Helmut Lent
Oberst

Helmut Lent

Helmut Lent was born on 13 June 1918 at Pyrehne in the Landsberg region of Warthe/Neumark. He joined the Luftwaffe on 1 April 1936 receiving the rank of Fahnenjunker. Lent’s military training commenced on 6 April at the Luftkriegsschule at Berlin-Gatow. His training was interrupted for a five period when he was involved in a motor vehicle accident in which he broke his right upper leg. On 1 April 1937, Lent was promoted to the rank of Fähnrich. He received promotion to the rank of Oberfähnrich on 19 October. From 1 March 1938, Leutnant Lent attended the Grosse Kampffliegerschule based at Tutow receiving training as an observer. He was again involved in a motor vehicle accident in late June, which resulted in a broken jaw and three weeks in hospital. On 1 July, Lent was posted to III./JG 132 based at Jüterbog-Damm. In early September 1938, Lent participated in armed patrols, flying Ar 68 fighters, in support of Germany’s occupation of the Sudetenland.  On 1 November, III./JG 132 relocated to Fürstenwalde and was redesignated II./JG 141. Leutnant Lent was assigned to 6./JG 141. On 1 May 1939, II./JG 141 was redesignated I./ZG 76 and re-equipped with the Bf 110 Zerstörer twin-engine fighter. Lent participated in the attack on Poland. He destroyed several aircraft on the ground and a PZL P.24 fighter in the air on 3 September 1939 for his and I./ZG 76’s initial victory. However, on 12 September, following the destruction of an aircraft on the ground he was attacked by another fighter and his starboard engine was hit and put out of action. This necessitated a forced-landing, fortunately behind his own lines, in which he received minor injuries. On 29 September, I./ZG 76 was withdrawn to the Stuttgart area of Germany to provide Reichsverteidigung against France and Britain. On 18 December 1939, Lent, now based at Jever, took part in the Battle of the German Bight shooting down three RAF Wellington twin-engine bombers attacking German naval vessels off Wilhelmshaven. Lent went on to achieve ace status during the Norwegian campaign, shooting down a Norwegian Gloster Gladiator biplane fighter for his fifth victory on 9 April 1940, while escorting paratroop carrying Ju 52 three-engine transport aircraft to Oslo. However, with his fuel running short, Lent was forced to land at Fornebu. In attempting to land, he came under fire from the ground defences, which caused his starboard engine to catch fire. With one engine of his Bf 110 C “M8 + DH” dead, Lent overshot on landing and crashed, fortunately without injury.  I./ZG 76 relocated to Stavanger on 14 April. Lent was selected to operate with a Sonderstaffel, to be based at Trondheim to provide support for beleaguered German troops fighting in the Narvik area, from 18 May. On 27 May, Lent was escorting Ju 87 Stuka dive-bombers, attacking the radio masts at Bod?sj?en, when RAF Gladiator fighters attempted to intervene. Lent shot one down for his sixth victory. His victim was RAF ace Flight Lieutenant Caesar Hull (6.249 confirmed, 2.5 probable and 2 damaged victories, killed in action 7 September 1940) of 263 Squadron, RAF. Hull crash-landed at his airfield, wounded in the head and knee. Lent recorded four victories during his time in Norway and was promoted to the rank of Oberleutnant on 1 July. In August 1940, Lent was transferred to the Nachtjagd. He was appointed Staffelkapitän of 6./NJG 1, based at Deelen in Holland, on 7 September 1940. Initially he could not come to terms with the different techniques required for night fighting. Eventually, after 24 missions without success, he sought an interview with Major Wolfgang Falck (8 victories, RK), the Kommodore of NJG 1, and requested a transfer to day fighters. Falck rejected the request. Lent continued to strive for success and finally, on the night of 11-12 May 1941, on his 35th mission, shot down two RAF Wellingtons. On 1 July 1941, Lent was appointed Staffelkapitän of 4./NJG 1 based at Leeuwarden in Holland. He had 12 victories to his credit: five by night and seven by day. On 30 August, Oberleutnant Lent was awarded the Ritterkreuz for seven victories recorded by day and a further 14 at night. He began a three-week period of leave from 9 September during which time he was married. Lent returned to operations on 7 October. By the end of the year his score had reached 20 night victories, including two of the new RAF Stirling four-engine bombers. Lent was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of II./NJG 2 on 1 November 1941. He received promotion to the rank of Hauptmann on 1 January 1942. He was awarded the Eichenlaub (Nr 98) on 6 June, after 34 night victories and eight by day. Throughout 1942, he steadily added to his victory tally. On 6 February 1942, he recorded his eighth, and last, victory by day when he shot down a RAF Hampden twin-engine bomber near Terschelling. On 1 October 1942, Lent was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of IV./NJG 1. He received promotion to the rank of Major on 1 January 1943. Lent achieved his 50th victory, a RAF Halifax four-engine bomber, on 18 January. He was the first night fighter to reach this mark. By July 1943, Lent had 65 kills to his credit including a RAF Mosquito twin-engine fighter-bomber, shot down on 20 April, the first recorded at night by the Luftwaffe. On 2 August, he added the Schwerten (Nr 32) to his Ritterkreuz for 65 night victories and eight day. Lent was appointed Kommodore of NJG 3, based at Stade, on 1 August 1943. He was wounded in combat with a Stirling on the night of 2/3 October. While he shot down the bomber he sustained a serious wound to his hand and superficial injuries to his face. His injuries kept him from combat duty until November. By the end of 1943, Lent had 75 night victories to his credit and 83 in total to be the Nachtjagd’s leading scorer. He received promotion to the rank of Oberstleutnant on 1 March. On the night of 22/23 March 1944, Lent downed three RAF Lancaster four-engine bombers using just 22 rounds of ammunition. He reached his 100th night victory on the night of 15-16 June when he downed three Lancasters in seven minutes using just 57 rounds of ammunition. This brought the award of the Brillanten (Nr 15) on 31 July, making him the first night fighter pilot to be so recognized. On 5 October 1944, Lent was landing his Ju 88 G-6 (W.Nr. 751081) “D5 + AA” at Paderborn when an engine failed and he hit a power cable. He survived the crash, which killed his crew, but two days later succumbed to his injuries in Paderborn hospital. Lent received a posthumous promotion to the rank of Oberst.
    Helmut Lent is credited with 110 victories. The table below lists 111 victories. His total includes 103 victories at night, including 59 four-engine bombers and one Mosquito.
 
No
Date
Time
A/c Type
Unit
Location
Comments
1
3.9.1939
17:10
PZL P.24 1./ZG76 Lodz region -
2
18.12.1939
14:42
Wellington 1./ZG76 5km N Borkum Wellington IA (N2888) “LF-A” of 37 Sqn RAF flown by F/O PA Wimberley
3
18.12.1939
14:50
Wellington 1./ZG76 10km WNW Borkum Wellington IA (N2889) “LF-P” of 37 Sqn, RAF flown by F/O OJT Lewis
-
18.12.1939
14:50
Wellington 1./ZG76 Mear Borkum Not confirmed
4
9.4.1940
8:55
Gladiator 1./ZG76 Bratenjordet Gladiator (427) of Norwegian Fighter Wing flown by Sgt Per Schye
5
27.5.1940
8:20
Gladiator 1./ZG76 Bodohalvoya Gladiator of 263 Sqn RAF flown by Flt Lt CB Hull (6.249/2.5/2 victories), crash-landed, wounded
6
2.6.1940
1:42
Gladiator 1./ZG76 Rombaksfjorden Gladiator (N5893) of 263 Sqn RAF flown by P/O JL Wilkie, killed
7
15.6.1940
12:45
Blenheim 1./ZG 76 Near Trondheim Blenheim (L9408) of 254 Sqn, RAF flown by P/O PC Gayford
8
12.5.1941
1:40
Wellington 6./NJG1 80km SW Süderstapel Wellington IC (R1330) “BL-H” of 40 Sqn, RAF
9
12.5.1941
2:49
Wellington 6./NJG1 Pl Qu 85/6/2 Wellington IC (R1461) “BL-Z” of 40 Sqn, RAF
10
28.6.1941
1:58
Whitley 6./NJG 1 Hipstedt Whitley (T4297) “DY-?” of 102 Sqn, RAF flown by Sgt JR Culley, 5 POW
11
30.6.1941
1:40
Stirling 6./NJG 1 10km S Wesermaunde Stirling I (N6001) “MG-?” of 7 Sqn, RAF flown by S/L WTC Searle
12
30.6.1941
2:05
Stirling 6./NJG 1 15km S Bremervörde Stirling I (N3664) “MG-Z” of 7 Sqn, RAF flown F/O VR Hartwright
13
4.7.1941
0:34
Wellington 4./NJG 1 Exloo Wellington IC (R1492) “GR-?” of 301 Sqn, RAF
14
6.7.1941
0:56
Whitley 4./NJG 1 Coevorden Whitley V (Z6793) “ZA-?” of 10 Sqn, RAF
15
8.7.1941
0:55
Whitley 4./NJG 1 1km NW Orvelte Whitley V (Z6799) “KN-?) of 77 Sqn, RAF flown by F/Lt CR Petley, 4 killed, 1 POW
16
10.7.1941
2:20
Wellington 4./NJG 1 Telmdorf Wellington IC (B1770) “BL-C” of 40 Sqn, RAF flown by F/O GC Conran
17
13.7.1941
0:55
Hampden 4./NJG 1 Veendam Hampden I (AE226) “VN-?” of 50 Sqn, RAF flown by P/O ED Vivian, 4 killed
18
15.7.1941
0:49
Wellington 4./NJG 1 Veendam Wellington II (W5513) “EP-P” of 104 Sqn, RAF flown by P/O WG Rowse
19
25.7.1941
3:54
Wellington 4./NJG 1 15km SSW Leeuwarden Wellington IC (R1369) “DX-?” of 57 Sqn, RAF
20
15.8.1941
3:20
Whitley 4./NJG 1 54/63/2 Whitley V (Z6819) “MH-X” of 51 Sqn, RAF
21
29.8.1941
3:40
Hampden 4./NJG 1 Ameland im Waddenzee Hampden I (AE126) “EA-N” of 49 Sqn, RAF
22
7.9.1941
1:25
Whitley 4./NJG 1 Bergen-Filmn-Zee Whitley V (Z6681) “FY-?) of 78 Sqn, RAF
23
8.9.1941
4:04
Wellington 4./NJG 1 bei Drachtstercompagnie Wellington IC (Z8845) “WS-?” of 9 Sqn, RAF flown by Sgt Saich, 6 killed
24
8.9.1941
4:59
Wellington 4./NJG 1 bei Terwispel Wellington IC (R1798) “KO-B” of 115 Sqn, RAF
25
13.10.1941
0:06
Wellington 4./NJG 1 Westergeest Wellington IC (X9822) “BL-J” of 40 Sqn, RAF
26
13.10.1941
0:33
Hampden 4./NJG 1 Zuiderzee Hampden (AD965) “PL-?) of 144 Sqn, RAF
27
8.11.1941
1:21
Wellington II./NJG 2 N Akkrum Wellington Ic (X9976) “AA-?” of 75 Sqn, RAF flown by F/Sgt JW Black, 6 killed
28
17.1.1942
21:45
Whitley II./NJG 2 Terschelling Whitley V (Z9301) “MH-N” of 51 Sqn, RAF
29
21.1.1942
22:28
Whitley II./NJG 2 W Terschelling Whitley V (Z9311) “MH-J” of 51 Sqn, RAF
30
6.2.1942
15:10
Hampden II./NJG 2 70km W Terschelling Hampden I (AE308) “UB-L” of 455 Sqn, RAF
31
26.3.1942
0:32
Manchester II./NJG 2 10 km. NNW Assen Manchester Ia (L7518) “QR-O” of 61 Sqn, RAF
32
27.3.1942
22:10
Hampden II./NJG 2 N Terschelling Hampden of 408 Sqn, RAF
33
27.3.1942
22:42
Hampden II./NJG 2 N Terschelling Hampden of 408 Sqn, RAF
34
29.3.1942
21:59
Manchester II./NJG 2 N Terschelling Manchester I (L7394) of 61 Sqn, RAF
35
11.4.1942
0:23
Wellington II./NJG 2 4km E Kolhorn Wellington Ic (Z8838) of 311 Sqn, RAF flown by S/Sgt J Kalensky, 6 killed
36
13.4.1942
0:32
Hampden II./NJG 2 N Terschelling Hampden I (P1239) “PT-Y” of 420 Sqn, RAF
37
18.4.1942
1:55
Wellington II./NJG 2 N Tershelling Wellington IV (Z1267) “BH-P” of 300 Sqn, RAF
38
15.5.1942
22:45
Wellington II./NJG 2 N Terschelling Wellington III (X3482) “AA-J” of 9 Sqn, RAF
39
3.6.1942
1:06
Hampden II./NJG 2 E Medemblik Hampden I (AT154) “EQ-B” of 408 Sqn, RAF
40
4.6.1942
0:55
Halifax II./NJG 2 NNW Alkmaar Halifax II (R9457) “MP-A” of 76 Sqn, RAF
41
6.6.1942
0:34
Wellington II./NJG 2 S Hoorn Wellington IC (DV812) “GT-?” of 156 Sqn, RAF
42
6.6.1942
1:16
Wellington II./NJG 2 Ijsselmeer Wellington IV (Z1331) “GR-C” of 301 Sqn, RAF
43
21.6.1942
0:48
Hampden II./NJG 2 N Ameland Hampden I (AT185) “PT-A” of 420 Sqn, RAF
44
24.6.1942
1:12
Wellington II./NJG 2 N Tershelling Wellington IC (T2921) “PM-T” of 103 Sqn, RAF
45
24.6.1942
1:46
Wellington II./NJG 2 NW Vlieland Wellington IC (DV831) “PM-R” of 103 Sqn, RAF
46
26.6.1942
2:37
Wellington II./NJG 2 NW Enkhuisen Wellington IC (T2612) “H” of 18 OTU, RAF
47
26.6.1942
2:56
Whitley II./NJG 2 Noordwijk Whitley V (BD266) of 24 OTU, RAF
48
3.7.1942
1:25
Wellington II./NJG 2 SW Assen Wellington IV (Z1314) “GR-M” of 301 Sqn, RAF
49
9.7.1942
1:30
Wellington II./NJG 2 Rottumeroog Wellington III (X3557) “AA-?” of 75 Sqn, RAF
50
27.7.1942
2:35
Halifax II./NJG 2 North Sea Halifax (W1142) of 102 Sqn, RAF
51
27.7.1942
2:39
Wellington II./NJG 2 North Sea Wellington III (BJ615) “KO-G” of 115 Sqn, RAF flown by W/Cdr F Dixon-Wright
52
5.9.1942
2:50
Halifax II./NJG 2 531: 9A Lancaster I (R5682) “QR-R” of 61 Sqn, RAF
53
14.9.1942
5:02
Wellington II./NJG 2 444: 6E4 -
54
9.11.1942
20:37
Halifax II./NJG 2 544: 2G7 Halifax II (W7864) “DY-F” of 102 Sqn, RAF flown by F/Sgt TRN Fetherston
55
17.12.1942
20:22
Lancaster IV./NJG 1 532: 1I Lancaster (ED355) “KM-D” of 44 Sqn, RAF
56
17.12.1942
20:38
Halifax IV./NJG 1 534: 5J Lancaster I (ED333) “OF-B” of 44 Sqn, RAF
57
8.1.1943
20:24
Lancaster IV./NJG 1 10km W Texel -
58
21.1.1943
20:11
Wellington IV./NJG 1 643 1C4 -
59
1.3.1943
21:39
Halifax IV./NJG 1 544 8I5 in See Halifax II (DT641) “VR-R” of 419 Sqn, RAF
60
5.3.1943
22:20
Halifax II./NJG 1 54757 See Halifax II (BB282) “MP-R” of 76 Sqn, RAF
61
5.3.1943
22:34
Halifax II./NJG 1 5822C Lancaster I (W4847) “OL-V” of 83 Sqn, RAF
62
29.3.1943
23:46
Wellington IV./NJG 1 5km NW Lemmer Wellington III (BJ762) “OW-O” of 426 Sqn, RAF flown by Sgt RE Todd, 3 killed, 2 POW
63
4.4.1943
0:24
Lancaster IV./NJG 1 547 7E See -
64
20.4.1943
3:38
Mosquito IV./NJG 1 Near Den Oever Mosquito IIf (DZ694) “RA-?” of 410 Sqn, RAF flown by Sgt WJ Reddie
65
5.5.1943
0:08
Stirling IV./NJG 1 S Enkhuisen Stirling III (BK773) “MG-T” of 7 Sqn, RAF
66
5.5.1943
0:18
Stirling  IV./NJG 1 2km S Honnerts Stirling I (EF343) “OJ-B” of 149 Sqn, RAF
67
14.5.1943
2:54
Halifax IV./NJG 1 547 3F Halifax II (JB924) “EY-M” of 78 Sqn, RAF
68
24.5.1943
2:16
Lancaster IV./NJG 1 40km W Egmond Halifax II (DT789) “ZA-Z” of 10 Sqn, RAF
69
22.6.1943
3:09
Lancaster IV./NJG 1 CH 99 -
70
23.6.1943
2:06
Halifax IV./NJG 1 FM 41 -
71
26.6.1943
1:13
Wellington IV./NJG 1 FM 51 Wellington X (HF544) “HD-?” of 466 Sqn, RAF flown by F/Sgt ABR Airy, 5 killed
72
28.7.1943
2:37
Lancaster IV./NJG 1 NW Terschelling -
73
30.7.1943
2:10
Lancaster IV./NJG 1 RM 66d in See -
74
24.8.1943
0:56
Stirling Stab/NJG 3 Berlin Mitte -
75
24.8.1943
-
Lancaster Stab/NJG 3 Berlin Tegel -
76
24.8.1943
1:16
Halifax Stab/NJG 3 Berlin Spandau -
77
1.9.1943
0:54
Halifax Stab/NJG 3 SW Berlin -
78
1.9.1943
1:03
Halifax Stab/NJG 3 Berlin -
79
22.9.1943
22:41
Viermot Stab/NJG 3 Krohnsberg -
80
3.10.1943
22:27
Viermot Stab/NJG 3 Harleshausen -
81
2.12.1943
19:58
Lancaster Stab/NJG 3 Near Magdeburg -
82
2.12.1943
20:20
Stirling Stab/NJG 3 SW Berlin -
83
16.12.1943
19:07
Viermot Stab/NJG 3 Almanbrück area -
84
2.1.1944
2:49
Lancaster Stab/NJG 3 - -
85
14.1.1944
18:49
Lancaster Stab/NJG 3 - -
86
14.1.1944
19:05
Lancaster Stab/NJG 3 - -
87
14.1.1944
19:10
Viermot Stab/NJG 3 - -
88
21.1.1944
22:28
Lancaster Stab/NJG 3 - -
89
21.1.1944
22:58
Lancaster Stab/NJG 3 - -
90
22.3.1944
21:26
Lancaster Stab/NJG 3 Bielefeld area -
91
22.3.1944
21:35
Viermot Stab/NJG 3 S Bielefeld -
92
24.3.1944
21:30
Viermot Stab/NJG 3 Berlin area -
93
24.3.1944
22:00
Viermot Stab/NJG 3 Liebeck -
94
31.3.1944
1:21
Viermot Stab/NJG 3 20-40km N Nürnberg Halifax (MZ508) “LK-N” of 578 Sqn, RAF
95
23.4.1944
-
Lancaster Stab/NJG 3 - -
96
23.5.1944
0:21
Viermot Stab/NJG 3 Osnabrück -
97
23.5.1944
0:40
Viermot Stab/NJG 3 Osnabrück area -
98
16.6.1944
0:52
Viermot Stab/NJG 3 SW Lille -
99
16.6.1944
0:56
Viermot Stab/NJG 3 Béthune-Armentieres -
100
16.6.1944
1:00
Viermot Stab/NJG 3 Near Béthune -
101
25.6.1944
0:25
Viermot Stab/NJG 3 QE-PE -
102
25.6.1944
0:40
Viermot Stab/NJG 3 QE-PE -
103
28.6.1944
1:10
Viermot Stab/NJG 3 Off Dunkirk -
104
19.7.1944
1:41
Viermot Stab/NJG 3 50km SE Reims -
105
21.7.1944
2:07
Lancaster Stab/NJG 3 Off Deal -
106
25.7.1944
1:14
Viermot Stab/NJG 3 Pförzheim Lancaster (HK568) “AA-K” of 75 Sqn, RAF
107
29.7.1944
1:47
Viermot Stab/NJG 3 Near Bouxwiller -
108
29.7.1944
1:57
Viermot Stab/NJG 3 Château-Salins area -
109
17.8.1944
-
Viermot Stab/NJG 3 - -
110
12.9.1944
-
Lancaster Stab/NJG 3 - -
111
17.9.1944
-
Lancaster Stab/NJG 3 - -

Victories : 110
Awards : Ehrenpokal (26 June 1941)
                Deutsches Kreuz in Gold (9 April 1942)
                Ritterkreuz (20 August 1941)
                Eichenlaub (6 June 1942)
                Schwertern (2 August 1943)
                Brillanten (31 July 1944)
Units : ZG 76, NJG 1, NJG 2, NJG 3

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