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Kurt Plenzat
File:Kurt Plenzat.jpg
Kurt Plenzat
Born (1914-01-17)17 January 1914
Died 17 November 1998(1998-11-17) (aged 84)
Place of birth Insterburg
Place of death Cologne
Allegiance  Nazi Germany (to 1945)
 West Germany
Service/branch Luftwaffe (Wehrmacht)
Luftwaffe (Bundeswehr)
Years of service 1933–1945
Rank Hauptmann
Unit StG 2
Commands held 2./ StG 2

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves

Kurt Plenzat (17 January 1914 – 17 November 1998) was a German Hauptmann 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.

Early life

Plenzat was born in Insterburg, East Prussia. On 1 April 1933, he joined the 10th company of the 2nd Infantry-Regiment. In 1935, he transferred to the 11th company of the 44th Infantry-Regiment only to join the Luftwaffe in July 1938. He was trained as a Stuka pilot and was transferred via the Ergänzungsgruppe of the 2nd Stuka-Geschwader StG 2 to the 2nd Staffel of the Geschwader.[Notes 1]

World War II

Feldwebel Plenzat flew his first combat sortie in 1940 over the English Channel. In the spring of 1941 he participated in the Balkans Campaign and the Battle of Crete.

From June 1941 on, Plenzat fought on the Eastern front over Russia. On 14 October, he was awarded the Ehrenpokal of the Luftwaffe. On 20 April 1942, after 652 combat sorties, he received the German Cross in Gold. After 652 combat sorties on 19 September 1943 as Oberfeldwebel, Plenzat received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. Since the end of 1943, after being promoted to Leutnant, he led the 2nd Staffel of the now renamed Schlachtgeschwader 2 Immelmann. On 18 October 1944, Plenzat flew his 1,000th mission over Hungary. After his 1,100th mission, he was decorated with the 712th Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves on 24 January 1945.

By the end of the war, Plenzat had flown 1,234 combat sorties and is listed fourth on the list of Stuka-Aces.[Notes 2] He was shot down seven times, claimed four aerial victories, and destroyed approximately 80 tanks, which ranks him 12th of all German ground attack pilots.

After the war

After the take-over of eastern Germany by the Soviet Union, Plenzart found refuge in West Germany and in 1957 he joined the Bundeswehr. In 1971, he retired holding the rank of Hauptmann. He died in Cologne.



  1. For an explanation of the meaning of Luftwaffe unit designation see Luftwaffe Organization
  2. For a list of Luftwaffe ground attack aces see List of German World War II Ground Attack aces


  1. Patzwall and Scherzer 2001, p. 354.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Scherzer 2007, p. 597.
  3. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 340.
  4. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 95.
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • 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. 

External links

"Kurt Plenzat" (in German). Lexikon der Wehrmacht. Retrieved 21 May 2011. 

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