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Johannes “Hannes” Trautloft (B), 3 March 1912 – 11 January 1995, was a highly decorated Oberst in the Luftwaffe during World War II and a recipient of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross. He was awarded the Knights Cross on 5 May 1945.
He served in the Luftwaffe from 1932 until the end of the war and again from 1957–70 in which he attained the rank of Generalleutnant. He flew 560 combat sorties and was credited with 58 victories.
Hans-Henning Freiherr von Beust
Hans-Henning Freiherr von Beust, 17 April 1913 – 27 March 1991, was an officer in the Luftwaffe of Nazi Germany during World War II who commanded the 27th Bomber Wing. He was a recipient of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves. Beust joined the Bundeswehr in 1957 and retired in 1971.
Eckart-Wilhelm von Bonin
Eckart-Wilhelm von Bonin, 14 November 1919 — 11 January 1992, was a German World War II night fighter pilot who served in the Luftwaffe. He is credited with shooting down 37 enemy aircraft claimed during 150 combat missions.
His brother, Oberstleutnant Hubertus von Bonin, Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross recipient, was killed in action on 15 December 1943. He lost two other brothers during the war.
Heinrich Graf von Einsiedel
Heinrich Graf von Einsiede, 26 July 1921 – 18 July 2007, was a German journalist, politician, and World War II Luftwaffe ace.
Franz von Werra
Franz Xaver Baron von Werra, 13 July 1914 – 25 October 1941, was a German World War II fighter pilot and flying ace who was shot down over Britain and captured. He is generally regarded as the only Axis prisoner of war to succeed in escaping from a Canadian prisoner of war camp and returning to Germany, though a second man, a U-Boat rating named Walter Kurt Reich is said to have jumped from a Polish troopship (presumably the ex-liner Sobieski) in the St. Lawrence River in July 1940. Von Werra managed to return to Germany via the USA, Mexico, South America, and Spain to reach Germany on 18 April 1941. Oberleutnant von Werra was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross on 14 December 1940.
Otto Albert Bernhard Weiß, 25 September 1907 – 19 August 1955, was a World War II Luftwaffe attack aircraft pilot and recipient of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves. He was the first attack aircraft pilot so honored. Weiß flew more than 500 combat missions with the Henschel Hs 123 and the Messerschmitt Bf 109.
Erich Weißflog, 29 November 1919 – 10 January 1999, was a highly decorated Oberleutnant in the Luftwaffe during World War II. He was also a recipient of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross. The Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognize extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.
Theodor Weissenberger, 21 December 1914 – 11 June 1950, was a German Luftwaffe military aviator during World War II and a fighter ace credited with 208 enemy aircraft shot down in 375 combat missions. The majority of his victories were claimed near the Arctic Ocean in the northern sector of the Eastern Front, but he also claimed 33 victories over the Western Front. He claimed eight of these victories over the Western Allies while flying the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter.
Born in Mühlheim am Main in the German Empire, Weissenberger, who had been a glider pilot in his youth, volunteered for service in the Luftwaffe of the Third Reich in 1936. Following flight training, he was posted to the heavy fighter squadron of Jagdgeschwader 77 (JG 77—77th Fighter Wing) in 1941. He claimed his first aerial victory over Norway on 24 October 1941. After 23 aerial victories as a heavy fighter pilot, he received the German Cross in Gold and was then posted to Jagdgeschwader 5 (JG 5—5th Fighter Wing) in September 1942. There he received the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross on 13 November 1942 after 38 aerial victories.
In June 1943, Weissenberger was appointed Staffelkapitän of 7. Staffel of JG 5. Following his 112th aerial victory, he was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves on 2 August 1943. He was appointed Staffelkapitän of 6. Staffel in September 1943 and in March 1944 he was given command of II. Gruppe of JG 5 which was operating in Defense of the Reich missions. In June 1944 he took command of I. Gruppe of JG 5 which defended against the Invasion of Normandy. Weissenberger claimed 25 aerial victories in this theater, which included his 200th victory on 25 July 1944.
After conversion training to the Me 262 jet fighter, he was appointed the commander of I. Gruppe of Jagdgeschwader 7 “Nowotny” (JG 7—7th Fighter Wing), the first operational jet fighter wing in the world, in November 1944. Promoted to Major (major), he took command of JG 7 “Nowotny” as a Geschwaderkommodore in January 1945, a position he held until the end of hostilities.
He was killed in a car racing accident on 11 June 1950 at the Nürburgring.
Helmut Paul Emil Wick, 5 August 1915 – 28 November 1940, was a German flying ace of World War II. He was a wing commander in the Luftwaffe of Nazi Germany, and the fourth recipient of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, the nation’s highest military decoration at the time.
Born in Mannheim, Wick joined the Luftwaffe in 1936 and was trained as a fighter pilot. He was assigned to Jagdgeschwader 2 “Richthofen” (JG 2—2nd Fighter Wing) and saw combat in the Battles of France and Britain. In October 1940, he was given the position of wing commander of JG 2. He was the youngest in the Luftwaffe to hold this position. Wick was shot down in the vicinity of the Isle of Wight on 28 November 1940, most likely by the British ace John Dundas, who was himself shot down by Wick’s wingman. Wick was posted as missing in action, presumed dead. By then he had been credited with the destruction of 56 enemy aircraft in aerial combat, making him the leading German ace at the time. Flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109, he claimed all of his victories against the Western Allies.
Johannes Wiese, 7 March 1915 – 16 August 1991, was a German Luftwaffe pilot during World War II, a fighter ace credited with 133 enemy aircraft shot down in 480 combat missions. He claimed all of his victories over the Eastern Front, including over 50 Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik ground-attack aircraft.
Born in Breslau, Wiese volunteered for military service in the Reichswehr of the Third Reich in 1934. Initially serving in the Heer, he transferred to the Luftwaffe in 1936. Following flight training, he was posted to Jagdgeschwader 52 in June 1941 just prior to Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union. He claimed his first aerial victory on 23 September 1941. On 26 June 1942, Wiese was appointed Staffelkapitän of the 2. Staffel of JG 52 and received the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross on 5 January 1943 following his 53rd aerial victory. On 11 May 1943, Wiese was tasked with the leadership of I. Gruppe of JG 52 and was officially appointed its Gruppenkommandeur on 13 November 1943. Following his 133rd aerial victory, he received the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves on 2 March 1944.
In October 1944, Wiese was posted to the Geschwaderstab of Jagdgeschwader 77 in Defense of the Reich and on 7 November 1944, he was appointed its Geschwaderkommodore. After the war in 1956, he joined the Bundeswehr and worked for the Military History Research Office. He retired on 10 November 1970 holding the rank of Oberstleutnant. Wiese died on 16 August 1991 in Kirchzarten and was buried in Berlin-Nikolassee.
Wolf-Dietrich Wilcke, born 11 March 1913 in Schrimm, Posen, killed in action 23 March 1944 near Schöppenstedt, was a German World War II fighter ace who served in the Luftwaffe from 1935 until his death. 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 and Swords. The Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves and Swords was awarded to recognize extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.
Heinrich Wittmer, 28 February 1910 – 27 June 1992, was a highly decorated Oberst in the Luftwaffe during World War II and a recipient of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross. He was a Luftwaffe bomber ace.
He received the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes on 12 November 1941 as Hauptmann and Gruppenkommandeur III.Gruppe / Kampfgeschwader 55 (KG 55) ‘Greif’. He was awarded the prestigious medal for his success as a bomber pilot in missions against Great Britain in 1940 where his bombers particularly distinguished themselves in an attack on the Westland aircraft factory in Yeovil. He was quite successful against the Soviet Union in the Summer of 1941. He flew a total of 184 combat missions in his entire active military career.
Walter Wolfrum, 23 May 1923 in Schmölz, Küps, Germany – 26 August 2010 in Schwabach was a German military aviator who served in the Luftwaffe during World War II. As a fighter ace, he flew 424 combat missions and claimed 137 aerial victories. This ties him for 43rd place among highest-scoring fighter aces. He was also a recipient of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross.
Josef “Sepp” Wurmheller, 4 May 1917 – 22 June 1944, was a highly decorated Major in the Luftwaffe during World War II and a recipient of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords. He was awarded the Knights Cross on 4 September 1941, the Oak Leaves on 13 November 1942, and the Swords on 24 October 1944.
He was a fighter ace credited with 102 enemy aircraft shot down in over 300 combat missions. He claimed the majority of his aerial victories over the Western Front, and nine over the Eastern Front. Of his 93 victories over the Western Allies, at least 18–20 were four-engined bombers and 56 were against Supermarine Spitfire fighters.
Pilots with No Biographies
Gallery A thru F
- Hauptmann Erwin Aichele
- Sergeant Major Erich Axthammer
- Leutnant Wilhelm Beier
- Rudolf Blaser
- Oberstleutnant Karl Böhm-Tettelbach
- Hauptmann Kurt Ebersberger
- Franz Dietrich Fadenau
- Hauptmann Willi Flechner
- Hauptmann Paul Förster
- Leutnant Otto Fries
Gallery F thru L
- Hauptmann Helmut Fuhrhop
- Major Heinrich Gerlach
- Oberleutnant Ramón Escudé Gilbert
- Hauptmann Erich Groth
- Oberfeldwebel Walter Grünlinger
- Hauptmann G. Hitgen
- Hauptmann Konrad Kahl
- Hauptmann Walter Krauß
- Hauptmann Rudolf Laumann
- Leutnant Kurt Loos
- Hauptmann Josef Luxenburger
Gallery M thru Z
- Major Helmut Naumann
- Oberfeldwebel Johann-Peter Oekenpöhler
- Karl-Heinz Plücker
- Unteroffizier Gerhard Proske
- Leutnant Hermann Reese
- Oberst Hans Dietrich Riesl
- Hermann Segatz
- Major der Reserve Rudolf “Rudi” Schoenert
- Feldwebel Willi Schultz
- Oberfeldwebel Albert Spieth
- Hauptmann Erich Stoffregen
- Leutnant Wolfgang “Ameise” Thimmig
- Unteroffizier Arno Zimmermann
Oberfeldwebel Paul Bleyer
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