In the brutal air war in Europe in WWII, a famous German ace died in a bold and unforgettable death after saying an absolutely iconic, and haunting final words.
When the war began in 1939, the young Heinrich Ehrler was serving anti-aircraft artillery for Germany. But shortly after, he joined the Luftwaffe fought against the Soviets, and racked up a total of 40 kills.
Famous German Ace
In May of 1942, Ehrler would tally his 100th kill, becoming the 40th German ace to surpass the century mark.
This achievement earned him the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with oak leaves presented in person by Adolf Hitler. By the end of 1944, he would eventually claim more than 200 kills.
Debates on Kill Counts
According to many historians, the claim from Ehrler’s unit, and especially from him, in particular, have been likely inflated.
Historians estimate that when Soviet records are taken into consideration, a more accurate kill count Ehrler got is more likely around 150 instead of the 208 that he claimed.
The sinking of the legendary German battleship Turpitz likely contributed to Ehrler’s demise. This led to him being demoted and put into prison.
Although he was pardoned, this incident and the loss of rank that came with it made him lose his ambition and the flame that came with it that made him one of Luftwaffe’s most skilled pilots.
On April 4, 1945, he and his squadron were to intercept a massive force of American bombers. He managed to shoot down two Flying Fortresses, but his cannon ceased firing, exhausting all his ammunition.
In a final eerie, haunting radio transmission that was heard, “Theo. Heinrich here. Have shot down two bombers. No ammunition. I’m going to ram him. See you in Valhalla.”
The obvious conclusion for this is that he pointed his jet fighter directly at the enemy bomber and flew right into the enemy, killing himself and the American crew as well.