Wilhelm Herget

Wilhelm Herget

Wilhelm Herget
Born (1910-06-30)30 June 1910
Stuttgart, Germany
Died 27 March 1974(1974-03-27) (aged 63)
Stuttgart, Germany
Allegiance Nazi Germany
Service/branch Luftwaffe
Years of service 1939-45
Rank Major
Unit ZG 76, NJG 3, NJG 1, NJG 4, JV 44
Commands held I./NJG 4

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves

Wilhelm Herget (30 June 1910 – 27 March 1974) was a night fighter flying ace[a] in the German Luftwaffe during World War II.[Note 1] He was also a 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.


Born in Stuttgart, Herget trained as a pilot prior to the outbreak of war, and was serving with II./Zerstörergeschwader 76 (ZG 76—76th Destroyer Wing) flying the twin-engine Messerschmitt Bf 110 with 6 Staffel. In intensive operations during the 1940 campaign in Western Europe he scored his first air victories, with three Spitfires downed during May and a Curtiss Hawk in June; he was also awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class.

During the Battle of Britain he claimed two Hurricanes on 30 August, and a Spitfire the following day. Three more Spitfires were claimed on 1 September and another on 2 September. By the end of 1940, he had amassed 14 air victories.

In 1941, Herget converted to the night fighter role with Nachtjagdgeschwader 1 and in September 1942 became Commander of I gruppe, Nachtjagdgeschwader 4 until December 1944. On 20 June 1943 Herget had claimed some 30 victories and was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes). He was awarded the Oak Leaves in June 1944, after 63 victories. On the 15 June 1944 he was shot down by British ace, Branse Burbridge. Herget and his crew bailed out and the Junkers 88 G-1 (Werknummer—factory number 710833) crashed south-west of Nivelles. The crash site was initially excavated in the summer of 2008.[1]

In January 1945 he underwent training to fly the new Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter. After service with Sonderkommision Kleinrath, an experimental operations unit, he joined Adolf Galland's Jagdverband 44 (JV 44) in April 1945. His last missions of World War II were flown with JV 44, claiming one victory (a P-47 Thunderbolt) before the war's end.

Herget is credited with 73 aerial victories (57 at night and 16 during daylight missions) in 700 combat sorties. This included eight RAF bombers claimed in just 50 minutes during a raid against Frankfurt on the night of 20 December 1943.



  1. ^ For a list of Luftwaffe night fighter aces see List of German World War II night fighter aces.
  2. ^ According to Scherzer as Hauptmann of the Reserves.[4]
  3. ^ According to Scherzer as Major of the Reserves.[4]


  1. ^ "PONT-A-CELLES: Des restes d'un avion allemand abattu !". Charleroi (in French). Retrieved 28 January 2014. 
  2. ^ Patzwall and Scherzer 2001, p. 179.
  3. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 223.
  4. ^ a b Scherzer 2007, p. 384.
  5. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 81.

External links

  • Wilhelm Herget @ Ritterkreuzträger 1939–45