Friday, 11 March 2011


 Dietrich Peltz was born on 9 June, 1914 in Gera, Turingen. He achieved a private pilot licence at the age of 18, and joined the newly-born Luftwaffe in 1935, graduating as a Leutnant and being subsequently posted to StG 162 "Immelman." In this unit he flew Henschel Hs 123 before converting to Ju 87 Stuka dive bombers. Renominated StG 2 in 1939, the unit participated in the invasion of Poland, where Peltz flew 45 missions and was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd and 1st Class. Following the end of the campaign the pilot was chosen for conversion onto the Ju 88 "Wunderbomber", and moved to II./KG 77 in the summer of 1940.

Now an Oberleutnant, Peltz flew both daily and night mission during the Battle of Britain. To escape RAF fighter's attacks, he created his own tactic consisting of flying into the clouds and then turning sharply to the opposite direction to trick the pursuing fighters - he was able to do it thanks to his high skills in blind flying.
After 70 missions over Britain -130 since the beginning of the war- Peltz was awarded the Knight's Cross on 14 October 1940.

Promoted Hauptmann and Gruppenkommandeur of II./KG 77, Peltz relocated to the eastern front for the incoming operation Barbarossa in the spring of 1941. The Gruppe was assigned to the Northern Sector, flying missions against the Leningrad-Moscow railway line, and participating in the siege of Leningrad. At the end of the year he was awarded the Oak Leaves, only the 46th member of Germany's Armed Forces to receive the decoration. 
In late 1941/early 1942, Peltz was given command of the Bomber Unit Commanders School in Foggia, Italy, training bomber commanders of all Luftwaffe Kampfgeschwader in the latest operational techniques, some of which he had created himself. At the age of 28, he was considered the leading expert in bombing operations.

Luftwaffe units soon became overstrechted in various theatre of operations, as a result Peltz training units was converted into a new Gruppe, I./KG 66. The new formation was tasked of implementing the new tactics created and tested in its training duties, attacking Allied convoys with guided bombs such as the Fritz X and the Henschel Hs 293.
Promoted Oberstleutenant, Pelzt and his unit attacked Allied shipping in the Arctic along the Murmansk route and in the Mediterranean following landings in North Africa and Sicily.
Peltz was then promoted Inspektor der Kampfflieger and given command of IX Fliegerkorps. The air corps consisted of KG 2, KG 6, II./KG 40, I. and II./SKG 210 plus a reconnaissance gruppe. On 23 July 1943 he received the Swords to the Knight's Cross.

In January 1944, at the age of 29, Dietrich Peltz was raised to the rank of General Major, and nominated Angriffuhrer fur England. Assuming command of bomber forces in Operation Steinbock, he carefully husbanded the small resources given to him and carried out the retaliatory attacks over England ordered by Hitler. The attacks were suspended in May after heavy losses and poor results. The Baby Blitz, as it was nicknamed, came almost four years after the 1940's Blitz; in 1944 RAF night defences were at their peak while Luftwaffe resources in the Western Front were overstretched - in some mission flying schools crews had to be use to reach operational numbers required.
In the Autumn of 1944 IX Fliegerkorps was disbanded, its pilots selected for conversion as fighter pilots while gunners were sent to infantry units. Peltz became the commander of II. Jagdkorps in the Ardennes.
At war's end, Peltz was briefly held by the British. After being released he became a businessman in Germany and Spain, continuing to fly in his freetime.
Dietrich Peltz died at the age of 87 in Munich on 10 August, 2001.

Iron Cross 2nd class, 15 September 1939.
Iron Cross 1st class, 22 May 1940.
Knight's Cross, 14 October 1940.
Oak Leaves, 31 December 1941.
Swords, 23 July 1943.
Front Flying Clasp of the Luftwaffe
Combine Pilot-Observation badge in gold with  diamonds.

1 comment:

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