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Helmuth Bode
File:RK EK-2.png
Born (1907-10-15)October 15, 1907
Died April 13, 1985(1985-04-13) (aged 77)
Place of birth Metz, Alsace-Lorraine
Place of death Bielefeld, Germany
Allegiance  Nazi Germany (to 1945)
 West Germany
Service/branch Balkenkreuz.svg Luftwaffe
Years of service 1940—1945
1955—62 (?)
Rank Major
Unit Sturzkampfgeschwader 77 (StG 77)
Commands held III. Gruppe (Gruppenkommandeure)

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Helmuth Bode (1907–1985) was a German World War II fighter pilot. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on October 10, 1941. After the war, he served with the West German Air Force, the Bundesluftwaffe.


Helmuth Bode was born on 15 October 1907 in Metz, Alsace-Lorraine. He did not join the German Army straight from school and instead joined the German Air Transport School where his flying career began. The school was a covert military-training organization, operating as a flying school in Germany. Bode rapidly became a flight instructor in the Deutsche Verkehrsfliegerschule.

Bode joined the Luftwaffe in 1936 as a reservist and was promoted to Oberleutnant in June 1938. He showed a natural ability as a pilot and completed his fighter pilot training in 1939. He was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of III./StG 77 in May 1940. From May 1940 III./StG 77 were heavily involved in tactical support operations as part of VIII. Fliegerkorps. The unit was involved in the attack on Belgium and the Low Countries. Often flying 6 or 7 missions a day, Bode flew missions bombing fortifications, lines of communication, troop concentrations and defence works, moving from one airfield to another as the Army advanced through the Netherlands and Northern Belgium.

Based in the Cherbourg area, III./StG 77 (and Bode) then participated in the early part of the Battle of Britain, suffering high losses.

After extensive operational flying over Britain, the Balkans and on the Eastern front (Sebastopol) in 1941, Bode was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 10 October 1941. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross recognized extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership in the German military.

In September 1942 Bode was assigned to take the command of a special unit working on the "Flugzeugträger Graf Zeppelin" project, in Travemünde. After this assignment, he was again selected to be a flight instructor, this time on the Stuka. From August 1944 to January 1945, he was appointed liaison officer with the Bulgarian army. He was eventually assigned to the Army Group E, before being sent to a Prisoner of War camp by the Allies.

Bode enlisted again in the Bundeswehr in 1955. He became a colonel (Oberst) in the new West German Air Force, the Bundesluftwaffe. After his military retirement, Helmuth Bode died on 13 April 1985.

Awards and decorations


  1. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 136.
  • Brütting, Georg (1995) (in German). Das waren die deutschen Stuka-Asse 1939 – 1945 [These were the German Stuka Aces 1939 - 1945]. Stuttgart, Germany: Motorbuch. ISBN 978-3-87943-433-6. 
  • de Zeng, H.L; Stanket, D.G; Creek, E.J. (2007). Bomber Units of the Luftwaffe 1933-1945; A Reference Source, Volume 1. Ian Allan Publishing. ISBN 978-1-85780-279-5.
  • de Zeng, H.L; Stanket, D.G; Creek, E.J. (2007) Bomber Units of the Luftwaffe 1933-1945; A Reference Source, Volume 2. Ian Allan Publishing. ISBN 978-1-903223-87-1.
  • 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 (1976) (in German). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Luftwaffe 1939–1945 Band II Stuka- und Schlachtflieger [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the Luftwaffe 1941 – 1945 Volume II Dive Bomber and Attack Aircraft]. Mainz, Germany: Verlag Dieter Hoffmann. ISBN 978-3-87341-021-3. 
  • 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. 

External links

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