Messerschmitt Bf 110 List


Nachtjagdgeschwader 1 Stab IV.Gruppe Nachtjagdgeschwader 1 - Stab IV./NJG1


Aircrew Luftwaffe ace Helmut Lent Bundesarchiv Bild-146-1987-137-10

Messerschmitt Bf-11 0G-4/B2 Zerstörer Stab IV./NJG1 (( G9+AF pilot Helmut Lent Werk Nr 4883 Belgium May 1943

Profile 0A: Revi Magazine 77

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Knights Cross

Helmut Lent

Oberst Helmut Lent (13 June 1918 – 7 October 1944) was a German night-fighter ace in World War II. Lent shot down 110 aircraft, 103 of them at night, far more than the minimum of five enemy aircraft required for the title of "ace".[1][Notes 1]

Born into a devoutly religious family, he showed an early passion for glider flying; against his father's wishes, he joined the Luftwaffe in 1936. After completing his training, he was assigned to the 1. Squadron, or Staffel, of Zerstörergeschwader 76 (ZG 76, a wing flying the Messerschmitt Bf 110 twin-engine heavy fighter. Lent claimed his first aerial victories at the outset of World War II in the invasion of Poland and over the North Sea. During the invasion of Norway he flew ground support missions before he was transferred to the newly established Nachtjagdgeschwader 1 (NJG 1, a night-fighter wing.[2][3][Notes 2]

Lent claimed his first nocturnal victory on 12 May 1941 and on 30 August 1941 was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) for 22 victories. His steady accumulation of aerial victories resulted in regular promotions and awards. On the night of 15 June 1944, Major Lent was the first night fighter pilot to claim 100 nocturnal aerial victories, a feat which earned him the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub, Schwertern und Brillanten) on 31 July 1944.[2][3][4]

On 5 October 1944, Lent flew a Junkers Ju 88 on a routine transit flight from Stade to Nordborchen, 5 kilometres (3 mi) south of Paderborn. On the landing approach one of the engines cut out and the plane collided with power lines. All four members of the crew were mortally injured. Three men died shortly after the crash and Lent succumbed to his injuries two days later on 7 October 1944.[2][3]

Childhood, education and early career

Helmut Lent was born on 13 June 1918 in Pyrehne, district of Landsberg an der Warthe, Province of Brandenburg, Germany (now Pyrzany, Lubusz Province, western Poland, and christened Helmut Johannes Siegfried Lent. He was the fifth child of Johannes Lent, a Lutheran minister and Marie Elisabeth, née Braune. Helmut Lent had two older brothers, Werner and Joachim, and two older sisters, Käthe and Ursula.[5] His family was deeply religious; in addition to his father, both of his brothers and both grandfathers were also Lutheran ministers.[6]

From Easter 1924 until Easter 1928, Lent attended the local public primary school at Pyrehne. His father and oldest brother Werner then tutored him at home in preparation for the entrance examination at the public secondary school at Landsberg.[Notes 3]

In February 1933, Helmut joined the Jungvolk, the junior branch of the Hitler Youth. From March 1933, he acted as a youth platoon leader, or Jungzugführer (1 March 1933 – 1 April 1935) and flag-bearer, or Fähnleinführer (1 April 1935 – 9 November 1935) until he left the Jungvolk to prepare for his diploma examination.[8]

Helmut passed his graduation examinations at the age of seventeen on 12 December 1935. On 2 February 1936, he began the eight-week compulsory National Labor Service (Reichsarbeitsdienst) at Mohrin.[9] He joined the military service in the Luftwaffe as a Fahnenjunker on 1 April 1936, against the wishes of his father.[10]

His military training began on 6 April 1936 at the Air Warfare School (Luftkriegsschule) at Gatow, on the south-western outskirts of Berlin. He swore the National Socialist oath of allegiance on 21 April 1936.[11]

Flight training began on Monday, 7 August 1936 at Gatow. His first flight was in a Heinkel He 72 Kadet D-EYZA single engine biplane. Lent logged his first solo flight on 15 September 1936 in a Focke-Wulf Fw 44 Stieglitz. By this time, Lent had accumulated 63 flights in his logbook.[12] In conjunction with flight training, the students also learned to drive motorcycles and cars, and during one of these training exercises, Lent was involved in a road accident, breaking his upper leg badly enough to prevent him from flying for five months.[13] This did not adversely affect his classroom training and on 1 April 1937, after taking his commission examination, he was promoted to Fähnrich.[14] On 19 October 1937 Lent completed his flight training and was awarded the A/B License. He earned his wings on 15 November 1937. On 1 February 1938, he was promoted to Oberfähnrich (first ensign, and on 1 March 1938 to Leutnant. By this time, he had made 434 flights in eight different types of aircraft and had accumulated 112 hours and 48 minutes flying time, mostly in daylight flights, in single engine training aircraft.[15] After leaving Gatow, Helmut Lent was posted to the Heavy Bomber Crew School, or Große Kampffliegerschule at Tutow, in northeast Germany. He spent three months training as an observer (1 March 1938 – 30 May 1938). Prior to completing this course, Lent was run over by a car, resulting in a broken lower jaw, concussion, and internal bleeding. On 1 July 1938, Lent was posted to the 3rd Group of Jagdgeschwader 132 "Richthofen" (III./JG 132, flying on 19 July 1938 for the first time after his injuries.[16]

At the beginning of September, Lent's squadron, 7./JG 132, relocated to Großenhain near Dresden, in preparation and support of the annexation of Czechoslovakia. Lent flew a number of operational patrols in this conflict until his Staffel relocated again to Rangsdorf on 29 September 1938. After the tension over the occupation of the Sudeten territories eased, Lent's unit began a conversion to the Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun. On 1 November 1938 III./JG 132 moved to Fürstenwalde, between Berlin and Frankfurt an der Oder, and was renamed II./JG 141, and Lent was posted to the 6th Squadron.[17]

II./JG 141 changed its designation to I./Zerstörergeschwader 76 (I./ZG 76) on 1 May 1939 at the same time relocating to an airfield at Olmütz, Czechoslovakia. The group was being re-equipped with the Messerschmitt Bf 110, and Lent made his first flight in the Bf 110 on 7 June 1939. Lent was granted his Luftwaffe Advanced Pilot's Certificate (Erweiterter Luftwaffen-Flugzeugführerschein, also known as 'C'-Certificate, confirming proficiency on multi-engine aircraft, on 12 May 1939.[18] While converting to the Bf 110, Lent did not have a regular wireless operator (Funker) in the rear gunner's seat, but on 14 August 1939 he was accompanied in M8+AH for the first time by Gefreiter Walter Kubisch.[19] During the prelude of World War II on 25 August 1939 I./ZG 76 deployed to an airfield at Ohlau to the southeast of Breslau.[20]

World War II

World War II began at 04:45 on Friday 1 September 1939 when German troops and armour crossed the Polish border. Helmut Lent, flying a Bf 110 marked M8-DH, took off from Ohlau, at 04:44 to escort Heinkel He 111 bombers on a mission over Krakow.[20]

Invasion of Poland

The German plans for the invasion of Poland were conceived under the codename Fall Weiss (Case White). This operation called for simultaneous attacks on Poland from three directions, the north, the west and the south, beginning at 04:45 on the early morning of 1 September 1939. On this morning Helmut Lent, with Kubisch as his wireless operator and rear gunner, escorted a formation of Heinkel 111 bombers of I. and III./Kampfgeschwader 4 (KG 4) attacking the airfields at Krakow in support of the southern prong of the German attack.[21] At 16:30 on 2 September 1939, the second day of the German attack, Lent took off in the direction of Lódz and claimed his first aerial-victory of the war, shooting down a PZL P.11.[22][23]

At this point of the campaign the Bf 110s switched from bomber escort to ground-attack since the Polish Air Force was all but defeated. In this capacity Lent and Kubisch destroyed a twin-engined monoplane on the ground on 5 September and another aircraft, a PZL P.24, on 9 September. On 12 September 1939 he was attacked by a Polish aircraft which shot out his starboard engine. Lent made a forced landing behind German lines.[24]

He flew five more missions during the Polish campaign, destroying one anti-aircraft battery. For his actions in the Polish campaign Lent was awarded one of the first Iron Cross 2nd class of World War II on 21 September 1939. I./ZG 76 relocated to the Stuttgart area on 29 September 1939 to defend the western border against the French and British, who had been at war with Germany since 3 September 1939.[25] From early October to middle December I./ZG 76 operated from a number of airfields in the Stuttgart and Ruhr areas before relocating north to Jever on 16 December 1939.[26]

Battle of the Heligoland Bight

During the first month of the war the Royal Air Force (RAF) mostly focused its bomber attacks against anti-shipping operations on the German Bight. RAF bombers mounted a heavy attack against shipping off Wilhelmshaven on 18 December 1939 in what became to be known as the Battle of the Heligoland Bight.[27] Twenty-four twin-engine Vickers Wellington from No. 9 Squadron, No. 37 Squadron and No. 149 Squadron formed up over Norfolk heading for the island of Heligoland. Two aircraft aborted the mission due to mechanical defects, but the remaining 22 pursued the attack and were spotted by a Freya radar on the East Frisian Islands.[28]

Helmut Lent was ordered to intercept and engage the attacking bomber force and after refuelling—Lent had just landed at Jever from an armed patrol—claimed three Wellingtons, two of which, shot down at 14:30 and 14:45, were later confirmed.[29] The two aircraft were both from No. 37 Squadron, captained by Flying Officer P.A. Wimberley and Flying Officer O.J.T. Lewis respectively, and both crashed in the shallow sea off Borkum. It is likely that his third claim may have been No. 37 Squadron Wellington 1A N2396, LF-J, piloted by Sergeant H. Ruse, which crash-landed on the sand dunes of Borkum.[30] Lent was refused the victory over Wimberley, as the Wellington was attacked by Lent after it had already been badly damaged and was about to crash. The Wellington was credited to pilot Carl-August Schumacher .[31]

His success as a fighter pilot over the North Sea had made him a minor national hero. Exploits such as those at Heligoland made good news stories for German propaganda machine. Consequently, he attracted fan mail—mainly from young girls and women—among them Elisabeth Petersen. Lent replied to her letter, and he and Elisabeth met on a blind date at the Reichshof hotel in Hamburg, after which they enjoyed a skiing holiday in Hirschegg in February 1940.[32]

Norwegian Campaign and Battle of Britain

Norwegian Sergeant Pilot Kristian Fredrik Schye's Gladiator 427 brought down by Lent on 9 April 1940[33]

On 8 April 1940 eight aircraft of 1./ZG 76, under the command of Staffelkapitän Werner Hansen, deployed northward from Jever to Westerland on Sylt in preparation for operation Weserübung, the invasion of Norway.[34] The German plan for the attack called for an amphibious assault on the Norwegian capital, Oslo, and six major ports from Kristiansand in the south to Narvik in the north.[35] Simultaneously, Junkers 52 (Ju 52) transport aircraft would drop parachute troops to secure Oslo's Fornebu airport. Additional Ju 52s were scheduled to arrive at Fornebu twenty minutes after the parachute drop, by which time the airfield had to be in German hands. 1./ZG 76 provided air cover and ground-attack support for both waves. Eight Bf 110 Zerstörer of 1./JG 76 took off at 7:00 in the morning, planning to synchronize their arrival at Fornebu with the parachute drop at 8:45. The distance from Westerland to Fornebu meant that this was a one-way operation; the Bf 110s could not hold enough fuel for the return trip and would have to land at Fornebu once the airfield had been seized.[36]

Lent's Bf110C ran out of fuel and was forced to land at Oslo/Fornebu airfield on 9 April 1940.[37] A troop-carrying Ju 52 flies over Lent's belly-landed Bf 110.[38]

On the early morning flight to Fornebu, Lent engaged and shot down a Norwegian Gloster Gladiator.[33] While the Ju 52s transporting the German paratroops came under heavy fire, Lent's Rotte engaged the enemy ground positions. Lent's starboard engine caught fire, forcing him to land immediately. With Kubisch manning the movable machine gun, Lent negotiated the capitulation with the Norwegian ground forces and the airfield was in German hands.[39]

At 18:50 the same day, Lent and his Staffelkapitän Werner Hansen took off again from Fornebu in undamaged Bf 110s. During the 40-minute flight, they came across a RAF Short Sunderland flying boat, serial number L2167, from No. 210 Squadron RAF which they shot down together; Hansen received credit for the "kill".[40] This incident is covered in great detail in the 2010 one hour documentary "A Very Short War" produced by Conti Bros Films and distributed by SBS Content Sales.

Helmut Lent was awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class on 13 May 1940 before he was transferred to Trondheim on 18 May.[41] He claimed his second aerial victory of the Norwegian campaign on 27 May over a RAF Gloster Gladiator from No. 263 Squadron RAF, piloted by Flight Lieutenant Caesar Hull. On 2 June 1940 Lent and his wingman Thönes claimed a Gladiator each. The flight lasted 5 hours and 46 minutes and their opponents were again from No. 263 Squadron, aircraft serial number N5893 piloted by Pilot Officer J.L. Wilkie, and N5681 piloted by Pilot Officer L.R. Jacobsen. He claimed his seventh victory overall and final of the Norwegian theatre of operations on 15 June 1941 over a No. 254 Squadron RAF Bristol Blenheim, piloted by Pilot Officer P.C. Gaylord. On 1 July 1940 Lent was promoted to Oberleutnant and on 13 July 1./ZG 76 was relocated to Stavanger/Forus.[33]

Helmut Lent briefly participated in the Battle of Britain when on 15 August 1940 twenty-one Bf 110s from I./ZG 76 escorted He 111 bombers from Kampfgeschwader 26 (KG 26) on their attack on Yorkshire and the Newcastle/Sunderland area. I./ZG 76 lost seven aircraft on this mission and it was Helmut Lent's 98th and final mission as a Zerstörer pilot.[42]

Night fighter career

By June 1940 RAF Bomber Command penetrations of German airspace had increased to the level that Hermann Göring decreed that a night-fighter force should be formed. The officer tasked with its creation was Wolfgang Falck, Gruppenkommandeur of the I./Zerstörergeschwader 1 (ZG 1).[43] The night-fighter force began to expand rapidly, with existing units being divided to form the nucleus of new units. By October 1940 Nachtjagdgeschwader 1 (NJG 1) comprised three Gruppen, while Nachtjagdgeschwader 2 (NJG 2) and Nachtjagdgeschwader 3 (NJG 3, were still forming.[44] It was during this period that Helmut Lent reluctantly became a member of the night-fighter force. At the end of August Lent wrote home, "We are currently converting to night fighting. We are not very enthusiastic. We would sooner head directly for England."[45]

Lent completed night fighter training at Ingolstadt in south-western Germany, and was appointed squadron leader, or Staffelkapitän, of the newly formed 6./NJG 1 on 1 October 1940. The squadron was based at Fliegerhorst Deelen, located 12.5 kilometres (8 mi) north of Arnhem in the Netherlands. On the night 11–12 May 1941, Lent claimed his first nocturnal aerial victories against two Wellington IC bombers from No. 40 Squadron RAF on a mission against Hamburg. BL-H (serial number R1330) was shot down at 01:40 near Süderstapel and BL-Z (R1461) at 02:49 near Nordstrand.[46]

On 1 July 1941, he took command of 4./NJG 1, stationed in the Netherlands at Fliegerhorst (airfield) Leeuwarden, 161 kilometres (100 mi) north of Arnheim, on the Friesland coast, where he remained until his death. From this position in the so-called German Bight, the squadron patrolled the North Sea coast, and could intercept Allied night-time bombing missions, what the Luftwaffe called terror attacks, based out of England.[47]

By the end of the war, the 4./NJG 1 was one of the most successful Nachtjagdstaffel—a squadron of a night fighter wing—of the Luftwaffe. Other members included such night fighter pilots as Oberleutnant Helmut Woltersdorf, Leutnant Ludwig Becker (44 victories, KIA February 1943, Leutnant Egmont Prinz zur Lippe-Weißenfeld (51 victories, killed in a flying accident in the Netherlands in March 1944, Leutnant Leopold Fellerer (41 victories, Oberfeldwebel Paul Gildner (46 victories, killed in a flying accident at Fliegerhorst Gilze-Rijen in the Netherlands in February 1943, and Unteroffizier Siegfried Ney (12 victories, KIA February 1943). On 30 August 1941, Lent received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) for seven daytime and 14 night victories.[48]

On 1 November 1941, Lent became acting Group Commander Gruppenkommandeur of the newly formed II./NJG 2.[49] Lent's first aerial victory as a Gruppenkommandeur, his 20th night-time, and his last in 1941, came during the night of Friday 7 November to Saturday 8 November. He shot down a Wellington 1C heading for Berlin, which came down near Akkrum. The six-man crew of the bomber, X9976 of No. 75 (New Zealand) Squadron, was killed in action. This achievement earned Lent a reference in the Wehrmachtbericht (his first of six in total, an information bulletin issued by the headquarters of the Wehrmacht. To be singled out individually in the Wehrmachtbericht was an honour and was entered in the Orders and Decorations' section of one's Service Record Book.[50]

Gordon Gollob (hidden) and Max-Hellmuth Ostermann receive the Oak Leaves with Swords, Helmut Lent, Heinrich Setz and Friedrich Geißhardt receive the Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross from Adolf Hitler on 28 or 29 June 1942.[51]

He was promoted to Hauptmann on 1 January 1942.[52] Later that year, he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub) on 6 June 1942, at which time his total stood at 34 nocturnal victories plus seven day-time victories.[48] The award was presented at the Führerhauptquartier on 28 and 29 June, his tally standing then at 39 nocturnal and seven day-time victories.[51] By the end of 1942, Lent had 56 victories and was the top German night-fighter ace. He was promoted to Major on 1 January 1943 and appointed Geschwaderkommodore of Nachtjagdgeschwader 3 (NJG 3) on 1 August 1943.[53] After 73 kills, of which 65 were claimed at night, he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern) on 2 August 1943 and notified by telegram on 4 August.[54] The Swords were presented to him at the Führerhauptquartier at Rastenburg on 10/11 August 1943.[55]

In January 1944, Lent downed three so-called "heavies"—four-engined strategic bombers—in one night, but his plane was damaged by return fire, requiring a forced landing. He used only 22 cannon shells to down two bombers on the night of the 22–23 March 1944, and fired only 57 rounds in seven minutes against three Avro Lancasters on 15–16 June. Promoted to Oberstleutnant, he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub, Schwertern und Brillanten) in recognition of his 110 confirmed air kills, the first of two night-fighter pilots to be awarded the decoration.[56] The second was Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer, who, with 121 aerial victories, became aviation history's leading night-fighter pilot.[57]

Personal life

All German officers were required to obtain official permission to marry; however, this was usually a bureaucratic formality. When Lent decided to marry Elizabeth Petersen, his admirer from Hamburg whom he had met on a blind date, his case was more complicated. 'Elisabeth Petersen' was in fact Helene (Lena) Senokosnikova, born in Moscow in April 1914. She had been afraid to reveal her true identity, since Russians were not popular in the Third Reich,[58] but after a thorough investigation into her background and racial ancestry, she received her German citizenship on 15 March 1941. They were married on 10 September 1941 in Wellingsbüttel, Hamburg.[59] The marriage produced two daughters. Christina was born on 6 June 1942; the second, Helma, was born on 6 October 1944, shortly after her father's fatal crash.[60]

Both of Helmut's older brothers, Joachim and Werner, as members of the Confessing Church (German: Bekennende Kirche, encountered trouble with the Nazi party. The Confessing Church, led by Pastor Martin Niemöller, was a schismatic Protestant church which opposed the Reich's efforts to "Nazify" Germany's Protestant churches. It stood in outspoken opposition to National Socialist principles, particularly those embodied in the Aryan Paragraph. Through the Barmen Declaration, the church condemned the national German Evangelical Church as heretical. Werner Lent, an adherent to the Confessing church, was arrested for the first time in 1937 after preaching an anti-Nazi sermon.[61] In June 1942, his brother Joachim was arrested by the Gestapo after reading the so-called Mölders letter from the pulpit. The Mölders letter was a propaganda piece conceived by Sefton Delmer, the chief of the British black propaganda in the Political Warfare Executive (PWE) to capitalize on the death of Germany's fighter ace Werner Mölders; this letter, ostensibly written by Mölders, attested to the supreme importance of his Catholic faith in his life—by implication, placing faith above his allegiance to the National Socialist Party.[62]

Death

Hermann Göring speaking at Lent's funeral[63]

On 5 October 1944, Lent flew his Junkers Ju-88 G–6, coded D5+AA, from Stade to Paderborn. His crew included his long-time radio operator Oberfeldwebel Walter Kubisch, the war correspondent Leutnant Werner Kark in the aerial gunner position, and Oberleutnant Hermann Klöss, second radio operator. Lent was on his way to visit the Geschwaderkommodore of the Nachtjagdgeschwader 1, Oberstleutnant Hans-Joachim Jabs, to discuss operational matters. During the landing approach, the left engine of the plane failed, causing the wing to dip. Lent was unable to keep the plane steady and it struck high-voltage cables and crashed. All four members of the crew sustained serious injuries but were rescued alive. Kubisch and Klöss succumbed to their injuries on the same day, Kark on the next morning and Lent himself died two days later on 7 October 1944.[64] Helmut Lent's state funeral was held in the Reich Chancellery, Berlin, on Wednesday 11 October 1944. Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring took the salute at Lent's coffin, which was draped in the national flag of the Third Reich. Ahead of the coffin, carrying Lent's honours and decorations on a velvet cushion, marched Oberstleutnant Werner Streib, the Inspector of Night Fighters. Six steel-helmeted officers, all recipients of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, escorted the coffin on its caisson and stood as guard of honour during the ceremony: Oberstleutnant Günther Radusch, Oberstleutnant Hans-Joachim Jabs, Major Rudolf Schoenert, Hauptmann Heinz Strüning, Hauptmann Karl Hadeball and Hauptmann Paul Zorner.[65] On 12 October 1944 Lent and his crew were interred in a single grave in the military cemetery at Stade.[66]

Legacy

On 18 July 1964, a German Armed Forces Heeresflieger installation in Rotenburg (Wümme) (Lower Saxony) was renamed the Lent Barracks, or Lent-Kaserne, in his honour.[67] A number of Helmut Lent's awards were auctioned at Sotheby's, London, on 18 July 1966. The items were bought in one lot by an anonymous bidder for the total sum of £500. The purchaser was Adolf Galland, the former General der Jagdflieger, acting on behalf of the Federal German Ministry of Defence. The awards were sold by Helmut Lent's elder daughter Christina after consultation with her mother, Lena, who was in urgent need for money to pay for an operation. The Federal Ministry of Defence presented the collection to the Museum of Defence History (Wehrgeschichtliches Museum) in Rastatt, Germany.[68]

Summary of career

Helmut Lent is officially credited with 110 victories in 507 flights. The total includes 103 victories at night, during which he destroyed 59 four-engine bombers and one Mosquito, among other types. Lent received a posthumous promotion to Oberst (Colonel).[Notes 4]

Awards

Helmut Lent's Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds on display at the Bundeswehr Military History Museum in Dresden.

Pilot's Badge (15 November 1937)[70] Sudetenland Medal[71] Narvik Shield (30 January 1941)[70][72] Wound Badge (1939) in Black (14 July 1941)[73] in Silver (22 December 1943)[72][74] Iron Cross (1939) 2nd class (21 September 1939)[75] 1st class (11 May 1940)[75] Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe (26 June 1941)[56] Front Flying Clasp of the Luftwaffe for Destroyer Pilots in Gold[72] Front Flying Clasp of the Luftwaffe for Nightfighter Pilots in Gold with Pennant "300"[72] Combined Pilots-Observation Badge in Gold with Diamonds German Cross in Gold on 9 April 1942 as Hauptmann in the II./NJG 2[76] Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds Knight's Cross on 30 August 1941 as Oberleutnant and Staffelkapitän of the 4./NJG 1[77][Notes 5] 98th Oak Leaves on 6 June 1942 as Hauptmann and Gruppenkommandeur of the II./NJG 2[78][79] 32nd Swords on 2 August 1943 as Major and Gruppenkommandeur of the IV./NJG 1[78][80] 15th Diamonds on 31 July 1944 as Oberstleutnant and Geschwaderkommodore of the NJG 3[78][81] Mentioned six times in the Wehrmachtbericht (see below)

References in the Wehrmachtbericht

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation Monday, 20 November 1941 Oberleutnant Lent errang seinen 20. Nachtjagdsieg.[82] Oberleutnant Lent achieved his 20th nocturnal aerial victory.

Thursday, 28 January 1942 Bei der Abwehr eines Angriffs britischer Bomber auf das Reichsgebiet in der Nacht vom 27. Januar erzielte eine Nachjagdstaffel unter Führung von Hauptmann Lent und Oberleutnant Prinz zu Lippe-Weißenfeld ihren 100. Abschuß.[83] A night fighter squadron under the leadership of Hauptmann Lent and Oberleutnant Prince zu Lippe-Weißenfeld scored their 100th aerial victory when warding off an attack of British bombers on the Reich on the night of 27 January.

Saturday, 16 May 1942 Hauptmann Lent errang in der Nacht zum 16. Mai seinen 30. Nachtjagdsieg.[84] Hauptmann Lent achieved his 30th nocturnal aerial victory in the night to 16 May.

Sunday, 21 June 1942 Oberleutnant zur Lippe Lippe-Weißenfeld errang in der letzten Nacht drei Luftsiege, Hauptmann Lent erzielte seinen 35. Nachtjagdabschuß.[85] Oberleutnant zur Lippe Lippe-Weißenfeld achieved three aerial victories last night, Hauptmann Lent achieved his 35th nocturnal aerial victory. 18 June 1944 Oberstleutnant Lent, Kommodore eines Nachtjagdgeschwaders, schoß in der Nacht vom 15. zum 16. Juni seinen 100. Gegner ab.[86] Oberstleutnant Lent, commodore of a night fight wing, shot down his 100th adversary in the night from 15 to 16 June.

11 October 1944 Ergänzend zum Wehrmachtbericht wird gemeldet: Geschwaderkommodore Oberstleutnant Helmut Lent, Inhaber der höchsten deutschen Tapferkeitsauszeichnung, fand den Fliegertod. Mit ihm verliert die Luftwaffe ihren erfolgreichsten Nachtjäger, der im Kampf gegen die Nächtlichen Terrorangriffe der englischen Luftwaffe 102 Luftsiege errungen hat.[87] Reported additionally to the Wehrmachtberich: Geschwaderkommodore Oberstleutnant Helmut Lent, recipient of the highest German medal of bravery, found a flier's death. With him the Luftwaffe loses their most successful night fighter, who in combat against the British nocturnal terror attacks achieved 102 aerial victories.

Promotions

1 April 1936: Fahnenjunker (Cadet) 1 April 1937: Fähnrich (Ensign) 1 February 1938: Oberfähnrich (Senior Ensign) 1 March 1938: Leutnant (Second Lieutenant) 1 July 1940: Oberleutnant (First Lieutenant) 1 January 1942: Hauptmann (Captain) 1 January 1943: Major (Major) 1 March 1944: Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant Colonel) Posthumously: Oberst (Colonel)

Helmut Lent

Units: 3/ZG-76, 6/NJG-1(5/41, 4/NJG-1, Kdr II/NJG-1(11/41, Kdr IV/NJG-1(10/42-7/43, Kdr NJG-3 (8/43)

Awards: RK(8/30/41)-Br(7/31/44, DK-G(4/20/42, EP(6/26/41, EK 1 & 2, Wnd Bdg, Narvik Shield, NJ Oper Csp w/Pend

Known Aircraft: Bf 110C 'M8+DH' (80% dam 9/4/40, Ju 88C-6 in NJG-3, Ju 88G-6 WNr 751081 'D5+AA'(lost 10/7/44)

Remarks: 102 victories were Night Vics. His 1st two victories were Wellingtons northwest of Borkum, 18 December, 1939 while in ZG-76. His 5th, making him a Ace, a Gladiator by Förnebu Denmark on 9 April, 1940. He is known to have crash-landed his Bf 110C after this victory. Two early 6/NJG-1 victories, both Wellingtons, one at Süderstapel, the other into the North Sea, the night of 11-12 May, 1941. Two Stirlings the night of 29-30 June, 1941. Two Wellingtons over Friesland the night of 7-8 September, 1941. A Wellington and a Hampden on 13 October, 1941. A Wellington the night of 8-9 November, 1941, no location. A Hampden I of RAF No. 455 Sq. into the sea 70 km west of Terschelling the night of 6 February, 1942. 50th victory on 8 January, 1943. A triple victory on 16 June, 1944; all '4 mots', one SW of Lille, the other two in the Bethune area. Severely injured in a flying accident, 5 Oct. 1944. KIC 7 October, 1944; crashed on landing due to engine failure and colliding with high tension wires in his Ju 88C-6 at Paderborn. Also killed were his RO, Kubisch, Oblt Klöss (Observer?) and Lt Kark(Correspondent). EL 6/6/42. S 8/2/43. Also served in NJG-2. Flew Do 215B-5 'R4 + DC' at Leeuwarden, 1942.

Asisbiz list of 110 aerial victories for Helmut Lent

Date Pilot Name Unit Enemy A/C Type Height Time Location
Saturday, September 02, 1939 Helmut Lent I.ZG76 PZL P-24 4500m 17:10 Laskowice
Monday, December 18, 1939 Helmut Lent Stab I./ZG76 Wellington   14:42 5km N Borkum
Monday, December 18, 1939 Helmut Lent Stab I./ZG76 Wellington   14:50 10km WNW Borkum
Tuesday, April 09, 1940 Helmut Lent 1./ZG76 Gladiator   08:50± bei Fornebu
Tuesday, April 09, 1940 Helmut Lent 1./ZG76 Gladiator     bei Fornebu
Monday, May 27, 1940 Helmut Lent 1./ZG76 Gladiator   08:20 bei Bodohalvoya
Sunday, June 02, 1940 Helmut Lent 1./ZG76 Gladiator   14:20± East of Rombaksfjorden
Monday, May 12, 1941 Helmut Lent 6./NJG1 Wellington   02:49 North Sea
Monday, May 12, 1941 Helmut Lent 6./NJG1 Wellington   01:40 Suderstapel ssE Husum
Saturday, June 28, 1941 Helmut Lent 6./NJG1 Whitley   01:58  
Monday, June 30, 1941 Helmut Lent 6./NJG1 Stirling   02:05  
Monday, June 30, 1941 Helmut Lent 6./NJG1 Stirling   01:40  
Friday, July 04, 1941 Helmut Lent 4./NJG1 Wellington 4600m 00:43 bei Exloo (NNE Emmen)
Sunday, July 06, 1941 Helmut Lent 4./NJG1 Whitley 3000m 00:56 De Krim (S Apeldoorn)
Tuesday, July 08, 1941 Helmut Lent 4./NJG1 Whitley 3600m 00:55 1km NW Orvelte
Thursday, July 10, 1941 Helmut Lent 4./NJG1 Wellington 4400m 02:20 Telmdorf Krs Meppen
Sunday, July 13, 1941 Helmut Lent 4./NJG1 Hampden   00:55  
Tuesday, July 15, 1941 Helmut Lent 4./NJG1 Wellington 3000m 00:49 Veendam
Friday, July 25, 1941 Helmut Lent 4./NJG1 Wellintgon 4500m 03:54 15km SSW Leeuwarden
Friday, August 15, 1941 Helmut Lent 4./NJG1 Whitley V 4400m 03:20 54/63/2
Friday, August 29, 1941 Helmut Lent 4./NJG1 Hampden 3400m 03:40 Ameland im Waddenzee
Sunday, September 07, 1941 Helmut Lent 4./NJG1 Whitley 3200m 01:25 54836 (Bergen-Filmn-Zee)
Monday, September 08, 1941 Helmut Lent 4./NJG1 Wellington 2900m 04:59 bei Terwispel (Friesland)
Monday, September 08, 1941 Helmut Lent 4./NJG1 Wellington 4800m 04:04 bei Drachtstercompagnie
Monday, October 13, 1941 Helmut Lent 4./NJG1 Hampden   00:33  
Monday, October 13, 1941 Helmut Lent 4./NJG1 Wellington   00:06  
Saturday, November 08, 1941 Helmut Lent Stab II./NJG2 Wellington      
Friday, January 16, 1942 Helmut Lent Stab II.NJG2 Whitley 6000m 21:40 Terschelling
Wednesday, January 21, 1942 Helmut Lent Stab II.NJG2 Whitley 5700m 22:38 40km W. Terschelling
Friday, February 06, 1942 Helmut Lent Stab II./NJG1 Hampden   14:30 ± 70km W Terschelling (455Sqn)
Thursday, March 26, 1942 Helmut Lent Stab II./NJG2 Manchester   00:32 Net Meertje 10km NNW Assen (61Sqn)
Friday, March 27, 1942 Helmut Lent Stab II./NJG2 Hampden   22:42  
Friday, March 27, 1942 Helmut Lent Stab II./NJG2 Hampden   22:10  
Sunday, March 29, 1942 Helmut Lent Stab II.NJG2 Manchester 4500m 22:00 N. Terschelling
Saturday, April 11, 1942 Helmut Lent Stab II./NJG2 Wellington   00:23 4km E Kolhorn/Noord Holland (311Sqn)
Monday, April 13, 1942 Helmut Lent Stab II./NJG2 Hampden   00:32 N Terschelling
Saturday, April 18, 1942 Helmut Lent Stab II.NJG2 Wellington 5000m 01:55 25km N. Terschelling
Friday, May 15, 1942 Helmut Lent Stab II.NJG2 Hudson 5400m 22:45 N. Terschelling
Wednesday, June 03, 1942 Helmut Lent Stab II.NJG2 Hampden 6000m 01:06 E. Medemblik
Thursday, June 04, 1942 Helmut Lent Stab II.NJG2 Halifax 6000m 00:55 W. St. Maartensvlotburg
Saturday, June 06, 1942 Helmut Lent Stab II.NJG2 Wellington 4500m 01:16 E. Amsterdamm
Saturday, June 06, 1942 Helmut Lent Stab II.NJG2 Wellington 4700m 00:34 S. Hoorn
Sunday, June 21, 1942 Helmut Lent Stab II.NJG2 Hampden 4300m 00:59 N. Ameland
Wednesday, June 24, 1942 Helmut Lent Stab II.NJG2 Wellington 4500m 01:12 10km N. Terschelling
Wednesday, June 24, 1942 Helmut Lent Stab II.NJG2 Wellington 3400m 01:46 NW Vlieland
Friday, June 26, 1942 Helmut Lent Stab II.NJG2 Whitley 4300m 02:56 Noorswijk
Friday, June 26, 1942 Helmut Lent Stab II.NJG2 Wellington 2700m 02:37 6km NW Enkhuizen
Friday, July 03, 1942 Helmut Lent Stab II.NJG2 Wellington 4000m 01:25 SW Assen
Thursday, July 09, 1942 Helmut Lent Stab II.NJG2 Wellington 2800m 01:30 Rottumeroog
Monday, July 27, 1942 Helmut Lent Stab II.NJG2 Wellington 2500m 02:39 NW Vlieland
Monday, July 27, 1942 Helmut Lent Stab II.NJG2 Halifax 5600m 02:35 NW Vlieland
Saturday, September 05, 1942 Helmut Lent Stab II./NJG2 Halifax 5800m 02:50 531 9A
Monday, September 14, 1942 Helmut Lent Stab II./NJG2 Wellington 3000m 05:02 444 6E4
Monday, November 09, 1942 Helmut Lent Stab IV.NJG1 Halifax 5000m 20:37 544 2G7 (Ameland)
Thursday, December 17, 1942 Helmut Lent IV./NJG1 Lancaster 600m 20:22 532 1I
Thursday, December 17, 1942 Helmut Lent IV./NJG1 Halifax 500m 20:38 534 5J
Saturday, January 02, 1943 Helmut Lent Stab IV.NJG1 Abschuß 2400m 02:49 -
Friday, January 08, 1943 Helmut Lent Stab IV./NJG1 Halifax 4000m 20:24 448 7A in See
Thursday, January 21, 1943 Helmut Lent Stab IV./NJG1 Wellington 100m 20:11 643 1C4 in See
Monday, March 01, 1943 Helmut Lent Stab IV./NJG1 Halifax 1400m 21:39 544 8I5 in See
Friday, March 05, 1943 Helmut Lent Stab II./NJG1 Halifax 3500m 22:20 54757 See
Friday, March 05, 1943 Helmut Lent Stab II./NJG1 Halifax 4000m 22:34 5822C
Monday, March 29, 1943 Helmut Lent Stab IV./NJG1 Wellington 5000m 23:46 5km NW Lemmer
Sunday, April 04, 1943 Helmut Lent Stab IV./NJG1 Lancaster 9500m 00:24 547 7E See
Tuesday, April 20, 1943 Helmut Lent Stab IV./NJG1 Mosquito 100m 03:38 531 1E1
Wednesday, May 05, 1943 Helmut Lent Stab IV./NJG1 Stirling 3600m 00:18 2km S Honnerts
Wednesday, May 05, 1943 Helmut Lent Stab IV./NJG1 Stirling 4000m 00:08 53358 (Ijsselmeer S Enkhuisen)
Friday, May 14, 1943 Helmut Lent Stab IV./NJG1 Halifax 5000m 02:54 547 3F
Monday, May 24, 1943 Helmut Lent Stab IV./NJG1 Lancaster 6200m 02:16 531 2A (Sea 40km W Egmond)
Tuesday, June 22, 1943 Helmut Lent Stab IV./NJG1 Lancaster 3200m 03:09 CH 99
Wednesday, June 23, 1943 Helmut Lent Stab IV./NJG1 Halifax 3000m 02:06 FM 41
Saturday, June 26, 1943 Helmut Lent Stab IV./NJG1 Wellington 6000m 01:13 FM 51 I
Friday, July 30, 1943 Helmut Lent Stab IV./NJG1 Lancaster 3800m 02:10 RM 66d in See (North Sea)
Tuesday, August 24, 1943 Helmut Lent Stab /NJG3 Halifax 4500m 01:16 Btn-Nahlsdorf
Tuesday, August 24, 1943 Helmut Lent Stab /NJG3 Stirling   00:56 Bln-Lichtenberg
Wednesday, September 01, 1943 Helmut Lent Stab /NJG3 Halifax 4200m 00:54 SW Berlin
Wednesday, September 01, 1943 Helmut Lent Stab /NJG3 Halifax 3800m 01:03 Berlin
Wednesday, September 22, 1943 Helmut Lent Stab /NJG3 4-mot. Flzg. 4200m 22:41 Krohnsberg
Sunday, October 03, 1943 Helmut Lent Stab /NJG3 4-mot. 6300m 22:27 Harleshausen
Thursday, December 02, 1943 Helmut Lent Stab /NJG3 Unident: 5000m 19:58 bei Magdeburg
Thursday, December 02, 1943 Helmut Lent Stab /NJG3 Unident: 4700m 20:20 SW Berlin
Thursday, December 16, 1943 Helmut Lent Stab /NJG3 4-mot. Flzg.   19:07 gegend Almanbruck
Sunday, January 02, 1944 Helmut Lent StabNJG3 Lancaster 5700m 02:49 Berlin
Friday, January 14, 1944 Helmut Lent StabNJG3 Lancaster 5300m 19:05 Brunswick
Friday, January 14, 1944 Helmut Lent StabNJG3 Lancaster 5100m 18:49 Brunswick
Friday, January 14, 1944 Helmut Lent StabNJG3 Lancaster 4300m 19:10 Brunswick
Friday, January 21, 1944 Helmut Lent StabNJG3 Lancaster 5000m 22:28 Stuttgart
Friday, January 21, 1944 Helmut Lent StabNJG3 Lancaster 2500m 22:58 Stuttgart
Saturday, January 29, 1944 Helmut Lent StabNJG3 4-mot. Flzg. 5000-5800m 03:25 -
Thursday, February 24, 1944 Helmut Lent Stab /NJG3 4-mot. Flzg. 3200m 21:37 Insel Æro
Thursday, February 24, 1944 Helmut Lent Stab /NJG3 4-mot. Flzg. 4000m 21:47 Insel Langeland
Wednesday, March 22, 1944 Helmut Lent Stab /NJG3 Lancaster 6700m 21:26 Raum Bielefeld
Wednesday, March 22, 1944 Helmut Lent Stab /NJG3 4-mot. Flzg. 6000m 21:35 S Bielefeld
Friday, March 24, 1944 Helmut Lent Stab /NJG3 4-mot. Flzg. 5500m 21:30 Raum Berlin (E)
Friday, March 24, 1944 Helmut Lent Stab /NJG3 4-mot. Flzg. 4000m 22:00 Liebeck
Friday, March 31, 1944 Helmut Lent Stab NJG2 4-mot. Flzg. 4600m 01:21 20-40km N Nurnberg
Tuesday, May 23, 1944 Helmut Lent Stab /NJG3 4-mot. Flzg. 4500m 00:40 gegend Osnabruck
Tuesday, May 23, 1944 Helmut Lent Stab /NJG3 4-mot. Flzg.   00:21 Osnabruck
Friday, June 16, 1944 Helmut Lent Stab /NJG3 4-mot. Flzg. 3600m 00:56 OF (Bethune-Armentieres)
Friday, June 16, 1944 Helmut Lent Stab /NJG3 4-mot. Flzg. 2400m 01:00 OF-OE (270˚ Bethune)
Friday, June 16, 1944 Helmut Lent Stab /NJG3 4-mot. Flzg. 2800m 00:52 SW Lille
Sunday, June 25, 1944 Helmut Lent Stab /NJG3 4-mot. Flzg. 200m 00:40 QE-PE
Sunday, June 25, 1944 Helmut Lent Stab /NJG3 4-mot. Flzg. 2500-2700m 00:25 QE-PE
Wednesday, June 28, 1944 Helmut Lent Stab /NJG3 4-mot. Flzg. 5200m 01:10 ME-LE (off Dunkirk)
Wednesday, July 19, 1944 Helmut Lent Stab /NJG3 4-mot. Flzg. 2400m 01:41 50km SE Reims
Wednesday, July 19, 1944 Helmut Lent Stab /NJG3 4-mot. Flzg. 2700m 01:36 SE Reims
Friday, July 21, 1944 Helmut Lent Stab /NJG3 Lancaster 2400m 02:16 MD-MC (off Dover)
Friday, July 21, 1944 Helmut Lent Stab /NJG3 Lancaster 1900m 02:07 05 Ost S/MD (off Deal)
Tuesday, July 25, 1944 Helmut Lent Stab /NJG3 4-mot. Flzg. 5000m 01:14 04 Ost N/AS (Pforzheim)
Saturday, July 29, 1944 Helmut Lent Stab /NJG3 4-mot. Flzg. 2400m 01:47 04 Ost N/AP (v Bouxwiller)
Saturday, July 29, 1944 Helmut Lent Stab /NJG3 4-mot. Flzg. 1500m 01:57 AN-AO (Chtateau-Salins area)

Notes:

Citations:

Bibliography:

  • Bekker, Cajus (1994). The Luftwaffe War Diaries – The German Air Force in World War II. Da Capo Press, Inc. ISBN 0-306-80604-5.
  • (German) Berger, Florian (2000). Mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern. Die höchstdekorierten Soldaten des Zweiten Weltkrieges. Selbstverlag Florian Berger. ISBN 3-9501307-0-5.
  • (German) Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945. Friedburg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 3-7909-0284-5.
  • Fraschka, Günther (1994). Knights of the Reich. Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Military/Aviation History. ISBN 0-88740-580-0.
  • (German) Hagen, Hans-Peter (1998). Husaren des Himmels Berühmte deutsche Jagdflieger und die Geschichte ihrer Waffe. Rastatt, Germany: Moewig. ISBN 3-8118-1456-7.
  • (German) Hinchliffe, Peter (1998). Luftkrieg bei Nacht 1939–1945. Motorbuch Verlag. ISBN 3-613-01861-6.
  • Hinchliffe, Peter (2003). "The Lent Papers" Helmut Lent. Cerberus Publishing Limited. ISBN 1-84145-105-3.
  • (German) Obermaier, Ernst (1989). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Luftwaffe Jagdflieger 1939— 1945. Mainz, Germany: Verlag Dieter Hoffmann. ISBN 3-87341-065-6.
  • Holmes, Robin. The Battle of the Heligoland Bight, 1939: The Royal Air Force and the Luftwaffe's Baptism of Fire. Grub Street. 2010. ISBN 978-1-906502-56-0
  • (German) Patzwall, Klaus D. and Scherzer, Veit (2001). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941–1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II. Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 3-931533-45-X.
  • (German) Schaulen, Fritjof (2004). Eichenlaubträger 1940–1945 Zeitgeschichte in Farbe II Ihlefeld – Primozic. Selent, Germany: Pour le Mérite. ISBN 3-932381-21-1.
  • (German) Scherzer, Veit (2007). Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives.
  • Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
  • Scutts, Jerry (1998). German Night Fighter Aces of World War 2. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-85532-696-5.
  • Spick, Mike (1996). Luftwaffe Fighter Aces. New York: Ivy Books. ISBN 0-8041-1696-2.
  • (German) Weal, John (1999). Messerschmitt Bf 110 Zerstörer Aces World War Two. London: Osprey. ISBN 1-85532-753-8.
  • Williamson, Gordon (2006). Knight's Cross with Diamonds Recipients 1941–45. Osprey Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-84176-644-5.
  • (German) Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, 1. September 1939 bis 31. Dezember 1941. München: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, 1985. ISBN 3-423-05944-3.
  • (German) Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 2, 1. Januar 1942 bis 31. Dezember 1943. München: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, 1985. ISBN 3-423-05944-3.
  • (German) Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, 1. Januar 1944 bis 9. Mai 1945. München: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, 1985. ISBN 3-423-05944-3.
  • (German) Helden der Wehrmacht – Unsterbliche deutsche Soldaten. München, Germany: FZ-Verlag GmbH, 2004. ISBN 3-924309-53-1.

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