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Bruno Loerzer

Bruno Loerzer

Officer in the German Luftstreitkräfte during World War I and Luftwaffe during World War II
The basics
Quick Facts
Occupations Flying ace
Countries Germany
A.K.A. Bruno Lörzer
Gender male
Birth January 22, 1891 (Berlin)
Death August 23, 1960 (Hamburg)
Bruno Loerzer
The details
Biography

Colonel General Bruno Loerzer (22 January 1891 – 23 August 1960) was a German air force officer during World War I and World War II.

Career

May 1918 members of "Jasta" 26: Loerzer is in the middle; at far right Fritz Beckhardt

Born in Berlin, Loerzer was a prewar army officer who learned to fly in 1914. Hermann Göring flew as Loerzer's observer from 28 October 1914 until late June 1915. Transferring to fighters, Loerzer flew with two Jagdstaffeln in 1916 before joining Jagdstaffel 26 in January 1917. By then he had scored two victories over French aircraft. His tally reached 20 victories at the end of October and he received the Pour le Mérite in February 1918.

The same month, he took command of the newly formed Jagdgeschwader III, the third of Germany's famed "flying circuses." His aces included his brother Fritz, who claimed 11 victories. Leading Jasta 26 and three other squadrons, with Hermann Dahlmann's support as adjutant and wingman, Loerzer proved a successful wing commander. Equipped with the new BMW-engined Fokker D.VII, JG III cut a wide swath through Allied formations in the summer of 1918, and his own score mounted steadily. He achieved his last ten victories in September when he reached his final score of 44 victories. Shortly before the armistice, he was promoted to Hauptmann (captain).

Loerzer irregularly fought with Freikorps anti-communist paramilitary units from December 1918 until March 1920. He commanded FA 427 in the Baltic area, supporting the Eiserne Division in the tactical air role. During the 1930s he was a leader in various civil aviation organizations (National Socialist Flying Corps: NSFK), and rejoined the Luftwaffe in 1935 with the rank of Oberst (colonel).

Loerzer benefited from his long friendship with Göring, becoming Inspector of Fighters with rank of major general in 1938. During the early war years he was commander of II Air Corps, being awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross in May 1940. His II Air Corps participated in the invasion of Russia in the summer of 1941, as a section of Kesselring's 2nd Air Fleet—in support of field marshal von Bock. His unit was transferred to Messina, Sicily in October 1941, and he remained there until the middle of 1943, when his section returned to the Italian mainland.

Göring promoted Loerzer to Generaloberst in February 1943 and in June 1944 was chief of the National Socialist Leadership Branch of the Luftwaffe. He retired in April 1945. Loerzer died in 1960, at the age of 69.

Awards

  • Pour le Mérite on 12 February 1918 as Oberleutnant and leader of Jagdstaffel 26
  • Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 29 May 1940 as Generalleutnant and commanding general of the II. Fliegerkorps
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References
http://isni.org/isni/0000000039510260
https://d-nb.info/gnd/1031431055
https://id.loc.gov/authorities/names/n2008060136
https://viaf.org/viaf/75791605
https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q60443
https://www.worldcat.org/identities/containsVIAFID/75791605
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