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Martin Harlinghausen

Martin Harlinghausen

Born (1902-01-17)17 January 1902Rheda, Westphalia
Died 22 March 1986(1986-03-22) (aged 84)Gütersloh
Allegiance Weimar Republic (to 1933) Nazi Germany (to 1945)
West Germany
Service/branch Reichsmarine


Years of service 1923–1945


Rank Generalleutnant
Unit X. Fliegerkorps
Commands held AS 88 (Condor Legion)

Fliegerführer Atlantik Fliegerführer Tunesien


Spanish Civil War World War II

Awards Spanish Cross in Gold with DiamondsRitterkreuz mit Eichenlaub

Great Cross of Merit

Martin Harlinghausen (17 January 1902 – 22 March 1986) was a Luftwaffe Commander during World War II. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. It was Germany's highest military decoration at the time of its presentation to Martin Harlinghausen.[Note 1]


[hide] *1 Early life

[edit] Early lifeEdit

Martin Harlinghausen was born on 17 January 1902 in Rheda, Westfalia as the son of the manufacturer Wilhelm Harlinghausen. After four years of elementary school he attended the Humanistisches Gymnasium (secondary school) in Gütersloh. He completed his secondary schooling in Soest and Gumbinnen, East Prussia. He received his Abitur (diploma) in 1922 and then studied one semester jurisprudence at the University of Göttingen.[1]

[edit] Military careerEdit

Harlinghausen joined the Reichsmarine (German Navy) on 1 April 1923. Staying in the military, he transferred to the Luftwaffe in October 1933. In December 1937, he took Command of AS 88, an anti-shipping unit in the Condor Legion and specialized in that type of aerial warfare.

[edit] World War IIEdit

During World War II, he operated as a pilot, gaining the Ritterkreuz on 5 May 1940 for sinking 100,000 gross register tons (GRT) of Allied shipping.[2] Sent to Italy in December 1940, he sank another 27,000 GRT of shipping and was awarded the Oak Leaves (Eichenlaub) 30 January 1941.

In March 1941 he was appointed Fliegerführer Atlantik, a post he held until July 1942. During his time as Fliegerführer Atlantik, Harlinghausen was held responsible for the Luftwaffe's failure to prevent the loss of the battleship Bismarck.

Harlinghausen was later appointed Fliegerführer Tunesien in July 1942. He remained in the Mediterranean theater until 18 June 1943, when disagreements with his superiors led to his replacement. He stood up to Hermann Göring in 1944, when Göring, without following proper procedure, arrested General Wilhelm Wimmer. Harlinghausen successfully demanded release of Wimmer.[3]

In December 1944 Harlinghausen was appointed Chef des Luftwaffenkommandos "West", a position he held until the cession of hostilities. He was captured by American troops and was released in 1947.

[edit] Postwar lifeEdit

Harlinghausen served in the new West German Luftwaffe from 1957 to 1961. He was sent into retirement, having been politically uncomfortable during his post-war career, after demanding a proper investigation in the 1961 F-84 Thunderstreak incident, after which Oberstleutnant Siegfried Barth, commander of Jagdbombergeschwader (JaBoG) 32, was removed from his post without a proper investigation.[3]

Harlinghausen died in Gütersloh in March 1986.

[edit] AwardsEdit

[edit] Reference in the WehrmachtberichtEdit

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
Sunday, 3 November 1940 An der britischen Ostküste versenkte ein Kampfflugzeug ein Handelsschiff von 6000 BRT. Damit hat der Kommandant dieses Flugzeuges, Major i. G. Harlinghausen, sein 20. Handelsschiff und mit ihm eine Gesamttonnage von über 100 000 BRT vernichtet.[7] A combat aircraft sank a merchant ship of 6000 GRT on the British East Coast. The commander of this aircraft, Major in the general staff Harlinghausen, thus destroyed his 20th merchant ship with a total tonnage exceeding 100 000 GRT.

[edit] NotesEdit

  1. ^ Until late September 1941, the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves was second only to the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross (Großkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes), which was awarded only to senior commanders for winning a major battle or campaign, in the military order of the Third Reich. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves as highest military order was surpassed on 28 September 1941 by the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern).

[edit] ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Alman 1998, p. 121.
  2. ^ Martin Harlinghausen
  3. ^ a b STRAUSS-BEFEHL: Bier-Order 61 (German) Der Spiegel, published: 9 May 1962, accessed: 30 November 2010
  4. ^ a b Thomas 1997, p. 246.
  5. ^ Alman 1998, p. 123.
  6. ^ a b Scherzer 2007, p. 366.
  7. ^ Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, p. 348.
  • Alman, Karl (1998). Ritterkreuzträger des Afrikakorps (in German). Rastatt, Germany: VPM Verlagsunion Pabel Moewig. ISBN 3-8118-1457-5.
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939-1945 (in German). Friedburg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 3-7909-0284-5.
  • Jackson, Robert (2002). The Bismarck. Weapons of War: London. ISBN 1-86227-173-9.
  • Kaiser, Jochen (2010). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Kampfflieger—Band 1 (in German and English). Bad Zwischenahn, Germany: Luftfahrtverlag-Start. ISBN 978-3-941437-07-4.
  • 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 (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
  • Thomas, Franz (1997). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 1: A–K (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 3-7648-2299-6.
  • Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, 1. September 1939 bis 31. Dezember 1941 (in German). Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, 1985. ISBN 3-423-05944-3.
  • Helden der Wehrmacht - Unsterbliche deutsche Soldaten (in German). München, Germany: FZ-Verlag GmbH, 2004. ISBN 3-924309-53-1.
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