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Major Kurt “Kuddel” Ubben

© Dan & Nick’s Collaborative Experten Biographies

[photo credits | Wikipedia]

   Major Kurt “Kuddel” Ubben was born on 18 November 1911 at Dorstadt, at the time in the Province of Hanover of the Kingdom of Prussia, of the German Empire.
   He was credited with 111 victories in approximately 500 combat missions, with 90 recorded victories over the Eastern front.
📌Included in his total is one four-engined bomber and seven P-38 twin-engine fighters, a British Motor Torpedo Boat, atleast 26 aircraft destroyed on the ground and 15 Russian armoured vehicles destroyed.
💥“Kuddel” Ubben was shot down and killed in Fw 190A-8/R2 (W.Nr. 680 113) during combat with USAAF Thunderbolts of the 356th Fighter Group on 27 April 1944.
He joined the Navy in 1931, undertaking his training on the sailing ship “Gorch Foch”. In 1935, Ubben transferred to the Luftwaffe and, by 1938, was serving with the Küstenjagdstaffel Kiel.
At the outbreak of World War 2, Oberfeldwebel Ubben was serving with 5./JGr 186. The unit was destined to be based aboard the German navy’s aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin, at that time still under construction.
In June 1939, Ubben transferred with II./JGr 186 to Norway where the unit was based at Stavanger. On 5 July, II./JGr 186 was absorbed into III./JG 77 when it became obvious that the Graf Zeppelin would not be completed for some time.
🇩🇪💥🇵🇱 He participated in air operations supporting the invasion of Poland in September 1939.
📍Holding the rank of Oberfeldwebel (sergeant), Ubben was transferred to III. Gruppe of Jagdgeschwader 77 (JG 77—77th Fighter Wing) where he was assigned to 8. Staffel.
🇩🇪🏆There, on 1 May 1940, he was promoted to Leutnant (second lieutenant) with a rank age dated back to 1 October 1936, and at the same time received the rank of Oberleutnant (first lieutenant) of the reserves with a rank age dated back to 1 June 1939.
🇩🇪💥🇫🇷 He gained his first aerial success when he shot down a Dutch Fokker D XXI fighter over Holland on 10 May 1940 during the Battle of France. This earned him the Iron Cross 2nd Class (Eisernes Kreuz zweiter Klasse) that day.
🔰🔰🔰Claims Verification Research by Nick Hector
Fokker DXXI
De Kooy airfield
1e JA.V.A. Overclaiming: eight opponents, all were hit but returned to base with repairable damage
(versus 3 claims)
(Note that two were actually shot down but attributed to other pilots)
🏆On 22 July 1940, Ubben was made Staffelkapitän (squadron leader) of 8. Staffel of JG 77.
By the end of 1940, 8./JG 77 was stationed on the Channel front. The unit was transferred to take part in the invasion of the Balkans in early April 1941.
🇩🇪💥🇬🇧 Ubben claimed a No. 33 Squadron Hawker Hurricane fighter in the Lamia area over Greece on 19 April, although his Bf 109 E-7 (Werknummer 5198—factory number) was badly damaged in the engagement necessitating a forced-landing behind Allied lines.
He was rescued by a Fieseler Fi 156 Storch flown by a colleague of his unit, which landed and flew him back to his base.
25km NW of Lamia @ 2000m
33 sqn. F/O Frank Holman KIA near Megara, plus F/O Moir’s P2643 forcelanded and destroyed for lack of spare parts
(versus 3 claims)
🇬🇧No. 33 Squadron claimed four Bf 109s during the battle, though only three were brought down. Among the claimants was RAF ace Marmaduke Pattle, who claimed two Bf 109s shot down.
Ubben may have been one of his victims.
📌Oblt. Ubben also performed many ground attack missions and fighter-bomber attacks against Allied shipping around the coasts of Greece and Crete.
💥On 22 May, Oberleutnant Ubben and Oberleutnant Wolf-Dietrich Huy (40 victories, RK-EL) attacked the Royal Navy’s Force “C” between the islands of Kythera and Antikythera. Both were successful in gaining hits on the British battleship “Warspite”.
A bomb damaged her starboard 4-inch and 6-inch batteries, ripped open the ship’s side and killed 38 men.
🇬🇧🛥 He also claimed a British Motor Torpedo Boat sunk during this period.
🇩🇪💥🇨🇳 Ubben participated in the invasion of Russia in June 1941, and on 22 June 1941, he claimed an I-16 Rata over Odessa.
I-16 “Rata”
20 SAD, 21 SAD or 45 SAD, VVS Odessa Military District. 55 IAP lost Lts. Ovchinnikov and A Surov plus pilot Mironov was killed in an emergency landing due to low fuel. Further details pending
💥💥💥💥On the 26th of June 1941, Ubben has his biggest day to date when he claims FOUR DB-3 bombers shot down, 3 of them on one mission within 17 minutes.
🔰🔰🔰🔰26.6.41/1045, 1051, 1102, and 1447
4 x DB-3s
VVS Odessa Military District. DBA lost 43 DB-3As and DB-3Fs, 207 DBAP suffering the worst losses: 15 in total
📌On 4 July 1941, he claims two more Russian bombers shot down for his 12th and 13th victory credits.
🔰🔰4.7.41/1608 and 1837
2 x SB-3s
Mostly from 5 SBAP, 21 SAD. SB losses include crews of Kapitan L N Storozhev, Starshiy Leytenant F V Hirnyi, Leytenant P G Ivashin and Mladshiy Leytenant I I Starukhin all MIA, 3 AE had Pe-2s and suffered at least one loss to Bf109s: crew of Lt. Alexander Rychkov, Serg. Peter Novikov and Serg. Timchenko all MIA
💥A week later on 10 July, he claims 3x I-153s shot down for his 14th – 16th victory claims.
🔰🔰🔰10.7.41/1113, 1116 and 1118
3 x I-153s
299 BBAP. Lt. Grigoriy Zhigarev and Starshiy Leytenant Ivan Kulya failed to return plus Kapitan Kryukov returned safely. Lt. Baranov’s aircraft was damaged but he made it back safely as well
(3 other claims by Schmetzer)
📍On 11 July 1941, Ubben gets into a fierce dogfight with a very skilled opponent flying a MiG-3 over Voronkova Aerodrome and eventually claims his 17th aerial victory.
Possibly St. Lt. Khristofor Yunglin shot down over Voronkovo airfield baled out too low KIA
💥He claims another MiG, wrongfully identified, on 21 July 1941, during an airfield scramble from Beltsy airfield.
MiG (“I-61”)
55 IAP suffered four losses this day: Mladshiy Leytenant Alexey Ovsyankin forcelanded in occupied territory after raiding Beltsy airfield, Starshiy Leytenant Anatoliy Sokolov landed to rescue him, both either killed or suicided to prevent capture (Kachkova, Yampol area). Pilot Stolyarov and Mladshiy Leytenant V. Viktorov also lost. 131 IAP lost Leytenant Nazarenko, forcelanded in enemy occuppied forest after attack on Bialaya Tserkov airfield.
📍Ubben claimed his 19th and 20th victories on 25 July 1941.
🔰🔰25.7.41/1940 and 1943
2 x I-153s
Day’s I-153 losses on the southern front include Lt. Grigori Shiyan collided with a factory stack in Kotovsk during air combat
📍Over the next week, Ubben claims 4 more Russian fighters shot down, with three of them being confirmed.
Two fighters on 27 July and two more on 31 July, bringing his total # of victory credits to 23.
3:42 p.m.
8./JG77 I-153
n / c
8./JG77 I-16 Rata
8./JG77 I-16 Rata
5:00 p.m.
8./JG77 Potez-25
📌On 5 August 1941, Ubben claims 2x Ratas near Vosnesensk for his 24th and 25th victories.
🔰🔰5.8.41/1755 and 1803
2 x I-16 “Ratas”
Afternoon’s losses include Lt. Shokorov of 298 IAP, KIA during raid on Kontakuzovka airfield. Fell 3km from Martynovskaya, near Vosnesensk
💥He claims his 26th victory, another I-16 Rata, on 11 August 1941.
I-16 “Rata”
168 IAP. Mladshiy Leytenant Belovigin baled out safely
📍On 13 August 1941, he incorrectly claims an I-153 “Tchaika” (“I-5”) near Nikolayev for his 27th credit.
I-153 “Tchaika” (“I-5”)
Near Nikolayev
Possibly Leytenant Vasily Moguchev of 9 IAP KIA
🇩🇪💥🇨🇳 On 22 August 1941 over Romania, Ubben shoots down an I-15 during an extreme low level combat, resulting in his 29th victory.
Romania (PQ 17692) @ 20m
9 IAP lost four Yak-1s and one I-152 over 21 and 22 August
📌Over the next week or so, Ubben claims his 30th – 32nd victories and secures his Knight’s Cross.
8./JG77 DB-3
6:45 p.m.
8./JG77 I-15
Possibly 81 DBAP, crew of Alexey Ivanovich Evdokimov all KIA
🇩🇪🏆🥇He was awarded the Ritterkreuz on 4 September for 32 aerial victories, 26 aircraft destroyed on the ground and 15 armoured vehicles destroyed.
📌Ubben scores 3 more victories in as many days to bring his total to 36 enemy aircraft destroyed.
8./JG77 Pe-2
8./JG77 DB-3
8./JG77 I-16 Rata
🇩🇪🏆On 5 September 1941, Hauptmann Ubben was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of III./JG 77.
He scores 2 more victories at the end of September 1941, bringing his total to 38 victories.
4:00 p.m.
8./JG77 I-153
8./JG77 R-10
🇩🇪💥🇨🇳 At the beginning of October 1941, Ubben starts a killing spree that sees his total # of victories top 50 credits before the end of the month.
Unconfirmed I-16 “Rata”
Perekop Isthmus
3 Eskadrilya/32 IAP, three losses. Details pending
(versus 4 claims… makes sense)
Stab III./JG77 I-16 Rata
Stab III./JG77 MiG3
2:30 p.m.
Stab III./JG77 MiG3
📌On the 9th of October 1941, Ubben claims 3x MiG-3s destroyed in combat for his 42nd – 44th victories.
🔰🔰🔰9.10.41/1508, 1514 and 1516
3 x MiG-3s
5/32 IAP-ChF. Overclaiming, only 3 losses. Includes Ivan Stepanovich Lyubimov WIA (leg amputated), Mladshiy Leytenant Allakhverdov KIA and Serzhant Nikolayev bellylanded
(versus TWELVE claims….)
💥He claims two more victories on the 11th of October; an Il-2 and MiG-3.
Stab III./JG77 Il-2 Sturmovik
Stab III./JG77 MiG3
🇩🇪🏆🇩🇪 Ubben achieved his 49th and 50th victories on 19 October 1941, by claiming two more Russian fighters shot down.
Stab III./JG77 LaGG-3
4:12 p.m.
Stab III./JG77 I-15
💥On 23 October 1941, he claims an I-15 destroyed in combat, but the claim goes unconfirmed.
Research shows this as a legitimate victory.
Unconfirmed I-15
Perekop Isthmus
8 IAP-ChF. Five out of eight shot down
(ACTUALLY A LEGITIMATE VICTORY as there were 5 claims)
📍On 6 November 1941, he registers another unconfirmed victory over a Sturmovik in the Crimea.
Unconfirmed IL-2 Sturmovik
18 ShAP ChF? Would rightly be unconfirmed as there were no losses
🇩🇪💥🇨🇳 Ubben then claimed 4x Russian aircraft shot down three days later on 9 December 1941, for his 57th – 60th victories.
🔰🔰🔰9.12.41/1230, 1232 and 1235
3 x I-15s
Mius river front
Possibly 653 IAP. Losses include Kapitan Nikolay Alekseevich Yumin KIA
Stab III./JG77 DB-3
🇩🇪🏆On 1 February 1942, Ubben was promoted to Hauptmann (captain) and became an active officer.
📌He registers his 62nd and 63rd victories on 23 February 1942, with a pair of Russian fighters shot down.
Stab III./JG77 I-15
Stab III./JG77 MiG3
🇩🇪💥💥💥🇨🇳 Over the next 3 days, Ubben claims 3 more fighters shot down, (one unconf.) scoring his 64th and 65th kills.
– Stab III./JG77 LaGG-3
– Stab III./JG77 LaGG-3
-Stab III./JG77 I-16 Rata
📌Ubben scores 3 more victories, his 66th, 67th and 68th, within the next week, securing him the presentation of the Oak Leaves.
Stab III./JG77 Il-2 Sturmovik
– Stab III./JG77 I-16 Rata
Stab III./JG77 I-153
🇩🇪🏆🥇🍁🍁He was awarded the Eichenlaub (Nr. 80) on 12 March 1942 for 68 victories.
📍On 17 March 1942, he claims another DB-3 shot down for his 69th victory credit.
Crimea/Sea of Azov
Possibly 453 DBAP. Crew of St.Serzhant Grigoriy Aleksandrovich Kopylec failed to return
🇩🇪💥🇨🇳 Ubben scores his 70th victory when he claims a late afternoon 570 ShAP Sturmovik destroyed.
IL-2 Sturmovik
Likely 570 ShAP. At least 2 losses this date: Ml.Lt. Alim Hafizovich Badeev (possibly a Flak victim) and Kapitan Sylvestr Pavlovich Timoshin POW (survived)
(Versus 2 claims…)
📌 On 18 June 1942, Ubben is credited with the destruction of 2x Russian fighters for his 73rd and 74th victories.
– Stab III./JG77 Mig-1
3:02 p.m.
Stab III./JG77 I-153
📌During July 1942, Ubben again has luck on his side as he claims 10 more aircraft shot down, registering his 76th – 85th victory claims.
5:10 p.m.
Stab III./JG77 Yak-1
2:44 p.m.
Stab III./JG77 Il-2 Sturmovik
💥On 5 July 1942, he makes 3 victory claims (78, 79, 80), including two Il-2 Sturmoviks shot down in under 2 minutes
🔰🔰5.7.42/1720 and 1723
2 x IL-2 Sturmoviks
Kerch/Taman peninsulas
One of these was possibly Kapitan Vladimir Yakovlevich Upman of 217 ShAP KIA
– Stab III./JG77 Yak-1
📌Ubben makes two more claims on 6 July 1942, bringing his total to 82 victory credits.
Unconfirmed I-16
Kerch/Taman peninsulas
Was this a misidentification of I-15bis of 590 ShAP? Ml.Lt. Aleksandr Sergeyevich Tsuprikov KIA by Me109s this date
Kerch/Taman peninsulas
Possibly Lt. Petr Kuzmich Frolov of 9 GIAP KIA
💥💥💥He registers 3 more kills during July to bring his score up to 85 victories.
Stab III./JG77 Yak-1
5:28 p.m.
Stab III./JG77 I-16 Rata
Stab III./JG77 Yak-1
📌Ubben goes almost 2 months before scoring his 86th victory, a Pe-2 bomber near Putilovo, on 12 September 1942.
Putilovo area (PQ 10193)
4 GBAP. Gunner. Crewmen Boris Georgiyevich Seredenko and Serzhant I E Ivashchenko both KIA. Details pending as to whether the pilot survived
🇩🇪💥🇨🇳 Ubben scores his 91st and last victory on the Eastern front on 30 September 1942, when he shoots down a Yak-1.
PQ 00261 @ 2000m
4 GIAP-KBF. This was likely Starshiy Leytenant Vladimir Petrov
When III./JG 77 was transferred to North Africa, Ubben already had 91 victories to his credit.
📌He continued his success in the new theatre, claiming a RAF Hurricane destroyed on 3 November 1942 for his 92nd victory.
2:10 p.m.
Stab III./JG77 Hurricane
💥Ubben claims another victory, a Hurricane of 250 squadron RAF, on 7 November 1942.
North Africa (PQ 61/66/4) @ 10m
Was this FR268/M of 250 sqn? F/S N R Chap KIA (attributed to a Bf109 or MC202). FR207 of F/S H K O’Brien badly damaged in the same engagement
📌On 15 December 1942, after a 5 minute dogfight that ended up at ground level, Ubben makes his 96th victory claim over a 260 squadron Kittyhawk.
P-40 Kittyhawk
PQ 03 Ost/8181 @ low altitude
Likely 41-13909/FL298/L of 260 sqn. Sgt. J Takvor safe
💥A month later, on 10 January 1943, he claims a Spitfire shot down near Wadi Tamet for his 97th victory.
Spitfire V
W of Wadi Tamet (PQ 62741) @ 3000-2200m
Overclaiming, only one Spitfire lost in combat this date: ER465 of 601 “City of London” sqn. Sgt. D V Watts safe
(versus 3 claims)
🇩🇪💥💯 Ubben gains his 99th and 100th victories on 14 January 1943, when he claimed 2x P-40s shot down.
🔰🔰14.1.43/1115 and 1625
2 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
His second claim may have been “Q” of 3 sqn, RAAF. F/O Arthur Neville “Nev” Austin MIA-KIA around 1640 British Timing
📍He was the 33rd Luftwaffe pilot to achieve the century mark.
💥On 19 January 1943, he claims a P-38 destroyed for his 101st victory.
2:22 p.m.
Stab III./JG77 P-38 Lightning
📌During an afternoon interception mission on 4 February 1943, Ubben and III. Gruppe attacked a low level formation of P-38 Lightnings from the 82nd Fighter Group.
Ubben claimed one Lightning shot down near El Guettar for his 103rd victory.
P-38 Lightning
SW of El Guettar (PQ 03 Ost/85682) @ low altitude
3 losses this date. 97th FS, 82nd FG lost Lts. Richard P Grady and John E Doddridge (engagement between 1445 and 1515 UST). 1st FG lost LM-H of Lt. Harold Melbraaten crashed in allied territory plus two more damaged (versus at least 7 claims)
📌Four days later, on 8 February, he claims 2 more P-38 Lightnings shot down for his 104th and 105th victories.
P-38G-10-LO Lightning
97th FS, 82nd FG. Overclaiming, only one loss: Lt. William J Dunn of 97th FS, 82nd FG. Lost to enemy fighters, 20 miles NW of Gabes between 1245 and 1305 UST
(versus about 5 claims)
1:01 p.m.
Stab III./JG77 P-38 Lightning
📌On 15 February 1943, Ubben and Stab III./JG27 are bounced by American Spitfires of the 31st Fighter Group near Sidi Bou Zid.
In the ensuing dogfight, he managed to claim a Spitfire shot down after recieving several holes in his own aircraft, for his 106th victory.
Spitfire V
SW of Sidi Bou Zid @ 1200m
308th or 309th FS, 31st FG. Only one loss: 1/Lt. Joseph C Reed of 308th FS, KIA
(versus 4 claims)
🇩🇪💥💥Ubben then goes over 4 months before scoring again.
On 24 June 1943, he claims 2x P-38s shot down for his 107th and 108th victories.
🔰🔰24.6.43/0955 and 1015
2 x P-38G Lightnings
Acknowledged III/JG 77 victims were P-38G-15-LO 43-2360 of 37th FS, 14th FG, Harold R Alexander POW over Villanova/Sardinia and P-38G-10-LO 42-12910 of 27th FS, 1st FG David M Conn and P-38G-10-LO 42-13246 of 27th FS, Thorman R Nielson POW
(versus 17 claims, but there may have been more losses….)
📌Two months later, on 10 August 1943, Ubben scores his 109th victory over another Lightning.
Stab III./JG77 P-38 Lightning
🇩🇪💥🇬🇧 On 25 September 1942, Ubben claims a Bristol Beaufighter destroyed, registering his 110th victory credit.
Stab III./JG77 Bristol Beaufighter
🇩🇪💥🇺🇸 On 1 October 1943, Ubben claimed a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress shot down in the vicinity of Livorno, Italy for his 111th and last victory credit of World War 2.
🎯According to Graham, the B-17 was an aircraft from the 301st Bombardment Group, 352d Bombardment Squadron, lost in the vicinity of Lucca.
B-17F-85-BO Flying Fortress
Near Luccia (PQ 14 Ost/04195) @ 3200m
42-30053 “Picklepuss” of 352nd BS, 301st BG. 4 KIA and 5 POW
📌That very same day, he was promoted to Major.
🇩🇪🏆When the Geschwaderkommodore (wing commander) of JG 77, Oberstleutnant Johannes Steinhoff, went on vacation on 3 October, Ubben temporarily was put in command of JG 77, leading the Geschwader from the command post in Albano.
🇩🇪💥🇺🇸 On October 24 1943, Ubben led III./JG 77 to Romania where it was tasked with the aerial protection of the Ploesti oilfields from the increasing Allied bombing attacks.
There, it provided aerial protection over the Ploiești oilfields. In Mizil, the Gruppe was equipped with the then outdated Bf 109 G-2, newer variants were unavailable. Training flight operations began on 12 November.
📌On 19 January 1944, General der Jagdflieger, Generalmajor Adolf Galland visited Ubben at Mizil. Galland stressed the importance of the Ploiești fields to the German war effort. He requested the pilots of III. Gruppe to sign an order stating, in case of a last resort, they would have to perform aerial ramming in defense of the oil fields.
🇩🇪⚰ On 2 March 1944, Oberstleutnant Egon Mayer, (102 victories, RK-Swords) Geschwaderkommodore of Jagdgeschwader 2 “Richthofen” was killed in action in aerial combat with United States Army Air Forces) fighter aircraft. In consequence, Ubben succeeded Mayer in this command position.
🇩🇪🏆Major Ubben was appointed Kommodore of JG 2 based in France on 10 March 1944.
🇩🇪💥🇺🇸 On 27 April 1944, Ubben engaged USAAF Thunderbolts of the 356th Fighter Group near Fere-en-Tardenois.
⚰In the ensuing combat, Ubben was shot down in Fw 190 A-8/R2/R6 (W.Nr. 680 113). He baled out but his parachute failed to open either due to insufficient altitude or an improperly fastened harness.
Ubben is interred at the German War Cemetery in St. Desiré de Lisieux.
📌“Kuddel” Ubben was credited 111 victories in approximately 500 combat missions. He recorded 90 victories over the Eastern front. Included in his total is one four-engined bomber and seven P-38 twin-engine fighters.
🥈Iron Cross (1939)
•2nd Class (10 May 1940)
•1st Class (August 1940)
🥉German Cross in Gold on 9 December 1941 as Oberleutnant in the 8./Jagdgeschwader77
🏆🥇Knight’s Cross on 4 September 1941 as Oberleutnant and Staffelkapitän of the 8./Jagdgeschwader 77
🏆🥇🍁🍁80th Oak Leaves on 12 March 1942 as Hauptmann and Gruppenkommandeur of the III./Jagdgeschwader 77
🛡Units :
JGr 186, JG 77, JG 2
🛠⚒ Matthews and Foreman, authors of Luftwaffe Aces — Biographies and Victory Claims, researched the German Federal Archives and found documentation for 93 aerial victory claims, plus 13 further unconfirmed claims.
This number includes 16 on the Western Front, including one four-engined bomber, and 77 on the Eastern Front.

Reproduced with permission of the copyright owners © Dan & Nick’s Collaborative Experten Biographies.
AWG Team would like to thank Dan Case & Nick Hector for their contribution and continuous support for our Project.
More Biographies from Dan Case and Nick Hector | ‘Dan & Nicks’ Luftwaffe Aces’ Biographies/Claims Vault’.

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