Biplane fighter aces

Germany

Hauptmann Hans-Jürgen Hepe

30 October 1912 –

Hans-Jürgen Hepe was born on 30 October 1912.

He took part in the Spanish Civil War as a member of the Legion Condor.

At 10:30 on 12 February 1937, 18 I-16s (and probably four I-15s) scrambled towards Madrid to intercept three Ju 52/3ms and 16 He 51s. The fighters became involved in combat with each other, and the Soviet pilots returned to claim seven He 51s shot down. All victories were claimed by the I-16s from 1a/21 (Escuadrilla Kolesnikov) and claiming pilots were leitenant Pavel Putivko, leitenant Petr Khara, Petr Shevtsov, leitenant Prokopiy Akulenko, starshiy leitenant Aleksandr Tarasov while leitenant Dmitriy Lesnikov and Nikolay Vinogradov claimed a shared. The last was claimed as a shared by Andrey Morozov together with the two other pilots in his group. There were no losses among the Republican aircraft but the I-16s flown by Lesnikov, Putivko, Morozov and Tarasov returned with battle damage.
The Kapitän of 1.J/88, Hauptmann Werner Palm (He 51B-1), and Unteroffizier Hepe (He 51B-1) were both shot down in flames by I-16s over the Jarama area after that Hepe had claimed an I-16 (claimed as a ”Boeing”). Although both men were wounded, they were able to use their parachutes to jump to safety, landing in Nationalist territory.

Hepe ended the Spanish Civil War with 1 biplane victory.

He continued to serve during the Second World War, initially in JG 2.

Around 30 March 1940, Oberleutnant Hepe was appointed as Staffelkapitän of 1./JG 2.

On 16 May, he was posted to 5./JG 2

He was appointed as Staffelkapitän of 4./JG 2 on 28 October and remained there until 17 May 1942.

On 2 July 1941 and after having taken off from Abbeville-Drucat, Oberleutnant Hepe was shot down during aerial combat 1 km southwest of Cassel (16.5 km north-east of St. Omer) in Bf 109 F-2 WNr. 6758. He was wounded but managed to bail out successfully.

On 1 April 1942, he was promoted to Hauptmann.

Hepe served as Staffelkapitän of 1./JG 2 from 31 July 1942 until he was shot down by B-17s on 29 May 1943. He bailed out, wounded, in the vicinity of Langan.
He did not return to combat after this.

On 25 June, he was awarded the Ehrenpokal.

He left the command of 1./JG 2 on 30 June 1943.

He was the Kommandeur of I./JGr 105 from September 1943 until 15 September 1944.

In December 1944 he joined I./JG 400.

Hepe ended the war with 1 biplane victory and a total of 14.

Claims:
Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  1937                
1 12/02/37 10:30- 1 I-16 (a) Destroyed Heinkel He 51B-1   Jarama area 1.J/88
  1940                
2 16/05/40 15:03 1 Hurricane Destroyed Bf 109E   Mons 5./JG 2
3 18/05/40 12:50 1 Hurricane Destroyed Bf 109E   Antwerpen 5./JG 2
  1941                
4 06/04/41 13:40 1 Blenheim Destroyed Bf 109   6km N Plouestat 4./JG 2
5 21/06/41 16:45 1 Spitfire (b) Destroyed Bf 109   Boulogne-Hardelot 4./JG 2
6 21/06/41 16:47 1 Spitfire (b) Destroyed Bf 109   Boulogne-Hardelot 4./JG 2
7 23/06/41 20:19 1 Blenheim (c) Destroyed Bf 109     4./JG 2
8 23/06/41 20:19 1 Spitfire (c) Destroyed Bf 109     4./JG 2
9 02/07/41 12:55 1 Spitfire (d) Destroyed Bf 109     4./JG 2
10 13/10/41   1 Spitfire Destroyed Bf 109     4./JG 2
  1942                
11 19/08/42 12:25 1 Spitfire Destroyed Bf 109   5km N Dieppe: 500m 1./JG 2
12 08/09/42 14:37 1 Spitfire Destroyed Bf 109     1./JG 2
  1943                
13 16/04/43 13:46 1 Spitfire Destroyed Bf 109   2km SW Plouguin: 7000 [Finistère] 1./JG 2
14 01/05/43 14:45 1 B-17 Destroyed Bf 109   20km N St. Brieuc: 0-5m 1./JG 2

Biplane victories: 1 destroyed.
TOTAL: 14 destroyed.
(a) Claimed as a ‘Boeing’.
(b) Claimed during RAF No. 11 Group Circus 17.
(c) Claimed during RAF No. 11 Group Circus 20.
(d) Claimed during RAF No. 11 Group Circus 29.

Sources:
Aces of the Legion Condor – Robert Forsyth, 2011 Osprey Publishing, Oxford, ISBN 978-1-84908-347-8
Aces of the Luftwaffe
Aircrew Remembered
The Legion Condor - Karl Ries and Hans Ring, 1992 Schiffer Publishing, ISBN 0-88740-339-5
The Luftwaffe, 1933-45
Additional information kindly provided by Johannes Matthews.




Last modified 26 May 2021