|Born||4 May 1920|
|Died||24 December 1944(aged 24)|
|Place of birth||Berlin|
|Place of death||near Kassel|
|Years of service||? - 1944|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross|
Klaus Bretschneider (4 May 1920 – 24 December 1944) was a German Luftwaffe ace and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German language: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) during World War II. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.
Career[edit | edit source]
Bretschneider was posted into the newly raised Jagdgeschwader 300 (JG 300) in July 1943, joining 5 Staffel. Flying "Wilde Sau" single-seat night operations, he claimed his first victory, a Lancaster, on 5–6 September south of Mannheim. By April 1944 he had 14 night victories. In July 1944, Bretschneider was appointed Staffelkapitän (squadron leader) of 5./JG 300. By this time JG 300 were employed in a more conventional day fighter role, intercepting United States Army Air Forces four-engined bombers.
On 7 October 1944 he downed two bombers in one attack and then rammed a third. He bailed out safely. On 18 November 1944 he received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross for 31 victories.
On 24 December 1944 Bretschneider was killed whilst leading II.(Sturm)/JG 300 in attacking four-engined bombers over Kassel, his Focke-Wulf Fw 190 A-8/R8 "Red 1" probably downed by a P-51 Mustang of the 357th Fighter Group.
Klaus Bretschneider shot down 34 enemy aircraft; 14 RAF bombers at night, and 20 day-victories including 17 USAAF four-engined heavy bombers.
Awards[edit | edit source]
- Front Flying Clasp of the Luftwaffe
- Iron Cross (1939)
- 2nd Class
- 1st Class
- German Cross in Gold in 1944 as Oberleutnant in the 5./Jagdgeschwader 300
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 18 November 1944 as Leutnant and pilot in 5./Jagdgeschwader 300
References[edit | edit source]
- Patzwall and Scherzer 2001, p. 60.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p.123.
- 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.
- Obermaier, Ernst (1989) (in German). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Luftwaffe Jagdflieger 1939 – 1945 [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the Luftwaffe Fighter Force 1941 – 1945]. Mainz, Germany: Verlag Dieter Hoffmann. ISBN 978-3-87341-065-7.
- 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.
- Spick, Mike (1996). Luftwaffe Fighter Aces. New York: Ivy Books. ISBN 978-0-8041-1696-1.