ERNST-WILHELM REINERT - KNIGHTS CROSS WITH OAK LEAVES & SWORDS - Signed Photo
Ernest-Wilhelm Reinert became one of the Luftwaffe's most successful 'Aces' during WW2. First posted to the Training Unit of JG77, he spent the first years of the war patrolling the Atlantic Coast before his entire Geschwader were transferred East to participate in 'Operation Barbarossa' in June 1941. Reinert was assigned to 4th Staffel and scored his first aerial victory in August 1941 and by September had 16 victories to his credit.
In February 1942 Reinert and his Unit were briefly moved to the West to take part in the 'Channel Dash' under the command of Adolf Galland. Following this, Reinert returned to the fight on the Eastern Front and found himself on the Crimea, where by May 1942 he had amassed 44 victories. The pace of combat was relentless - Reinert shot down 26 Soviet aircraft in July 1942 alone - and was awarded the Knights Cross for his efforts. On 3rd October 1942 Reinert passed the 100 victory mark with a spate of multiple victories but by November 1942 his Unit was moved to North Africa to assist the Axis forces, which were now under extreme pressure following the Allied victory at El Alamein.
On 2nd January 1943 Reinert claimed two P-40's shot down for his first victims in the battle for Tunisia and, unlike many Luftwaffe aces who found themselves struggling in the West after success in the East, Reinert proved adept at tangling with Western-flown opponents! Among the types now appearing on his list of victories were P-40 Kittyhawks, Spitfires and US P-38 Lightnings! On 1st March 1943 Reinert added some P-39 Airacobras to his list, probably from the 81st FG, who lost seven aircraft in the action. Reinert continued to score heavily against US Units but the RAF were still in evidence - on 16th April 1943 Reinert claimed a 'Mustang' shot down in combat - probably the clipped wing Spitfire Vb of Ian 'Widge' Gleed. On 8th May 1943 Reinert and the remaining pilots of his Unit evacuated thier bases in North Africa and retired to Sicily - even during this flight, Reinert spotted an F4F Martlet fighter, which he shot down for yet another victory!
Over Italy, Allied airpower was so overwhelming that not even 'experte' of the quality of Reinert could make any impact. Despite scoring more victories, Reinert could make no difference to the outcome. In April 1944 Reinert left JG77 and was posted to JG27 in Defence of the Reich. Still flying the trusty Me109G, Reinert flew over the Invasion Front in June 1944, claiming a P-47 Thunderbolt over Caen before IV/JG27 were withdrawn. Reinert took part in the ill-fated 'Operation Bodenplatte' on 1st January 1945 before being promoted to Gruppenkommandeur of IV/JG27.
On 23rd March 1945 Reinert reported to JG7 to begin training flights in the Me262 jet fighter but did not fly any combat sorties before the end of the war.
Reinert's final tally was 174 victories scored over every major theatre of war. He died in 2007 aged 88.
This is a very nice post war signed photo Postcard measuring 6 x 4 Inches which also has a personalised dedication written on the rear.