Friedrich Obleser

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Friedrich Obleser
GenLt Friedrich Obleser.jpg
Obleser during his service in the Bundeswehr
Born(1923-02-21)21 February 1923
Pottenstein, Austria
Died5 June 2004(2004-06-05) (aged 81)
Neunkirchen, Austria
Allegiance
Service/branchBalkenkreuz (Iron Cross) Luftwaffe
Bundeswehrkreuz (Iron Cross) German Air Force
Years of service1940–45, 1956–83
RankGeneralleutnant
UnitJG 52
Commands held
Battles/warsWorld War II
Awards
Inspector of the Air Force
In office
1978–1983
Preceded byGerhard Limberg
Succeeded byEberhard Eimler

Friedrich-Erich Obleser (21 February 1923 – 5 June 2004) was a German general in the Bundeswehr. During World War II, he served as a fighter pilot in the Luftwaffe. A fighter ace, Obleser was credited with 120 aerial victories and was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, the highest award in the military and paramilitary forces of Nazi Germany during World War II. For his post-war service in the German Air Force, he received the Grand Cross with Star of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Early life and career[edit]

Obleser was born on 21 February 1923 in Pottenstein in the district of Baden in Lower Austria in Austria.[1] In 1940, he volunteered for military service in the Luftwaffe.[2] Following flight training,[Note 1] Obleser was assigned to 8. Staffel (8th squadron) of Jagdgeschwader 52 (JG 52—52nd Fighter Wing), a squadron of III. Gruppe of JG 52.[1]

World War II[edit]

World War II in Europe had begun on Friday 1 September 1939 when German forces invaded Poland. In January 1943, Obleser arrived with 8. Staffel under command of Hauptmann Günther Rall at the Gigant airfield which was located in the vicinity of Salsk. At the time, the Red Army had launched Operation Koltso, the final phase of the Battle of Stalingrad. Rall made Obleser his wingman and also appointed him as technical officer of the Staffel, a position which was responsible for the overall readiness of the equipment and aircraft.[4] Obleser flew his first combat mission on 12 January 1943 on the Eastern Front.[1] There, he claimed his first aerial victory on 28 March over a Bell P-39 Airacobra.[5] On 28 May 1943, Obleser was wounded when his Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-4 (Werknummer 19284—factory number) was hit by anti-aircraft artillery resulting in a forced landing at Warenikowskaja.[6] Following his convalescence, he was appointed Staffelkapitän (squadron leader) of 8./JG 52 on 6 July 1943.[1]

Obleser at one point questioned the aerial claims made by Erich Hartmann. Hartmann asked Günther Rall to have Obleser transferred to be Hartmann's wingman for a while. Obleser became a witness on some of Hartmann's claims and no longer questioned Hartmann's claims.[7] On 21 July 1944, Obleser was credited with his 100th aerial victory. He was the 87th Luftwaffe pilot to achieve the century mark.[8]

On 30 November 1944, Oblesse was wounded when a Panzerfaust, a recoilless anti-tank weapon, exloded in his hand.[Note 2] He did not see any further action before the end of the war in May 1945.[9]

Later life[edit]

After Obleser was released from US captivity, he worked as a commissioner of a recycling company, which predominantly had to dismantle and dispose of bomber aircraft. He then became head of an industrial application department in the private industry. In 1956, Obleser continued his military career, joining the German Air Force of West Germany as a Hauptmann. Following multiple assignments to various fighter units, Obleser was appointed wing commander of Jagdgeschwader 72 in Leck, later known as Jagdbombergeschwader 43, and then commander of Jagdbombergeschwader 31 "Boelcke". Obleser then held the position of system officer for the multirole combat aircraft (MRCA) within the German Air Staff. He then was appointed general manager of the NATO MRCA Management Agency (NAMMA).[2]

Obleser then served as chief of the Air Force Office (Luftwaffenamt) and commanding general of the Air Force Support Command (Luftwaffenunterstützungskommando). From 1 October 1978 until his retirement on 31 March 1983, he held the position of Inspector of the Air Force in the Bundeswehr, achieving the rank of Generalleutnant.[2]

In June 1981, the Federal Minister of Defence Hans Apel threatened Obleser with early retirement following Obleser's report to the Defense Committee of the German Bundestag (Verteidigungsausschuss des Deutschen Bundestages). Obleser had stated that, due to the latest defense budget cut, the German Air Force could only partially fulfill its obligations. Apel had viewed Obleser's statement as lack of loyalty towards his superiors. Earlier in March 1981, although skeptical of the proposal, Obleser had approved two budget cuts suggested by Inspector General of the Bundeswehr Jürgen Brandt.[10]

Obleser died of natural causes on 5 June 2004 in Neunkirchen, Austria, at 81 years of age.[9]

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 state that Obleser was credited with 112 aerial victories, all of which claimed on the Eastern Front.[11] In addition to these claims, Obleser claimed nine undocumented aerial victories over United States Army Air Forces aircraft, two heavy bombers and seven fighter aircraft.[9]

Victory claims were logged to a map-reference (PQ = Planquadrat), for example "PQ 34 Ost 86724". 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.[12]

Awards[edit]

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.[3]
  2. ^ According to Obermaier, this accident occurred on 30 December 1944.[1]
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p The "m.H." refers to a Ilyushin Il-2 with rear gunner (mit Heckschütze).
  4. ^ This claim is not listed by Prien, Stemmer, Rodeike and Bock.[15]
  5. ^ According to Matthews and Foreman claimed as a Ilyushin Il-2.[9]
  6. ^ This claim is not listed by Matthews and Foreman.[9]
  7. ^ a b According to Matthews and Foreman claimed as a Curtiss P-40 Warhawk.[9]
  8. ^ a b According to Matthews and Foreman claimed at 07:32.[9]
  9. ^ According to Scherzer on 26 March 1944.[30]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Obermaier 1989, p. 175.
  2. ^ a b c 1978–1982 Friedrich Obleser.
  3. ^ Bergström, Antipov & Sundin 2003, p. 17.
  4. ^ Rall 2007, pp. 142–144.
  5. ^ a b c Prien et al. 2012, p. 478.
  6. ^ Prien et al. 2012, p. 496.
  7. ^ interview by Colin Heaton Archived 2008-02-10 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Obermaier 1989, p. 243.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h Matthews & Foreman 2015, p. 929.
  10. ^ Der Spiegel Volume 24/1981.
  11. ^ Matthews & Foreman 2015, pp. 929–931.
  12. ^ Planquadrat.
  13. ^ Matthews & Foreman 2015, pp. 929–930.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g Prien et al. 2012, p. 488.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i Prien et al. 2012, p. 479.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Prien et al. 2012, p. 489.
  17. ^ a b c d e f g Prien et al. 2012, p. 480.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h Prien et al. 2012, p. 481.
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Prien et al. 2012, p. 490.
  20. ^ Prien et al. 2012, p. 482.
  21. ^ a b c d Prien et al. 2012, p. 485.
  22. ^ a b c d e f g Prien et al. 2012, p. 491.
  23. ^ a b c d e f Prien et al. 2012, p. 486.
  24. ^ a b c d Prien et al. 2012, p. 487.
  25. ^ a b Prien et al. 2012, p. 493.
  26. ^ a b Prien et al. 2012, p. 494.
  27. ^ a b Matthews & Foreman 2015, pp. 930–931.
  28. ^ Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 335.
  29. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 328.
  30. ^ Scherzer 2007, p. 574.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Bergström, Christer. "Bergström Black Cross/Red Star website". Identifying a Luftwaffe Planquadrat. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  • Bergström, Christer; Antipov, Vlad; Sundin, Claes (2003). Graf & Grislawski – A Pair of Aces. Hamilton MT: Eagle Editions. ISBN 978-0-9721060-4-7.
  • 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.
  • Matthews, Andrew Johannes; Foreman, John (2015). Luftwaffe Aces — Biographies and Victory Claims — Volume 3 M–R. Walton-on-Thames, UK: Red Kite. ISBN 978-1-906592-20-2.
  • 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.
  • Prien, Jochen; Stemmer, Gerhard; Rodeike, Peter; Bock, Winfried (2012). Die Jagdfliegerverbände der Deutschen Luftwaffe 1934 bis 1945—Teil 12/II—Einsatz im Osten—4.2. bis 31.12.1943 [The Fighter Units of the German Air Force 1934 to 1945—Part 12/II—Action in the East—4 February to 31 December 1943] (in German). Eutin, Germany: Buchverlag Rogge. ISBN 978-3-942943-05-5.
  • Rall, Günther (2007). Braatz, Kurt (ed.). Günther Rall: Mein Flugbuch—Erinnerungen 1938–2006 [Günther Rall: My Flight Book—Recollections 1938–2006] (in German). Moosburg, Germany: NeunundzwanzigSechs Verlag. ISBN 978-3-9807935-3-7.
  • 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.
  • "Ablösung für Obleser" [Replacement for Obleser]. Der Spiegel (in German). 24. 1981. Retrieved 2 February 2017.
  • "Generalleutnant Friedrich Obleser" [Lieutenant General Friedrich Obleser]. Bundeswehr (in German). Retrieved 1 February 2017.

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Oberstleutnant Erich Hohagen
Commander of Jagdgeschwader 72
1 November 1961 – 19 December 1963
Succeeded by
Oberstleutnant Benno Schmieder
Preceded by
Oberstleutnant Wilhelm Meyn
Commander of Jagdbombergeschwader 31 Boelcke
December 1963 – November 1966
Succeeded by
Oberst Paul Monreal
Preceded by
Generalleutnant Gerhard Limberg
Inspector of the Air Force
1 October 1978 – 31 March 1983
Succeeded by
Generalleutnant Eberhard Eimler