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Diethelm von Eichel-Streiber
Born (1914-08-10)10 August 1914
Died 13 May 1996(1996-05-13) (aged 81)
Place of birth Mühlhausen, Germany
Place of death Bonn, Germany
Allegiance Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Service/branch Balkenkreuz.svg Luftwaffe
Years of service 1936–1945
Rank Major
Unit Condor Legion, JG 52, JG 77, JG 1, JG 5, JG 51, JG 27, JV 44
Commands held 1.(Erg.)/JG 77, III./JG 51, I./JG 27

Spanish Civil War World War II

Awards Spanish Cross in Gold with Swords
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Diethelm von Eichel-Streiber (1914–1996) was a Luftwaffe flying ace of World War II. He claimed a total of 96 victories and was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. He was one of few experienced surviving Luftwaffe pilots who participated both in the Spanish Civil War and Second World War.

In Spanish Civil War

Diethelm von Eichel-Streiber was born 10 August 1914 at Oppershausen in the region of Thüringen. He participated in the Spanish Civil War with the Condor Legion as a bomber pilot, and was awarded the Spanienkreuz in Gold mit Schwerten for his service in this conflict.

In World War II

In spring 1940, von Eichel-Streiber was transferred to III./JG 52, and then as Adjutant of III./JG 77 through 1941. During the invasion of Greece and Crete, he shot down a RAF Hurricane on 14 May 1941 for his first victory, althougth his aircraft was damaged by flak and he had crash-landed at his base at Molaoi in Greece.

On 26 June 1941, he shot down four Russian Tupolev SB-2 bombers near Jassy. Later, he was appointed Staffelkapitän of 1.(Erg.)/JG 77. In January 1942, he was transferred to 10./JG 1, though the unit was redesignated 1./JG 5 on 10 March 1942.

In October 1942, von Eichel-Streiber was appointed Staffelkapitän of 6./JG 51 based at Jesau to re-equip with Fw 190s prior to returning to the Russian front. In early 1943 von Eichel-Streiber was particularly successful against Russian Il-2 Sturmovik ground-attack aircraft. He recorded his 20th victory a MiG-3 fighter, on 10 July.

Hauptmann von Eichel-Streiber was awarded the Ritterkreuz in April 1944 for 73 victories. He was then made Gruppenkommandeur of III./JG 51. In August 1944, von Eichel-Streiber was appointed Gruppenkommandeur I./JG 27 on Reichsverteidigung duties. He recorded his 96th and last victory on 28 November when he shot down a USAAF P-47 fighter.

In November 1944 Von Eichel-Streiber underwent training on the Me 262 jet fighter at Lechfeld. He then supervised jet fighter conversion courses for bomber pilots from IX. (J) Flieger Korps before a transfer to JV 44, but did not fly any operational missions before the war's end.

He achieved a total of 96 Victories, 94 over the Eastern front, including 42 Il-2 Sturmoviks.

After the war

Von Eichel-Streiber survived the war and emigrated to the USA where he became a successful Volkswagen distributor in Modesto, California.



  • "Aces of the Luftwaffe". Diethelm von Eichel-Streiber. Retrieved 14 February 2008. 
  • 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. 
  • 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. 

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