Martin Becker

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Martin Becker
Martin Becker.jpg
Martin Becker
Born 12 April 1916
Wiesbaden
Died 8 February 2006(2006-02-08) (aged 89)
Oberneisen
Allegiance Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Service/branch Balkenkreuz.svg Luftwaffe
Years of service 1940–1945
Rank Hauptmann
Unit NJG 4, NJG 6
Commands held IV./NJG 6
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves

Martin Becker (12 April 1916 – 8 February 2006) was a German Luftwaffe night fighter ace and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub) during World War II. Becker claimed 58 aerial victories.[Note 1] 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.

Early life[edit]

Becker was born on 12 April 1916 at Wiesbaden in Hesse. In 1940 he was posted to a reconnaissance unit.

Career[edit]

In early 1943 Becker transferred to the Nachtjagd, being posted to 11 staffel, Nachtjagdgeschwader 4 (NJG 4—4th Night Fighter Wing). On 1 August 11./NJG 4 became 2./Nachtjagdgeschwader 6 (NJG 6—6th Night Fighter Wing).

Becker scored his first victory on the night of 22–23 September 1943. In October 1943 Becker was promoted to Staffelkapitän (squadron leader), 2./NJG 6. He shot down three bombers on the night of 20–21 December. His career thereafter featured a series of multiple victory claims. Four victories were claimed on 19–20 February 1944 and six on 22–23 March (13-18). On 30–31 March 1944, the Royal Air Force (RAF) raided Nuremberg. Becker and his crew shot down three Avro Lancaster and three Handley Page Halifax bombers in the area of Wetzlar and Fulda. Returning to base they shot down another Halifax over Luxemburg.

Becker was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 20 April 1944 for 26 victories. Three bombers were shot down on 26–27 April and 27–28 April. On the night of 28–29 July four more were claimed and on the night of 25–26 August Becker claimed a further three to take his total to 41.

Becker was made Gruppenkommandeur (group commander) of IV./NJG 6 in October 1944.

On the night of 21–22 February 1945 he shot down another three bombers. Becker's crowning achievement, and a Nachtjagd record, was on 14–15 March 1945, when he claimed 8 Lancasters of 5 Group and a Halifax, alternatively one B-17 Flying Fortress III (HB802 "BU-O") from No. 214 (SD) Squadron flying an attack on Lützkendorf. The B-17 was shot down at 23.37 approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) southeast of Baiersbronn and may have also been brought down by light flak. This tally included three shot down by crewman Lt. Karl-Ludwig Johanssen with his MG-131 rearward facing machine gun. This achievement earned both Becker and Johanssen a reference in the daily Wehrmachtbericht. Becker recorded his last (58th) victory on 16–17 March.

Hauptmann Martin Becker received the Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross on 20 March 1945.

Awards[edit]

Wehrmachtbericht references[edit]

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
23 March 1944 Oberleutnant Becker, Flugzeugführer in einem Nachtjagdgeschwader, schoß in einem Einsatz allein fünf feindliche Bomber ab.[9] First Lieutenant Becker, pilot in a night fighter wing, alone shot down five enemy bombers on one single mission.
31 March 1944 Oberleutnant Becker, Flugzeugführer in einem Nachtjagdgeschwader, errang in dieser Nacht erneut sieben Luftsiege.[10] First Lieutenant Becker, pilot in a night fighter wing, achieved again seven aerial victories this night.
16 March 1945 (addendum) Hauptmann Becker, Kommandeur in einem Nachtjagdgeschwader, und sein Bordfunker, Leutnant Johannsen, brachten in der Nacht vom 14. zum 15. März 9 viermotorige Bomber zum Absturz. Als Hauptmann Becker nach dem 6. Abschuß wegen Ladehemmung nicht mehr weiterschießen konnte, vernichtete sein Bordfunker, Leutnant Johannsen, 3 weitere anglo-amerikanische Bomber.[11] Captain Becker, commander in a night fighter wing, and his radio operator, Lieutenant Johannsen, brought down to a crash 9 four-engine bombers on the night of 14 to 15 March. When Captain Becker, after the 6 kill could not continue to shoot due to a gun jam, his radio operator, Lieutenant Johannsen, destroyed 3 more Anglo-American bombers.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ For a list of Luftwaffe night fighter aces see List of German World War II night fighter aces.
  2. ^ According to Scherzer as Oberleutnant (war officer) and pilot in the II./Nachtjagdgeschwader 6.[6]
  3. ^ According to Scherzer as Hauptmann of the Reserves.[6]

References[edit]

Citations
  1. ^ Patzwall 2008, p. 47.
  2. ^ a b Thomas 1997, p. 34.
  3. ^ Patzwall and Scherzer 2001, p. 31.
  4. ^ Fellgiebel 2003, p. 108.
  5. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 126.
  6. ^ a b Scherzer 2007, p. 209.
  7. ^ Fellgiebel 2003, p. 83.
  8. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 100.
  9. ^ Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, p. 64.
  10. ^ Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, p. 70.
  11. ^ Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, p. 490.
Bibliography
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 – Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtsteile [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. 
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2003). Elite of the Third Reich:The Recipients of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945: An Illustrated Reference. Helion and Company Limited. ISBN 1-874622-46-9.
  • Obermaier, Ernst (1989). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Luftwaffe Jagdflieger 1939 – 1945 [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the Luftwaffe Fighter Force 1941 – 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. 
  • Scutts, Jerry (1998). German Night Fighter Aces of World War 2. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-85532-696-5.
  • 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. 
  • 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. 

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