|Born||15 April 1892|
Düren, Rhine Province, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire
|Died||2 January 1975 82) (aged|
Baden-Baden, Baden-Württemberg, West Germany
|Years of service||1914–44|
|Commands held||JG 51|
Theodor "Theo" Osterkamp (15 April 1892 – 2 January 1975)was a German fighter pilot during World War I and World War II. A flying ace, he achieved 32 victories in World War I. 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, 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, 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.
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.
Osterkamp was born in Aschersleben,modern day Saxony-Anhalt. When the First World War started he was studying forestry but decided to enlist in the German Army. He was rejected for service due to his "slight build" and he instead enlisted in the Marinefliegerkorps in August 1914. 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. 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 On 21 March 1917, Leutnant Osterkamp took command of Marine Feld Jagdstaffel 2 He scored a total of 32 victories during the war, and was awarded the Prussian military order Pour le Mérite on 2 September 1918, and was one of the last individuals to receive it.
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 is a state of Germany.
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.
Osterkamp joined the new Luftwaffe on August 1, 1933 with the rank of Hauptmann.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).
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.
On 19 September 1939, Oberst Osterkamp was appointed Geschwaderkommodore of Jagdgeschwader 51 (JG 51—51st Fighter Wing).During the Battle of France, he claimed four victories. 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. Promoted to Generalmajor , Osterkamp was awarded his Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 22 August 1940. Following his replacement in JG 51, Osterkamp was appointed Jagdfliegerführer 2 , the commander of fighter aircraft in Luftflotte 2.
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.
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 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.
The Oberkommando der Luftwaffe (OKL), translated as the High Command of the Air Force, was the high command of the Luftwaffe.
In 1960, he was appointed honorary chairman of the Gemeinschaft der Jagdflieger, the Association of Fighter Pilots.
Wolfgang Schellmann was a German pilot during World War II. He commanded JG 2 and JG 27. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. Schellmann was credited with 25 victories in over 150 combat missions. He recorded 12 victories during the Spanish Civil War. Of his 13 victories recorded during World War II, 12 were claimed over the Western Front and one over the Eastern Front.
Walter "Gulle" Oesau was a German fighter pilot during World War II. A fighter ace, he served in the Luftwaffe from 1934 until his death in 1944. He rose to command Jagdgeschwader 1, which was named in his honor after his death.
Karl-Gottfried "Karlfried" Nordmann was a German Luftwaffe pilot during World War II and, after the war, a president of Mercedes-Benz in North America. As a fighter ace he was credited with 78 enemy aircraft shot down in over 800 combat missions. He claimed the majority of his victories over the Eastern Front, with one during the Invasion of Poland and eight during the Battle of France and Britain.
Max Stotz was a fighter pilot in the Luftwaffe of Nazi Germany during World War II. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves A flying ace, Stotz was officially credited with shooting down 189 enemy aircraft claimed in more than 700 combat missions.
Hubertus von Bonin was a German Second World War fighter ace who served in the Luftwaffe. A flying or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down five or more enemy aircraft during aerial combat. Bonin is credited with shooting down 77 enemy aircraft. The majority of his victories were claimed over the Eastern Front. He also claimed four victories in Spain during the civil war. His commands included Geschwaderkommodore of Jagdgeschwader 54.
Gerhard Schöpfel was a German pilot in the Luftwaffe during World War II. He claimed 45-victories and was recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross of Nazi Germany. Schöpfel was a commander of the fighter wing Jagdgeschwader 26.
Heinrich Sturm was a fighter pilot in the Nazi German Luftwaffe during World War II. A flying ace, he claimed 158 victories and was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. He was killed in a flying accident on 22 December 1944 in Csór, Hungary.
Josef Zwernemann was born on 26 March 1916 in Kirchworbis in the Province of Thuringia. During World War II he served as a fighter pilot in German Luftwaffe. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves. 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.
Gerhard Thyben was a German Luftwaffe fighter ace and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves during World War II. Thyben flew 385 combat missions and claimed 157 aerial victories: 152 on the Eastern Front and five on the Western Front.
Friedrich Körner was a World War II Luftwaffe Flying ace. 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 recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. Körner was credited with 36 victories in over 250 missions. All of his victories were scored whilst flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109.
Heinz "Negus" Marquardt was a German Luftwaffe fighter ace and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, the highest award in the military and paramilitary forces of Nazi Germany during World War II. Marquardt was credited with 121 aerial victories—that is, 121 aerial combat encounters resulting in the destruction of the enemy aircraft—with a further 16 unconfirmed victories in 320 combat missions. All but one of his victories were claimed over the Eastern Front.
Günther Schack was a German World War II fighter ace who served in the Luftwaffe from 1939 until the end of World War II in 1945. A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down five or more enemy aircraft during aerial combat. He was a recipient of the Oakleaves to the Knight's Cross in recognition of his combat success. He claimed 174 enemy aircraft shot down, all of them on the Russian front. He survived being shot down 15 times during his 780 combat missions. After the war he lived secluded in the Eifel Mountains, and devoted himself to philosophical research.
Herbert Bareuther was a World War II fighter ace from Nazi Germany. He was born on 29 July 1914 at Asch in Egerland. Bareuther was credited with having shot down a total of 55 enemy aircraft. All the victories he achieved were recorded over the Eastern Front.
Hartmann Grasser was a World War II Luftwaffe fighter ace. He was credited with shooting down 103 Allied aircraft. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves.
Siegfried Schnell was German World War II Luftwaffe 93 victories Flying ace and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves. 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 - for the fighter pilots, it was a quantifiable measure of skill and combat success. At the time of his presentation, it was Germany's highest military decoration.
Jakob Norz was a Luftwaffe flying ace of World War II. Norz is listed with 117 aerial victories—that is, 117 aerial combat encounters resulting in the destruction of the enemy aircraft. All his victories were claimed over the Soviet Air Forces in 332 combat missions. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, the highest award in the military and paramilitary forces of Nazi Germany during World War II. Norz was killed on 16 September 1944 in a forced landing following combat with a large formation of Soviet aircraft attacking Kirkenes.
Erich "Schmidtchen" Schmidt was a Luftwaffe ace and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross during World War II.
Georg 'Peterle' Schentke was a Luftwaffe ace and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross during World War II. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.
Friedrich Wachowiak was a former German Luftwaffe fighter ace and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross during World War II. Wachowiak served with Jagdgeschwader 52 and Jagdgeschwader 3 and gained his first victories against the Royal Air Force in 1940. At the end of 1941 he received his 20th victory and the 40th was in March 1942. His first Soviet victory was on 1 May 1942. On 7 May 1942 he reported his 62nd and on 29 November 1942 the 86th victory. 1943/1944 he was temporary a fighter flight trainer and came back to the front in May 1944 with the JG 52 over Normandy.
Helmut Mertens was a German fighter ace of World War II. He was born in Essen and served in the Luftwaffe as a career fighter pilot who served in the Battle of France, Battle of Britain, the invasion of Russia Operation Barbarossa and on the Western Front in the Defence of the Reich. His victory tally as a fighter pilot is reported as high as ninety-seven or as few as fifty-four aircraft confirmed shot down.
| Commander of Jagdgeschwader 51 Mölders|
25 November 1939 – 23 July 1940
Major Werner Mölders
| Commander of Jagdfliegerführer 1 |
22 July 1940 – 1 January 1941
Generalmajor Kurt-Bertram von Döring
| Commander of Jagdfliegerführer 2 |
1 December 1940 – 1 August 1941
Oberst Joachim-Friedrich Huth
General Stefan Fröhlich
| Acting Commander of Fliegerführer Afrika |
April 1942 – 12 April 1942
General Otto Hoffmann von Waldau
| Commander of Jagdfliegerführer Sizilien |
5 April 1943 – 15 June 1943
Generalleutnant Adolf Galland