Krupinski, Walter “Graf Punski”

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Krupinski, Walter “Graf Punski” born 11-11-1920 at Domnau, in the Friedland region of East Prussia. Krupinski grew up in Braunsberg, present-day Braniewo, Poland. He was the first son of Friedrich Wilhelm Krupinski, a Obergerichtsvollzieher, and his wife Auguste, born Helmke. His two younger brothers were Paul and Günther. Paul joined the Kriegsmarine and entered the U-boat service, and was killed in action on 11-11-1944 while serving on U-771 as an Oberleutnant zur See, which was sunk off the Norwegian coast by the British submarine HMS Venturer.

Krupinski entered the Luftwaffe in September 1939 as an ensign. From November 1939 to October 1940, Krupinski entered basic air training and, after being assigned as a fighter pilot, the fighter school. Following two weeks of vacation, Krupinski completed his training at Jagdfliegerschule 5 (5th fighter pilot school) in Wien-Schwechat to which he was posted on 01-07-1940. Jagdfliegerschule 5 at the time was under the command of the World War I flying ace and recipient of the Pour le Mérite Eduard Ritter von Schleich.   One of his course mates was Hans-Joachim Marseille, who had been posted to the Jagdfliegerschule 5 in late 1939 but had not yet graduated out of disciplinary reasons. His three-roommates at the school were Walter Nowotny, Paul Galland, the brother of Adolf Galland, and Peter Goering, a nephew of the Reichsmarschall  Hermann Goering

Krupinski was employed by the Reichsarbeitdienst before being discharged a few days after the outbreak of war in 1939 to take up a place at the Luftkreigsakademie at Berlin-Gatow where he underwent basic military and flying training. Following the completion of his fighter pilot training in Vienna in October 1940, Krupinski was transferred to 6./Jagdgeschwader 52 . He flew combat missions over France and England and, although frequently in contact with enemy aircraft, did not gain any success. He was promoted to the rank of Leutnant in February 1941. By September 1941, Krupinski was operating over the Eastern front. He recorded his first victory in the theatre against a Russian DB-3 twin-engine bomber  south of Leningrad. By the end of the year he had seven victories to his credit. On 25-10-1942, he was shot down in aerial combat and baled out wounded. Leutnant Krupinski was awarded the Ritterkreuz on 29-10-1942 after 56 victories. By the end of 1942, his victory total stood at 65. Krupinski then spent three months as a fighter instructor with Ergänzungs-Jagdgruppe Ost in France. Krupinski returned to Russia on 15-03-1943. In May, he was appointed Staffelkapitän of 7./JG 52 based at Taman on the Kuban bridgehead. He scored two victories on 5 July to raise his victory total to 90. However, on landing Bf 109 G-6 (W.Nr. 20062) “White 9”, he collided with another Bf 109 and was badly injured in the resulting crash. In August, he recorded 27 enemy aircraft shot down, including his 100th victory on 18 August. Krupinski recorded his 125th victory on 27 September. He achieved his 150th victory on 12 October. He brought down the Staffel’s 1.000th victory, and his 154th, on 13 October. Oberleutnant Krupinski was awarded the Eichenlaub (Nr 415)  on 02-03-1944 for 174 victories, together with fighter ace Bubi Hartmann. He recorded his 175th victory on 9 March. At the end of March, he claimed three Russian T-34 tanks destroyed. Krupinski left Jagdgeschwader 52   and Russia on 18-04-1944, with his victory total at 177, to return to Germany and take up command of 1./JG 5  which had returned from the far north for Reichsverteidigung duties. He gained four further victories with JG 5. Krupinski was transferred again, this time as Gruppenkommandeur of II./JG11, succeeding Major Günther Rall, based at Hustedt, near Celle, taking up the post in May 1944. Rewarded with oakleaves or swords to the KC at the Berghof in March 1944 . With the Allied invasion of France in June 1944, the Gruppe was rushed to Normandy to operate from makeshift strips on low-level ground support missions. Krupinski claimed a further 10 Allied aircraft shot down before he was wounded on 12 August when exploded motor of his Bf 109 G-5 (W.Nr. 110 244). He suffered burns to his hands and face requiring hospitalization. Following recovery in hospital, Hauptmann Krupinski was posted to take command of III./JG 26  on 27-09-1944. He claimed his 192nd to 195th victories flying with the unit. He led the Gruppe until its disbandment on 26-03-1945. Krupinski joined Adolf Galland’s “squadron of experts” in JV44 . He began training on the Me 262 on 02-04-1945. He was to record at least two victories flying the ME 262. In post-war years, Krupinski here with ace Bubbi Hartmann was to have successful career in the Bundeswehr rising to the rank of Generalleutnant.
“Graf Punski” Krupinski here with Gunther Rall ended the war with 197 confirmed victories recorded in 1.100 missions. He had gained 177 victories flying over the Eastern Front and 20 over the Western Front, including at least two four-engine bomber, eight P-51 Mustang and seven P-47 Thunderbolt fighters . He had been wounded seven times, baled out on four occasions as well as surviving numerous crash landings.

Krupinski in the after war years with Adolf Galland, Wolfgang Falck , Dieter Hraback and Günther Rall

Death and burial ground of Krupinski, Walter “Graf Punski”

  Graf Punski passed away on 07-10-2000, age 79 and is buried on the cemetery of Neunkirchen, My friend Wolfgang Linke from Frankfurt am Main visited the graveside for me and sent the grave pictures, with thank.
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 Von Boeselager 14 july 2016 058  P1010731-225x300

 

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