Original German WWII Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves Recipient Walter Krupinski, Luftwaffe Fighter Ace - Signed Artwork by JG Keck

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a wonderful print by artist J.G. Keck and is signed by both the artist and Walter Krupinski. Walter Krupinski was a WWII German Fighter Ace who received the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross With Oak Leaves following his 174th Aerial Victory. Like the Knight's Cross to which it was added, the Oak Leaves clasp could be awarded for leadership, distinguished service or personal gallantry.

This 25 ½” x 19 ½” print features an image of Krupinski in his flight uniform wearing his Knights Cross with Oak Leaves and the unit emblem for Jagdgeschwader 52 (JG 52) on the left just behind him. The image is in wonderful condition and still easily discernible.

Walter Krupinski was a German Luftwaffe fighter ace in World War II and a senior West German Air Force officer during the Cold War. He was one of the highest-scoring pilots in the war, credited with 197 victories in 1,100 sorties. He was called by his fellow pilots Graf Punski (Count Punski) due to his Prussian origins. Krupinski was one of the first to fly the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter in combat as a member of Jagdverband 44 (JV 44—44th Fighter Detachment) led by Adolf Galland.

Born in the Weimar Republic in 1920, Krupinski joined the Luftwaffe in 1939 and completed his flight training in 1940. Flying with Jagdgeschwader 52 (JG 52–52nd Fighter Wing), he claimed his first victory in August 1941 and his total rose steadily against Soviet Air Forces. In October 1942, Krupinski was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and was appointed squadron leader of 7. Staffel (7th squadron) of JG 52 in March 1943. Krupinski was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves for 174 aerial victories. He was then transferred, serving with Jagdgeschwader 5 (JG 5—5th Fighter Wing) and was then given command of II. Gruppe (2nd group) of Jagdgeschwader 11 (JG 11—11th Fighter Wing) in 1944. Wounded in a flight accident in August, he commanded III. Gruppe of Jagdgeschwader 26 "Schlageter" (JG 26—26th Fighter Wing) following his convalescence in September. He finished the war serving with Jagdverband 44 (JV 44—44th Fighter Detachment), flying the Me 262, and surrendered to the Western Allies in May 1945.

After the war, Krupinski joined the German Air Force of the Bundeswehr, serving until 1976 when he was forced into early retirement. Krupinski died in Neunkirchen-Seelscheid on 7 October 2000.

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