Lützow, Günther Friedrich “Franzl”, born 04-09-1912 at Kiel, to an illustrious German naval family. He was descended from an old Prussian family of the same name. Lützow grew up in Kiel on Reventlouallee on the fjord, where his father Friedrich Johannes Martin Lützow, who later became Vice Admiral, initially trained as a Kapitänleutnant in the Imperial Navy. Friedrich died 01-11-1964 (aged 83)in Celle. His mother was Luise Johanna Elisabeth “Elise” born Knauss He had two brothers and two sisters, Werner Lützow (1909-1943), Joachim “Jochen” Martin Paul Lützow (1917 – 2001), Elisabeth Charlotte “Lieselotte”(1911-1988) and Hildegard “Helle” Lützow ( 1916-2003).
Günther Lützow passed his Abitur at the Stiftische Landesschule zur Pforte on 03-03-1931. In 1931, Günther learned to fly at the Deutschen Verkehrsfliegerschule at Schliessheim. Later, he underwent fighter pilot training at the clandestine German base at Lipetsk in Russia. 1934 saw Lützow serving as a Leutnant with an Infantry Regiment before transferring to the newly formed Luftwaffe. Initially, he served with I./Jagdgeschwader 132, under command of Major (later General) Johann Raithel , the First Group was named in honour of the WW1 flying ace Manfred von Richthofen “Richthofen” . General Raithel survived the war and died 29-01-1961, age 63.
Lützow commenced his operational career as a fighter pilot as Staffelkapitän of 2./Jagdgeschwader 88 of the Condor Legion under command of Generalfieldmarshal Hugo Otto Sperrle,
during the Spanish Civil War. Between March and September 1937, Oberleutnant Lützow accumulated five victories, including the first ever recorded by the Bf 109, and was awarded the Spanienkreuz in Gold mit Schwerten und Brillanten. From November 1938, Lützow undertook instructing duties at Jagdfliegerschule 1, based at Werneuchen, before being appointed on 03-11-1939 to Gruppenkommandeur of I./JG 3 “Udet”named after the Generaloberst der Luftwaffe Ernst Udet
who committed suicide. Lützow (front honor guard, right) at Udet’s funeral. The ever grumpy looking but adorable Günther Lützow with his wife Gisela and his son Ulrich, late 1940, led the Gruppe through the French campaign recording nine victories, including his first in World War II, on 14-05-1940, when he shot down two French Curtiss Hawk 75 fighters near Dinant. Lützow led I./JG 3 into the Battle of Britain. On 21-08-1940, Oberstleutnant Lützow was appointed Kommodore of JG 3, succeeding Oberst Karl Vieck. He recorded eight further victories during the aerial battles over England. Lützow was awarded the Ritterkreuz on 18 September. In spring 1941, Stab/JG 3 was relocated to Mannheim-Sandhofen in Germany for rest and refit. Here the unit received new Bf 109 F-2 fighters before again being relocated to the Channel front on 04-05-1941. Sculptor Günther Martin, with the portrait of Oberst Lützow. Lützow led JG 3 during the invasion of Russia. On 17-07-1941, he recorded his 40th victory. He was awarded the Eichenlaub (Nr 27) on 20 July. On 17 September, he shot down his 72nd victim. He was shot down by flak on 23 September, force-landing behind enemy lines. He successfully returned unhurt. In October, he recorded 29 victories, including five Russian twin-engine bombers shot down on 8 October. He was awarded the Schwerten (Nr 4) on 11-10-1941, after his 92nd victory. He became the second Experte to achieve 100 victories
, when he downed three Russian fighters in the Moscow area on 24 October to record victories 99 through 101. Lützow was promptly grounded on orders from above. On 4 November, he led Stab/JG 3 back to Germany and a base at Wiesbaden-Erbenheim to rest and re-equip. In May 1942, Lützow led JG 3 back to the Russian front commencing operations in the Kharkov area. There followed much action in the Crimea and before Stalingrad. Lützow in his Bf109 added one additional victory when he shot down a Russian I-61 fighter on 21-05-1942 for his 107th victory. On 11-8-1942, Lützow was posted to the staff of the General der Jagdflieger where he took up the role of Inspector of Day Fighters, Eastern area. In July 1943, Oberst Lützow, here with General Adolf Galland was appointed Kommandeur of Jagdabschnittsführer Italien, based at Naples. In September, the unit was absorbed into Jagdfliegerführer Oberitalien. He then commanded 1. Jagddivision, succeeding Generalleutnant Kurt-Bertram von Döring, based at Döberitz from 15 September until 23-03-1944, where he assumed overall command for day and night fighter operations in north western Germany, Holland and Belgium. Generalleutnant von Döring survived the war and died on 09-07-1960, age 71 at Medingen. By January 1944, Lützow was commanding 4. Fliegerschuldivision based at Strassburg, responsible for the training of new fighter pilots. Lützow would become known as the prinicipal architect behind the so-called “Fighter Pilots’ Mutiny”. In fact the “Mutiny” was a valiant and well-intended attempt to “save” Adolf Galland who had been dismissed as General der Jagdflieger for his outspokeness of the Luftwaffe high command. Lützow’s part in the affair was regarded as “mutiny” by Hermann Goering who relieved him of his command of 4. Fliegerschuldivision and had him posted, in exile, to Italy to take over Jagdfliegerführer Oberitalien. He was later granted approval to join Adolf Galland’s JV 44. Jagdverband 44was a German air unit during World War II. It was formed during the last months of World War II to operate the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter . Galland, not a Nazi, later said in his autobiography: I consider myself a sportsman who plays a game with athletes from other countries. The purpose of the sport is to eliminate each other’s aircraft. Just as with car racing, fatal accidents sometimes occur. He also added:Politics has never fascinated me, I did not want to die for Germany or fight for Hitler. I just wanted to be the best. I happened to be born in Germany, if I was born in England I would have fought the Germans.
Death and burial ground of Lützow, Günther Friedrich “Franzl”.
Lützow recorded two additional victories flying the Me 262 jet fighter, but then went missing on 24-4-1945, age 32, near Donauworth attempting to intercept a USAAF B-26 twin-engine bomber raid. He crashed into the river Danube and his body was never recovered and his aircraft never found… An eye-witnesses saw a low flying Me 262 crashing into the Danube that day.
Hauptmann Walter Krupinski “Graf Punski” observed all four jets break away from the American formation. He observed one B-26 trailing black smoke but the presence of a strong American fighter escort precluded another attack-run. The German pilots decided to head for the airbase. All four began a wide turn to set course for home. Lützow was at the southernmost end of the loose formation. He recalled:We broke away in a wide left-turn on our homeward route. Oberst Lützow’s change in course towards a southerly direction was completely incomprehensible to me and I therefore called him on the radio but did not get a reply. The explosion I saw, or something very similar, occurred at a distance of 20 kilometers (12 miles). Everyone knows, that at that distance, details can no longer be observed.
The Martin B-26 Marauder is an American twin-engine medium bomber. The first flight took place on 25-11-1940. The aircraft was first deployed in Oceania in early 1942, later it was also used for missions in the Mediterranean and Western Europe. A total of 5157 copies were built.