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Mission: Defence of the Reich.

Date: 8th April 1944

Unit: 2 Staffel./Jagdgeschwader 11

Type: Focke Wulf Fw 190A-7


Coded: + 14 (Black 14)

Location: In woodland (Schweimke) Germany.

Pilot: Unteroffizier. Ortlieb Uher. 68420/359 - Killed. Born.10.09.1922 in Brünn.


This aircraft was shot down by U.S fighters in combat over the Lüneburger Heide. This was the first mission for the young German pilot, and it is not known why he did not bale out after being hit? I suppose that he could have been killed during the combat. Ortlieb Uher perished in the crash of his Focke Wulf 190A-7 aged just 22 years.

Extracts from Prien & Rodeike’s book; Missions in Defence of the Reich from 1939 – 1945 Part 2.

Translated from the German by Anne Wadingham +

…At more or less the same time as JG 1 the Staff Flight with the I./ and III./JG 11 were also on mission and the complete JG 11 seems to have been engaged as one fighting unit against the “fourmotors” ; At circa 13.40 hours the Focke Wulfs met south of Uelzen, in flying B-24’s of the 2
nd Bomb Division who, with course set to the east, were protected by numerous Mustangs; and an embittered, for both sides extremely costly, confrontation followed. After both groups of JG 11 had been able to fly a first concentrated frontal attack and during that episode managed to shoot down or send off eight Liberators, the Mustangs of the protecting unit threw themselves at the German hunters and an extensive battle ensued, in the course of which six P-51 Mustangs were shot down. The reported total of fourteen successes of the JG 11 was divided as follows…

These successes had to be set against very sad losses, as on this day JG 11 had to regret the loss of at least eleven fallen and three wounded and the total loss of twenty machines. Uffz. Ortlieb Uher was shot down during an engagement near Wittingen, district Giffhorn, whilst Uffz. Henri Tiedemann was shot down in the region of Unterlues and though wounded, managed to climb out. Rudolf Schmid, who meanwhile, after attending “War school” had been promoted to “Leading Officer Cader”, was shot down and wounded further east, near Schmoelau district Salzwedel.

Letter to the Uher familywritten by Oberleutnant. Engau 10.04.1944

Dear Family Uher,

I am writing this letter in great sadness and with deepest sympathy to tell you more of the heroic death of your son. He had been with our Squadron for only a short time and had completely conquered our hearts. We all loved him and it hit us harder when we heard of his death. It was his first enemy engagement with our Squadron. I myself was there and was also shot down. Uffz. Uher had, as I, engaged with a superior American force of fighters was hit fatally. I do not know anymore details. His loss hit us badly and, please be certain that we all commiserate deeply with you. Words can not bring consolation, they must remain an attempt. May it be some consolation to you that numerous other mothers and parents are sharing your pain How many of the best have given theie blood and life to this mighty and holy German battle. Your son too unselfishly and bravely, stormed at the head of the German nation, with the best against the enemy to give Germany a brighter future. “Better to die bravely than live a coward! – that was his motto and must be ours as well. His example will be our duty.

The Squadron and all of us who new your son are with you in your sadness. May that give you some comfort.

With deepest sympathy,

Oblt. Engau.

(1)Ortlied & Fw 190cc(2) Ortlieb Portrait
cccccccccccccccccccOrtlieb with Focke Wulf 190. (Brownless) cccccccccccccccccUffz. Ortlieb Uher killed on his first mission. (Brownless)

During 1996 I contacted the sister of Orlieb who lived in Schwandorf. Traute Uher now Lothary was very kind in helping me with my research into the fate of her brother. I promised her that I would find the place where Ortlieb lost his life and also visit his grave and take some flowers. I was in regular contact with Traute from 1996 to 2000. It was then I received a letter from her daughter Brigitta who informed me that her mother was in early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

I kept my promise to Traute and set the wheels in motion to locate the crash site. I knew that the aircraft crashed near a place called Schweimke so I wrote to the Mayor’s office to see if they could help.

One of the letters that Traute had given me was addressed to her father; Feldwebel. Uher . The letter was from the Buergermeister of Schweimke dated 16.09.1944. This letter was original and was hand written in the old German text. Luckily my elderly German friend at the time could translate it!

I received your letter of the 29.08.1944 and like to express my deep felt sympathy at the heroic death of your son. Unfortunately, I can give you no more exact details of the dog fight in which your son was engaged. It happened just about lunchtime and there were no villagers in the fields. Two German fighter planes crashed – 800m west and 200m northwest of Schweimke.

The first one was quite likely your son’s aircraft. The plane had obviously, whilst flying very low at high speed, attempted to cange direction and had touched the ground, disintegrating completely without starting to burn. The pilot’s seat and the pilot were catapulted approximately 100m, death must have occurred instantaneously. It is of course possible, that the pilot received a fatal shot and that the pilotless plane crashed at furious speed.
I received, straight after the event, notification and went with the police and was present when police identified the dead man. He had long blond hair. All the dead were then laid into coffins by the military and collected by lorry. The funeral for the “Hunter” pilot’s took place on the 16.04.1944. with the whole population of the region taking part, at the nearby War Cemetery Isenhagel-Hankensbuettel. The graves are well kept – with flowers and wreaths.
From the Bürgermeister in Schweimke came a map with the rough location of the crash site. Plans were drawn up and it was decided that myself and David King would travel by car, stopping off in Holland first to see an old digging friend. From Holland we travelled to Detmold to meet up with Fritz Schlichting, a former Ju 88 reconnaissance pilot. I had been investigating his unit since 1996 and was going to collect some photo albums from him to copy. From Detmold we travelled to meet a new friend called Ruediger Kaufmann, he investigated crash sites in his area and offered to help in the search.
Crash site located on the 27th May 2006 in woodland as marked by the Bürgermeister Werner Rodewald. A search of the area by Melvin Brownless, David King and Rüdiger & Ricardo Kaufmann resulted in some fragments being found. The grave of Ortlieb Uher was also visited and flowers were left in remembrance of this fallen pilot

(3) Melvin, Ruediger, David
Melvin Brownless. Rüdiger Kaufmann and David King discuss our visit to crash site.

(4) Ortlieb crash site
Ortlieb’s Fw 190 crashed in the wooded area on left of track. (Kaufmann)

(5) Fw 190 Cowling catch
A cowling clip with surviving paint discovered at the crash site during our visit.(Brownless)

(6) Fw 190 Cowling catch location

(7) Ruediger, Melvin & David at Hankensbuttel
Our visit to Hankensbüttel to pay our respects at the grave of Ortl on behalf of his sister Traute.

ccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccRuediger Kaufmann, Melvin Brownless and David King. (Kaufmann)

(8) David, Melvin, Ricardo
David, Melvin and Ricardo Kaufmann. (Kaufmann)

(9) Grave Ortl Uher
Friedhof Isenhagen/Hankensbüttel (Kries Gifhorn) Grave Nr. 17 Ortlieb Uher (Brownless)

(10) Death notice Uher, Uffz. Ortlieb 08.04.1944

(11) Ortl's original grave
Original grave photographed in 1944 and sent to the Uher family (Brownless)

(12) A mother who lost a soncc(13) A mother at the graveside
ccccThe mother who lost a son..(Brownless) ccccccccccccccccccMother at his grave, her sadness hidden by her glassescc

(14) Young Uher, Uffz. Ortlieb
Family Photographs in memory of Ortlieb Uher 1922 – 1944 Aged 22.

(15) Ortlieb with his family
L to R; Sister, Irmgard, Father, Leopold, Mother, Johanna, Ortlieb and sister, Traute (Brownless)

(16) Young Luftwaffe recruitcc(17) Working with pick axe not flying
A raw recruit in the Luftwaffe to become a pilot.
ccccccccccccccccccccc “I thought I’d be flying” not working a pick axe!

(18) Ortlieb with glider comrades
Ortl pictured third from left with his flying comrades whilst learning to fly gliders. (Brownless)

(19) Ortl's glider

(20) Getting mail from home Letters from home – the young airmen enjoy news from home. (Brownless)

(21) Smiling in Junkers W 34
The happy smiling face of Ortlieb before a flight in a Junkers W34. (Brownless)

(22) Junkers W34 Flugzeugfuehrerschule A/B 1 Goerlitz o5.04.1942.(Brownless)

(23) Training biplanes

(24) Ready for flight

(25) Ortl in Fw 190
Ortlieb training in a Focke Wulf Fw 190 (Brownless)

(26) In memory of Ortlieb Uher

Researched and compiled by Melvin Brownless, David King and Ruediger Kaufmann, with special thanks to Traute Lothary and her family for creating this page of remembrance for a long lost brother. April 2015


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