Hermann Graf
Oberst

Hermann Graf

   Hermann Graf was born on 24 October 1912 at Engen in Baden. As the son of a blacksmith, his modest family origins and poor academic achievements barred access to a military career. He completed an apprenticeship as a locksmith but dropped the trade and took a clerical post at the local municipal offices. He remained in the job until the outbreak of the war. Graf had taken up gliding in 1932, and by 1936 had also qualified as a pilot of powered aircraft. He was also an enthusiastic soccer player. In 1935, Graf applied for flight training with the Luftwaffe. On 2 June 1936, he joined the Fliegerführerschule at Karlsruhe to begin his basic flying training, graduating on 25 September 1936. Graf completed advanced flying training on 31 May 1938. Despite being selected to undergo multi-engine flying training, Graf succeeded in being posted to 2./JG 51, a fighter unit equipped with the Bf 109 E-1, with the rank of Unteroffizier on 31 May 1939. On the outbreak of World War 2, Graf was promoted to the rank of Feldwebel. He flew 21 frontier patrols over the Franco-German border without firing his guns in anger. On 20 January 1940, Graf was transferred as an instructor to Ergänzungs-Jagdgruppe Merseburg. He was promoted to the rank of Leutnant on 1 May. Graf was transferred to JG 52 on 6 October 1940 based at Berlin-Schönwalde. Leutnant Graf was assigned to 9./JG 52. On 14 October, Graf relocated to Rumania with the unit and instructed Rumanian pilots under the auspicies of the German military mission. During this period 9./JG 52 was redesignated 3./JG 28 but was reinstated as 9./JG 52 in late December. In late May 1941, a detachment of III./JG 52 was transferred to Greece to support the invasion of Crete. Graf flew many ground-attck missions over the island. By early June, the detachment had relocated back to Rumania. On 1 August 1941, Graf accompanied 9./JG 52 to the Ukrainian airfield of Biyala Tserkov. On 4 August, he recorded his first victory when he shot down a Russian I-16 fighter during an escort mission for German Ju 87 Stuka dive-bombers against Kiev. On 27 September, his Bf 109 was damaged by return fire from the Russian DB-3 twin-engine bomber he was attacking. Graf managed to bring his damaged aircraft back across the front line and a safe landing. In October, Graf claimed 12 victories, including two Russian fighters shot down on 3 October to record his ninth and 10th victories. In December he again claimed 12 victories, including three enemy aircraft shot down on 6 December (32-34), a further three shot down on 8 December (35-37) and four on 27 December (38-41). Graf was awarded the Ritterkreuz on 24 January after reaching 45 victories. On 23 March 1942, following his 50th victory, Graf was appointed Staffelkapitän of 9./JG 52. His leadership fostered emerging fighter pilots such as Alfred Grislawski (133 victories, RK-EL), Ernst Süss (68 victories, RK, killed in action 20 December 1943), Leopold Steinbatz (99 victories, RK-S, killed in action 15 June 1942) and Heinrich Füllgrabe (67 victories, RK, killed in action 30 January 1945). Graf, began an incredible run of success when, in three weeks, commencing the last week of April, he shot down 48 Russian aircraft. On 30 April, he claimed six victories (64-69), seven on 2 May (70-76), seven on 8 May (79-86), six on 13 May (91-96) and eight on 14 May (97-104). On 17 May 1942, Graf was awarded the Eichenlaub for reaching 104 victories. He was seventh Luftwaffe fighter pilot to achieve 100 victories. The Schwerten (Nr 11) followed two days later, on 19 May 1942, for reaching 106 victories. Graf continued his amazing success during the battles over and around Stalingrad. He claimed 32 victories in August, including four enemy aircraft shot down on 13 August (112-115), five Russian fighters shot down on 14 August (116-120) and a further four Russian fighters shot down on 23 August (130-133). Graf claimed an incredible 62 victories in September, including four on 2 September (141-145), another four on 3 September (146-149), four on 21 September (182-185) and 10 on 23 September (188-197). On 26 September he shot down three enemy aircraft to become the first fighter pilot credited with 200 victories. On 16 September 1942, Oberleutnant Graf was awarded the Brillanten: only the fifth recipient. After achieving his 200th victory he was ordered not to fly operationally. During this period, Graf had had his fair share of close shaves. On 15 September 1942, he had received a cannon hit in the cockpit, on 16 September, he had received 30 hits to his aircraft and on 19 September, his aircraft received hits from ground fire in the wings and, later that day, had half of his rudder shot away. Graf was much feted by the Nazi media. His “star status” was enhanced by his appearances in goal for “die Roten Jäger” or Red Hunters, a Luftwaffe soccer team, which was effectively the German national soccer squad. In the first half of 1943, Graf commanded Ergänzungs-Jagdgruppe Ost, an advanced fighter pilots’ training school, based at Bordeaux in France. On 21 July 1943, Jagdgruppe Süd der ObdL was formed as a high altitude fighter unit to combat RAF Mosquito twin-engine reconnaisance aircraft. On 15 August 1943, the unit was redesignated JG 50. Major Graf was tasked with leading JG 50, a role he performed until the unit was disbanded in October 1943 and absorbed into I./JG 301. Graf was to claim three victories while serving with this unit, including two USAAF B-17 four-engine bombers shot down on 6 September (204-205). Oberst Graf was appointed Kommodore of JG 11 on 11 November 1943. Over the next four months he would be credited with six victories on Reichsverteidigung operations despite being forbidden to take part in combat missions. On 29 March 1944, Graf downed one USAAF P-51 Mustang and rammed another. Wounded, he was forced to bale out of his stricken Bf 109 G-6 (W.Nr. 26 020) “< +”. On 1 October 1944, Oberst Graf was appointed Kommodore of JG 52 based on the Eastern front. He led the unit in a constant retreat through East Prussia, Silesia and Böhmen. He surrendered to American forces at Pisek on 8 May 1945. The Americans, however, promptly handed Graf to Russians. Graf was incarcerated by the Soviets, finally being released on 25 December 1949. Graf was to be heavily criticised by his peers for collaborating with his captors during his five years of imprisonment. Graf became a salesman for an electronics manufacturer and rose to become a Branch Manager in Baden and later Head of Sales. He took up flying becoming a member of the Swiss Aeroclub. From 1965, Graf was afflicted with Parkinson’s disease and he died on 4 November 1988 in his hometown of Engen.
    Herman Graf is credited with 212 victories in over 830 missions. He recorded 202 victories over the Eastern Front. Of his 10 victories recorded over the Western front, six were four-engine bombers.
 
No
Date
Time
A/c Type
Unit
Location / Comments
1
4.8.1941
6:20
I-16 9./JG 52 10km SSE Kiev
2
5.8.1941
6:20
I-16 9./JG 52 3km S Kiev
3
11.8.1941
14:35
MiG-3 9./JG 52 2km E Kanev
4
30.8.1941
8:40
DB-3 9./JG 52 60km NE Dnepropetrovsk
5
6.9.1941
18:23
I-16 9./JG 52 25-30km E Kremenchug
6
13.9.1941
10:46
Yak-1 9./JG 52 15km NW Perekop
7
24.9.1941
12:10
DB-3 9./JG 52 Balakliya
8
27.9.1941
14:22
DB-3 9./JG 52 50km W Kharkov
9
3.10.1941
17:00
Yak-1 9./JG 52 10km E Kharkov
10
3.10.1941
17:05
I-16 9./JG 52 E Kharkov
11
11.10.1941
7:10
SB-2 9./JG 52 10km E Lozovaya
12
11.10.1941
7:15
I-153 9./JG 52 20km E Lozovaya
13
14.10.1941
16:10
Yak-1 9./JG 52 10km N Valki
14
14.10.1941
16:13
Yak-1 9./JG 52 15km N Valki
15
24.10.1941
12:50
MiG-3 9./JG 52 Boysovka
16
24.10.1941
12:52
MiG-3 9./JG 52 Boysovka
17
25.10.1941
15:21
MiG-3 9./JG 52 Aibary / Yak-1 of 32IAP, VVS-ChF flown by Michail Avdevyev (17 victories), damaged
18
27.10.1941
15:38
MiG-3 9./JG 52 10km S Yushno
19
28.10.1941
10:02
MiG-3 9./JG 52 SE Aibary
20
28.10.1941
10:03
R-5 9./JG 52 SE Aibary
21
1.11.1941
16:15
MiG-3 9./JG 52 N Sevastopol
22
8.11.1941
11:58
MiG-3 9./JG 52 S Rostov
23
9.11.1941
14:35
I-16 9./JG 52 10km E Shakhty
24
11.11.1941
14:35
MiG-3 9./JG 52 N Rovenkiy
25
17.11.1941
14:38
I-16 9./JG 52 10km E Rostov
26
20.11.1941
13:52
Su-2 9./JG 52 20km NE Agrafenovka
27
23.11.1941
13:36
Il-2  9./JG 52 S Rostov
28
29.11.1941
10:21
I-16 9./JG 52 10km NNE Rostov
29
29.11.1941
10:27
DB-3 9./JG 52 ENE Rostov
30
29.11.1941
13:07
I-16 9./JG 52 S Bataysk
31
2.12.1941
12:19
I-16 9./JG 52 20km S Taganrog
32
6.12.1941
12:52
Il-2 9./JG 52 E Lysogorskaya
33
6.12.1941
14:25
I-16 9./JG 52 W Azov
34
6.12.1941
14:32
I-16 9./JG 52 E Azov
35
8.12.1941
9:43
I-5 9./JG 52 20km E Taganrog
36
8.12.1941
9:44
I-5 9./JG 52 25km E Taganrog
37
8.12.1941
9:52
I-16 9./JG 52 SW Rabovka
38
27.12.1941
12:01
I-16 9./JG 52 30km E Taganrog
39
27.12.1941
12:05
I-16 9./JG 52 10km E Asov
40
27.12.1941
14:25
I-16 9./JG 52 NE Golodayevka
41
27.12.1941
14:30
SB-2 9./JG 52 NE Golodayevka
42
28.12.1941
13:32
Yak-1 9./JG 52 20km SW Taganrog
43
7.1.1942
14:50
I-16 9./JG 52 Sansnoye
44
7.1.1942
14:55
I-16 9./JG 52 Novaya Slobodka
45
8.1.1942
11:25
E/a 9./JG 52 E Prilepiy
46
25.1.1942
15:42
I-16 9./JG 52 10km E Izyum
47
3.2.1942
9:35
Su-2 9./JG 52 Nuvo
48
23.3.1943
13:06
Yak-1 9./JG 52 8km SE Gniliza
49
23.3.1942
13:14
Yak-1 9./JG 52 3km SE Burluk
50
23.3.1942
17:26
Su-2 9./JG 52 E Kotovka
51
25.3.1942
6:25
Yak-1 9./JG 52 15km E Staryy Saltov
52
27.3.1942
10:11
Yak-1 9./JG 52 15km E Volchansk
53
27.3.1942
17:18
MiG-3 9./JG 52 10km NE Burluk
54
28.3.1942
5:53
I-16 9./JG 52 3km W Burluk
55
28.3.1942
6:18
Yak-1 9./JG 52 3km W Kotovka
56
28.3.1942
17:08
MiG-3 9./JG 52 5km E Staryy Saltov
57
28.3.1942
17:41
I-16 9./JG 52 Gniliza
58
30.3.1942
12:05
MiG-3 9./JG 52 15km W Burluk
59
6.4.1942
6:02
I-16 9./JG 52 2km NE Staryy Saltov
60
6.4.1942
6:04
I-16 9./JG 52 10km E Staryy Saltov
61
29.4.1942
-
Yak-1? 9./JG 52 Kerch Peninsula
62
29.4.1942
-
Yak-1? 9./JG 52 Kerch Peninsula
63
29.4.1942
-
Yak-1? 9./JG 52 Kerch Peninsula
64
30.4.1942
-
E/a 9./JG 52 Kerch Peninsula
65
30.4.1942
-
E/a 9./JG 52 Kerch Peninsula
66
30.4.1942
-
E/a 9./JG 52 Kerch Peninsula
67
30.4.1942
16:42
E/a 9./JG 52 Kerch Peninsula
28
30.4.1942
16:47
E/a 9./JG 52 Kerch Peninsula
69
30.4.1942
16:50
E/a 9./JG 52 Kerch Peninsula
70
2.5.1942
4:00
I-16 9./JG 52 Kerch Peninsula
71
2.5.1942
4:00
I-16 9./JG 52 Kerch Peninsula
72
2.5.1942
4:00
I-16 9./JG 52 Kerch Peninsula
73
2.5.1942
11:15
I-153 9./JG 52 Kerch Peninsula
74
2.5.1942
11:15
E/a 9./JG 52 Kerch Peninsula
75
2.5.1942
-
E/a 9./JG 52 Kerch Peninsula
76
2.5.1942
-
E/a 9./JG 52 Kerch Peninsula
77
3.5.1942
-
E/a 9./JG 52 Crimea
78
5.5.1942
-
E/a 9./JG 52 Crimea
79
8.5.1942
-
MiG-3 9./JG 52 Crimea
80
8.5.1942
10:58
E/a 9./JG 52 Crimea
81
8.5.1942
11:02
E/a 9./JG 52 Crimea
82
8.5.1942
11:07
E/a 9./JG 52 Crimea
83
8.5.1942
-
I-16 9./JG 52 Kerch Peninsula
84
8.5.1942
13:32
E/a 9./JG 52 Kerch Peninsula
85
8.5.1942
17:28
MiG-3 9./JG 52 Crimea
86
9.5.1942
-
E/a 9./JG 52 Crimea
87
9.5.1942
-
E/a 9./JG 52 Crimea
88
11.5.1942
-
I-16 9./JG 52 Kerch Peninsula
89
11.5.1942
-
I-16 9./JG 52 Kerch Peninsula
90
12.5.1942
-
E/a 9./JG 52 Zürichtal-Kharkov-Rogan
91
13.5.1942
-
E/a 9./JG 52 Kharkov area
92
13.5.1942
-
E/a 9./JG 52 Kharkov area
93
13.5.1942
-
E/a 9./JG 52 Kharkov area
94
13.5.1942
-
E/a 9./JG 52 Kharkov area
95
13.5.1942
-
E/a 9./JG 52 Kharkov area
96
13.5.1942
-
E/a 9./JG 52 Kharkov area
97
14.5.1942
-
E/a 9./JG 52 Kharkov area
98
14.5.1942
-
E/a 9./JG 52 Kharkov area
99
14.5.1942
-
E/a 9./JG 52 Kharkov area
100
14.5.1942
-
MiG-3 9./JG 52 Staryy Saltov-Kotovka
101
14.5.1942
16:45
MiG-3 9./JG 52 Staryy Saltov-Kotovka
102
14.5.1942
16:45
MiG-3 9./JG 52 Staryy Saltov-Kotovka
103
14.5.1942
16:45
MiG-3 9./JG 52 Staryy Saltov-Kotovka
104
14.5.1942
16:45
MiG-3 9./JG 52 Staryy Saltov-Kotovka
105
15.5.1942
-
E/a 9./JG 52 Kharkov area
106
20.5.1942
17:37
Pe-3 9./JG 52 Kharkov area
107
21.5.1942
-
MiG-3 9./JG 52 -
108
23.5.1942
16:28
I-16 9./JG 52 Kharkov area
109
30.6.1942
-
E/a 9./JG 52 Kharkov-Rogan
110
30.6.1942
-
E/a 9./JG 52 Kharkov-Rogan
111
30.6.1942
-
E/a 9./JG 52 Kharkov-Rogan
112
3.8.1942
18:30
Il-2 9./JG 52 06 67?
113
5.8.1942
9:37
LaGG-3 9./JG 52 06 760
114
12.8.1942
14:32
Yak-1 9./JG 52 86 754
115
13.8.1942
15:32
I-16 9./JG 52 85 123
116
14.8.1942
10:14
I-16 9./JG 52 95 112
117
14.8.1942
10:20
I-16 9./JG 52 95 113
118
14.8.1942
13:37
Yak-1 9./JG 52 85 263
119
14.8.1942
13:52
Hurricane 9./JG 52 85 224
120
14.8.1942
13:57
LaGG-3 9./JG 52 85 241
121
15.8.1942
16:41
Yak-1 9./JG 52 95 174
122
16.8.1942
16:54
I-16 9./JG 52 85 314
123
17.8.1942
11:42
I-153 9./JG 52 85 423
124
17.8.1942
15:36
I-153 9./JG 52 85 433
125
17.8.1942
15:41
I-153 9./JG 52 95 581
126
18.8.1942
16:43
I-153 9./JG 52 85 253
127
18.8.1942
16:43
R-5 9./JG 52 85 494
128
22.8.1942
13:55
Il-2 9./JG 52 30 892
129
22.8.1942
14:03
Yak-1 9./JG 52 49 154
130
23.8.1942
7:22
LaGG-3 9./JG 52 49 413
131
23.8.1942
7:27
I-180 9./JG 52 49 194
132
23.8.1942
13:28
LaGG-3 9./JG 52 49 271
133
23.8.1942
13:31
LaGG-3 9./JG 52 49 194
134
24.8.1942
9:28
I-180 9./JG 52 49 421
135
24.8.1942
9:58
Il-2 9./JG 52 49 243
136
25.8.1942
11:51
LaGG-3 9./JG 52 49 412
137
25.8.1942
17:27
LaGG-3 9./JG 52 49 412
138
29.8.1942
14:22
LaGG-3 9./JG 52 59 173
139
30.8.1942
16:52
P-2 9./JG 52 49 613
140
30.8.1942
17:07
Il-2 9./JG 52 49 361
141
2.9.1942
9:12
P-40 9./JG 52 49 362
142
2.9.1942
9:15
Il-2 9./JG 52 49 441
143
2.9.1942
13:32
DB-7 9./JG 52 59 143
144
2.9.1942
17:12
P-40 9./JG 52 49 413
145
2.9.1942
17:15
LaGG-3 9./JG 52 49 361
146
3.9.1942
13:48
LaGG-3 9./JG 52 40 872
147
3.9.1942
13:51
Yak-1 9./JG 52 40 852
148
3.9.1942
17:06
Yak-1 9./JG 52 40 471
149
3.9.1942
17:13
Yak-1 9./JG 52 49 234
150
4.9.1942
10:12
Yak-1 9./JG 52 49 241
151
5.9.1942
16:50
P-40 9./JG 52 46 881
152
6.9.1942
13:21
Yak-1 9./JG 52 49 163
153
6.9.1942
13:23
Yak-1 9./JG 52 49 124
154
6.9.1942
13:27
Yak-1 9./JG 52 40 784
155
8.9.1942
11:28
La-5 9./JG 52 49 192
156
8.9.1942
11:29
Il-2 9./JG 52 49 194
157
8.9.1942
11:35
La-5 9./JG 52 49 253
158
9.9.1942
13:21
La-5 9./JG 52 49 412
159
9.9.1942
13:34
La-5 9./JG 52 49 444
160
9.9.1942
16:46
LaGG-3 9./JG 52 44 461
161
10.9.1942
15:24
La-5 9./JG 52 49 444 / La-5 of 287 IAD, VVS
162
10.9.1942
15:35
La-5 9./JG 52 49 444 / La-5 of 287 IAD, VVS
163
11.9.1942
15:58
Pe-2 9./JG 52 40 781 / Pe-2 of 270 BAD, VVS
164
11.9.1942
16:09
P-40 9./JG 52 40 884 / P-40 of 731 IAP, VVS
165
12.9.1942
16:47
P-40 9./JG 52 49 412
166
12.9.1942
17:13
P-40 9./JG 52 49 161
167
14.9.1942
8:00
I-16 9./JG 52 49 453
168
14.9.1942
8:04
I-16 9./JG 52 49 420
169
14.9.1942
8:09
Yak-1 9./JG 52 49 411
170
15.9.1942
6:35
I-16 9./JG 52 49 423
171
15.9.1942
6:39
I-153 9./JG 52 49 453
172
15.9.1942
7:05
LaGG-3 9./JG 52 49 272
173
16.9.1942
7:35
Su-2 9./JG 52 49 271
174
16.9.1942
7:39
P-40 9./JG 52 40 882
175
17.9.1942
8:48
Yak-1 9./JG 52 40 782
176
17.9.1942
8:52
Yak-1 9./JG 52 40 872
177
17.9.1942
14:36
LaGG-3 9./JG 52 59 111
178
18.9.1942
11:37
LaGG-3 9./JG 52 49 124
179
18.9.1942
11:59
LaGG-3 9./JG 52 49 121
180
18.9.1942
12:12
Il-2 9./JG 52 49 134
181
20.9.1942
8:20
LaGG-3 9./JG 52 40 764
182
21.9.1942
11:32
Yak-1 9./JG 52 49 151
183
21.9.1942
11:40
Yak-1 9./JG 52 49 132
184
21.9.1942
16:25
Il-2 9./JG 52 49 412
185
21.9.1942
17:02
Yak-1 9./JG 52 10 162
186
22.9.1942
11:20
I-16 9./JG 52 49 272
187
22.9.1942
16:45
Yak-1 9./JG 52 49 261
188
23.9.1942
10:42
Yak-1 9./JG 52 49 274
189
23.9.1942
11:03
Il-2 9./JG 52 49 201
190
23.9.1942
11:05
LaGG-3 9./JG 52 40 792
191
23.9.1942
11:07
LaGG-3 9./JG 52 49 764
192
23.9.1942
14:30
Yak-1 9./JG 52 49 124
193
23.9.1942
14:31
Su-2 9./JG 52 49 138
194
23.9.1942
14:33
Su-2 9./JG 52 40 794
195
23.9.1942
16:39
Yak-1 9./JG 52 40 782
196
23.9.1942
16:42
Yak-1 9./JG 52 40 763
197
23.9.1942
16:55
LaGG-3 9./JG 52 49 423
198
25.9.1942
14:41
La-5 9./JG 52 59 144
199
25.9.1942
14:46
La-5 9./JG 52 49 284
200
26.9.1942
8:57
I-153 9./JG 52 49 294
201
26.9.1942
16:42
LaGG-3 9./JG 52 49 211
202
26.9.1942
16:58
Yak-1 9./JG 52 49 451
203
??.6.1943
-
Mosquito Stab/JG 50 Groningen
204
6.9.1943
10:50
B-17 Stab/JG 50 15km NE Stuttgart
205
6.9.1943
11:08
B-17 Stab/JG 50 S Schwarzwald
206
1943-44
-
Viermot Stab/JG 11 -
207
11.2.1944
11:50
B-17 Stab/JG 11 5km S Celle
208
24.2.1944
13:40
B-24 Stab/JG 11 Giessen area
209
6.3.1944
-
B-24 HSS Stab/JG 11 -
210
8.3.1944
-
P-51 Stab/JG 11 FA-FE
211
29.3.1944
-
P-51 Stab/JG 11 N Hannover
212
29.3.1944
-
P-51 Stab/JG 11 Schwarmstedt area / Rammed

Victories : 212
Awards : Ehrenpokal (15 December 1941)
                Deutsches Kreuz in Gold (April 1942)
                Ritterkreuz (24 January 1942)
                Eichenlaub (17 May 1942)
                Schwertern (16 September 1942)
                Brillanten (16 September 1942)
Units : JG 52, JG 50, JG 11

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