11 November 1920|
Domnau, East Prussia
7 October 2000 79) (aged|
Nazi Germany (to 1945)|
German Air Force
|Years of service||
|Unit||JG 52, JG 5 and JV 44|
JG 52 and JG 5|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves|
Walter Krupinski (11 November 1920 – 7 October 2000) was a German Luftwaffe fighter ace of World War II and a senior West German Air Force officer after the war. He was one of the highest-scoring pilots, credited with 197 victories in 1,100 sorties. Krupinski was one of the first to fly the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter in combat.
World War II
Krupinski entered the Luftwaffe in September 1939. From November 1939 to October 1940, Krupinski took basic air training and then trained at the fighter school. The school at the time was under the command of the World War I flying ace Eduard Ritter von Schleich. While at the school, he came to know Hans-Joachim Marseille, Walter Nowotny and Paul Galland, the brother of Adolf Galland. Krupinski joined Jagdgeschwader 52 (52nd Fighter Wing) in February 1941, which at the time was under the command of Rudolf Resch.
Krupinski won his first aerial victory in the early stages of the Operation Barbarossa. By December 1941 his tally stood at seven confirmed victories and by August 1942 at 50, for which he was awarded the German Cross in Gold. After another six victories Krupinski was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. In March 1943, Krupinski was promoted to a squadron leader and was given command of the 7 Squadron. On 18 August 1943, Krupinski was credited with his 100th aerial victory. He was the 51st Luftwaffe pilot to achieve the century mark. Krupinski was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves for his 174th victory. The presentation to Krupinski and Erich Hartmann was made at the Führer Headquarters at the Berghof.
After achieving 177 victories, Krupinski was transferred from the Eastern Front to Germany, where he was assigned to the 1st Squadron of Jagdgeschwader 5 (5th Fighter Wing). Promoted to the rank of captain in May 1944, Krupinski was made commander of II. Gruppe of Jagdgeschwader 11 (11th Fighter Wing). After the Allied invasion of France in June 1944, the Gruppe was rushed to Normandy to operate on low-level Army support missions. Krupinski claimed 10 Allied aircraft shot down before he was wounded and burned on 12 August. By September he was transferred as Commanding Officer of III. Gruppe, Jagdgeschwader 26 (26th Fighter Wing). In March 1945, Krupinski was transferred to the aces unit Jagdverband 44, which flew the Messerschmitt 262 jet, claiming his last two aerial victories of the war on 16 and 26 April 1945. Krupinski had bailed out four times and had been wounded five times. After having claimed 197 enemy planes (177 Eastern Front, 20 against the Western Allies, in about 1100 missions), Krupinski surrendered to the American forces on 5 May 1945 and was released on 26 September 1945.
The former General Reinhard Gehlen had offered his services to the Americans in the end of 1945. Gehlen had served as chief of Fremde Heere Ost (FHO), the German Army's military intelligence unit on the Eastern Front. The Gehlen Organization recruited Krupinski to gather information about the armed forces in the Soviet occupation zone, which he did until 1953. There are many conflicting or missing bits of information about this stage of Krupinski's life. He had done little to lift this veil of uncertainty.
Krupinski entered the Amt Blank (Blank Agency), named after Theodor Blank, the forerunner of the German Federal Ministry of Defense on 15 December 1952. Given the rank of major in 1957, Krupinski went to lead Jagdbombergeschwader 33 (JaBoG 33—Fighter-Bomber Wing 33) the first postwar German jet fighter wing. In 1966 Krupinski took command of the German forces of the Luftwaffen-Ausbildungs-Kommando in Fort Bliss, Texas with the rank of brigadier general. In July 1969 Krupinski became commander of the 3rd Luftwaffe division. In 1971 he became chief of staff of Second Allied Tactical Air Force. In October 1974 Krupinski was promoted commanding officer of the airfleet. Due to the Rudel Scandal he was forced into early retirement on 8 November 1976 holding the rank of Generalleutnant (lieutenant-general). Krupinski died in Neunkirchen-Seelscheid in 2000.
- Wound Badge in Gold
- Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe on 13 September 1942 as Leutnant and pilot
- German Cross in Gold on 27 August 1942 as Leutnant in the 6./Jagdgeschwader 52
- Iron Cross (1939)
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
- 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. ISBN 978-3-9807935-6-8.
- Braatz, Kurt (2010). Walter Krupinski - Jagdflieger, Geheimagent, General [Walter Krupinski - Fighter Pilot, Spy, General] (in German). Moosburg, Germany: NeunundzwanzigSechs Verlag. ISBN 978-3-9811615-5-7.
- Forsyth, Robert (2008). Jagdverband 44 Squadron of Experten. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84603-294-3.
- 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. ISBN 978-3-87341-065-7.
- Patzwall, Klaus D.; Scherzer, Veit (2001). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II [The German Cross 1941 – 1945 History and Recipients Volume 2] (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8.
- Patzwall, Klaus D. (2008). Der Ehrenpokal für besondere Leistung im Luftkrieg [The Honor Goblet for Outstanding Achievement in the Air War] (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-08-3.
- 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 Militaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
- Thomas, Franz (1997). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 1: A–K [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 1: A–K] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2299-6.
- Weal, John (1999). Bf 109F/G/K Aces of the Western Front. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-85532-905-0.
- Walter Krupinski in the German National Library catalogue
- Colin D. Heaton. "World War II: Interview with Luftwaffe Ace Walter Krupinski". Historynet.com. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
- Imperial War Museum Interview
|Commander of Jagdbombergeschwader 33
1 October 1958 – 31 December 1962
| Succeeded by|
Oberst Georg Wroblewski
Generalmajor Günter Proll
|Commander of 3. Luftwaffendivision (Bundeswehr)
July 1969 – 30 September 1972
| Succeeded by|
Generalmajor Gerhard Limberg