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Franz Eisenach
Born (1918-08-11)11 August 1918
Died August 21, 1998(1998-08-21) (age 80)
Place of birth Reetz, Province of Brandenburg
Place of death Ottobrunn near Munich
Allegiance  Nazi Germany (to 1945)
 West Germany
Service/branch Luftwaffe (Wehrmacht)
Luftwaffe (Bundeswehr)
Years of service 1937–1945, 1956–1974
Rank Major (Wehrmacht)
Oberstleutnant (Bundeswehr)
Unit ZG 76, JG 1, JG 5, JG 54
Commands held 3./JG 54

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Franz Eisenach (11 August 1918 – 21 August 1998) was a German Luftwaffe 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. Eisenach was credited with 129 aerial victories—that is, 129 aerial combat encounters resulting in the destruction of the enemy aircraft—claimed in 319 combat missions.[1]


Eisenach entered the Luftwaffe in 1937 and became an officer cadet in 1937. By 1939 he attained the rank of Leutnant. From 1940 Eisenach flew with various Groups, until joining 9./Jagdgeschwader 54 (JG 54) on the Eastern Front in October 1942. He became Staffelkapitän (Squadron Leader) of 3./JG 54 with prominent success, but was badly wounded in December 1943. On 1 May 1944, he was promoted to the rank of Hauptmann. In June 1944, he was serving with I./JG 54, based in Courland on the Eastern front, he became Gruppenkommandeur of I./JG 54 but in September 1944 he was wounded again, this time after an encounter with a bomber. Awarded the Knights Cross, he returned to combat until the war's end. His final tally was 129 victories claimed in 317 combat missions.

On 8 November, during his 21st combat mission, Eisenach claimed his first victory by shooting down a P-40 fighter on the Eastern Front. On 8 July, he shot down a Russian A-20 Boston twin-engine bomber, achieving his 21st victory but in a subsequent dogfight his aircraft was damaged necessitating an emergency landing. He required immediate hospitalisation. Eisenach claimed his 100th victory on 14 September 1944 by shooting down an IL-2 Sturmovik.That day he shot down 9 planes,include 5 Il-2 and 4 Pe-2. His last victory was on 19 March over a Pe-2, reaching 129 victories. He also claimed 25 unconfirmed victories.

After the war he was confined as a British POW. Major Franz Eisenach re-joined the military service of the Bundeswehr in 1956. He left the service in 1974 with the rank of Oberstleutnant.



  1. According to Scherzer as pilot in the II./JG 54.[5]


  1. Spick 1996, p. 230.
  2. Obermaier 1989, p. 107.
  3. Patzwall and Scherzer 2001, p. 101.
  4. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 171.
  5. Scherzer 2007, p. 292.
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939-1945. Friedburg, Germany: 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.

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