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Theo Osterkamp

Theo Osterkamp

German flying ace
Theo Osterkamp
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro German flying ace
A.K.A. Theodor Osterkamp, Theodor "Theo" Osterkamp
Was Pilot Aviator Flying ace
From Germany Germany
Type Military
Gender male
Birth 15 April 1892, Düren
Death 2 January 1975, Baden-Baden (aged 82 years)
Star sign Aries
Theo Osterkamp
The details (from wikipedia)


Theodor "Theo" Osterkamp (15 April 1892 – 2 January 1975) was a World War I and World War II Luftwaffe fighter ace. He achieved 32 victories in World War I. In World War II, he led Jagdgeschwader 51 through the Battle of Britain and claimed a further 6 victories, in the process becoming one of only a few men to score victories in both world wars.

World War I

Osterkamp flew as a naval pilot operating over the Western Front. On 14 August 1914, he joined the Marinefliegerkorps. He then flew with the 2. Marine-Fliegerabteilung in Flanders. During 1915–1916, he served as an air observer, and became the first German pilot to fly a land-based aircraft to England on a reconnaissance-mission. In March 1917, he joined the Kampffliegerschule (Combat pilot school) in Putzig and then joined the Marine-Jagdstaffel 1. On 15 October 1917, Leutnant Osterkamp took command over Marine-Jagdstaffel 2. He scored a total of 32 victories during the war, and was awarded the Prussian military order Pour le Mérite on 2 September 1918, and was the last individual to receive it.

Interwar years

Wedding of Theodor Osterkamp with Fel Gudrun Pagge in Eppendorf, Hamburg

Between the two World Wars, Osterkamp was involved in the formation of the new Luftwaffe, amongst other things by setting up Jagdfliegerschule 1. He also participated in the second, third and fourth FAI International Tourist Plane Contest Challenge 1930 (11th place), Challenge 1932 (12th place) and Challenge 1934 (5th place).

World War II

On 19 September 1939, Oberst Osterkamp was appointed Geschwaderkommodore of Jagdgeschwader 51 (JG 51—51st Fighter Wing). During the Battle of France, he claimed four victories. During the Kanalkampf period of the Battle of Britain in July 1940, he claimed a further two victories, (a Bristol Blenheim on 1 June and a Spitfire on 13 July 1940) bringing his total to six. He was replaced as commander of JG 51 by Werner Mölders on 23 July. Promoted to Generalmajor, Osterkamp was awarded his Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 22 August 1940. Following his replacement in JG 51, Osterkamp was appointed Jagdfliegerführer 2, the commander of fighter aircraft in Luftflotte 2.

On 1 August 1942, he was transferred to Luftgaustab z.b.V. Afrika. On 5 April 1943, he was appointed Jagdfliegerführer Sizilien and served until replaced on 15 July by Adolf Galland. He then served in a number of staff positions until being appointed Inspekteur der Luftwaffen-Bodenorganisation (Inspector of Luftwaffe ground organisation) in 1944. After criticism from High Command, he was dismissed from the service on 21 December 1944.

Post-war career

In 1960, he was appointed honorary chairman of the Gemeinschaft der Jagdflieger, the Association of Fighter Pilots.

Awards and decorations

  • Abzeichen für Marine-Flugzeugführer
  • Iron Cross (1914)
    • 2nd Class
    • 1st Class
  • Knight's Cross of the Royal House Order of Hohenzollern with Swords
  • Baltic Cross
    • 2nd Class
  • Pour le Mérite (2 September 1918)
  • Cross of Honor
  • Flugzeugführer- und Beobachter-Abzeichen
  • Iron Cross (1939)
    • 2nd Class
    • 1st Class
  • Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 22 August 1940 as Generalmajor and Jagdfliegerführer of Luftflotte 2
  • Ärmelband Afrika
  • Fellgiebel 2000, p. 330.
  • Scherzer 2007, p. 579.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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