Robert-Georg Freiherr von Malapert
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|Robert-Georg Freiherr von Malapert-Neufville|
Robert-Georg Freiherr von Malapert
Note that the Oak Leaves to his Knight's Cross are a photomontage
|Born||7 August 1912
|Died||21 May 1942 (aged 29)
near Moscow east of Kursk, Soviet Union
|Years of service||1934–42|
|Commands held||II./StG 1|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (posthumously)|
Robert-Georg Freiherr von Malapert[Notes 1] called Neufville (7 August 1912 – 21 May 1942) was a German Luftwaffe Stuka pilot and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves during World War II. 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. He was the first German soldier to be awarded the German Cross in Gold, on 15 October 1941.
Robert-Georg Freiherr von Malapert, the second oldest of six children, was born on 7 August 1912 in Darmstadt. After attaining his Abitur (Diploma), he studied mechanical engineering at the Darmstadt University of Technology from 1932 to 1934. He joined the military service in the fall of 1934, initially serving with an Infantry Regiment at Augsburg.
In 1935 he attended the Kriegsschule (War School) in Potsdam, where one of his teachers was the future Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel. Holding the rank of Oberfähnrich in the fall of 1936, he transferred to the military service of the Luftwaffe in Salzwedel. Along with the promotion to Leutnant on 1 April 1937 he was transferred as a pilot to the I./165 (1st Group of Wing 165) in Schweinfurt and flew the Henschel Hs 123 and Junkers Ju 87.
Freiherr von Malapert was posted to Sturzkampfgeschwader 1 (1st Dive Bomber Wing) during the reorganisation of the flying wings of the Luftwaffe. Shortly after he was made a Staffelkapitän (Squadron Leader) in the II./StG 1 (2nd Group of the 1st Dive Bomber Wing) at the time under the command of Hauptmann Anton Keil. With the outbreak of Worl War 2, Freiherr von Malapert distinguished himself as a pilot and leader of his squadron. He received the Iron Cross 2nd Class (Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse) during the Invasion of Poland and the Iron Cross 1st Class (Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse) in the Battle of France. His squadron was credited with the destruction of 100,000 gross register tons (GRT) of allied shipping, among them four warships. His personal contribution was the destruction of 20,000 GRT of shipping.
His dive bomber wing was subordinated to the command of the VIII. Fliegerkorps during the opening phase of Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. He received the first newly created German Cross in Gold (Deutsches Kreuz in Gold) on 15 October 1941. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) after 315 combat missions on 6 January 1942. Shortly later he was promoted to Hauptmann and was made Gruppenkommandeur (Group Commander) of II./StG 1 (2nd Group of the 1st Dive Bomber Wing).
Freiherr von Malapert was killed in action on 21 May 1942, it was his 510th combat mission. He and his radio operator Oberfeldwebel Otto Mees were hit by anti-aircraft fire in the oil cooler during an attack on an enemy bridge and subsequently were forced to make an emergency landing behind enemy lines. Trying to reach the German lines von Malapert-Neufville was shot in the head by a Red Army sharpshooter. His body was later recovered by members of the Infanterie-Regiment 10 (10th Infantry Regiment) and buried at Seshchinskaya. He was posthumously awarded the 99th Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub) on 8 June 1942.
- Iron Cross (1939)
- Bild des Reichsmarschalls im Silberrahmen (15 September 1941)
- German Cross in Gold on 15 October 1941 as Oberleutnant in the II./StG 1[Notes 2]
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
- Obermaier 1976, p. 56.
- Brütting 1992, p. 142.
- Weal 2008, p. 43.
- Thomas 1998, p. 54.
- Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 292.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 525.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 302.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 60.
- Brütting, Georg (1992) . Das waren die deutschen Stuka-Asse 1939 – 1945 [These were the German Stuka Aces 1939 – 1945] (in German) (7th ed.). Stuttgart, Germany: Motorbuch. ISBN 978-3-87943-433-6.
- 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 (1976). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Luftwaffe 1939–1945 Band II Stuka- und Schlachtflieger [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the Luftwaffe 1939–1945 Volume II Dive Bomber and Attack Aircraft] (in German). Mainz, Germany: Verlag Dieter Hoffmann. ISBN 978-3-87341-021-3.
- 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.
- 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.
- Thomas, Franz (1998). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 2: L–Z [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 2: L–Z] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2300-9.
- Weal, John (2008). Ju 87 Stukageschwader of the Russian Front. Oxford; New York: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84603-308-X.