Adolf Dickfeld

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Adolf Dickfeld
Adolf Dickfeld.jpg
Adolf Dickfeld
Born (1910-02-20)20 February 1910
Jüterbog in Brandenburg
Died 17 May 2009(2009-05-17) (aged 99)
Dreieich in Hesse
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Balkenkreuz (Iron Cross) Luftwaffe
Years of service 1939–45
Rank Oberst (colonel)
Unit JG 52, JG 2, JG 11
Commands held II./JG 11
Battles/wars
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves

Adolf Dickfeld (20 February 1910 – 17 May 2009) was a German Luftwaffe military aviator during World War II, a ace credited with 136 enemy aircraft shot down in about 1,072 combat missions. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, the highest award in the military and paramilitary forces of Nazi Germany during World War II.

Early life and career[edit]

Dickfeld was born on 20 February 1910 in Jüterbog in the Province of Brandenburg, the son of an artillery officer. In his youth he learned to fly glider aircraft. He made his first flights at the glider school in Grunau in Silesia, present-day Jeżów Sudecki, Poland. Here, among others, he was taught to fly by Hanna Reitsch. He was also trained by Wolf Hirth on the Hornberg in the Black Forest, and by Heini Dittmar and Oskar Ursinus at the Wasserkuppe in the Rhön Mountains.[1]

After attending school and passing his Abitur (School Leaving Certificate), Dickfeld attended the flight school at Frankfurt (Oder) from 3 September to 23 December 1934, receiving his A-license for motor powered aircraft.[Note 1] He then received the B-license at the flight school in Stolp, present-day Słupsk, after completing a course from 2 January to 28 February 1935.[1] On 3 March, he continued his training at the flight school in Hagenow, a course with emphasis on aerobatics which he completed in June 1935.[2]

From 2 July 1935 to 28 February 1937, Dickfeld was based at the Deutsche Verkehrsfliegerschule, a covert military-training organization, under the command of Alfred Keller in Braunschweig. There, he received further training and became an instrument flight instructor. In parallel, Dickfeld participated three times in the Deutschlandflug, a cross-country flight contest for pilots, and various other aviation contests. He also trained in the military reserve force of the newly emerging Luftwaffe. Dickfeld studied radio technology before officially joining the Luftwaffe on 1 January 1939, where he served in aerial reconnaissance.[2]

World War II[edit]

World War II in Europe had begun on Friday, 1 September 1939, when German forces invaded Poland. Dickfeld was transferred to II. Gruppe (2nd Group) of Jagdgeschwader 52 (JG 52—52nd Fighter Wing) on 28 October 1939 and was promoted to Leutnant der Reserve (second lieutenant of the reserves) on 1 December 1939. He received the Iron Cross 2nd Class (Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse) on 13 December and the Iron Cross 1st Class (Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse) on 12 January 1940, both during the Phoney War period in protection of Germany's western border.[2]

In 1940, Dickfeld flew missions during the Battle of France and Britain. He was then posted to a Luftwaffe training battalion as a company commander and on 21 February 1941, he was made a war office candidate. He was the posted to the Stab (headquarters unit) of JG 52. On 15 May, III./JG 52 was moved to Athens and together with other Luftwaffe units, flews its first combat missions in support of the Battle of Crete. During this campaign, Dickfeld flew multiple missions against Greek forces and other Allied forces. On 1 June, III./JG 52 moved to Bucharest to re-equip onto the then new Messerschmitt Bf 109 F in preparation for Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union.[2]

Eastern Front[edit]

The invasion of the Soviet Union began on 22 June 1941. On 18 May 1942, Dickfeld was credited with his 100th aerial victory. He was the 8th Luftwaffe pilot to achieve the century mark.[3] That day, he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub). He was the 94th member of the German armed forces to be so honored. The presentation was made by Adolf Hitler at the Wolf's Lair, Hitler's headquarters in Rastenburg on 25 May.[2]

North Africa[edit]

Fw 190 A-4 of II./JG 2, flown by group commander Dickfeld, Tunisia 1943

On 8 January 1943 during an emergency takeoff, Dickfeld crashed his Focke-Wulf Fw 190 A-4 (Werknummer 0750—factory number) by running into a bomb crater. The aircraft summersaulted and Dickfeld was injured.[4]

Dickfeld was transferred to the Reich Air Ministry in December 1943. There, he was appointed Reichs-Inspekteur der Flieger Hitlerjugend (Reich inspector of the Aviation Hitler Youth). He was promoted to Oberstleutnant (lieutenat colonel) on 1 June 1944 and appointed General für Nachwuchs Luftwaffe (general of procreation/recruitment), a position he held until the end of World War II.[5]

Dickfeld was officially credited with 136 victories claimed in 1072 combat missions. He also claimed a further 15 enemy aircraft unconfirmed. He claimed about 128 victories over the Eastern Front. He claimed one victory flying the Heinkel He 162 Salamander ("Volksjäger") jet fighter, a P-47 Thunderbolt on 11 April 1945.

Later life[edit]

After the war in 1952, Dickfeld initiated the Association of Knight's Cross Recipients.[6] He then lived in East Africa for many years and founded the safari-airline "ALF AIR SAFARIS" in Dar es Salaam, flying tourists to the various African landmarks and points of interest. Dickfeld, who also published a number of books, died on 17 May 2009 in Dreieich, Germany.[5]

Summary of career[edit]

Aerial victory claims[edit]

Matthews and Foreman, authors of Luftwaffe Aces — Biographies and Victory Claims, researched the German Federal Archives and found records for 132 aerial victory claims, plus five further unconfirmed claims. This figure of confirmed claims includes 128 aerial victories on the Eastern Front and four Western Front, including two four-engined bombers.[7]

Victory claims were logged to a map-reference (PQ = Planquadrat), for example "PQ 0512". The Luftwaffe grid map (Jägermeldenetz) covered all of Europe, western Russia and North Africa and was composed of rectangles measuring 15 minutes of latitude by 30 minutes of longitude, an area of about 360 square miles (930 km2). These sectors were then subdivided into 36 smaller units to give a location area 3 × 4 km in size.[8]

  This and the ♠ (Ace of spades) indicates those aerial victories which made Dickfeld an "ace-in-a-day", a term which designates a fighter pilot who has shot down five or more airplanes in a single day.
  This and the – (dash) indicates unconfirmed aerial victory claims for which Dickfeld did not receive credit.
  This and the ? (question mark) indicates information discrepancies listed by Prien, Stemmer, Rodeike, Bock, Matthews and Foreman.

Awards[edit]

Publications[edit]

  • Dickfeld, Adolf (1997). Im Schatten des Kilimandscharo [In the Shadow of Kilimanjaro] (in German). Koblenz, Germany: Verlag Siegfried Bublies. ISBN 978-3-926584-42-7. 
  • Dickfeld, Adolf (2005). Die Fährte des Jägers — Kriegerlebnisse eines Jagdfliegers [The Path of the Hunter — War Experiences of a Fighter Pilot] (in German). Schnellbach, Germany: Verlag Siegfried Bublies. ISBN 978-3-926584-37-3. 

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Flight training in the Luftwaffe progressed through the levels A1, A2 and B1, B2, referred to as A/B flight training. A training included theoretical and practical training in aerobatics, navigation, long-distance flights and dead-stick landings. The B courses included high-altitude flights, instrument flights, night landings and training to handle the aircraft in difficult situations.
  2. ^ According to Matthews and Foreman claimed at 08:59.[15]
  3. ^ According to Matthews and Foreman claimed at 09:00.[15]
  4. ^ According to Matthews and Foreman claimed as a Seversky.[15]
  5. ^ According to Matthews and Foreman claimed at 16:13.[28]
  6. ^ According to Matthews and Foreman claimed as a Polikarpov I-16.[28]
  7. ^ According to Scherzer on 18 May 1942[49]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b Stockert 1996, p. 435.
  2. ^ a b c d e Stockert 1996, p. 436.
  3. ^ Obermaier 1989, p. 243.
  4. ^ Prien et al. 2010, p. 104.
  5. ^ a b Stockert 1996, p. 438.
  6. ^ Lockenour 2001, p. 159.
  7. ^ Matthews & Foreman 2014, pp. 215–218.
  8. ^ Planquadrat.
  9. ^ Matthews & Foreman 2014, pp. 215–216.
  10. ^ a b Prien et al. 2003, p. 68.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i Prien et al. 2003, p. 74.
  12. ^ Prien et al. 2003, p. 69.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g Prien et al. 2003, p. 70.
  14. ^ a b c d Prien et al. 2003, p. 75.
  15. ^ a b c Matthews & Foreman 2014, p. 215.
  16. ^ Prien et al. 2003, p. 76.
  17. ^ a b c d e f g Prien et al. 2003, p. 77.
  18. ^ a b Matthews & Foreman 2014, p. 216.
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h Prien et al. 2005, p. 153.
  20. ^ a b c d e f g Prien et al. 2005, p. 156.
  21. ^ a b c d e f g Prien et al. 2005, p. 157.
  22. ^ Prien et al. 2005, p. 155.
  23. ^ a b Prien et al. 2005, p. 158.
  24. ^ Matthews & Foreman 2014, pp. 216–217.
  25. ^ a b c Prien et al. 2006, p. 542.
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Prien et al. 2006, p. 545.
  27. ^ a b c d Prien et al. 2006, p. 544.
  28. ^ a b c Matthews & Foreman 2014, p. 217.
  29. ^ a b c d e f g h i Prien et al. 2006, p. 546.
  30. ^ a b c d e Prien et al. 2006, p. 547.
  31. ^ Matthews & Foreman 2014, pp. 217–218.
  32. ^ Prien et al. 2006, p. 551.
  33. ^ a b c d e f g h i Prien et al. 2006, p. 554.
  34. ^ a b c d e Prien et al. 2006, p. 552.
  35. ^ a b c d e f g h Prien et al. 2006, p. 555.
  36. ^ a b c d Prien et al. 2006, p. 553.
  37. ^ a b c d Prien et al. 2006, p. 556.
  38. ^ a b Prien et al. 2006, p. 557.
  39. ^ Prien et al. 2006, p. 559.
  40. ^ a b c Matthews & Foreman 2014, p. 218.
  41. ^ a b Prien et al. 2004, p. 51.
  42. ^ Prien & Rodeike 1994, p. 633.
  43. ^ Prien & Rodeike 1994, p. 634.
  44. ^ a b Thomas 1997, p. 116.
  45. ^ Patzwall 2008, p. 65.
  46. ^ Obermaier 1989, p. 50.
  47. ^ Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 83.
  48. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 160.
  49. ^ a b Scherzer 2007, p. 271.
  50. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 59.
  51. ^ Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939-1945 Band 2, p. 129.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Bergström, Christer. "Bergström Black Cross/Red Star website". Identifying a Luftwaffe Planquadrat. Retrieved 11 May 2018. 
  • Dickfeld, Adolf (2005). Die Fährte des Jägers — Kriegerlebnisse eines Jagdfliegers [The Path of the Hunter — War Experiences of a Fighter Pilot] (in German). Schnellbach, Germany: Verlag Siegfried Bublies. ISBN 978-3-926584-37-3. 
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) [1986]. Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile [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. 
  • Lockenour, Jaz (2001). Soldiers As Citizens: Former Wehrmacht Officers in the Federal Republic of Germany, 1945–1955. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 978-0-8032-2940-2. 
  • Matthews, Andrew Johannes; Foreman, John (2014). Luftwaffe Aces — Biographies and Victory Claims — Volume 1 A–F. Walton on Thames: Red Kite. ISBN 978-1-906592-18-9. 
  • Obermaier, Ernst (1989). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Luftwaffe Jagdflieger 1939 – 1945 [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the Luftwaffe Fighter Force 1939 – 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. 
  • Prien, Jochen; Rodeike, Peter (1994). Jagdgeschwader 1 und 11—Einsatz in der Reichsverteidigung von 1939 bis 1945—Teil 1—1939–1943 [Jagdgeschwader 1 and 11—Operations in the Defense of the Reich from 1939 to 1945—Volume 1—1939–1943] (in German). Eutin, Germany: Struve-Druck. ISBN 978-3-923457-21-2. 
  • Prien, Jochen; Stemmer, Gerhard; Rodeike, Peter; Bock, Winfried (2003). Die Jagdfliegerverbände der Deutschen Luftwaffe 1934 bis 1945—Teil 6/II—Unternehmen "BARBAROSSA"—Einsatz im Osten—22.6. bis 5.12.1941 [The Fighter Units of the German Air Force 1934 to 1945—Part 6/II—Operation "BARBAROSSA"—Action in the East—22 June to 5 December 1941] (in German). Eutin, Germany: Struve-Druck. ISBN 978-3-923457-70-0. 
  • Prien, Jochen; Stemmer, Gerhard; Rodeike, Peter; Bock, Winfried (2004). Die Jagdfliegerverbände der Deutschen Luftwaffe 1934 bis 1945—Teil 8/I—Einsatz im Mittelmeerraum—November 1941 bis December 1942 [The Fighter Units of the German Air Force 1934 to 1945—Part 8/I—Action in the Mediterranean Theater—November 1941 to December 1942] (in German). Eutin, Germany: Struve-Druck. ISBN 978-3-923457-74-8. 
  • Prien, Jochen; Stemmer, Gerhard; Rodeike, Peter; Bock, Winfried (2005). Die Jagdfliegerverbände der Deutschen Luftwaffe 1934 bis 1945—Teil 9/I—Winterkampf im Osten—6.12.1941 bis 30.4.1942 [The Fighter Units of the German Air Force 1934 to 1945—Part 9/I—Winter War in the East—6 December 1941 to 30 April 1942] (in German). Eutin, Germany: Struve-Druck. ISBN 978-3-923457-76-2. 
  • Prien, Jochen; Stemmer, Gerhard; Rodeike, Peter; Bock, Winfried (2006). Die Jagdfliegerverbände der Deutschen Luftwaffe 1934 bis 1945—Teil 9/II—Vom Sommerfeldzug 1942 bis zur Niederlage von Stalingrad—1.5.1942 bis 3.2.1943 [The Fighter Units of the German Air Force 1934 to 1945—Part 9/II—From the 1942 Summer Campaign to the Defeat at Stalingrad—1 May 1942 to 3 February 1943] (in German). Eutin, Germany: Struve-Druck. ISBN 978-3-923457-77-9. 
  • Prien, Jochen; Stemmer, Gerhard; Rodeike, Peter; Bock, Winfried (2010). Die Jagdfliegerverbände der Deutschen Luftwaffe 1934 bis 1945—Teil 11/I—Einsatz im Mittelmeerraum—1.1. bis 31.12.1943 [The Fighter Units of the German Air Force 1934 to 1945—Part 11/I—Action in the Mediterranean Theater—1 January to 31 December 1943] (in German). Eutin, Germany: Struve-Druck. ISBN 978-3-923457-95-3. 
  • 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 Militaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. 
  • Spick, Mike (1996). Luftwaffe Fighter Aces. New York: Ivy Books. ISBN 978-0-8041-1696-1. 
  • Stockert, Peter (1996). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 1 [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 1] (in German). Bad Friedrichshall, Germany: Friedrichshaller Rundblick. ISBN 978-3-9802222-7-3. 
  • 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. 
  • 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.