Eckart-Wilhelm von Bonin

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Eckart-Wilhelm von Bonin
Born(1919-11-14)14 November 1919
Died11 January 1992(1992-01-11) (aged 72)
Allegiance Nazi Germany
Service/branchBalkenkreuz (Iron Cross) Luftwaffe
Years of service1937–45
UnitNJG 1
Commands heldII./NJG 1
Battles/warsWorld War II
AwardsKnight's Cross of the Iron Cross
RelationsHubertus von Bonin

Eckart-Wilhelm von Bonin (14 November 1919 — 11 January 1992) was a German World War II night fighter pilot who served in the Luftwaffe. A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down five or more enemy aircraft during aerial combat.[1] He is credited with shooting down 37 enemy aircraft claimed during 150 combat missions.


His brother, Oberstleutnant Hubertus von Bonin (Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross recipient) was killed in action on 15 December 1943. He lost two other brothers during the war.

Night fighter career[edit]

A map of part of the Kammhuber Line. The 'belt' and night fighter 'boxes' are shown.

Following the 1939 aerial Battle of the Heligoland Bight, RAF attacks shifted to the cover of darkness, initiating the Defence of the Reich campaign.[2] By mid-1940, Generalmajor (Brigadier General) Josef Kammhuber had established a night air defense system dubbed the Kammhuber Line. It consisted of a series of control sectors equipped with radars and searchlights and an associated night fighter. Each sector named a Himmelbett (canopy bed) would direct the night fighter into visual range with target bombers. In 1941, the Luftwaffe started equipping night fighters with airborne radar such as the Lichtenstein radar. This airborne radar did not come into general use until early 1942.[3]

Summary of career[edit]

Aerial victory claims[edit]

Von Bonin was credited with 37 aerial victories claimed in roughly 150 combat missions. Two of his claims were over four-engined bombers during daytime operations, the other 35 were claimed during nocturnal missions.[4] Foreman, Parry and Matthews, authors of Luftwaffe Night Fighter Claims 1939 – 1945, researched the German Federal Archives and found records for 37 nocturnal victory claims.[5] Matthews and Foreman also published Luftwaffe Aces — Biographies and Victory Claims, listing Von Bonin with 33 aerial victories, plus four further unconfirmed claims.[6]



  1. ^ a b c d According to Luftwaffe Aces — Biographies and Victory Claims, this claim was unconfirmed while Luftwaffe Night Fighter Claims 1939 – 1945 confirm this claim.[7][21]




  • Bowman, Martin (2015). The Wellington Bomber. Barnsley, South Yorkshire: Pen and Sword Aviation. ISBN 978-1-78383-176-0.
  • 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.
  • Foreman, John; Matthews, Johannes; Parry, Simon (2004). Luftwaffe Night Fighter Claims 1939–1945. Walton on Thames: Red Kite. ISBN 978-0-9538061-4-0.
  • 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.
  • 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.