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Walter Krupinski
Walter Krupinski
Wartime Rank: N/A
Squadron: JG 52, JG 5, JG 11, JV 44
Victories: 197
 - 177 Eastern Front
 - 20 Western Front including one 4/E bomber
Total Sorties: around 1,100
Awards: Knights Cross with Oak Leaves
Theaters: EF, WF
Combat Deput: EF, Jan. 42
Walter Krupinski was born on November 11th, 1920, in the town of Domnau in East Prussia, and grew up in Braunsberg. Kuprinski had two younger brothers, Paul and Günther. Paul joined the Kriegsmarine and entered the Unterseeboot service. He was killed in action on 11 November 1944 while serving on U-771, which was sunk off the Norwegian coast by HMS Venturer.

Krupinski entered the Luftwaffe in September 1939 as an ensign. From November 1939 to October 1940, Krupinski entered basic air training and after being assigned as a fighter pilot, the fighter school. After his training Krupinski was sent to join his new unit Jagdgeschwader 52, where he was placed in 6.Staffel in November 1940. He flew combat missions over England, but did not gain any successes.

Krupinski won his first aerial victory in the early stages of the Russian campaign. By December 1941 his tally stood at seven confirmed victories and by August 1942 at 50, for which he was awarded the German Cross in gold. After another six victories Krupinski was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. In March 1943, Krupinski was promoted to Staffelkapitän and was given command of 7.Staffel. He was awarded the Oak Leaves for his knight's cross for his 174th victory.

After achieving 177 victories, Krupinski was transferred from the Russian front to Germany, where he was assigned to 1.Staffel of Jagdgeschwader 5. Promoted to the rank of Hauptmann (captain) in May 1944, Krupinski was made commander of II. Gruppe of Jagdgeschwader 11. After the Allied invasion of France in June 1944, the Gruppe was rushed to Normandy to operate on low-level Army support missions. Krupinski claimed 10 Allied aircraft shot down before he was wounded and burned on 12 August. By September he was transferred as Commanding Officer of III. Gruppe, Jagdgeschwader 26. In March 1945, Krupinski was transferred to the aces unit Jagdverband 44, which flew the Me 262 jet.

At 3:00 PM on 24 April 1945, Krupinski was one of four pilots to take off from Munich-Riem to intercept B-26 Marauder. Günther Lützow, who failed to return from this mission, led the flight of four. Lützow's fate remains unknown to this date. One of the other two pilots was Leutnant Klaus Neumann.

After having claimed 197 enemy planes, Krupinski went into American captivity on May 5, 1945. Krupinski had bailed out four times and had been wounded five times.

Released from captivity in September, by November 1952 entered the German provisional defense ministry. Given the rank of major in 1957, Krupinski went to England to lead the first post war German jet fighter wing. In 1966 Krupinski took command of the German forces of the Luftwaffen-Ausbildungs-Kommando in Texas with the rank of brigadier general. In July 1969 Walter Krupinski became commander of the 3rd Luftwaffe division. In 1971 he became chief of staff of 2 ATAF. In October 1974 Krupinski was promoted commanding officer of the airfleet. Due to the Rudel Scandal he was forced into early retirement on 8 November 1976 holding the rank of Lieutenant-general. Walter Krupinski died in Neunkirchen-Seelscheid in 2000.


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