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16 March 1915|
|Died||17 November 2007
|Unit||JG 52, JG 53|
|Commands held||I./JG 52, JG 53|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross|
Helmut Bennemann (16 March 1915 – 17 November 2007) was a Oberstleutnant of Nazi Germany's Luftwaffe in World War II. Bennemann claimed 93 aerial victories in over 400 combat missions. The majority of his victories were claimed over the Eastern Front. His commands included Geschwaderkommodore of the JG 53 fighter wing.
World War II
Helmut Bennemann held the position of Adjutant of I./Jagdgeschwader 52 (JG 52—52nd Fighter Wing) in June 1940. He claimed his first aerial victory on 26 August, when he shot down a Royal Air Force (RAF) Spitfire near Dover. On 15 September, Bennemann claimed three RAF Hurricane shot down to record his sixth through eighth victories. On 27 April 1941, he was appointed Staffelkapitän (Squadron Leader) of 3./JG 52. By the time I./JG 52 was transferred to the Eastern Front in September 1941, Bennemann had claimed 12 victories. On 14 June 1942, Bennemann was promoted to Gruppenkommandeur (Group Commander) of I./JG 52. By the End of 1942 his score stood at 72 victories.
With his score at 88 victories, Benemann was severely wounded by the explosion of an incendiary bomb on 10 May 1943. Convalescence kept him from combat duty for some months.
Bennemann was appointed Geschwaderkommodore of Jagdgeschwader 53 (JG 53—53rd Fighter Wing) on 9 November 1943, taking over command from Oberst Günther Freiherr von Maltzahn. On 25 April 1944, he shot down a USAAF B-24 over Bologna to claim his 90th victory. However, his Bf 109G-6 (Werknummer 163 314—factory number) "Black < 3" was hit by defensive fire and Bennemann was again wounded, baling out successfully. In June 1944, Bennemann led the Geschwaderstab of JG 53 on a short return to the Eastern Front, to direct the supply missions for the city of Vilna. The unit departed the Soviet Union for Wunstorf near Hannover in Germany on 22 July. From August 1944, Bennemann led JG 53 on Reichsverteidigung missions, initially from bases in France, then from bases in Germany. He claimed his last three victories in October 1944 to bring his final score to 93. Among his 93 victories are at least 10 Il-2 Sturmoviks claimed over the Eastern Front.
In early 1945 he participated in the "Fighter Pilots Revolt", a minor insurrection among the high-ranking Luftwaffe pilots, whereas they confronted the Reich Marshal and chief of the Luftwaffe Hermann Göring with their demands on the conduct of the air war.
- Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe (5 October 1940)
- German Cross in Gold on 27 July 1942 as Hauptmann in the I./JG 52
- Iron Cross (1939) 2nd and 1st class
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 2 October 1942 as Hauptmann and Gruppenkommandeur of the I./JG 52
- Obermaier 1989, p. 87.
- Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 35.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 214.
- 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.
- Weal, John (2004). Jagdgeschwader 52: The Experten (Aviation Elite Units). London, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84176-786-4.
Major Kurt Ubben
|Commander of Jagdgeschwader 53 Pik As
November 9, 1943 – April 27, 1945