Herbert Ihlefeld

How are you related to Herbert Ihlefeld?

Connect to the World Family Tree to find out

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Herbert Ihlefeld

Birthplace: Pniewo, Złotów County, Greater Poland Voivodeship, Poland
Death: August 08, 1995 (81)
Wennigsen, NDS, Germany
Managed by: Alex Bickle
Last Updated:

About Herbert Ihlefeld


Herbert Ihlefeld (1 June 1914 – 8 August 1995) was a German Luftwaffe military aviator during the Spanish Civil War and World War II, a fighter ace listed with 130 enemy aircraft shot down in over 1,000 combat missions. He claimed seven victories in the Spanish Civil War, and during World War II, 67 on the Eastern Front and 56 on the Western Front, including 15 four-engined bombers and 26 Supermarine Spitfires. He survived being shot down eight times during his 1,000 combat missions.[1]

Born in Pinnow, Ihlefeld volunteered for military service in the Reichswehr of Nazi Germany in 1933.[Note 1] Initially serving in the Heer (Army), he transferred to the Luftwaffe (Air Force) in 1935. Following flight training, he volunteered for service with the Condor Legion during the Spanish Civil War where he was assigned to Jagdgruppe 88 (J/88—88th Fighter Group). From February–July 1938, he claimed nine aerial victories, two remained unconfirmed. For his service in Spain he was awarded the Spanish Cross in Gold with Swords.

Following service in Spain, Ihlefeld was posted to Lehrgeschwader 2 (LG 2—2nd Demonstration Wing. With this unit, he participated in the Invasion of Poland and Battle of France. During the height of the Battle of Britain on 13 September 1940, he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross after 21 aerial victories in World War II. Ihlefeld, who had been appointed Gruppenkommandeur (group commander) of I. Gruppe of Jagdgeschwader 77 (JG 77—77th Fighter Wing) in September 1940, fought in the aerial battles of the Balkan Campaign. During Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union, he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves on 27 June 1941. Ten months later, following his 101st aerial victory of the war, Ihlefeld was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords on 24 April 1942.

On 22 June 1942, Ihlefeld was appointed Geschwaderkommodore (wing commander) of Jagdgeschwader 52 (JG 52—52nd Fighter Wing). He was injured in combat on 22 July 1942 and after convalescence, he was given command of Jagdfliegerschule 3 (3rd Fighter Pilot School). On 21 July 1943, he was tasked with leadership of a high flying de Havilland Mosquito intercept unit called Jagdgeschwader 25 (JG 25—25th Fighter Wing) in Defense of the Reich. This unit failed to achieve its objective and Ihlefeld was assigned to the Stab (headquarters unit) of the 30th Fighter Division. On 20 May 1944, he took command of Jagdgeschwader 1 "Oesau" (JG 1—1st Fighter Wing) and participated in Operation Bodenplatte. Ihlefeld died on 8 August 1995 in Wennigsen, Lower Saxony.

view all

Herbert Ihlefeld's Timeline

June 1, 1914
Pniewo, Złotów County, Greater Poland Voivodeship, Poland
August 8, 1995
Age 81
Wennigsen, NDS, Germany