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2 July 1907|
|Died||6 November 1943
60 km (37 mi) north of Thessaloniki, Greece
|Allegiance|| Weimar Republic
|Years of service||1928–43|
|Commands held||StG 2|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords (posthumous)|
Ernst Kupfer (2 July 1907 – 6 November 1943) was a ground-attack pilot in the Luftwaffe of Nazi Germany during World War II who commanded a wing (StG 2) of Stuka aircraft. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords.
On 1 October 1928, Kupfer joined the military, serving with the Bavarian Cavalry Regiment 17, 5th Escadron. From 1 May 1936 to 3 March 1937, he returned to university in preparation for his Dr. jur. degree (Doctor of Law), which he attained on 4 March 1937.
Kupfer was appointed acting Geschwaderkommodore (Wing Commander) of Sturzkampfgeschwader 2 (StG 2—2nd Dive-Bomber Wing) on 13 February 1943. He led StG 2 in the battles of the Kuban bridgehead and Operation Citadel. In April and May, several other fighter and ground attack groups augmented his command. Following the failure of Operation Citadel in July 1943, he took command of all local ground attack units, named Gefechtsverband "Kupfer" (Combat Detachment "Kupfer"). He flew 636 combat missions and was shot down three times, all by ground fire.
In September 1943, Kupfer was appointed inspector of the attack aircraft (General der Schlachtflieger) and promoted to Oberstleutnant. In this role he handled the procurement of the Focke Wulf Fw-190, which was to replace the old obsolete Junkers Ju 87 and especially the Henschel Hs 123. For this purpose he flew and visited a number of Schlachtgeschwader (ground attack wings) to meet with the various Geschwaderkommodore (wing commanders). He visited Oberstleutnant Kurt Kuhlmey, commander of Schlachtgeschwader 3, in early November 1943 and was killed when his Heinkel He 111 crashed returning to his base in bad weather on 6 November 1943. His body lay undiscovered until 17 November. He received a posthumous promotion to Oberst (Colonel) and was posthumously awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords.
- German Cross in Gold on 15 October 1942 as Major in the II./StG 2
- Iron Cross (1939) 2nd and 1st class
- Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe on 14 October 1942 as Hauptmann and Staffelkapitän
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords
- Knight's Cross on 23 November 1941 as Hauptmann and Staffelkapitän of the 7./StG 2 "Immelmann"
- 173rd Oak Leaves on 8 January 1943 as Major and Gruppenkommandeur of the II./StG 2 "Immelmann"
- 62nd Swords on 11 April 1944 (posthumous) as Oberst and former Geschwaderkommodore of StG 2 "Immelmann"
- Obermaier 1976, p. 46.
- Griehl 2001, p. 277.
- Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 263.
- Patzwall 2008, p. 129.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 486.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 280.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 65.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 43.
- Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) . 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.
- Griehl, Manfred (2001). Junker Ju 87 Stuka. London/Stuttgart: Airlife Publishing/Motorbuch. ISBN 1-84037-198-6.
- Obermaier, Ernst (1976). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Luftwaffe 1939–1945 Band II Stuka- und Schlachtflieger [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the Luftwaffe 1939–1945 Volume II Dive Bomber and Attack Aircraft] (in German). Mainz, Germany: Verlag Dieter Hoffmann. ISBN 978-3-87341-021-3.
- 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.
- 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.
Oberstleutnant Paul-Werner Hozzel
|Commander of Sturzkampfgeschwader 2 Immelmann
13 February 1943 – 6 November 1943
Oberleutnant Hans-Karl Stepp
|General der Schlachtflieger
October 1943 – 6 November 1943
Oberstleutnant Hubertus Hitschhold