Harry von Bülow-Bothkamp

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Harry von Bülow-Bothkamp
Harry von Bülow-Bothkamp.jpg
Harry von Bülow-Bothkamp
Born(1897-11-19)19 November 1897
Bothkamp, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire
Died27 February 1976(1976-02-27) (aged 78)
Kirchbarkau, West Germany
Allegiance German Empire
 Nazi Germany
Years of service1916–18
UnitJG 77, JG 2, NJG 101
Commands heldJG 2
Battles/warsWorld War I

World War II

RelationsWalter von Bülow-Bothkamp (brother)

Harry von Bülow-Bothkamp (19 November 1897 – 27 February 1976) was a German fighter pilot notable for being one of the few two-war aces in history. After scoring six victories in World War I, he became a Luftwaffe ace in World War II, with 12 additional victories. Also he was a member of the National Socialist Flyers Corps with the rank of NSFK-Obergruppenführer.

Early life and World War I[edit]

Harry von Bülow-Bothkamp was a child of nobility, born in his family's castle in the village of Bothkamp in the Schleswig-Holstein Province of Germany.[1] He began his military service with Saxon Hussar Regiment No. 18 when he was 17, before learning to fly in August 1916. In December 1916 he joined the German air service. He was one of three brothers (the others being Walter and Conrad) to serve in the Fliegertruppe during World War I. He first flew two-seaters with FFA 53, which became FA 272 (A), as a reconnaissance pilot directing artillery fire, before becoming a fighter pilot with Jasta 36, which was commanded by his brother Walter who fell on 6 January 1918.

During his time with Jasta 36, Harry von Bülow-Bothkamp shot down an Airco D.H.4 on 12 October 1917, followed by five additional enemy fighters. His last victory came on 21 July 1918, over Major R.H. Freeman, CO of No. 73 Squadron. His notable win was his fourth, over British 10-kill ace Captain Cecil Clark of No 1 Squadron, who was wounded and taken prisoner.[2] Harry was discharged from the service by order of the Kaiser on 25 August 1918. Harry was the last survivor of four brothers; the oldest, Friedrich, was killed in 1914, Walter died in a dogfight at Ypres in January 1918, and Conrad died in a flying accident on 26 September 1918 while commanding part of the Aviation Battalion of the Finnish Air Force.

Harry had earned the Royal House Order of Hohenzollern and Iron Cross for his service.[3]

Between the wars[edit]

After World War I he returned to school (Gymnasium) receiving his Abitur and went to University studying agriculture. Together with Paul Bäumer he founded the Bäumer Aero in Hamburg-Fuhlsbüttel to produce airplanes. The company went bankrupt in the course of the Great Depression.

He rejoined the German military aviation as a Hauptman (Captain) in 1935, in the newly established Luftwaffe. The following year, he was promoted to Major and assigned as the original commanding officer of Jagdgeschwader 2 "Richthofen", also known as JG II.[4] In 1939, he became Inspector of the Nationalsozialitische Fliegerkorps, the Luftwaffe's civil reserve.[1]

World War II and beyond[edit]

During the beginning of World War II, he commanded Gruppe II./JG 77 from November, 1939 onwards. He then became Commodore of Jagdgeschwader 2 in April 1940. He led this unit during the blitzkrieg into France during May and June 1940. Despite being over 40 years old, he vanquished at least 12 opponents in this campaign. This performance as a fighting commander of JG 2 earned him another promotion, to Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant Colonel), and he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 22 August 1940.

On 1 September 1940, he was reassigned to Nachtjagdschule 1 (Night Fight School 1). He remained in command of this unit through its redesignation as Nachtjagdgeschwader 101 (NJG 101), until October, 1943. He commanded the 5th Fighter Division from November, 1943 and then commanded Jafu 4 on the western front from March 1944 to September 1944. He ended the war back with the Nationalsozialitische Fliegerkorps.[1]

He died of natural causes in Kirchbarkau, near his ancestral castle, where he was buried in the same plot as his brothers.


See also[edit]

Pilots who flew in combat in both World Wars




  • 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.
  • Nauroth, Holger- Jagdgeschwader 2 "Richthofen", A Photographic History (ISBN 0-7643-2094-7) - Schiffer Publishing, Atglen, PA, 2005
  • Ringlstetter, Herbert - Helmut Wick, An Illustrated Biography Of The Luftwaffe Ace And Commander Of Jagdgeschwader 2 During The Battle Of Britain (ISBN 0-7643-2217-6) - Schiffer Publishing, Atglen, PA, 2005
  • 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.
Military offices
Preceded by
Oberst Gerd von Massow
Commander of Jagdgeschwader 2 Richthofen
1 April 1940 – 2 September 1940
Succeeded by
Major Wolfgang Schellmann
Preceded by
Commander of Jagdfliegerführer Süddeutschland
February, 1943 – June, 1943
Succeeded by
5. Jagd-Division
Preceded by
Generalleutnant Walter Schwabedissen
Commander of 5. Jagd-Division
September, 1943 – 11 November 1943
Succeeded by
Generalleutnant Joachim-Friedrich Huth
Preceded by
Oberst Josef Priller
Commander of Jagdfliegerführer 4
1 April 1944 – 31 August 1944
Succeeded by