|Born||23 May 1923|
|Died||9 January 2001(aged 77)|
|Place of birth||Gießen|
|Place of death||Echterdingen, Germany|
|Allegiance||Nazi Germany (to 1945)|
|Years of service||1941–1945|
|Commands held||5./JG 52|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross|
Peter "Bonifazius" Düttmann was a World War II Luftwaffe flying ace. He achieved 152 kills in 398 sorties. All of his victories were scored against Soviet opposition on the Eastern Front flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German language: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.
Military career[edit | edit source]
Düttmann, trained at Ergänzungs-Jagdgruppe Ost (Supplemantary Fighter Group East) in southern France, joined 5th Staffel (squadron), Jagdgeschwader 52 (JG 52—52nd Fighter Wing) on 7 May 1943. He served with the same unit until the end of the war and soon became one of their most successful pilots, flying with Heinz Ewald and Heinz Sachsenberg. He scored his first victory on 21 May 1943 and downed another 24 by the end of the year. He was forced to ditch his plane on 11 July 1943 after being hit by return fire form a formation of Douglas Boston medium bombers. On 9 August 1943 he belly-landed in no-man's land and was posted missing for 17 hours. On the 23 August 1943 his machine caught fire while belly-landing after Soviet Anti-Aircraft damage.
He scored a further 18 kills in March 1944, 22 in April and 14 in May 1944. On 7 May 1944 he scored 9 victories to take his score to 91. Suffering from combat fatigue he was sent on leave at the end of May and returned in September 1944. His 100th kill was claimed on 24 September 1944. On the 13 November 1944 he was shot down by an Il-2 rear gunner and bailed out at 1000 feet, landing behind enemy lines, but managing to reach German lines. The same happened to him on the 3 March 1945 due to AA damage and he returned a day later. On 23 December 1944 he was appointed Staffelkapitän of 5./JG 52. Düttmann claimed his last victory on 26 April 1945. During two years on the Russian Front Düttmann flew 395 missions and claimed 152 victories (including 9 in one day) at the Eastern front, including two Sherman tanks. His tally includes 38 Il-2s, 8 Boston bombers, 5 Romanian aircraft and 98 Russian fighters. He was shot down or crash landed 17 times but was never wounded.
His decorations include the Knights Cross and towards the end of the war was recommended for Oak Leaves. Peter Düttmann died on 9 January 2001.
Awards[edit | edit source]
- Iron Cross (1939) 2nd and 1st Class
- Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe (8 February 1944)
- German Cross in Gold on 15 April 1944 as Fahnenjunker-Feldwebel in the 5./JG 52
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 9 June 1944 as Leutnant (war officer) and pilot in the 5./JG 52
References[edit | edit source]
- Obermaier 1989, p. 104.
- Patzwall and Scherzer 2001, p. 95.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 167.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 283.
- Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer. Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939-1945. Friedburg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas, 2000. ISBN 3-7909-0284-5.
- 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.
- Weal, John (2003a). Bf109 Aces of the Russian Front. Oxford: Osprey. ISBN 1-84176-084-6
[edit | edit source]