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Diether Lukesch
File:Diether Lukesch.jpg
Diether Lukesch
Born (1918-07-15)15 July 1918
Died 28 February 2004(2004-02-28) (aged 85)
Place of birth Hadersdorf-Weidlingau, Wien
Place of death Henstedt-Ulzburg
Allegiance Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Service/branch Luftwaffe
Rank Hauptmann
Unit KG 158, KG 76
Commands held IV./KG 76
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves

Hauptmann Diether Lukesch (born 15 July 1918, in Hadersdorf-Weidlingau, Penzing, Wien - died 28 February 2004) was German World War II Luftwaffe bomber pilot. During the course of the war he was decorated with Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (German language: 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. He was one of the first pilots to carry out jet bombing missions flying the Arado Ar 234.

Military career[edit | edit source]

In October 1944, as his Arado training proceeded, Lukesch was awarded Oak Leaves to his Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. On the day before Christmas 1944, Lukesch led nine Ar 234B-2s in the first jet bombing missions ever, supporting the German counterattack out of the Ardennes. The target was a factory complex at Liège, Belgium. In the days that followed, Lukesch and the Arado pilots attacked Allied troops, rail yards, and other positions. On New Year's Day 1945, Lukesch led history's first jet, night-bombing sortie, attacking targets at Brussels and Liège. He concluded the war with a total of 436 bombing and long-range reconnaissance missions. He was taken prisoner of war by the American forces and released on 27 July 1945.

After the war[edit | edit source]

Lukesch at first worked for US Armed Forces in Austria. He then became a commercial airline pilot, flying for 18 years first with KLM, and later Lufthansa.

Awards[edit | edit source]

Diether Lukesch Awards on display at the Luftwaffenmuseum

References[edit | edit source]

Citations
  1. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 299.
  2. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 90.
Bibliography
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) (in German). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 – Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtsteile [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]. Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. 
  • Kaiser, Jochen (2010) (in German and English). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Kampfflieger—Band 1 [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the Bomber Fliers—Volume 1]. Bad Zwischenahn, Germany: Luftfahrtverlag-Start. ISBN 978-3-941437-07-4. 
  • Patzwall, Klaus D.; Scherzer, Veit (2001) (in German). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II [The German Cross 1941 – 1945 History and Recipients Volume 2]. Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8. 
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007) (in German). 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]. Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. 

External links[edit | edit source]

Diether Lukesch was not a KLM pilot.

He was trained at KLM.

In 1956 four pilots started training at KLM.

They were trained for the airline Air-Austria, in which KLM would also take an interest.

At the same time, SAS was also establishing a company in Austria.

Eventually it became one society, Austrian.

These pilots started flying for that.

Therefore, following a course at KLM does not mean that you are employed by KLM.

(Ruud van Ommeren)

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