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Joachim Brendel
Joachim Brendel
Born (1921-04-27)27 April 1921
Died 7 July 1974(1974-07-07) (aged 53)
Place of birth Ulrichshalben near Weimar
Place of death Cologne
Allegiance Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Service/branch Balkenkreuz.svg Luftwaffe
Years of service 1939–1945
Rank Hauptmann
Unit JG 51
Commands held 1./JG 51, III./JG 51
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves

Joachim Brendel (27 April 1921 – 7 July 1974) was a German Luftwaffe fighter ace and recipient of Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (German language: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub). 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. Brendel was credited with 189 aerial victories—that is, 189 aerial combat encounters resulting in the destruction of the enemy aircraft—claimed in 950 all Eastern Front combat missions, among them 162 ground support missions.[1][2] A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down five or more enemy aircraft during aerial combat.[3]


Joachim Brendel was born on 27 April 1921 in Ulrichshalben near Weimar. Brendel began his combat career in 1941 as a Leutnant and Rottenflieger with I./Jagdgeschwader 51 (JG 51—51st Fighter Wing) on the Russian front. On only his fourth mission he scored his first victory, but had to wait until 31 March 1942 flying another 116 missions to score again. The beginning of 1943 saw a marked change in Brendels performance, by February he had 20 kills to his credit, on the 9 July 1943 he scored his 50th victory. After his 95th victory he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and on the 16 October 1944 he achieved his 150th victory which earning him the Oak Leaves to the Knight' Cross on 14 January 1945 by this time his score stood at 156 kills. By now he had been promoted to the rank of Hauptmann and was Gruppenkommandeur (group commander) of III./JG 51. His final victory came on the 25 April 1945. Joachim Brendel finished the War with 189 victories and emerged as JG 51 highest scorer on the Eastern Front, including over 90 heavily armored Ilyushin Sturmoviks.[4]

He died on 7 July 1974 in Cologne.



  1. 1.0 1.1 Obermaier 1989, p. 71.
  2. Spick 1996, p. 228
  3. Spick 1996, pp. 3–4.
  4. Weal 2001, p. 45
  5. 5.0 5.1 Thomas 1997, p. 81.
  6. Patzwall and Scherzer 2001, p. 59.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Scherzer 2007, p. 242.
  8. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 144.
  9. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 94.
  • Aders, Gebhard & Held, Werner (1993). Jagdgeschwader 51 'Mölders' Eine Chronik - Berichte - Erlebnisse - Dokumente (in German). Stuttgart, Germany: Motorbuch Verlag. ISBN 3-613-01045-3.
  • 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. 
  • 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. New York: Ivy Books. ISBN 978-0-8041-1696-1. 
  • 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. 
  • Weal, John (2001). Bf 109 Aces of the Russian Front. Osprey Publishin Limited. ISBN 1-84176-084-6.

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