Gerhard Schöpfel
Major

Gerhard Schöpfel

    Gerhard “Gerd” Schöpfel was born on 19 December 1912 at Erfurt in Thüringen. He was originally a member of the police force but transferred to the Luftwaffe in 1936. Following completion of his flying training, Schöpfel was assigned to I./JG 233 which became I./JG 135 and, finally, I./JG 51. Leutnant Schöpfel was posted to join I./JG 26 in 1939. Oberleutnant Schöpfel took command of 9./JG 26 on its formation on 23 September 1939. He gained his first victory during the Battle of France, a RAF Hurricane near Courtrai,  on 19 May 1940. He added to his score over the beaches of Dunkirk during the evacuation of the British army. He was very successful during the Battle of Britain. On 18 August 1940 he shot down four Hurricanes in one sortie over Canterbury, England. Two of his victims in this engagement were notable RAF fighter pilots Donald McKay (20 confirmed and 4 damaged victories), who baled out wounded, and Kenneth Lee (7 confirmed and 1 damaged victories), who also baled out wounded, both of 501 Sqn, RAF. Hauptmann Schöpfel became Gruppenkommandeur of III./JG 26 when Göring promoted Adolf Galland (104 victories, RK-Br) to Kommodore of JG 26 on 22 August 1940. On 11 September 1940 he was awarded the Ritterkreuz on achieving 20 victories.

Major Gerd Schöpfel in his Fw 190A-2 after return from combat sortie. St. Omer, early 1942.
Major Gerd Schöpfel in his Fw 190A-2 after return from combat sortie. St. Omer, early 1942.

    On 1 December 1941 he was promoted to Major and on 6 December 1941 became Kommodore of JG 26 when Adolf Galland was promoted General  der Jagdfieger. Over Dieppe on 19 August 1942 he shot down two Spitfires for his 41st and 42nd victories. Schöpfel left JG 26 on 10 January 1943 to take up the role of Ia (Operations Officer) at Jafü Brittany. He was to serve as Fighter Operations officer southern Italy from July and Fighter Leader Norway from November. On 1 May 1944, he joined III./JG 54 before being appointed Kommodore of JG 4 on 1 June 1944. On 6 August, he was shot down in combat near Schwerin flying Bf 109 G-6 (WNr 440728). He baled out wounded. Following recovery from his wounds in November 1944, Schöpfel was appointed Fighter Leader Hungary. In February 1945 he commanded the Luftkreigsschule at Gatow. On 10 April he was appointed Kommodore of JG 6 based in northern Czechoslovakia. He became a prisoner of the Russians and languished in Soviet prisons for four and a half years finally returning to Germany in December 1949. After his release from imprisonment in the Soviet Union, Schöpfel worked as a chauffeur. He later became a merchant and in the early 1960s returned to the aviation field as an executive of Air Lloyd in Bonn.
    “Gerd” Schöpfel flew 700 missions and gained 45 victories including three four-engined bombers. All his victories were scored over the Western Front.
 
No
Date
Time
Unit
A/c Type
Location
Comments
1.
19.5.1940
-
Hurricane 9./JG 26 NW Tournai Hurricane of 615 Sqn RAF
2.
29.5.1940
18:10
Spitfire 9./JG 26 W Dunkirk  
3.
31.5.1940
15:40
Spitfire 9./JG 26 Dunkirk Spitfire of 609 Sqn RAF
4.
2.6.1940
9:25
Spitfire 9./JG 26    
5.
8.8.1940
12:35
Hampden 9./JG 26 S Ramsgate Blenheim of 600 Sqn, RAF
6.
8.8.1940
12:34
Spitfire 9./JG 26 W Canterbury Spitfire of 65 Sqn, RAF
-
11.8.1940
11:30
Balloon 9./JG 26 S England  
7.
12.8.1940
12:30
Spitfire 9./JG 26 Folkestone  
8.
14.8.1940
13:30
Hurricane 9./JG 26 Folkestone-Dover  
9.
18.8.1940
13:55
Hurricane 9./JG 26 Near Canterbury Hurricane of 501 Sqn RAF
10.
18.8.1940
13:55
Hurricane 9./JG 26 Near Canterbury Hurricane (N2617) of 501 Sqn, RAF flown by Donald McKay (20/0/4 victories), baled out, wounded
11.
18.8.1940
13:56
Hurricane 9./JG 26 Near Canterbury Hurricane (P3059) of 501 Sqn, RAF flown by Kenneth Lee (7/0/1 victories, baled out, wounded
12.
18.8.1940
13:56
Hurricane 9./JG 26 Near Canterbury Hurricane of 501 Sqn RAF
13.
22.8.1940
20:25
Spitfire III./JG 26 SE Dover Spitfire of 65 Sqn, RAF
14.
28.8.1940
10:10
Defiant III./JG 26 E Canterbury Defiant of 264 Sqn, RAF
15.
31.8.1940
10:00
Spitfire III./JG 26 Braintree Spitfire of 56 Sqn, RAF
16.
1.9.1940
15:00
Spitfire III./JG 26 London Spitfire of 72 Sqn, RAF
-
6.9.1940
10:30
Hurricane III./JG 26 Dungeness Hurricane of 303 Sqn, RAF – not confirmed
17.
7.9.1940
18:45
Spitfire III./JG 26 London Spitfire of 603 Sqn, RAF
18.
9.9.1940
18:05
Spitfire III./JG 26 Thames Estuary Spitfire of 92 Sqn, RAF
19.
9.9.1940
18:07
Spitfire III./JG 26 Thames Estuary Spitfire of 92 Sqn, RAF
20.
9.9.1940
18:11
Spitfire III./JG 26 Thames Estuary Spitfire of 92 Sqn, RAF
-
11.9.1940
17:30
Blenheim III./JG 26   Blenheim of 235 Sqn, RAF – not confirmed
21.
29.10.1940
17:45
Hurricane III./JG 26   Hurricane of 257 Sqn, RAF
22.
1.11.1940
15:35
Spitfire III./JG 26 Herne Bay Spitfire of 92 Sqn, RAF
23.
17.6.1941
19:40
Hurricane III./JG 26    
24.
23.6.1941
20:30
Blenheim III./JG 26 N France Blenheim of 107 Sqn, RAF
25.
27.6.1941
17:05
Hurricane III./JG 26    
26.
28.6.1941
8:50
Spitfire III./JG 26 Audruicq Spitfire of 306 Sqn, RAF
27.
2.7.1941
12:50
Spitfire III./JG 26 S Lilliers  
28.
11.7.1941
14:55
Spitfire III./JG 26    
29.
7.8.1941
11:40
Spitfire III./JG 26    
30.
7.8.1941
18:00
Spitfire III./JG 26 SW Dunkirk  
31.
9.8.1941
11:45
Spitfire III./JG 26 E Marquise Spitfire of 616 Sqn, RAF
32.
9.8.1941
17:59
Spitfire III./JG 26    
33.
21.8.1941
10:18
Spitfire III./JG 26    
34.
21.9.1941
16:30
Spitfire III./JG 26    
35.
27.9.1941
15:30
Spitfire III./JG 26    
36.
27.11.1941
17:30
Hurricane III./JG 26 5km W Boulogne Hurricane of 607 Sqn, RAF
37.
24.3.1942
17:00~
Spitfire Stab/JG 26 Pas-de-Calais Spitfire of 411 Sqn, RAF
38.
28.3.1942
18:30
Spitfire Stab/JG 26 Pas-de-Calais Spitfire of 64 Sqn, RAF
39.
14.4.1942
18:33
Spitfire Stab/JG 26 Spitfire of 403 Sqn, RAF
40.
1.6.1942
13:55
Spitfire Stab/JG 26
41.
19.8.1942
16:31
Spitfire Stab/JG 26 Off Dieppe Spitfire of 501 Sqn, RAF
42.
19.8.1942
18:30
Spitfire Stab/JG 26 Off Dieppe Spitfire of 222 Sqn, RAF
43.
8.11.1942
-
B-17 Stab/JG 26    
44.
8.11.1942
-
B-17 Stab/JG 26    
45.
6.12.1942
-
B-17 Stab/JG 26   B-17 of 305 BG, USAAF
-
20.12.1942
-
B-17 Stab/JG 26   Not confirmed

Victories : 45
Awards : Knight`s Cross
Units : JG 26, JG 54, JG 4, JG 6

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