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Hans-Karl Mayer

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Hans-Karl Mayer

Hans-Karl Mayer
Born 8 March 1911
Died 17 October 1940(1940-10-17) (aged 29)
over the English Channel
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Heer (1933–1935)
Luftwaffe (1935–1940)
Years of service 1933–1940
Rank Hauptmann
Unit Condor Legion
JG 53
Commands held I./JG 53

Spanish Civil War
World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Hans-Karl Mayer (8 March 1911 – 17 October 1940) was a German Luftwaffe ace and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross during World War II. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.


Mayer was born 8 March 1911 at Rufach. He served with the Condor Legion in the Spanish Civil War with 1. Staffel, Jagdgruppe 88, claiming eight victories. On his return from Spain Oberleutnant Mayer was posted to 1. Staffel, Jagdgeschwader 53 (JG 53—53rd Fighter Wing), becoming Staffelkapitän (squadron leader) in October 1939. He claimed his first victory of World War II on 5 November 1939 downing a French Potez 63. Mayer claimed eight more victories during the Battle of France, including five aircraft shot down on 14 May 1940 alone. During the Battle of Britain he then shot down two Hurricanes over the Isle of Wight on 12 August 1940. On 25 August Mayer shot down a Hurricane for his 15th victory, that of F/L AWA Bayne (8 victories) of 17 Squadron, who baled out . The next day Mayer shot down two Spitfires. One of his victim was ace Sgt Cyril Babbage (7 victories) of No. 602 Squadron RAF, who baled out. Hauptmann Mayer was awarded the Ritterkreuz on 3 September.

Mayer was made Gruppenkommandeur I./JG 53 on 1 September 1940, and recorded his 30th victory on 15 September. On 17 October 1940 Mayer took off on a test flight and never returned, his body washing up on the English coast 10 days later. He was possibly a victim of RAF ace F/L D. McMullen of No. 222 Squadron RAF.[1]

During his career he was credited with 39 aerial victories, 8 in the Spanish Civil War and 31 in World War II.


References in the Wehrmachtbericht

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
Friday, 6 September 1940 Außer vier bereits genannten Offizieren haben in den Luftkämpfen der letzten Wochen drei weitere Jagdflieger 20 oder mehr Luftsiege errungen und zwar: Hauptmann Mayer, Hauptmann Oesau und Hauptmann Tietzen. An der Spitze der Sieger in Luftkämpfen steht Major Mölders mit 32 Abschüssen.[3] Besides those four officers already mentioned over the past weeks a further three fighter pilots achieved 20 or more aerial victories in aerial combat, these are: Hauptmann Mayer, Hauptmann Oesau and Hauptmann Tietzen. At the top of the victors stands Major Mölders with 32 aerial victories.


  • 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.

External links

  • Aces of the Luftwaffe
  • Luftwaffe 1939–1945 History
Military offices
Preceded by
Hauptmann Albert Blumensaat
Commander of I. Jagdgeschwader 53
1 September 1940 – 17 October 1940
Succeeded by
Hauptmann Hans-Heinrich Brustellin

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