Harman Patil (Editor)

Jürgen Harder

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Commands held  JG 11
Battles and wars  World War II
Rank  Major
Years of service  1939–45
Battles/wars  World War II
Unit  Jagdgeschwader 53
Service/branch  Luftwaffe
Buried at  Cemetery St. Marien in Strausberg
Awards  Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
Died  17 February 1945, Strausberg, Germany
Award  Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Jürgen Harder (13 June 1918 – 17 February 1945) was a Luftwaffe fighter ace and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub) during World War II. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. Harder claimed 64 aircraft shot down in approximately 500 missions. Among these 64 aerial victories are 47 victories, including 9 four-engine bombers, achieved over western flown aircraft.



On 25 April 1944 Harder attacked a four-engined bomber formation and shot one of the down and rammed another thereby claiming his aerial victories number 49 and 50.

Harder was killed in an aircraft crash, flying a Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-14 Werk.Nr. 784 738 (factory number) following engine failure on 17 February 1945. Technical experts who analysed the wreckage came to the conclusion that the piston of cylinder 12 had penetrated the engine block. Escaping toxic fumes thus intoxicated Harder who then lost control of the aircraft.

His older brother Harro with eleven credited aerial victories was one of the most successful German fighter pilots of Spanish Civil War. Flying with the III./Jagdgeschwader 53 (JG 53), he was killed in action on 12 August 1940 at the channel front. His brother Rolf was killed in 1943 in Russia on the Eastern Front.


  • Iron Cross (1939) 2nd and 1st class
  • Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe (16 November 1942)
  • German Cross in Gold (12 January 1943)
  • Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
  • Knight's Cross on 5 December 1943 as Hauptmann and Staffelkapitän in the III./Jagdgeschwader 53
  • 727th Oak Leaves on 1 February 1945 as Major and Geschwaderkommodore of the Jagdgeschwader 11
  • References

    Jürgen Harder Wikipedia