Military Wiki
Rolf Pingel
Born (1913-10-01)October 1, 1913
Died 4 April 2000(2000-04-04) (aged 86)
Place of birth Kiel
Place of death Lollar
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Luftwaffe
Years of service 1934–1945
Rank Major
Unit Condor Legion
JG 53
JG 26
Commands held III./JG 53
I./JG 26

Spanish Civil War
World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Rolf Pingel (1 October 1913 – 4 April 2000) was a German Luftwaffe ace and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross during World War II. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.


Pingel was born 1 October 1913 in Kiel, at the time in the Province of Schleswig-Holstein, a province of the Kingdom of Prussia. Following completion of his flying training in 1937, Leutnant Pingel was posted to I./JG 134. He then served with the Condor Legion in the Spanish Civil War as a fighter pilot with 2./Jagdgruppe 88. He claimed six victories,in some 200 operations, and was awarded the Spanish Cross in Gold. Lt. Pingel was then transferred in as Staffelkapitän, 2./JG 334 in October 1937. 2./JG 334 became 2./JG 53 in March 1939.

Pingel's captured Bf 109F-2 (RAF serial ES906) at RAF Duxford, October 1941.

When the war broke out Oberleutnant Pingel claimed a French Air Force Mureaux 113 of GAO 1/506 near Saarlautern on 10 September 1939. On 30 September, he claimed a RAF Fairey Battle of No. 150 Squadron over the Saarbrücken-Merzig area, one of five claimed shot down by JG 53. On 11 June Pingel shot down two Morane MS 406 fighters. In August 1940, during the Battle of Britain Hauptmann Pingel was posted as Gruppenkommandeur of I./JG 26. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 14 September.

On 28 September, Pingel shot down a 249 Squadron Hawker Hurricane near Maidstone but his own aircraft was badly damaged, forcing Pingel to ditch off the English coast and be rescued by German air-sea rescue.

After 9 claims during the latter half of 1940, Pingel claimed his 20th air victory on 22 June 1941, a Spitfire near Dunkirk.

On 10 July 1941 Rolf Pingel was forced to land in England after being hit by return fire from a British Short Stirling bomber that he was pursuing. He descended to low altitude but was harried by several Spitfires, and he crashed landed near St. Margarets Bay and was taken prisoner by a detachment of Home Guard. He was released in 1947.

Pingel's aircraft, Bf 109 F–2, Werk Nr. 12764, was returned to flying condition by the RAF and allocated the serial number ES906. It was briefly flown for evaluation testing until it crashed near Fowlmere on 20 October 1941, killing its Polish pilot F/O J. Skalski. [1]

During his career Pingel was credited with 28 aerial victories, 6 in the Spanish Civil War and another 22 in World War II, in some 550 combat flights.



  1. "Pingel". Aircrew Remembrance Society. Retrieved 30 January 2011. 
  2. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 340.
  3. Scherzer 2007, p. 596.
  • 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. 

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Hauptmann Werner Mölders
Commander of III. Jagdgeschwader 53
June 1940 - July 1940
Succeeded by
Hauptmann Harro Harder
Preceded by
Hauptmann Kurt Fischer
Commander of I. Jagdgeschwader 26
22 August 1940 – 10 July 1941
Succeeded by
Major Johannes Seifert