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21 April 1920|
|Died||29 December 1944
|Years of service||1939–44|
|Unit||JG 26, JG 54|
|Commands held||3./JG 54, III./JG 54|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves|
Robert "Bazi" Weiß (21 April 1920 – 29 December 1944) was a Luftwaffe World War II fighter ace who served from 1939 until his death on 29 December 1944. 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 (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub). 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.
In the beginning of his military career, he served with a flak regiment before transferring to learn to fly in early 1940. In early 1941, Leutnant (2nd Lieutenant) Weiß was a pilot with 6. Staffel, Jagdgeschwader 26 (JG 26—26th Fighter Wing) flying on the Channel Front.[Note 1] He claimed a Supermarine Spitfire shot down in September 1941. In September 1942, Weiß was transferred to 1. Staffel, Jagdgeschwader 54 (JG 54—54th Fighter Wing), based on the Eastern Front, flying operations on the Leningrad front. His victory score grew slowly, and by April 1943, he had claimed 30 victories. Falling ill in May 1943, he was hospitalised until July 1943, when he was made Staffelkapitän (squadron leader) 3./JG 54. On 2 August 1943, he was awarded the German Cross in Gold. By October, he had 68 claims and was Staffelkapitän 10./JG 54. He received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) for 98 claims in March 1944.
In May 1944, Weiß was transferred to III./JG 54, engaged in Defense of the Reich missions against the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) bombing offensive, although in June the unit transferred to the Western Front, with Weiß as appointed Gruppenkommandeur (group commander). Under Hauptmann (Captain) Weiß, III./JG 54 became the most successful fighter unit on the Western Front, claiming some 100 Allied aircraft shot down for the loss of 50 of its own aircraft in combat. By August, when the unit was withdrawn from operations for re-equipment, Weiß himself was credited with 118 victories. III./JG 54 re-equipped with the Fw 190 D-9, becoming the first operational Gruppe of the Luftwaffe to receive the 'Dora-9'. On 28 September, Weiß shot down a Spitfire of 541 Squadron as the first confirmed victory of the Fw 190 D-9. On 29 December 1944, III./JG 54 were ordered up against RAF fighter-bombers in the Osnabrück, Münster and Rheine areas. Weiß led the Stab, III./JG 54 and 11./JG 54 into a large formation of Spitfires from 331 and 501 Squadrons. None of Weiß's Schwarm returned, with 17 aircraft lost and 13 pilots, including Weiß, killed, while claiming six fighters.
It is assumed that Weiß was shot down in Fw 190 D-9 (Werknummer 210 060—factory number) "Black 10" by Flight Sergeant Haanes of No. 331 Squadron RAF (Norwegian Squadron) near Lingen. He was posthumously awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub) on 12 March 1945.
"Bazi" Weiß is officially credited with 121 aerial victories in claimed 471 missions. 26 of his victories were claimed over the Western Front. Included in his total are 40 Il-2 Sturmoviks, 12 Spitfires and five P-38 Lightnings.
- Honour Goblet of the Luftwaffe (Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe) on 8 May 1943 as Oberleutnant and pilot
- Iron Cross (1939)
- German Cross in Gold on 12 July 1943 as Oberleutnant in the I./JG 54
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
- 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.
- 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.
- Stockert, Peter (2008). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 8 [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 8] (in German). Bad Friedrichshall, Germany: Friedrichshaller Rundblick. OCLC 76072662.
- Spick, Mike (1996). Luftwaffe Fighter Aces. New York: Ivy Books. ISBN 978-0-8041-1696-1.
- 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.