|Born||4 May 1920
|Died||24 December 1944
|Years of service||? - 1944|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross|
Klaus Bretschneider (4 May 1920 – 24 December 1944) was a German Luftwaffe ace and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) during World War II. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.
Bretschneider was posted into the newly raised Jagdgeschwader 300 (JG 300) in July 1943, joining 5 Staffel. Flying "Wilde Sau" single-seat night operations, he claimed his first victory, a Lancaster, on 5–6 September south of Mannheim. By April 1944 he had 14 night victories. In July 1944, Bretschneider was appointed Staffelkapitän (squadron leader) of 5./JG 300. By this time JG 300 were employed in a more conventional day fighter role, intercepting United States Army Air Forces four-engined bombers.
On 7 October 1944 he downed two bombers in one attack and then rammed a third. He bailed out safely. On 18 November 1944 he received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross for 31 victories.
On 24 December 1944 Bretschneider was killed whilst leading II.(Sturm)/JG 300 in attacking four-engined bombers over Kassel, his Focke-Wulf Fw 190 A-8/R8 "Red 1" probably downed by a P-51 Mustang of the 357th Fighter Group.
Klaus Bretschneider shot down 34 enemy aircraft; 14 RAF bombers at night, and 20 day-victories including 17 USAAF four-engined heavy bombers.
- Front Flying Clasp of the Luftwaffe
- Iron Cross (1939)
- 2nd Class
- 1st Class
- German Cross in Gold in 1944 as Oberleutnant in the 5./Jagdgeschwader 300
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 18 November 1944 as Leutnant and pilot in 5./Jagdgeschwader 300[Note 1]
- According to Scherzer as pilot in the 5.(Sturm)/Jagdgeschwader 300.
- Patzwall and Scherzer 2001, p. 60.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p.123.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 243.
- 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.