Lang “Bully” Emil, born on 14–01-1909 at Thalheim, now part of Fraunberg in the Isar region near Freising of Bavaria, Germany. He was a well-known track-and-field athlete who ran the middle distances. Prior to World War II, he qualified as a civil pilot and flew with Deutsche Luft Hansa..Lang earned the nickname “Bully” from his ‘bulldog-like’ looks, characterized by his barrel-chested physique. He joined the Luftwaffe as a member of the military reserve force on 04-01-1938. From 8 May to 3 June 1939, he served with 8. Staffel (8th squadron) of Kampfgeschwader 51 “Edelweiss” (KG 51—51st Bomber Wing), under command of Oberst Johann-Volkmar Fisser . On 2-08-1939, he was put on active duty.
World War II in Europe began on Friday 01-09-1939 when German forces invaded Poland. Following the outbreak of war, Lang served as a transport pilot with the Fliegerhorst Kompanie (Airfield Company) at Gablingen, flying missions to Norway, France, Crete and North Africa. On 1-11 1941, he was promoted to Leutnant. ..
Lang was 33 years old when he was accepted for fighter pilot training in 1942. He undertook courses at the Jagdflieger Vorschule 1 and Jagdfliegerschule 5 . He was then assigned to Jagdgruppe Ost on 06-01-1943 and then to Jagdgeschwader 54 (JG 54—54th Fighter Wing) on the Eastern Front on 11-02-1943. Lang was 34 and considered exceptionally old for a novice fighter pilot . His first three aerial victories were claimed in March 1943, and within a month he was transferred to 5./JG 54 (5th Squadron of the 54th Fighter Wing) of which he became Staffelkapitän (Squadron Leader) on 20-08-1943. Lang had already briefly served as acting Staffelkapitän of 5. Staffel from July to early August before he officially succeeded Oberleutnant Max Stotz in this function after Stotz was reported missing in action on 19-08-1943. Max Stotz was last seen drifting down over Soviet held territory, age 31.
Before the year’s end, Lang’s kill tally stood at over 100 victories, with a remarkable 72 scored around Kiev in just three weeks during October and November 1943. He was the 58th Luftwaffe pilot to achieve the century mark. This series of multiple victories included ten on 13-10-1943 and 12 (victories 61–72) in three combat missions on 21-10-1943, which earned Lang his first of two references in the Wehrmachtbericht, a bulletin issued by the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, .under command of Generalfeldmarschall der Artillerie Wilhelm Keitel During the Battle of Kiev, Lang set an all-time world record of 18 aerial victories claimed from four combat missions in one day on 03-11-1943, making him aviation history’s leading ace-in-a-day. This achievement led to him appearing on the cover of the 13-1-1944 Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung. Lang was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross after 119 aerial victories on 22-11-1943, followed three days later by the German Cross in Gold. On 09-04-1944, Oberleutnant Lang was appointed Staffelkapitän of the 9./JG 54 engaged in Defence of the Reich on the Western Front. He became the 448th recipient of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves on 11-04-1944 after 144 aerial victories, all claimed on the Eastern Front. The presentation was made by Adolf Hitler at the Berghof, Hitler’s residence in the Obersalzberg of the Bavarian Alps, on 05-05-1944. In June, Lang claimed 15 aerial victories, including his 150th—a United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) P-47 Thunderbolt on 14-06-1944—and four P-51 Mustang fighters shot down in four minutes on 20-06-1944, plus another four P-51s on 24 June. Hauptmann Lang was then made Gruppenkommandeur of the II./Jagdgeschwader 26 “Schlageter” on 28-06-1944. On 9 July, he claimed three Royal Air Force (RAF) Supermarine Spitfires (victories 160–162)—no Spitfires were shot down this day: American historian Donald Caldwell noted that his claims were exaggerated but asserted Lang’s ebullience, energy and drive made him an effective combat leader. On 15-8-1944 two P-47s, and on 25-08-1944 three P-38 Lightning fighters in five minutes. The hard-hit 428th Fighter Squadron, 474th Fighter Group under command of Lieutenant General Earl Clifford Hedlund who died 21-07-2002, age 86, lost 8 P-38s, its worst combat performance. The 429th also lost three P-38s. Not a single Fw 190 was lost. The Bf 109-equipped III./Jagdgeschwader 76 (Fighter Wing 76) were also involved and claimed six P-38s. During the day it lost 21 Bf 109s, three pilots killed and 18 missing. He claimed three Spitfires in two missions for his final victories (victories 171–173) on 26 August. His victims most likely belonged to 421 and 341 Squadron RAF. Between 24 May and 28-08-1944, Lang had claimed 29 aerial victories on the Western Front, including nine P-51 Mustangs. On 06-06-1944, his group was the first to reach 100 aerial victories over Normandy, earning him and his group a second and final reference in the Wehrmachtbericht on 30 August.
Death and burial ground of Lang “Bully” Emil.
On 03-09-1944, Emil Lang was killed in action when his Fw 190 A-8 “Green 1” hit the ground and exploded in a field at Overhespen, Belgium. He had experienced mechanical trouble on the runway when he and the other aircraft of his flight took off at Melsbroek at 1.20 pm. Ten minutes later, Lang was still having difficulties raising his landing gear. Flying at an altitude of 200 metres (660 ft), his wingman, Unteroffizier Hans-Joachim Borreck, called out P-47 Thunderbolts to their rear. Lang broke upward, to the left. Leutnant Alfred Groß saw Lang’s Fw 190 diving in flames, its gear extended, but he lost sight of Lang when his own craft was hit and he had to bail out. Examination of both German and American records suggests that Borreck and Groß misidentified their opponents. The P-51 Mustangs of the 55th Fighter Group’s 338th Squadron intercepted a flight of three to six Focke-Wulfs. Lieutenant Darrell Stuart Cramer took a high deflection shot at the Focke-Wulf on the left, which fell upside down in a steep dive and crashed hard into the ground; this undoubtedly was Emil Lang.
Hans-Joachim Borreck reached the rank of Unteroffizier with 5. Staffel, Jagdgeschwader 26. He was killed by Flak on 06-11-1944, age 21. Here a remembrance cross voor Hans-Joachim Borreck . Lieutenant Darrell Stuart Cramer, later a Lieutenant General, died 17-01-2007, age 84..”Bully” Emil Lang, age 35, is buried on the German war cemetery of Lommel, Belgium.