Major Joachim Müncheberg
© Dan & Nick’s Collaborative Experten Biographies
[photo credits | Wikipedia]
Joachim Müncheberg (31 December 1918 – 23 March 1943) was a German Luftwaffe fighter pilot during World War II and an accredited Ace with 135 air victories.
Müncheberg was credited with 135 aerial victories, claimed in more than 500 combat missions, 102 on the Western Front—including 19 over Malta, one in Yugoslavia and 24 in North Africa— and 33 on the Eastern Front.
Updated Claims verification of 133 victory claims shows that out out those 133, 115 of them are verifiable losses per Allied loss reports; Muncheberg only had 18 unverified claims… His accuracy is an excellent 86.4%…
His tally includes at least 46 Supermarine Spitfire fighter aircraft shot down.
Joachim Müncheberg was born on 18 December 1918 at Friedrichsdorf in the Dramburg region of Pommern. He joined the Wehrmacht as an infantryman in October 1936.
In October 1938, Oberfähnrich Müncheberg transferred to the Luftwaffe. On completion of his flying training, he was posted to I./JG 234.
In October 1939, Müncheberg joined III./JG 26. Leutnant Müncheberg was assigned to 10.(N)/JG26. On 23 September, he was appointed Adjutant of III./JG 26.
He recorded his first victory on 7 November: a RAF Blenheim twin-engine bomber shot down near Opladen.
Claims Research by
Rhine river, SW of Opladen, N of Leverkusen
L1325 of 57sqn. Crew of P/O H R Bewlay, Sgt. S McIntyre and AC1 T P Adderley all baled out and POW
During the invasion of France, Müncheberg claimed eight French and British aircraft shot down.In May 1940, the Wehrmacht launched the offensive in the Oes te, quickly defeating the Netherlands, Belgium and France.
With its unit, during the Invasion of France, Müncheberg shot down eight more enemy planes, with 3 being French and 5 British, and receiving the Iron Cross of 1st Class.
NNE of Antwerp
GC I/4. Losses were H-75A-2 No. 172, Cdt. Heurtaut KIA near Zoersel and H-75A-1 No. 77 Sgt. Debethune WIA and bellylanded back at base.
(versus 3 claims)
Louvain area? – E of Ath, 20km NNW of Mons
L1834 of 87 sqn. P/O C C D Mackworth baled out but KIA (chute caught fire)
Overijse (SE of Brussels)
Most sources say P2538 of 87 sqn. P/O T J “Taffy” Edwards MIA.
Other say L1645/QO- of 3 sqn. Sgt. James Leslie Clutton Williams KIA
W of Dunkirk
64, 229 and 610 sqns. 64 lost L1052, S/L Eric George Rogers KIA and K9832, P/O Reginald Tyrell George also KIA. 229 lost F/L F N Clouson, F/L P E S M Brown and Sgt. James Charles Harrison all KIA plus F/O W G New and P/O A S Linney both baled out safely. 610 sqn lost F/O Gerald Malcolm Theodore Kerr (possibly in L1000/R), F/O J Kerr-Wilson, S/L Alexander Lumsden Franks (in Spitfire marked “T”) and Sgt. Peter Douglas Jenkins all KIA
(versus 18 claims)
Furnes-Dunkirk @ 50m
KO-K of 2 sqn. P/O Clifford H Dearden and LAC Arthur O’Neill both KIA (damaged earlier by Uffz. Hans Busch of 2./JG 20)
7th and 8th claims
31.5.40/1540 and 1545
Hurricane I or Defiant
Ref claim of 31st May. Defiant would be the one flown by Guy Hickman as the loss of Nicholas Cooke and Albert Lippett was witnessed by other squadron members and did not involve fighters.
213 sqn Hurricanes and 264 sqn Defiants. 213 lost “L” of S/L H D McGregor came down in sea and rescued, “G” of F/O Robinson baled out, came down on the beaches and returned by ship; “P” of P/O W M Sizer, crashlanded on fire and returned by ship, P3424/D of F/O W N Gray KIA, “A” of Sgt. T Boyd also KIA. 264 lost L6975 of F/L Nick Cooke and CPL Albert Lippert both KIA, L6968 of P/O G L Hickman and LAC A Fidler both KIA, L6961 of P/O D Whitley and LAC Turner, both safe (collided with L6980 and forcelanded on the beach) plus L6980 of P/O M H Young and LAC Johnson (both baled out safely after colliding with L6968)
And regarding the mid air collision between Whitley and Young, the latter’s air gunner LAC Johnson was killed.
L1081 of 609 sqn. F/O John Charles Gilbert KIA
Oberleutnant Müncheberg had recorded 10 victories by end of July 1940.
During the Battle of Britain, for control of the airspace over the English Channel while facing well-trained RAF pilots, Mücheberg claimed a total of 14 victories.
15km NE of Dover
Spitfire I P9547 of 74 “Tiger” sqn. P/O James Hugh Roumieu Young KIA (as attributed by TBOBTAN) or P3622 of 257 “Burma” sqn? Sgt. R V Forward, WIA. Aircraft written off
He continues his successes over the British pilots through August, showing great leadership.
NE of Margate
K9905 of 65 sqn. Sgt. Norman Taylor “Chiefy” Phillips KIA
Folkestone – Dover
32 and 615 sqns. 32 lost P3171 of P/O R F Smythe, P3146 of P/O A R H Barton and V7223 of P/O B Wlasnowolski all aircraft damaged, all pilots unhurt 615 sqn lost F/O Peter Collard, KIA in P3109 and P/O Cecil Robert Montgomery KIA in P3160 plus F/O J R H Gaynor in P3380 (damaged, unhurt)
SE of Dover (mid-channel)
64 sqn. Either R6990 of P/O Christopher John Drake Andreae KIA or N3230 of P/O E G Gilbert which was damaged
On 22 August 1940, after 13 victories claimed, he was appointed Staffelkapitän of 7./JG 26.
151 sqn. 2 losses at this time: R4183 of P/O K B L Debenham and P3273 of Sgt. G T Clarke. Both pilots WIA (the other was claimed by Sprick)
NW of Braintree
56 sqn. 4 Losses: V7378. F/L Percy Stephenson Weaver, KIA.V6628, Sgt. Clifford Whitehead, baled out safely. P/O M H Moundsdon in R4197, baled out WIA and F/O Innes Bentall Westmacott baled out of V3741/US-O WIA near Little Baddon
(versus 4 claims, spot on)
W of Goodhurst
79 & 85 sqns. Losses attributable to this engagement, 79 sqn: Unknown serials of F/L G D L Haysom (unhurt) and P/O L T Bryant-Fenn (WIA) both crashlanded after combat plus L2062 of P/O B R Noble WIA. 85 sqn: V7343 of F/O A V Gowers baled out WIA, L2071/VY-O of Sgt. G B Booth WIA (DOW 7.2.41, parachute on fire when he baled out), P3150 of Philip P Woods-Scawen KIA (parachute failure), P2673/VY-E of Sgt. J H M Ellis MIA and P3151/VY-Y of P/O A G Lewis damaged.
(versus about 4 claims)
303 sqn. 5 in total were shot down including 2 British flight commanders, one was S/L R G Kellet WIA and NCO Pilot Jan Rogowski WIA
(Details pending, will add to my database soon)
SE of London @ 5500m
603 “City of Edinburgh” sqn: P9467 of Sgt. A R Sarre baled out WIA over Thames Estuary at 1739 BT, L1057 of P/O A Peter Pease bellylanded safely, X4250/XT-X of S/L George L Denholm forcelanded
safely, N3196 of P/O Basil George “Stapme” Stapleton forcelanded safely
(versus 6 claims)
E of Ashford @ 6500m
66 sqn (1 loss) and 92 sqn (2 losses). 66 lost X4339 of P/O I J A Cruickshanks damaged, slightly WIA. 92 lost R6613 of F/L J A Paterson slightly WIA and P9464 of P/O H D Edwards KIA
(the other loss was caused by Grzymalla)
On 14 September 1940, he was awarded the Ritterkreuz for 19 confirmed victories.
Müncheberg achieved his 20th victory the very same day.
S of Maidstone @ 6500m
X4275 of 222 “Natal” sqn. Sgt. Sidney Baxter KIA
S of Faversham
Clear misidentification – probably a Hurricane
X4480 of 92 sqn. P/O J Mansell-Lewis crashlanded unhurt
He makes his last Spitfire kill of 1940 on the 11th of November in a tough low level dogfight.
SE of Dover @ 100m
66 and 74 “Tiger” sqns. 66 sqn suffered one damaged. 74 squadron lost P7386 of P/O W Armstrong baled out safely plus one other damaged.
(versus 3 claims at this time)
On 4 February 1941, Müncheberg was informed by Gruppenkommandeur Schöpfel that the 7. Staffel had to relocate to Sicily in support of X. Fliegerkorps, under the command of General der Flieger (General of the Flyers) Hans Geisler, for actions against the strategically important island of Malta.
From February 1941, Müncheberg’s unit operated in the Mediterranean theatre from bases in Sicily. The unit was to achieve success out of all proportion to its size.
The unit gained 52 victories without losing a single pilot.
Müncheberg claimed almost half of the victories.
Following a brief stopover in Rome, 7. Staffel arrived in Gela on Sicily on 9 February 1941.
Here Müncheberg received a factory new Bf 109 E-7/N with the Werknummer (factory number) 3826 and marked as ‘White 12’.
He claimed his first victory in the Siege of Malta on 12 February over a No. 261 Squadron Hurricane south of Siġġiewi, Malta.
S of Sigguvi, Malta
261 sqn. 2 losses, 1 damaged: F/L Gerald Watson KIA in N2715, P/O David J Thacker baled out into sea from P3733 and rescued whilst F/L H F R Bradbury was badly shot up in V7768, forcelanded.
(versus 3 claims)
Off Dingli, SW coast of Malta
“A” Flight, 261 sqn. Either P/O A G McAdam and F/O S R Peacock-Edwards in V7072, both damaged but unhurt
(Georg Mondry claimed the other)
On 16 February Müncheberg claimed his 26th victory over No. 261 Squadron Hurricane of ace Flight Lieutenant James MacLachlan, who baled out severely wounded.
MacLachlan lost his arm, but returned to combat in late 1941.
E of Ta Venezia
V7731 of “A” Flight, 261 sqn. F/L James Archibald Findlay MacLachlan, baled out severely WIA (lost an arm)
Müncheberg claimed a slow flying Hurricane—he assumed that the Hurricane had engine trouble—on 25 February. Flying fighter protection for the Stukas, which were targeting the airfield at Luqa, he claimed another Hurricane the next day.
E of St. Paul’s bay @ 2000m
261 sqn. F/O John Joseph Walsh (Canadian) baled out, died in hospital of pneumonia on 2.3.41
S of Krendi @ 2500m
261 sqn. This was most likely V7121 of P/O Philip James Kearsey KIA
10km? S of Malta @ 2500m
261 sqn. This one was probably V7671 of F/O Frederick Frank “Eric” Taylor, KIA (Malta’s highest scoring ace at the time)
On 2 March 1941, Muncheberg claims his 30th victory, another Hurricane.
2km W of Marsa Scirocco @ 2500m
261 sqn. Possibly Sgt. “Jock” Norwell, attacked but not shot down
S of Hal Far @ 3500m
261 sqn. Likely V7102 of Sgt. Charles White McDougal, KIA
10km NW of Gozo Island
W5644 of 148 sqn. Crew of Sgt. Richard Hugh Allington all seen to enter dinghy but none were ever found
Müncheberg claimed his 33rd victory on 28 March 1941. This was also his 200th combat mission which was celebrated by the entire Staffel.
10km S of Gozo Isle
274 sqn. Either V7340 of Sgt. Reginald Goode badly WIA or serial unknown of Sgt. Livingston, forcelanded
In addition to flying missions over Malta, Müncheberg also flew over Yugoslavia in support of the German invasion of the Balkans.
The 7. Staffel, and elements of the support ground personnel, were relocated to Grottaglie airfield near Taranto in Apulia on 5 April 1941. Here the pilots learned that the Wehrmacht would invade Yugoslavia and Greece on 6 April.
In support of this invasion, the pilots attacked the airfield at Podgorica.
He claimed a JKRV Fury biplane fighter shot down near Podgorica on 6 April 1941 and claimed another as a ground victory.
Müncheberg had mis-identified his victims however. Both victories were, in fact, over Avia BH-33 biplane fighters.
Avia BH-33E (“Fury”)
NE of Podgorica
2nd FS. Narednik Dzordze Cetkovic KIA
During the next month, he brings his score from 34 up to 43 victories claimed and earns the Oak Leaves. Müncheberg claimed two Hurricanes of No. 261 Squadron on 11 April and another one on 23 April.
SE of Malta
261 sqn. This was probably P3978 of Sgt. A H Deacon, damaged. Undercarriage collapsed on landing, pilot unhurt
SE of St. Paul’s bay
261 sqn. 2 losses: Z3036 of P/O Peter Kennett and Z2904 of Sgt. Peter Harry Waghorn, both pilots KIA. This might also have been V7116 of P/O Mortimer, crashlanded WIA
(the other loss was inflicted by Mietusch)
SE of Hal Far
Z3032 of 261 sqn.F/O Henri Ferdinand Auger (Canadian) baled out and seen to be safe in the water but drowned before rescue KIA
A reconnaissance Bf 109 detected a four-engine Short Sunderland at RAF Kalafrana on 27 April. Müncheberg led his 7. Staffel in the attack, destroying the Sunderland.
The victory was not credited to any individual pilot but was considered teamwork of the 7. Staffel.
Two days later he claims yet another Hurricane destroyed.
On 29 April, 7. Staffel provided fighter protection for Junkers Ju 88 bombers attacking Malta.
7. Staffel claimed two Hurricanes shot down, one by Münchberg, for the loss of one Ju 88.
The German actress and Ufa star, Carola Höhn, wife of bomber pilot Arved Crüger, on a mission to provide entertainment to the troops, visited the pilots at Gela.
According to Röll, Müncheberg was especially attracted to the actress and personally accompanied her during her visit.
St. Paul’s Bay @ 4000m
261 sqn. Pilot seen to bale out, no further details known
Müncheberg surpassed 40 aerial victories on 1 May 1941 after downing two aircraft on an early morning mission. This feat earned him his second mention the Wehrmachtbericht.
In the afternoon, 7. Staffel flew fighter cover for Italian Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 bombers. In aerial combat with six Hurricanes over the airfields at Hal Far and Luqa he shot down his third opponent of the day.
In total, 7. Staffel was credited with six victories on this day, three by Müncheberg.
SE of St. Paul’s Bay @ 3000m
“C” Flight of 261 sqn. 2 losses: Z2900 of P/O R A Innes and Z3061 of Sgt. B C Walmsley, both WIA
(Johannsen claimed the other)
SW of Ta Venezia/Between Takali airfield and Ta Venezia @ 100m
261 sqn. Possibly overclaiming
SW of Luqa airfield @ 100m
261 sqn. German records identified this as P/O Ted Winters, KIA – no such name in British records!!
The entire 7. Staffel at the time was anxiously awaiting the announcement that Müncheberg had been awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves.
On 6 May 1941, he jumps a flight of Hurricanes from 261 Sqn and promptly shoots down 2 of them.
NE of St. Paul’s Bay
Z3060 of “C” flight, 261 sqn. P/O C K Gray baled out WIA
1km SW of Hal Far @ 600m
Z3056 of “C” flight, 261 sqn. Sgt. R A Branson baled out WIA
Following the two Hurricanes shot down on 6 May and his victory total now at 43 victories, Müncheberg finally received the news of his award on the early morning of 7 May.
Müncheberg became the 12th member of the Wehrmacht to be honoured with the Oak Leaves, and two hours later, received news that Duce Benito Mussolini had awarded him the Gold Medal of Military Valor (Medaglia d’Oro), the FIRST German to receive this award.
Müncheberg had 43 victories to his credit.
A sojourn in Libya during June-July 1941, to support Rommel’s Afrika Korps repel the British relief of Tobruk, saw Müncheberg add a further five victories to his tally.
7. Staffel was immediately ordered to relocate to North Africa where they were subordinated to I. Gruppe of Jagdgeschwader 27 (I./JG 27—1st group of the 27th Fighter Wing), then under the command of Hauptmann Eduard Neumann.
E of BuqBuq (Egypt)
6 sqn. Pilot said to be safe, no further details
P3967 of 6 sqn. P/O James Alan Frederick Sowrey KIA
Hurricane I trop (mistaken for a “Tomahawk”)
SW of Ras el Milh
P3729 of 229 sqn flight attached to 73 sqn. P/O Robert George Lauder KIA
In North Africa, Müncheberg just barely escaped being killed when one of his headphone speakers was shot off by small arms fire during a low level strafing attack.
47th and 48th claims
29.7.41/1748 and 1752
40km E of Bardia @ 100-50m
2 Sqn SAAF. AK485 of Capt. A Q Kolo Masson KIA and serial unknown of Capt. J A Kok POW. 3 more damaged
(versus 5 claims, so it all makes sense)
In August 1941, 7./JG 26 was transferred to back to France. Following their return from North Africa to France the pilots of 7. Staffel were given newer Bf 109F-4 aircraft in replacement for the older Bf 109E-7 type.
From the time he returned from North Africa until he left JG 26 in late June 1942, Müncheberg was to claim 35 victories, of which 34 would be Spitfires, including his 50th victory on 29 August.
Müncheberg claimed his first victory here on 26 August 1941 over a Spitfire, and scored another one, his 50th overall, on 29 August.
He claimed two more Spitfires on 4 September 1941, and another from No. 71 Squadron three days later.
2km N of Gravelines
W3247 of 611 “East Lancashire” sqn. Sgt A E Gray WIA – POW
Müncheberg registers his 50th victory on 29 August 1941, hitting the half-Century mark. Müncheberg claimed a RAF Spitfire fighter near Dunkirk on 29 August to record his 50th.
10km NE of Dunkirk @ 5500-1500m
111 sqn; W3643 of 485 sqn RNZAF, Sgt. Griffiths baled out off Hythe and rescued by ASR; P8507/UZ-Z of 306 sqn, S/L J K J Slonski KIA; P8311 of 308 sqn, P/O J R Bettcher KIA; P8713 of 315 sqn, F/L B Mickiewicz POW
He continues to add to his total through the fall of 1941…
He claims 2 Spitfires in 3 minutes on 4 September 1941.
Vollezeele (or Bollezeele) – S of Dunkirk
Lost around this time were W3451 of 111 sqn, Sgt. T R Caldwell rescued safely from channel; W3182 of 72 sqn, Sgt. J E T Asselin POW. 603 sqn had Sgt. Neill WIA, cat.2 damaged
Zeggers – Capelle, S of Dunkirk
Possibly AB808 of 54 sqn, P/O J S Harris KIA (buried Dunkirk). Same sqn lost W3620 of P/O M M Evans also KIA
NW of Montreuil
71 “American Eagle” sqn. This one was also likely W3801 of F/O Eugene Quimby Tobin KIA (listed as lost near Montreuil)
E of Boulogne
306 and 315 sqns. 306 lost AB993/S of Sgt S Wieprzkowicz KIA and 315 lost AB923/T of F/O K Wolinski POW
(versus 3 claims)
607 sqn. P/O A J Beales POW
452 sqn RAAF. Includes W3512 of P/O W D “Ed” Willis KIA and W3600 of Sgt. Charles F R Manning KIA plus P8703 of Sgt. Archibald Roger Stuart POW. Sgt. Augustine Kenneth Try was also POW in W3508
(4 – 6 claims)
Müncheberg’s number of victories continued to increase; all but his 55th on 18 September, which was over a No. 607 Squadron Hurricane, were claimed against Spitfires.
On 19 September 1941, Müncheberg was promoted to the rank of Hauptmann and became Gruppenkommandeur of II./JG 26 “Schlageter” following the death of Hauptmann Walter Adolph the day before, in aerial combat with RAF Spitfire fighters.
Müncheberg’s position of Staffelkapitän of the 7. Staffel was passed on to Oberleutnant Klaus Mietusch.
II. Gruppe had already been equipped with the new Focke-Wulf Fw 190 A-1. It was the first Gruppe in the Luftwaffe completely equipped with the Fw 190.
Likely candidates: were P8542 and AD721 of 129 sqn (F/L R R MacPherson and P/O G S Walker both KIA); P7679 of 411 sqn, P/O R W McNair baled out and rescued; 412 sqn? X4389 of 603 sqn, Sgt. A D Shuckburgh KIA
On November 8, 1941, in an air battle near Dunkirk which involved Spitfire Vb’s of RCAF No. 412 Squadron, based at RAF Wellingore, Müncheberg attacked a section of four Spitfires, shooting down three of them; all three pilots were killed.
The fourth Spitfire in the section, which was undamaged, and its pilot unharmed, was flown by John Gillespie Magee Jr., author of the famous aviation poem, “High Flight.”
58th and 59th claims
8.11.41/1307 and 1315
2 x Spitfires
Loon Plage and NE of Dunkirk
Digby wing and 412 sqn RCAF. 412 lost W3959 of S/L Christopher Bushell. W3952 of P/O Ken Raymond Ernest Denkman and also AD270 of Sgt. O F Pickels, KIA. Also P8701 of W/C Douglas Reginald Scott of Digby Wing KIA
(versus 4 claims)
His 60th claim was registered on 8 December 1941..
W of Boulogne
NW of Dunkirk
W3639 of 411 sqn RCAF. P/O G A Chamberlain KIA
N of Gravelines
AD117 of 411 sqn RCAF. Sgt. Thomas Douglas Holden KIA
Müncheberg claimed his first victory following his vacation on 13 March 1942, a Spitfire from No. 124 Squadron.
During his absence the Fw 190A-1 and A-2 had been replaced with the newer A-3 variant.
Two more Spitfires of No. 412 Squadron fell to his guns on 24 March 1942, which brought his score to 65 confirmed victories.
Wirre Effroy (NE of Boulogne)
124 “Baroda” sqn. Slight overclaiming, only 2 losses: BL758 of F/L Jaroslaw Kulhanek (Czech) KIA and P8797 of Sgt. E Pendleton (American), POW
(versus 3 claims)
NW of Rue/Cambron or Pende, 15km NW of Abbeville
412 sqn RCAF. P/O A T A Young. Baled out WIA-POW
Cambron, 4km W of Abbeville
BL471 of 412 sqn RCAF. S/L J D Morrison. POW-DOW in hospital
into sea W of Calais
457 sqn RAAF or 72 sqn? 457 lost BP859 of P/O G G Russell POW and AB994 of Sgt. A B Burgess KIA. 72 sqn lost BL721 of F/L R R Gillespie POW, AB258 of Sgt. Albert Horace Hake RAAF POW (murdered
after the Great Escape) and Mk VB BL935 of F/S T Watson KIA
into sea NW of Etaples
340 sqn, 3 losses: W3770/ML-R of W/C Michael Lister Robinson DSO DFC KIA. Mk VB BL761/U of Lt. Maurice P C Choron and also Mk VB BL909/A of S/L P de Scitivaux de Gresche POW
(versus 4 claims)
68th and 69th claims
25.4.42/1640 and 1643
2 x Spitfires
His 70th claim was registered on 26 April 1942..
Müncheberg claimed his 70th and 71st victory on 26 April within two minutes of combat.
II. Gruppe at the time was referred to as the “Abbeville Boys” by the RAF pilots based on the Abbeville airfield where they were stationed.
70th and 71st claims
26.4.42/1805 and 1806
2 x Spitfire VBs
Calais – Cap Gris Nez
485 sqn RNZAF. Underclaiming, 4 losses: BM290 of F/S T C Goodlet KIA; BM139 of F/S John Raby Liken baled out but died after rescue; BM197 of P/O L M Ralph WIA and BM267 of F/O J G Pattison safe
NE of Dunkirk
Tangmere wing and 340 sqn: W3758 of 124 sqn. F/S Marie Joseph Robert Larcher KIA
N of Mardyck
Either AA940/RF-E of 303 “Kosciuszko” sqn, F/O S Kolodynski POW or Sgt. Z Kothera (Czech) or 124 sqn, KIA
near Le Touquet
BM307 of Northolt Wing. W/C C Marian Pisarek DFC (12-1-2 kills) KIA
W of Somme Estuary @ 4000m
222 “Natal” sqn, 3 losses: BL619/ZD-S of Sgt. Rowe MIA, P8780 of Sgt W H McEwen POW and AB807 of 2/Lt. Colin Charles Peter Steyn SAAF, KIA near Abbeville
(versus 4 claims)
SW of Calais
122 and 222 “Natal” sqns. Overclaiming, only one loss from each: 122 lost BM241/MT-D, P/O W B Poulton RAAF. 222 lost AA867 Sgt. A Brisset (Free French, alias “Baker”). Both POW
(versus 4 claims)
5km N of Calais
457 sqn RAAF, 485 sqn RNZAF and 602 sqn. 457 lost BM188, F/L Harold Leslie North (NZ) KIA and BM251 Sgt. Andrew Francis Peacock KIA. 485 lost BM116, P/O J R Falls POW and 602 lost BM186 (damaged, written off)
(Versus 4 claims)
NW of Cap Gris Nez
Caldwell says BL375 of 303 “Kosciuszko” sqn. F/O L Domanski, POW. British claimed that he was hit by Flak at noon. Could this have been one of the 602 sqn Spits damaged in the evening? One was BM161
2 x Unconfirmed Spitfires
9.5.42/1343 and 1344
15km S of Gravelines, 118 and 501 sqns, 118 lost 6, 501 lost 1: 501 lost W3845, P/O Edward William Gillespie (American serving with the RCAF) 118 lost: BL264 of S/L J H B Walker, KIA. AB791 of Sgt. G Shepherd, POW and W3722, Sgt. M B Green, KIA. AR365, Sgt F W Hough RCAF KIA. W3722? P/O Thomas WIA, was written off whilst BL580 of P/O G H Aalpoel was crashlanded at Tangmere, out of fuel
(versus 6 claims)
S of Crecy forest
485 sqn RNZAF. 2 losses: BL699, F/L M G Barnett and BM383, Sgt. S F Browne. Both evaded capture. S F Browne rose to be CO of 485 sqn and won a DFC (one other was cat.B damaged)
(Robert Weiss shot down the other)
Quend Plage les Pins
BL677 of 302 sqn. Sgt. J Galazka KIA
His 80th claim on 2 June 1942…
On 2 June, II. Gruppe intercepted No. 403 Squadron on a fighter-bomber mission.
Müncheberg was credited with the destruction of two Spitfires taking his total to 81 aerial victories. This achievement was announced on 4 June 1942 in the Wehrmachtbericht and was followed by the presentation of the German Cross in Gold on 5 June.
80th and 81st claims
2 x Spitfire
SW of Abbeville, 15km W of Etaples
403 sqn RCAF, losses include W3526 of F/L Edward Vivian “Mitizi” Darling DFC (RAF) KIA and others were: W3324 of F/O J F Parr, AR334 of W/O D G Campbell, AA739 of P/O D S Hurst, AR439 of Sgt. H E Hunt and AR345 of P/O L J Somers all POW whilst W3564, F/S G D Aitken baled out and was rescued. P/O R Wozniak forcelanded EN850 at Manston. One source says one of the serials was Mk VB BM162/KH-S
He claimed his final two victories (82–83) with II. Gruppe on 20 June 1942 in combat with Spitfires of No. 118 and No. 501 Squadron.
II. Gruppe was credited with the destruction of five enemy aircraft destroyed without suffering any losses.
82nd and 83rd claims
20.6.42/1544 and 1547
2 x Spitfires
S of Ardres, E of Boulogne
118, 133 and 501 sqns, 7 losses. 118 lost AR449 of P/O P H Stenger, EP134 of P/O J Veen and EP234 of Sgt C Van Houten, (all Dutch) and Adj R N Nioloux (French) all KIA. 133 lost EP168 of P/O W A Arends. 501 lost AB497 of F/S V Bauman (Czech) POW (repatriated 16.9.44) and EN961 of P/O A E Drossaert Cat B damaged
(versus 9 claims)
On 22 July 1942, Müncheberg was posted to the Eastern Front to join JG 51…
Initially Müncheberg believed that combat on the Eastern Front was child’s play in comparison to the Western Front.
In the first four weeks his aircraft was twice severely damaged in combat.
His first major task was re-equipping JG 51 with the Fw 190. Under his leadership JG 51 became the first fighter wing on the Eastern Front to equip with this type.
On 3 August 1942, between 11:32 – 11:37 (MT) 4 x Pe-2s from 205 BAP bombed German forces and artillery at the village of Svin’ino. In the area of Boguslovo, they were attacked by, according to Soviet aviators, up to 4-5 Bf 109.
From the German side, Hauptmann Joachim Müncheberg of Stab/JG 51 claimed a Pe-2 (84) at 10:32 to the north northeast of Rzhev and another Pe-2 (85) at 10:36 to the north northwest of Rzhev.
The Soviets reported the loss of two Pe-2 with the crews of Mladshiy Leytenant Ivan Sbidovskiy in the area of Batyuki and Mladshiy Leytenant Aleksey Skoptsov in the area of Voronicheno being listed as missing. (TsAMO f. 311, o. 04495, d. 8, l. 251)
In the Rzhev Sector, in combat were 1 VA, 211 BAD and 3 VA. 285 BAD lost crews of Ml.Lt. Ivan Makarovich Svidovskij and Aleksey Yegorovich Skobtsov all KIA. Definite losses to fighters were 72 BAP, 241 BAD, 6 VA, crews of Nikolay Aleksandrovich Semin (all KIA), Kapitan Nikolai Nikiforovich Katolikov (AE CO) and Aleksandr Kirillovich Shorin (deputy AE CO)
84th and 85th claims
2 x Pe-2s
205 BAP, 285 BAD, 3 VA. Crews of Ml.Lt. Ivan Makarovich Svidovskij and Aleksey Yegorovich Skobtsov all KIA
6km ENE of Subzow @ 50-100m
233 ShAD (part of 1 VA?) or 264 ShAD, 3 VA. Losses include St.Serzhant Ivan Nikitovich Spivak of 566 ShAP KIA. A definite 233 ShAD loss was Vasily Evstigneevich Starodubtsev of 62 ShAP KIA
PQ 47880 @ 1500m
1 VA or 209, 210 or 246 IAD, 3 VA. Details pending
SW of Subzow (PQ 47844) @ 800m
1 VA or 209, 210 or 246 IAD, 3 VA. Details pending
PQ 47563 @ 2300m
1 VA or 209, 210 or 246 IAD, 3 VA. Day’s fighter losses near Rzhev include St.Lt. Alexei Mikhailovich Filatov of 519 IAP KIA
On 22 August 1942, he scored his 90th victory, well on his way to the “magical” Century Mark…
SSE of Rzhev (PQ 47761) @ low altitude
225, 226 or 227 ShAD, 2 VA or 264 ShAD, 3 VA. Details pending
91st and 92nd claims
2 x IL-2 Sturmoviks
Day’s IL-2 losses include Piotr Ivanovich Gavrilenko of 62 ShAP, MIA Kireykovo area (SW of Belev)
N of Rzhev (PQ 47381) @ 1800m
11 ORAP. There are two possibilities: Serzhant Nikolay Platonovich Almakaev, Ml. Lt. V K Pibak and Serzhant E V Maslov all KIA or Ivan Vasilievich Rybakov, Aleksandr Timofeyevich Burdin and Alex Pavlovich Senkin fates not yet known to me
SW of Karmanowo @ 800m
2 VA – was it an aircraft of 205, 206 or 207 IAD?
95th, 96th and 97th claims
3 x IL-2 Sturmoviks
225, 226 or 227 ShAD, 2 VA or 264 ShAD, 3 VA
PQ 46192 @ 600m
594 ShAP, 214 ShAD. Either St.Lt. Petr Petrovich Bondarenko (AE CO) or Georgy Aleksandrovich Turykin. Both pilots KIA
S of Subzow @ 1800m
2 VA – 223 SBAD?
On 5 September, Hauptmann Joachim Müncheberg recorded his 100th victory with a double Aircobra shootdown.
He was the 19th Luftwaffe pilot to achieve the Century mark.
100th and 101st claims
5.9.42/1753 and 1757
2 x P-39 Airacobras
possibly claimed against 153 IAP, 28 GIAP (Overclaiming: no combat losses 7.8.42- 11.9.42). Slight chance of 49 IAP La-5s
102nd and 103rd claims
2 x IL-2 Sturmoviks
671 ShAP, 212 ShAD, 3 VA lost St.Lt. Aleksey Stepanovich Borisoglebsky and Serzhant Borei Akhtyamgaleevich Yariev KIA. 299 ShAP, 214 ShAD 1 VA lost Serzhant Pyotr Ivanovich Tsvetkov KIA this date
On 9 September 1942, Hauptmann Joachim Müncheberg was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords following his 103rd victory.
SSE of Subzow (PQ 47762) @ 2500m
Likely 10 ORAP. Crew of Leytenant Vasily Pavlovich Sazonov failed to return this date
105th and 106th claims
IL-2 and LaGG-3
1 VA or 3 VA.
8km ESE of Rzhev (PQ 47732) @ 1200m
211 BAD. Either 527 BAP, crew of Vladimir Sergeevich Zahozhenko or 128 BAP, crew of Serzhant Pavel Nikolaevich Bezhin definitely lost to fighters, possibly along with one other
13 September 1942
From 07:20 – 08:30 (MT) Soviet Pe-2 bombers were sent to bomb German positions at Tablino. At 07:58 (MT) at an altitude of 1750 m Soviet Pe-2 bombers from 1 and 2 AE 128 BAP bombed the positions of German forces. After performing the mission the Pe-2 flown by Starshiy Serzhant Pavel Bezhin was attacked by a Bf 109. The Pe-2 with pilot and crew crashed burning to the ground in Soviet territory. (Journal of Combat Operations 128 BAP TsAMO f. 22302, o. 0216314, d. 0001, l. 4 page 233)
On the German side the interception is found with Stab/JG 51. Hauptmann Joachim Müncheberg of Stab/JG 51 claimed a Pe-2 (107) at 06:07 at 8 km east southeast of Rzhev.
On 19 September 1942, Müncheberg was promoted to the rank of Hauptmann and appointed Gruppenkommandeur of II./JG 26.
1km SE of Klimowo (PQ 47611)
884 OSAP. At least one loss: Ml.Lt. Vasily Ivanovich Semchenko KIA
(there were 5 claims, so I can’t be certain about this one…)
115th and 116th claim
2 x LaGG-3s
One of these was likely Serzhant Vladimir Sergeevich Tsapalin of 5 GIAP, KIA in Rzhev region this date
Müncheberg claimed his last victory in this theatre on 22 September 1942, claiming 33 victories in total over Russian aircraft; this took his overall score to 116 aerial victories.
He was then ordered to the Wolf’s Lair where Hitler presented him the Swords to his Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves.
Following the award ceremony he was granted home leave before being appointed Geschwaderkommodore of Jagdgeschwader 77 (JG 77—77th Fighter Wing), replacing Gordon Gollob in this role.
Müncheberg achieved a total of 33 victories over Russian aircraft (84 – 116).
However, he was shot down twice during his four weeks on the Eastern Front.
On 1 October 1942, Major Müncheberg, with his total at 116 victories, was appointed Kommodore of JG 77, operating over North Africa, Sicily and Tunisia.
Müncheberg added another 24 victories to his victory total in the desert. Under the leadership of Müncheberg, the Geschwaderstab (headquarters unit), which was equipped with new Bf 109G-2s, arrived on 29 October 1942.
117th claim (plus one “probably destroyed”)
E of Buq Buq
EP616 of 92 sqn. F/S Robert Whitaker Blades shot down in flames and KIA
5km E of Bir el Ginn
EP117/W of 1 sqn SAAF. Lt. Leslie Mance Marshall KIA
On 10 December 1942, after he claimed a Warhawk in combat, he had to force-land his Bf 109 G-2 (W.Nr. 10725) following combat damage with the 66th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, 57th Fighter Group, United States Army Air Forces (USAAF).
10km NW of El Agheila
57th FG. Either Capt. Leo B Morgolian of 65th FS or Capt. Raymond A Llewellyn of 66th FS. Both pilots POW
15km SW of El Agheila
“36” of 64th FS, 57th FG. 2/Lt. Chester L Kropidlowski MIA-KIA
20km SW of El Agheila
“20” of 64th FS, 57th FG. 2/Lt. Steven C Merena POW
Ras el Aali
260 sqn. Sgt. N E McKee POW
After the New Year, he continues to score victories.
Bir Durfan airfield
21 sqn SAAF. Three losses. Pilot of this one seen to bale out. Two known serials: AL842 and AG842
124th 125th and 126th claims
3 x Curtiss P-40s
3 and 450 sqns RAAF plus 250 & 260 sqns. 3 sqn lost FL323 of S/L Bobby Gibbes (crashlanded), FL330 of P/O Les Weatherburn (baled out and POW), 41-14049/FL363 of Sgt. Norm Caldwell (crashlanded), FL346 of F/O William George Diehm and FL346 of F/O Allan Edward Henry Tonkin (KIA). Other losses were F/S Nickolson, Sgt. Frost, Sgt. Cameron, Sgt. Harrison, Sgt. Webster, and Sgt. Kirkman.
Total of 11 Kittyhawks shot down. Also lost by 3 sqn was 41-14021/FL345. 41-13990/FL323 also lost this date
42-45782/FL894/OK-D of 450 sqn RAAF. Sgt. R J Prouse (Prowse?) forcelanded safely
10km SE of Zuara
41-14059/FL367/CV-I of 3 sqn RAAF. Sgt. A Righetti WIA-POW
30km S of Sorman
Likely F/O Russell of 3 sqn RAAF. Damaged and slightly WIA
Also interesting thing.
Joachim Muncheberg 128 and 129 confirmed claims:
2 x P-40
Tom Russells description (recorded in 1990) is somewhat more exciting:
“… I got cut off and I was attacked by four 109s … They hit me in the left arm and they shot my cockpit about a bit, but my aircraft was quite flyable, except I didn’t have any instruments. …[Afterwards] Rod McKenzie allowed me to formate on him and Dave Ritchie was there, he was leading our section, and they escorted me back to the aerodrome, where I landed. … I wasn’t badly injured … I could see the blood had begun to run down my sleeve, but I had no discomfort from it and I was quite okay.”
Almost two months later, Muncheberg scores his 130th kill, with a confirmed victory over a 112 sqn. RCAF P-40 Kittyhawk.
One of the Kittyhawks shotdown was 42-45798/GA-D of P/O George William Wiley, RCAF, who was captured and made POW.
He was later murdered by Gestapo after the Great Escape.
Fuma/Tatauin area (Foum Tatouine)
112 sqn. Either of 42-45865/FR275 of F/S Richard DeBourke (RCAF, American) KIA, FR361 of Sgt. John Henry Oliver RCAF KIA, 42-45885/FR295/GA-G of F/O David Alastair Bruce KIA, also FR292 of Sgt. W Richard Blake (RCAF, American) damaged, FR335 believed to be of Ray “Goose” Guess severely damaged, 42-45798/GA-D of P/O George William Wiley, RCAF (murdered by Gestapo after the Great Escape) and 42-46154/FR131 of P/O Randolf Charles Carlyle “Smithy” Smith KIA
Fuma/Tatauin area (Foum Tatouine)
This one likely FR325/GA-V of 112 sqn. F/L Robert Rutherford Smith RCAF POW
On 13 March 1943, Müncheberg became only the SECOND German fighter pilot after Hans-Joachim Marseille to achieve 100 aerial victories over Anglo-American adversaries.
57th FG. Pilot of this one seen to bale out so it was likely Maj. Archie J Knight of the 65th or 66th FS
81st FG. Overclaiming, 7 losses: Lt. J E Murray returned safely whilst Lt. William Turkington, Lt. Richard M Smith, Lt. John S Leech, Lt. Claude E McCreight, Lt. John D Lewis and Lt. Russell K Lyons were all POW
(versus about 12 claims…)
FL724 of 250 sqn. F/S J P Maloney WIA
The very next day, Müncheberg died of wounds after an engagement in his Bf 109G-6 (Werknummer 16 381) on 23 March 1943 over Tunisia, when his 135th victim, a USAAF 52nd Fighter Group Spitfire, exploded in front of him after a close range burst of cannon fire.
This incapacitated Müncheberg’s aircraft severely. He was brought down in Bf 109G-6 (W.Nr. 16381).
The Spitfire was piloted by Captain Theodore Sweetland.
2nd FS, 52nd FG. Capt. Theodor Sweetland KIA (either deliberately rammed or collided with Muencheberg) (Day’s US Spitfire serials include JG970, ER259, JG922, JG940 and JG951)
Müncheberg managed to bail out and landed, severely wounded. Although the search team quickly recovered him, Müncheberg died of his injuries on the way to a field hospital.
Captain Hugh L. Williamson, who was also shot down in the engagement, later stated that he thought Sweetmann had deliberately rammed Müncheberg’s aircraft with his burning Spitfire.
Müncheberg’s body was originally buried at El Aouina; it was later moved to the “Heroes’ Cemetery” at Tunis.
The Wehrmachtbericht announced his death on 25 March 1943.
In the 1950s it was moved again and re-buried at the German Military Cemetery at Bordj-Cedria.
Profile of Bf 109 E-7 ‘White 12’ of 7/JG 26, flown by Oblt Joachim Muncheberg from Gela, Sicily, February-April 1941. Muncheberg initially flew the same aircraft marked 12 + I, bearing the 3rd Staffel’s vertical bar which from March 1942 onwards was overpainted by the white theatre band.
It bears the markings of 32 victories and the Staffelkapitan’s sign of a white pennant on the antenna mast.
Muncheberg left Sicily for North Africa in May 1941, having won the Oak Leaves to his Knight’s Cross on the 7th of that month.
Deutsches Kreuz in Gold (5 June 1942)
Ritterkreuz (14 September 1940)
Eichenlaub (7 May 1941)
Schwertern (15 June 1942)
Medagalia d’Oro (7 May 1941)
JG 26, JG 51, JG 77