Leopold Fellerer

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Oblt Leopold Fellerer. Gruppenkommandeur II./NJG 5. Gütersloh

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Leopold “Poldi” Fellerer (7 June 1919 – 16 July 1968) was a German Luftwaffe night fighter ace and recipient of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross during World War II. The Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.

Fellerer was born in Vienna, Austria on 7 June 1919. In November 1940 he was posted as a bomber pilot, before being assigned as Technical Officer to II./Nachtjagdgeschwader 1 (NJG 1). He claimed his first victory on 11 February 1941, a Handley Page Hampden of No. 49 Squadron north of Bergen-Alkmaar. He was transferred to 4./NJG 1 in June 1941.

In October 1942 Fellerer was made Staffelkapitän (squadron leader) of 3./NJG 1 before being posted to Nachtjagdgeschwader 5 (NJG 5) in December 1942. Promoted to Hauptmann, Fellerer became Gruppenkommandeur (group commander) of II./NJG 5 in December 1943. During this period, Fellerer raised his score to 18 victories.

In January 1944 Fellerer claimed two United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) heavy bombers in daylight- a Consolidated B-24 Liberator on 4 January, and a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress on 11 January. On the night of 20/21 January 1944 he claimed five Royal Air Force (RAF) bombers. He was then awarded the German Cross in Gold in February 1944.

After 34 victories Hauptmann Fellerer was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross on 8 April 1944. He then moved to command III./Nachtjagdgeschwader 6 (NJG 6) in May 1944.

During August–October 1944 Fellerer and III./NJG 6 also flew operations to counter supply operations from Italy to the Polish Home Army uprising in Warsaw. He claimed two Douglas DC-3’s and two Liberators during this time, his final kill coming in October 1944.

In 450 missions Leopold Fellerer claimed 41 aerial victories, 39 of them at night. 32 were four engine heavy bombers.

During the 1950s, he served with the Austrian Air Force, becoming Commander of the Langenlebarn Airbase in Tulln on the River Donau, retiring as a Oberstleutnant. Leopold Fellerer died on 15 July 1968 in an air crash, his Cessna L-19 coming down near Krems.

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