Bernhard Jope

Bernhard Jope

Bernhard Jope
Born (1914-05-10)10 May 1914
Died 31 July 1995(1995-07-31) (aged 81)
Königstein im Taunus
Buried at city cemetery at Königstein im Taunus
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch  Luftwaffe
Years of service 1935–45
Rank Oberstleutnant
Unit KG 30, KG 40, KG 100
Commands held KG 40, KG 100
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
Other work Deutsche Luft Hansa pilot

Bernhard Jope (10 May 1914 – 31 July 1995) was a German World War II Luftwaffe bomber pilot. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves. 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. Jope flew the Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor of the Kampfgeschwader 40 on missions across the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean in support of the Kriegsmarine, damaging in October 1940 the RMS Empress of Britain. In 1943, he led Kampfgeschwader 100 (KG 100—100th Bomber Wing) in the attacks on the Italian battleship Roma, the British battleship HMS Warspite and cruiser HMS Uganda, and the US cruiser USS Savannah.


Bernhard Jope joined the military service of the Luftwaffe on 1 April 1935 after graduating from the Königliche Technische Hochschule zu Danzig (technical university in Gdańsk-Wrzeszcz) in aircraft construction. Prior to joining the military service he had already almost completed his flight training at the Deutsche Verkehrsfliegerschule (German Air Transport School).[1]

In support of the Kriegsmarine, Jope flew the Fw 200 Condor on experimental missions across the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean on behalf of Deutsche Luft Hansa. On 26 October 1940 he spotted the troop transport RMS Empress of Britain and severely damaged her with two 250 kg bombs. The Empress of Britain was subsequently sunk by U-32, commanded by Hans Jenisch, on 28 October 1940.

During his time at Kampfgeschwader 100 (KG 100) Jope led an attack on 9 September 1943 on the Italian battle fleet that was sailing from La Spezia en route to Malta, to surrender to the Allies. Jope led a formation of eleven Dornier 217's armed with the Fritz X radio controlled glide bomb and in the ensuing action the 45,000 ton Italian battleship Roma was hit twice and sank. The Roma's sister ship, Italia, was hit by a single Fritz and seriously damaged, but was able to make it to Malta. In later action, Jope and KG 100 scored hits with the Fritz on the British battleship HMS Warspite and cruiser HMS Uganda, and the US cruiser USS Savannah.

After the war

After the war, and his subsequent time in captivity, Jope was flying again, this time working until his retirement as a pilot for Lufthansa. Jope died on 31 July 1995, in Königstein.




  1. 1 2 3 Kaiser 2010, p. 44.
  2. Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 212.
  3. 1 2 Scherzer 2007, p. 423.


  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) [1986]. Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches] (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. 
  • Kaiser, Jochen (2010). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Kampfflieger—Band 1 [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the Bomber Fliers—Volume 1] (in German and English). Bad Zwischenahn, Germany: Luftfahrtverlag-Start. ISBN 978-3-941437-07-4. 
  • Patzwall, Klaus D.; Scherzer, Veit (2001). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II [The German Cross 1941 – 1945 History and Recipients Volume 2] (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8. 
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Militaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. 
  • Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, 1. September 1939 bis 31. Dezember 1941 [The Wehrmacht Reports 1939–1945 Volume 1, 1 September 1939 to 31 December 1941] (in German). München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 978-3-423-05944-2. 
Military offices
Preceded by
Major Fritz Auffhammer
Geschwaderkommodore of Kampfgeschwader 100
10 September 1943 – 8 August 1944
Succeeded by
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