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7 June 1920|
|Died||17 December 1943
|Years of service||1939–43|
|Unit||JG 3, JG 27|
|Commands held||III./JG 27|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves|
Joachim Kirschner (7 June 1920 – 17 December 1943) was a German World War II Luftwaffe 188 victories flying ace. A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down five or more enemy aircraft during aerial combat. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.
Joachim Kirschner joined the military service in the Luftwaffe on 26 August 1939. He received the Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe and the German Cross in Gold after claiming 51 aerial victories. On 27 April 1943, Kirschner was credited with his 100th aerial victory. He was the 37th Luftwaffe pilot to achieve the century mark. He claimed his 150th aerial victory on 5 Juli 1943. Following his 170th aerial victory he received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub) on 2 August 1943. The presentation was made by Adolf Hitler at the Wolf's Lair, Hitler's headquarters in Rastenburg, present-day Kętrzyn in Poland. Five other Luftwaffe officers were presented with awards that day by Hitler, Hauptmann Egmont Prinz zur Lippe-Weißenfeld, Hauptmann Heinrich Ehrler, Hauptmann Manfred Meurer, Hauptmann Werner Schröer, Oberleutnant Theodor Weissenberger were also awarded the Oak Leaves, and Major Helmut Lent received the Swords to his Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves.
On 17 December 1943 his Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6 (Werknummer 20618—factory number) was shot down by a Republic P-47D Thunderbolt of the 57th Fighter Group over Croatia. His victors were either Lieutenant Warren Shaw, who was credited with the destruction of one Bf 109 or by the Lieutenants Charles Leaf and Hugh Barlow, who were credited with a shared victory. Kirschner had bailed out safely and landed on his parachute between villages Bjelojevići and Donje Hrasno. He was killed by a firing squad from the 29. Hercegovačka udarna divizjia (29th Herzegovina Shock Division) at Metković.
- Front Flying Clasp of the Luftwaffe for Fighter Pilots in Gold with Pennant
- Iron Cross (1939)
- Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe on 21 December 1942 as Leutnant and pilot
- German Cross in Gold on 3 December 1942 as Leutnant in the 5./Jagdgeschwader 3
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
- Bernstein, Jonathan (2012). P-47 Thunderbolt Units of the Twelfth Air Force. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84908-673-8.
- 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.
- Prien, Jochen; Stemmer, Gerhard (2003). Jagdgeschwader 3 "Udet" in WWII: II./JG 3 in Action with the Messerschmitt Bf 109. Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Military History. ISBN 978-0-7643-1774-3.
- 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 Militaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
- Spick, Mike (1996). Luftwaffe Fighter Aces. New York: Ivy Books. ISBN 978-0-8041-1696-1.
- Stockert, Peter (2012) . Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 3 [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 3] (in German) (3rd ed.). Bad Friedrichshall, Germany: Friedrichshaller Rundblick. ISBN 978-3-932915-01-7.
- 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.