Last Saturday Morten was fortunate to meet former Stuka pilot Hans Deibl in his house in the eastern part of Austria. During the four hour visit many interesting stories were told by Herr Deibl about his time in flying school and as a Stuka pilot in North Africa where he served for two and a half month with Stukageschwader 3. He flew sixteen combat missions and has vivid memories about most of them. In particular, he remembers his first combat mission that took place 2-3 days after he arrived to the front. Under the command of Oberleutnant Mossdorf, who was the Staffelkapitän of 3. Staffel, Hans was given “a tour of the frontline” when they attacked Tobruk harbor and dived through an intense anti-aircraft defense in order to release their bombs on British supply ships. Much to his surprise he survived the attack, but this kind of action got on the nerves of some pilots who faked engine problems or other mechanical problems before reaching the target area.

DeiblLeutnant Deibl was shot down by South African fighter pilot Cecil Golding on 3 June 1942, eight days after Rommel’s offensive against the Gazala-Bir Hacheim line was launched. Deibl was captured by the British and spent four years in captivity in Canada – most of the time trying to make or carry out escape plans. Hans was badly burnt when he was shot down, but recovered very well, which surprised Cecil Golding when they met 70 years after the incident in South Africa. Despite his age Hans Deibl travelled alone to South Africa in 2012 to meet with the SAAF Curtiss Tomahawk pilot who shot him down over the desert.

Herr Deibl’s wartime story is told in length here: follow this link