Otto Deßloch

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Otto Dessloch
Otto Dessloch
Born (1889-06-11)11 June 1889
Bamberg, Kingdom of Bavaria, German Empire
Died 13 May 1977(1977-05-13) (aged 87)
Munich, Bavaria, West Germany
Allegiance  German Empire (to 1918)
 Weimar Republic (to 1933)
 Nazi Germany
Service/branch Heer
Years of service 1910–45
Rank Generaloberst
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves

Otto Dessloch[Note 1] (11 June 1889 – 13 May 1977) was a German World War II Luftwaffe general and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.


Dessloch was born at Bamberg, the son of a forester. After completing his secondary education he joined the Bavarian Army at Saargemünd and achieved the rank of Lieutenant in 1912. Severely wounded in the first weeks of World War I, he retrained to become a member of the German Air Force (Luftstreitkräfte) and in 1916 joined the Royal Bavarian Jagdstaffel 16 hunting group on the Western Front. Taken prisoner following an emergency landing in neutral Switzerland, he was released after several months and from 1917 served as a squadron leader of Royal Prussian Jagdstaffel 17.

After the German defeat, he joined the right-wing Freikorps forces of Franz Ritter von Epp, fighting against the Bavarian Soviet Republic. As German flight operations were closed down according to the terms of the 1919 Treaty of Versailles, Dessloch had to retrain again and from 1921 served as an intelligence officer in the German Reichswehr holding the rank of Rittmeister, later also as garrison commander in Ansbach. In the course of German re-armament, he attended the secret Lipetsk fighter-pilot school in 1926–27. Having returned to Germany, he became a staff officer of the 7th (Bavarian) Reichswehr infantry division and achieved the rank of Major in 1932.

Dessloch took part in the fast build-up of the Luftwaffe after the Nazi Machtergreifung in 1933, from 1 December 1934 as commander of a flight training school in Cottbus. From 1935 he served as Commodore of two Luftwaffe wings (Kampfgeschwader), from 1936 in the rank of Oberst (Colonel).

During World War II he commanded a Luftflotte 2 corps from 3 October 1939 and was appointed Major general and commander of the 6th flight division on December 1. He provided air support to the Wehrmacht Army Group B in the 1940 Battle of France and from 1941 commanded Luftwaffe units on the Eastern Front. Promoted to General der Flieger on 1 January 1942, he served as a commander on the southern Eastern Front and in the Caucasus Mountains. On 11 June 1943 Dessloch succeeded Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen as commander-in-chief of Luftflotte 4 in the rank of Colonel general.

When in summer 1944 the Western Front collapsed, Dessloch was appointed commander of Luftflotte 3 by Hermann Göring to replace dismissed Hugo Sperrle. After Paris was liberated by the Allied forces Dessloch commanded an air unit which avenged the liberation by bombing the city destroying civilian targets and killing 200 French civilians on September 1944.[1] The attack was carried out on Hitler's personal order. Unlike city commandant Dietrich von Choltitz and Army Group B chief-of-staff Hans Speidel, Dessloch obeyed. From September he again served as commander of Luftflotte 4 until he succeeded Robert Ritter von Greim as head of Luftflotte 6 during the last days of the war. In captivity as a prisoner-of-war until 1948, Dessloch in his later years devoted himself to equestrian sports.

According to the Yad Vashem Memorial in Israel, Otto Dessloch is a war criminal.[2]

He died in Munich in 1977.



Wehrmachtbericht references

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
4 August 1943 In der Schlacht am Mius haben Infanterie- und Panzerverbände des Heeres und der Waffen-SS unter Führung des Generalfeldmarschalls von Manstein und des Generals der Infanterie Hollidt mit vorbildlicher Unterstützung der von General der Flieger Deßloch geführten Luftwaffenverbände wiederholt Durchbruchsversuche starker feindlicher Kräfte vereitelt und im schwungvollen Gegenangriff den nördlich Kuibyschewo eingebrochenen Feind geschlagen.[7] In the Battle at the Mius, infantry and tank units of the Army and Waffen-SS under the command of Field Marshal von Manstein and General of Infantry Hollidt with exemplary support of Luftwaffe units led by General of the Flyers Deßloch, have repeatedly thwarted attempts of strong enemy forces to break through, and in a bold counter-attack struck the north Kuibyschewo broken through enemy.
30 October 1944 An diesem großen Erfolg haben Panzerverbände unter dem Befehl des Generals der Panzertruppe Breith und Verbände einer Luftflotte unter Führung von Generaloberst Deßloch hervorragenden Anteil.[8] Armored units under the command of General of Panzer Troops Breith and units of an air fleet under the command of Colonel General Deßloch have an outstanding share in this great success.


  1. His name, in German, is spelled with a "sharp S"; see ß.
  2. According to Thomas & Wegmann on 21 September 1915.[4]



  1. Mitcham 2007, pp. 185–195.
  2. Yad Vashem Photo Archive, Germany, War criminal Otto Dessloch
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Thomas 1997, p. 115.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Thomas & Wegmann 1991, p. 100.
  5. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 159.
  6. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 82.
  7. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 2, p. 532.
  8. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, p. 313.


  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). 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>
  • Mitcham, Samuel W. Jr. (2007). Retreat to the Reich. Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0-8117-3384-7.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Schaulen, Fritjof (2003). Eichenlaubträger 1940 – 1945 Zeitgeschichte in Farbe I Abraham – Huppertz (in German). Selent, Germany: Pour le Mérite. ISBN 978-3-932381-20-1. 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>
  • Thomas, Franz; Wegmann, Günter (1991). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht 1939–1945 Teil V: Die Flugabwehrtruppen 1: A–K (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-1153-2. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Thomas, Franz (1997). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 1: A–K (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2299-6. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 2, 1. Januar 1942 bis 31. Dezember 1943 (in German). München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 978-3-423-05944-2. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, 1. Januar 1944 bis 9. Mai 1945 (in German). München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 978-3-423-05944-2. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Commander of Kampfgeschwader 155
1 April 1936 – 1 February 1938
Succeeded by
Generalmajor Wilhelm Süssmann
Preceded by
Commander of II. Flakkorps
30 October 1939 – 31 March 1942
Succeeded by
General der Flakartillerie Job Odebrecht
Preceded by
Generalfeldmarschall Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen
Commander of Luftflotte 4
4 September 1943 – 17 February 1944
Succeeded by
Generalleutnant Alexander Holle
Preceded by
Generalleutnant Alexander Holle
Commander of Luftflotte 4
28 September 1944 – 21 April 1945
Succeeded by
redesignated to Luftwaffenkommando 4
Preceded by
Generalfeldmarschall Robert Ritter von Greim
Commander of Luftflotte 6
27 April 1945 – 8 May 1945
Succeeded by