Back to Top
AR banner
Search Tips Advanced Search
Back To Database

Kracker Luftwaffe Archive: The Story Behind a Lifetime's Achievement
Do read the Search Tips to maximise your search opportunities. When using the Archive, be mindful of umlauts etc.
It may necessary to include the appropriate special German characters in your Search, otherwise you may not necessarily find what you are looking for so check both with and without, and also check for the Americanized spelling, i.e., Mueller, Krueger, etc.

About Me: Born in 1937, a youngster during WWII, I became interested in collecting the shoulder insignia of our Armed Forces. This interest expanded into collecting both Allied and Axis items. After three years in the Marines, I worked as an Engineer at General Motors, retiring in 1994. From 1980 to 1994, I displayed my collection under the sponsorship of the Ex-American POW Association. After retirement, I decided to shift gears from collecting to researching. In the process, I had accumulated reams of information about Luftwaffe pilots, and decided to compile this data in a format that other researchers might use. What you are about to explore is the result of 20+ years of compilation, gleaning data from numerous sources. When we first went online, we had records of over 12,000 Luftwaffe pilots of all types, fighters, bombers, transport, etc. Included are both German and Foreign volunteer pilots. By early 2014 this number exceeds 30,000, and grows daily. I doubt this effort will ever be complete, but if you have a name that can be added, or any questions or comments, for that matter, please email me.

Photo Gallery: My photos fall in three catagories: original period photos that I own in my personal collection, prints from negatives acquired from a former Luftwaffe flight crew member and photocopies I have purchased from other collector/dealers. It is not my intention to infringe on any copyrights. Considering the age and origin of these prints, the best advice I have received is that such photos certainly fall under the category of Public Domain. However, if any of my material causes you concern please contact me.

I consider it a privilege to work with my friends Kelvin Youngs and his brother Stefan Pietrzak Youngs, and all the team of specialists and writers gathered at Aircrew Remembered, without whom this scholarship of mine - which as I have said was much, much smaller than it is today compared to when we first came into contact - would probably have remained forever locked up in an old computer I had down in my basement, largely unknown by the outside world. I was impressed by their truly impressive computer assistance, their thirst for detail, high standards of behavior and respect for the data and for their colleagues and for the families and researchers who benefit from this work. Their passion for accuracy and, most of all, their Mission Statement---Preservation (the reason I had begun back in 1996 to compile my data!) are an inspiration to me.

There is a rogue group of copyright infringers who have stolen a much earlier version of my data - from at least 10 years ago - and have the affrontery to publish that, along with using my name, on their poorly researched website. They claim this is the 'original' Kracker Archive, a ridiculous claim since my Archive has been in a state of continuous development for over 30 years and nobody - NOBODY - has the original. They have no right to use my name or my data and readers who come across this nonsense should do nothing to encourage theft of this nature. I am outraged by this blatant theft and misrepresentation of my lifetime's work. The ONLY person I have ever authorized to publish my data and use my name is Kelvin Youngs, who earned my trust and respect many years ago and is authorized by me to publish my work on whichever website he organizes, currently this being its present home at the highly respected Aircrew Remembered.

I am an avid collector of WW2 memorabilia and iI am a frequent sight at many of the gatherings of US avicionados. I have done hundreds of displays at schools, miscellaneous veteran organizations, libraries, Cleveland OH VA Hospital, etc., sponsored by the Mahoning Valley Ex-POW's. I've done two National Conventions; the 8th AAF in Pittsburgh PA, and the Ex-American POW's in Niagara Falls NY, (my proudest). Here are examples from my collection:

My relative, Josef Besler, a Mountain Trooper.

Polish WWII Units who fought with the British

WWII German Armored Insignia

The wood carving is one of two send home by my Uncle (serving with the US Army) in Mortar Round wooden boxes. He had a carpenter cut them in 3 pieces to fit. These were Mountain Troop camps in the Alps. They are priceless!

Miscellaneous Japanese items and the frames contain a complete set of WWII Marine Corps shoulder insignia

My relatives fought in both US and Axis Forces. This is a relative, Johannes Kracker, who perished in U-1062, Sept 1944 off Cape Verde Islands.

Japanese Army Insignia, Enlisted & Officer Collars and w/ Branch of Service "M's"

Miscellaneous Japanese items. The frames contain a complete set of WWII Japanese Marine Corps shoulder insignia

Very few pieces of a Jap Zero, especially part of the "meatball"

Bf 109 Tail piece from JG-27 or JG-77

Japanese Lt General

German Gen Lt. Miscellaneous German Generals captured May 1945 with their 1st Army Officer attending

Luftwaffe, SS and Heeres Headgear

Scoring Statement: Depending on the timing of the award and the theater where the award was presented, I observed that the award criteria differed. For this reason, I am using the generally accepted criteria of other researchers and several German pilots, when I had no photo or recorded data to confirm such awards on an individual pilot. For simplicity sake, HSS (enemy separated) and e.v. (final destruction) have a point value, however not detailed herein. 1 Point credit for a Single engine fighter 2 Points for a Twin engine aircraft 3 Points for a Four engine aircraft Therefore: EK 2 requirement, One Point; EK 1 requirement, Three Points; EP requirement, Ten Points; DK-G requirement, Twenty Points; RK requirement, 40 Points.

Volunteer Explanation: Again, depending on the circumstances, German pilots were seen wearing foreign decorations, and Foreign Volunteers were seen wearing German decorations. For this reason, I have credited the Volunteers with the appropriate German decoration when no photo or recorded data was found. In addition, where known, I have used the German rank equivalent for the Volunteer pilots.

WWII Luftwaffe Pilots: Acknowledgements: Alfred Ambs  • Hans Ekkard Bob  • Eberhard Burath  • Emil Daniel  • Gottfried Dulias  • Heinz Ewald  • Wolfgang Falck  • Adolf Galland  • Alfred Grislawski  • Georg Kiefner  • Walter Krupinski  • Werner Molge  • Franz Mörl  • Karl Puett  • Arno Rose  • Ernst Scheufele  • Johannes Steinhoff  • Franz Stigler  • Rudolf Trenkel  • Johannes Wiese  • Richard Wittmann  • 

Authors/Researchers: Acknowledgements: Christopher Ailsby  • Jack Angolia  • Giorgio Apostolo  • Björn Aulich  • Frans Auwerda  • Clemente Balladares  • Bernd Barbas  • Roger Bender  • Christer Bergström  • Arnold Berkhout  • Brian Bines  • Dr. Theo Boiten  • Martin Bowman  • Friedrich Braun  • Fritz Braun • Andreas Brekken  • Janos Bruckner  • Georg Brütting  • Les Butler  • John Bybee  • Donald Caldwell  • Boris Ciglic  • Klaus Deschner  • Jacobus De Swart  • Larry DeZeng  • COL. Joerg Dietsche  • Andrei Dolgovski  • Dave Drury  • Philippe Dufrasne  • Capt. François Dutil RCAF • Jeffrey Ethell  •  Fred (photos)  • Riccardo Freitag  • Jaap Geensen  • Peter Gulliver  • Werner Held  • Steffen Herzog • Georg Hette  • Michael Holm  • Tony Holmes  • Horst Jeckel  • Peter Kassak  • Kalevi Keskinen  • Christian König • Just Kroon  • Matthias Krebbers • Franz Kurowski  • Alan Magnus  • Sergio Manente • John Manrho  • Andrew Marden  • Giovanni Massimello  • Adolf Mebius  • Rene Millert  • Hugh Morgan  • Eric Mombeek  • Fred Munckhof  • Hans Neulen  • William Norman  • Ernst Obermaier  • Major Fred Paradie RCAF  • Danny Parker  • Jim Perry  • Alfred Price  • Jochen Prien  • György Punka  • Karl Ries, Jr.  • Alain Rosseels  • Dragan Savic  • Jean Schadskaje  • Jerry Schutts  • J.L. Seel  • S.J. Sigurdarson  • Ralph Snape • Kjell Sørensen • Mike Spick  • Robert Stedman  • Kari Stenmann  • Claes Sundin  • Özkan Türker (Turkey Internments) • John Weal  • Bo Widfeldt  • Lothar Wiegels  • Roy Wilcock • David Wishowsky  • Tony Wood  • Kelvin Youngs  • Stefan Pietrzak Youngs  • Eric Zemper  • 

Publishers: Acknowledgements Arms & Armor Press  • Bender Publishing  • Cerberus Publishing Ltd.  • Classic Publishing  • Crowood Publishing Ltd.  • FLUGZEUG Publikations  • Grub Street Publishing  • Ian Allan Publishing  • Jane's Publishing  • Motor Buch Verlag  • Orion Books  • Osprey Publishing  • Pen & Sword Books Ltd.  • Prentice Hall Publishing  • Schiffer Military History  • Verlag Dieter Hoffmann  • 

© 2012 - 2024 Aircrew Remembered - All site material (except as noted elsewhere) is owned or managed by Aircrew Remembered
and should not be used without prior permission.