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Gerhard Kollewe
Born (1912-03-03)March 3, 1912
Died 17 October 1942 (1942-10-18) (aged 30)
Place of birth Deutsch-Kruschin, Province of Posen, German Empire
Place of death over the Mediterranean Sea
Allegiance  Weimar Republic (to 1933)
 Nazi Germany
Service/branch Luftwaffe
Years of service 1931–1942
Rank Major
Commands held II.(Kampf)/LG 1
Battles/wars Spanish Civil War
World War II
Awards Spanish Cross in Silver with Swords
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves

Gerhard Kollewe (3 March 1912 – 17 October 1942) was a German World War II Luftwaffe bomber pilot 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.


Gerhard Kollewe joined the military service of the Reichswehr, serving in the 7th Infantry Regiment, after graduating from Gymnasium (secondary school) in 1931. In the summer of 1935 he transferred to the newly established Luftwaffe.

In 1939 Kollewe was appointed Staffelkapitän (squadron leader) of the 4.(Sturz)/186 (T), a diver bomber squadron designated for future operation on the aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin. At the outbreak of World War II during the invasion of Poland he flew against targets in Poland and on 3 September 1939 participated in the sinking of the Polish destroyer OPR Wicher and minelayer ORP Gryf in the port of Gdynia.[1]

Following the Battle of Crete, Kollewe was involved in the damage inflicted on HMS Isis and HMS Ilex on 15 June 1941. This achievement earned him a reference on 16 June 1941 in the Wehrmachtbericht (armed forces report), an information bulletin issued by the headquarters of the Wehrmacht. To be singled out individually in this way was an honour and was entered in the Orders and Decorations' section of a soldier's Service Record Book.

Kollewe was killed in action 17 October 1942 on a mission against Malta. British fighter pilots Sergeant Tiddy and P/O Giddings of the No. 126 Squadron RAF and No. 249 Squadron RAF claimed this aerial victory. Of his Junkers Ju 88 crew A-4, L1+YC (Werknummer 141 033—factory number) his observer Feldwebel Bernhard Mähler was also killed in action. His radio operator Oberfeldwebel Martin Assum and aerial gunner Feldwebel Paul Ballof were taken prisoner of war.


Wehrmachtbericht reference[]

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
Monday, 16 June 1941 Im östlichen Mittelmeer bekämpften deutsche Kampfflugzeuge unter Führung des Hauptmanns Kollewe mit besonderem Erfolg einen Verband britischer Kriegsschiffe. Sie versenkten einen Leichten Kreuzer durch vier Bombenvolltreffer schweren Kalibers und beschädigten einen schweren Kreuzer.[8] In the eastern Mediterranean, German bombers fought under the command of Captain Kollewe particularly successful with a task force of British warships. They sank a light cruiser with four bomb hits of heavy caliber and damaged a heavy cruiser.


  1. According to Thomas on 10 September 1939.[4]


  1. Kaiser 2010, p. 47.
  2. Schumann 2007, p. 122.
  3. Kaiser 2010, p. 46.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Thomas 1997, p. 395.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Scherzer 2007, p. 464.
  6. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 268.
  7. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 60.
  8. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, p. 578.
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • Schumann, Ralf (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 des LG 1 (in German). Zweibrücken, Germany: VDM Heinz Nickel. ISBN 978-3-86619-013-9.
  • Taghon, Peter (2004). Die Geschichte des Lehrgeschwaders 1—Band 1—1936 – 1942 (in German). Zweibrücken, Germany: VDM Heinz Nickel. ISBN 3-925480-85-4.
  • Thomas, Franz (1997) (in German). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 1: A–K [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 1: A–K]. Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2299-6. 
  • Weal, John (2009). Junkers Ju 88 Kampfgeschwader in North Africa and the Mediterranean. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84603-318-6.
  • (in German) Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, 1. September 1939 bis 31. Dezember 1941 [The Wehrmacht Reports 1939–1945 Volume 1, 1 September 1939 to 31 December 1941]. München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 978-3-423-05944-2. 

External links[]

"Gerhard Kollweve". Lexikon der Wehrmacht. Retrieved 22 February 2010. 

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