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Ernst-Wilhelm Modrow
Ernst Wilhelm Modrow
Born (1908-05-05)May 5, 1908
Died September 10, 1990(1990-09-10) (aged 82)
Place of birth Stettin
Place of death Kiel
Allegiance Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Flag of Germany West Germany
Service/branch Luftwaffe
Years of service 1939–1945
Rank Major (Wehrmacht)
Oberstleutnant (Bundeswehr)
Unit KGr. Z.b.V. 108

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Other work Lufthansa

Ernst-Wilhelm Modrow (5 May 1908 – 10 September 1990) was a German Luftwaffe night fighter ace and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German language: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) during World War II. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.

Early life[]

Modrow was born 5 May 1908 at Stettin He qualified as a pilot in 1929. From 1933 he flew with Colombian airline SCADTA and by May 1937 was flying South American postal routes for Lufthansa.


At the start of World War 2, Modrow was posted to KGr. Z.b.V. 108 flying the Dornier Do 26 four-engine flying boat. He participated in the Norwegian campaign over Narvik in support of the German forces. On 28 May 1940 Modrow was moored in Rombaken fjord when his Do 26 V-1 was strafed and sunk by RAF Hawker Hurricanes, Feldwebel Modrow being badly wounded.

In March 1941 Modrow was an instructor at Blindflugschule 1 at Brandis. For a year from April 1942 he flew Bv 222 six-engine flying boats in the Mediterranean theatre, undertaking 100 supply missions in support of the Afrika Korps.

In October 1943, Hauptmann Modrow transferred to the Nachtjagd, being posted to 2./NJG 1. On the night of 7/8 March 1944, Modrow gained his first victory, a RAF twin-engine bomber shot down near Venlo. He claimed two more four-engine bombers on 31 March. Modrow was appointed Staffelkapitän of 1./NJG 1 on 1 April 1944. He recorded 10 victories during May and 9 in June, including three victories on the night of 12/13 June and four victories on the night of 21/22 June.

Hauptmann Modrow was awarded the Ritterkreuz on 19 August 1944 for 27 victories. He gained his 34th, and last, victory on the night of 5/6 January 1945.

Ernst-Wilhelm Modrow was credited with 34 victories in 259 missions, including 109 missions as a night fighter pilot. All his victories were recorded at night and 33 in the Heinkel 219 Uhu.[Notes 1] In the 1950s he joined Bundeswehr, and retired 1964 as an Oberstleutnant.



  1. For a list of Luftwaffe night fighter aces see List of German World War II night fighter aces.


  1. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 256.
  • 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. 
  • 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. 

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