Profile no 19. Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-7

White 8, W.Nr. 7677, own by Oberleutnant Josef "Pips" Priller, 1./JG 26, St. Omer-Clairmarais/France, 23 June 1941

In 1935, officer candidate Josef Priller was serving in Infanterieregiment 19. In October of 1936, he joined the Luftwaffe to begin pilot training. His first assignment as Leutnant was on 1 April 1937 when he was posted to I./JG 135. After serving with II./JG 51, he was appointed Staffelkapitän of 6./JG 51 in October of 1939. Here he claimed his first two kills northwest of Dunkirk on 28 May 1940, one Spitfire and one Hurricane shot down within three minutes. In all, he claimed six kills during the French campaign. After Oberleutnant Priller claimed his 20th victory on 17 October, a Spitfire downed over Tunbridge Wells, he was awarded the Ritterkreuz on 19 October. This was to be his last and 14th Abschuss during the Battle of Britain. Soon thereafter, there was a re-shuffle of commanders within the Luftwaffe fighter arm, when older and less successful unit leaders were moved aside to be replaced with younger, battle-experienced high-scorers. As a result of this, Priller was transferred as Staffelkapitän to 1./JG 26 on 20 November 1940. Although participating in several missions after a period of rest and refit, Priller was unable to add any more kills until 16 June 1941, claiming one Spitfire and a Blenheim near Boulogne, both from the RAF's Circus No. 13. On 23 June, "Pips" downed his 25th adversary, a Spitfire. Another 33 RAF aircraft would be shot down by Oblt. Priller before the year's end, all of them Spitfires. Between July and December of 1941, the RAFs "Non-Stop Offensive" proved very costly for the attackers. It would turn out to be the starting point for the most successful period enjoyed by the two Luftwaffe fighter units on the Channel Front, JG 2 and JG 26. During this six-month period, dubbed the "Nonsense Offensive", these two Geschwader shot down a staggering 411 RAF fighters for the loss of 103 fighters. Note on his colorful machine the "Schlageter" badge, "Pips" own personal badge with his wife's name "Jutta" on it, and the 1./JG 26 Staffel crest, all painted under his cockpit.

Note that this profile and caption is from my new book Luftwaffe Fighters, Profile book No 10

Order this book now !

Please order the book on My new webshop


© Claes Sundin 2021