||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (July 2011)|
11 January 1917|
|Died||17 January 2012(aged 95)|
|Years of service||1939–1945|
|Unit||JG 2, JG 53|
|Commands held||II./JG 53|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross|
Julius Meimberg (11 January 1917 – 17 January 2012) was a German Luftwaffe fighter 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. Meimberg achieved 53 victories in 250 combat missions, all of them over the Western Front. In the 1960s he invented an open end spinning device an got patents in the US an Germany. In 2001 he received the Rudolf-Diesel-Medal
Meimberg joined JG 2 "Richthofen" in December 1939. He claimed his first two victories during Battle of France, when on 19 May 1940 he shot down Hurricane fighter and another on 3 June 1940, when the victim was a P-36 Hawk fighter. Meimberg during the Battle of France flew as wingman to Hans "Assi" Hahn (108 wins). During the Battle of Britain Meimberg become the Flying ace when he shot down other four enemy planes, including three Spitfire fighters. He flew with Helmut Wick (56 wins) on the day that he was fatally shot down over the Isle of Wight.
Memories from Meimberg of the day that Helmut Wick was shot down:
"Late in the afternoon of 28th November 1940, we took off for southern England from Beaumont le Roger for our second mission of the day. Climbing towards the Isle of Wight in bright sunshine, I was leading the 4th Staffel and directly ahead of us was the Staff Schwarm of JG2 Richthofen led by Kommodore Major Helmut Wick, at that time the leading fighter pilot in the Luftwaffe. With him were his wingman Oberleutnant Rudolf Pflanz, Oberleutnant Erich Leie and Oberfeldwebel Erich Rudorffer. At about 23,000 ft, we were almost above the Isle of Wight when we spotted vapour trails caused by Spitfires above us at a much greater height.
Major Wick led his Staff Schwarm towards them at full throttle, with the result that the Schwarm aircraft pulled apart from each other. Climbing with my Staffel to one side, we were soon drawn into the main battle and the Staffel separated. A single Spitfire turned in front of me and disappeared behing my engine cowling as I fired off my weapons. Apparently undamaged, the aircraft went into a spin and I followed it down, expecting the aircraft to pull out at any time, but it never did. The red glow in the cockpit indicated a possible oxygen tank hit.
When we landed, Rudi Pflanz reported that Major Wick had shot down a Spitfire, was then in turn shot down by a second Spitfire, which in turn had been shot down by Pflanz. We were all told that no-one had seen what had happened to Wicks aircraft, which left us hoping for the safety of our Kommodore. We returned later next day, and again the following day, but there was no sign of him. What we had not been told was that Rudorffer had witnessed him go down, a large bullet hole passing through the starboard wing trailing edge, straight through the cockpit and engine block. He felt that Wick was already dead as his aircraft corkscrewed downwards, finally plunging into the sea. After the war, I learned that his conqueror had been Flight Lieutenant John Dundas DFC, himself only seconds later shot down by Pflanz and killed."
On 30 July 1941 was Meimberg awarded for 15 victories the Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe and on 29 October 1942 the German Cross in Gold. In February 1943 was Meimberg transferred to JG 53. In 1944 Meimberg was appointed Gruppenkommandeur II./ JG 53. Finally, on 24 October 24, 1944 Meimberg was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. On 26 December 1944 he claimed victories 48, 49 and 50, all P-47 fighters in the Ardennes sector, just before being shot down himself. Meimberg was shot down again 26 December 1944 in Bf-109 G-14 Werk # 166297 "Yellow 1" and bailed out over Schaichhof after engaging American fighters over Stuttgart. He missed Operation Bodenplatte since he was hospitalized after the Operation of 26 December. He scored his last victory over Spitfire fighter on 13 April 1945.
- Iron Cross (1939)
- 2nd Class
- 1st Class
- Wound Badge in Silver
- Front Flying Clasp of the Luftwaffe in Gold
- Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe (July 30, 1941)
- German Cross in Gold (October 29, 1942)
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (October 24, 1944)
- Meimberg, J, Feindberührung, 2002, ISBN 3-980793516
- Die Ordensträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht (CD), VMD-Verlag GmbH, Osnabrück, 2002
- Fellgiebel W.P., Elite of the Third Reich, The recipients of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939-1945: A Reference, Helion & Company Limited, Solihull, 2003, ISBN 1-874622-46-9
- Patzwall K., Scherzer V., Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941-1945, Geschichte und Inhaber Band II, Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall, Norderstedt, 2001, ISBN 3-931533-45-X
- Patzwall K.D., Der Ehrenpokal für besondere Leistung im Luftkrieg, Studien zur Geschichte der Auszeichnungen, Band 6, Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall, Norderstedt, 2008, ISBN 978-3-931533-08-3
- Julius Meimberg's obituary (Portuguese)
- Holtz-Honig, W, Vater spinnt. Der Weg zum Endlos-Garn, 1997, ISBN 3-784473679 (English Title: Daddy's in a whirl)