Kurt Kuhlmey

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Kurt Kuhlmey
File:Kurt Kuhlmey.jpg
Born (1913-11-19)19 November 1913
Insterburg, East Prussia
Died 30 April 1993(1993-04-30) (aged 79)
Allegiance  Nazi Germany (to 1945)
 West Germany
Service/branch Balkenkreuz.svg Luftwaffe (Wehrmacht)
Bundeswehr Kreuz.svg Luftwaffe (Bundeswehr)
Years of service 1934–45, 1956–71
Rank Oberst(´45), Generalmajor (´71)
Commands held 1./StG 1, II/SG 3, SG 3, SG 2
Battles/wars Second World War
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Other work Generalmajor in the Bundeswehr

Kurt Kuhlmey (19 November 1913 – 30 April 1993) was a Stuka pilot of the Second World War. He flew over 500 combat missions, and in July 1942 was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes), which was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.


Kuhlmey began his career as a pilot at the age of 15, when he began flying gliders. In 1934 he joined the Luftwaffe, which trained him as a pilot. He was commissioned and transferred in 1936 to the 162nd dive bomber division in Schwerin, where he began flying Stukas.

Kuhlmey was Staffelkapitän (squadron leader) of 1./Sturzkampfgeschwader 1 (StG 1) at the outbreak of war and participated in the German campaigns in Poland, Norway, France, and the Battle of Britain.

He also took part in operations against Malta, including the 10 January 1941 Stuka attack on Illustrious.

As part of I./StG 2 Kuhlmey participated in the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941. He served in North Africa, becoming Gruppenkommandeur (group commander) of II./StG 3 in April 1942. On 18 October 1943 he was promoted to Geschwaderkommodore (wing commander, Schlachtgeschwader 3 (SG 3).

On 9 June 1944 the Soviet Union launched a major offensive on the Karelian Isthmus. The Soviet Army forced the Finns to abandon their defensive lines and on 20 June took Viipuri, the second largest city of Finland. As a reinforcement SG 3 was posted to Finland in June 1944, forming Gefechtsverband Kuhlmey (Detachment Kuhlmey) with Oberst Kuhlmey commanding a composite unit comprising elements of I./SG 3, I./SG 5, II./JG 54 and NAGr.1.

Detachment Kuhlmey's actions in Finland during 16 June and 21 July 1944 was hugely influential in the final outcome of the offensive and of the Continuation War. Together Finnish Air Force units and Detachment Kuhlmey made 1,020 bombing sorties against the Soviet troops and armour. The Soviets lost some 300 tanks, 120-280 aircraft and over 20,000 troops. As a result, the Soviet advance stalled, and ensuing peace talks led to a cease-fire between the Soviet Union and Finland on 4 September.

Leaving SG 3 in December 1944, by March 1945 Oberst Kuhlmey was Geschwaderkommodore of SG 2 “Immelmann”, and in the last weeks of the war was on the staff of the General der Schlachtflieger.

After being released from American captivity in July 1945, he rejoined the military in November 1955, as a Colonel. Attending courses at Williams and Luke Air Force Base in the USA, he received flying training on the F-104 "Starfighter". On 11 September 1959 he was promoted to Brigadier General and retired a Major General. He died on 30 April 1993.




  1. Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 260.
  2. Scherzer 2007, p. 483.


  • Brütting, Georg (1992) [1976]. Das waren die deutschen Stuka-Asse 1939 – 1945 (in German) (7th ed.). Stuttgart, Germany: Motorbuch. ISBN 978-3-87943-433-6. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: ref=harv (link) CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • 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)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Obermaier, Ernst (1976). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Luftwaffe 1939–1945 Band II Stuka- und Schlachtflieger (in German). Mainz, Germany: Verlag Dieter Hoffmann. ISBN 978-3-87341-021-3. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Patzwall, Klaus D.; Scherzer, Veit (2001). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<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)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
Military offices
Preceded by
Obstleutnant Walter Sigel
Commander of Sturzkampfgeschwader 3
1 April 1943 – 18 October 1943
Succeeded by
Schlachtgeschwader 3
Preceded by
Sturzkampfgeschwader 3
Commander of Schlachtgeschwader 3
18 October 1943 – 15 December 1944
Succeeded by
Major Bernhard Hamester
Preceded by
Oberstleutnant Friedrich Lang
Commander of Schlachtgeschwader 2 Immelmann
14 March 1945 – 20 April 1945
Succeeded by
Oberst Hans-Ulrich Rudel
Preceded by
Commander of 5. Luftwaffendivision (Bundeswehr)
1963 – 31 March 1968
Succeeded by
Generalmajor Eberhard Gralka