|Allegiance Nazi Germany|
Commands held JG 11
Battles and wars World War II
|Years of service 1939–45|
Battles/wars World War II
Unit Jagdgeschwader 53
|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.