Johann Schmid

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Johann Schmid
Born 13 January 1911
Gainfarn, Baden bei Wien Austria
Died 6 November 1941
English Channel
Allegiance  Nazi Germany (to 1941)
Service/branch Balkenkreuz (Iron Cross) Luftwaffe
Years of service 1938–41
Rank Major (Wehrmacht)
Unit JG 2, JG 26
Commands held III./JG 26

Spanish Civil War
World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Johann Schmid (13 January 1911 – 6 November 1941), was an Austrian fighter pilot credited with 45 victories between 14 May 1940 and 6 November 1941.[1] 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 - for the fighter pilots, it was a quantifiable measure of skill and combat success.


Born 13 January 1911 in Gainfarn, in the Baden-bei-Wien region of Austria, Schmid joined the Austrian Air Force in 1933. After the Anschluss in 1938 he was drafted into the Luftwaffe as an Oberfeldwebel and flew with the "Condor Legion" in the latter stages of the Spanish Civil War.[2] Upon his return he was awarded the Spanish Cross with Swords and transferred to the 1st Staffel of Jagdgeschwader 2 (1./JG 2) stationed on the French border. His first victory came at the outset of the French Campaign, on 14 May 1940, by shooting down a Morane 406 fighter. He ended the campaign with 7 victories and in June was commissioned as a Leutnant.[3]

At the height of the Battle of Britain, in August 1940, with 9 victories, he was transferred to instructor duties. Upon his return a year later at the start of August 1941 Johann, now an Oberleutnant, was assigned to the Geschwaderstab (HQ Flight) of JG 26. Under the redoubtable Adolf Galland, the unit was based on the Channel coast to cover the western front from the RAF. As if to make up for lost time, he then quickly shot down 12 aircraft in 2 weeks, including 3 Spitfires on 7 August (13-15v.), 3 more on the 9th (16-18v.) and 3 more again the day after (19-21v.).[4]

Dilip Sarkar suggested that perhaps Schmid's most eminent victim may have been RAF flying ace Flight Lieutenant Eric Lock, (No. 611 Squadron RAF, plane Spitfire Mk V, W3257) who was reported by his own side as shot down by anti-aircraft fire on 3 August 1941 near Boulogne, but whose crash site was not ascertained. Sarkar, who cross referenced Lock's disappearance with Luftwaffe combat claims for the same day discovered that while Lock's Spitfire was the only RAF plane lost that day, Schmid reported having shot down a Spitfire into the sea (English Channel) near Calais, the only verified Luftwaffe victory for that day.[5] In reality, Lock was lost in the morning of the 3 August.[6] Schmid claimed his victory in the evening at 18:32.[7]

Decorated with the Ritterkreuz on 21 August 1941 after achieving 24 victories and promoted to Hauptmann, the next day he was given command of 8./JG 26. His scoring spree continued, as he scored 11 victories in September and a Spitfire on 3 October 1941.

On 6 November 1941, as the Battle of Britain was petering out, he led the whole III Gruppe into combat against a dozen Spitfires. Shooting one down over the Channel (Sgt B.M. Geissman of 452 Sqn RAAF), he was circling low over the crash site when the wing of his Bf 109 (Black-1 W.Nr 7211) hit the water. The aircraft immediately disintegrated and sank, taking Johann with it.[8]

Johann Schmid was credited with 45 victories in 137 missions, all over the Western Front and including 34 Spitfires. He was posthumously promoted to Major two and a half years later, on 1 June 1944.



  1. ^ According to Scherzer as pilot in the Stab/Jagdgeschwader 26 "Schlageter".[10]



  1. ^
  2. ^ Luftwaffe Officer Career Summaries website.
  3. ^ Aces of the Luftwaffe website.
  4. ^ Weal 1999, pg. 24.
  5. ^ "True hero of the skies". Shropshire Star. 13 July 2015. p. 18. 
  6. ^ Royal Air Force Fighter Command Losses of the Second World War: Operational Losses - Aircraft and Crews, 1939-1941, Volume 1
  7. ^ Caldwell, Donald The JG 26 War Diary@ Volume One 1939-1942, p. 161.
  8. ^ Weal 1999, p.24
  9. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 380.
  10. ^ Scherzer 2007, p. 668.


  • Caldwell, Donald L (1993). JG26 – Top Guns of the Luftwaffe Ballantine ISBN 0-87938-845-5
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • 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 (2006). Aces of the Reich. Greenhill Books. ISBN 1-85367-675-6
  • Weal, John (1999). Bf109F/G/K Aces of the Western Front. Oxford: Osprey Publishing Limited. ISBN 1-85532-905-0.

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Oblt Hans-Jürgen Wastphal
Squadron Leader of 8./JG 26
22 August 1941 – 6 November 1941
Succeeded by
Oblt Karl Borris