The First ACE of the Luftwaffe in WW2 was Hauptman Johannes Gentzen. This is the pewter platter presented to Gentzen by the Officer Corp. of JG231. NOTE: the Luftwaffe wings in this piece are original. The inscribed panel reads as follows:
Luftwaffe’s First “ACE” JOHANNES GENTZEN
PEWTER PLATTER AWARD
Gruppenkommandeur (Group Commander)
Jagdgeschwader (Fighter Wing) JG 231
November 1, 1938 – May 1, 1939
Framing – Length 32”, Width 32”, Depth 4”
Platter – 9”dia.
Johannes “Hannes” Gentzen was the first “ACE” of the Luftwaffe during World War II. During his time as Group Commander of JG 231, Johannes Gentzen was presented with this Pewter Platter Award from his officer group for his leadership of JG 231. Johannes Gentzen was Group Commander of JG 231 located in Bernburg, Germany from November 1, 1938 to May 1, 1939. Piloting the Messerschmitt BF109D, Johannes Gentzen quickly accumulated five (5) victories over the skies of Poland, making him GERMANY’S FIRST ACE. As quick as his success was, so too was his fate. Johannes Gentzen was killed on May 26th 1940 in a twin engine BF-110C (fighter/attack bomber) while on take-off to intercept a pair of Royal Air Force Blenheim Bombers. Both Johannes Gentzen and his gunner, Lieutenant Colonel Domeier were killed on impact after the tail of their airplane struck a tree and cart-wheeled at the end of the airfield. At the time of his death, Gentzen had achieved the rank of Major (Oberstabsarzt).
At that time, Johannes Gentzer was the most efficient pilot of the Luftwaffe with nine (9) total aerial victories. Johannes Gentzen is also known as the most successful pilot of the Polish campaign, with his closest competition at the time being Werner Molders, who went on to win the Knights Cross, and be the first Wehrmacht soldier awarded the oak leaves, swords, and diamonds to his Knights Cross.
Although his flying career was short, Johannes “Hannes” Gentzen will always be known as the FIRST ACE OF THE LUFTWAFFE!
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