Erich Leie
Major

Erich Leie

    Erich Leie was born on 10 September 1916 at Kiel. From August 1939, Leutnant Leie led the Reservestaffel of JG 71, a forerunner of 5./JG 51. On 21 March 1940, Leie transferred to III./JG 2. He claimed his first victory on 14 May, during the French campaign, when he shot down a RAF Blenheim twin-engine bomber. By October 1940, Leie was serving in the Geschwaderstab of JG 2, whose Kommodore was Helmut Wick (56 victories, RK-EL, killed in action 28 November 1940) and the Adjutant was Hauptmann Rudolf Pflanz (52 victories, RK, killed in action 31 July 1942). By the end of 1940, he had 11 victories to his credit. Leie recorded his 12th victory on 22 June 1941, when he shot down a RAF Spitfire fighter between St Omer and Arques. From July 1941, Leie was a member of Walter Oesau’s (127 victories, RK-S, killed in action 11 May 1944) Geschwaderstab in JG 2. He was awarded the Ritterkreuz on 1 August 1941 following 21 victories on the Channel front. By the end of 1941, his victory total had reached 32, including six RAF Spitfires shot down on 23 July to record his 16th through 21st victories and his 30th victory on 8 November, another Spitfire shot down over the Somme Estuary. On 4 May 1942, Oberleutnant Leie was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of I./JG 2. He participated in the air-battle over Dieppe on 19 August, claiming a RAF Spitfire fighter as his 42nd victory. However, he was shot down and wounded during this engagement. He successfully baled out of his Fw 190 A-3 (W.Nr. 130 326).

 
Kommandeur I./JG 2 Oblt. Erich Leie visited 1./JG 2 after his injury
Kommandeur I./JG 2 Oblt. Erich Leie visited 1./JG 2 after his injury in battle over Dieppe on 19.8.1942. From left: Lt. Josef Wurmheller (102 v. RK-S, KIA on 22.6.1944), Oblt. Leie, Hptm. Hans-Jürgen Heppe (at least 10 victories) and Uffz. Heinz Dowahn (KIA 21.11.1942).

    Following the death of Oberleutnant Rudolf Busch (40 victories, DKiG) on 17 January 1943, Leie was named Gruppenkommandeur of I./JG 51, based on the Eastern front, and was to remain at the helm for almost two years. Three Gruppen of JG 51 (I., III. And IV./JG 51) and I./JG 54 provided the main Fw 190 A presence on the Eastern Front during the early months of 1943. I./JG 51 was being rotated between Lake Ivan, east of Moscow, Vyazma and Orel shoring up the central sector of the Eastern Front. Leie successfully led the Gruppe during the offensive operations leading up to Operation Zitadelle, the Battle of Kursk, during July 1943. With the failure of the Kursk offensive the long slow retreat towards the Reich’s frontiers began. On 6 November 1943, Major Leie shot down four enemy aircraft to record his 97th through 100th victories. He was granted a lengthy spell of leave at the end of March. He returned to front line duty only to be shot down in aerial combat with Russian fighters on 6 July. He baled out of his stricken aircraft over Russian lines but was fortunate in that his parachute was blown back over German lines. By October 1944, Leie’s victory total stood at 114. Promoted Geschwaderkommodore of JG 77 on 29 December 1944, Leie was killed over Czechoslovakia on 7 March 1945, when he collided with a crashing Russian Yak 9 fighter and failed to survive a low level bail-out from his Bf 109 G-14/AS (W.Nr. 786 329) “Black <1+ ”. He was posthumously promoted to the rank of Oberstleutnant and recommended for the award of the Eichenlaub.
    Erich Leie was credited with 118 victories in over 500 missions. He recorded 76 victories over the Eastern front, including 32 Sturmovik ground attack aircraft. Of his 42 confirmed victories recorded over the Western front, 30 were Spitfire fighters and one was a four-engine bomber.
 
No
Date
Time
A/c Type
Unit
Location / Comments
1
14.5.1940
19:20
Blenheim Stab III./JG 2 12km E Sedan
2
5.10.1940
15:58
Hurricane Stab I./JG 2 S Bournemouth
3
29.10.1940
15:29
Hurricane Stab JG 2 Portsmouth
4
5.11.1940
14:35
Hurricane Stab JG 2 NE Portland
5
5.11.1940
14:40
Spitfire Stab JG 2 NE Portland
6
6.11.1940
15:35
Hurricane Stab JG 2 Southampton
7
6.11.1940
15:37
Hurricane Stab JG 2 Southampton
8
7.11.1940
15:25
Hurricane Stab JG 2 S Portsmouth
9
7.11.1940
15:25
Hurricane Stab JG 2 S Portsmouth
10
10.11.1940
15:43
Spitfire Stab JG 2 E Portland
11
28.11.1940
15:17
Spitfire Stab JG 2 S Isle of Wight
12
22.6.1941
16:10
Spitfire Stab JG 2 St Omer-Arques
13
24.6.1941
20:55
Spitfire Stab JG 2 E Calais
14
24.6.1941
20:57
Spitfire Stab JG 2 N Calais
-
25.6.1941
16:30
Spitfire Stab JG 2 NE Boulogne / not confirmed
15
6.7.1941
14:35
Spitfire Stab JG 2 30km N Grand Fort
16
23.7.1941
13:21
Spitfire Stab JG 2 10km E Calais
17
23.7.1941
13:28
Spitfire Stab JG 2 NW Calais
18
23.7.1941
20:35
Spitfire Stab JG 2 W Hesdin
19
23.7.1941
20:39
Spitfire Stab JG 2 W Hesdin
20
23.7.1941
20:43
Spitfire Stab JG 2 SW Berck
21
23.7.1941
20:47
Spitfire Stab JG 2 20km W Berck
22
10.8.1941
14:25
Hurricane Stab JG 2 14km NE Calais
23
12.8.1941
12:54
Spitfire Stab JG 2 NW St Omer
24
12.8.1941
13:08
Spitfire Stab JG 2 15km SE Dover
25
12.8.1941
19:28
Spitfire Stab JG 2 12km S Dungeness
26
21.8.1941
15:15
Spitfire Stab JG 2 S Etaples
27
13.10.1941
14:40
Spitfire Stab JG 2 15km W Boulogne
28
13.10.1941
14:43
Spitfire Stab JG 2 25km W Boulogne
29
13.10.1941
15:40
Spitfire Stab JG 2 5km WNW Etaples
30
8.11.1941
12:30
Spitfire Stab JG 2 Somme Estuary
31
8.12.1941
15:45
Spitfire Stab JG 2 35km W Boulogne
32
30.12.1941
15:30
Halifax Stab JG 2 Near Brest
33
8.1.1942
10:09
Hudson Stab JG 2 Pl. Qu. 6927/14W
34
26.1.1942
13:45
Spitfire Stab JG 2 S Rame Head
35
2.2.1942
19:05
Beaufort Stab JG 2 18km NNW Brigogan Plage
-
25.4.1942
16:45
Spitfire Stab JG 2 25km W Le Crotoy / not confirmed
36
1.5.1942
19:37
Spitfire Stab JG 2 -
37
1.5.1942
19:40
Spitfire Stab JG 2 -
-
19.5.1942
15:23
Spitfire Stab I./JG 2 40km N Fécamp / not confirmed
38
2.6.1942
17:45
Spitfire Stab I./JG 2 20km SSE Eastbourne
39
3.6.1942
16:39
Spitfire Stab I./JG 2 Off Le Havre
40
5.6.1942
15:35
Spitfire Stab I./JG 2 Somme Estuary-Abbeville
41
26.6.1942
17:44
Spitfire Stab I./JG 2 Fécamp-Étretat
42
19.8.1942
11:50
Spitfire Stab I./JG 2 3km N Dieppe
-
2.2.1943
14:05
MiG-3 7./JG 51? 7376 / not confirmed ?
43
4.2.1943
12:10
Il-2 Stab I./JG 51 63 632
44
5.2.1943
14:25
Il-2 Stab I./JG 51 73 551
45
16.3.1943
11:47
Pe-2 Stab I./JG 51 44 593
46
8.6.1943
19:35
Yak-7 Stab I./JG 51 53 423
47
5.7.1943
18:44
Il-2 Stab I./JG 51 63 534
48
11.7.1943
19:00
P-39 Stab I./JG 51 63 576
49
13.7.1943
13:44
Il-2 Stab I./JG 51 63 255
50
13.7.1943
13:45
Il-2 Stab I./JG 51 64 894
51
13.7.1943
14:05
Il-2 Stab I./JG 51 63 213
52
13.7.1943
18:52
Yak-1 Stab I./JG 51 64 878
53
29.7.1943
16:28
LaGG-3 Stab I./JG 51 54 655
54
29.7.1943
16:57
Il-2 Stab I./JG 51 54 648
55
29.7.1943
18:55
Il-2 Stab I./JG 51 64 755
56
31.7.1943
11:49
LaGG-5 Stab I./JG 51 64 548
57
1.8.1943
10:10
Il-2 Stab I./JG 51 53 522
58
1.8.1943
18:45
Yak-1 Stab I./JG 51 53 446
59
2.8.1943
10:05
Pe-2 Stab I./JG 51 53 528
60
4.8.1943
16:59
LaGG-5 Stab I./JG 51 53 355
61
6.8.1943
16:59
Il-2 Stab I./JG 51 54 599
62
7.8.1943
14:00
LaGG-3 Stab I./JG 51 54 762
63
7.8.1943
14:05
Il-2 Stab I./JG 51 54 736
64
7.8.1943
14:06
Il-2 Stab I./JG 51 54 733
65
8.8.1943
16:32
Il-2 Stab I./JG 51 35 423 / not confirmed ?
66
8.8.1943
16:41
Il-2 Stab I./JG 51 35 491 / not confirmed ?
67
8.8.1943
16:45
Il-2 Stab I./JG 51 35 636
68
8.8.1943
16:46
Il-2 Stab I./JG 51 45 514
69
12.8.1943
12:50
LaGG-5 Stab I./JG 51 51 574
70
12.8.1943
13:25
LaGG-5 Stab I./JG 51 51 387
71
13.8.1943
16:55
LaGG-5 Stab I./JG 51 50 289
72
7.9.1943
12:29
LaGG-3 Stab I./JG 51 35 899
73
9.9.1943
15:40
LaGG-5 Stab I./JG 51 34 235
74
10.9.1943
13:53
Il-2 Stab I./JG 51 44 412
75
10.9.1943
13:56
Il-2 Stab I./JG 51 44 728
76
10.9.1943
14:00
Il-2 Stab I./JG 51 44 766
77
11.9.1943
11:10
Yak-7B Stab I./JG 51 44 229
78
11.9.1943
11:32
Il-2 Stab I./JG 51 44 769
79
15.9.1943
9:34
LaGG-5 Stab I./JG 51 35 348
80
15.9.1943
13:20
Il-2 Stab I./JG 51 35 378
81
15.9.1943
13:25
LaGG-5 Stab I./JG 51 25 495
82
15.9.1943
13:40
Pe-2 Stab I./JG 51 25 466
83
17.9.1943
11:32
Yak-9 Stab I./JG 51 35 511
84
4.10.1943
15:51
Yak-1 Stab I./JG 51 15 318
85
5.10.1943
10:46
Yak-9 Stab I./JG 51 06 891 (Orscha area)
86
5.10.1943
10:47
Yak-9 Stab I./JG 51 06 868 (Orscha area)
87
5.10.1943
10:48
Yak-9 Stab I./JG 51 06 833 (Orscha area)
88
5.10.1943
15:19
LaGG-5 Stab I./JG 51 15 378
89
6.10.1943
12:08
LaGG-3 Stab I./JG 51 06 152
90
6.10.1943
15:42
Pe-2 Stab I./JG 51 06 219
91
15.10.1943
7:53
Yak-9 Stab I./JG 51 15 617
92
20.10.1943
15:20
Yak-9 Stab I./JG 51 03 876
93
22.10.1943
11:44
Yak-9 Stab I./JG 51 02 246
94
22.10.1943
11:49
Yak-9 Stab I./JG 51 02 227
95
23.10.1943
15:29
Yak-9 Stab I./JG 51 05 463
96
29.10.1943
12:24
Il-2 Stab I./JG 51 05 451
97
6.11.1943
15:00
LaGG-5 Stab I./JG 51 01 754
98
6.11.1943
15:03
Il-2 Stab I./JG 51 01 756
99
6.11.1943
15:05
Il-2 Stab I./JG 51 01 738
100
6.11.1943
15:15
LaGG-5 Stab I./JG 51 01 677
101
29.3.1944
12:37
Yak-7 Stab I./JG 51 04 457
102
1.4.1944
12:16
Yak-9 Stab I./JG 51 04 593
103
8.4.1944
9:30
Yak-9 Stab I./JG 51 42 688
104
4.9.1944
17:19
Il-2 Stab I./JG 51 14 871
105
5.9.1944
16:14
Yak-7 Stab I./JG 51 13 344
106
5.9.1944
16:17
Il-2 Stab I./JG 51 13 347
107
6.9.1944
15:02
Il-2 Stab I./JG 51 13 348
108
9.10.1944
13:01
Yak-9 Stab I./JG 51 26 858
109
9.10.1944
16:00
Il-2 Stab I./JG 51 26 872
110
13.10.1944
13:36
Pe-2 Stab I./JG 51 25 134
111
14.10.1944
15:12
Il-2 Stab I./JG 51 16 624
112
14.10.1944
15:13
Il-2 Stab I./JG 51 16 655
113
14.10.1944
15:42
Il-2 Stab I./JG 51 16 176
114
16.10.1944
13:05
Yak-9 Stab I./JG 51 25 621
115
14.2.1945
16:13
Il-2 Stab JG 77 Freistadt-Bielitz
116
20.2.1945
16:29
La-5 Stab JG 77 Near Freistadt
117
7.3.1945
14:56
La-5 Stab JG 77 80 291
118
7.3.1945
15:30
Yak-9 Stab JG 77 80 256

 
Victories : 118
Awards : Deutsches Kreuz in Gold (20 October 1942)
                Ritterkreuz (1 August 1941)
Units : JG 71, JG 2, JG 51, JG 77
Home