Viktor von Loßberg

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Viktor von Loßberg
File:Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1977-020-03A, Viktor v. Lossberg.jpg
Born 14 March 1904
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Allegiance  Nazi Germany (to 1945)
 West Germany
Service/branch Luftwaffe (Wehrmacht)
Luftwaffe (Bundeswehr)
Years of service 1933–1945, 1956–1962
Rank Oberst im Generalstab
Unit Kampfgeschwader 26
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Viktor von Loßberg[Note 1] (14 March 1904 – 24 May 1983) was a highly decorated Oberleutnant in the Luftwaffe during World War II, and a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. Von Loßberg was instrumental in conceiving the concept of Zahme Sau (Tame Boar), a night fighter tactic.


Von Loßberg was born on 14 March 1904 in Posen, present-day Poznań in Poland, at the time in the Province of Posen, a province of the Kingdom of Prussia in the German Empire. He joined the military service of the Wehrmacht in late 1933 at Braunschweig. The Treaty of Versailles signed after World War I had prohibited Germany from having an air force. Before the Luftwaffe was unveiled in 1935 he was trained as a pilot at civilian flight schools.[1]

Von Loßberg was involved in the testing and evaluation of various aircraft for use in the night fighter role. Generalfeldmarschall Erhard Milch favored the conversion of already existing variants such as the Junkers Ju 88 or its successor the Junkers Ju 188 because it did not influence production numbers. Josef Kammhuber on the other hand preferred the then new Heinkel He 219. The Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM—Reich Air Ministry) ordered a comparison test which was held on 25–26 March 1943 at Rechlin. Von Loßberg was ordered to fly the Ju 188 E-1 in mock combat against the He 219 piloted by Werner Streib. The test proved the He 219 to be superior to the Ju 188.[2]

He played a significant role in the development and introduction of the Zahme Sau night fighter system in mid-1943. This system proved itself to be more scalable to the increasing attacks by the Royal Air Force Bomber Command and eventually replaced the Himmelbett (canopy bed) of the Kammhuber Line. In the introductory phase of Zahme Sau, Von Loßberg flew 39 night fighter missions from airfields operated by I./Nachtjagdgeschwader 1. In total he flew 39 missions without claiming any victories himself.[1]



  1. His name, in German, is spelled with a "sharp S"; see ß.



  1. 1.0 1.1 Kaiser 2011, p. 26.
  2. Remp 2000, pp. 54–55.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Kaiser 2011, p. 27.
  4. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 296.
  5. Scherzer 2007, p. 515.


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