Siegfried Barth

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Siegfried Barth
Siegfried Barth.jpg
Nickname(s) Balbo
Born (1916-01-23)23 January 1916
Augsburg, Bavaria
Died 19 December 1997(1997-12-19) (aged 81)
Bad Wörishofen, Bavaria
Allegiance  Nazi Germany (to 1945)
 West Germany
Service/branch Luftwaffe (Wehrmacht)
Luftwaffe (Bundeswehr)
Years of service 1936–1945, 1956–1973
Rank
Unit KG 51
Commands held IV./KG 51, KG 51, JaBoG 32
Battles/wars

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Siegfried Barth (23 January 1916 – 19 December 1997) was a bomber pilot in the German Luftwaffe during World War II and commander of the fighter-bomber wing Jagdbombergeschwader 32 (JaBoG 32) of the German Air Force. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. He also served at the NATO Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) from 1969 to 1972.

World War II[edit]

Barth was born 23 January 1916 in Augsburg, Bavaria and joined the military service in 1936.[1] He was trained as a pilot before World War II and been a member of Kampfgeschwader 255 "Edelweiß" (KG 255—255th Bomber Wing), which was renamed Kampfgeschwader 51 (KG 51—51st Bomber Wing) on 1 May 1939.[Note 1] When II. Gruppe (2nd group) was formed on 1 April 1940, Barth joined the 4. Staffel (4th squadron) holding the rank of Leutnant (2nd lieutenant). He flew his first combat missions in the Battle of France, attacking airfields and shipping off Dunkirk for which he was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class on 17 July 1940.[2]

KG 51 was then relocated to airfileds at Étampes-Mondésir and later to Paris-Orly in France. In the Battle of Britain he flew numerous day and night missions against British ports and industrial centers at London, Coventry and Portsmouth. Barth was promoted to Oberleutnant and following Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941, flew in the southern sector of the Eastern Front. He attacked airfields, railway stations as well as tank and troop concentrations in the Proskurov, Lvov, Rostov and Taganrog areas. He was wounded in action on 25 June 1941 when his Junkers Ju 88 A-5 (Werknummer 5254—factory number) was hit anti-aircraft fire in the vicinity of Darachow.[2]

Barth was appointed Gruppenkommandeur (Group Commander) on 1 February 1944 of the IV./KG 51, which was based at Hildesheim at the time. Here he was responsible for the tactical training of replacement crews. Initially they flew the Messerschmitt Me 410, then the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 and lastly the Messerschmitt Me 262, the first operational jet fighter-bomber. He was promoted to Major (major) on 1 May 1944. The Gruppe was renamed to IV./Ergänzungskampfgeschwader 1 (EKG 1—1st Supplemantary Bomber Wing). Barth stayed in this position until 31 March 1945 before being appointed Geschwaderkommodore (Wing Commander) of KG 51 on 19 April 1945. He led the Geschwader in Upper Bavaria until it was disbanded at the end of the war.[2]

F-84 Thunderstreak incident[edit]

Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant Colonel) Barth, commander of Jagdbombergeschwader 32, was initially removed of his command by the Minister of Defence, Franz-Josef Strauß for the 1961 F-84 Thunderstreak incident. He was later, after a number of investigations and complaints, reinstated. On 14 September 1961, two F-84F Thunderstreak of 32 Fighter Bomber Wing crossed into East German airspace due to a navigational error, eventually landing at Berlin Tegel Airport, evading a large number of Soviet fighter planes. The event came at a historically difficult time during the Cold War, one month after the construction of the Berlin Wall.[3]

Barth had to take his case to the Wehrdienstsenat des Bundesdisziplinarhof, the highest court of German troops, to have him cleared of the alleged charges brought against him. The court in Munich processed Barth's complaint on 20 December. The court invited as witnesses, the generals Josef Kammhuber, Martin Harlinghausen, Werner Panitzki and Werner Streib as well as the lieutenant colonels Walter Krupinski and Walter Grasemann. However, the Federal Minister of Defence made it known through his Secretary of State, Volkmar Hopf, before the court, that the Minister sees himself unable to give the witness the testimony rights. Nevertheless, Strauß' conduct in dismissing Barth was found to be at fault, and the latter had to be reinstated in his position. Strauß however ignored this decision until Hellmuth Heye, Ombudsman for the Military, forced him to accept it.[4]

Awards[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ For an explanation of the meaning of Luftwaffe unit designation see Luftwaffe Organization

References[edit]

Citations
  1. ^ "Das Bundesarchiv". Kabinettsprotokolle Online "Barth, Siegfried" (2.26:) (in German). Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Kaiser 2010, pp. 88, 89.
  3. ^ "Bier-Order 61 Bundeswehr". Der Spiegel (in German) 19. 1962. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  4. ^ "Der Fall Barth Die Geschichte der "Bier-Order 61"". Der Spiegel (in German) 12. 1963. Retrieved 12 June 2013. 
  5. ^ Patzwall 2008, p. 45.
  6. ^ Patzwall 2001, p. 25.
  7. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 123.
  8. ^ Scherzer 2007, p. 203.
Bibliography
  • 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. 
  • Kaiser, Jochen (2010). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Kampfflieger—Band 1 [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the Bomber Fliers—Volume 1] (in German and English). Bad Zwischenahn, Germany: Luftfahrtverlag-Start. ISBN 978-3-941437-07-4. 
  • 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. 
  • 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. 

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Oberstleutnant Rudolf Hallensleben
Commander of Kampfgeschwader 51
19 April 1945 – 28 April 1945
Succeeded by
disbanded
Preceded by
Commander of Jagdbombergeschwader 32
22 July 1958 – 27 October 1961
Succeeded by
Oberst Paul Schauder