Star of Africa (Lufftwaffe Fighter Pilot)

As the North African Campaign is coming to an end. There is a pilot I would, if possible, to be cover. It is Hans Joachim Marseille, 13th of December- 30th of September 1942. He was a pilot from 1940-42. He was a controversial person as he was a high awarded fighter ace, yet he had trouble with authority and with Nazi rules, such as bans on jazz songs, being helpful to the enemy (He helped a down Australian fighter pilot), etc. He managed to get the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross all the while being a controversial person. This is something I would like you guys to cover, if it possible. What you guys do is amazing and I cannot wait for more videos you guys make. Godspeed to all of you. Au revoir et meilleurs voeux.


I had mentions of him in my day-by-day supplement stuff over on reddit. As far as the TimeGhost folks (making the videos) goes, they typically keep right to the calendar, but who knows? They make sidelight videos often.

February 8th, 1942 - At Martuba airfield in Libya, Hans-Joachim Marseille is preparing to land his Me-109, when a patrol of Hurricanes appears. He shoots down two of them, lands, and when a bombing raid of Blenheim bombers and their Hurricane and P-40 escorts comes over, he takes back off and shoots down two more fighters (his 40th career kill.) As the sun is setting, he flies over an Allied airfield and drops a note that one of the Allied fighter pilots had been captured but is unwounded. Upon his return, his commanding officer grounds him for three days for flying a ‘personal’ mission.

June 16th, 1942 - In Libya, Hans-Joachim Marseill shoots down four P-40’s in this one day, bringing his total to 95.

June 17th, 1942 - Hans-Joachim Marseille shoots down six fighters (3 Hurricanes, 3 P-40s) in TEN MINUTES, bringing his total to 101. (He then is flown to Berlin and then Rome to be showered with decorations.)

September 1, 1942 - In North Africa, Hans-Joachim Marseille shoots down a total of seven Hurricanes, 7 P-40s and two Spitfires in 14 MINUTES (over the span of three missions during the day) escorting Stukas bombing El Hammam, Egypt. His total now stands at 121.

September 26, 1942 - on yet another escort mission, Marseille shoots down another eight enemy planes. His total is now 158 kills. He is showing noticable signs of combat-fatigue, and is grounded for several days to recover.

September 30th, 1942 - Marseille, with 158 kills in Me-109’s, is killed when he bails out of his damaged plane (as normal for fighter pilots, by rolling the plane on its back and dropping out of the cockpit) which then goes into a steep dive, its vertical stabilizer in the tail strikes him in the chest and hip, most likely killing him instantly (in any case, his parachute is never deployed.) He was 22.

Marseilles, always a decided non-conformist with a genuine hostility toward Nazis, had earlier - in June - taken as a ‘batman’ a black South African POW, Corporal Mathew “Mathias” Letulu. The two grew quite close, and - knowing how a black might be treated by various ‘political elements’ in the Wehrmacht and Gestapo, Marseilles makes JG-27’s unit commander and a fellow pilot promise that whatever happens to Marseilles, Letulu will be protected from Nazi idiots.

This promise is kept, and “Mathias” moves with the German fighter unit to Tunisia, Sicily and Greece. In Greece in 1944, the unit will conspire to smuggle Mathias into a POW camp, so he could be liberated by the British. In September, 1944, he is liberated - and returns to South Africa after the war.

In 1984, for a AfrikaKorps reunion, surviving members of JG 27 pay for “Mathias” to fly from South Africa to Germany, where he is greeted with great warmth. In 1989, “Mathias” flies to Tobruk to help put a new plaque on Marseille’s grave.

Hope that helps!


This is very helpful and I get more insight on his life and of his actions as well. I thank you so much for your research on him. This was amazing to read about the Star of Africa. Thank you again and Happy Easter to you.

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