Ludwig Franzisket

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Prof. Dr.
Ludwig Franzisket
Ludwig Franzisket.jpg
Ludwig Franzisket
Born (1917-06-26)26 June 1917
Died 23 November 1988(1988-11-23) (aged 71)
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Balkenkreuz (Iron Cross) Luftwaffe
Years of service 193?–1945
Rank Major
Unit Jagdgeschwader 26
Jagdgeschwader 1
Commands held Jagdgeschwader 27
Other work director of the Westfälisches Museum für Naturkunde

Ludwig Franzisket (born 26 June 1917 in Düsseldorf – died 23 November 1988 in Münster) was a German World War II Luftwaffe fighter ace. A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down five or more enemy aircraft during aerial combat.[1] He scored all of his 43 victories against the Western Allies in over 500 combat missions whilst flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. After the war, he became a professor and director of the Westfälisches Museum für Naturkunde.

Early life and military career[edit]

Franzisket was born on 26 June 1917 in Düsseldorf, at the time in the Rhine Province, the westernmost province of the Kingdom of Prussia. He initially served with Jagdgeschwader 26 (JG 26—26th Fighter Wing) prior to the out break of war, and then transferred 1./Jagdgeschwader 1 (JG 1—1st Fighter Wing) on the 1 August 1939.

World War II[edit]

World War II in Europe began on Friday, 1 September 1939, when German forces invaded Poland. On 11 May 1940, Franzisket claimed his first two victories, ending the French campaign with nine kills. On 9 July 1./JG 1 was redesignated 7./JG 27.

Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6 of Jagdgeschwader 27 with two MG 151/20 under its wings. This aircraft was flown by Gruppenkommandeur Major Ludwig Franzisket in early 1944.[2]

On 1 October 1940 Franzisket was appointed Adjutant of I./Jagdgeschwader 27 (JG 27—27th Fighter Wing). Franzisket had achieved 14 victories at the time of the units relocation to North Africa. A notable success in this period occurred on 14 June 1941 when Franzisket intercepted and shot down South African ace Captain Ken Driver. Oberleutnant (First Lieutenant) Franzisket was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 23 July for 22 victories in 204 missions.

Franzisket was appointed Staffelkapitän (squadron leader) of 1./JG 27 on 6 December 1941. With his score at 39, Frankisket was shot down on 29 October 1942 by Royal Air Force (RAF) Spitfires. As he bailed out of Messerschmitt Bf 109 (Werknummer 10616—factory number) he struck the vertical stabilizer, a fate suffered by his close friend and fellow ace Hans-Joachim Marseille just four weeks before, breaking his leg. Marseille had not been as fortunate to survive the accident and was killed. Franzisket was tasked with recovery of Marseille's body from the desert.

After recovering Franzisket led 1./Ergänzungs-Jagdgruppe Süd—a supplementary training unit—from 1 July 1943 and was then appointed Gruppenkommandeur (group commander) of I./JG 27 based in Germany, defending against the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF).

In May 1944, the Allies initiated the Oil Campaign of World War II, targeting various facilities supplying Germany with petroleum, oil, and lubrication products. On 12 May, the Eighth Air Force sent an attack force of 886 heavy bombers, protected by 980 escort fighters, against the German refineries in central Germany at Leuna, Merseburg, Böhlen and Zeitz.[3] That day, Franzisket's Bf 109 G-6 (Werknummer 441097) was shot down and severely wounded in combat with the bombers, forcing him to bail out.[4] Subsequently he surrendered command of I. Gruppe to Hauptmann Ernst Börngen.[5] On 15 December 1944 Franzisket joined the Geschwaderstab of JG 27, and then was appointed Geschwaderkommodore of JG 27 on 30 December 1944.

Franzisket surrendered with the remnants of his unit to American Forces at Salzburg, Austria on 8 May 1945. His younger brother Max, born 22 August 1918 in Düsseldorf, was a Hauptmann and Gruppenkommandeur of the I./Zerstörergeschwader 1 (ZG 1—1st Destroyer Wing) and was killed in action on 19 July 1943 on the Eastern Front.[6]

Academic career[edit]

After World War II Ludwig Franzisket went to the University of Münster and attained a Doctor of Philosophy (German: Doktor abbreviated Dr.) in Biology. He later became a Professor and director of the Westfälisches Museum für Naturkunde. He died aged 71 on 23 November 1988 in Münster.



  • The Atrophy of Hermatypic Reef Corals Maintained in Darkness and their Subsequent Regeneration in Light.
  • Die Geschichte des Lebens. Verl. Natur u. Heimat, 1966.
  • Die Geschichte des Westfälischen Landesmuseums für Naturkunde. Landesmuseum f. Naturkunde, 1967.


  1. ^ According to Scherzer on 23 July 1941.[9]




  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • Prien, Jochen; Rodeike, Peter; Stemmer, Gerhard (1998). Messerschmidt Bf 109 im Einsatz bei Stab und I./Jagdgeschwader 27, 1939 – 1945 [Messerschmidt Bf 109 in Action with the Headquarters Unit and I./Jagdgeschwader 27, 1939 – 1945] (in German). Eutin, Germany: Struve-Druck. ISBN 978-3-923457-46-5. 
  • 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. 
  • Scutts, Jerry (1994). Bf 109 Aces of North Africa and the Mediterranean. London, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-85532-448-0. 
  • Shores, Christopher F.; Williams, Clive (1994). Aces High: A Tribute to the Most Notable Fighter Pilots of the British and Commonwealth Forces of WWII, Volume One. London, UK: Grubb Street. ISBN 978-1-909808-42-3. 
  • Spick, Mike (1996). Luftwaffe Fighter Aces. New York: Ivy Books. ISBN 978-0-8041-1696-1. 
  • Weal, John (2003). Jagdgeschwader 27 'Afrika'. London, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84176-538-9. 
  • Ziefle, Michael (2013). Messerschmitt Bf 110: Die Rehabilitierung eines Flugzeuges [Messerschmitt Bf 110: The Rehabilitation of an Aircraft] (in German). Norderstedt Books on Demand. ISBN 978-3-8482-8879-3. 
  • Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, 1. September 1939 bis 31. Dezember 1941 [The Wehrmacht Reports 1939–1945 Volume 1, 1 September 1939 to 31 December 1941] (in German). München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 978-3-423-05944-2. 
Military offices
Preceded by
Oberstleutnant Gustav Rödel
Commander of Jagdgeschwader 27 Afrika
30 December 1944 – 8 May 1945
Succeeded by