Josef "Pips" Priller
Oberst

Josef Priller

    Josef “Pips” Priller was born on 27 July 1915 at Ingolstadt in Bayern. In 1935, Fahnenjunker Priller was serving in Infanterieregiment 19. Oberfähnrich Priller transferred to the Luftwaffe and began his flying training at Salzwedel in October 1936.  On 1 April 1937, Leutnant Priller was posted to I./JG 135. In November 1938 the unit was redesignated I./JG 233 and again on 1 May 1939 to I./JG 51. In July 1939, he was serving with I./JG 71 which was to be redesignated II./JG 51 in October 1939. On 1 October 1939, Priller was appointed Staffelkapitän of 6./JG 51. He gained his first victories on 28 May 1940 over Dunkirk in aerial combat with RAF fighters. He claimed six victories during the French campaign, including his 6th on 25 June, when he shot down a RAF Spitfire fighter near Desvres. By the end of August his victory total stood at 15. On 17 October, Oberleutnant Priller claimed his 20th victory resulting in the award of the Ritterkreuz on 19 October. He claimed at least fourteen victories in the Battle of Britain. On 20 November 1940, Priller was transferred as Staffelkapitän to 1./JG 26, succeeding Oberleutnant Eberhard Henrici (7 victories) who had been lost in aerial combat over the Channel three days previously. Despite much combat with the British, Priller was unable to add to his score before the end of the year. That winter, JG 26 was withdrawn from the Channel front back to Germany for a rest. On his return to the Channel Priller enjoyed a remarkable run of victories between 16 June and 11 July 1941 shooting down 19 RAF aircraft, including 17 Spitfire fighters, to bring his victory total to 39. On 14 July, Priller shot down his 40th victim. He was awarded the Eichenlaub (Nr 28) on 19 October for 41 victories. Hauptmann Priller became Gruppenkommandeur of III./JG 26 on 6 December 1941. By the end of 1941 Priller’s score stood at 58. He recorded his 60th victory on 27 March 1942 and his 70th victory on 5 May.
 

Gruppenkommandeur of III./JG 26 Hptm. Josef Priller (right) explaining a dogfight to his wingmann
Gruppenkommandeur of III./JG 26 Hptm. Josef Priller (right) explaining a dogfight to his wingmann Lt. Johann Aistleitner. On the rudder of Priller`s Fw 190 A-2 (W.Nr. 5310) "<< + I" are seventy-three victory bars. June, 1942.
 
    By the end of 1942 Priller had 81 confirmed victories to his tally. On 11 January 1943, Priller became Kommodore of JG 26, replacing Major Gerhard Schöpfel (45 victories, RK) who was taking up a staff role. He was awarded the Schwertern (Nr 73) on 2 July 1944. Oberstleutnant Priller brought up his 100th victory on 18 July 1944 when he brought down a USAAF B-24 four-engine bomber. On 1 January 1945, Priller led JG 26 and III./JG 54 in the attack on the Allied airfields, codenamed Operation Bodenplatte, at Brussels-Evére and Brussels-Grimbergen. On 28 January, Priller was appointed Inspekteur der Jagdflieger Ost, a position that required he cease operational flying and which he held until the end of the war. Post-war “Pips” Priller managed the family brewery business. He died on 20 May 1961 at Böbing in Oberbayern following a heart attack.
    Josef “Pips” Priller flew 1,307 combat missions to achieve 101 victories. All his victories were recorded over the Western Front and include 11 four-engine bombers. He was the most succesful pilot in battles with Spitfires claiming at least  68 of them.
 
No
Date
Time
A/c Type
Unit
Location
Comments
1
28.5.1940
13:07
Spitfire 6./JG 51 NW Dunkirk -
2
28.5.1940
13:10
Hurricane 6./JG 51 NW Dunkirk -
3
2.6.1940
21:15
Curtiss 6./JG 51 SW Dunkirk -
4
8.6.1940
19:05
Blenheim 6./JG 51 Abbeville -
5
8.6.1940
19:06
Blenheim 6./JG 51 Abbeville -
6
25.6.1940
18:20
Spitfire 6./JG 51 8km NW Desvres -
-
10.7.1940
11:15
Spitfire 6./JG 51 Dover Spitfire of 610 Sqn, RAF flown by S/L Smith, damaged
7
14.7.1940
16:25
Hurricane 6./JG 51 SE Dover Hurricane of 615 Sqn, RAF
8
20.7.1940
19:20
Hurricane 6./JG 51 5km E Folestone Hurricane of 32 Sqn RAF flown by Sub Lt Bulmer
9
29.7.1940
8:40
Spitfire 6./JG 51 5km N Dover -
10
14.8.1940
13:45
Spitfire 6./JG 51 NW Dover -
11
15.8.1940
16:15
Hurricane 6./JG 51 1km E Clacton -
12
16.8.1940
13:35
Spitfire 6./JG 51 10km E Canterbury -
13
24.8.1940
13:55
Hurricane 6./JG 51 7km E Margate -
14
24.8.1940
14:10
Hurricane 6./JG 51 2km E Margate -
15
26.8.1940
18:57
Spitfire 6./JG 51 5km W Boulogne -
16
7.10.1940
11:35
Spitfire 6./JG 51 20km N Canterbury -
17
7.10.1940
17:40
Spitfire 6./JG 51 Thames Estuary -
18
15.10.1940
13:10
Hurricane 6./JG 51 10km SW Dover -
19
15.10.1940
13:15
Hurricane 6./JG 51 15km W Dover -
20
17.10.1940
16:35
Hurricane 6./JG 51 Tunbridge Wells -
21
16.6.1941
16:35
Spitfire 1./JG 26 W Boulogne -
22
16.6.1941
16:45
Blenheim 1./JG 26 SW Boulogne Blenheim of 59 Sqn, RAF
23
17.6.1941
19:42
Hurricane 1./JG 26 W Cap Gris Nez Hurricane of 56 or 242 Sqn, RAF
24
21.6.1941
12:40
Spitfire 1./JG 26 SW Ramsgate Spitfire of 603 Sqn, RAF
25
23.6.1941
13:35
Spitfire 1./JG 26 S Somme Estuary -
26
25.6.1941
13:00
Spitfire 1./JG 26 W Gravelines Spitfire of 610 or 616 Sqn, RAF
27
27.6.1941
22:00
Spitfire 1./JG 26 SW Gravelines -
28
30.6.1941
18:56
Spitfire 1./JG 26 10km NW St Inglevert Spitfire of 603 or 616 Sqn, RAF
29
2.7.1941
12:45
Spitfire 1./JG 26 10km W Lille -
30
4.7.1941
14:55
Spitfire 1./JG 26 10km SW St Omer -
31
5.7.1941
13:40
Spitfire 1./JG 26 4km NW Dunkirk Spitfire of 54 or 616 Sqn, RAF
32
7.7.1941
10:00
Spitfire 1./JG 26 3km N Gravelines Spitfire of Hornchurch Wing, RAF
33
7.7.1941
10:47
Spitfire 1./JG 26 W Somme Estuary -
34
8.7.1941
15:30
Spitfire 1./JG 26 10km N St Omer -
35
9.7.1941
14:00
Spitfire 1./JG 26 S Aire-SE Samer -
36
9.7.1941
14:10
Spitfire 1./JG 26 2km S Calais -
37
10.7.1941
12:30
Spitfire 1./JG 26 N St Omer -
38
10.7.1941
12:40
Spitfire 1./JG 26 5km NW Boulogne -
39
11.7.1941
16:10
Spitfire 1./JG 26 20km W Calais -
40
14.7.1941
10:30
Spitfire 1./JG 26 St Omer Spitfire V of 72 Sqn flown by F/Sgt WM Lamberton, baled out, POW
41
19.7.1941
14:35
Spitfire 1./JG 26 5km Dover Spitfire of 72 Sqn, RAF
42
22.7.1941
13:40
Spitfire 1./JG 26 10km NW Gravelines Spitfire of 308 Sqn, RAF
43
23.7.1941
14:05
Spitfire 1./JG 26 15km NW Gravelines -
44
24.7.1941
14:45
Spitfire 1./JG 26 7km NW Dunkirk -
45
7.8.1941
11:30
Spitfire 1./JG 26 5km NW Calais -
46
7.8.1941
18:20
Spitfire 1./JG 26 8km N Calais -
47
4.9.1941
17:30
Spitfire 1./JG 26 NW Bethune -
48
17.9.1941
15:35
Spitfire 1./JG 26 5km NW Calais -
49
18.9.1941
16:25
Spitfire 1./JG 26 SW Dungeness -
50
1.10.1941
14:57
Spitfire 1./JG 26 mid English Channel Spitfire of 91 Sqn, RAF
51
1.10.1941
13:55
Spitfire 1./JG 26 W Boulogne -
52
12.10.1941
13:25
Spitfire 1./JG 26 5km E Berck-sur-Mer Spitfire of 452 or 602 Sqn, RAF
53
13.10.1941
15:30
Spitfire 1./JG 26 15km W Berck-sur-Mer -
54
21.10.1941
12:55
Spitfire 1./JG 26 4km W Etaples -
55
21.10.1941
13:05
Spitfire 1./JG 26 15km NNW Le Touquet -
56
27.10.1941
13:15
Spitfire 1./JG 26 5km N Watten Spitfire of 401 Sqn, RAF
57
8.11.1941
12:50
Spitfire 1./JG 26 N Bethune Spitfire of 302 or 316 Sqn, RAF
58
8.11.1941
13:10
Spitfire 1./JG 26 5km NW Gravelines Spitfire of 302 or 316 Sqn, RAF
59
3.1.1942
15:38
Hurricane  Stab III./JG 26 5km NW Calais -
60
27.3.1942
16:40
Spitfire Stab III./JG 26 10km W Ostend Spitfire of 313 Sqn RAF flown by Vladimir Michalek
61
28.3.1942
18:50
Spitfire Stab III./JG 26 Cap Gris Nez-Blanc Nez Spitfire of 457 or 602 Sqn, RAF
62
4.4.1942
14:15
Spitfire Stab III./JG 26 Calais-Dover Spitfire of 129 Sqn, RAF
-
12.4.1942
-
Spitfire Stab III./JG 26 Boulogne Not confirmed
63
12.4.1942
13:45
Spitfire Stab III./JG 26 N Gravelines Spitfire of 41 Sqn, RAF
64
16.4.1942
18:26
Spitfire Stab III./JG 26 5km N Calais Spitfire of 118 or 129 Sqn, RAF
65
25.4.1942
16:54
Spitfire Stab III./JG 26 10km W St Étienne -
66
27.4.1942
12:25
Spitfire Stab III./JG 26 S Ardres Spitfire of 65 Sqn, RAF
67
27.4.1942
12:30
Spitfire Stab III./JG 26 15km NW Gravelines Spitfire of 65 Sqn, RAF
68
28.4.1942
12:00
Spitfire Stab III./JG 26 Dunkirk-Gravelines Spitfire of 401 Sqn, RAF
69
1.5.1942
19:30
Spitfire Stab III./JG 26 5km N Calais Spitfire of 457, 485 or 602 Sqn, RAF
70
5.5.1942
15:40
Spitfire Stab III./JG 26 11km SW Ypres Spitfire Vb (BM261) of 313 Sqn RAF flown by Sgt Karel Pavlik, killed
71
9.5.1942
13:40
Spitfire Stab III./JG 26 3km N Gravelines Spitfire of 118 of 501 Sqn, RAF
72
17.5.1942
11:33
Spitfire Stab III./JG 26 S Guines-Audembert Spitfire of 313 Sqn RAF flown by F/Lt Stanislav Fejfar (5.833/1/3 victories)
73
1.6.1942
13:45
Spitfire Stab III./JG 26 5km N Blankenberghe Spitfire of 350 Sqn, RAF
74
22.6.1942
12:10
Spitfire Stab III./JG 26 30km N Gravelines Spitfire of 64 Sqn, RAF
75
15.7.1942
15:38
Spitfire Stab III./JG 26 8km NE Dover Spitfire of 402 Sqn, RAF
-
30.7.1942
19:00
Spitfire Stab III./JG 26 Gravelines Not confirmed
76
21.8.1942
11:10
Spitfire Stab III./JG 26 50km N Gravelines -
77
29.8.1942
11:46
Spitfire Stab III./JG 26 15km NW Cap Gris Nez -
78
9.10.1942
10:35
B-24 Stab III./JG 26 SW Roubaix-Wevelgem B-17 “Snoozy II” of 367 BS, 306 BG, USAAF flown by Capt John Olsen
79
4.12.1942
14:40
Spitfire Stab III./JG 26 20km N Calais Spitfire of 401 or 402 Sqn, RAF
80
6.12.1942
12:10
Spitfire Stab III./JG 26 5-6km S Lille -
81
20.12.1942
12:01
B-17 Stab III./JG 26 Baie de la Seine B-17 of 91 BG, USAAF
82
20.1.1943
12:35
Spitfire Stab/JG 26 N Canterbury Spitfire of 332 Sqn, RAF
83
8.3.1943
14:15
Spitfire Stab/JG 26 8km NW St Valery-en-Cause Spitfire of 340 Sqn, RAF
84
5.4.1943
15:12
B-17 Stab/JG 26 20km W Ostend B-17 of 306 BG, USAAF
85
4.5.1943
18:42
Spitfire Stab/JG 26 Westerschelde-NW Antwerp -
86
13.5.1943
16:24
B-17 Stab/JG 26 Near Amplier-5km E Boulogne B-17 of 91 BG, USAAF
87
13.5.1943
16:46
Spitfire Stab/JG 26 5km NW Étaples Spitfire of 416 Sqn, RAF
88
16.5.1943
13:12
P-47 Stab/JG 26 Scheldt Estuary P-47 of 78 FG, USAAF
89
10.6.1943
18:55
Ventura Stab/JG 26 W Coxyde -
90
22.6.1943
9:32
B-17 Stab/JG 26 near Terneuzen B-17 of 381 BG, USAAF
91
26.6.1943
18:52
B-17 Stab/JG 26 Dieppe-Le Tréport B-17 of 384 BG, USAAF
92
17.8.1943
17:40
B-17 Stab/JG 26 N Liege -
93
19.8.1943
19:00
B-17 Stab/JG 26 De Beer Is B-17 of 305 BG, USAAF
94
21.9.1943
10:45
Mitchell Stab/JG 26 St Pol Mitchell of 98 Sqn, RAF
95
20.10.1943
13:45
B-17 HSS Stab/JG 26 SE Arras-Cambrai B-17 of 96 BG, USAAF
96
13.4.1944
17:10
B-17 Stab/JG 26 Poperinghe-N St Omer -
97
7.6.1944
13:50
P-51 Stab/JG 26 N Caen -
98
7.6.1944
19:00
P-47 Stab/JG 26 Évreux -
99
11.6.1944
15:35
P-38 Stab/JG 26 Compiegne P-38 of 55 FG, USAAF
100
15.6.1944
7:10
B-24 Stab/JG 26 W Dreux-SW Chartres B-24 of 492 BG, USAAF
101
12.10.1944
11:25
P-51 Stab/JG 26 S Wunsdorf P-51 of 357FG USAAF flown by Capt HT Pascoe, POW

Victories : 101
Awards : Deutsches Kreuz in Gold (9 December 1941)
                Ritterkreuz (19 October 1940)
                Eichenlaub (20 July 1941)
                Schwertern (20 December 1941)
Units : JG 51, JG 26

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