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Archives at The Museum of Flight

Barkhorn, Gerhard, 1919-1983



  • Existence: 1919-1983

Biographical Note: Gerhard Barkhorn

Gerhard Barkhorn was a Luftwaffe pilot during World War II and the second-most successfull flying ace.

Gerhard “Gerd” Barkhorn was born on March 20, 1919 in Königsberg, Weimar Republic (now Kaliningrad, Russia). After completing secondary school he completed his compulsory Reich Labor Service before enlisting in the Luftwaffe in 1937. At the beginning of World War II, Barkhorn was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant and assigned to specialized fighter pilot training.

During the Battle of Britain in 1940 Barkhorn flew a Messerschmitt Bf 109E during combat missions. In 1941 his unit was transferred to the Eastern Front. On July 19, 1942 Barkhorn achieved the status of ace when he shot down six aircraft in one day. In total during the war Barkhorn flew 1,100 combat missions and claimed 301 victories, making him the second most successful fighter ace of all time. On April 21, 1945 was attacked by American troops and forced to land. Upon landing he was captured and taken as a prisoner of war. He was released in September of 1945.

Following the war, Barkhorn worked in the automotive industry in Germany before enlisting in the West German Air Force in 1956. He retired on September 30, 1975.

Barkhorn and his wife Cristl were involved in a car crash near Cologne. On January 8, 1983, three days after the crash, Barkhorn passed away due to his injuries.

Biographical note derived from online sources.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

German Aces Photograph

 Collection — Box: Small Collections oversize materials 2019-, oversize: folder
Identifier: 2019-07-18
Content Description The German Aces Photograph is one photographic print featuring two images. The larger image shows top fighter ace Erich Hartmann examining a chart with fellow fighter ace Gerhard “Gerd” Barkhorn. The two are wearing official Nazi Luftwaffe uniforms. The smaller, insert photograph is a formal portrait of General Adolf Galland in dress uniform. The print is signed by Erich Hartmann and Adolf Galland.

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