Monday, November 24, 2008

Major Rolf-Günther Hermichen 1918-2014

Rolf-Günther Hermichen was born on 25 July 1918 at Wernigeroge. After finishing pilot school Leutnant Hermichen was posted to 6./ZG 1 to fly Bf 110s. He shot down his first enemy aircraft on 10 May 1940 during the French campaign. He had recorded four victories by the time of the French capitulation. With the same unit, but renamed 9./ZG 76, he took part in the Battle of Britain. Hermichen shot down his fifth victim on 12 August 1940. On 25 April 1941, 9./ZG 76 was redesignated 6./SKG 210. Hermichen took part in Operation Barbarossa with the unit undertaking numerous fighter bomber and ground attack missions. He also recorded three aerial victories during his time in Russia. Oberleutnant Hermichen joined III./JG 26 on 1 November 1941. He was assigned to 7./JG 26. In March 1942 he was Adjutant to Gruppenkommandeur of III./JG 26, Hauptmann Josef Priller (101 victories, RK-S), on the Western Front. On 1 May, he became Staffelkapitän of 3./JG 26. His score stood at 13 victories. Over Dieppe on 19 August 1942 he achieved his 17th and 18th victories. On 6 December he achieved his 20th victory.

After moving with I./JG 26 to the Eastern front in January 1943, he added eight Soviet fighters to his tally. I./JG 26 relocated back to the Channel front in June.
Hauptmann Hermichen was appointed temporary Gruppenkommandeur of III./JG 26 on 15 June 1943. He relinquished command to Hauptmann Klaus Mietusch (75 victories, RK-EL, killed in action 17 September 1944) on 4 July 1943. He returned to 3./JG 26 as Staffelkapitän. On 16 October 1943, Major Hermichen was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of I./JG 11 based at Husum. On 20 February he shot down four B-24s , on 6 March he shot down three B-17s and on 8 March again shot down four four-engined bombers in 20 minutes. On 26 March 1944, after his 61st victory, he was awarded the Ritterkreuz. His 64th, and last, kill was over a P-51 on 24 April. He ended operational flying in May. In the dying days of the war he became Gruppenkommandeur of II./JG 104. With this unit he was awarded the Eichenlaub on 19 February 1945 (Nr 748).
Rolf-Günther Hermichen flew 629 combat missions and shot down 64 enemy aircraft.