27 September 1920|
|Died||16 September 1944
Northern Finland, near Kirkenes
|Years of service||1939–44|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross|
Jakob Norz (20 October 1920 – 16 September 1944) was a Luftwaffe flying ace of World War II. Norz was credited with 117 aerial victories—that is, 117 aerial combat encounters resulting in the destruction of the enemy aircraft. All his victories were claimed over the Soviet Air Forces in 332 combat missions. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. Norz was killed on 16 September 1944 in a forced landing following combat with a large formation of Soviet aircraft attacking Kirkenes, Finland.
Jakob Norz was born on 20 October 1920 in Saulgrub in Free State of Bavaria within the Weimar Republic. Holding the rank of Unteroffizier (non-commissioned officer) he served with the I./Nachtjagdgeschwader 2 (2nd Night Fighter Wing) since late 1941.[Note 1] With this unit he flew night fighter missions against England and convoy escort missions over the Mediterranean Sea. He was briefly transferred as a day time fighter pilot to Jagdgeschwader 51 (51st Fighter Wing) operating on the Eastern Front in early 1942. Shortly afterwards he was posted to the 11./Jagdgeschwader 1 (11th Squadron of the 1st Fighter Wing) which was located in Norway. The unit was then relocated further north to the Eismeerfront (Ice Sea Front)—the area of operations nearest the Arctic Ocean—and redesignated to 8./Jagdgeschwader 5 (8th Squadron of the 5th Fighter Wing).
Operating in this northern theatre of operations, Norz claimed his first five aerial victories by the end of 1942. Following victorious combat with two Ilyushin Il-2 "Shturmovik" on 5 March 1943 he made a forced landing of his Messerschmitt Bf 109 F-4 (Werknummer —13108—factory number) on a frozen lake in no man's land. He returned to a German held position after an eight-hour walk in high snow. Norz claimed his 17th and 18th aerial victory on 4 June 1943. The number of aerial victories claimed rose to roughly 50 by the end of 1943. On 17 March 1944 Norz claimed 5 Soviet fighters shot down, his 66th to 70th aerial victories. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross following his 74th aerial victory. He again claimed five victories on 17 June 1944. Norz in a 24-hour period from 27 June to 28 June 1944 claimed 12 victories, taking his total to 103 aerial victories. He was the 82nd Luftwaffe pilot to achieve the century mark. This achievement earned Norz a reference on 28 June 1944 in the Wehrmachtbericht (armed forces report), an information bulletin issued by the headquarters of the Wehrmacht. To be singled out individually in this way was an honour and was entered in the Orders and Decorations' section of a soldier's Service Record Book.
Walter Schuck, a wartime friend of Jakob Norz, witnessed Norz's final flight on 16 September 1944. According to Schuck, Norz attacked and shot down a Douglas Boston but was hit in the engine by the defensive fire from the Boston.[Note 2] Norz reported that his cabin was filling with smoke. Schuck urged Norz to bale out but Norz decided to fly back to base to avoid capture by the Russians. Schuck broke off further combat and escorted Norz back to base. Norz, intoxicated by the smoke, reported that his elevator seized and that he could not trim the aircraft. Already too low for bailing out, Norz attempted a crash landing in the tundra. The Bf 109 G-6 "yellow 8" (Werknummer 412 199—factory number) struck a rock and disintegrated, killing Jakob Norz.
- Iron Cross (1939) 2nd and 1st Class
- Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe on 13 September 1943 as Feldwebel and pilot
- German Cross in Gold on 17 October 1943 as Feldwebel in the 8./Jagdgeschwader 5
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 26 March 1944 as Oberfeldwebel and pilot in the 6./Jagdgeschwader 5[Note 3]
- Mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht on 28 June 1944
- Spick 1996, p. 231.
- Obermaier 1989, p. 175.
- Obermaier 1989, p. 243.
- Schuck 2007, pp. 171–172.
- Patzwall 2008, p. 155.
- Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 333.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 326.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 572.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
- Schuck, Walter (2007). Abschuss! Von der Me 109 zur Me 262 Erinnerungen an die Luftkämpfe beim Jagdgeschwader 5 und 7 [Victory! From the Me 109 to the Me 262 Memories of the Dogfights with Fighter Wing 5 and 7] (in German). Aachen, Germany: Helios Verlags- und Buchvertriebsgesellschaft. ISBN 978-3-938208-44-1.
- Spick, Mike (1996). Luftwaffe Fighter Aces. New York: Ivy Books. ISBN 978-0-8041-1696-1.
- Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, 1. Januar 1944 bis 9. Mai 1945 [The Wehrmacht Reports 1939–1945 Volume 3, 1 January 1944 to 9 May 1945] (in German). München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 978-3-423-05944-2.
- Kjell Sørensen. "Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6 Gåsvatnet Finnmark". flyvrak—World War II Aircraft wreck sites in Norway & other countries. Retrieved 6 March 2012.