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Nachtjagdgeschwader 1 Nachtjagdgeschwader 1 - NJG1

Messerschmitt Bf 110C 2./NJG1 (G9+HL) Werner Streib France 1940 00

Profile 00:Nachtjagd badge 01
Pilots NJG1 pilot Werner Streib

Aircrew Luftwaffe pilot NJG1 Werner Streib 01

Photo 01: Werner Streib with the rank insignia of Hauptmann, and wearing the Knight's Cross, awarded on 6 October 1940. On 20 July 1940 Streib achieved the first Helle-Nachtjagd victory by shooting down a Whitley V bomber during an attack against Gelsenkirchen.

Aircrew Luftwaffe pilot NJG1 Werner Streib 02

Photo 02: Still bearing the wounds he received during an encounter with an RAF bomber, Werner Streib enjoys a quieter moment during a garden party at Wolfgang Falck's headquarters at Deelen in Holland.

Aircrew Luftwaffe pilot NJG1 Werner Streib 03

Photo 03: On 11 March 1944, Streib became the 54th member of the Wehrmacht to be decorated with the Swords after shooting down a total of 67 bombers in the defence of the Reich. Despite the fact that his operational flying career ended when he was appointed Inspekteur der Nachtjagd, Streib finished the war as the fourth highest-scoring night fighter pilot after Schnaufer, Lent and Wittgenstein.

Aircrew Luftwaffe pilots NJG1 Werner Streib Hans Dieter Frank 01

Photo 01: On 30 June 1943, Werner Streib bade farewell to I/.NJG1, which he had commanded since 18 October 1940 and, promoted to Major, he became Kommodore of NJG1. To Streib's left is the officer who succeeded him as Kommandeur of I/.NJG1, Hauptmann Hans-Dieter Frank. Looking on from the far end of the line is Leutnant Wilhelm Johnen.

Aircrew Luftwaffe pilots NJG1 Werner Streib and Karl Bolle 01

Photo 01: Another photograph of Obstlt. Karl Bolle shown in conversation with members of NJG1. From the bottom left corner of the photograph and working clockwise around the table, the personalities are: Hptm. Walter Ehle (Kommandeur of II./NJG1); unknown; Major Edler, with his hand raised to his face; Hptm. Wolfgang Thimmig; Hptm. Werner Streib, the Kommandeur of I./NJG1; Obstlt. Bolle; and in the centre foreground with his back towards the camera, Hptm.Adolf Edler von Graeve, the Kommandeur of III./NJG1.

Aircrew Luftwaffe pilots I./NJG1 Werner Streib Karl Hulshoff 01

Aircrew Luftwaffe pilots I./NJG1 Werner Streib Karl Hülshoff 01

Photo 01: Hptm. Karl Hülshoff (left) in conversation with the Kommandeur of I./NJGI, Werner Streib. Hülshoff led I./NJG2 during its long-range intruder missions over the British mainland and shot down four RAF bombers.

Aircrew Luftwaffe pilot NJG1 Werner Streib glider Venlo Holland 01

Photo 01: Werner Streib's glider, seen here at Venlo in Holland.

Aircrew Luftwaffe pilot I./NJG1 Werner Streib June 1943 01

Photo 01: The Knight's Cross is awarded to Hauptmann Wilhelm Herget (second from right) and Hauptmann Hans-Dieter Frank (second from left) at Venlo on 20 June 1943. On the far left is Major Werner Streib and on the far right is Major Helmut Lent. In the centre is General der Flieger Josef Kammhuber.

Aircrew Luftwaffe pilot I./NJG1 Werner Streib June 1943 02

Photo 02:  Following his 43rd night victory, Streib was decorated with the Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross on 26 February 1943. On the very same day two other prominent night fighter pilots, Paul Gildner and Ludwig Becker, were both killed and posthumously awarded the same decoration.

Aircrew Luftwaffe pilot I./NJG1 Werner Streib May 1940 01

Photo 01: It is believed that this photograph was taken during the early phases of the invasion of France in May 1940.At that time Werner Streib (far left) was the Intelligence Officer for I./ZG 1. On the far right is Oberstleutnant Joachim-Friedrich Huth, the Kommodore of ZG26 'Horst Wessel', and, to his right, Hptm. Wolfgang Falck, the Kommandeur of I./ZG1.

Aircrew Luftwaffe pilot I./NJG1 Werner Streib 0ctober I940 01

Photo 01: Streib, who was well known for his sense of humor, displays his obvious pleasure at having just received the Knight's Cross, presented to him by the Luftwaffe's Commander-in-Chief, Hermann Goring, at the RLM in Berlin on 7 0ctober-I940.

Aircrew Luftwaffe pilots I./NJG1 Werner Streib Wolfgang Falck Deelen 1941 01

Photo 01: Photographed during an informal meeting at Deelen in early 1941, Werner Streib is seen here seated next to the Kommandeur of I./NJG3, Hptm. Günther Radusch, who is in turn seated next to Major Wolfgang Falck.

Aircrew Luftwaffe pilots I./NJG1 Werner Streib Wolfgang Falck 1942 01

Photo 01: In August 1942, a delegation of Italian Air Force officers, interested in forming their own night fighter force, was invited to visit several units of the Nachtjagd in Holland and Germany. One of the units involved was I./NJG1, stationed at Venlo and commanded by Streib, seen here in conversation with several of the Italian officers. Falck is shown on the far left and General Josef Kammhuber is on the far right.

Aircrew Luftwaffe Bordfunker Helmut Fischer flew with Streib 01

Photo 01: All of the top-scoring and most successful night fighter pilots attributed their success to the expertise and skill of their Bordfunker. Between January and June of 1943, Helmut Fischer flew with Werner Streib, and together they shared 16 victories, which included five on 12 June 1943, with the Heinkel He-219. In addition, Fischer had also participated in at least another ten kills with Reinhold Knacke and Bruno Eikmeier. Fischer finished the war as an Oberfeldwebel and holder of the German Cross in Gold.

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Werner Streib

In terms of his personal achievement and his contribution to the development of night fighting during the Second World War, one of the most outstanding personalities of the
Nachtjagd was Werner Streib.

Streib was born in the Black Forest town of Pforzheim on 13 June 1911, and after leaving school with his Abitur, spent a further three years training for a career in commercial finance. However, at the end of his examinations, Streib decided that he was not after all suited to a life in the business world and decided to join the Army. His formal application to join the Heer as a soldier was successful and he subsequently joined the 14.Infanterie Regiment in 1934. A year later, in March 1935, and shortly after having completed his basic infantry training, he heard about the formation of the Luftwaffe and immediately put in a transfer request to join this new arm of the services.

With his request accepted, Werner Streib entered the Luftwaffe as an officer cadet on 1 October 1935 and began training as an observer in a reconnaissance unit. However, this was a time of rapid expansion for the Luftwaffe and an increased demand for pilots, and in 1936 Streib was selected for fighter pilot training. After qualifying for his pilot's badge, he was promoted to Leutnant and posted to 1l.I]G 132 'Rich thofen ' then stationed at Jüterborg-Damm, some 70 km south of Berlin.

This Gruppe, like many others in the Luftwaffe, underwent a number of changes as the service continued to expand. For example, with the development of the Bf 110 twin-engined destroyer, II./JG132 was selected as one of the first units to receive this type and in November 1938 the Gruppe was redesignated I./ZG141. Streib, together with other pilots from the Gruppe, received conversion training on the type and when war finally broke out in September 1939, the unit had been re-designated I./ZG1 and was equipped with the Bf 110C.

During the invasion of Poland, Streib and I./ZG1 participated mainly in bomber escort and ground support missions, and following the successful conclusion of this brief campaign, the Gruppe was transferred back to Neuhausen ob Eck in Southern Germany. Although Germany was now at war with England and France, the winter of 1939/40 proved a relatively quiet period and allowed many of the Luftwaffe's fighter units to rest and re-equip. Streib busied himself with his duties as Communications Officer for I./ZG1 and, in February 1940, the unit received a new Gruppenkommandeur - Hauptmann Wolfgang Falck.

Streib had first met Falck at Jüterborg-Damm when they had both served with II./JG132, and although neither of them realised it at the time, this association would not only cement a life-long friendship but would also shape their future careers in the Luftwaffe.

The period of quietude known as the 'Phoney War' came to a dramatic end on 9 April 1940 when, under the code name 'Weseruebung', Hitler launched the invasion of Denmark and Norway. During this operation, I./ZG1 took off from its airfield at Barth in Northern Germany and helped secure the airfield at Vaerlose-Copenhagen. Although the Danes capitulated almost immediately in the face of insurmountable German forces, I./ZG1 was forced to continue flying support missions to Norway as resistance to the Wehrmacht's invasion continued to grow. Operating from their recently captured airfield at Aalborg in Northern Denmark, Falck's Gruppe came under direct attack in nuisance raids conducted by Bomber Command aircraft returning from night attacks on targets in Germany.

As a consequence of these attacks, Falck, with other selected pilots from his unit, including Streib, attempted to intercept these bombers, and this experience resulted in Falck submitting a report on the possibilities of night fighting to the Luftwaffe's High Command. But on 10 May 1940, and before this report could be properly evaluated, Germany invaded France and the Low Countries, and any thoughts of night fighting were shelved. On the opening day of the offensive, however, Streib found himself operating against aircraft of Bomber Command which were flying day missions, and following a short skirmish, he attacked a Bristol Blenheim which he destroyed as his first and only daylight victory.

Following the bombing of Rotterdam on 13 May 1940, Bomber Command began attacking targets in Germany itself, and to counter these Goring ultimately ordered the formation of the Nachtjagd, and when Falck was made Kommodore of NJG1 - the first night fighter Geschwader - I./ZG1 was redesignated I./NJG1. Operating from Gütersloh as the Staffelkapitän of 2./NJG1, Streib shot down a Whitley bomber from 51 Squadron in the early hours of 20 July 1940, and so achieved the Nachtjagd's first success. The following month, Streib shot down a Wellington and a Hampden on the night of 30/31 August, and during raids against Berlin and other targets in Germany on the night of 30 September, he was credited with three more victories.

On 6 October 1940, after his seventh night victory, Streib received the Knight's Cross and promotion to Hauptmann. Two weeks later, he was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of I./NJG1 and took over command from Hptm. Günther Radusch. Streib added one further victory to his tally by the year's end, but in the first half of 1941 raised his total to 14 victories. At this time, I./NJG1 was operating from Venlo on the Dutch/German border and was ideally located to intercept RAF bombers flying over Holland to attack targets in the German homeland.

As the number of RAF raids increased, so also did the bombers' losses, and the likes of such successful night fighter pilots as Werner Streib, Helmut Lent, Paul Gildner and Ludwig Becker, became household names. By the end of 1941, Streib had claimed a total of 22 bombers destroyed, making him the Nachtjagd's highest scorer, closely followed by Gildner with 21 and Lent with 20.

Streib's first victories of 1942 came on the night of 26/27 March when he shot down two Wellington bombers returning from a raid against Essen. Two further Wellingtons fell to his guns in the early hours of 11 April, and this was followed on the night of 30/31 May by two Whitley's which were taking part in the first 'Thousand Bomber Raid' against Cologne. Streib also flew during the second of these raids aimed against Essen on the night of 1/2 June, and claimed the destruction of a Wellington approximately five kilometres from his airfield at Venlo. Although more of his time was taken up with his duties as Kommandeur, he continued to fly as many operations as possible, and at the end of 1942 Streib was credited with the destruction of 39 bombers.

Streib was promoted to Major on the first day of 1943, and on 26 February he was awarded the Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross in recognition of his 42 confirmed kills. As a highly respected night fighter pilot, Streib was often called upon to fly new types of aircraft, one of which was the Heinkel He-219 'Uhu'. Thus, on the night of 11/12 June 1943, after numerous test flights, Streib took off in an He-219A-0 coded G9+FB and became the first night fighter pilot to fly the type on an operational sortie. In a demonstration of the He-219's capabilities, Streib penetrated the bomber stream and shot down four Halifax bombers and a Lancaster. Unfortunately, this outstanding debut of the aircraft was somewhat marred when a fault with the electrically-operated landing flaps prevented them from locking in place, and during the final approach the He 219 dropped onto Venlo's concrete runway with such force that the aircraft broke into several sections. One of these was the cockpit which slid for some 50 metres before coming to rest. Amazingly, both Streib and his Bordfunker, Helmut Fischer, were able to extricate themselves from the wreckage and suffered barely a scratch.

On 1 July 1943, following the promotion of Wolfgang Falck to Oberst and his transfer to Berlin, Streib was made Geschwaderkommodore of NJG1. Despite an increasingly bureaucratic workload, he continued operational flying and scored his 60th kill on 26 July. He was promoted to Oberstleutnant on 1 October 1943, and by the beginning of 1944 his tally had reached 67. On 11 March 1944, he became the 54th recipient of the Oak Leaves and Swords to the Knight's Cross, and thereby became one of only four night fighter pilots to receive this high decoration. 1 As recognition of his leadership and organisational abilities, Streib was transferred from front-line duties and promoted to Inspekteur der Nachtjagd on 1 April 1944, in which position he was working under the command of the General der Jagdflieger, Generalmajor Adolf Galland. He remained in this post, with the rank of Oberst, until the war ended in May 1945.

With the return of peace, Streib moved to Munich in 1947 with the wife he had married during the war, started a family and became a successful businessman in the field of food packaging. However, when the new Bundesluftwaffe was formed in 1956, he rejoined the service and was placed in command of the Flugzeugfuhrerschule at Landsberg.

Streib retired in 1966 the rank of Brigadegeneral, having served his country for 21 years. He died on 15 June 1986 at the age of 75 and was buried in the Ostfriedhof in Munich.

1 Helmut Lent, Heinrich Prinz zu Sayn Wittgenstein and Heinz Schnaufer.

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