Herbert Kutscha (24 April 1917 – 19 September 2003 ) was a German Luftwaffe fighter 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. He was one of few Luftwaffe pilots to survive the whole war, serving from 1939 until 1945. During his career he was credited with 47 aerial victories in more than 900 missions.
He began his career as an Unteroffizier within 5./Jagdgeschwader 77. He claimed his first victory during the Phoney War by shooting down a British Vickers Wellington bomber on 14 December 1939. This was followed by a Lockheed Hudson on 24 February 1940. In March 1940, Kutscha was transferred to 5./Zerstörergeschwader 1. With this unit he took part in the campaign in the West. This unit was changed to 8./ZG 1 on 26 June 1940. With this unit he participated in Battle of Britain. The unit was finally transformed on 24 April 1941 to Kampfgeschwader 210. With this unit Kutscha entered the war on the Eastern Front.
In 1943 he was transferred to 12./Jagdgeschwader 3, with whom he fought at the Mediterranean front. In February 1944 he was wounded and send home. He returned to the front in Normandy in June 1944 with 4./JG 3. By the end of 1944 he was transferred to Jagdgeschwader 27 and appointed Staffelkapitän of the 12./JG 27 and then Gruppenführer with II. Gruppe. During the Ardennes offensive he was shot down and was lightly wounded, but parachuted to safety. On 23 February 1945 he was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of the III./Jagdgeschwader 11.
Kutscha flew more than 900 missions. He was credited with 47 victories in air combat—44 of which were on the Western Front (at least six were four-engine bombers)—plus at least 44 aircraft destroyed on the ground. He successfully targeted a dozens of different objectives, including 41 tanks, 15 locomotives, 11 artillery positions, and 157 vehicles. Herbert Kutscha died 19 September 2003 in Kempten at the age of 86.
- Iron Cross (1939)
- 2nd Class
- 1st Class
- Front Flying Clasp of the Luftwaffe in Gold with Pennant "500"
- Wound Badge in Black (25 December 1944)
- Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe (3 November 1941)
- German Cross in Gold on 14 February 1942 as Oberfeldwebel in the 5./Kampfgeschwader 210 (S)
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 24 September 1942 as Leutnant of the Reserves and pilot in the II./Schnellkampfgeschwader 210
- Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 265.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 281.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 488.