|Born||April 30, 1916|
|Died||8 February 1987 (aged 70)|
|Place of birth||Wilhelmshaven|
|Place of death||Freiburg im Breisgau|
Nazi Germany (to 1945)|
|Years of service||
Spanish Civil War|
World War II
Spanienkreuz in Gold mit Schwertern und Brillanten|
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Otto Bertram (30 April 1916 in Wilhelmshaven – 8 February 1987 in Freiburg im Breisgau) was a German Spanish Civil War and World War II fighter ace who served in the Luftwaffe from 1935 until the end of World War II. He later joined the Bundeswehr and served as an military attaché. He shot down a total of 22 enemy aircraft, nine of which were claimed during the Spanish Civil War.
Early life[edit | edit source]
Born in Wilhelmshaven on 30 April 1916, Betram joined the Luftwaffe in 1935. His brothers, Hans and Karl, were already serving with the Luftwaffe.
Spanish Civil War[edit | edit source]
Bertram joined the Condor Legion in March 1938, supporting Franco's Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War. During the course of the war, Bertram, a leutnant, claimed nine victories flying with 1./Jagdgruppe 88, becoming one of the most successful fighter pilots in that conflict. On 4 October 1938, he was shot down by a Republican I-15 fighter. After bailing out he was taken prisoner of war. For his accomplishments in Spain he was awarded the Spanish Cross in Gold with Diamonds.
World War II[edit | edit source]
On 26 October 1939, Bertram was appointed Staffelkapitän of 1./JG 2. Now an oberleutnant, Bertram claimed his first aerial victory of World War II on 20 April 1940, when he downed a Morane 406 fighter over Saint-Avold, flown by future French ace Sgt. Chef Antoine Casenobe. However, the claim was not confirmed. In total, he claimed four victories during the Battle of France, although he was forced to crashland after gaining two victories on 19 May 1940. He returned to his unit unhurt.
Bertram led 1./JG 2 during the opening phases of the Battle of Britain. He claimed seven Royal Air Force (RAF) fighters downed in five days between 2 September 1940 and 6 September with the unit. On 26 September 1940, he was promoted to hauptmann and appointed Gruppenkommandeur of III./JG 2. He claimed two further victories with the unit, two RAF Bristol Blenheim twin-engine bombers shot down near Le Havre on 9 October, to record his 21st and 22nd victories.
On 28 October 1940, Bertram was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross for 13 victories in World War II and was banned from further combat flying and ordered to return to Germany. Both of his brothers who were also serving in the Luftwaffe had recently been killed in action. Hans, Gruppenadjutant of I./JG 27, was shot down over England in September 1940, and Karl, a nightfighter pilot with 9./NJG 1, was killed when he crashed his Bf 110 west of Kiel following an engagement with a RAF bomber on 28 October.
Bertram, as the sole surviving brother, was hence excused from further combat duty. He was to spend the remainder of the war in administrative posts or training units. He served at the Jagdfliegerschule 5 at Wien-Schwechat for the rest of 1940 and into 1941. He was Gruppenkommandeur of I./JG 101 from 6 January 1943 to 30 April 1944. From February 1945, promoted to major, Bertram was Gruppenkommandeur of I./JG 6, a position he held until the end of the war.
Later life[edit | edit source]
Bertram joined the Bundeswehr after the re militarisation of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1956. He held various positions in the Bundeswehr including that of press officer. Promoted to Oberstleutnant he served as an military attaché in Belgium and Luxembourg.
Bertram died in Freiburg im Breisgau, at the age of 80.
Awards[edit | edit source]
- Spanish Cross in Gold with Diamonds
- Wound Badge (1939) in Silver
- Pilot's Badge
- Iron Cross (1939) 2nd and 1st Class
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 28 October 1940 as Hauptmann and Gruppenkommandeur of the III./JG "Richthofen"
References[edit | edit source]
- Scherzer 2007, p. 218.
- 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.
- Forsyth, Robert (2011). Aces of the Legion Condor. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84908-347-8.
- 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.
- 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.
[edit | edit source]
- "Aces of the Luftwaffe". Otto Bertram. http://www.luftwaffe.cz/bertram.html. Retrieved 15 January 2008.
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