Hans-Joachim Marseille

German World War II fighter pilot Hans-Joachim Marseille

Hans-Joachim Marseille was a Luftwaffe fighter pilot and flying ace during World War II. He is noted for his aerial battles during the North African Campaign and his Bohemian lifestyle. One of the best fighter pilots of World War II, he was nicknamed the "Star of Africa". Marseille claimed all but seven of his "official" 158 victories against the British Commonwealth's Desert Air Force over North Africa, flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter for his entire combat career.
Share
Biography
Hans-Joachim Marseille's personal information overview.

Photo Albums

Popular photos of Hans-Joachim Marseille

Relationships

View family, career and love interests for Hans-Joachim Marseille

News

News about Hans-Joachim Marseille from around the web
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Hans-Joachim Marseille
    OTHER
  • 1942
    Under the guidance of his new commander, who recognised the latent potential in the young officer, Marseille quickly developed his abilities as a fighter pilot. He reached the zenith of his fighter pilot career on 1 September 1942, when during the course of three combat sorties he claimed 17 enemy fighters shot down, earning him the Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub, Schwertern und Brillanten (Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds).
    More Details
    Further research by other biographers has unearthed some truth to this story and his attitude to the ruling Nazi movement. Marseille demonstrated his lack of respect for the Nazi elite during his visit to Germany in June–August 1942.
    More Details
    Referring to 1 September 1942, Bungay points out that even if Marseille shot down 15 of the 17 he claimed that day, "the rest of the 100 or so German fighter pilots between them only got five.
    More Details
    Attention is often focused on the 26 claims made by JG 27 on 1 September 1942, of which 17 were claimed by Marseille alone.
    More Details
    On 30 September 1942, Hauptmann Marseille was leading his Staffel on a Stuka escort mission covering the withdrawal of the group and relieving the outward escort, III./Jagdgeschwader 53 (JG 53), which had been deployed to support JG 27 in Africa.
    More Details
    The two missions of 26 September 1942 had been flown in Bf 109G-2/trop, in one of which Marseille had shot down seven enemy aircraft.
    More Details
    After landing in the afternoon of the 26 September 1942, he was physically exhausted.
    More Details
    Der Adler, a biweekly Nazi propaganda magazine published by the Luftwaffe, also reported his actions in volume 14 of 1942.
    More Details
    On 3 September 1942 Marseille claimed six victories (nos. 127–132) but was hit by fire from the British-Canadian ace James Francis Edwards.
    Leaving his fiancée in Rome, Marseille returned to combat duties on 23 August. 1 September 1942 was Marseille's most successful day, destroying 17 enemy aircraft (nos. 105–121), and September would see him claim 54 victories, his most productive month.
    More Details
    On 17 June 1942, Marseille claimed his 100th aerial victory.
    More Details
    Marseille was awarded the Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub on 6 June 1942.
    More Details
    His attack method to break up formations, which he perfected, resulted in a high proportion of kills, and in rapid, multiple victories per attack. On 3 June 1942, Marseille attacked alone a formation of 16 Curtiss P-40 fighters and shot down six aircraft of No. 5 Squadron SAAF, five of them in six minutes, including three aces: Robin Pare (six victories), Cecil Golding (6.5 victories) and Andre Botha (five victories).
    More Details
    Marseille had a narrow escape on 13 May 1942, when his Bf 109 was damaged during a dogfight with 12 Kittyhawks (Mk I) from No. 3 Squadron RAAF, southeast of Gazala and over the Gulf of Bomba ("Gazala Bay").
    More Details
    His success as a fighter pilot also led to promotions and more responsibility as an officer. 1 May 1942 saw him receive an unusually early promotion to Oberleutnant followed by appointment to Staffelkapitän of 3./JG 27 on 8 June 1942, thus succeeding Oberleutnant Gerhard Homuth who took command of I./JG 27.
    More Details
    He claimed his 37–40th victories on 8 February 1942 and 41–44th victories four days later which earned him the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross that same month for 46 victories.
    More Details
    The successes Marseille had begun to become readily apparent in early 1942.
  • 1941
    His Staffel was rotated to Germany in November/December 1941 to convert to the Bf 109F-4/trop, the variant that was described as the Experten (experts) "mount."
    More Details
    Finally on 24 September 1941, his practice came to fruition, with his first multiple victory sortie, claiming four Hurricanes of No. 1 Squadron, South African Air Force (SAAF).
    More Details
    As Marseille began to claim enemy aircraft regularly, on occasion he would organise the welfare of the downed pilot personally, driving out to remote crash sites to rescue downed Allied airmen. On 13 September 1941 Marseille shot down Pat Byers of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) No. 451 Squadron.
    More Details
    He was further frustrated after damage forced him to land on two occasions: once on 14 June 1941 and again after he was hit by ground fire over Tobruk and was forced to land blind.
    More Details
    By this time, he had crashed or damaged another four Bf 109E aircraft, including a tropicalised aircraft he was ferrying on 23 April 1941.
    More Details
    Just a month later, records show that James Denis shot down Marseille again on 21 May 1941.
    More Details
    Marseille's unit briefly saw action during the invasion of Yugoslavia, deployed to Zagreb on 10 April 1941, before transferring to Africa.
    More Details
  • 1940
    As punishment for "insubordination"—rumoured to be his penchant for American jazz music, womanising and an overt "playboy" lifestyle—and inability to fly as a wingman, Steinhoff transferred Marseille to Jagdgeschwader 27 on 24 December 1940.
    More Details
    Shortly afterwards, in early October 1940, after having claimed seven aerial victories all them flying with I.(Jagd)/LG 2 Marseille was transferred to 4./Jagdgeschwader 52, flying alongside the likes of Johannes Steinhoff and Gerhard Barkhorn.
    More Details
    While returning from a bomber-escort mission on 23 September 1940 flying Werk Nummer (W.Nr) 5094, his engine failed 10 miles off Cap Gris Nez after combat damage sustained over Dover.
    More Details
    On his second sortie, he scored another victory, and by the 15 September 1940, had claimed his fourth victory.
    More Details
    In his first dogfight over England on 24 August 1940, Marseille was involved in a four-minute battle with a skilled opponent.
    More Details
    On 10 August 1940 he was assigned to I. Jagd/Lehrgeschwader 2, based in Calais-Marck, to begin operations over Britain and again received an outstanding evaluation this time by his Hauptmann and Gruppenkommandeur, Herbert Ihlefeld.
    Marseille graduated from Jagdfliegerschule 5 with an outstanding evaluation on 18 July 1940 and was assigned to Ergänzungsjagdgruppe Merseburg.
    More Details
    Those he graduated with had been made full officers by early 1940, while Marseille's indiscipline left him with the rank of Oberfähnrich at the end of 1941.
  • 1939
    Marseille completed his training at Jagdfliegerschule 5 (5th fighter pilot school) in Wien-Schwechat to which he was posted on 1 November 1939.
    More Details
    On 1 March 1939 Marseille was transferred to the Luftkriegsschule 4 (LKS 4—air war school) near Fürstenfeldbruck.
    More Details
  • 1938
    He joined Luftwaffe on 7 November 1938, as a Fahnenjunker (officer candidate) and received his military basic training in Quedlinburg in the Harz region.
    Although not athletic in physique, Marseille received a good report for a term with the Reichsarbeitsdienst ("State Labour Service") Abtlg. 1/177 in Osterholz-Scharmbeck near Bremen, between 4 April and 24 September 1938.
    Toward the end of his school years he started to take his education more seriously and qualified as one of the youngest (at 17 years, six months) to achieve his Abitur, graduating in early 1938.
    More Details
  • 1919
    Hans-Joachim "Jochen" Walter Rudolf Siegfried Marseille was born to Charlotte (maiden name: Charlotte Marie Johanna Pauline Gertrud Riemer) and Hauptmann Siegfried Georg Martin Marseille, a family with paternal Huguenot ancestry, in Berlin-Charlottenburg Berliner Strasse 164 on 13 December 1919 at 11:45 pm.
    More Details
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
None of the information offered by Spokeo is to be considered for purposes of determining or making a decision about a person's eligibility for credit, insurance, employment, housing (tenant screening), or for any other purposes covered under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Spokeo is not a consumer reporting agency and does not offer consumer reports. Spokeo gathers information from public sources, which may not be complete, comprehensive, accurate, or up-to-date, so do not use this service as a substitute for your own due diligence, especially if you have concerns about a person's criminal history. Spokeo does not verify or evaluate each piece of data, and makes no warranties or guarantees about any of the information offered.