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Bruno Loerzer (22 January 1891 - 23 August 1960) was an officer in the Germanmarker Luftstreitkräfte during World War I and Luftwaffe during World War II.

Born in Berlinmarker, Loerzer was a prewar army officer who learned to fly in 1914. Hermann Göring flew as Loerzer's observer until mid-1915. Transferring to fighters, Loerzer flew with two Jagdstaffeln in 1916 before joining "Jasta" 26 in January 1917. By then he had scored two victories over French aircraft. His tally reached 20 at the end of October and he received the Pour le Mérite in February 1918.

The same month, he took command of the newly formed Jagdgeschwader III, the third of Germany's famed "flying circuses." His aces included his brother Fritz, who claimed 11 kills. Leading Jasta 26 and three other squadrons, Loerzer proved a successful wing commander. Equipped with the new BMW-engined Fokker D.VII, JG III cut a wide swath through Allied formations in the summer of 1918, and his own score mounted steadily. He achieved his last ten victories in September when he reached his final score of 44. Shortly before the armistice, he was promoted to Hauptmann (captain).

Loerzer illegally fought with the Freikorps from December 1918 until March 1920, helping to create an atmosphere of chaos and lawlessness in Germany. He commanded FA 427 in the Baltic area, supporting the Eiserne Division in the tactical air role.

During the 1930s he was a leader in various civil aviation organizations (National Socialist Flying Corps: NSFK), and commanded fighter unit JG 334 'Pik As' when the Luftwaffe was organized.

Loerzer benefited from his long friendship with Göring, becoming a lieutenant general in 1939. During the early war years he was commander of II Fliegerkorps (Air Corps), being awarded the Ritterkreuz in May 1940.

His II Air Corps participated in the invasion of Russia in the summer of 1941, as a section of Kesselring's 2nd Air Fleet -- in support of Fieldmarshall von Bock.

His unit was transferred to Messina, Sicily in October 1941, and he remained there until the middle of 1943, when his section returned to the Italian mainland.

Göring promoted Loerzer to Generaloberst in February 1943 and in June 1944 was chief of the National Socialist Leadership Branch of the Luftwaffe. He retired in April 1945.

Loerzer died in 1960, at the age of 69.

External links


  • Norman Franks et al. (1993). Above the Lines: A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces of the German *Air Service, Naval Air Service, and Flanders Marine Corps 1914-1918. Grub Street, London.
  • Anthony Kemp (1982, 1990 reprint). German Commanders of World War II. Osprey Pub., London.

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