Theo Osterkamp

Theo Osterkamp

Infobox Military Person
name=Theo Osterkamp
lived=birth date|1892|4|15|df=ydeath date and age|1975|2|2|1892|4|15|df=y
placeofbirth=Düren, Rhine Province

caption=Theo Osterkamp
nickname="Onkel" (Uncle)
allegiance=flagicon|German Empire German Empire (to 1918)
flagicon|Germany Weimar Republic (to 1933)
flagicon|Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
commands=JG 51
unit=JG 51
battles=World War I
World War II
*Battle of France
*Battle of Britain
awards=House Order of Hohenzollern
Pour le Mérite

Theodor "Theo" Osterkamp (15 April 1892 - 2 January 1975) was a World War I and World War II Luftwaffe fighter ace. He flew alongside Oswald Boelcke and was a friend of Manfred von Richthofen during the first World War, scoring 32 victories. In World War II he led Jagdgeschwader 51 through the Battle of Britain and claimed a further 6 victories, in the process becoming one of only a few men to score victories in both World Wars.

World War I

Osterkamp flew as a naval pilot operating over the Western Front. On 14 August 1914 he joined the "Marinefliegerkorps". He then flew with the "2. Marine-Fliegerabteilung" in Flanders. During 1915-1916 he served as an air observer, and became the first German pilot to fly a land-based aircraft to England on a reconnaissance-mission. In 1917 he joined the "Kampffliegerschule" (Combat pilot school) in Putzig and then joined the Marine-Jagdstaffel 1. On 15 October 1917 Leutnant Osterkamp took command over Marine-Jagdstaffel 2. He scored a total of 32 victories during the war, and was awarded the Pour le Mérite on 2 September 1918.

Interwar years

Between the two World Wars Osterkamp was involved in the formation of the new Luftwaffe, amongst other things by setting up Jagdfliegerschule 1. He also participated in the second, third and fourth FAI International Tourist Plane Contest Challenge 1930 (11th place), Challenge 1932 (12th place) and Challenge 1934 (5th place).

World War II

On 19 September 1939 Oberst Osterkamp was appointed Geschwaderkommodore of JG 51. During the Battle of France he claimed four victories, the first on 12 May 1940. During the "Kanalkampf" period of the Battle of Britain he claimed a further two victories, bringing his total to six. He was replaced as commander of JG 51 by Werner Mölders on 23 July. Promoted to Generalmajor, Osterkamp was awarded his Ritterkreuz on 22 August 1940. Following his replacement from JG 51 Oberkamp was appointed "Jagdfliegerführer 2", the commander of fighter aircraft in Luftflotte 2. [See Luftwaffe Organization]

On 1 August 1942 he was transferred to "Luftsgaustab z.b.V. Afrika". On 5 April 1943 he was appointed "Jagdfliegerführer Sizilien" and served until replaced on 15 July by Adolf Galland. He then served in a number of Staff positions until being appointed "Inspekteur der Luftwaffen-Boden-organisation" (Inspector of Luftwaffe ground organisation) in 1944. After criticism from High Command he was dismissed from the service on 21 December 1944.



* [ Aces of the Luftwaffe Osterkamp bio]
* [ Short Osterkamp bio] de icon

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