legion" during the Spanish Civil War. On 6 October 1940, Major Handrick was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of III./Jagdgeschwader 52 (III./JG 52—3rd group of the 52nd fighter wing). Handrick had some influence on the personnel rotation within the Luftwaffe and had Graf, Füllgrabe and Grislawski transferred to 9./JG 52 (9th Squadron of the 52nd Fighter Wing) on 6 October 1940 as well.
Service in Romania and invasion of Greece
Romania, isolated and threatened following the non-aggression pact signed by Germany and the Soviet Union, was seeking to uphold its neutrality. The Soviet occupation of Romania's regions, Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina, consented to by the King Carol II of Romania, caused Carol's popularity to fall. This gave Ion Antonescu an opportunity to rise to power and he soon established a dictatorship in Romania.
Under Antonescu, Romania's armed forces were reorganized, supported by a military mission from Germany called Luftwaffenmission Rumänien (Luftwaffe Mission Romania) under the command of Generalleutnant (Lieutenant General) Wilhelm Speidel. Stationed in Bucharest, III./JG 52 was temporarily renamed I./Jagdgeschwader 28 (I./JG 28—1st group of the 28th fighter wing) until 27 December 1940. Its primary task was to train Romanian Air Force personnel. Here the trio of Füllgrabe, Graf and Grislawski is joined by Ernst Süß, and later by Leopold Steinbatz and Edmund Roßmann.
The German airmen of 9./JG 52 spent a number a very relaxing days in Bucharest. Graf even managed to play football when a team of the Deutsche Luftwaffe played against Cyclope Bucharest at the Bucharest Sport's Arena before thirty thousand spectators. The relaxed life continued until late 1940 when the Romanian internal political situation deteriorated. Ion Antonescu, mainly a nationalist and the Iron Guard, led by Horia Sima, formed a tense alliance climaxing in the brief but bloody civil war from 21–24 January 1941. The three-day civil war was eventually won by Antonescu with support from the German Army. In May 1941 III./JG 52 was transferred to Greece to support Operation Merkur, the invasion of Crete. The unit flew mostly ground attack missions during this time.
War against the Soviet Union
In early June the unit transferred back to Romania, and from 22 June the unit supported Army Group South in Operation Barbarossa from bases in the country. On 1 August JG 52 transferred to forward airfields in Ukraine, and on 4 August Graf claimed his first aerial victory against an Polikarpov I-16 while escorting a Junkers Ju 87 strike. Graf recorded the victory at 06:20. His second victory fell the next day. Graf became an official ace upon achieving his fifth victory on 6 September 1941. The victory was achieved at night, 18:23 local time, in the vicinity of Krementschug. The success now made him a fighter ace.
JG 52 moved forward into the Soviet Union as the advance quickened in the late summer and autumn. Flying air superiority missions over over Kharkov in September and October 1941 he accounted for 12 victories (nos. 8–20) which included five Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-3s. Graf was finding his stride and accounted for 10 enemy aircraft in November and 12 in December 1941—during the harshest winter on record in Russia—inflating his personal success to 42 aerial victories. This period had witnessed some bitter aerial combat as Graf experienced the Battle of Rostov and opening phases of the Siege of Sevastopol. Graf remained with his unit as operations ground to a halt, and stalemate. On 24 January, with his tally now 45 victories, he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes). On 3 February 1942 he accounted for his victim number 47, a Sukhoi Su-2 ground attack aircraft. It was to be his last victory for several weeks. After seven months of ceaseless combat operations he was withdrawn from the frontline and sent on leave to Germany.
On 23 March Graf was appointed Staffelkapitän of 9./JG 52. That same day, Graf accounted for four enemy aircraft and by the end of March 1942 had reached 58 aerial victories. 9./JG 52 moved to the Crimea in April to support Erich von Manstein's 11th Army. The Battle of the Kerch Peninsula (Unternehmen Trappenjagd) was designed to eject Red Army forces that had conducted an amphibious landing in the region on 26 December 1941. Tasked with clearing the skies above Manstein's limited forces, Graf achieved substantial success. On 30 April 1942 he became an "ace in a day" after shooting down six enemy aircraft in the region followed by seven on 2 May and 8 May respectively. By the 11 May the Kerch campaign was reaching its climax and would end in complete victory for the Germans and their allies eight days later. On this day Hermann Graf reached a tally of 89 aerial victories. Graf was ordered north immediately to assist German air forces near Kharkov. The Soviets had launched a surprise offensive beginning the Second Battle of Kharkov. Graf recorded 19 air victories in the heavy air fighting. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub) on 17 May 1942 for 105 air victories. The 39 claims submitted in May 1942 took his personal tally to 108 by the time the battle was over. After the frenetic pace of combat Graf was again withdrawn from operations. Graf's friend, Adolf Dickfeld was closing in on his personal tally. On 14 May Dickfeld achieved 9 victories followed by 10 on 18 May. Twenty-four hours later Dickfeld would be awarded the (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub) for 101 aerial victories. The two men now rivaled Adolf Galland (96 e/a), the late Werner Mölders (115 e/a), Hans Joachim Marseille (~70 e/a) and Gordon Gollob (100 e/a) as the Luftwaffe's leading aces.
From August onwards JG 52 supported Army Group South advances towards Stalingrad and Graf continued shooting down enemies at a high rate. In September alone he shot down 64 enemy aircraft, including 10 on 23 September. Graf had achieved his 172 aerial victory on 9 September 1942 for which he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds on 16 September. On 2 October he also became the first pilot in aviation history to down 200 enemy aircraft for which he received a promotion to Major. Some time after this Graf was ordered not to fly operationally any more, as the High Command was concerned about the potential morale loss if he was to be shot down. Indeed, Graf received heavy damage to his aircraft on several occasions, including a cannon hit to the cockpit, and half the rudder shot away.
Fighter pilot instructor—Jagdgruppe Ost
On 28 January 1943 Graf, now a Major, was sent to southern France to command Ergänzungs-Jagdgruppe Ost (Supplemntary Fighter Group East), a fighter pilot school. Here newly trained fighter pilots destined for the Eastern Front received their final training from experienced Eastern Front pilots. The main base was at St. Jean d'Angély 70 miles (110 km) north of Bordeaux on the Atlantic coast. However, he spent most of his time at the Toulouse-Blagnac Airport where he nursed his passion for football. Peter Düttmann, whom Graf would later send to JG 52, was one of the pilots at the time at Jagdgruppe Ost. Graf selected a Focke-Wulf Fw 190 A-5 aircraft for his personal use.
On 11 March Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring was summoned to the Wolf's Lair by Hitler. Following the Allied aerial bombings of Nuremberg and Paderborn, Hitler blamed Göring for the Luftwaffe's inability to protect the German cities against the intensified Allied bomber offensive. Especially the fast and high-flying de Havilland Mosquito fighter-bombers had all returned home without having been intercepted. Two days after the attack on Paderborn, Göring met with Germany's leading aircraft manufacturers Willy Messerschmitt, Ernst Heinkel and Claude Dornier on 18 March 1943. Göring accused them for their inability to produce a German aircraft capable of competing with the Mosquito. He then withdrew to Berchtesgarden where he came up with the idea to create a Mosquito intercept task force led by Graf and Herbert Ihlefeld. Graf was ordered to Berchtesgarden where he received his instructions from Göring directly. Graf was directly subordinated to Göring and when asked what he required, responded that he wanted to appoint his own team. Göring approved and subsequently Graf was able to call upon his old friends Grislawski, Süß and Füllgrabe, as well as a number of good football players, who had served as administrators, drivers and mechanics in southern France.
Following the meeting with Göring at Bertechsgaden, Graf travelled to Berlin to organize the necessary personnel authorizations at the Luftwaffenpersonalamt (Luftwaffe personnel office). In Berlin, he took the opportunity to watch a football match at the Olympic Stadium. Here Graf was introduced to the young film actress Jola Jobst. Graf flew back to Toulouse from Berlin only to learn that his Mosquito assignment had been delayed. Hitler, who had assisted Francisco Franco during the Spanish Civil War, made repeated efforts to convince Franco into joining the war on Germany's side. Since 1941 Spanish fighter squadrons had operated together with the Luftwaffe in the East. Graf's person was being used by the German propaganda to have him interacting with the Spaniards. In this role, under Graf's supervision, the 4ta Escudrilla Azul (4th Blue Squadron), one of five Spanish voluntary fighter squadrons, received three weeks of specialized fighter pilot training for the Eastern Front from 18 May to 6 June 1943.
Defence of the Reich
Graf arrived at the Wiesbaden airfield on 11 June 1943 where he began the creation of the high-altitude fighter unit. Organizationally it was based on Jagdgruppe Süd. The unit was destined to be equipped with the Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-5, a high-altitude variant of the Bf 109 equipped with a pressurized cockpit. Arrival of the aircraft was delayed and Graf focus was on football. Graf invited Sepp Herberger to Wiesbaden who trained Graf's team for one day. During this visit Herberger encouraged Graf to further explore his influence to save Germany's best football players from frontline duty. Acknowledging the idea, Graf managed to bring to his unit players like Hermann Eppenhoff, Hermann Koch, Alfons Moog, Franz Hanreiter and Walter Bammes. Graf also requested Fritz Walter to be transferred to his unit. Walter later lead the West German World Cup winning team in 1954. Walter's transfer was more difficult to achieve. Graf had to submit his request directly to Generaloberst (Colonel General) Friedrich Fromm, the commander of the Ersatzheer (Reserve Army). Along with playing football, recruiting his pilots and staff, Graf also again had met Jola Jobst. The beginning relationship led to marriage in less than a year.
His unit received the first 12 Bf 109 G-5 in July 1943. With one of these aircraft he managed to reach an altitude of 14,300 metres (46,900 feet).[Note 4] Military success came quickly when he achieved the units' first aerial victory over an intruding Mosquito as well. However aircraft shortage still prevented him to fully declare operational status. In parallel to these events the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) based in England were mounting up their daylight offensive over Europe. Equipped with heavy four-engined Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and Consolidated B-24 Liberator bombers they had first appeared over northern Germany on 27 January 1943 in an attack against the port of Wilhelmshaven. The number of heavy bombers of the USAAF Eighth Air Force surpassed the 800 mark and tight flying combat box formations were striking deep into German airspace by July 1943. Graf ordered all his available Bf 109s to help intercept the American bombers targeted for Kassel on 28 and 30 July 1943. He was credited with the destruction of his first B-17 Flying Fortress during one of these attacks.
The unit now consiting of 19 aircraft was declared combat ready on 31 July 1943. Around the same time Graf's football team, the Rote Jäger (Red Hunters), was also ready and played their first game on 4 August 1943 with Graf as goalkeeper. This football team followed Graf's assignments for the remaining war. On 15 August 1943 Graf's unit was renamed to Jagdgeschwader 50 (JG 50—50th Fighter Wing). It was expected that JG 50 would be equipped with the Messerschmitt Me 163 rocket fighter. The Me 163 was being tested by Major Wolfgang Späte's test unit Erprobungskommando 16 at Peenemünde and Rechlin in the summer of 1943. Following a visit of this test unit, here Graf also learned about the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter, he returned to JG 50 full of optimism.
During this assignment Graf shot down three more enemy aircraft, including two B-17 Flying Fortress bombers. In October the unit was disbanded by Göring and absorbed into I./JG 301, and Graf was promoted to Oberst and appointed Geschwaderkommodore of JG 11 on 11 November. JG 11 was tasked with Reichsverteidigung (Defence of the Reich), and despite officially being banned from flying operational missions Graf managed to down 6 more aircraft over the next four months.
On 29 March 1944 Graf shot down one P-51 Mustang and in the confusion of the dog fight collided with another. He managed to bail out, but was injured and had to spend some time in a hospital. While on convalescence leave Graf married the German actress Jola Jobst on 24 June 1944. The couple was formally divorced after Graf returned as a prisoner of war. Jola Jobst would go on to marry Wolfgang Kieling in 1950 and committed suicide in October 1952.
Wing commander of JG 52
Following his convalescence, Graf was appointed Geschwaderkommodore of his old unit JG 52 by the General der Jagdflieger (General of Fighters), Generalleutnant Adolf Galland. The Geschwaderstab and I./JG 52 were based at Kraków in southern Poland and the time where the men of JG 52 gave Graf a welcome celebration on 20 September 1944. With German forces in retreat by this time Graf did not have opportunity for air combat. He managed to bring his tally to 212 before he surrendered to the Americans on 8 May 1945. Graf had disobeyed an order from General Hans Seidemann. Seidemann had ordered him and Erich Hartmann to fly to the British sector, to avoid capture by the Russians, with the rest of the wing surrendering to the Soviets. Instead Graf chose to surrender his unit to the 90th US Infantry Division.
Prisoner of war
Along with most of the JG 52 personnel, Graf was handed over to the Soviets shortly after his surrender. Having become famous via the Nazi propaganda machine and as the Commander of JG 52, Graf was singled out for attention by the Soviets. He was imprisoned until 29 December 1949. This relatively early release was by many perceived to be caused by his willingness to co-operate with his Soviet captors, something fellow pilots criticized him for, especially following a 1950s book by fellow fighter ace & Soviet POW Hans "Assi" Hahn entitled I Tell the Truth. This led to Graf being largely ostracized from post-war Luftwaffe comrade associations.
After Hermann Graf had returned from Soviet captivity in December 1949 his marriage with Jola Jobst collapsed and they were divorced. Initially Graf had a hard time obtaining work but his relationship in the football community helped him. Sepp Herberger introduced Graf to Roland Endler, an electronics manufacturer ("Elektro-Schweiss-Industrie GmbH") from Neuss who also was president of the FC Bayern Munich football club between 1958 and 1962. Endler employed Graf as a salesman in his company, and Graf would eventually advance to branch leader in Baden-Württemberg and Chief of Sales.
Graf eventually re-married twice. His third marriage from May 1959 with Helga Graf, née Schröck, resulted in the birth of his son, Hermann-Ulrich born in 1959, and his daughter Birgit born in 1961. In 1965 Graf was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease which had a slow deteriorating effect on his health. Parkinson's disease affected many of those who had flown high-altitude missions during the war. Hermann died in his hometown Engen on 4 November 1988.
Aerial victory credits
Graf was credited with 212 aerial victories, claimed in over 830 combat missions, 10 on the Western Front and 212 on the Eastern Front.
|Chronicle of aerial victories|
|– 1941 –|
|1||4 August 1941||6:20||I-16||10 km (6.2 mi) south-southeast Kiev||22||8 November 1941||11:58||MiG-3||south Rostov|
|2||5 August 1941||6:20||I-16||3 km (1.9 mi) south Kiev||23||9 November 1941||14:35||I-16||10 km (6.2 mi) east Shakhty|
|3||11 August 1941||14:35||MiG-3||2 km (1.2 mi) east Kaniv||24||11 November 1941||14:35||MiG-3||north Rovenky|
|4||30 August 1941||8:40||DB-3||60 km (37 mi) northeast Dnipropetrovsk||25||17 November 1941||14:38||I-16||10 km (6.2 mi) east Rostov|
|5||6 September 1941||18:23||I-16||25–30 km (16–19 mi) east Kremenchuk||26||20 November 1941||13:52||Su-2||20 km (12 mi) northeast Agrafenovka|
|6||13 September 1941||10:46||Yak-1||15 km (9.3 mi) northwest Perekop||27||23 November 1941||13:36||Il-2||south Rostov|
|7||24 September 1941||12:10||DB-3||Balakliia||28||29 November 1941||10:21||I-16||10 km (6.2 mi) north-northeast Rostov|
|8||27 September 1941||14:22||DB-3||50 km (31 mi) west Kharkiv||29||29 November 1941||10:27||DB-3||east-northeast Rostov|
|9||3 October 1941||17:00||Yak-1||10 km (6.2 mi) east Kharkiv||30||29 November 1941||13:07||I-16||south Bataysk|
|10||3 October 1941||17:05||I-16||east Kharkiv||31||2 December 1941||12:19||I-16||20 km (12 mi) south Taganrog|
|11||11 October 1941||7:10||SB-2||10 km (6.2 mi) east Lozova||32||6 December 1941||12:52||Il-2||east Lysogorskaya|
|12||11 October 1941||7:15||I-153||20 km (12 mi) east Lozova||33||6 December 1941||14:25||I-16||west Azov|
|13||14 October 1941||16:10||Yak-1||10 km (6.2 mi) north Valki||34||6 December 1941||14:32||I-16||east Azov|
|14||14 October 1941||16:13||Yak-1||15 km (9.3 mi) north Valki||35||8 December 1941||9:43||I-5||20 km (12 mi) east Taganrog|
|15||24 October 1941||12:50||MiG-3||Boysovka||36||8 December 1941||9:44||I-5||25 km (16 mi) east Taganrog|
|16||24 October 1941||12:52||MiG-3||Boysovka||37||8 December 1941||9:52||I-16||southwest Rabovka|
|17||25 October 1941||15:21||MiG-3||Aibary||38||27 December 1941||12:01||I-16||30 km (19 mi) east Taganrog|
|18||27 October 1941||15:38||MiG-3||10 km (6.2 mi) south Yushno||39||27 December 1941||12:05||I-16||10 km (6.2 mi) east Asov|
|19||28 October 1941||10:02||MiG-3||southeast Aibary||40||27 December 1941||14:25||I-16||northeast Golodayevka|
|20||28 October 1941||10:03||R-5||southeast Aibary||41||27 December 1941||14:30||SB-2||northeast Golodayevka|
|21||1 November 1941||16:15||MiG-3||north Sevastopol||42||28 December 1941||13:32||Yak-1||20 km (12 mi) southwest Taganrog|
|– 1942 –|
|43||7 January 1942||14:50||I-16||Sansnoye||124||17 August 1942||15:36||I-153||Sector 85 433|
|44||7 January 1942||14:55||I-16||Novaya Slobodka||125||17 August 1942||15:41||I-153||Sector 95 581|
|45||8 January 1942||11:25||Unknown||east Prilepiy||126||18 August 1942||16:43||I-153||Sector 85 253|
|46||25 January 1942||15:42||I-16||10 km (6.2 mi) east Izyum||127||18 August 1942||16:43||R-5||Sector 85 494|
|47||3 February 1942||9:35||Su-2||Nuvo||128||22 August 1942||13:55||Il-2||Sector 30 892|
|48||23 March 1943||13:06||Yak-1||8 km (5.0 mi) southeast Gniliza||129||22 August 1942||14:03||Yak-1||Sector 49 154|
|49||23 March 1942||13:14||Yak-1||3 km (1.9 mi) southeast Burluk||130||23 August 1942||7:22||LaGG-3||Sector 49 413|
|50||23 March 1942||17:26||Su-2||east Kotovka||131||23 August 1942||7:27||I-180||Sector 49 194|
|51||25 March 1942||6:25||Yak-1||15 km (9.3 mi) east Staryy Saltov||132||23 August 1942||13:28||LaGG-3||Sector 49 271|
|52||27 March 1942||10:11||Yak-1||15 km (9.3 mi) east Volchansk||133||23 August 1942||13:31||LaGG-3||Sector 49 194|
|53||27 March 1942||17:18||MiG-3||10 km (6.2 mi) northeast Burluk||134||24 August 1942||9:28||I-180||Sector 49 421|
|54||28 March 1942||5:53||I-16||3 km (1.9 mi) west Burluk||135||24 August 1942||9:58||Il-2||Sector 49 243|
|55||28 March 1942||6:18||Yak-1||3 km (1.9 mi) west Kotovka||136||25 August 1942||11:51||LaGG-3||Sector 49 412|
|56||28 March 1942||17:08||MiG-3||5 km (3.1 mi) east Staryy Saltov||137||25 August 1942||17:27||LaGG-3||Sector 49 412|
|57||28 March 1942||17:41||I-16||Gniliza||138||29 August 1942||14:22||LaGG-3||Sector 59 173|
|58||30 March 1942||12:05||MiG-3||15 km (9.3 mi) west Burluk||139||30 August 1942||16:52||P-2||Sector 49 613|
|59||6 April 1942||6:02||I-16||2 km (1.2 mi) northeast Staryy Saltov||140||30 August 1942||17:07||Il-2||Sector 49 361|
|60||6 April 1942||6:04||I-16||10 km (6.2 mi) east Staryy Saltov||141♠||2 September 1942||9:12||P-40||Sector 49 362|
|61||29 April 1942||—||Yak-1?||Kerch Peninsula||142♠||2 September 1942||9:15||Il-2||Sector 49 441|
|62||29 April 1942||—||Yak-1?||Kerch Peninsula||143♠||2 September 1942||13:32||DB-7||Sector 59 143|
|63||29 April 1942||—||Yak-1?||Kerch Peninsula||144♠||2 September 1942||17:12||P-40||Sector 49 413|
|64♠||30 April 1942||—||Unknown||Kerch Peninsula||145♠||2 September 1942||17:15||LaGG-3||Sector 49 361|
|65♠||30 April 1942||—||Unknown||Kerch Peninsula||146||3 September 1942||13:48||LaGG-3||Sector 40 872|
|66♠||30 April 1942||—||Unknown||Kerch Peninsula||147||3 September 1942||13:51||Yak-1||Sector 40 852|
- Wound Badge in Silver
- Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe (9 December 1941)[Note 5]
- Combined Pilots-Observation Badge in Gold with Diamonds
- Romanian Pilots Badge
- Romanian Knight of Order of the Crown (23 May 1941)
- Iron Cross (1939)
- Front Flying Clasp of the Luftwaffe for Fighter Pilots in Gold
- German Cross in Gold in April 1942[Note 8]
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds
- Knight's Cross on 24 January 1942 as Leutnant of the Reserves and pilot in the 9./JG 52
- 93rd Oak Leaves on 17 May 1942 as Leutnant of the Reserves and Staffelführer of the 9./JG 52
- 11th Swords on 19 May 1942 as Leutnant of the Reserves and Staffelkapitän of the 9./JG 52[Note 9]
- 5th Diamonds on 16 September 1942 as Oberleutnant of the Reserves and Staffelkapitän of the 9./JG 52
- Mentioned five times in the Wehrmachtbericht
|Date||Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording||Direct English translation|
|Sunday, 3 May 1942||Am gestrigen Tage errangen an der Ostfront Leutnant Koeppen seinen 80. bis 84. Leutnant Graf seinen 70. bis 76. und Feldwebel Steinbatz seinen 44. bis 49. Luftsieg.||Yesterday on the Eastern Front, Leutnant Koeppen achieved his 80th to 84th, Leutnant Graf his 70th to 76th and Feldwebel Steinbatz his 44th to 49th aerial victory.|
|Friday, 15 May 1942||In den gestrigen Luftkämpfen an der Ostfront errang Leutnant Graf seinen 98. bis 104., Leutnant Dickfeld seinen 82. bis 90. Luftsieg.||Leutnant Graf achieved his 98th to 104th, Leutnant Dickfeld his 82nd to 90th aerial victory in yesterdays aerial combat on the Eastern Front.|
|Saturday, 5 September 1942||Oberleutnant Graf, Staffelkapitän in einem Jagdgeschwader, errang am 4. September an der Ostfront seinen 150. Luftsieg.||Oberleutnant Graf, squadron leader in a fighter wing, achieved his 150th aerial victory on the Eastern Front on September 4.|
|Tuesday, 22 September 1942||Hauptmann Graf errang als Jagdflieger am 21. September seinen 182. bis 185. Luftsieg.||Hauptmann Graf achieved his 182nd to 185th aerial victory as a fighter pilot on September 21.|
|Sunday, 27 September 1942||Hauptmann Graf, Staffelkapitän in einem Jagdgeschwader, errang am 26. September seinen 200. bis 202. Luftsieg.||Hauptmann Graf, squadron leader in a fighter wing, achieved his 200th to 202nd aerial victory on September 26.|
- His 209th aerial victory west of Berlin on 6 March 1944 over a B-24 Liberator of the 453d Bombardment Group of the 8th Air Force was actually an Herausschuss (separation shot)—a severely damaged heavy bomber forced to separate from his combat box which counted as an 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 Luftwaffe Organization
- Bergström, Antipov and Sundin state that this flight, which reached an altitude of 14,300 m (46,900 ft), was a World flight altitude record. It is unclear as to what category this "World Record" pertains to. Mario Pezzi, flying a Caproni Ca.161, had reached an altitude of 17,083 metres (56,047 feet), 2,783 metres (9,131 feet) higher, almost five years earlier on 22 October 1938.
- According to Obermaier and Patzwall on 15 December 1941.
- According to Thomas on 22 August 1941.
- According to Thomas on 10 October 1941.
- According to Thomas on 9 September 1942.
- According to Scherzer on 18 May 1942.
- Spick 1996, pp. 3–4.
- Bergström, Antipov and Sundin 2003, p. 295.
- Bergström, Antipov and Sundin 2003, p. 11.
- "Graf, Hermann". leobw (in German). Retrieved 30 June 2013.
- Bergström, Antipov and Sundin 2003, pp. 11–12.
- Bergström, Antipov and Sundin 2003, p. 12.
- Bergström, Antipov and Sundin 2003, p. 17.
- Bergström, Antipov and Sundin 2003, p. 18.
- Bergström, Antipov and Sundin 2003, p. 19.
- Bergström, Antipov and Sundin 2003, p. 21.
- Bergström, Antipov and Sundin 2003, p. 23.
- Bergström, Antipov and Sundin 2003, p. 25.
- Bergström, Antipov and Sundin 2003, p. 26.
- Bergström, Antipov and Sundin 2003, p. 28.
- Bergström, Antipov and Sundin 2003, pp. 29–30.
- Joachim 1998 pp. 12–15.
- Joachim 1998, p. 49.
- Joachim 1998, pp. 58–83.
- Joachim 1998, pp. 84–91, 97–100, 111.
- Joachim 1998, pp. 110–111.
- Joachim 1998, pp. 115–111.
- Joachim 1998, pp. 115–147,148.
- Joachim 1998, pp. 115–147.
- Joachim 1998, p. 148.
- Joachim 1998, pp. 148.
- Bergström, Antipov and Sundin 2003, p. 165.
- Bergström, Antipov and Sundin 2003, p. 168.
- Bergström, Antipov and Sundin 2003, p. 169.
- Bergström, Antipov and Sundin 2003, p. 170.
- Bergström, Antipov and Sundin 2003, p. 196.
- Bergström, Antipov and Sundin 2003, p. 171.
- Bergström, Antipov and Sundin 2003, p. 172.
- "FAI Record ID #11713". FAI—The International Air Sports Federation. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
- Bergström, Antipov and Sundin 2003, pp. 172–173.
- Bergström, Antipov and Sundin 2003, p. 175.
- Bergström, Antipov and Sundin 2003, p. 174.
- Bergström, Antipov and Sundin 2003, p. 181.
- Bergström, Antipov and Sundin 2003, p. 239.
- Bergström, Antipov and Sundin 2003, p. 269.
- Bergström, Antipov and Sundin 2003, p. 240.
- Toliver & Constable, p. 267
- Bergström, Antipov and Sundin 2003, p. 270.
- Schumann 2005, pp. 43–45.
- Bergström, Antipov and Sundin 2003, pp. 289–295.
- Bergström, Antipov and Sundin 2003, p. 93.
- Obermaier 1989, p. 21.
- Patzwall 2008, p. 87.
- Thomas 1997, p. 213.
- Patzwall and Scherzer 2001, p. 144.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 344.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 201.
- Von Seemen 1976, p. 144.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 59.
- Von Seemen 1976, p. 29.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 39.
- Von Seemen 1976, p. 14.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 36.
- Von Seemen 1976, p. 12.
- Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 2, p. 103.
- Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 2, p. 129.
- Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 2, p. 276.
- Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 2, p. 295.
- Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 2, p. 300.
- 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.
- Bergström, Christer; Antipov, Vlad; Sundin, Claes (2003). Graf & Grislawski—A Pair of Aces. Hamilton MT: Eagle Editions. ISBN 978-0-9721060-4-7.
- 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.
- Fraschka, Günther (1994). Knights of the Reich. Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Military/Aviation History. ISBN 978-0-88740-580-8.
- Jochim, Berthold K (1998). Oberst Hermann Graf 200 Luftsiege in 13 Monaten—Ein Jagdfliegerleben [Colonel Hermann Graf 200 Victories in 13 Months—A Fighter Pilot Life] (in German). Rastatt, Germany: VPM Verlagsunion Pabel Moewig. ISBN 3-8118-1455-9.
- 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.
- Patzwall, Klaus D. (2008). Der Ehrenpokal für besondere Leistung im Luftkrieg [The Honor Goblet for Outstanding Achievement in the Air War] (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-08-3.
- Schaulen, Fritjof (2003). Eichenlaubträger 1940 – 1945 Zeitgeschichte in Farbe 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.
- Schumann, Ralf (2005). Ritterkreuzträger Profile Nr. 3 Hermann Graf — der erste Jagdflieger mit 200 Luftsiegen [Knight's Cross Profiles Nr. 3 Hermann Graf — The first Fighter Pilot with 200 Aerial Victories] (in German). UNITEC-Medienvertrieb. OCLC 819747376. ASIN B003RKGYLY (21 October 2014).
- Von Seemen, Gerhard (1976). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 : die Ritterkreuzträger sämtlicher Wehrmachtteile, Brillanten-, Schwerter- und Eichenlaubträger in der Reihenfolge der Verleihung : Anhang mit Verleihungsbestimmungen und weiteren Angaben [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 : The Knight's Cross Bearers of All the Armed Services, Diamonds, Swords and Oak Leaves Bearers in the Order of Presentation: Appendix with Further Information and Presentation Requirements] (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7909-0051-4.
- Spick, Mike (1996). Luftwaffe Fighter Aces. New York: Ivy Books. ISBN 978-0-8041-1696-1.
- 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.
- Toliver, Raymond & Constable, Trevor. Horrido. Bantam Books
- Weal, John (1996). Focke-Wulf Fw 190 Aces of the Western Front. London, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-85532-595-1.
- Weal, John (1999). Bf 109F/G/K Aces of the Western Front. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-85532-905-8.
- Weal, John (2001). Bf 109 Aces of the Russian Front. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84176-084-1.
- 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 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.
- Frey, Gerhard; Herrmann, Hajo (2004). Helden der Wehrmacht—Unsterbliche deutsche Soldaten [Heroes of the Wehrmacht—Immortal German Soldiers] (in German). München, Germany: 978-3-924309-53-4.
- Media related to Hermann Graf at Wikimedia Commons
- Hermann Graf in the German National Library catalogue
- "Hermann Graf". Aces of the Luftwaffe. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
- Marielle D. Marne. "Hermann Graf". History.Net. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
- "Hermann Graf". World War II Awards. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
- "Hermann Graf". Lexikon der Wehrmacht (in German). Retrieved 24 June 2013.
- "Hermann Graf". Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–45 (in German). Retrieved 24 June 2013.
Obstlt Hans Philipp
|Commander of Jagdgeschwader 1 Oesau
9 October 1943 – 10 November 1943
Oberst Walter Oesau
Major Anton Mader
|Commander of Jagdgeschwader 11
11 November 1943 – 29 March 1944
Major Anton Hackl
|Commander of Jagdgeschwader 50
July 1943 – October 1943
Oberstleutnant Dietrich Hrabak
|Commander of Jagdgeschwader 52
1 October 1944 – 8 May 1945