Franz-Josef Beerenbrock

Franz-Josef Beerenbrock

Infobox Military Person
name=Franz-Josef Beerenbrock

lived=9 April 1920 - 13 December 2004
placeofbirth=Datteln, Germany
placeofdeath=Morsbach, Germany
allegiance=flagicon|Nazi Germany Nazi Germany (to 1945)
flagicon|West Germany West Germany
unit=JG 51
battles=World War II
*Eastern front
awards=Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves

Franz-Josef Beerenbrock (9 April 1920 - 13 December 2004) was one of the one of the most successful German fighter aces of World War II. He claimed 117 aerial victories in approximately 400 combat missions, all on the Eastern Front. In November 1942 he became POW for the rest of the war in Russia.

In the Luftwaffe

Beerenbock joined a flak artillery unit on 1 October 1938 and in 1939 was trained as a pilot. In March 1941, Beerenbrock was transferred to JG 51. Unteroffizier Beerenbrock was assigned to 12./JG 51 and was promoted to Oberfeldwebel.

He achieved his first aerial victory on 24 June 1941. On 1 August 1942 he claimed nine more victories and reached his 100th aerial victory. At that point he was the most successful fighter pilot of JG 51. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves.

In air combat on 9 November 1942 with numeralically superior Russian fighters over Welish, he downed three Russian fighters but his Messerschmitt Bf 109 F-2 fighter received a hit in the radiator and he went down over Russian-held territory and was taken prisoner of war.

A few days later, the Russian fighter units in this area suddenly started using the very same tactics as Beerenbrock had used with such success. Beerenbrock's old friends in JG 51 were certain. Beerenbrock, who had a Russian mother, has gone over to the Russian side though the truth may never be known. But it is a fact that Beerenbrock in Russian captivity was one of the founders - together with General Walther von Seydlitz-Kurzbach and others - of the well-known pro-Soviet German prisoners' organisation, the League of German Officers ( _de. Bund deutscher Offiziere). Several years after the war, in mid-December 1949, Beerenbrock returned to West Germany.

Franz-Josef Beerenbrock was credited with 117 victories in approximately 400 missions, all on the Eastern Front of which at least 12 were Il-2 Sturmoviks. [ [ Franz Josef Beerenbrock ] ]

In Post-War

Post-war he joined the post-war Bundesluftwaffe.


* Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe (22 June 1942)
* Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
** Knight's Cross (30 July 1941)
** 108. Oak Leaves (26 July 1942)


* Bergstrom, Christer. "Red Star - Black Cross: Russian and German Fighter Pilots in Combat 1941-194"
* Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer. "Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939-1945". Friedburg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas, 2000. ISBN 3-7909-0284-5.

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