This article will be permanently flagged as inappropriate and made unaccessible to everyone.
Are you certain this article is inappropriate?
Political / Social
JG 77, JG 51, JG 7
World War II
Siegfried Freytag (10 November 1919 – 1 June 2003) was a German World War II fighter ace and member of the French Foreign Legion. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.
Freytag was born on 10 November 1919 in Danzig-Langfuhr, then in the German Empire, present-day Wrzeszcz in Poland. He grew up in the Free City of Danzig. During World War II, he served in the Luftwaffe, beginning with 6./Jagdgeschwader 77 (JG 77—77th Fighter Wing) in the summer of 1940. His first victory was on 31 October 1940 when he claimed a Lockheed Hudson of Coastal Command. Along with JG 77, he then took part in the invasion of Greece and Crete in March – May 1941. JG 77 next operated over the Eastern Front. By June 1942 Oberleutnant (First Lieutenant) Freytag had 57 victories to his credit, with some 12 aircraft destroyed on the ground, and he was awarded the prestigious Ritterkreuz on 3 July 1942.
Freytag was by now Staffelkapitän (Squadron Leader) of 1./JG 77, and relocated to the Mediterranean theatre, operating against Malta from July until October 1942. Freytag was one of the most successful aces during these operations, claiming 21 victories, and raising his total to 78. He was shot down by Spitfires on 27 July, but was rescued from the sea off Valletta by a Dornier Do 24 flying boat.
Operating over North Africa and Tunisia, Freytag scored 16 more victories. On 13 March 1943, Freytag was made Gruppenkommandeur (Group Commander) of II./JG 77. He flew over Sicily, but was shot down over Gela by P-38 Lightning fighters on 12 July, bailing out wounded from his stricken Bf 109 G-6. Following his recovery, Freytag commanded II./JG 77, on Reichsverteidigung (Defense of the Reich) duties based in Germany.
On 25 December, Freytag was appointed acting Geschwaderkommodore (Wing Commander) of JG 77, when Major Johannes Wiese was shot down and wounded.
Freytag may have shot down RCAF fighter ace Flt/Lt. Henry Wallace McLeod. Freytag claimed the only Spitfire for his 101st claim on 27 September 1944 in the Duisburg area, which probably was flown by McLeod. He recorded his last (102nd) victory and 2nd Spitfire on 1 January 1945. Freytag was again appointed acting Geschwaderkommodore of JG 77 on 7 March, following the death of Major Erich Leie.
On 4 April 1945, Freytag was transferred to the Geschwaderstab (headquarters unit) of Jagdgeschwader 51 (JG 5—5th Fighter Wing), but was soon transferred to Jagdgeschwader 7 (JG 7—7th Fighter Wing), flying the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter, where it was intended he become a Gruppenkommandeur. However, the war ended before he could assume the position.
Siegfried Freytag was officially credited with 102 victories of which 49 victories were claimed over the Eastern Front. Among his victories over the Western Front are at least 2 four-engine bombers. Freytag had been nominated for the Oak Leaves to Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, but the war ended before the paperwork had been processed.
Captured near Regensburg by U.S. troops, he was initially employed as an interpreter. After discovering all his family and friends had been killed and his family's property had been seized by the Polish authorities when Danzig was annexed by Poland, he worked for a time as a taxi driver before joining the French Foreign Legion in 1952 as an infantry soldier. Assigned to the 5th Infantry Regiment after his basic training at Sidi Bel Abbès, he served for 12 years with the 13th Demi-Brigade of the Foreign Legion. He fought in Indochina as a private and also served in Algeria and Djibouti. He was promoted to Sergent Chef in 1962.
After his retirement in 1970, he resided in the French Foreign Legion retirement home in Puyloubier, where he died in 2003 at the age of 83.
World War II, Soviet Union, Spanish Civil War, Royal Air Force, Hermann Göring
United Kingdom, European Union, Italy, Canada, Spain
World War II, Nazi Germany, Luftwaffe, Poland, Supermarine Spitfire
World War II, Heinrich Bär, Luftwaffe, Germany, Gerhard Barkhorn
World War II, Nazi Germany, Bundeswehr, Luftwaffe, Johannes Steinhoff
World War II, Heinrich Bär, Gerhard Barkhorn, Erich Hartmann, Luftwaffe
Erich Hartmann, Heinrich Bär, Günther Rall, Gerhard Barkhorn, Kraków