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Günther Josten
Günther Josten
Born (1921-11-07)7 November 1921
Died 7 July 2004(2004-07-07) (aged 82)
Place of birth Rhynern in Hamm
Place of death Aurich
Allegiance  Nazi Germany (to 1945)
 West Germany
Service/branch Luftwaffe (Wehrmacht)
Luftwaffe (Bundeswehr)
Years of service 1940–1981
Unit JG 51, JG 71
Commands held 3./JG 51, IV./JG 51, JG 71
Awards Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves

Günther Josten (7 November 1921 – 7 July 2004) was a German former Luftwaffe fighter ace and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves during World War II. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. He was born in Rhynern, in the city of Hamm in the Province of Westphalia.


Günther Josten was born on 7 November 1921, the second son of Protestant pastor Johannes Josten. He attended the elite boarding school Schulpforta, which was made into a National Political Institutes of Education. He joined the Luftwaffe in January 1940 and was transferred to the Jagdgruppe Drontheim on 1 November 1941. At the end of August 1942 he was reassigned to 3./Jagdgeschwader 51 "Mölders" (3./JG 51—3rd squadron of the 51st fighter wing) on the Eastern front. On 23 February 1943 he claimed his first aerial victory. On 10 July 1943 he scored multiple times for his claims 8 to 10. Three days later on 13 July he shot down 5 Il-2 Sturmoviks for victories 12 to 16. All in all he claimed 19 victories in July and 30 in August. After a successful September with 26 victories he was transferred to Luftkriegsschule Fürstenfeldbruck. He returned to his Staffel on 3 February 1944. Two days later he claimed two Bostons and was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross as Oberfeldwebel.

He claimed his 90th victory on 2 May 1944 and was promoted to Leutnant. On 18 September 1944 he took command of 3./JG 51 as Staffelkapitän. On 20 September he reached the century mark. His 123rd aerial victory was a Boeing B-17 on a supply mission to Warsaw. By October 26 his score had reached 139 claims. His 150th kill was claimed on 16 February 1945. On 28 March 1945 Oberleutnant Josten was awarded the 810th Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross for 161 aerial victories. He was promoted to Gruppenkommandeur of IV./JG 51 on 18 April 1945. His last seven aerial victories were claimed on 25 April 1945.

Josten flew 420 combat missions, was never shot down, and was officially credited with shooting down 178 enemy aircraft. His brother, Reinhard Josten, also served in Jagdgeschwader 51 and was killed returning from a mission on 21 April 1942.

Later life

After World War II, Günther Josten rejoined the military service in the Bundeswehr and succeeded Erich Hartmann as Geschwaderkommodore of Jagdgeschwader 71. It was under his command that Jagdgeschwader 71 reequipped the Canadair Sabre with the U.S.-made Lockheed F-104 Starfighter. Oberst Josten retired on 31 March 1981.



  1. 1.0 1.1 Thomas 1997, p. 333.
  2. Obermaier 1989, p. 75.
  3. Patzwall and Scherzer 2001, p. 213.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Scherzer 2007, p. 424.
  • 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. 
  • Josten, Günther (2011). Braatz, Kurt; Göpel, Wilhelm. eds (in German). Gefechtsbericht – Kriegstagebücher 1939–1945. Kommodore in der Starfighter-Krise [Battle Report - War Diaries 1939-1945. Commodore in the Starfighter Crisis]. Moosburg, Germany: NeunundzwanzigSechs. ISBN 978-3-9811615-7-1. 
  • 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. 
  • 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. 

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Oberstleutnant Erich Hartmann
Commander of Jagdgeschwader 71 Richthofen
30 May 1962 – 1 April 1967
Succeeded by
Oberst Horst Dieter Kallerhoff

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