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Günther Lützow

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Title: Günther Lützow  
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Subject: Adolf Galland, Werner Mölders, Wolf-Dietrich Wilcke, Gordon Gollob, Wolfgang Schellmann
Collection: 1912 Births, 1945 Deaths, Aerial Disappearances of Military Personnel in Action, Aviators Killed in Aviation Accidents or Incidents in Germany, Condor Legion Personnel, German Military Personnel Killed in World War II, German World War II Flying Aces, Military Personnel Referenced in the Wehrmachtbericht, Missing Aviators, Missing in Action of World War II, People from Kiel, People from the Province of Schleswig-Holstein, Recipients of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords, Recipients of the Knight's Cross with Swords, Recipients of the Spanish Cross, Spanish Civil War Flying Aces
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Günther Lützow

Günther Lützow
The head and shoulders of a young man, shown in semi-profile. He wears a military uniform with an Iron Cross displayed at the front of his shirt collar. His hair is short and combed to his right, his nose is short, and his facial expression is determined; looking into the camera.
Günther Lützow
Nickname(s) Franz or Franzl
Born (1912-09-04)4 September 1912
Died 24 April 1945(1945-04-24) (aged 32)
near Donauwörth
Allegiance  Weimar Republic (to 1933)
 Nazi Germany
Service/branch Reichsheer (1931–35)
Luftwaffe (1935–45)
Years of service 1931–45
Rank Oberst (Colonel)
Unit J/88, JG 3, JG 51, JV 44
Commands held 2. J/88
I./JG 3, JG 3, JG 51

Spanish Civil War

World War II

Awards Spanish Cross in Gold with Swords and Diamonds
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords
Relations Friedrich Lützow (father)
Kurt von Priesdorff (father-in-law)
Eberhard Kinzel (uncle)

Günther Lützow (4 September 1912 – 24 April 1945) was a German Luftwaffe military aviator during Spanish Civil War and World War II, a fighter ace credited with 110 enemy aircraft shot down in over 300 combat missions. He claimed 5 victories in Spain, the majority of his victories of World War II were claimed over the Eastern Front, with 20 over the Western Front, including two victories flying the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter and one four-engined bomber.

Born in Staffel (2nd squadron) of Jagdgruppe 88 (J/88—88th Fighter Group). From April–September 1937, he claimed five aerial victories. For his service in Spain he was awarded the Spanish Cross in Gold with Swords and Diamonds, Germany's highest decoration of the Spanish Civil War.

After an assignment as fighter pilot instructor he was appointed Gruppe (1st group) of Jagdgeschwader 3 (JG 3—3rd Fighter Wing) following the outbreak of World War II on 3 November 1939. He led the Gruppe through the Battle of France and claimed his first victory of World War II on 14 May 1940. Lützow became Geschwaderkommodore (wing commander) of JG 3 on 21 August 1940. During the height of the Battle of Britain on 18 September 1940, he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross after 15 aerial victories in World War II. Lützow commanded JG 3 in the aerial battles of Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union. There, after 42 aerial victories of World War II, he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves on 20 July 1941. Three months later, following his 92nd aerial victory of the war, Lützow was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords on 11 October 1941. On 24 October, he claimed victories 99–101 of World War II, the second fighter pilot after Werner Mölders to claim 100 aerial victories. From September to November 1941, he also served as acting commander of Jagdgeschwader 51 (JG 51—51st Fighter Wing), replacing Friedrich Beckh who had been injured in combat until the position was filed in by Karl-Gottfried Nordmann. Subsequently he was instructed not to fly operationally anymore. Ignoring the order, he added two more victories before he was posted to the staff of General der Jagdflieger (General of Fighters) Adolf Galland serving as "Inspector of Day Fighters, East" on 11 August 1942.

In July 1943, Lützow was tasked with commanding fighter operations in Italy. From September 1943 to March 1944, he led the 1. Jagd Division (1st Fighter Division), commanding all day and night fighter operations in north western Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. Lützow's role in the "Fighter Pilots Revolt" was considered mutiny by Hermann Göring and he exiled Lützow to Italy. In April 1945, he joined Galland's Jagdverband 44 (JV 44—44th Fighter Detachment). He was posted missing in action flying the Me 262 on 24 April 1945 while attempting to intercept a United States Army Air Forces B-26 Marauder raid near Donauwörth. His body was never recovered.


  • Early life and career 1
  • Spanish Civil War 2
  • World War II 3
    • Battle of France 3.1
    • Wing commander of JG 3 3.2
    • War against the Soviet Union 3.3
    • Luftwaffe commander 3.4
    • Dismissal and death 3.5
  • Aerial victory credits 4
  • Awards 5
    • Wehrmachtbericht reference 5.1
  • Notes 6
  • References 7
    • Citations 7.1
    • Bibliography 7.2
  • External links 8

Early life and career

Lützow was born on 4 September 1912 in Kiel, at the time the capitol of the Province of Schleswig-Holstein, a province of the Kingdom of Prussia. He was the third of five children of Friedrich Lützow, a naval officer, and his wife Hildegard, née Kinzel. He had an older brother, Werner,[Note 1] an older sister, Liselotte (Elisabeth Charlotte), a younger brother, Hildegard, and the youngest brother, Joachim.[2] The family at the time lived at the Reventlouallee 23 on the west bank of the Kieler Förde. This was close to the German Imperial Naval Academy where his father attended a two-year Admiralty Staff training course. Following the outbreak of World War I, his father was posted to the staff of the Führer der Unterseeboote (Commander of Submarines) Fregattenkapitän (Frigate Captain) Hermann Bauer, and the family had to move to Wilhelmshaven.[3]

Schulpforta main building, 2014

Lützow graduated with his Abitur on 31 March 1931 from the Schulpforta, a boarding school for academically gifted students. Unlike his brothers, who both pursued a naval career, Lützow joined the military service of the Reichswehr (Army of the Weimar Republic) following his graduation from school. This decision had been influenced by his mother's youngest brother, Eberhard Kinzel, at the time an officer in the Reichswehr and later General der Infantrie (General of the Infantry) in the Heer (German Army).[4]

On 7 April 1931 Lützow began his pilot training at the Deutsche Verkehrsfliegerschule (DVS—German Air Transport School) at Schleißheim. The DVS was headed by Karl Bolle, a World War I fighter pilot. His flight instructor was Wilhelm Stör, another World War I fighter pilot. He and 29 other trainees attended what was called Kameradschaft 31 (camaraderie of 1931), abbreviated "K 31". Among the members of "K 31" were future Luftwaffe staff officers Bernd von Brauchitsch, Wolfgang Falck, Günther Radusch and Hannes Trautloft. Lützow graduated from the DVS on 19 February 1932. In late September 1931, Lützow and three other students made a cross country flight from Schleißheim to Berlin. The flight was made with two two-seat Klemm Kl 26 training aircraft. Lützow, as the best air navigation student of his class, flew in the navigator position. In the Luftstreitkräfte of World War I, the pilot was called "Emil" and the navigator was called "Franz". Since then, Lützow was nicknamed "Franz", alternatively by the diminutive "Franzl".[5] From "K 31" Lützow and nine others were recommended for Sonderausbildung (special training) at the Lipetsk fighter-pilot school.[6]

Following his return from flight training, Lützow joined 5. (Preußisches) Infanterie-Regiment (5th (Prussian) Infantry Regiment), at first in Staffel (4th squadron) of Jagdgeschwader 132 "Richthofen" (JG 132—132nd Fighter Wing) at Jüterbog-Damm.[8][Note 2]

Spanish Civil War

Lützow volunteered for service with the Condor Legion, a unit composed of volunteers from the Luftwaffe and from the Heer which served with the Nationalists during the Spanish Civil War. On 19 March 1937, he was appointed Staffelkapitän (squadron leader) of 2. Staffel (2nd squadron) of Jagdgruppe 88 (J/88—88th Fighter Group).[9]

2. Staffel insignia

From March to September 1937 Oberleutnant Lützow claimed five victories, including the first ever recorded by the Messerschmitt Bf 109. Flying a Bf 109 B, he shot down an Polikarpov I-15, a Soviet built biplane fighter aircraft, on 6 April 1937.[10] On 26 April 1937, air elements of the Condor Legion targeted and bombed Guernica. Supported by the Italian Aviazione Legionaria (Legionary Air Force), the attack was carried out by 26 bombers, escorted by 16 fighter aircraft from 1. and 2. Staffel of J/88. The bombers struck the bridges, the center of Guernica and areas to the south. Up to 1,500 people were reported killed or wounded during the attack. 2. Staffel strafed people trying to escape from the attack.[11] Lützow did not participate in the attack, he was on home leave from 8–29 April 1937.[12] After he returned, Lützow claimed three more I-15s shot down, one on 22 May, another on 28 May, and his last on 18 August 1937. His final aerial in Spain was over a Polikarpov I-16, a monoplane fighter aircraft, and shot down on 22 August 1937.[13]

On 16 October 1937, Lützow was assigned to the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM—Ministry of Aviation) Sonderstab W. (special staff "W") under the command of and named after General Helmuth Wilberg. Sonderstab W. was responsible for collecting and analyzing the tactical lessons learned during the Spanish Civil War. Lützow wrote up his manuscript Erfahrungsbericht Winterausbildung 1937/1938, Jüterbog-Damm, 5. Staffel (field report winter training 1937/1938, Jüterbog-Damm, 5th squadron) documenting his Spanish experiences and tactical proposals. This manuscript referred to the finger-four formation as the clearly superior tactical formation for contemporary fighter operations. Lützow's comrade Werner Mölders months later solved the problem of manoeuvring a finger-four formation by introducing what is still known today as the "crossover turn" or "tac turn".[14] There, he received a privileged promotion to Hauptmann (captain) on 20 November 1937. For his achievements in Spain, Lützow was honored with the Spanish Medalla de la Campaña and Medalla Militar and the German Spanish Cross in Gold with Swords and Diamonds (Spanienkreuz in Gold mit Schwertern und Brillanten) on 6 June 1939.[15]

On 12 February 1938, Lützow met his future wife Gisela von Priesdorff, the oldest daughter of military historian Kurt von Priesdorff, at a carnival party held at the Jagdfliegerschule 1 (fighter pilot school) at Werneuchen.[16] On 19 July 1938, the two were officially engaged and they married on 11 March 1939 at the Holy Trinity Church in Berlin.[17] They had a son, Hans-Ulrich, born 29 January 1940, and a daughter, Carola, born 31 August 1942.[18] On 1 November 1938, Lützow became a head flight instructor at Jagdfliegerschule 1 at Werneuchen, replacing Johannes Janke. At the time Jagdfliegerschule 1, was under the command of Theo Osterkamp, a World War I fighter pilot.[17]

World War II

World War II in Europe began on Friday, 1 September 1939, when German forces invaded Poland. At the end of October 1939, a change in command of I. Gruppe (1st group) of Jagdgeschwader 3 (JG 3—3rd Fighter Wing) was announced.[Note 3] The former commander Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant Colonel) Otto-Heinrich von Houwald was transferred to the Jagdfliegerschule in Werneuchen. Lützow joined I. Gruppe on 1 November 1939, officially taking over command as Gruppenkommandeur (group commander) two days later.[19]

Battle of France

On 10 May 1940, the Wehrmacht began its offensive Operation Case Yellow (Fall Gelb), the invasion of France and the neutral Low Countries. I. Gruppe of JG 3 participated in the offensive as a subordinated unit to Jagdgeschwader 77 (JG 77—77th Fighter Wing). During the Battle of France, JG 77 was under control of I. Fliegerkorps (1st Air Corps), which formed the right wing of Luftflotte 3 (3rd Air Fleet) in Belgium and the Netherlands.[20]

On 14 May 1940, Lützow claimed his first two aerial victory of World War II during the Battle of France. Flying out of Hargimont, his flight was tasked with providing fighter cover in the area northwest of Dinant. At 8:00 pm, the flight encountered 15 to 20 Armée de l'Air (French Air Force) Curtiss P-36 Hawk fighter aircraft. Without loss, I. Gruppe claimed seven Curtisses shot down, including two by Lützow.[21] The next day, he claimed another P-36 southeast of Charleroi, his third victory of the war. On 19 May in combat north of Arras, he claimed a Hawker Hurricane fighter aircraft.[22] Lützow claimed his fifth and sixth victory of the war on 31 May 1940, shooting down two Morane-Saulnier M.S.406 fighter aircraft south of Amiens. This was followed by another P-36 on 3 June. On 6 June, he claimed a Bristol Blenheim light bomber followed by another Blenheim shot down on 8 June.[23] This Blenheim was shot down after returning from a Junkers Ju 87 dive bomber escort mission. The Blenheim IV was flying alone and unescorted and Lützow set it on fire, exploding the bomber in midair near Abbeville.[24][25]

On 23 June 1940, I. Gruppe was moved to a forward airfield at Grandvilliers for in preparations for missions over the Channel Coast. On 24 June, all Bf 109s were sent to Wiesbaden, via Brussels, for a thorough maintenance check. The overhaul detachment arrived in Wiesbaden in the late afternoon and the pilots were sent on home leave. The cease-fire of the Armistice of 22 June 1940 went into effect on 25 June 1940, ending the Battle of France. During the French campaign, Lützow flew 64 combat missions and claimed nine victories. I. Gruppe, under his leadership, was one of the most successful units in this campaign. It was credited with 88 aerial victories for the loss of six pilots killed and ten Bf 109s destroyed.[26][27][Note 4]

By 3 July 1940, the majority of the Bf 109s have returned to Grandvilliers from maintenance overhaul. At the time, Lützow had 45 pilots and 33 Bf 109 Es, 28 of which operational, for disposition. I. Gruppe flew its first missions at the Channel Coast on the evening of 5 July 1940. In the following days flight operations were impeded by a period of bad weather.[29] On 1 August 1940, I. Gruppe was moved to Colembert, the Geschwaderstab (headquarters unit) and the other two Gruppen were moved to airfields in the vicinity of Boulogne. In preparations for actions against Great Britain, JG 3 was put under control of Luftflotte 2 (2nd Air Fleet), thus placing it under the command of Jagdfliegerführer 2 Oberst (Colonel) Osterkamp.[30]

On 1 August 1940, Adlertag (Operation Eagle Attack).[31] On 13 August, 485 bomber and approximately 1,000 fighter sorties were flown and targeted British airfields in southern England. Lützow claimed his first aerial in the Battle of Britain on 16 August 1940, shooting down a Supermarine Spitfire over Kent.[23][32]

Wing commander of JG 3

At the height of the Battle of Britain on 21 August 1940, it was announced that Lützow was appointed Geschwaderkommodore (wing commander) of JG 3. He officially took command of JG 3 on 25 August and was promoted to Major (major) on 30 August 1940.[33] On 25 August, command of I. Gruppe was handed over to Oberleutnant Lothar Keller who led the Gruppe until the new Gruppenkommandeur Hauptmann Hans von Hahn arrived in end-August.[34] His former adjutant with I. Gruppe, Friedrich-Franz von Cramon, joins Lützow at the Geschwaderstab and continued to serve as his adjutant.[35] Under Lützow's command, the Geschwaderstab was based on the Channel Coast until 16 February 1941, at first in Colembert, then in August 1940 it was moved to Wierre-au-Bois and at the end of September to Desvres. Lützow, as Geschwaderkommodore, claimed eight victories, his 11th–18th of the war, during the Battle of Britain.[33]

On 26 August 1940, Lützow claimed a pair of Boulton Paul Defiant fighters from No. 264 Squadron off the north Kent coast.[36] On 27 August 1940, Lützow, and other Geschwaderkommodore, were summoned to a meeting held by Jagdfliegerführer 2, Generalmajor (Major General) Kurt-Bertram von Döring in Wissant. This meeting was also attended by Generalfeldmarschall (Field Marshal) Albert Kesselring, and the commanding general of the II. Fliegerkorps Generaloberst (Colonel General) Bruno Loerzer. Subject of the meeting was the perceived lack of fighter protection provided for the bomber arm by the Jagdwaffe (fighter force). The bomber crews had demanded to see the fighter escorts. The generals accused the Geschwaderkommodere of being overly interested in accumulating further aerial victories and awards at the expense of exposing the bombers to enemy attacks. Lützow argued, that a fighter aircraft, such as the Bf 109, required speed and space to combat the fast and more agile RAF fighter aircraft. The discussion ended with a compromise, some of the fighters were ordered to fly close and at the same speed as the bombers. While other fighters were to fly 1,000–2,000 meters (3,300–6,600 feet) above the main bomber force, clearing the airspace of enemy fighters in the direction of the bomber force.[37]

In September 1940, Lützow claimed three Hurricanes, one each on 7, 9 and 15 September.[38] In addition to his 15 aerial victories in World War II, he was credited with three ground victories and one barrage balloon destroyed. Subsequently, he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (Ritterkreuz des Eisernes Kreuzes) on 18 September 1940.[15] The presentation was made by Göring at the headquarters of the Befehlshaber der Wehrmachts in den Niederlanden (Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht in the Netherlands), General der Flieger (General of the Flyers) Friedrich Christiansen, at Wassenaar near The Hague on 19 September. That day, both Lützow and Wolfgang Schellmann, Geschwaderkommodore of Jagdgeschwader 2 "Richthofen" (JG 2—2nd Fighter Wing), were so honored.[39] He was credited with three further victories against the RAF, two P-36s shot down on 5 October, and a Spitfire on 5 November 1940. These were his last victories claimed over the Western Front until 1945, taking his World War II score to 18.[38]

In spring 1941, Geschwaderstab of JG 3 was transferred to Mannheim-Sandhofen for a period of rest and conversion to the new Bf 109 F-2. On 4 May 1941, the Geschwaderstab was sent back into combat at the Channel Coast.[33] On 7 May 1941, Lützow's Bf 109 F-2 (Werknummer 8117—factory number) suffered minor damage in combat when his tail surfaces were shot up.[40] Operating from Saint-Pol-Brias until 8 June, the Geschwaderstab flew missions over southern England and the English Channel without filing any claims or sustaining any losses.[33]

War against the Soviet Union

Map indicating Operation Barbarossa's attack plan

In preparation of Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union, the Geschwaderstab began heading east on 8 June. The Geschwaderstab stopped for several days at Breslau-Gandau, present day the Wrocław–Copernicus Airport in Poland. On 18 June 1941 it relocated to Hostynne, from where on 22 June 1941, Lützow led JG 3 in combat against the Soviet Union.[33] At the start of the campaign, JG 3 was subordinated to the V. Fliegerkorps (5th Air Corps), under command of General der Flieger Robert Ritter von Greim, which was part of Luftflotte 4 (4th Air Fleet), under command of Generaloberst Alexander Löhr. These air elements supported Generalfeldmarschall Gerd von Rundstedt's Heeresgruppe Süd (Army Group South), with the objective to capture the Ukraine and its capital Kiev.[41]

Lützow claimed nine aerial victories in the first week on the Eastern Front. The first victory, an I-18 fighter, a variant of the Polikarpov I-16, was achieved on the opening day of Barbarossa. On the second day of Barbarossa, he accounted for two Tupolev SB-2 bombers. On 24 June, Lützow filed claim for a Polikarpov I-153 biplane fighter destroyed. Two days later, he destroyed three aircraft, two SB-2 bombers and a Petlyakov Pe-2 ground attack aircraft. On 27 June, he shot down a Ilyushin DB-3 bomber followed by another Pe-2 on 28 June, his last victory in June 1941. Following a DB-3 bomber claimed on 7 July, Lützow was credited with four aerial victories, one Vultee V-11 attack aircraft and three I-153s, on 10 July and an II-16 one day later. On 15 July he shot down two further I-16s and another DB-3 taking his total to 36 World War II victories.[38]

Lützow (front honor guard, right) at Udet's funeral.

On 16 July 1941, Lützow claimed three further victories—a SB-2, an I-16 and a DB-3—and another DB-3 the next day. On 20 July, he claimed his 42nd of the war, two V-11s, taking his World War II score to 42 aerial victories.[42] On this day he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub), the 27th officer or soldier of the Wehrmacht so honored.[15]

Major Friedrich Beckh, Geschwaderkommodore of Jagdgeschwader 51 (JG 51—51st Fighter Wing) at the time, was wounded in combat on 16 September. During Beckh's convalescence, Lützow temporarily commanded both JG 51 and JG 3 until 21 December when Beckh returned. On 23 September, Lützow suffered combat damage to his radiator and had to make a forced landing behind enemy lines near Krasnograd. He managed to return to the German lines unhurt.[43] In October he claimed 29 victories, including five bombers shot down on 8 October. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern) on 11 October 1941 for 92 claims. The presentation was made on 12 October 1941 by Hitler at the Führer Headquarter Wolfsschanze (Wolf's Lair) in Rastenburg (now Kętrzyn in Poland).[44]

On 24 October 1941, Lützow became the second fighter pilot, after Mölders, to claim 100 aerial victories in World War II.[45] Lützow was then grounded. In early November, he led Stab JG 3 back to Germany to rest and re-equip. During this period, Lützow also formed participated in the honor guard for Generaloberst Ernst Udet. Udet had committed suicide on 17 November 1941 and on 1 December JG 3 received the honrary name "Udet". In May 1942 Lützow and JG 3 commenced operations near Kharkov before moving into the Crimea and Stalingrad. Lützow added one victory when he claimed a Polikarpov I-16 fighter on 21 May 1942 for his 107th kill. On 11 August, Lützow handed over command of JG 3 to Hauptmann Wolf-Dietrich Wilcke.[41]

Sometime in June 1942 (most likely in Grakowo), Lützow was visited by two men from the SS. They were of lower rank. After Lützow asked them how he could be of assistance to them they responded by requesting as many of his men as possible to form up execution squads to liquidate Jews, Soviet Political Officers and other "scum". Lützow was furious and ordered the entire Geschwader in full dress uniform to assemble and before Jagdgeschwader explained what the SS had requested and how he considered this act to be barbaric and criminal. He threatened to resign from command and take off his uniform if a single soldier volunteered. This act ensured Lützow got in trouble with the SS and the NSDAP.[46]

Luftwaffe commander

In August 1942, Lützow was posted to the staff of the General der Jagdflieger (General of Fighters) as Inspector of Day Fighters, Eastern Area.[41] Arguably General der Jagdflieger Adolf Galland's decision to appoint Lützow was motivated to get him out of the "line of fire". On 1 April 1943, Lützow was promoted to Oberst (colonel).[47]

Adolf Galland and Günther Lützow in Italy

In July 1943 Oberst Lützow became Inspector of Day Fighters, Italian Front, based in Naples. From September 1943 to March 1944, he commanded the 1. Jagd-Division (1st Fighter Division) in Defense of the Reich at Döberitz, where he assumed command for day and night fighter operations in north western Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. 1. Jagd-Division was under control of 1. Jagd-Korps (1st Fighter Corps) commanded by Generalmajor Joseph Schmid. Lützow was relieved of this command on 16 March 1944 because of personal differences with Schmid. Following this dismissal, he was given command of the 4. Flieger-Schuldivision (4th Flyers Training Division).[47]

Dismissal and death

Lützow became known as a central figure behind the Fighter Pilots' Mutiny which escalated on 19 January 1945. This was an attempt to reinstate Galland who had been sacked as General der Jagdflieger for outspokenness regarding the Oberkommando der Luftwaffe (Luftwaffe high command). The behavior of Lützow and the other leading pilots was regarded as mutiny by Göring, who relieved him of command and had Lützow posted to Italy to take over Jagdfliegerführer Oberitalien.[47]

Me 262 similar to those flown by Lützow.

In early April 1945, Lützow joined Galland's Jagdverband 44 (JV 44—44th Fighter Detachment) at Munich-Riem. JV 44 was equipped with the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter, an aircraft which was heavily armed and faster than any Allied fighter. Galland hoped that the Me 262 would compensate for the numerical superiority of the Allies. Lützow had been released as fighter leader in Italy and Galland appointed him as his adjutant.[48] Lützow was credited with two aerial victories flying the Me 262.[49]

Lützow was posted missing in action following combat on 24 April 1945 while attempting to intercept a United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) Martin B-26 Marauder medium bombers attack near Donauwörth. More recent research of US records indicates that Lützow's Me 262 crashed near Schrobenhausen. The USAAF flew three attacks against the oil terminals at Schrobenhausen, south of Neuburg an der Donau, that day. On their second mission, 22 B-26 bombers escorted by 16 Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter aircraft, were just beginning their bomb run at 3:25 pm, when they came under attack of 4 Me 262s. Two P-47s came diving down from their top cover position to fend of the attacking jets. In this account, one Me 262 pilot noticed that he was about to come under attack and attempted to dive away. Unable to recover from this dive, the American pilots observed the Me 262 crashing into a small hill. This Me 262 may have been piloted by Lützow.[50]

His shirt and side cap on display at the Aviation Museum Hannover-Laatzen

That day, Lützow had led a flight of six Me 262s of JV 44 against a force of 256 medium bombers of the 322nd and 344th Bombardment Group (344th BG).[51] Lützow's flight included Hauptmann Walter Krupinski and Oberleutnant Klaus Neumann. Two Me 262s had to abort the mission due to engine problems. The remaining four, of which at least Lützow's and Neumann's Me 262 were armed with the R4M air-to-air rockets, attacked elements of 344th BG. Following the first attack, at least three B-26 Marauder bombers were seen trailing smoke, when the Me 262 came under attack by P-47 Thunderbolt fighter aircraft of the 365th Fighter Group.[52] Blue Flight leader Captain Jerry G Mast and his wingman, Second Lieutenant Byron Smith went into a full power dive to drive the attacking Me 262s away.[53] Following the dive, Smith got separated from Mast and pursued another Me 262. Mast and Second Lieutenant William H Myers then jointly went after another Me 262 which went into an even steeper dive. The Me 262 was seen crashing into the ground and exploded. The Me 262 chased by Mast and Myers was Lützow's and had been flying furthest to the south.[54]

On 28 April 2015, the Augsburger Allgemeine, a German regional daily newspaper, published an article stating that according to Erich Bäcker, Lützow attempted an emergency landing at Donaumünster/Erlingshofen and crashed into the Danube. Bäcker made his claim based on reports made by eye-witnesses who saw a low flying Me 262 crashing into the Danube that day.[55]

Aerial victory credits

Lützow was credited with 110 enemy aircraft shot down in 310 combat missions. He claimed 5 victories in Spain, the majority of his victories of World War II were claimed over the Eastern Front, with 20 over the Western Front, two of which flying the Me 262 jet fighter including one four-engined bomber.[49][50]

      This and the ♠ (Ace of spades) indicates those aerial victories which made Lützow an "ace-in-a-day", a term which designates a fighter pilot who has shot down five or more airplanes in a single day.
      This along with the * (asterisk) indicates an conflicting information regarding the date or type of the aerial victory.

Chronicle of aerial victories[56]
Victory Date Time Location Type Victory Date Time Location Type
– 2. Staffel of Jagdgruppe 88 –[13]
1 6 April 1937
Ochandiano I-15 4 18 August 1937
Santander I-15
2 22 May 1937
Bilbao I-15 5 22 August 1937
Las Arenas I-16
3 28 May 1937
Santander I-15
– I. Gruppe of Jagdgeschwader 3 –[57]
6 14 May 1940 ca. 20:20 NW Dinant Curtiss 11 31 May 1940*
[Note 5]
19:35 S Amiens M.S. 406
7 14 May 1940 ca. 20:20 NW Dinant Curtiss 12 3 June 1940 13:50–15:35 Compiègne-Meaux Curtiss
8 15 May 1940 13:20 SE Charleroi Curtiss 13 6 June 1940[Note 6] 13:05 Abbeville Blenheim
9 19 May 1940 19:15 N Arras Hurricane 14 8 June 1940[Note 7] 08:25–09:45 Abbeville Blenheim
10 31 May 1940*
[Note 5]
19:35 S Amiens M.S. 406 15 16 August 1940 12:20–14:00
Stab of Jagdgeschwader 3 –[60]
16 26 August 1940 12:35–13:45
Defiant 63 6 September 1941 17:10–18:30
17 26 August 1940 12:35–13:45
Defiant 64 7 September 1941 10:50–12:20
18 7 September 1940 17:10–18:45
Hurricane 65 7 September 1941 10:50–12:20
19 9 September 1940 17:45–19:05
Hurricane 66 7 September 1941 16:25–18:00
20 15 September 1940 12:00–13:05
Hurricane 67 7 September 1941 16:25–18:00
21 5 October 1940 12:00–13:05
Curtiss 68 8 September 1941 11:20–12:40
22 5 October 1940 14:15–15:30
Curtiss 69 9 September 1941 16:10–17:35
23 5 November 1940 10:20–11:35
Spitfire 70 9 September 1941 16:10–17:35
24 22 June 1941 4:30
I-18 71 11 September 1941 16:30–18:05
25 23 June 1941 06:45–08:15
SB-2 72 11 September 1941 16:30–18:05
26 23 June 1941 06:45–08:15
SB-2 73 12 September 1941 15:35–17:00
27 24 June 1941 14:15–15:30
I-153 74 13 September 1941 16:35–17:30
28 26 June 1941 13:20
SB-2 75 13 September 1941 16:35–17:30
29 26 June 1941 13:15–13:45
SB-2 76 14 September 1941 11:20–12:50
30 26 June 1941 15:00–16:14
Pe-2 77 17 September 1941 10:45–11:45
31 27 June 1941 17:15–18:20
DB-3 78 5 October 1941 14:45–16:00 10 km (6.2 mi) SE Oryol DB-3
32 28 June 1941 16:47–18:36
Pe-2 79 5 October 1941 14:45–16:00 10 km (6.2 mi) SE Oryol DB-3
33 7 July 1941 09:30–10:45
DB-3 80 5 October 1941 14:45–16:00 10 km (6.2 mi) SE Oryol DB-3
34 10 July 1941 09:00–19:25
V-11 81 5 October 1941 14:45–16:00 10 km (6.2 mi) SE Oryol DB-3
35 10 July 1941 15:25–16:50
I-153 82 6 October 1941 14:00–15:45 Yukhnov/Vyazma area I-153
36 10 July 1941 15:25–16:50
I-153 83 6 October 1941 14:00–15:45 Yukhnov/Vyazma area I-153
37 10 July 1941 15:25–16:50
I-153 84 6 October 1941 14:00–15:45 Yukhnov/Vyazma area DB-3
38 11 July 1941 11:50–13:15
I-16 85 7 October 1941 11:15–12:45 15 km (9.3 mi) W Yukhnov DB-3
39 15 July 1941 15:30–16:45
I-16 86♠ 8 October 1941 12:00 N Yukhnov Pe-2
40 15 July 1941 15:30–16:45
I-16 87♠ 8 October 1941 12:01 N Yukhnov Pe-2
41 15 July 1941 15:30–16:45
DB-3 88♠ 8 October 1941 12:02 N Yukhnov Pe-2
42 16 July 1941 11:15–12:30
SB-2 89♠ 8 October 1941 14:25 N Oryol DB-3
43 16 July 1941 15:30–16:40
I-16 90♠ 8 October 1941 14:28 N Oryol DB-3
44 16 July 1941 15:30–16:40
DB-3 91 9 October 1941 12:00 near Mtsensk I-18
45 17 July 1941 15:30–16:45
DB-3 92 9 October 1941 15:00–16:15 NE Oryol I-16
46 20 July 1941 17:25–18:45
V-11*[Note 8] 93 9 October 1941 15:00–16:15 NE Oryol Il-2
47 20 July 1941 17:25–18:45
V-11*[Note 8] 94 9 October 1941 15:00–16:15 NE Oryol Pe-2
48 29 July 1941 17:25–18:40
I-16 95 10 October 1941 14:10 Kaluga I-18
49 31 July 1941 11:20–12:50
DB-3 96 10 October 1941 14:13 Kaluga I-18
50 31 July 1941 11:20–12:50
DB-3 97 11 October 1941 11:10 Kaluga I-61
51 31 July 1941 15:50–17:20
I-16 98 12 October 1941 14:30 near Mdin Pe-2
52 7 August 1941 11:30–13:20
I-153 99 12 October 1941 14:35 near Maloyaroslavets Pe-2
53 7 August 1941 11:30–13:20
I-153 100 14 October 1941 15:45–15:10 NE Mozhaysk DB-3
54 8 August 1941 11:15–13:20
I-153 101 14 October 1941 15:45–15:10 NE Mozhaysk I-61
55 9 August 1941 10:15–11:00
Pe-2 102 14 October 1941 15:45–15:10 NE Mozhaysk DB-3
56 9 August 1941 14:30–16:00
I-16 103 23 October 1941 15:25
57 11 August 1941 12:10–13:10
R-5 104 24 October 1941 10:40
58 12 August 1941 12:35
I-153 105 24 October 1941 10:50
59 12 August 1941 05:40–07:10
DB-3 106 24 October 1941 14:23
60 13 August 1941 09:45–11:15 Kaniv area I-16 107 21 May 1942 12:30
61 13 August 1941 09:45–11:15 Kaniv area I-16 108 29 July 1942 10:20
62 6 September 1941 17:10–18:30
Jagdverband 44 –
109 April 1945
(after 18 April)
Four-engined bomber 110 24 April 1945 before noon Augsburg area B-26


Wehrmachtbericht reference

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
Saturday 25 October 1941 Hauptmann Gollob errang am 20 Oktober seinen 30., Major Lützow am 24 Oktober seinen 101. Luftsieg.[71] Hauptmann Gollob achieved on 20 October his 30th, Major Lützow on 24 October his 101st aerial victory.


  1. ^ His brother Werner served as a Korvettenkapitän (corvette captain) in the Kriegsmarine. His last command was chief of the 4. Schnellbootflottille. On 24 November 1943, he was killed in action in the Thames Estuary on board Schnellboot S-88.[1]
  2. ^ Jüterbog-Damm referred to the Luftwaffe airfield in Jüterbog.
  3. ^ For an explanation of Luftwaffe unit designations see during World War IILuftwaffeOrganization of the .
  4. ^ According to Braatz, I. Gruppe was credited with 89 aerial victories for the loss of six pilots killed and 14 Bf 109s destroyed.[28]
  5. ^ a b According to Prien and Stemmer aerial victories 10 and 11 on 31 May 1940.[23] According to Braatz on 29 May 1940, who refers to Lützow's log-book.[58] Prien and Stemmer point out that the Lützow's log-book is incorrect.[59]
  6. ^ According to Prien and Stemmer aerial victory 13 on 6 June 1940.[23] According to Braatz on 8 June 1940.[58]
  7. ^ According to Prien and Stemmer aerial victory 14 on 8 June 1940.[23] According to Braatz on 10 June 1940.[58]
  8. ^ a b According to Braatz the aircraft type is unknown.[61]



  1. ^ Braatz 2005, p. 305.
  2. ^ Braatz 2005, pp. 16–18.
  3. ^ Braatz 2005, p. 16.
  4. ^ Braatz 2005, p. 25.
  5. ^ Braatz 2005, pp. 38–39.
  6. ^ Braatz 2005, pp. 28–51.
  7. ^ Stockert 1996, p. 164.
  8. ^ Braatz 2005, p. 378.
  9. ^ Forsyth 2011, p. 56.
  10. ^ Jackson 2015, p. 41.
  11. ^ Forsyth 2011, p. 59.
  12. ^ Braatz 2005, pp. 151, 155.
  13. ^ a b Jackson 2015, p. 51.
  14. ^ Braatz 2005, pp. 174–182.
  15. ^ a b c Stockert 1996, p. 165.
  16. ^ Braatz 2005, pp. 174–176.
  17. ^ a b Braatz 2005, p. 188.
  18. ^ Braatz 2005, pp. 206, 272.
  19. ^ Prien & Stemmer 2002, p. 40.
  20. ^ Prien & Stemmer 2002, p. 54.
  21. ^ Prien & Stemmer 2002, p. 56.
  22. ^ Prien & Stemmer 2002, p. 426.
  23. ^ a b c d e Prien & Stemmer 2002, p. 427.
  24. ^ Prien & Stemmer 2002, p. 61.
  25. ^ Weal 2013, p. 12.
  26. ^ Prien & Stemmer 2002, p. 62.
  27. ^ Braatz 2005, pp. 212–213.
  28. ^ Braatz 2005, p. 212.
  29. ^ Prien & Stemmer 2002, p. 69.
  30. ^ Prien & Stemmer 2002, p. 70.
  31. ^ Prien & Stemmer 2002, pp. 72–73.
  32. ^ Weal 2013, p. 14.
  33. ^ a b c d e Prien & Stemmer 2002, p. 11.
  34. ^ Prien & Stemmer 2002, p. 74.
  35. ^ Braatz 2005, p. 219.
  36. ^ Weal 2013, p. 15.
  37. ^ Braatz 2005, p. 227.
  38. ^ a b c Prien & Stemmer 2002, p. 391.
  39. ^ Braatz 2005, p. 226.
  40. ^ Prien & Stemmer 2002, p. 387.
  41. ^ a b c Prien & Stemmer 2002, p. 12.
  42. ^ Prien & Stemmer 2002, p. 392.
  43. ^ Braatz 2005, p. 252.
  44. ^ Braatz 2005, p. 254.
  45. ^ Obermaier 1989, p. 243.
  46. ^ Braatz 2005, pp. 265–267.
  47. ^ a b c Stockert 1996, p. 166.
  48. ^ Forsyth 2008, pp. 62–63.
  49. ^ a b Obermaier 1989, p. 29.
  50. ^ a b Stockert 1996, p. 170.
  51. ^ Forsyth 2008, p. 82.
  52. ^ Forsyth 2008, p. 83.
  53. ^ Forsyth 2008, p. 84.
  54. ^ Forsyth 2008, p. 85.
  55. ^ Bissinger, Helmut. "Endete der Fliegerstar in der Donau?".  
  56. ^ Braatz 2010, pp. 380–382.
  57. ^ Prien & Stemmer 2002, pp. 426–427.
  58. ^ a b c Braatz 2010, p. 380.
  59. ^ Prien & Stemmer 2002, p. 68.
  60. ^ Prien & Stemmer 2002, pp. 391–394.
  61. ^ Braatz 2010, p. 381.
  62. ^ a b c d e f Berger 199, p. 199.
  63. ^ a b Thomas 1998, p. 46.
  64. ^ a b c Scherzer 2007, p. 519.
  65. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 298.
  66. ^ Von Seemen 1976, p. 230.
  67. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 55.
  68. ^ Von Seemen 1976, p. 26.
  69. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 39.
  70. ^ Von Seemen 1976, p. 14.
  71. ^ Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, p. 708.


  • Berger, Florian (1999). Mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern. Die höchstdekorierten Soldaten des Zweiten Weltkrieges [With Oak Leaves and Swords. The Highest Decorated Soldiers of the Second World War] (in German). Vienna, Austria: Selbstverlag Florian Berger.  
  • Bergström, Christer; Mikhailov, Andrey (2000). Black Cross / Red Star Air War Over the Eastern Front, Volume I, Operation Barbarossa 1941. Pacifica, California: Pacifica Military History.  
  • Braatz, Kurt (2005). Gott oder ein Flugzeug – Leben und Sterben des Jagdfliegers Günther Lützow [God or an Airplane – Life and Death of Fighter Pilot Günther Lützow] (in German). Moosburg, Germany: NeunundzwanzigSechs Verlag.  
  • Forsyth, Robert (2008). Jagdverband 44 Squadron of Experten. Oxford, UK:  
  • Forsyth, Robert (2011). Aces of the Legion Condor. Oxford, UK:  
  • Jackson, Robert (2015). Messerschmitt Bf 109 A–D series. Oxford, UK:  
  • Obermaier, Ernst (1989). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Luftwaffe Jagdflieger 1939 – 1945 [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the Luftwaffe Fighter Force 1939 – 1945] (in German). Mainz, Germany: Verlag Dieter Hoffmann.  
  • Prien, Jochen; Stemmer, Gerhard (2002). Jagdgeschwader 3 "Udet" in WWII: Stab and I./JG 3 in Action with the Messerschmitt Bf 109. Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Military History.  
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007). 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] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag.  
  • Stockert, Peter (1996). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 1 [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 1] (in German). Bad Friedrichshall, Germany: Friedrichshaller Rundblick.  
  • Thomas, Franz (1998). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 2: L–Z [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 2: L–Z] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag.  
  • Von Seemen, Gerhard (1976). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 : die Ritterkreuzträger sämtlicher Wehrmachtteile, Brillanten-, Schwerter- und Eichenlaubträger in der Reihenfolge der Verleihung : Anhang mit Verleihungsbestimmungen und weiteren Angaben [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 : The Knight's Cross Bearers of All the Armed Services, Diamonds, Swords and Oak Leaves Bearers in the Order of Presentation: Appendix with Further Information and Presentation Requirements] (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Verlag.  
  • Weal, John (2013). Aces of Jagdgeschwader 3 'Udet'. Oxford, UK:  
  • Williamson, Gordon; Bujeiro, Ramiro (2004). Knight's Cross and Oak Leaves Recipients 1939–40. Oxford, UK:  
  • Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, 1. September 1939 bis 31. Dezember 1941 [The Wehrmacht Reports 1939–1945 Volume 1, 1 September 1939 to 31 December 1941] (in German). München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985.  
  • Frey, Gerhard; Herrmann, Hajo: Helden der Wehrmacht – Unsterbliche deutsche Soldaten (in German). München, Germany: FZ-Verlag GmbH, 2004. ISBN 3-924309-53-1.

External links

  • Günther Lützow in the German National Library catalogue
  • Petr Kacha. "Günther Lützow". Aces of the Luftwaffe. Retrieved 25 February 2015. 
  • "Kodewort Pauke. Pauke". Der Spiegel (in German) 40. 1974. Retrieved 15 January 2015. 
Military offices
Preceded by
Oberstleutnant Karl Vieck
Commander of Jagdgeschwader 3 Udet
21 August 1940 – 11 August 1942
Succeeded by
Oberst Wolf-Dietrich Wilcke
Preceded by
Obstlt Friedrich Beckh
Acting Commander of Jagdgeschwader 51
16 September 1941 – 21 December 1941
Succeeded by
Obstlt Friedrich Beckh
Preceded by
Commander of Jagdabschnittsführer Italien
July 1943 – September 1943
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Generalleutnant Kurt-Bertram von Döring
Commander of 1. Jagd-Division
15 September 1943 – 23 March 1944
Succeeded by
Oberst Hajo Herrmann
Preceded by
Commander of 4. Fliegerschul-Division
1 November 1944 – 10 November 1944
Succeeded by
Oberst Hannes Trautloft

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