- Second World War (1939-1945)
- Hauptmann (Flight Lieutenant)
- m.F.b., I. Gruppe, Schlachtgeschwader 1, Luftwaffe
- Awarded on:
- April 14th, 1943
Dörffel’s Oakleaves recommendation reads as follows…
“Hauptmann Dörfer has demonstrated singular attacking spirit and exceptional leadership abilities over the course of flying in excess of 750 sorties, many of which were conducted whilst serving as commander of a Schlachtgruppe. In all this time Hauptmann Dörffel consistently exuded an admirable readiness for duty at the spearhead of his unit, and rendered achievements that mark him out as among the best of the German officer corps. Whether in the skies above Stalingrad, or during the fearsome winter combat that followed, Hauptmann Dörffel was always an inspiring example for his pilots.
On the 02.11.1942 the Schlachtgruppe received the mission of attacking a heavily defended section of Volga riverbank located in the city of Stalingrad. Here the Bolsheviks had turned the canal system into a formidable bunker complex. Bomber and Stuka formations had repeatedly attacked the place without success, as the most critical positions of the bunker complex were dug into the bluffs along the Volga itself. The bunkers could thus only be effectively attacked via low-level bombing attack. However such an attack would have to fly over the eastern bank of the Volga, which was studded with AA defenses.
Undeterred by this powerful AA threat, Hauptmann Dörffel flew against his assigned targets just a few metres above the surface of the Volga river. This bold attack managed to overcome the heavy AA fire, and the bombs struck their targets from the side. Devastating hits were the results of this courageous attack. During the second attack run Hauptmann Dörffel and his Staffeln encountered even stronger AA fire than before. MGs and AA guns of all types shot at the attacking aircraft. However this attack was also successful, and the fortifications along this narrow strip of riverbank were smashed. Subsequently the AA positions were attacked with on-board weaponry. The aircraft conducted these low-level attacks with fearlessness, and shot up the gun crews in a number of very low-level attacks. Hauptmann Dörffel and his men only returned home after all the ammunition had been expended.
Thanks to the Schlachtgruppe’s effective bombing attack here, conducted under Hauptmann Dörffel’s prudent leadership, our infantry succeeded in storming this fortified strip along the Volga.
Hauptmann Dörffel and his Gruppe likewise distinguished themselves during the heavy defensive combat between the Don and Donez rivers. Despite the very bad weather conditions involved, the Schlachtgruppe was able to inflict very high losses in men and materiel on the enemy. Hauptmann Dörffel achieved particularly notable success during the elimination of a deep enemy penetration at Krammartorskaja. Thanks to a combination of good air-ground coordination and tactically effective attacks, the 11. Panzer-Division was effectively supported in its counterattack. Similarly outstanding successes were achieved when Hauptmann Dörffel supported another friendly counterattack southwest of Voroshilovgrad.
Hauptmann Dörffel is particularly worthy of being awarded the Oakleaves to the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross on account of his singular bravery and its’ associated achievements on the battlefield.”
Dörffel had flown a total of 773 sorties by the time the recommendation was written.