Theo Osterkamp

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Theo Osterkamp
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-R22853, Theodor Osterkamp.png
Theo Osterkamp
Nickname(s)Onkel (Uncle) [1]
Born(1892-04-15)15 April 1892
Düren, Rhine Province, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire
Died2 January 1975(1975-01-02) (aged 82)
Baden-Baden, Baden-Württemberg, West Germany
Allegiance
Service/branchWar Ensign of Germany 1903-1918.svg  Imperial German Navy
Regulation WW II Upperwing Balkenkreuz.png Luftwaffe
Years of service1914–44
Rank Generalleutnant
Commands held JG 51
Battles/wars
World War I

World War II

Awards

Theodor "Theo" Osterkamp (15 April 1892 – 2 January 1975) [2] was a German fighter pilot during World War I and World War II. A flying ace, he achieved 32 victories in World War I. [3] In World War II, he led Jagdgeschwader 51 through the Battle of Britain and claimed a further 6 victories, in the process becoming one of only a few men to score victories in both world wars.

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Flying ace distinction given to fighter pilots

A flying ace, fighter ace or air ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down several enemy aircraft during aerial combat. The actual number of aerial victories required to officially qualify as an ace has varied, but is usually considered to be five or more.

Contents

Early life and World War I

Osterkamp was born in Aschersleben, [4] modern day Saxony-Anhalt. When the First World War started he was studying forestry but decided to enlist in the German Army. [4] He was rejected for service due to his "slight build" [4] and he instead enlisted in the Marinefliegerkorps in August 1914. [4] He then flew with the 2. Marine-Fliegerabteilung in Flanders. During 1915–1916, he served as an air observer, and became the first German pilot to fly a land-based aircraft to England on a reconnaissance-mission. Osterkamp claimed his first (but unconfirmed) kill on 6 September 1916 as an observer to pilot Leutnant zur See Wilhelm Mattheus in a LVG C.II two-seater aircraft. [4] In March 1917, he joined the Kampffliegerschule (Combat pilot school) in Putzig and then joined Marine Feld Jagdstaffel 1 on the 14th of April 1917 [4] On 21 March 1917, Leutnant Osterkamp took command of Marine Feld Jagdstaffel 2 [5] He scored a total of 32 victories during the war, [3] and was awarded the Prussian military order Pour le Mérite [3] on 2 September 1918, [6] and was one of the last individuals to receive it.

Aschersleben Place in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

Aschersleben is a town in the Salzlandkreis district, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is situated approximately 22 km east of Quedlinburg, and 45 km northwest of Halle (Saale).

Saxony-Anhalt State in Germany

Saxony-Anhalt is a state of Germany.

Forestry economic sector

Forestry is the science and craft of creating, managing, using, conserving, and repairing forests, woodlands, and associated resources for human and environmental benefits. Forestry is practiced in plantations and natural stands. The science of forestry has elements that belong to the biological, physical, social, political and managerial sciences.

Interwar years

Wedding of Theodor Osterkamp with Fel Gudrun Pagge in Eppendorf, Hamburg Bundesarchiv Bild 183-2008-1016-508, Hamburg, Trauung Theo Osterkamp, Fel Gudrun Pagge.jpg
Wedding of Theodor Osterkamp with Fel Gudrun Pagge in Eppendorf, Hamburg

Osterkamp joined the new Luftwaffe on August 1, 1933 with the rank of Hauptmann. [7] He also participated in the second, third and fourth FAI International Tourist Plane Contest Challenge 1930 (11th place), Challenge 1932 (12th place) and Challenge 1934 (5th place). By the time the war broke out in September 1939 he was a Oberstleutnant in command of the Jagdfliegerschule 1 (JF1). [7]

<i>Fédération Aéronautique Internationale</i> voluntary association

The Fédération aéronautique internationale, is the world governing body for air sports. It was founded on 14 October 1905, and is headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland. It maintains world records for aeronautical activities including ballooning, aeromodeling, unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) and also for human spaceflight.

The German Luftwaffe of the Wehrmacht had seven Jagdfliegerschulen or Fighter Pilot Schools.

World War II

On 19 September 1939, Oberst Osterkamp was appointed Geschwaderkommodore of Jagdgeschwader 51 (JG 51—51st Fighter Wing). [Note 1] [7] During the Battle of France, he claimed four victories. [2] During the Kanalkampf period of the Battle of Britain in July 1940, he claimed a further two victories, (a Bristol Blenheim on 1 June and a Spitfire on 13 July 1940) bringing his total to six. He was replaced as commander of JG 51 by Werner Mölders on 23 July with the latter formally taking command on the 27th of July. [8] [9] Promoted to Generalmajor , Osterkamp was awarded his Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 22 August 1940. [10] Following his replacement in JG 51, Osterkamp was appointed Jagdfliegerführer 2 , the commander of fighter aircraft in Luftflotte 2. [11]

Oberst is a military rank in several German-speaking and Scandinavian countries, equivalent to Colonel. It is currently used by both the ground and air forces of Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, and Norway. The Swedish rank överste is a direct translation, as are the Finnish rank eversti and the Icelandic rank ofursti. In the Netherlands the rank overste is used as a synonym for a lieutenant colonel.

Geschwaderkommodore is a Luftwaffe position or appointment, originating during World War II. A Geschwaderkommodore is usually a OF5-rank of Oberst (colonel) or Kapitän zur See. A Geschwaderkommodore will command a Geschwader (Wing), which in turn contains Gruppen (Groups) each commanded by a Gruppenkommandeur.

<i>Jagdgeschwader</i> 51 military unit

Jagdgeschwader 51 was a German fighter wing during World War II. JG 51's pilots won more awards than any other fighter wing of the Luftwaffe, and operated in all major theatres of war. Its members included Anton Hafner, Heinz Bär, Karl-Gottfried Nordmann, and Günther Schack.

On 1 August 1942, he was transferred to Luftgaustab z.b.V. Afrika. On 5 April 1943, he was appointed Jagdfliegerführer Sizilien and served until replaced on 15 June by Adolf Galland. He then served in a number of staff positions until being appointed Inspekteur der Luftwaffen-Bodenorganisation (Inspector of Luftwaffe ground organisation) in 1944. After criticism from High Command, he was dismissed from the service on 21 December 1944.[ citation needed ]

Jagdfliegerführer Sizilien was part of Luftflotte 2, one of the primary divisions of the German Luftwaffe in World War II. It was formed on April 5, 1943 in Trapani, subordinated to the II. Fliegerkorps. The command moved to Rome in July 1943, and was then known as Jagdfliegerführer Luftflotte 2. The headquarters was located at Trapani and from July 1943 on in Rome. The unit was disbanded in August, 1943.

Adolf Galland German World War II general and fighter pilot

Adolf Josef Ferdinand Galland was a German Luftwaffe general and flying ace who served throughout the Second World War in Europe. He flew 705 combat missions, and fought on the Western Front and in the Defence of the Reich. On four occasions, he survived being shot down, and he was credited with 104 aerial victories, all of them against the Western Allies.

<i>Oberkommando der Luftwaffe</i> 1944-1945 command staff of the German Air Force

The Oberkommando der Luftwaffe (OKL), translated as the High Command of the Air Force, was the high command of the Luftwaffe.

Post-war career

In 1960, he was appointed honorary chairman of the Gemeinschaft der Jagdflieger, the Association of Fighter Pilots. [12]

Awards and decorations

See also

Pilots who flew in combat in both world wars

Notes

  1. For an explanation of Luftwaffe unit designations see Organisation of the Luftwaffe during World War II.
  2. According to Scherzer as Jagdfliegerführer 1 for his achievements as Geschwaderkommodore of Jagdgeschwader 51. [15]

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References

Citations

  1. 1 2 Van Wyngarden 2004, p. 24.
  2. 1 2 Guttman 2012, p. 33, 55.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Guttman 2012, p. 55.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Guttman 2012, p. 33.
  5. Guttman 2012, p. 39.
  6. 1 2 Sumner 2005, p. 63.
  7. 1 2 3 Weal 2006, p. 7.
  8. Weal 2006, p. 26.
  9. Weal 2006, p. 27.
  10. Weal 2006, p. 31.
  11. See Luftwaffe Organization
  12. "Namhafte Persönlichkeiten". Gemeinschaft der Flieger deutscher Streitkräfte e.V. (in German). Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  13. Van Wyngarden 2004, p. 23.
  14. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 330.
  15. Scherzer 2007, p. 579.

Bibliography

  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) [1986]. 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.
  • 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.
  • Guttman, Jon (2012). Naval Aces of World War 1 part 2 (Aircraft of the Aces 104). Osprey Publishing. ISBN   9781849086646.
Military offices
Preceded by
none
Commander of Jagdgeschwader 51 Mölders
25 November 1939 – 23 July 1940
Succeeded by
Major Werner Mölders
Preceded by
unknown
Commander of Jagdfliegerführer 1
22 July 1940 – 1 January 1941
Succeeded by
unknown
Preceded by
Generalmajor Kurt-Bertram von Döring
Commander of Jagdfliegerführer 2
1 December 1940 – 1 August 1941
Succeeded by
Oberst Joachim-Friedrich Huth
Preceded by
General Stefan Fröhlich
Acting Commander of Fliegerführer Afrika
April 1942 – 12 April 1942
Succeeded by
General Otto Hoffmann von Waldau
Preceded by
none
Commander of Jagdfliegerführer Sizilien
5 April 1943 – 15 June 1943
Succeeded by
Generalleutnant Adolf Galland