11 November 1920|
Domnau, East Prussia
|Died||7 October 2000
|Allegiance|| Nazi Germany (to 1945)
|Service/branch|| Luftwaffe (Wehrmacht)
|Years of service||1940–1945
|Unit||JG 52, JG 5 and JV 44|
|Commands held||JG 52 and JG 5|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Awards||Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub
Walter ´´Graf Pinski`` Krupinski (11 November 1920 – 7 October 2000) was a German Luftwaffe fighter ace of World War II and a senior West German air force officer after the war. He was one of the highest-scoring pilots, credited with 197 victories in 1,100 sorties. He was called by his fellow pilots Graf Pinski (Count Pinski) due to his Prussian origins. Krupinski was one of the first to fly the Me 262 jet fighter in combat as a member of the famous aces squadron JV 44[Notes 1] led by Adolf Galland.
Krupinski was born on 11 November 1920, in the town of Domnau (Domnowo) in East Prussia, and grew up in Braunsberg (Braniewo). Krupinski had two younger brothers, Paul and Günther. Paul joined the Kriegsmarine and entered the Unterseeboot service, and was killed in action on 11 November 1944 while serving on U-771, which was sunk off the Norwegian coast by HMS Venturer.
World War II 
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. After his training Krupinski was sent to join his new unit Jagdgeschwader 52, where he was placed in 6.Staffel in November 1940. He flew combat missions over England, but did not gain any successes.
Krupinski won his first aerial victory in the early stages of the Russian campaign. By December 1941 his tally stood at seven confirmed victories and by August 1942 at 50, for which he was awarded the German Cross in gold. After another six victories Krupinski was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. In March 1943, Krupinski was promoted to Staffelkapitän (squadron leader) and was given command of 7. Staffel. At this time Erich Hartmann, who went on to become the highest scoring Ace of the war, served as his wingman. Hartmann adopted Krupinki's close-quarters method of attack. Krupinski was awarded the Oak Leaves for his Knight's Cross for his 174th victory.
After achieving 177 victories, Krupinski was transferred from the Russian front to Germany, where he was assigned to 1.Staffel of Jagdgeschwader 5. Promoted to the rank of Hauptmann (captain) in May 1944, Krupinski was made commander of II. Gruppe of Jagdgeschwader 11. After the Allied invasion of France in June 1944, the Gruppe was rushed to Normandy to operate on low-level Army support missions. Krupinski claimed 10 Allied aircraft shot down before he was wounded and burned on 12 August. By September he was transferred as Commanding Officer of III. Gruppe, Jagdgeschwader 26. In March 1945, Krupinski was transferred to the aces unit Jagdverband 44, which flew the Me 262 jet, claiming his last two aerial victories of the war on 16 and 26 April 1945.
At 3:00 pm on 24 April 1945, Krupinski was one of four pilots to take off from Munich-Riem to intercept a United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) B-26 Marauder aircraft formation. Günther Lützow, who failed to return from this mission, led the flight of four. Lützow's fate remains unknown to this date. One of the other two pilots was Leutnant Klaus Neumann.
After having claimed 197 enemy planes (177 Eastern Front, 20 against the Western Allies, in about 1100 missions), Krupinski went into American captivity on May 5, 1945. Krupinski had bailed out four times and had been wounded five times.
- Wound Badge in Gold
- Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe (May 1942)
- German Cross in Gold on 27 August 1942 as Leutnant in the 6./JG 52
- Iron Cross (1939)
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
After World War II 
Released from captivity in September, by November 1952 entered the German provisional defense ministry. Given the rank of major in 1957, Krupinski went to lead Jagdbombergeschwader 33 (FBW33) the first postwar German jet fighter wing. In 1966 Krupinski took command of the German forces of the Luftwaffen-Ausbildungs-Kommando in Texas with the rank of brigadier general. In July 1969 Krupinski became commander of the 3rd Luftwaffe division. In 1971 he became chief of staff of Second Allied Tactical Air Force. In October 1974 Krupinski was promoted commanding officer of the airfleet. Due to the Rudel Scandal he was forced into early retirement on 8 November 1976 holding the rank of Lieutenant-general. Krupinski died in Neunkirchen-Seelscheid in 2000.
- For an explanation of the meaning of Luftwaffe unit designation see Luftwaffe Organization
- Braatz 2005, p. 365.
- Obermaier 1989, p. 61.
- Patzwall and Scherzer 2001, p. 258.
- Thomas 1997, p. 418.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 479.
- Helden der Wehrmacht II, p. 121
- Braatz, Kurt (2005). Gott oder ein Flugzeug - Leben und Sterben des Jagdfliegers Günther Lützow (in German). NeunundzwanzigSechs Verlag. ISBN 3-9807935-6-7.
- Braatz, Kurt (2010). Walter Krupinski - Jagdflieger, Geheimagent, General (in German). NeunundzwanzigSechs Verlag. ISBN 978-3-9811615-5-7.
- Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939-1945 (in German). Friedburg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 3-7909-0284-5.
- Obermaier, Ernst (1989). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Luftwaffe Jagdflieger 1939 - 1945 (in German). Mainz, Germany: Verlag Dieter Hoffmann. ISBN 3-87341-065-6.
- Patzwall, Klaus D. and Scherzer, Veit (2001). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 - 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 3-931533-45-X.
- Schaulen, Fritjof (2004). Eichenlaubträger 1940 - 1945 Zeitgeschichte in Farbe II Ihlefeld - Primozic (in German). Selent, Germany: Pour le Mérite. ISBN 3-932381-21-1.
- Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
- Thomas, Franz (1997). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 1: A–K (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 3-7648-2299-6.
- Helden der Wehrmacht II (in German). FZ-Verlag GmbH, 2003. ISBN 3-924309-62-0.
- Walter Krupinski @ Aces of the Luftwaffe
- Interview with Walter Krupinski By Colin D. Heaton
- WalterKrupinski @ YouTube
|Commander of Jagdbombergeschwader 33
1 October 1958 – 31 December 1962
Oberst Georg Wroblewski