Hermann-Friedrich Joppien

Hermann-Friedrich Joppien

Hermann-Friedrich Joppien
Hermann-Friedrich Joppien
Nickname(s) "Jupp"
Born (1912-07-19)19 July 1912
Died 25 August 1941(1941-08-25) (aged 29)
near Yelnya, southwest of Bryansk
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Heer, Luftwaffe
Years of service 1931–41
Rank Hauptmann
Unit JG 51
Commands held 1./JG 51, I./JG 51
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves

Hauptmann Hermann-Friedrich "Jupp" Joppien (19 July 1912 – 25 August 1941) was German World War II Luftwaffe Flying ace and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. It was Germany's highest military decoration at the time of its presentation to Hermann-Friedrich Joppien.[Note 1] Joppien was killed in action with Soviet fighters on 25 August 1941.

Military career

In France 1940

Hermann-Friedrich Joppien was born on 19 July 1912 in Bochum in the Province of Westphalia, a province of the Kingdom of Prussia. Joppien joined the military service with an Infantry Regiment in October 1931.

In mid 1939 Joppien was posted to the 1st Staffel (squadron), Jagdgeschwader 51 (JG 51—51st Fighter Wing).[Note 2] He claimed his first victory, a French Morane-Saulnier M.S.406 on 23 November 1939, although Joppien's aircraft undercarriage had been damaged and his aircraft overturned on landing, Joppien escaping injury. Joppien claimed four victories during the 1940 French campaign. On 6 August 1940 Joppien became Staffelkapitän (squadron leader), 1./JG 51. Joppien then claimed 26 victories during the air battles over England. Joppien was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and on 18 October 1940 appointed Gruppenkommandeur (group commander), I./JG 51. He recorded his 40th claim on 21 April 1941. He was awarded the Oak Leaves to his Knight's Cross on 23 April for achieving 40 victories.

Joppien led I./JG 51 during the invasion of the Soviet Union and on 30 June 1941 shot down five Russian bombers near Bobruysk, Belarussian SSR. 12 victories followed in July, including four Tupolev SB-2 bombers shot down on 2 July and another three SB-2s on 24 July.

However, after his 58th victory on 5 July, Joppien was wounded by bomber return fire and spent several weeks in hospital. On 25 August 1941 Joppien engaged in combat with Soviet fighters and bombers near Yelnya, southwest of Bryansk. In the subsequent action Joppien was shot down and killed in his Bf 109 F-2 (Werknummer 9670—factory number) "Black <<" by a Russian MiG-3 fighter.

"Jupp" Joppien was officially credited with 70 victories and the fourth highest scoring fighter pilot at the time of his death.[1] His victory total included 42 aerial victories claimed over the Western Front among them 23 Supermarine Spitfires.


References in the Wehrmachtbericht

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
Tuesday, 22 April 1941 Hauptmann Joppin errang seinen 40. Luftsieg.[5] Hauptmann Joppien achieved his 40th aerial victory.
Tuesday, 1 July 1941 ...Oberstleutnant Mölders errang hierbei seinen 82., Hauptmann Joppien seinen 52. Luftsieg.[6] ...Oberstleutnant Mölders achieved hereby his 82nd., Hauptmann Joppien his 52nd aerial victory.
Friday, 29 August 1941 Hauptmann Joppien, Inhaber des Eichenlaubes zum Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes, Gruppenkommandeur in einem Jagdgeschwader, kehrte nach seinem 70.. Luftsieg vom Feindflug nicht zurück. Mit ihm verliert die Luftwaffe einen ihrer kühnsten und erfolgreichsten Jagdflieger.[7] Hauptmann Joppien, recipient of the Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, group commander in a fighter wing, did not return from a combat mission after his 70th aerial victory. With him the Luftwaffe loses one of their most daring and successful fighter pilots.


  1. ^ Until late September 1941, the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves was second only to the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross (Großkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes), which was awarded only to senior commanders for winning a major battle or campaign, in the military order of the Third Reich. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves as highest military order was surpassed on 28 September 1941 by the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern).
  2. ^ For an explanation of Luftwaffe unit designations see Organisation of the Luftwaffe during World War II.
  3. ^ According to Scherzer as Oberleutnant and pilot in the I./JG 51[4]


  1. ^ Weal 2006, p. 68.
  2. ^ a b Thomas 1997, p. 331.
  3. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 245.
  4. ^ a b Scherzer 2007, p. 423.
  5. ^ Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, p. 500.
  6. ^ Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, p. 598.
  7. ^ Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, p. 659.

External links

  • "Aces of the Luftwaffe". Hermann-Friedrich Joppien. Retrieved 12 May 2007. 
  • "Ritterkreuzträger 1939–45". Hermann-Friedrich Joppien (in German). Retrieved 11 August 2009. 
  • "Lexikon der Wehrmacht". Hermann-Friedrich Joppien (in German). Retrieved 16 August 2012.