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Adolf Borchers
Adolf Borchers
Born (1913-02-10)10 February 1913
Died February 9, 1996(1996-02-09) (aged 82)
Place of birth Wendhausen near Lüneburg
Place of death Oberstaufen-Steibis
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Condor Legion
Rank Major
Unit Jagdgruppe 88, JG 51, JG 52
Commands held 11./JG 51, I./JG 52, III./JG 52

Spanish Civil War
World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Spouse(s) Christl Cranz
Relations Walter Borchers
Hermann Borchers
Other work Ski school

Adolf Borchers (10 February 1913, Wendhausen – 9 February 1996) was a German former Luftwaffe fighter ace and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross[1] during World War II. A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down five or more enemy aircraft during aerial combat.[2] His brother, Major Walter Borchers received the Knight's Cross on 29 October 1944 as Gruppenkommandeur of III./Nachtjagdgeschwader 5 (NJG 5). A second brother, SS-Hauptsturmführer Hermann Borchers received the Knight's Cross on 16 October 1944 as commander of the I. Battalion of the SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 19.


He was born in Wendhausen near Lüneburg. He joined the Condor Legion in the fall of 1938 and participated as a Unteroffizier in the Spanish Civil War. After the Spanish Civil War he was transferred to 2./Jagdgeschwader 77 (JG 77) which later became 11./Jagdgeschwader 51 (JG 51).[Note 1] In this unit he fought in the Invasion of Poland, Battle of France and Battle of Britain, claiming 5 kills in the west. During Operation Barbarossa he accumulated further victories and by the end of 1941 his score had increased to 23 aerial victories. After being promoted to an Officers rank he was made Staffelkapitän (squadron leader) of 11./JG 51 on 8 October 1942. By the end of 1942 his score stood at 38 aerial victories.

In 1943 Borchers married the famed skier Christl Cranz.

For 78 aerial victories he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. On 11 June 1944 he was put in charge of I./Jagdgeschwader 52 (JG 52). He claimed his 100 aerial victory on 24 July 1944. His 118th victory claimed on 2 September 1944 is also noted for claiming JG 52 10,000th aerial victory.[3] Gruppenkommandeur Borchers was transferred to III./JG 52 on 1 February 1945. Together with his comrades he surrendered to US force only to be turned over to Soviet forces.

Borchers was officially credited with shooting down 132 enemy aircraft in more than 800 combat missions, the majority were claimed on the Eastern front and five were claimed in the Battle of France and Battle of Britain together.[4]

After World War II he and his wife, Christl Cranz, found a Ski school which she led until 1987.



  1. For an explanation of the meaning of Luftwaffe unit designation see Organization of the Luftwaffe during World War II.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Fellgiebel 2000, p. 140.
  2. Spick 1996, pp. 3–4.
  3. Weal 2004, p. 117
  4. Spick 1996, p. 230
  5. Obermaier 1989, p. 92.
  6. Patzwall and Scherzer 2001, p. 52.
  7. Scherzer 2007, p. 235.
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945. Podzun-Pallas. 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. 
  • Spick, Mike (1996). Luftwaffe Fighter Aces. Ivy Books. ISBN 0-8041-1696-2.
  • Weal, John (2004). Aviation Elite Units Jagdgeschwader 52 The Experten. Osprey Publishing Limited. ISBN 1-84176-786-7.

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