Johannes Seifert

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Johannes "Hannes" Seifert
Nickname(s) "Hannes"
Born 6 October 1915
Pinneberg
Died 25 November 1943(1943-11-25) (aged 28)
Béthune, France
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Luftwaffe
Years of service ?–1943
Rank Oberstleutnant (Posthumously)
Unit JG 26
Commands held I./JG 26
II./JG 26
Battles/wars

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Johannes "Hannes" Seifert (6 October 1915 – 25 November 1943) was a German Luftwaffe ace and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross during World War II. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership - for the fighter pilots it was a quantifiable measure of skill and success.

Military career[edit]

Seifert was born on 6 October 1915 at Pinneberg, Holstein. After service flying the Bf 110 during the Polish campaign Oberleutnant Seifert was transferred to Jagdgeschwader 26 as Staffelkapitän of 3 Staffel in March 1940. His first claim was a Dutch Air Force Fokker D.XXI on 10 May 1940 near Rotterdam. His success continued through the Battle of France and the Battle of Britain, and at the end of the year he had eight victories. Along with JG 2, JG 26 was tasked with defending the west as the rest of the Luftwaffe went east for the invasion of Russia. On 17 July 1941, Seiffert was made Gruppenkommandeur, I./JG 26 - a position he would hold for nearly two years. Although essentially a defensive role, as the Royal Air Force (RAF) tried to exert more pressure over France there were regular opportunities for air combat and Seifert continued to score regularly. He had raised his total to 24 by the start of 1942. In June 1942, Hauptmann Seifert was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross for his leadership and 36 victories. In the furious air battles over the Dieppe landings in August 1942 Seifert shot down a Spitfire for his 41st victory.

In January 1943, his unit was withdrawn to Germany to re-equip and re-train on the new Fw190A fighter. At the same time, Seifert led the transfer of I./JG 26 to the Eastern Front, as the first part of a misguided idea by High Command to rotate the fighter gruppen between the Western and Eastern Fronts. The style of combat between the two fronts was quite different and overall the experiment was not a success; I./ JG26 was the only gruppe of JG 26 to serve in Russia.[1] The unit was involved in the fighting around Demyansk and then the withdrawal from in front of Moscow (Operation Büffel). From February to mid March I./JG 26 claimed 126 Soviet aircraft, while only losing nine pilots in combat themselves. Seifert led from the front, personally claiming 11 victories during the Eastern Front tour of duty.

In June 1943, Seifert had to leave his command of I./JG 26 when transferred to a Luftwaffe staff position in Bulgaria and given promotion to Major. Unknown to Seifert his mother had invoked the 'last surviving son' ruling as his younger brother, Gerhard, had been killed in action, and was thus allowed to be removed from active combat duties.[2] However after a personal appeal to Adolf Galland, commander of the Jagdwaffe and his former C.O. at JG26, he returned to France in September 1943, now as Gruppenkommandeur II./JG 26.

By now the American 8th Air Force was exerting increasing pressure with its daylight bomber raids. On 25 November 1943, Seifert led 6. and 8./JG 26 against the USAAF P-38s of the 55th Fighter Group over Lille. During combat Seifert’s Fw 190A-6 (WNr 470006) collided with a P-38, and crashed. Presumably knocked out or severely injured in the collision, Seifert hadn't made an effort to bale out and his body was found in the wreckage still strapped in.[3]

Posthumously promoted to the rank of Oberstleutnant, Johannes Seifert flew some 439 combat missions. Of his 57 victories, 46 victories were over the Western Front, including 3 four-engine heavy bombers and 32 Spitfires, and 11 victories over the Eastern Front, including 6 Il-2 Sturmoviks.

Victories[edit]

No Date Time Unit & Airfield Kommodore/Kommandeur Location / Planquad Claimed Aircraft Source / Comments[4]
1 10 May 1940 10:15 3./JG 26 - Bönninghardt Maj Gotthardt Handrick SE of Rotterdam Fokker D.XXI OKL, Prien/Bock; of 1e JaVA Dutch AF
2 28 May 40 10:45 3./JG 26 - Antwerp Maj Gotthardt Handrick 20 km SW of Ostend: 4200m Spitfire OKL, Prien/Bock
3 8 Jun 40 14:50 3./JG 26 - Hesdin, Pas de Calais Maj Gotthardt Handrick N of Beauvais Battle OKL, Prien/Bock; of 103 Sqn
4 9 Jun 40 11:10 3./JG 26 - Hesdin Maj Gotthardt Handrick 10–15 km SE of Rouen: 3000m Potez 63 C.2035/II, Prien/Bock
5 20 Sep 40 12:25 3./JG 26 - Audembert, Pas de Calais Hptm Rolf Pingel Thames estuary Hurricane OKL, Prien/ Bock; of 253 Sqn
6 20 Sep 40 12:37 3./JG 26 - Audembert Hptm Rolf Pingel Maidstone Hurricane OKL, Prien/Bock; of 242 Sqn
7 5 Nov 40 17:15 3./JG 26 - Audembert Hptm Rolf Pingel Thames estuary Hurricane OKL, Prien/Bock; P/O Hart of 242 Sqn
8 13 Nov 40 12:00 3./JG 26 - Audembert Hptm Rolf Pingel 2 km S of Folkestone: 400m Hurricane OKL, Prien/Bock; of 249 Sqn
9 11 Jun 1941 13:30 3./JG 26 - St Omer, Pas de Calais Hptm Rolf Pingel English Channel Hurricane C.2036/II Nr 64913/41; 248 Sqn
10 23 Jun 41 13:50 3./JG 26 - St Omer Hptm Rolf Pingel near Samer Spitfire C.2036/II Nr 65565/41
11 4 Jul 41 15:20 3./JG 26 - St Omer Hptm Rolf Pingel 6 km N of Bethune Spitfire C.2033/I; Prien/Bock
12 11 Jul 41 15:05 Stab I./JG 26 - St Omer Obstlt Adolf Galland E of Wimereux Spitfire C.2036/II Nr 69272/41
13 14 Jul 41 10:30 Stab I./JG 26 - St Omer Obstlt Adolf Galland S of Dunkirk Spitfire C.2036/II Nr 69272/41
14 21 Jul 41 8:25 Stab I./JG 26 - St Omer Obstlt Adolf Galland SW of Ypres Spitfire C.2033/I; Prien/Bock
15 21 Jul 41 8:40 Stab I./JG 26 - St Omer Obstlt Adolf Galland English Channel: 2000m Stirling C.2036/II Nr 67901/41; 15 Sqn
16 7 Aug 41 11:25 Stab I./JG 26 - St Omer Obstlt Adolf Galland near Gravelines: 4-5000m Spitfire C.2033/I; Prien/Bock
17 12 Aug 41 13:00 Stab I./JG 26 - St Omer Obstlt Adolf Galland SE of Vlissengen Blenheim C.2036/II Nr 69272/41
18 19 Aug 41 11:45 Stab I./JG 26 - St Omer Obstlt Adolf Galland near Gravelines: 8000m Spitfire C.2033/I; Prien/Bock; 452 or 485 Sqn
19 19 Aug 41 19:40 Stab I./JG 26 - St Omer Obstlt Adolf Galland near Cassel Spitfire C.2036/II Nr 69272/41; of 111 Sqn
20 17 Sep 41 15:30 Stab I./JG 26 - St Omer Obstlt Adolf Galland N of Hazebrouck Spitfire  ?
21 3 Oct 41 15:37 Stab I./JG 26 - St Omer Obstlt Adolf Galland 20 km NW of Ostend Spitfire C.2036/II Nr 69272/42; of 92 Sqn
22 12 Oct 41 13:20 Stab I./JG 26 - St Omer Obstlt Adolf Galland Berck-sur-Mer Spitfire C.2036/II Nr 69272/42; of 452 or 602 Sqn
23 8 Nov 41 13:05 Stab I./JG 26 - St Omer Obstlt Adolf Galland NW of Dunkirk Spitfire C.2036/II Nr 89281/42; F/O Surma of 308 Sqn
24 8 Dec 41 13:20 Stab I./JG 26 - St Omer Maj Gerhard Schöpfel near le Touquet Spitfire C.2036/II Nr 89281/42
25 13 Mar 1942 16:15 Stab I./JG 26 - St Omer Maj Gerhard Schöpfel SW of Dunkirk: 4500m Spitfire C.2033/I; Prien/Bock; of 303 Sqn
26 24 Mar 42 17:10 Stab I./JG 26 - St Omer Maj Gerhard Schöpfel 12 km W of Boulogne Spitfire C.2036/II Nr 94043/42; of 411 Sqn
27 4 Apr 42 11:40 Stab I./JG 26 - St Omer Maj Gerhard Schöpfel S of Gravelines Spitfire C.2036/II Nr 94043/42; of 317 Sqn
28 12 Apr 42 13:35 Stab I./JG 26 - St Omer Maj Gerhard Schöpfel Boulogne/St Omer Spitfire C.2036/II Nr 94043/42; of 41 Sqn
29 24 Apr 42 15:02 Stab I./JG 26 - St Omer Maj Gerhard Schöpfel E of Calais Spitfire C.2036/II Nr 94043/42; of 72 or 124 Sqn
30 25 Apr 42 16:40 Stab I./JG 26 - St Omer Maj Gerhard Schöpfel 5–10 km W of Berck-sur-Mer: 8000m Spitfire C.2033/I AnerkNr 64
31 27 Apr 42 15:50 Stab I./JG 26 - St Omer Maj Gerhard Schöpfel near Bourbourg Boston C.2036/II Nr 94043/42; of 107 Sqn
32 28 Apr 42 11:35 Stab I./JG 26 - St Omer Maj Gerhard Schöpfel 3 km W of Gravelines Spitfire C.2036/II Nr 94043/42; 121, 222 or 317 Sqn
33 5 May 42 15:40 Stab I./JG 26 - St Omer Maj Gerhard Schöpfel Bailleul Spitfire Prien/Bock; F/Lt de Hemptinne of 122 Sqn
34 17 May 42 11:40 Stab I./JG 26 - St Omer Maj Gerhard Schöpfel 2 km NW of Wissant Spitfire C.2036/II Nr 101540/42
35 1 Jun 42 13:45 Stab I./JG 26 - St Omer Maj Gerhard Schöpfel 15 km NNW of Ostend Spitfire Prien/Bock; of 111 Sqn
36 2 Jun 42 11:25 Stab I./JG 26 - St Omer Maj Gerhard Schöpfel 5 km S of St Valery Spitfire C.2036/II Nr 101540/42; 403 Sqn
37 30 Jul 42 17:45 Stab I./JG 26 - St Omer Maj Gerhard Schöpfel Boulogne: 6000m Spitfire C.2031/II AnerkNr 65
38 30 Jul 42 17:47 Stab I./JG 26 - St Omer Maj Gerhard Schöpfel near Dungeness: 7000m Spitfire C.2031/II ; Prien/Bock
39 30 Jul 42 19:18 Stab I./JG 26 - St Omer Maj Gerhard Schöpfel NW of St Omer: 500m Spitfire C.2031/II AnerkNr 3
40 31 Jul 42 15:28 Stab I./JG 26 - St Omer Maj Gerhard Schöpfel 20 km W of Berck-sur-Mer: 250m Spitfire C.2031/II AnerkNr 6; of 133 Sqn
41 19 Aug 42  ? Stab I./JG 26 - St Omer Maj Gerhard Schöpfel 7 km W of Dieppe: 800m Spitfire C.2031/II ; Prien/Bock
42 4 Dec 42 14:52 Stab I./JG 26 - St Omer Maj Gerhard Schöpfel S of Calais: 2000m Spitfire C.2027/II AnerkNr 42; 401 or 402 Sqn
43 16 Feb 1943 14:10 Stab I./JG 26 - Rielbitzi Maj Josef Priller 8–10 km SE of 'Adler7': 300m Il-2 C.2035/I AnerkNr 46
44 23 Feb 43 11:10 Stab I./JG 26 - Dno, Pskov Maj Josef Priller [18430] S of Lake Ilmen: 200m Il-2 C.2035/I AnerkNr 48
45 28 Feb 43 15:00 Stab I./JG 26 - Dno Maj Josef Priller [18412], Bodennähe: 200m P-39 C.2035/I AnerkNr ?
46 28 Feb 43 15:01 Stab I./JG 26 - Dno Maj Josef Priller [18350] SE of Lake Ilmen: 2000m LaGG-5 C.2035/I AnerkNr 51
47 5 Mar 43 13:40 Stab I./JG 26 - Dno Maj Josef Priller [18220] ~30 km S of L.Ilmen: 1200m Pe-2 C.2032/II AnerkNr 53
48 5 Mar 43 13:53 Stab I./JG 26 - Dno Maj Josef Priller [18160] ~30 km S of L.Ilmen: 1200m Il-2 C.2032/II AnerkNr 54
49 5 Mar 43 13:54 Stab I./JG 26 - Dno Maj Josef Priller [18240] ~30 km S of L.Ilmen: 500m Il-2 C.2032/II AnerkNr 55
50 14 Mar 43 14:50 Stab I./JG 26 - Schatalowka Maj Josef Priller [18282]~40 km S of L.Ilmen:200m Pe-2 C.2032/II AnerkNr 57
51 16 Mar 43 16:16 Stab I./JG 26 - Schatalowka Maj Josef Priller [18211] ~30 km S of L.Ilmen: 600m Il-2 C.2032/II AnerkNr 61
52 12 May 43 11:35 Stab I./JG 26 - Orel Maj Josef Priller [35612] NE of Roslavl: 300m Il-2 C.2032/II AnerkNr 62
53 13 May 43 14:05 Stab I./JG 26 - Orel Maj Josef Priller [4556/4564] N of Bryansk: <1000m MiG-3 C.2032/II AnerkNr 63
54 23 Sep 43 17:10 Stab II/JG 26 - Beauvais Maj Josef Priller 8 km SE of Eu: 100m Spitfire C.2031/II AnerkNr 110; of 308 Sqn
55 10 Oct 43 15:30 Stab II/JG 26 - Cambrai Maj Josef Priller Missingen: 700m B-17 C.2031/II AnerkNr 72
56 14 Oct 43 13:32 Stab II/JG 26 - Cambrai Maj Josef Priller near Maastricht: 7500m B-17 C.2031/II AnerkNr 59; of 305 BG, USAAF
57 25 Nov 43 13:21 Stab II/JG 26 - Cambrai Maj Josef Priller [OF-8], nr Cuinchy SW of La Bassée P-38 C.2031/II AnerkNr 111; Lt Aldecoa of 55 FG USAAF

Awards[edit]

References[edit]

Citations
  1. ^ Weal 1995, pp. 29–30.
  2. ^ Aces of the Luftwaffe website.
  3. ^ Aces of the Luftwaffe website.
  4. ^ Aces of the Luftwaffe website.
  5. ^ Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 440.
  6. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 323.
Bibliography
  • Caldwell, Donald L (1993). JG26 – Top Guns of the Luftwaffe Ballantine ISBN 0-87938-845-5
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • Spick, Mike (1996). Luftwaffe Fighter Aces. New York: Ivy Books. ISBN 978-0-8041-1696-1. 
  • Weal, John (1995). Focke-Wulf Fw190 Aces of the Russian Front Oxford: Osprey Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-85532-518-7.
  • Weal, John (1996). Focke-Wulf Fw190 Aces of the Western Front Oxford: Osprey Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-85532-595-0 including a colour profile of his aircraft (#28)

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Hptm Wolfheinrich von Houwald
Squadron Leader of 3./JG 26
1 March 1940 – 10 July 1941
Succeeded by
Oblt Walter Otte
Preceded by
Hptm Rolf Pingel
Group Commander of I./Jagdgeschwader 26
11 July 1941–31 May 1943
Succeeded by
Hptm Fritz Losigkeit
Preceded by
Hptm Hans Naumann
Group Commander of II./Jagdgeschwader 26
9 September 1943–25 November 1943
Succeeded by
Maj Wilhelm Gäth