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Hans Philipp
Hans Philipp
Born (1917-03-17)17 March 1917
Died 8 October 1943(1943-10-08) (aged 26)
Place of birth Meissen, Saxony, Germany
Place of death near Neuenhaus
Allegiance Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Service/branch Balkenkreuz.svg Luftwaffe
Years of service 1936 – 1943
Rank Oberstleutnant
Unit JG 76, JG 54, JG 1
Commands held 4./JG 54, I./JG 54, JG 1

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords

Lieutenant Colonel Hans Philipp (17 March 1917 – 8 October 1943) was a German World War II fighter ace who served in the Luftwaffe from 1936 until he was killed in action 8 October 1943 by a P-47 Thunderbolt-pilot. It is believed that he was shot down by Robert S. Johnson.[1] Philipp managed to bail out but his parachute never opened.

Philipp was born in Meissen, Saxony, Germany.

World War II career

As part of I./JG 76 (later to renumber as II./Jagdgeschwader 54 (JG 54) Philipp first flew operations over Poland and scored his first victory. Serving later during the Battles of France and Britain, Hans Philipp was Staffelkapitän of 4./JG 54 by the end of 1940.

On November 4, 1940 he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) for twenty victories.

During the Balkans campaign in April 1941, JG 54 engaged the Bf 109's of the Jugoslovensko Kraljevsko Ratno Vazduhoplovstvo (JKRV—Yugoslav Royal Air Force) in a massive air battle. Hans Philipp claimed two of the JKRV 109s.

Operation Barbarossa saw Philipp's score begin to escalate. On August 24, 1941, Philipp became the 33rd member recipient of the Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross. Philipp appointed as Kommandeur I./JG 54.

In March 1942, he became the first member of JG 54 to be awarded the Swords to the Knight's Cross and on March 31, 1942 Philipp became the fourth Luftwaffe fighter pilot to achieve 100 victories.

In April 1943 Philipp was transferred to Defense of the Reich duties as Geschwaderkommodore of Jagdgeschwader 1, flying high altitude interception operations over North Sea and Northern Germany. On 4 October 1943 Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring is said to have issued the following instructions after another attack by Eighth Air Force.[2]

  1. There are no meteorological conditions which would prevent fighters from taking off and engaging in combat.
  2. Every fighter pilot taking off in a machine not showing any sign of combat, or without having recorded a victory will be prosecuted by a court-martial.
  3. In the case of where a pilot uses up his ammunition, or if his weapons are unusable, he should ram the enemy bomber.

Geschwaderkommodore Philipp's response was "As far as I'm concerned, I categorically refuse to allow myself to be held to such advice; I know what I have to do!"[2]

On 8 October 1943, the US Eighth Air Force attacked with 156 bombers on targets in Bremen and Vegesack. The bombers were escorted by 250+ Thunderbolts from six different fighter groups. Phillipp's flight were intercepted by P-47's of the 56th Fighter Group. The Stab Flight of the Geschwader heard Philipp announce a victory over a Thunderbolt. The last transmission from him was, "Reinhardt, attack!" Feldwebel Reinhardt was Philipp's wingman on this day. He last saw the Kommodore's aircraft disappear in a cloud. Reinhardt was wounded after colliding with an enemy aircraft, but made a successful forced landing. Later that evening, the Geschwader learned that their Kommodore had been shot down and killed.[2]

Hans Philipp had claimed 206 enemy aircraft shot down, 178 on the Eastern front, 29 against the Western Allies. He flew over 500 sorties.


References in the Wehrmachtbericht

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
Monday, 7 July 1941 Oberleutnant Philipp errang am 4. Juli seinen 31., 32. und 33. Luftsieg.[8] Oberleutnant Philipp achieved his 31st, 32nd and 33rd aerial victory on July 4.
Sunday, 7 June 1942 Hauptmann Philipp, Gruppenkommandeur in einem Jagdgeschwader, errang am gestrigen Tage an der Ostfront seinen 101. bis 103. Luftsieg.[9] Hauptmann Philipp, group commander in a fighter wing, achieved his 101st to 103rd aerial victory on the Eastern Front yesterday.
Saturday, 27 June 1942 Hauptmann Philipp errang am gestrigen Tage seinen 108. bis 110. Luftsieg.[10] Hauptmann Philipp achieved his 108th to 110th aerial victory yesterday.
18 March 1943 Major Philipp, Gruppenkommandeur in einem Jagdgeschwader, errang am gestrigen Tage nach vier Abschüssen seinen 203. Luftsieg.[11] Major Philipp, group commander in a fighter wing, achieved his 203rd aerial victory by shooting down four yesterday.
12 October 1943 Der Kommodore eines Jagdgeschwaders, Oberstleutnant Hans Philipp, Inhaber des Eichenlaubs mit Schwertern zum Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes, fand im Luftkampf den Heldentod. Mit ihm verliert die Luftwaffe einen der hervorragendsten Jagdflieger und Verbandsführer, der 206 Luftsiege errungen hat.[12] The commodore of a fighter Wing, Oberstleutnant Hans Philipp, owner of the Oak Leaves with Swords to the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, found a heroic death in aerial combat. With him the Luftwaffe lost one of its most outstanding fighter pilots and formation leaders, who has achieved 206 aerial victories.


  1. Major Robert S. Johnson
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Eric Mombeek, Defending the Reich: The History of Jagdgeschwader 1 - Oesau, 2003
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Berger 2000, p. 268.
  4. Obermaier 1989, p. 30.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Thomas 1998, p. 153.
  6. Patzwall and Scherzer 2001, p. 350.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Scherzer 2007, p. 593.
  8. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939-1945 Band 1, p. 610.
  9. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939-1945 Band 2, p. 153.
  10. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939-1945 Band 2, p. 177.
  11. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939-1945 Band 2, p. 466.
  12. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939-1945 Band 2, p. 581.
  • Berger, Florian (1999) (in German). Mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern. Die höchstdekorierten Soldaten des Zweiten Weltkrieges [With Oak Leaves and Swords. The Highest Decorated Soldiers of the Second World War]. Vienna, Austria: Selbstverlag Florian Berger. ISBN 978-3-9501307-0-6. 
  • 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. 
  • Mombeek, Eric (September 13 2003). Defenders of the Reich: Jagdgeschwder 1 Volume Three 1944-1945 (Defenders of the Reich). Classic Publications. ISBN 1-903223-03-2. 
  • 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 (1998) (in German). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 2: L–Z [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 2: L–Z]. Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2300-9. 
  • Weal, John (1996). Focke-Wulf Fw 190 Aces of the Western Front. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-85532-595-0.
  • Williamson, Gordon (2006). Knight's Cross, Oak-Leaves and Swords Recipients 1941-45. Osprey Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-84176-643-7.
  • (in German) Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, 1. September 1939 bis 31. Dezember 1941 [The Wehrmacht Reports 1939–1945 Volume 1, 1 September 1939 to 31 December 1941]. München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 978-3-423-05944-2. 
  • (in German) Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 2, 1. Januar 1942 bis 31. Dezember 1943 [The Wehrmacht Reports 1939–1945 Volume 2, 1 January 1942 to 31 December 1943]. München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 978-3-423-05944-2. 

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Oberstleutnant Dr. Erich Mix
Commander of Jagdgeschwader 1 Oesau
1 April 1943 – 8 October 1943
Succeeded by
Major Hermann Graf

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