Ernst-Wilhelm Modrow

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Ernst-Wilhelm Modrow
Born 5 May 1908
Died 10 September 1990(1990-09-10) (aged 82)
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
 West Germany
Service/branch Luftwaffe
Years of service 1939–45
Rank Major (Wehrmacht)
Oberstleutnant (Bundeswehr)
Unit KGr. Z.b.V. 108
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Other work Lufthansa

Ernst-Wilhelm Modrow (5 May 1908 – 10 September 1990) was a German Luftwaffe night fighter ace and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) during World War II. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.

Early life

Modrow was born 5 May 1908 at Stettin. He qualified as a pilot in 1929. From 1933 he flew with Colombian airline SCADTA and by May 1937 was flying South American postal routes for Lufthansa.


At the start of World War 2, Modrow was posted to KGr. Z.b.V. 108 flying the Dornier Do 26 four-engine flying boat. He participated in the Norwegian campaign over Narvik in support of the German forces. On 28 May 1940 Modrow was moored in Rombaken fjord when his Do 26 V-1 was strafed and sunk by Royal Air Force (RAF) Hawker Hurricanes, Feldwebel Modrow being badly wounded.

In March 1941 Modrow was an instructor at Blindflugschule 1 at Brandis. For a year from April 1942 he flew Blohm & Voss BV 222 six-engine flying boats in the Mediterranean theatre, undertaking 100 supply missions in support of the Afrika Korps.

In October 1943, Hauptmann Modrow transferred to the Nachtjagd, being posted to 2./Nachtjagdgeschwader 1 (NJG 1—1st Night Fighter Wing). On the night of 7/8 March 1944, Modrow gained his first victory, a RAF twin-engine bomber shot down near Venlo. He claimed two more four-engine bombers on 31 March. Modrow was appointed Staffelkapitän of 1./NJG 1 on 1 April 1944. He recorded 10 victories during May and 9 in June, including three victories on the night of 12/13 June and four victories on the night of 21/22 June.

Hauptmann Modrow was awarded the Ritterkreuz on 19 August 1944 for 27 victories. He gained his 34th, and last, victory on the night of 5/6 January 1945.

Ernst-Wilhelm Modrow was credited with 34 victories in 259 missions, including 109 missions as a night fighter pilot. All his victories were recorded at night and 33 in the Heinkel 219 Uhu.[Notes 1] In the 1950s he joined Bundeswehr, and retired 1964 as an Oberstleutnant.



  1. For a list of Luftwaffe night fighter aces see List of German World War II night fighter aces.



  1. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 256.


  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) [1986]. Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Obermaier, Ernst (1989). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Luftwaffe Jagdflieger 1939 – 1945 (in German). Mainz, Germany: Verlag Dieter Hoffmann. ISBN 978-3-87341-065-7. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • 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. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links