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Ernst-Wilhelm Reinert

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Ernst-Wilhelm Reinert

Ernst-Wilhelm Reinert
Ernst-Wilhelm Reinert
Born (1919-02-02)2 February 1919
Died 5 September 2007(2007-09-05) (aged 88)
Bad Pyrmont
Allegiance Nazi Germany (to 1945)
West Germany
Service/branch Luftwaffe (Wehrmacht)
Luftwaffe (Bundeswehr)
Years of service 1939–45
Rank Hauptmann
Unit JG 77, JG 27
Commands held 1./JG 77, 8./JG 27, 12./JG 27

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords
Other work Heilpraktiker

Ernst-Wilhelm Reinert (2 February 1919 – 5 September 2007) was a German former Luftwaffe fighter ace and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords during World War II. A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down five or more enemy aircraft during aerial combat.[1] 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.


Ernst-Wilhelm Reinert was born 2 February 1919 in Lindenthal. After gaining his wings in April 1939 Reinert joined Ergänzungsgruppe/Jagdgeschwader 77 (JG 77—77th Fighter Wing) in Vienna in April 1941. Shortly afterwards, he was transferred to 4./JG 77, taking part in Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union. On 7 February 1942 Feldwebel Reinert was awarded the Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe for 24 victories, flying with II./JG 77 at Sarabus in the Crimea in March 1942. He was awarded the Deutsches Kreuz in Gold in May for 44 claims, before passing fifty claims in early June. The Ritterkreuz was awarded on 1 July 1942. On 23 July, he was shot down and wounded by a Petlyakov Pe-2 twin-engined bomber over Plaskaja. A period in hospital followed. Reinert returned to the front in September. On 3 October Fw. Reinert passed the century mark with three claims. On 6 October he was awarded the Eichenlaub for 103 victories.

Leutnant Reinert (left) and Feldwebel Maximilian Volke standing next to Hans-Joachim Marseille's "Otto" Kübelwagen, April 1943[2]

He was posted with the unit to Tunisia in December 1942 flying operations from east of Tripoli in Libya to support the Afrika Korps. Although heavily outnumbered, Reinert continued to score heavily where he became one of the most successful Luftwaffe 'experten' during that period of combat. One of his victims on 16 April was a Spitfire flown by 244 Wing leader and ace Wing Commander Ian Gleed. On 20 April Reinert was promoted to the rank of Leutnant.

Having been ordered to evacuate from Tunisia Lt. Reinert was ordered to fly to Sicily. Reinert took the controls of a Bf 109 G with Oblt. Baeumel and a mechanic crammed into the machine. En route to Sicily Reinert sighted a formation of Royal Navy Grumman Martlets and swung his overloaded fighter behind one of the British aircraft to shoot it down. Reinert then flew on safely to Sicily, to the relief of his passengers.

On 8 August Reinert was forced to ditch his G-6 in the sea near Milazzo after combat with P-40's. Reinert was then appointed Staffelführer of 3./JG 77 in October 1943 and then Staffelkapitän of 1./JG 77. In December he shot down a Supermarine Spitfire over Monte Cassino for his 165th claim. Early in 1944 Reinert was ill with malaria, and in April 1944 was transferred to Austria as a Staffelkapitän to JG 27 as an Oberleutnant.

JG 27 was transferred in June to the invasion front, flying over Caen and claiming a P-47 Thunderbolt on 27 June. Two further victories over Normandy followed, although Reinert was injured on 17 June and 5 July. Reinert's 12./JG 27 was redesignated as 14 Staffel in August and was withdrawn to Germany for refitting. Oberleutnant Reinert was then appointed Gruppenkommandeur of IV./JG 27 on 1 January 1945. Hauptmann Reinert was awarded the Schwerter on 30 January 1945. In March he transferred to JG 7 flying the Me 262.

Reinert flew 715 combat missions and was officially credited with shooting down 174 enemy aircraft plus 16 ground victories.[3] 103 claims were made on the Eastern Front, 20 on the Western Front, and 51 in the Mediterranean theatre. He also destroyed 16 armoured vehicles plus 6 locomotives.

Later life

After World War II up until the fifties, Ernst-Wilhelm Reinert pursued a career in business. In 1956 he rejoined the military service in the Bundeswehr as Major. Oberstleutnant Reinert retired in 1972.[3]



  1. ^ According to Scherzer on 5 October 1942.[8]


  1. ^ Spick 1996, pp. 3–4.
  2. ^ Michulec 2002, p. 64.
  3. ^ a b Berger 2000, pp. 284, 285.
  4. ^ a b c Berger 2000, p. 284.
  5. ^ Obermaier 1989, p. 40.
  6. ^ a b Thomas 1998, p. 191.
  7. ^ Patzwall and Scherzer 2001, p. 371.
  8. ^ a b c Scherzer 2007, p. 620.
  9. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 62.

External links

  • "Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945". Ernst Wilhelm Reinert. Retrieved 30 April 2007. 
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