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2 October 1917|
|Died||26 February 2006
|Years of service||1937–45|
|Unit||JG 21, JG 54, JG 51|
|Commands held||JG 51|
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Heinz Lange (October 2, 1917 – February 26, 2006) was a German pilot (Major) in the Luftwaffe during World War II who held the position of Geschwaderkommodore of fighter wing Jagdgeschwader 51. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. He
Lange was born on 2 October 1917 in Colgne, the son of a pilot with the Imperial Air Service. Lange entered the Luftwaffe in 1937, and after completing his pilot training initially joined 4 staffel, Jagdgeschwader 234, later serving with JG 132 and II./JG 26. In July 1939 Lange was posted to JG 21 based in East Prussia.
He flew his first operations during the Polish campaign of September 1939. Leutnant Lange claimed his first victory on 30 October 1939, a Bristol Blenheim RAF light bomber over Quakenbück. After the Battle of France I./JG 21 was redesignated III./JG 54 and Lange promoted to Oberleutnant in 8./JG 54 during August.
During the Balkan campaign in spring 1941 Lange flew strafing attacks and jabo mission from Arad, Rumania.
During Operation Barbarossa, III./JG 54 supported Army Group North attacking towards Leningrad. Lange claimed seven victories and made Staffelkapitän of 1 stafel, JG 54 in October 1941. Lange was appointed Staffelkapitän of 3./JG 51 in November 1942. After 500 missions Lange was promoted to Hauptmann in February 1943. On 22 August Lange claimed a La-5, a Yak-1 and two Il-2s for a total of 40 victories. In January 1944 Lange was acting Gruppenkommandeur of I./JG 54 before in May becoming Gruppenkommandeur, IV./JG 51.
On 15 October Lange claimed his 70th victory and was awarded the Ritterkreuz in November. IV./JG 51 began conversion to the Fw 190 A-8 and Fw 190 D-9 in March 1945. In April 1945 Lange was appointed Kommodore of JG 51, although late in April Lange returned as Gruppenkommandeur of IV./JG 51. Lange flew his last mission on 29 April.
Shortly after the end of the war the British wanted to evaluate the performance the German Fw 190 D-13. At Flensburg, the British Disarmament Wing wanted to compare the fighter's performance gainst a Hawker Tempest. Squadron Leader Evans approached Major Lange and asked him to fly a mock combat against one of their pilots. Lange accepted, even though he had only ten flights in a D-9.
The mock dogfight was conducted at an altitude of 3,000 meters, with only enough fuel for the flight and no ammunition. The machines proved evenly matched. Major Lange assessed that the outcome of such a contest greatly depended on the skills of the individual pilot. At the time Major Lange was not aware that he was not flying a D-13, but rather a D-9.
After the war Lange attended the University of Kiel and studied law receiving a doctorate in law (Dr. jur.) degree. In August 1950 he started his career working for the Gerling Insurance Group. He retired in 1982.
- German Cross in Gold on 17 May 1943 as Hauptmann in the 3./Jagdgeschwader 51
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 18 November 1944 as Hauptmann and leader of the IV./Jagdgeschwader 51 "Mölders"
- Crandal 2000, p. 17.
- Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 268.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 492.
- Crandall, Jerry (2000). Yellow 10 The story of the ultra-rare Fw 190 D-13. Hamilton, MT: Eagle Edition. ISBN 978-0-9660706-3-7.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Major Fritz Losigkeit
|Commander of Jagdgeschwader 51 Mölders
2 April 1945 – 8 May 1945