Mietusch, Klaus

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Mietusch, Klaus, born on 05-08-1918 in Posen in the Province of Posen, a Prussian province in the German Empire, today it is Poznań in the west-central region of Poland. After completing his flying training he was transferred to the 2./Jagdgeschwader 234 (JG 234—234th Fighter Wing) , which was later redesignated 2./JG 26  on 01-09-1938. World War II in Europe began on Friday 01-09-1939 when German forces invaded Poland. On 23-09-1939, then, Leutnant Mietusch was transferred to 7./Jagdgeschwader 26 “Schlageter” (JG 26—26th fighter wing). He participated in the Battle of France but, on 08-06-1940, was shot down in his Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-1 by a Royal Air Force (RAF)  Hawker Hurricane fighter near Neufchatel. He force-landed behind French lines unhurt, but was then shot in the buttocks by a French civilian. He became a prisoner of war of the French. He was released at the fall of France. Reunited with 7./JG 26, Mietusch gained his first victory on 31-05-1940, when he shot down a RAF Hurricane near Dunkirk.   By the end of 1940, he had added a second victory and been promoted to Oberleutnant. In January 1941, 7./JG 26, under the leadership of Oberleutnant Joachim Müncheberg , was relocated to Sicily. Müncheberg was hit on 21-03-1943 and managed to bail out and landed severely wounded . Although the search team quickly recovered him, Müncheberg died on the way to a field hospital age 24. On 19-09-1941, Mietusch took command of II./JG 26 following the death in aerial combat with RAF Spitfire fighters of Captain Walter Adolph  (25 victories, RK) the day before. As a result Mietusch became squadron leader of 7./JG 26. Mietusch gained three victories over Malta before 7./JG 26  were briefly deployed to participate in the assault on Yugoslavia. Mietusch gained a single victory over Yugoslavia on 06-04-1941, when he shot down a Fury biplane over Podgorica for his sixth victory. Redeployed over Malta, Mietusch added a further three victories, including a notable RAF ace. On 13-04-1943, Mietusch attacked a Hurricane that had attacked four Bf 109s and shot it down for his eighth victory. Mietusch also saw combat over North Africa gaining a single victory in the battles around Tobruk. By September, 7./JG 26 was relocated back to the Channel front. While landing at Rouvres-Étain on 12 April, Mietusch’s Bf 109 G-6, “Black 24”  hit a bomb crater and overturned. He suffered injuries that put him back in hospital for three weeks. Mietusch shot down a USAAF P-38 twin-engine fighter near Chartres on 4 July to record his 70th victory. On 17 July, Mietusch was shot down in Bf 109 G-6/U4, “White 20”  by an RAF Spitfire. He baled out but did not return to his base until the next day. He was promptly sent to hospital in Germany.

Death and burial ground of Mietusch, Klaus.

     

After gaining his 75th, and final victory while engaged in combat with USAAF P-51 fighters, Major Mietusch was shot down and killed on 17-09-1944 at 15:11 in Messerschmitt Bf 109, by a P-51 Mustang piloted by flight leader Lieutenant William Rockafeller “Bill” Beyer  of the 361st Fighter Group’s  376th Squadron in the vicinity of Rath-Aldekerk. Beyer’s description of his duel with Mietusch is spectacular, and while he ultimately vanquished his enemy, Beyer paid a respectful tribute to the German in the final lines of his after-action report: “Knowing the caliber of this German pilot, I am sure that if I had taken the time to get off some shots when he was slowing down he could have possibly shot me down or made a getaway. My other combat victories were not nearly as spectacular as this one, and it is with this in mind that I can recall it so vividly.” According to his compatriot and fellow fighter pilot Josef Priller one of the two pilots over the Normandy beach on D-Day, Mietusch’s combat motto was, Bore in, until the enemy is as large as a barn door in your sights. Priller went on to describe duty as Mietusch’s wingman as an “unforgettable experience.” Mietusch is buried on the Nordfriedhof of Düsseldorf, Field 112, Row 0, Grave 117.

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