Gordon Gollob

Gordon Gollob
The head a man, shown from the front. He wears a military uniform, a white shirt with an Iron Cross displayed at the front of his shirt collar. His hair appears dark and is combed back, his facial expression is a determined; his eyes are looking into the camera.
Gordon Gollob
Born 16 June 1912(1912-06-16)
Vienna
Died 8 September 1987(1987-09-08) (aged 75)
Sulingen
Allegiance Austria First Austrian Republic (to 1938)
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Service/branch Luftwaffe
Years of service 1933–1945
Rank Oberst
Unit ZG 76, JG 3, JG 54, JG 77, Luftflotte 5
Commands held II./JG 3, JG 77, Jafü 5 and General der Jagdflieger
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub, Schwertern und Brillanten

Gordon M. Gollob (16 June 1912, Vienna – 8 September 1987) was an Austrian-born German fighter pilot and flying ace in the Luftwaffe from 1938 to 1945 during World War II. A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down five or more enemy aircraft during aerial combat.[1] He rose to the position of General der Jagdflieger, and was one of only 27 to receive the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub, Schwertern und Brillanten). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade the Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. Gollob was credited with 150 aerial victories—that is, 150 aerial combat encounters resulting in the destruction of the enemy aircraft—achieved in 340 missions. He recorded 144 victories over the Eastern front. Gollob was the first pilot in aviation history to claim 150 aerial victories.

Contents

Early life

Gollob was born in Vienna. In 1933 he joined the Austrian Bundesheer as an officer cadet, and the year after he completed his flying training. He rose to command a training unit, the Schulstaffel A. When Austria was annexed by Germany in 1938, Gollob joined the Luftwaffe with the rank of Oberleutnant. On 15 March 1939 Gollob was posted to the 3./Zerstörergeschwader 76 (ZG 76)[Notes 1] flying the Bf 110 twin-engined fighter.

World War 2

ZG 76 was stationed on the Polish border and took part in Fall Weiss, the invasion of Poland from 1 September 1939. Gollob scored his first victories over Poland, and continued his success when ZG 76 took part in the Battle of the Heligoland Bight.

On 8 April 1940 Gollob was appointed Staffelkapitän of 3./ZG 76. The unit took part in Operation Weserübung and Gollob had two more victories over Norway. Later that year Gollob shot down a Spitfire during the Battle of Britain. He was then given night fighter training and assigned to II./Jagdgeschwader 3 (JG 3) on 7 September. JG 3 was stationed on the Channel Front, and saw much action. On 9 October Gollob was appointed Staffelkapitän of 4./JG 3.

In 1941 the unit was transferred east to take part in Operation Barbarossa, the code name for Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II. A few days after the invasion started, on 27 June, Gollob was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of II./JG 3, and promoted to Hauptmann. Against the weak Soviet Air Force Gollob proved quite successful, downing 18 enemy aircraft in the month of August alone. On 18 September he was awarded the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes for his 42 victories. In October he had an impressive 37 victories, including 9 in one day on 18 October. On 26 October he was awarded the Eichenlaub after reaching 85 victories. In December Gollob was pulled of frontline service, and was transferred to a testing unit, to help with the development of the next version of the Bf 109.

After a brief spell at the Stabschwarm of Jagdgeschwader 54 (JG 54) Gollob, now a Major, assumed command over Jagdgeschwader 77 (JG 77) as Geschwaderkommodore on 16 May 1942. JG 77 was given the task of supporting the hard fighting over the Kerch straits on the Crimean peninsula. The JG 77, led by such able experts as Gollob and Heinrich Bär leading I./JG 77, "took over" the air space over the Kerch-Taman area. Intense rivalry ensued between Gollob and Bär, each striving to outperform the other. On 20 May Gollob reached his victory number 100. On 23 June he was awarded the Schwerter, after his tally had risen to 107. Only two months later he reached 150 victories, becoming the Luftwaffe's highest scoring pilot at that point. For this he was awarded the Brillanten to his Ritterkreuz on 29 August, only number 3 to receive such honours.

An anonymous JG 77 pilot described Gollob's methods; "Gollob flew from Kerch together with his wingman. They positioned themselves at a low altitude beneath a Russian formation. Then they started climbing in spirals, carefully maintaining their position beneath the enemy formation. Before the peacefully flying Russians had even suspected any mischief, the two planes at the bottom of their formation had been shot down and the two Germans were gone."[2]

High command

On 1 October 1942, now an Oberst, Gollob was posted to the staff of Jagdfliegerführer 3[Notes 2] on the Channel Front, and on 15 October he was appointed Jagdfliegerführer 5, being responsible of the tactical fighter command over northwestern France.

In April 1944 Gollob was transferred to the personal staff of General der Jagdflieger Adolf Galland, to advise on the development of the jet aircraft projects. He had a falling out with Galland however, and was transferred to Kommando der Erprobungstellen, or HQ of test units. In November Gollob was appointed commander of the Jäger-Sonderstab - or special fighter commando - for the Ardennes offensive. In January 1945 Gollob was appointed General der Jagerflieger, following Galland's sacking by the OKL after the costly Operation Bodenplatte.

Controversy

Gollob was an ardent Nazi, and was often thought poorly of by his fellow pilots. Johannes Steinhoff said about Gollob in an interview first printed in World War 2 Magazine in February 2000:

"Well, I will say this, then I will say nothing else about Gollob. Losses soared under his leadership everywhere he went, much like Göring in the first war. He placed leaders in command of units not because of their competence, but due to their loyalty to the Nazi Party, which were very few in the Jagdwaffe." [1]

Gollob was regarded as a competent pilot, but a poor leader due to his eagerness to impress superiors and his unhealthy competitive spirit.

After the war

After being released from captivity following the surrender, Gollob made a living as a contributor to Aircraft Magazines and lecturing. In 1948 he became a foreman of the Federation of Independents in Austria. From 1951 he started working for a company making motors and vehicles. He had two sons and a daughter with his wife. Gollob died in Sulingen, Diepholz, Lower Saxony on 7 September 1987.

Awards

Reference in the Wehrmachtbericht

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
Saturday 25 October 1941 Hauptmann Gollob errang am 20 Oktober seinen 30., Major Lützow am 24 Oktober seinen 101. Luftsieg.[5] Hauptmann Gollob achieved on 20 October his 30th, Major Lützow on 24 October his 101st aerial victory.
Saturday 20 June 1942 Hauptmann Gollob, Kommodore eines Jagdgeschwaders, errang seinen 101. Luftsieg.[6] Hauptmann Gollob, commodore of a fighter wing, achieved his 101st aerial victory.
Monday 31 August 1942 Am 29. August errang Major Gollob, Kommodore eines Jagdgeschwaders, an der Ostfront seinen 150. Luftsieg.[7] Major Gollob, commodore of a fighter wing, on 29 August achieved on the Eastern front his 150th aerial victory.

Notes

  1. ^ For an explanation of the meaning of Luftwaffe unit designation see Organization of the Luftwaffe during World War II
  2. ^ A Jagdfliegerführer, or Jafü, was the commander of the Fighter forces of a Luftflotte. For more details see Organization of the Luftwaffe during World War II

See also

References

Citations
  1. ^ Spick 1996, pp. 3–4.
  2. ^ Prien. JG 77, p. 1018
  3. ^ Obermaier 1989, p. 19.
  4. ^ a b c d Scherzer 2007, p. 341.
  5. ^ Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939-1945 Band 1, p. 708.
  6. ^ Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939-1945 Band 2, p. 168.
  7. ^ Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939-1945 Band 2, p. 268.
Bibliography
  • Berger, Florian (1999). Mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern. Die höchstdekorierten Soldaten des Zweiten Weltkrieges. Selbstverlag Florian Berger. ISBN 3-9501307-0-5.
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939-1945. Friedburg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 3-7909-0284-5.
  • Fraschka, Günther (1994). Knights of the Reich. Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Military/Aviation History. ISBN 0-88740-580-0.
  • Obermaier, Ernst (1989). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Luftwaffe Jagdflieger 1939 - 1945 (in German). Mainz, Germany: Verlag Dieter Hoffmann. ISBN 3-87341-065-6.
  • Prien, Jochen (1993). Jagdgeschwader 77. ISBN 3-923457-19-7.
  • Schaulen, Fritjof (2003). Eichenlaubträger 1940 - 1945 Zeitgeschichte in Farbe I Abraham - Huppertz (in German). Selent, Germany: Pour le Mérite. ISBN 3-932381-20-3.
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007). 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 (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
  • Spick, Mike (1996). Luftwaffe Fighter Aces. New York: Ivy Books. ISBN 0-8041-1696-2.
  • Williamson, Gordon (2006). Knight's Cross with Diamonds Recipients 1941-45. Osprey Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-84176-644-5.
  • Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, 1. September 1939 bis 31. Dezember 1941 (in German). München: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, 1985. ISBN 3-423-05944-3.
  • Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 2, 1. Januar 1942 bis 31. Dezember 1943 (in German). München: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, 1985. ISBN 3-423-05944-3.
  • Helden der Wehrmacht - Unsterbliche deutsche Soldaten (in German). München, Germany: FZ-Verlag GmbH, 2004. ISBN 3-924309-53-1.

External links

Portal icon Military of Germany portal
Portal icon Austria portal

Media related to Gordon Mac Gollob at Wikimedia Commons

Military offices
Preceded by
Major Gotthard Handrick
Commander of Jagdgeschwader 77 Herz As
May 16, 1942 – September 30, 1942
Succeeded by
Major Joachim Müncheberg
Preceded by
Major Karl Hentschel
Commander of Jagdfliegerführer 3
October 15, 1942 – September 6, 1943
Succeeded by
Jagdfliegerführer 5
Preceded by
Jagdfliegerführer 3
Commander of Jagdfliegerführer 5
September 6, 1943 – May, 1944
Succeeded by
unknown
Preceded by
Generalleutnant Adolf Galland
General der Jagdflieger
January 31, 1945 – May 8, 1945
Succeeded by
none

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