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Emil Bitsch

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Emil Bitsch

Emil Bitsch
Emil Bitsch during World War II
Nickname(s) Birth
Born (1916-06-14)14 June 1916
Baden, Germany
Died 15 March 1944(1944-03-15) (aged 27)
Schijndel, The Netherlands
Buried at Ysselsteyn, Netherlands
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Luftwaffe
Years of service 1941–44
Rank Hauptmann
Unit JG 3
Commands held 8./JG 3

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Emil Bitsch (14 June 1916 – 15 March 1944) was a Luftwaffe flying ace of World War II. He was one of the most successful pilots on the Eastern Front; being credited with 108 aerial victories. He claimed 104 over the Eastern Front and four four-engine bombers over the Western Front.[1] He is ther pilot credited with the air victory against the Soviet female ace Yekaterina Budanova. Bitsch was killed in action against United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) fighters on 15 March 1944.

World War II

In July 1941, Bitsch first served with III./Jagdgeschwader 3 (JG 3—3rd Fighter Wing), based on the Eastern Front. Lieutenant Bitsch claimed his first victory on 2 July by shooting down an Il-2. He had a total of five victories by 1942. He claimed two Russian Yak-4 twin-engine fighters which were shot down on 24 June 1942 to claim his 9th and 10th victories. In July, he claimed 15 victories, including his 20th 'kill' which he shot down on 13 July. Bitsch recorded 18 victories in August, including his 30th victim shot down on 16 August; his score had risen to 40 on 28 August.[2]

On 4 September 1942, Oberleutnant Bitsch was shot down northwest of Stalingrad. He bailed out of his Bf 109 F-4 and landed safely but had suffered light injuries in the incident. He returned to combat duty and proved himself effective again. Bitsch recorded his 50th victory on 19 March 1943 three km South of Stary. On 1 June 1943, Bitsch was appointed Staffelkapitän of 8./JG 3. In July, Oberleutnant Bitsch claimed 29 victories, including six enemy aircraft shot down on 5 July. On 19 July he shot a Yak-1 down on the Mius front, probably flown by Soviet female ace Yekaterina Budanova. He recorded his 100th victory on 21 July 1943. He was the 46th Luftwaffe pilot to achieve the century mark.[3] Bitsch was awarded the Ritterkreuz (Knights Cross) on 29 August after 104 victories.

In August 1943, III./JG 3 was transferred to Germany to serve on Reichsverteidigung (defense of the Reich) duties. Bitsch shot four United States four-engine bombers down during this period. On 15 March 1944, Bitsch was shot down and killed in a Bf 109 G-6 in aerial combat with USAAF P-47 fighters of the 352d Fighter Group over Schijndel.


Bitsch is buried at the German war cemetery at Ysselsteyn (in the Netherlands). The crash site was re-discovered in 1994 by Thijs Hellings, a researcher of the World War II airwar from Schijndel. With help from the land-owner, remains of the plane were recovered including the radio, armored glass, the compass and many other small items.




  1. ^ Spick, p. 232.
  2. ^ Obermaier 1989, p. 89.
  3. ^ Obermaier 1989, p. 243.
  4. ^ Patzwall 2008, p. 52.
  5. ^ Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 44.
  6. ^ Scherzer 2007, p. 223.
  7. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 134.


  • Spick, Mike. Luftwaffe Fighter Aces. Ivy Books, 1996. ISBN 0-8041-1696-2.

External links

  • for details of the excavation of his plane.
  • Emil Bitsch at
  • German Aces of WWII at www.acesofWorld War
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