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Drewes, Martin

Date of birth:
October 20th, 1918 (Lobmachtersen, Germany)
Date of death:
October 13th, 2013 (Blumenau, Brazil)
Nationality:
German (1933-1945, German Reich)

Biography

Martin Drewes was born on October 20th 1918 as son of a pharmacist. He started his military career on November 2nd 1937 when he entered service with Panzer- Regiment 6 (3. Panzer-Division) in Neuruppin. In October 1938 he was sent to the Army School in München and on a solemn occasion on 1 August 1939 in Tannenberg-Denkmal, he was promoted to
Leutnant. At the end of his training he decided to transfer to the Luftwaffe. His
request was granted because of a potential shortage of pilots for the new
squadrons within the Luftwaffe. He trained as a pilot and in February 1941,
he joined II.Gruppe des Zerstörer-Geschwaders 76.

This so-called Haifischgruppe (Group of Sharks) flew patrols over the North Sea. In mid-April he took part in an operational mission in Iraq and Syria, called Sonderkommando Junck (Special command Junck), which was tasked to support the revolt against the British. On 20
June 1941, he made his first aerial over Iraq, a Gloster Gladiator. From mid-June to the end of October he flew over the North Sea once again where on 29 August 1941, he shot down a Spitfire. He flew a total of 88 sorties until then and scored only two victories with his slower Me-110. Around this time, the British night bombing raids over Germany increased
dramatically. Finally, it is decided to introduce a new form of aerial warfare by converting most Zerstörer Geschwader (Destroyer Wings), equipped with the new and successful Messerschmitt Bf-110 C/D to Nachtjagd Geschwader (Nightfighter Wings). So Drewes, recently promoted to Oberleutnant and his II./ Zerstörer-Geschwader 76 was retrained in this way too and renamed III./Nachtjagdgeschwader 3.

Drewes' nightly victories increased with time. He scored his first night
aerial victory on 17/18 January 1943. In May, he transferred to II./NJG-1
and on 1 August, took command of the Group as Staffelkapitän. On 1 March 1944, he was promoted to Kommandeur of III./NJG-1 and received the Knight's Cross after his 48th victory on 27 July. On the night of 20/21 July, northeast of Tubbergen near the Dutch-German
border, he shot down two Lancaster bombers but was injured and shot down
himself. He and his crew, Oberfeldwebel Petz and Feldwebel Handke had to use their parachutes and escape their damaged aircraft. On the night of 3/4 March 1945, Drewes scored his last victory in the air. On 17 April, after 52 victories he received the Oakleaves. He ended the war with 235 sorties and 52 victories to his credit. He shot down 50 four-engine bombers, 43 of which were at night, most of them Lancasters, a total of seven B-17s and B-24s and two fighters.

At the end of the war he was captured by the British and during an
interrogation, was told that 'those enormous German scores against the RAF
were pure fantasy'. Drewes told them to browse the RAF operational records
to see how many planes had been lost; this good advice cost him several
months in a British prison camp. In February 1947, after release from imprisonment, he immigrated to Brazil. He married a Brazilian woman and worked in Brazilian civil air service as a pilot, in industry in Sao Paula, in a trading company in Rio de Janeiro and
finally for 20 years as Chief Executive of the Volkswagen works, Volkswagen
Corretagem de Securos Ltda.

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Unit:
II. Gruppe, Nachtjagdgeschwader 1, Luftwaffe
Awarded on:
April 9th, 1943
Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Oberleutnant (Lieutenant)
Unit:
Staffelkapitän, 11. Staffel, IV. Gruppe, Nachtjagdgeschwader 1, Luftwaffe
Awarded on:
February 24th, 1944
Details:
Award 5/310
Deutsches Kreuz in Gold
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Oberleutnant (Lieutenant)
Unit:
Staffelkapitän, 11. Staffel, IV. Gruppe, Nachtjagdgeschwader 1, Luftwaffe
Awarded on:
February 24th, 1944
Luftwaffe Ehrenpokale für besondere Leistungen im Luftkrieg
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Hauptmann (Captain)
Unit:
Kommandeur, Stab, III. Gruppe, Nachtjagdgeschwader 1, Luftwaffe
Awarded on:
July 27th, 1944
Details:
1295th Award
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Major
Unit:
Kommandeur, Stab, III. Gruppe, Nachtjagdgeschwader 1, Luftwaffe
Awarded on:
April 17th, 1945
Details:
839th Award
Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub

Sources