Heinrich Bär

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Heinz Bär
The head and shoulders of a young man, shown in semi-profile. He wears a shirt with an Iron Cross displayed at the front of his shirt collar.
Birth nameOskar-Heinz Bär
Born(1913-05-25)25 May 1913
Sommerfeld, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire
Died28 April 1957(1957-04-28) (aged 43)
Braunschweig, Lower Saxony, West Germany
Allegiance Nazi Germany
Service/branchBalkenkreuz (Iron Cross) Luftwaffe
Years of service1934–45
RankLieutenant Colonel (Oberstleutnant)
UnitJG 51, JG 77, JGr Süd, JG 1, JG 3, EJG 2 and JV 44
Commands held12./JG 51, I./JG 77, JGr Süd, II./JG 1, JG 3, III./EJG 2 and JV 44
AwardsKnight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords
Other worktest pilot

Heinz "Pritzl" Bär (pronounced [ˈhaɪnʁɪç bɛːɐ̯]; 25 May 1913 – 28 April 1957) was a German Luftwaffe flying ace who served throughout World War II in Europe.[1] Bär flew more than one thousand combat missions, and fought in the Western, Eastern and Mediterranean theatres. On 18 occasions he survived being shot down, and according to records in the German Federal Archives, he claimed to have shot down 228 enemy aircraft and was credited with 208 aerial victories, 16 of which were in a Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter.

Certain sources credit him with 220 victories - 96 on Eastern Theatre and 124 on Western Theatre.[2][3]

Bär, a native of Saxony, joined the Reichswehr in 1934 and transferred to the Luftwaffe in 1935. Serving first as a mechanic, then as a pilot on transport aircraft, he was informally trained as a fighter pilot. He claimed his first aerial victory in September 1939 on the French border. By the end of the Battle of Britain, his tally of victories had increased to 17. Transferred to the Eastern Front to participate in Operation Barbarossa, he quickly accumulated further victories, a feat that earned him the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords for 90 aerial victories in February 1942.

During the remainder of World War II, Bär was credited with 130 other aerial victories, an achievement which would normally have earned him the coveted Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds.[4] Hermann Göring's personal dislike of Bär, coupled with Bär's insubordinate character and lack of military discipline, deprived him of this award. After World War II, Bär continued his career as an aviator. He was killed in a flying accident on 28 April 1957 near Braunschweig.

Early life[edit]

Bär was born on 25 May 1913 in Sommerfeld near Leipzig in the Kingdom of Saxony, a federated state of the German Empire.[5] His parents were farmers, and in 1916, his father was killed in action on the Western Front of World War I. Bär attended the Volksschule, a combined primary and lower secondary school, in Sommerfeld. Initially, he planned on taking over the family farm in Engelsdorf and following graduation attended the agriculture school in Wurzen. Aged 15, he became a glider pilot, joining the glider club on the "Schwarzer Berg" (Black Mountain) at Taucha.[6] Bär then wanted to become a forester, for everything associated with wildlife and forests interested him. His first sight of a Junkers transport aircraft changed his mind and convinced him that he should become an aviator. As a teenager, he had ambitions to become an airline pilot with Deutsche Luft Hansa.[7] He acquired the nickname Pritzl because of his affection for Pritzl candy bars.[8]

The Great Depression prevented Bär from gaining a civil pilot license; three separate licenses were required by air lines.[5] In 1934, he joined the Reichswehr and was assigned to the 3. Kompanie of Kraftfahrabteilung 4 (3rd Company of the 4th Motor Vehicle Battalion) as a mechanic. He served in this position until the following year, when he was transferred to a combat wing of the Luftwaffe. A few months later, he was accepted for pilot training, receiving his transport aircraft pilot's training.[Note 1] From 1 November 1937 to 31 March 1938, Bär attended the flight school at Oldenburg and was then transferred to the flight school at Hildesheim. He was transferred again, attending the flight school at Ludwigslust where he attained his Luftwaffe Advanced Pilot's Certificate (Erweiterter Luftwaffen-Flugzeugführerschein), also known as 'C'-Certificate, confirming proficiency on multi-engine aircraft, on 16 May 1938. Bär then attended the blind flying school Blindflugschule 2 (BFS 2—2nd blind flying school) at Neuburg an der Donau from 7 July to 14 August 1938.[9] He was transferred to I./Jagdgeschwader 135, the core of the future Jagdgeschwader 51 (JG 51), on 1 September 1938, usually flying the Junkers Ju 86.[Note 2][7] The Squadron Leader (Staffelkapitän) Douglas Pitcairn noticed Bär's flying talents and tried to convince Bär to become a fighter pilot. Initially Bär refused, but after he illegally conducted some aerobatics in the Ju 86 leading to an engine failure, he reluctantly accepted and became a fighter pilot.[10][11]

World War II[edit]

Stationed on the border with France, Bär achieved his first victory—a Curtiss P-36 Hawk—on 25 September 1939 during the Phoney War air skirmishes with the Armée de l'Air (French air force).[12] This earned him the Iron Cross 2nd Class on 29 September 1939 which was presented to him by Hugo Sperrle.[9] During the Battle of France, he was credited with two more aerial victories before adding a further 10 during the Battle of Britain and was awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class on 6 July 1940.[9] During this time, he had several emergency landings in badly damaged aircraft and was shot down over the English Channel on 2 September 1940 by a Spitfire. Bär was summoned to appear before Hermann Göring and report on this battle.[Note 3] When Göring asked him what he was thinking about while in the water, Bär immediately replied, "Your speech, Herr Reichsmarschall, in which you said that England is no longer an island!", alluding to an address that Göring had made before the German fighter pilots.[13][5] Incidents like this are testimony to his often blatant disregard for higher authority. His outspokenness frequently landed him in trouble with Göring.[15] In early 1941, he was credited with an additional four aerial victories against the Royal Air Force (RAF), bringing his total to 17.[13]

Eastern Front[edit]

In June 1941, JG 51 was transferred East to take part in Operation Barbarossa with 1 staffel. On the morning of the 22 June, Bär and his wingman Oberfeldwebel Heinrich Höfemeier were escorting a damaged Heinkel He 111 over German lines when they made contact with 18 Tupolev SB bombers from the 39 SBAP (Skorostnoy Bombardirovohchnyy Aviatsionny Polk—high speed bomber aviation regiment) and 10 SAD (Smeshannaya Aviatsionnaya Diviziya—composite aviation regiment). The German pilots attacked; Höfemeier claimed four, Bär two—though the former was wounded in the arm. The Germans noted the vulnerability of the Soviet aircraft which lacked self-sealing fuel tanks and had a propensity to burst into flames. More JG 51 Bf 109s appeared and claimed six more. None of the 18 Tupolev SB bombers from the 39 SBAP or 10 SAD aircraft returned home. Bär had achieved his 19th and 20th victories.[16]

JG 51 at the time was part of the Fliegerkorps II, operating in the central sector of the Eastern Front. Bär claimed five aerial victories on 30 June 1941, bringing his total to 22.[17] On this day JG 51 was credited with 113 aerial victories in total, among them their 1,000th aerial victory—the first unit to reach this figure—and Oberst Werner Mölders, with 82 aerial victories, surpassed Manfred von Richthofen in number of victories.[18][19] The Geschwader recorded 24 separate engagements in a 14-hour period and lost five Bf 109s.[20] Bär's opponents included Ilyushin DB-3 bombers from the 42nd and 52nd DBA (Dal'me-Bombardirovochnaya Aviatsiya—long range aviation bomber regiment). Five Tupolev TB-3s from the 3rd TBAP were also claimed.[20]

Within two weeks of combat against the Soviet Air Force, Bär's tally rose to 27, which earned him the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 2 July, followed by his promotion to Oberleutnant on 1 August 1941.[21][22] On 5 July, Bär or Mölders may also have shot down the Soviet fighter ace Podpolkovnik (Lieutenant Colonel) Stepan Suprun from the 401 IAP (Istrebitel'nyy Aviatsionyy Polk—fighter aviation regiment) and holder of the Hero of the Soviet Union.[23] Bär accounted for a Petlyakov Pe-2 on 23 July. Three were lost from the 411 BAP (Bombardirovochnyy Aviatsionyy Polk—bomber aviation regiment) operating under the OSNAZ (Osoboye Naznachenie—Special purpose-unit or task force). German pilots submitted three claims.[24] On 9 August an SB bomber was claimed from a formation of eight belonging to the 57 BAP's 3rd Eskadrilya—five Soviet aircraft were shot down.[25] Bär had achieved his 55th victory.[25]

"A very good pilot in any of these aircraft was tough to handle, and if he had the tactical advantage, he had a good chance to win the fight. You see from my own eighteen experiences as someone else's victory, that they often did win."[26]

Heinrich Bär on the quality of Allied fighters.

On 14 August, he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves for 60 victories, and on 30 August he became an "ace-in-a-day" by shooting down six Soviet aircraft.[22] On 31 August, Bär was shot down by an Ilyushin Il-2 some 50 kilometers (31 mi) behind Soviet lines, near Novgorod-Seversky. He suffered injuries to his back and feet while bailing out.[21] Bär evaded Soviet patrols which rushed to the crash site. Bär remained in hiding through to the following night. He turned his leather jacket inside-out and discarded his flying boots to present himself as a Russian peasant. Vanity prevented him from throwing away the Knight's Cross and Oak Leaves and he hid the items. Bär eventually made it to German lines but aggravated his injuries and spent two months in hospital.[27]

Bär was promoted to Hauptmann in late 1941 and appointed Squadron Leader of 12./JG 51 in early 1942.[28] By late 1941, after Mölders (115), Lützow (100), Galland (96) and Gollob (85), Bär's 80 placed him among the leading pilots of the war.[29] His longtime wingman at the time was Heinrich Hoffmann.[28] From January he was appointed Gruppenkommandeur (Group Commander) of IV Gruppe.[22] At this time JG 51 was only the second of two fighter groups that continued to operate the Bf 109E in the winter, 1941.[30] He received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords on 16 February as his tally rose to 90. This achievement was mentioned in the daily Wehrmachtbericht propaganda bulletin on 12 February 1942, his first of three references during the course of the war. Three months later he was referenced again.[22]

On 11 May, Bär was transferred from IV./JG 51 on the Moscow front to take command of I. Gruppe of Gordon Gollob's Jagdgeschwader 77 (JG 77) flying wing. Bär replaced Herbert Ihlefeld who had been transferred.[31] JG 77 was tasked with supporting the hard fighting in the Crimean Campaign over the Kerch Strait on the Crimean Peninsula. Led by the flying aces (Experten) Gollob and Bär, JG 77 took over the air space above Kerch-Taman as Gollob and Bär shot down two and three LaGG-3s respectively, raising Bär's victory total to 93.[32] Mutual animosity between the two men, Gollob, a disciplinarian pro-Nazi, and Bär, an anti-authoritarian, ensured an intense rivalry.[32] On 19 May 1942, Bär claimed five further aerial victories—including a Polikarpov R-5 in the morning and four Polikarpov I-16s in one afternoon mission: his victory total now stood at 103.[33][31] He was the 9th Luftwaffe pilot to achieve the century mark.[34] That same day, Inspector of Fighters (General der Jagdflieger) Adolf Galland arrived to inspect Bär's I./JG 77 and JG 77 surpassed 2,000 victories.[35] This flying achievement earned Bär a second mention in the daily Wehrmachtbericht on 20 May 1942.[36]

Mediterranean theater[edit]

Tail of Bär's Messerschmitt Bf 109F-4 with the Stab I./JG 77

In June 1942, JG 77 was moved to the Mediterranean theater and took part in the air battles over Malta before relocating to Tunisia and participating in the North African Campaign.[37] On 13 October 1942 he accounted for three Spitfire fighters from 185 and 1345 Squadron near the Sicilian coast.[38] I./JG 77 soon transferred to North Africa and took part in the Tunisian Campaign.[39]

On 1 January 1943 Bär submitted one of two claims against 12 Curtiss P-40 Warhawks of 3 Squadron RAAF. Flying Officer Ritchie and Sergeant Roediger were lost but Bär did not receive credit.[40] Bär claimed two B-25 Mitchell bombers and three P-40s on 14 January which do not appear to have been credited. Two claims for P-40s destroyed on the 18 January were also not granted.[41]

On 25 January 1943, Bär claimed two Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk/Warhawk fighters, taking his total to 149 aerial victories.[42] The Allied units involved were 112 Sqn RAF, 450 Sqn RAAF, 65th FS, USAAF and 66th FS, USAAF. (A South African bomber squadron, 21 Squadron SAAF, was also reportedly involved.) The Germans claimed 10 P-40s. 450 and 112 Squadrons lost one each while the 65th Squadron lost three and the 66th two.[43] After Bär achieved his 149th aerial victory, General Hans-Jürgen von Arnim submitted him for the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds. Reich Marshal Hermann Göring ignored this request, denying Bär the "Diamonds". The reason for this remains uncertain, but it is believed that Göring disliked Bär for his insubordinate character and strong Saxon dialect, which Göring was known to detest. On 27 January 1943, Bär surpassed the 150 aerial victory mark.[42] Bär's opponents were probably USAAF P-40s and P-39 Airacobras from the 33rd and 81st Fighter Group.[44]

On 4 February Bär led I. Gruppe into action against Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bombers from the 97th and 301st Bomb Group and their Lockheed P-38 Lightning escorts from the 1st Fighter Group. Bär claimed one B-17.[45] On 15 February Bär claimed two USAAF Spitfires. The American pilots were possibly Lieutenant Joe Reed and H. E Huntingdon from the 31st Fighter Group.[46] After an uncredited claim on 24 February over a P-40 Bär accounted for five on two days later. German fighter units claimed 13 against an actual 14 (possible 15) and several more damaged. Seven of the British pilots were unhurt.[47] The following day he was credited with another P-40 in combat with 11 pilots from 4 Squadron SAAF. Records suggest he may have claimed three but was only credited with one.[48]

"He was honest through and through. Whatever he told you was the truth. He never tried to cover things up as some pilots did."[49]

Günther Rall, Chief of the Air Staff of the post-war German Air Force

Bär and his I. Gruppe of JG 77 operated from Fatnassa, Tunisia, in early March 1943. On 1st or 2 March, Bär claimed a Spitfire shot down.[31][50] Then in the evening met Galland, who was making a surprise visit to I./JG 77. Galland was greeted by Major Joachim Müncheberg, who introduced Bär to Galland. Thus began a comradeship which outlasted World War II.[31] On 6 March 92 Squadron Spitfires provided cover for 1 SAAF Squadron. They were supported by 601. Bär spotted their approach and climbed then dived onto the British. Bär accounted for two Spitfires—Flight Sergeant Tilston, from 601, was forced to bail out and Flying Officer Mahon from the South African unit was killed.[51]

Over North Africa and the Mediterranean theater, Bär had increased his tally to 179, but, fighting a losing battle against ever-increasing Allied air superiority, Bär lost his fighting spirit, and suffered severe mental and physical exhaustion. After several arguments with JG 77's new commander, Colonel Johannes Steinhoff, and Hermann Göring, in mid-1943 Bär was transferred to France "for cowardice before the enemy" and demoted to squadron leader. He took over command of an operational training unit, Jagdgruppe Süd.[52][53]

Defense of the Reich[edit]

Bär inspecting his 184th aerial victory, a Boeing B-17F of 91st Bomb Group on 21 February 1944. His wingman Leo Schuhmacher is standing to his right.[54]

His combat skills were hard to overlook and hence Bär was transferred to II./Jagdgeschwader 1 (JG 1) on 21 January 1944 as an ordinary pilot. He was assigned to 6./JG 1. Jagdgeschwader 1 (JG 1) Wing Commander (Geschwaderkommodore) Colonel Walter Oesau welcomed him with a reminder that he had promised Oberkommando der Luftwaffe (OKL) Göring that Bär would not be given any command responsibilities. Although Bär accepted this with humor, he later commented to others that in the air he was the "Kommodore of his own crate".[52][55]

On 15 March 1944, Bär, now a Major and rehabilitated from the demotion, was given command of II./Jagdgeschwader 1 (JG 1). This was after the death of Hauptmann Hermann Segatz on 8 March 1944. JG 1 was tasked with Reichsverteidigung (Defense of the Reich) and equipped with the Focke Wulf 190 A-7 fighter. Morale of the group soared following his appointment. He was considered the unofficial leader of the group and the best officer in the entire Geschwader. On 11 April 1944, Bär achieved his 199th aerial victory over a B-17 near Fallersleben. His 200th aerial victory, a Consolidated B-24 Liberator, was claimed on 22 April accompanied by his regular wingman Warrant Officer (Oberfeldwebel) Leo Schuhmacher, who would be awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 1 March 1945 as a fighter pilot in II./JG 1.[54][56] Bär had just landed at Störmede airfield from a II./JG 1 intercept when a smoking United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) B-24 of the 458th Bombardment Group passed overhead. Bär and his wingman quickly got into their aircraft and intercepted the B-24. The bomber's gunners had already bailed out of the aircraft, making it an easy aerial victory.[57] Bär returned to Störmede airfield to the congratulations of his men. This double century victory earned Bär his third and final reference in the Wehrmachtbericht on 24 April 1944. After Oesau's death on 11 May 1944, Bär was made acting Wing Commander of JG 1. In June, he was appointed Wing Commander of Jagdgeschwader 3 (JG 3) following the death of Friedrich-Karl Müller. By the end of 1944, Bär's score had risen to 203.[58] Bär claimed 204th and 205th victories, against two Hawker Typhoons, on 1 January 1945 during Operation Bodenplatte, a Luftwaffe mass attack against Allied airfields in the Benelux area.[59]

Combat in the Me 262[edit]

Messerschmitt Me 262 A-1a – EJG 2 – Major Heinz Bär

On 14 February, Bär was transferred to command the jet fighter training unit III./Ergänzungs-Jagdgeschwader 2 (EJG 2).[15] In March, the unit was equipped with the Messerschmitt Me 262 fighter and sent into battle. Bär shot down 13 Allied aircraft, many of them heavy bombers like the B-17 and the B-24.[60] EJG 2 abandoned Lechfeld for the airfield was under constant attack and was now threatened by the United States Army.[60]

On 23 April, Bär transferred to the elite Jet Experten unit Jagdverband 44 (JV 44), led by Adolf Galland.[60] The following day Bär briefed JV 44 pilots in Galland's absence. The air defences had detected an incoming American formation and Bär instructed the jet pilots on the appropriate tactical approach to take when the interception was made. Klaus Neumann, Walter Krupinski and Günther Lützow flew on the mission. Lutzöw was posted missing in action and remains missing to date.[61]

On 26 April, he assumed command of the unit after Galland was wounded. Bär possibly flew his first operational sortie with JV 44 on 27 April 1945. Flying the Me 262 A-1/U5, a six MK 108 cannon prototype, he was accompanied by Major Wilhelm Herget and the non-commissioned officer NCO (Unteroffizier) Franz Köster when the trio engaged American fighters over Riem; Bär claimed one aerial victory.[62] While not flying operationally, Bär spent most of his time giving hasty instruction to the new pilots still being assigned to JV 44.[63] With JV 44, he achieved his final four aerial victories (3 P-47s and 1 Mosquito) on 28 April,[64] bringing his total to 220. All told, he had achieved 16 victories in the Me 262, making him the second most successful Jet Expert of the war, which he finished as a Lieutenant Colonel (Oberstleutnant).[Note 4][64]

During the final days of the Second World War in Europe, Lieutenant General (Generalleutnant) Adolf Galland attempted to surrender JV 44 to American forces from his hospital bed.[65] At the same time Air General (General der Flieger) Karl Koller had ordered JV 44 to relocate to Prague and continue fighting. Bär, as a Galland loyalist, attempted to ignore the order. Bär was further pressured to relocate JV 44 when Major General (Generalmajor) Dietrich Peltz, commander of IX. Fliegerkorps, and Colonel Hajo Herrmann, commander of 9. Flieger-Division (J), unexpectedly emerged at the control room in Maxglan on 2 May 1945. A heated and violent dispute erupted between Bär, Peltz and Herrmann, witnessed by Walter Krupinski. He later recalled that Bär responded with "Yes, sir, but we are under the command of Generalleutnant Galland, and I will only follow orders of Generalleutnant Galland!"—a final act of disobedience that Krupinski believed could have led to Bär being shot for insubordination.[66]

In the early morning hours of 4 May 1945, Bär gathered the pilots of JV 44 for a final briefing. Bär ordered the remaining Me 262 destroyed before going into captivity and interrogation by US Intelligence officers of the 1st Tactical Air Force's Air Prisoner of War Interrogation Unit, based at Heidelberg.[67]

After the war[edit]

Bär did not return to his home in Sommerfeld after World War II. He settled in Braunschweig, where he continued his career in aviation, including a lead position for motor-powered flight with the Deutscher Aero Club. He also worked as a consultant and test pilot in the field of sport aviation, testing aircraft before they went on the market. On 28 April 1957, while conducting a routine flight-check in a light aircraft, a LF-1 Zaunkönig, Bär put the aircraft into a flat spin, the final manoeuvre in the test process. The aircraft spun down to 50 meters (160 ft) then, unable to regain control, Bär was killed in the resulting crash at Braunschweig-Waggum.[68]

In fringe culture[edit]

The National-Zeitung, a far-right German newspaper, featured a portrayal of Bär in its series "Great German Soldiers: Immortal Heroes" in May 2000. The National-Zeitung glorified Bär's "reliability" and "bravado" and claimed that he was a "daredevil in the best sense".[69] In Jagdgeschwader 51, the newspaper continued, he quickly gained fame and honour through daring actions; after his total of 18 kills, he had been "immediately back in action" with barely treated wounds. In the series, only soldiers loyal to the Nazi regime were honoured, in part through the use of linguistic formulas originally employed by the Wehrmacht and Nazi propaganda.[70]

According to the political scientist Fabian Virchow [de], the series fits "the idea of men focused on the deed and shaping the course of history in the interest of the 'national' or 'völkisch’ community", an idea, which is to be found on the far right. At the same time, Virchow argues, the characterizations point to a concept of masculinity whose very one-sided characteristics could be described by qualities such as "hardness", "sacrificial will", "heroism in the face of death", "bravery", "resilience", "dash" or "stamina".[71]

Summary of career[edit]

Bär, call sign "Bussard 1", flew more than 1,000 combat missions. His 220 confirmed aerial victories place him eighth on the overall list of aces. His claim of 124 aerial victories over Western-flown aircraft is second only to Hans-Joachim Marseille's total of 158; almost all of the latter's victories occurred in Africa. He achieved four victories during the Battle of France, 13 during the Battle of Britain and 61 over Libya and Tunisia. On the Eastern Front he had claimed 96 aerial victories. At least 75 of his victories had been claimed against British- and American-flown aircraft over Europe, 16 of these while flying the Me 262 jet fighter. Also among these 75 aerial victories are 21 US heavy bombers and one Mosquito. Bär crash-landed or bailed out 18 times and was wounded three times in combat.[68][72]

Aerial victory claims[edit]

Matthews and Foreman, authors of Luftwaffe Aces – Biographies and Victory Claims, researched the German Federal Archives and found records for 208 aerial victory claims, plus 20 further unconfirmed claims. This figure includes 95 aerial victories on the Eastern Front and 113 on the Western Front, including 14 four-engined bombers and 15 victories with the Me 262 jet fighter.[73]

Victory claims were logged to a map-reference (PQ = Planquadrat), for example "PQ 05 Ost S/FN". 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.[74]


Three times Bär was recommended for the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds. All three commendations were denied by Hermann Göring. Bär shot down a further 130 enemy aircraft after he had received the Swords.

Dates of rank[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. For pilots destined to fly multi-engine aircraft, the training was completed with the Luftwaffe Advanced Pilot's Certificate (Erweiterter Luftwaffen-Flugzeugführerschein), also known as C-Certificate.
  2. ^ For an explanation of the meaning of Luftwaffe unit designation see Organisation of the Luftwaffe during World War II.
  3. ^ Sources are inconclusive with respect to whether Göring had witnessed the incident personally or whether it was reported to him on 8 September 1940 by Werner Mölders.[13][14]
  4. ^ For a list of Luftwaffe Jet aces see List of German World War II jet aces
  5. ^ According to Matthews and Foreman claimed as a Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-1.[78]
  6. ^ a b According to Matthews and Foreman claimed as a Seversky.[78]
  7. ^ a b c According to Matthews and Foreman claimed as an Ilyushin Il-2.[78]
  8. ^ According to Matthews and Foreman claimed at 14:07.[93]
  9. ^ According to Matthews and Foreman claimed as a Petlyakov Pe-2.[78]
  10. ^ According to Matthews and Foreman claimed at 10:39.[100]
  11. ^ a b According to Matthews and Foreman claimed on 21 January 1943.[100]
  12. ^ According to Matthews and Foreman claimed as a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress.[100]
  13. ^ According to Matthews and Foreman claimed at 14:56.[100]
  14. ^ According to Matthews and Foreman claimed at 15:58.[100]
  15. ^ According to Matthews and Foreman claimed at 13:23.[100]
  16. ^ According to Matthews and Foreman claimed at 13:26.[100]
  17. ^ According to Matthews and Foreman claimed at 13:28.[100]
  18. ^ a b According to Scherzer as Leutnant of the Reserves.[118]
  19. ^ According to Scherzer as Hauptmann of the Reserves.[118]



  1. ^ Spick 1996, pp. 3–4.
  2. ^ Sims, Edward H. (1 January 1967). The Greatest Aces. United States of America: Harper & Row; First Edition. pp. 173, 275.
  3. ^ Schaulen, Fritjof. (2003). Eichenlaubträger : 1940-1945. Selent: Pour le Merite. ISBN 3-932381-23-8. OCLC 57285422.
  4. ^ Toliver & Constable 1998, p. 360.
  5. ^ a b c Fredriksen 2001, p. 35.
  6. ^ Stockert 2012, p. 182.
  7. ^ a b Toliver & Constable 1998, p. 358.
  8. ^ Bergström & Mikhailov 2000, p. 86.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Stockert 2012, p. 183.
  10. ^ Aders & Held 1993, pp. 29–30.
  11. ^ Toliver & Constable 1998, p. 359.
  12. ^ Aders & Held 1993, p. 47.
  13. ^ a b c Spick 1996, p. 219.
  14. ^ Aders & Held 1993, p. 68.
  15. ^ a b Forsyth, Scutts & Creek 1999, pp. 46–47.
  16. ^ Bergström 2007a, p. 19.
  17. ^ Bergström & Mikhailov 2000, p. 61.
  18. ^ Aders & Held 1993, p. 90.
  19. ^ Weal 2001, p. 22.
  20. ^ a b Bergström 2007a, p. 27.
  21. ^ a b Stockert 2012, pp. 184–185.
  22. ^ a b c d Bergström & Pegg 2003, p. 317.
  23. ^ Bergström 2007a, p. 46.
  24. ^ Bergström 2007a, p. 48.
  25. ^ a b Bergström 2007a, p. 55.
  26. ^ Fredriksen 2001, p. 36.
  27. ^ Bergström 2007a, p. 68.
  28. ^ a b Weal 2006, p. 67.
  29. ^ Bergström 2007a, p. 116.
  30. ^ Bergström 2007b, p. 17.
  31. ^ a b c d Bergström 2007b, p. 35.
  32. ^ a b Bergström & Mikhailov 2001, p. 159.
  33. ^ Bergström & Pegg 2003, p. 348.
  34. ^ Obermaier 1989, p. 243.
  35. ^ Bergström & Mikhailov 2001, p. 160.
  36. ^ Stockert 2012, p. 186.
  37. ^ Shores, Cull & Malizia 1991, p. 380.
  38. ^ Shores, Cull & Malizia 1991, p. 593.
  39. ^ Shores, Ring & Hess 1975, p. 121.
  40. ^ Shores, Ring & Hess 1975, p. 127.
  41. ^ Shores, Ring & Hess 1975, pp. 151, 158.
  42. ^ a b Prien 1995, p. 2425.
  43. ^ Shores, Ring & Hess 1975, p. 149.
  44. ^ Shores, Ring & Hess 1975, p. 179.
  45. ^ Shores, Ring & Hess 1975, p. 193.
  46. ^ Shores, Ring & Hess 1975, p. 205.
  47. ^ Shores, Ring & Hess 1975, pp. 218, 224.
  48. ^ Shores, Ring & Hess 1975, p. 226.
  49. ^ MacLean 2007, p. 6.
  50. ^ Shores, Ring & Hess 1975, p. 231.
  51. ^ Shores, Ring & Hess 1975, p. 237.
  52. ^ a b Caldwell & Muller 2007, p. 153.
  53. ^ Shores, Massimello & Guest 2014, p. 684.
  54. ^ a b Weal 1996, p. 55.
  55. ^ A Fighter Group in Normandy.
  56. ^ Scherzer 2007, p. 688.
  57. ^ Caldwell & Muller 2007, pp. 184–185.
  58. ^ Caldwell & Muller 2007, pp. 170–202.
  59. ^ Girbig 1997, p. 172.
  60. ^ a b c Forsyth, Scutts & Creek 1999, pp. 141–142.
  61. ^ Forsyth, Scutts & Creek 1999, p. 148.
  62. ^ Forsyth 2008, p. 93.
  63. ^ Forsyth 2008, p. 94.
  64. ^ a b Caldwell & Muller 2007, pp. 284–285.
  65. ^ Forsyth 2008, pp. 111–112.
  66. ^ Forsyth 2008, pp. 115–116.
  67. ^ Forsyth 2008, pp. 119–120.
  68. ^ a b Berger 1999, p. 14.
  69. ^ Virchow 2006, p. 395.
  70. ^ Virchow 2006, p. 347.
  71. ^ Virchow 2006, p. 394.
  72. ^ Spick 1996, pp. 220, 227.
  73. ^ Matthews & Foreman 2014, pp. 34–39.
  74. ^ Planquadrat.
  75. ^ Matthews & Foreman 2014, pp. 34–35.
  76. ^ Prien et al. 2001, p. 276.
  77. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Prien et al. 2003, p. 248.
  78. ^ a b c d Matthews & Foreman 2014, p. 35.
  79. ^ a b Prien et al. 2000, p. 274.
  80. ^ a b c d Prien et al. 2002, p. 34.
  81. ^ a b c d Prien et al. 2002, p. 35.
  82. ^ a b c d Prien et al. 2003, p. 250.
  83. ^ a b Prien et al. 2002, p. 36.
  84. ^ a b c d e f g h Prien et al. 2003, p. 251.
  85. ^ a b c d Prien et al. 2002, p. 38.
  86. ^ Matthews & Foreman 2014, pp. 35–36.
  87. ^ a b c d e f Prien et al. 2003, p. 338.
  88. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Prien et al. 2003, p. 342.
  89. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Prien et al. 2003, p. 343.
  90. ^ a b c d e Prien et al. 2003, p. 339.
  91. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Prien et al. 2003, p. 341.
  92. ^ a b c d Prien et al. 2003, p. 346.
  93. ^ Matthews & Foreman 2014, p. 36.
  94. ^ a b Prien et al. 2003, p. 347.
  95. ^ a b c d e Prien et al. 2005, p. 119.
  96. ^ Matthews & Foreman 2014, pp. 36–38.
  97. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Prien 1995, p. 2406.
  98. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Prien et al. 2004, p. 299.
  99. ^ a b Prien et al. 2004, p. 300.
  100. ^ a b c d e f g h Matthews & Foreman 2014, p. 37.
  101. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z Prien et al. 2011, p. 384.
  102. ^ Prien 1995, p. 2407.
  103. ^ Prien 1995, p. 2408.
  104. ^ a b c d e f g h Prien 1995, p. 2409.
  105. ^ a b c d e Prien 1995, p. 2421.
  106. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Prien et al. 2011, p. 385.
  107. ^ a b c d e Matthews & Foreman 2014, p. 38.
  108. ^ a b Prien & Rodeike 1996, p. 1201.
  109. ^ a b c d e f g Prien & Rodeike 1996, p. 1203.
  110. ^ a b c d e f g Prien & Rodeike 1996, p. 1202.
  111. ^ Prien & Rodeike 1996, p. 1204.
  112. ^ a b c Prien & Rodeike 1996, p. 1205.
  113. ^ a b c Prien & Rodeike 1996, p. 1207.
  114. ^ Prien & Rodeike 1996, p. 1206.
  115. ^ a b c Prien & Stemmer 2002, p. 398.
  116. ^ Matthews & Foreman 2014, pp. 38–39.
  117. ^ Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 23.
  118. ^ a b c Scherzer 2007, p. 199.
  119. ^ Berger 1999, p. 13.
  120. ^ Patzwall 2008, p. 44.
  121. ^ a b MacLean 2007, p. 222.
  122. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 120.
  123. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 55.
  124. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 39.
  125. ^ Stockert 2012, p. 184.
  126. ^ Stockert 2012, p. 185.
  127. ^ Stockert 2012, p. 188.
  128. ^ Stockert 2012, p. 191.


  • Aders, Gebhard; Held, Werner (1993). Jagdgeschwader 51 'Mölders' Eine Chronik – B2012te – Erlebnisse – Dokumente [Fighter Wing 51 'Mölders' A Chronicle – Reports – Experiences – Documents] (in German). Stuttgart, Germany: Motorbuch Verlag. ISBN 978-3-613-01045-1.
  • Bergström, Christer. "Bergström Black Cross/Red Star website". Identifying a Luftwaffe Planquadrat. Archived from the original on 22 December 2018. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  • Bergström, Christer; Mikhailov, Andrey (2000). Black Cross / Red Star Air War Over the Eastern Front, Volume I, Operation Barbarossa 1941. Pacifica, California: Pacifica Military History. ISBN 978-0-935553-48-2.
  • Berger, Florian (1999). Mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern. Die höchstdekorierten Soldaten des Zweiten Weltkrieges [With Oak Leaves and Swords. The Highest Decorated Soldiers of the Second World War] (in German). Vienna, Austria: Selbstverlag Florian Berger. ISBN 978-3-9501307-0-6.
  • Bergström, Christer; Mikhailov, Andrey (2001). Black Cross / Red Star Air War Over the Eastern Front, Volume II, Resurgence January–June 1942. Pacifica, California: Pacifica Military History. ISBN 978-0-935553-51-2.
  • Bergström, Christer (2007a). Barbarossa – The Air Battle: July–December 1941. London: Chevron/Ian Allan. ISBN 978-1-85780-270-2.
  • Bergström, Christer (2007b). Stalingrad – The Air Battle: November 1942 – February 1943. London: Chevron/Ian Allan. ISBN 978-1-85780-276-4.
  • Bergström, Christer; Pegg, Martin (2003). Jagdwaffe: The War in Russia: January–October 1942. London: Classic Colours. ISBN 978-1-903223-23-9.
  • Caldwell, Donald; Muller, Richard (2007), The Luftwaffe Over Germany: Defense of the Reich, MBI Publishing Company, ISBN 978-1-85367-712-0
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) [1986]. Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945] (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6.
  • Forsyth, Robert; Scutts, Jerry; Creek, Eddie J (1999). Battle over Bavaria : the B-26 Marauder versus the German jets, April 1945. East Sussex, England: Classic Publications. ISBN 978-0-9526867-4-3.
  • Forsyth, Robert (2008). Jagdverband 44 Squadron of Experten. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84603-294-3.
  • Franks, Norman (2000). Fighter Command Losses of the Second World War: Volume 3, Operational Losses, Aircraft and Crews 1944–1945. (Incorporating Air Defence Great Britain and 2nd TAF). London: Midland. ISBN 978-1-85780-093-7.
  • Fredriksen, John C. (2001). America's Military Adversaries. Oxford/Denver: ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1576076033.
  • Girbig, Werner (1997). Start im Morgengrauen [Takeoff at Dawn] (in German). Stuttgart, Germany: Motorbuch Verlag. ISBN 978-3-613-01292-9.
  • MacLean, French L. (2007). Luftwaffe Efficiency & Promotion Reports: For the Knight's Cross Winners. Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7643-2657-8.
  • Manrho, John; Pütz, Ron (2004). Bodenplatte: The Luftwaffe's Last Hope-The Attack on Allied Airfields, New Year's Day 1945. Ottringham, UK: Hikoki Publications. ISBN 978-1-902109-40-4.
  • Morgan, Hugh; Weal, John (1998). German Jet Aces of World War 2. London; New York: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-85532-634-7.
  • 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 (1995). Geschichte des Jagdgeschwaders 77—Teil 4—1944–1945 [History of Jagdgeschwader 77—Volume 4—1944–1945] (in German). Eutin, Germany: Struve-Druck. ISBN 978-3-923457-29-8.
  • Prien, Jochen; Rodeike, Peter (1996). Jagdgeschwader 1 und 11—Einsatz in der Reichsverteidigung von 1939 bis 1945—Teil 2—1944 [Jagdgeschwader 1 and 11—Operations in the Defense of the Reich from 1939 to 1945—Volume 2—1944] (in German). Eutin, Germany: Struve-Druck. ISBN 978-3-923457-24-3.
  • Prien, Jochen; Stemmer, Gerhard (2002). Jagdgeschwader 3 "Udet" in WWII: Stab and I./JG 3 in Action with the Messerschmitt Bf 109. Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Military History. ISBN 978-0-7643-1681-4.
  • Prien, Jochen; Stemmer, Gerhard; Rodeike, Peter; Bock, Winfried (2001). Die Jagdfliegerverbände der Deutschen Luftwaffe 1934 bis 1945—Teil 2—Der "Sitzkrieg"—1.9.1939 bis 9.5.1941 [The Fighter Units of the German Air Force 1934 to 1945—Part 2—The "Phoney War"—1 September 1939 to 9 May 1940] (in German). Eutin, Germany: Struve-Druck. ISBN 978-3-923457-59-5.
  • Prien, Jochen; Stemmer, Gerhard; Rodeike, Peter; Bock, Winfried (2000). Die Jagdfliegerverbände der deutschen Luftwaffe 1934 bis 1945 Teil 3—Einsatz in Dänemark und Norwegen 9.4. bis 30.11.1940—Der Feldzug im Westen 10.5. bis 25.6.1940 [Fighter Pilot Association of the German Luftwaffe 1934 to 1945 Part 3—Assignments in Denmark and Norway 9 April to 30 November 1940—The campaign in the West 10 May to 25 June 1940] (in German). Struve-Druck. ISBN 978-3-923457-61-8.
  • Prien, Jochen; Stemmer, Gerhard; Rodeike, Peter; Bock, Winfried (2002). Die Jagdfliegerverbände der Deutschen Luftwaffe 1934 bis 1945—Teil 4/II—Einsatz am Kanal und über England—26.6.1940 bis 21.6.1941 [The Fighter Units of the German Air Force 1934 to 1945—Part 4/II—Action at the Channel and over England—26 June 1940 to 21 June 1941] (in German). Eutin, Germany: Struve-Druck. ISBN 978-3-923457-64-9.
  • Prien, Jochen; Stemmer, Gerhard; Rodeike, Peter; Bock, Winfried (2003). Die Jagdfliegerverbände der Deutschen Luftwaffe 1934 bis 1945—Teil 6/I—Unternehmen "BARBAROSSA"—Einsatz im Osten—22.6. bis 5.12.1941 [The Fighter Units of the German Air Force 1934 to 1945—Part 6/I—Operation "BARBAROSSA"—Action in the East—22 June to 5 December 1941] (in German). Eutin, Germany: Struve-Druck. ISBN 978-3-923457-69-4.
  • Prien, Jochen; Stemmer, Gerhard; Rodeike, Peter; Bock, Winfried (2004). Die Jagdfliegerverbände der Deutschen Luftwaffe 1934 bis 1945—Teil 8/II—Einsatz im Mittelmeerraum—November 1941 bis Dezember 1942 [The Fighter Units of the German Air Force 1934 to 1945—Part 8/II—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 (2011). Die Jagdfliegerverbände der Deutschen Luftwaffe 1934 bis 1945—Teil 11/II—Einsatz im Mittelmeerraum—1.1 bis 31.12.1943 [The Fighter Units of the German Air Force 1934 to 1945—Part 11/II—Action in the Mediterranean Theater—1 January to 31 December 1943] (in German). Eutin, Germany: Struve-Druck. ISBN 978-3-942943-00-0.
  • Shores, Christopher F.; Ring, Hans; Hess, William N. (1975). Fighters Over Tunisia. London, UK: Neville Spearman. ISBN 978-0-85435-210-4.
  • Shores, Christopher F.; Massimello, Giovanni; Guest, Russell (2014). A History of the Mediterranean Air War, 1940–1945 Volume 2: North African Desert, February 1942 – March 1943. London, UK: Grub Street. ISBN 978-1-909166-12-7.
  • Shores, Christopher F.; Cull, Brian; Malizia, Nicola (1991). Malta: The Spitfire Year. London, UK: Grub Street. ISBN 978-0-948817-16-8.
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Militaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
  • Schuelke, John (October 1995), "A Fighter Group in Normandy", Luftwaffe Verband Journal, 4 (October 1995), archived from the original on 30 July 2009, retrieved 1 October 2008
  • Spick, Mike (1996). Luftwaffe Fighter Aces. New York: Ivy Books. ISBN 978-0-8041-1696-1.
  • Stockert, Peter (2012) [1996]. Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 1 [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 1] (in German) (4th ed.). 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.
  • Toliver, Raymond F.; Constable, Trevor J. (1998) [1977]. Die deutschen Jagdflieger-Asse 1939–1945 [The German Fighter Aces 1939–1945] (in German). Stuttgart, Germany: Motorbuch Verlag. ISBN 978-3-87943-193-9.
  • Virchow, Fabian (2006). Gegen den Zivilismus. Internationale Beziehungen und Militär in den politischen Konzeptionen der extremen Rechten [Against Civilization. International Relations and Military in the Political Concepts of the Extreme Right]. Wiesbaden, Germany: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften. ISBN 978-3-531-15007-9.
  • Weal, John (1996). Focke-Wulf Fw 190 Aces of the Western Front. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-85532-595-1.
  • Weal, John (2001). Bf 109 Aces of the Russian Front. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84176-084-1.
  • Weal, John (2006). Jagdgeschwader 51 'Mölders'. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84603-045-1.
Military offices
Preceded by
Oberst Walter Oesau
Commander of Jagdgeschwader 1 Oesau
12 May 1944 – 20 May 1944
Succeeded by
Oberst Herbert Ihlefeld
Preceded by
Major Friedrich Karl Müller
Commander of Jagdgeschwader 3 Udet
1 June 1944 – 13 February 1945
Succeeded by
Major Werner Schröer
Preceded by
Generalleutnant Adolf Galland
Commander of Jagdverband 44
26 April 1945 – 8 May 1945
Succeeded by