|Erbo Graf von Kageneck|
Erbo Graf von Kageneck standing in front of his Messerschmitt Me 109E in Sicily, whilst being assisted by two ground crew personnel
|Born||2 April 1918|
|Died||12 January 1942(aged 23)|
|Place of birth||Bonn|
|Place of death||Naples, Italy|
|Years of service||1936–1942|
|Unit||JG 1, JG 27|
|Awards||Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub|
Erbo Graf von Kageneck[Notes 1] (2 April 1918 – 12 January 1942) was a German fighter pilot and flying ace in the Luftwaffe from 1938 to 1942 during World War II. He was credited with 67 aerial victories—that is, 67 aerial combat encounters resulting in the destruction of the enemy aircraft. He was the winner of the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves.
Von Kageneck was born in Bonn, one of four sons of Generalmajor Karl Graf von Kageneck and Freiin Maria von Schorlemer,[Notes 2] daughter of Clemens Freiherr von Schorlemer, an Imperial Secretary of Agriculture. His brothers included:
- ∞ Countess Caroline Henckel von Donnersmarck
- Franz Joseph Graf von Kageneck (1915–1941)
- ∞ Princess Elisabeth Maria of Bavaria
- August Graf von Kageneck (1922–2004), journalist and writer
After passing his Abitur in 1936, von Kageneck immediately joined the German air force, the Luftwaffe. At the outbreak of World War II, he served with Jagdgeschwader 1 and flew his first operational missions during the the invasion of Poland. Von Kageneck scored his first victory during the first days of the Blitzkrieg in the Netherlands and soon claimed four kills in the skies of Western Europe. He claimed a further nine victories during the Battle of Britain and on 18 September 1940, he was appointed Staffelkapitän (squadron leader) of Staffel 9, Jagdgeschwader 27. Von Kageneck also gained four victories over Hawker Hurricanes during his spell supporting the offensive against Malta.
In 1941, during the invasion of the Soviet Union, JG 27 was tasked with neutralising the Soviet air force. Von Kageneck shot down more than 20 Soviet aircraft in less than four weeks. For that he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 30 July 1941 and also was promoted to Oberleutnant (first lieutenant). By October 1941, von Kageneck had recorded 48 Soviet victories and — with his total now at 65 — was awarded the Oak Leaves to his Knight's Cross (Nr. 39) on 26 October 1941.
In December 1941, von Kageneck was transferred back to the Mediterranean theatre with Staffel 9, JG 27 and gained his last two victories against British Commonwealth fighters over the deserts of North Africa.
On 24 December, von Kageneck was seriously wounded in combat with several Desert Air Force (DAF) Tomahawks, and Hurricanes south of Agedabia. Both Sergeant Maxwell (of No. 94 Squadron RAF) and Pilot Officer Thompson (No. 229 Squadron RAF) made claims for a fighter shot down in the same action. Many years later, some sources, including von Kageneck's brother, August Graf von Kageneck, claimed that the shots which hit Erbo were fired by the pre-eminent Australian ace of the war, Clive Caldwell. The main reason for this was that Caldwell favoured attacks from beneath his opponents, which was precisely the fashion in which Kageneck's wounds were sustained.
Although he suffered severe injuries to his stomach, abdomen and groin, von Kageneck managed to fly his crippled fighter back to his base at El Magrun and pull off an emergency landing. He was immediately evacuated, first to a hospital in Athens, and then to another in Naples where, despite intensive care, he died of his wounds on 12 January 1942 at the age of 23. He was posthumously promoted to Hauptmann (captain).
- Iron Cross (1939)
- Wound Badge
- in Black
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
- Regarding personal names: Graf was a title, before 1919, but now is regarded as part of the surname. It is translated as Count. Before the August 1919 abolition of nobility as a separate estate, titles preceded the full name when given (Prinz Otto von Bismarck). After 1919, these titles, along with any nobiliary prefix (von, zu, etc.), could be used, but were regarded as part of the surname, and thus came after a first name (Otto Prinz von Bismarck). The feminine form is Gräfin.
- Regarding personal names: Freiin was a title, before 1919, but now is regarded as part of the surname. It is translated as Baroness. Before the August 1919 abolition of nobility as a separate estate, titles preceded the full name when given (Prinz Otto von Bismarck). After 1919, these titles, along with any nobiliary prefix (von, zu, etc.), could be used, but were regarded as part of the surname, and thus came after a first name (Otto Prinz von Bismarck). The title is for the unmarried daughters of a Freiherr.
- Close personal friend of panzer commander Franz Wittelsbach, Prinz von Bayern.
- Alexander 2006, p. 224-228.
- Thomas 1997, p. 339.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 428.
- Alexander, Kristen (2006). Clive Caldwell: Air Ace. Crows Nest, Australia: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-74114-705-0.
- Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939-1945 (in German). Wölfersheim and Wölfersheim-Berstadt, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 3-7909-0284-5.
- Graf von Kageneck, August (1999). Erbo, pilote de chasse, 1918-1942. Paris: Perrin. ISBN 2-262-01512-0
- 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.
- Shores, Christopher. Aces High -Volume 2 (Grub Street 1999)
- Williamson, Gordon & Bujeiro, Ramiro (2005). Knight's Cross and Oak Leaves Recipients 1941-45. Osprey Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-84176-642-9.
- Thomas, Franz (1997) (in German). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 1: A–K [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 1: A–K]. Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2299-6.
- Erbo Graf von Kageneck @ Aces of the Luftwaffe
- Erbo Graf von Kageneck @ Aircrew Remembrance Society
- Erbo Graf von Kageneck @ Lexikon der Wehrmacht
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