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Werner Streib
File:Werner Streib.jpg
Werner Streib
Born (1911-06-13)13 June 1911
Died 15 June 1986(1986-06-15) (aged 75)
Place of birth Pforzheim
Place of death München
Buried at München, Ostfriedhof
Plot 41—Row 1—Grave 5
Allegiance Flag of German Reich (1935–1945) Nazi Germany (to 1945)
Flag of Germany West Germany
Service/branch Heer (1934–1935)
Luftwaffe (1935–1966)
Years of service 1934–1945
Rank Oberst
Unit NJG 1
Commands held NJG 1

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords
Other work Bundeswehr

Werner Streib (13 June 1911 – 15 June 1986) was a German Luftwaffe fighter ace and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords during World War II. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves and Swords was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.

Military career[]

Often called 'Father of the Nachtjagd' Streib helped develop the operational tactics used by the Nachtjagd during the early to mid-war years, and along with the likes of Wolfgang Falck made the Luftwaffe's nightfighter arm an effective fighting force against the Royal Air Force (RAF) bombing offensive. He is mentioned in the book "Almost a lifetime" by John McMahon when he, shot down John's Lancaster, killing all but John.

Werner Streib was born on 13 June 1911 in Pforzheim Germany. After a spell in banking and finance, he joined the Wermacht as an infantryman. A transfer to the Luftwaffe, as an observer in a reconnaissance unit followed, and later he trained as a fighter pilot. In 1937, he was assigned to Jagdgeschwader 2 "Richthofen" at Jüterbog-Damm. He then became a Messerschmitt Bf-110 Zerstörer pilot in Wolfgang Falck's Zerstörergeschwader 1 as the war began.

His first victory and only daylight victory was over a RAF Bristol Blenheim on 10 May 1940. In May 1940 the creation of the Nachtjagd was commenced, and on 20 July, as part of 2./Nachtjagdgeschwader 1 (NJG 1), Werner Streib claimed his first night victory (and the first official Nachtjagd victory) over a RAF Whitley.

By October 1940 Streib was commanding of I gruppe, NJG 1, based at Venlo, Netherlands in order to more easily intercept the known RAF bomber routes into targets in the Ruhr. He would be awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 6 October 1940 as an Oberleutnant with eight victories claimed. By May 1941 he had 26 confirmed victories. He was awarded the Oak Leaves to his Knights Cross on 26 February 1943 as a Major and Geschwaderkommodore (wing commander) of NJG 1 with 42 confirmed victories.

Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1972-004-32, Heinkel He 219 als Nachtjäger

Heinkel He 219

On the night of 11–12 June 1943, Werner Streib flew a prototype version of the Heinkel He 219 and claimed to have shot down 5 Lancaster bombers within just 30 minutes. However, when returning to Venlo Streib misjudged the landing approach and used the flaps at too high a speed. The Heinkel crashed and was written off on upon landing, Streib and his Bordfunker (radio or wireless operator) escaping with slight injuries.

On 11 March 1944 he was awarded the Swords to his Knights Cross for 66 confirmed victories.

On 23 March 1944 he was made Inspector of Night Fighters and he would stay in this post as Oberst until the end of the war.

Werner Streib was officially credited with shooting down 66 enemy aircraft, with 65 claimed at night.[Notes 1] He was the first night fighter pilot to be honoured with the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.

After the war he worked in the grocery business before joining the Bundeswehr on 16 March 1956. For three years he commanded the pilot school A in Landsberg am Lech, equipped with the T-6 Texan was responsible for training the beginner pilots in the Luftwaffe. Brigadegeneral Streib's military career ended with his retirement on 31 March 1966. His last position was Inspizient Fliegende Verbände (Inspector of Flying Forces).

He died on 15 June 1986 and is buried in Munich, Germany.


References in the Wehrmachtbericht[]

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
Tuesday, 1 October 1940 Als Nachtjäger zeichnete sich Oberleutnant Streit ganz besonders aus.[Notes 2] Er brachte allein drei feindliche Flugzeuge zum Absturz.[4] Oberleutnant Streib distinguished himself as a night fighter pilot. He alone brought down three enemy aircraft.
Saturday, 15 March 1941 Bei Nachtjagd schoß Hauptmann Streib seinen zehnten Gegner ab.[5] Hauptmann Streib shot down his tenth opponent as a night fighter.
Saturday, 5 July 1941 Hauptmann Streib errang in der Nacht zum 4. Juli seinen 15. Nachtjagdsieg.[6] Hauptmann Streib achieved his 15th nocturnal aerial victory in the night to July 4th.
Sunday, 31 May 1942 Ein Nachtjagdverband unter Führung des Generalleutnants Kammhuber erzielte hierbei seinen 600. Nachtjagdabschuß, Hauptmann Streib seinen 25. und 26. und Oberleutnant Knacke seinen 20. Nachtjagdsieg.[7] A night fighter unit under the leadership of Generalleutnant Kammhuber achieved hereby their 600th aerial victory at night, Hauptmann Streib achieved his 25th and 26th and Oberleutnant Knacke his 20th nocturnal aerial victory.


  1. For a list of Luftwaffe night fighter aces see List of German World War II night fighter aces
  2. The misspelling of his last name is intentional since this is how it appeared in the Wehrmachtbericht.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Thomas 1998, p. 361.
  2. Patzwall and Scherzer 2001, p. 464.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Scherzer 2007, p. 730.
  4. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, p. 317.
  5. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, p. 446.
  6. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, p. 607.
  7. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 2, p. 146.
  • 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]. Friedburg, 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. 
  • Schaulen, Fritjof (2005). Eichenlaubträger 1940 – 1945 Zeitgeschichte in Farbe III Radusch – Zwernemann (in German). Selent, Germany: Pour le Mérite. ISBN 3-932381-22-X.
  • 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. 
  • Scutts, Jerry (1998). German Night Fighter Aces of World War 2. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-85532-696-5.
  • 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. 
  • Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, 1. September 1939 bis 31. Dezember 1941 (in German). München: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, 1985. ISBN 3-423-05944-3.
  • Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 2, 1. Januar 1942 bis 31. Dezember 1943 (in German). München: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, 1985. ISBN 3-423-05944-3.

External links[]

Military offices
Preceded by
Oberst Wolfgang Falck
Commander of Nachtjagdgeschwader 1
1 July 1943 – March 1944
Succeeded by
Oberleutnant Hans-Joachim Jabs

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