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|Nickname(s)||"The Malta Lion"|
10 November 1919|
|Died||1 June 2003
|Allegiance|| Nazi Germany (1939–45)
Sergent (Légion étrangère)
5th Foreign Infantry Regiment
13th Demi-Brigade of the Foreign Legion
1st Foreign Regiment
|Commands held||II./JG 77, JG 77|
|Other work||French Foreign Legion|
Siegfried Freytag (10 November 1919 – 1 June 2003) was a German World War II fighter ace and a decorated Sergent of the French Foreign Legion ( 1952 - 1970 ). He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) which is awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership as well as recipient of Orders, decorations, and medals of France.
World War II
Freytag was born on 10 November 1919 in Danzig-Langfuhr, then in the German Empire, present-day Wrzeszcz in Poland. He grew up in the Free City of Danzig. During World War II, he served in the Luftwaffe, beginning with 6./Jagdgeschwader 77 (JG 77—77th Fighter Wing) in the summer of 1940. His first victory was on 31 October 1940 when he claimed a Lockheed Hudson of Coastal Command. Along with JG 77, he then took part in the invasion of Greece and Crete in March – May 1941. JG 77 next operated over the Eastern Front. By June 1942 Oberleutnant (First Lieutenant) Freytag had 57 victories to his credit, with some 12 aircraft destroyed on the ground, and he was awarded the prestigious Ritterkreuz on 3 July 1942.
Freytag was by now Staffelkapitän (Squadron Leader) of 1./JG 77, and relocated to the Mediterranean theatre, operating against Malta from July until October 1942. Freytag was one of the most successful aces during these operations, claiming 21 victories, and raising his total to 78. He was shot down by Spitfires on 27 July, but was rescued from the sea off Valletta by a Dornier Do 24 flying boat.
Operating over North Africa and Tunisia, Freytag scored 16 more victories. On 13 March 1943, Freytag was made Gruppenkommandeur (Group Commander) of II./JG 77. He flew over Sicily, but was shot down over Gela by P-38 Lightning fighters on 12 July, bailing out wounded from his stricken Bf 109 G-6. Following his recovery, Freytag commanded II./JG 77, on Reichsverteidigung (Defense of the Reich) duties based in Germany.
In December 1944, Freytag was credited with his 100th aerial victory. He was the 96th Luftwaffe pilot to achieve the century mark. On 25 December, Freytag was appointed acting Geschwaderkommodore (Wing Commander) of JG 77, when Major Johannes Wiese was shot down and wounded.
Freytag may have shot down RCAF fighter ace Flt/Lt. Henry Wallace McLeod. Freytag claimed the only Spitfire for his 101st claim on 27 September 1944 in the Duisburg area, which probably was flown by McLeod. He recorded his last (102nd) victory and 2nd Spitfire on 1 January 1945. Freytag was again appointed acting Geschwaderkommodore of JG 77 on 7 March, following the death of Major Erich Leie.
On 4 April 1945, Freytag was transferred to the Geschwaderstab (headquarters unit) of Jagdgeschwader 51 (JG 5—5th Fighter Wing), but was soon transferred to Jagdgeschwader 7 (JG 7—7th Fighter Wing), flying the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter, where it was intended he become a Gruppenkommandeur. However, the war ended before he could assume the position.
Siegfried Freytag was officially credited with 102 victories of which 49 victories were claimed over the Eastern Front. Among his victories over the Western Front are at least 2 four-engine bombers. Freytag had been nominated for the Oak Leaves to Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, but the war ended before the paperwork had been processed.
Captured near Regensburg by U.S. troops, he was initially employed as an interpreter. After discovering all his family and friends had been killed and his family's property had been seized by the Polish authorities when Danzig was annexed by Poland, he worked in the mining industry and a technician initially and rumors have it that he worked as a taxi driver.
French Foreign Legion
In 1952, Siegfried Freytag, volunteered in the Legion thinking that the Legion would recruit pilots; at least, that was the official version of a wrong assumption. Assigned to the 5th Foreign Infantry Regiment after his basic training at Sidi Bel Abbès, Legionnaire Siegfried served and fought with distinction for 18 years with the 13th Demi-Brigade of the Foreign Legion; the former Free French Demi-Brigade, in the Indochina War, the Algerian War and Djibouti. Promoted to Sergent in 1962, he asked to be demoted to the rank of Caporal Chef and served in the 1st Foreign Regiment from 1965 to 1970, the year in which he retired from active duty. Legionnaire Commandant Siegried was laid to rest on June 5, 2003 and was buried with military honors not only featuring his German military decoration but also his distinghuised French military decorations.
German Military Awards
6 years of service ( 1939-1945 )
- Iron Cross (1939) 2nd and 1st class
- Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe on 18 May 1942 Oberleutnant and pilot
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 3 July 1942 as Oberleutnant and pilot in the I./Jagdgeschwader 77[Notes 1]
- German Cross in Gold on 25 January 1943 as Oberleutnant in the 1./Jagdgeschwader 77
- German Legionnaires
- German Legionnaires paratroopers in Indochina
- German military administration in occupied France during World War II
- According to Scherzer in the II./Jagdgeschwader 77
- Obermaier 1986, p. 114.
- Obermaier 1989, p. 243.
- "Siegfried Freytag". Aces of the Luftwaffe. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
- Weal 2012, p. 83.
- "Siegfried Freytag". www.cieldegloire.com. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
- Patzwall 2008, p. 80.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 186.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 319.
- Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 122.
- 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.
- Johnson, Johnnie E. (2000) . Wing Leader. London: Goodall Publications Ltd. ISBN 0-907579-87-6.
- 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.
- Weal, John (2012). Bf 109 F/G/K Aces of the Western Front. London: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-78096-351-8.
- 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.
- "Aces of the Luftwaffe". Siegried Freytag. Retrieved 10 May 2007.
- Foreign Legion Retirement Home Mark Corcoran visit 2004
Major Johannes Wiese
|Acting Commander of Jagdgeschwader 77 Herz As
26 December 1944 – 29 December 1944
Major Erich Leie
Major Erich Leie
|Acting Commander of Jagdgeschwader 77 Herz As
7 March 1945 – 31 March 1945
Major Fritz Losigkeit