Hans Joachim Marseille was in just one year to become the highest scorer against the RAF in North Africa. Marseille was also known by the following names The Star Of Africa, Yellow 14, African Eagle and Star Of The Desert. Marseille  was born in Berlin on the 13th of December 1919, he was the son of Sigfried Marseille who was a First World War pilot, Jochen as he was called by his friends loved everything about flying and aeroplanes,  and so at the earliest opportunity he enlisted into the Luftwaffe, he began his flight training on the 7th of November 1938 at the age of 18. His ability as a pilot shone through, but his discipline was another matter and he was at constant odds with his commanding officers. By August 1940 Marseille had joined his first unit 4/JG 52 under the famous pilot Johannes Steinhoff, he was at first assigned to channel duty during The Battle Of Britain and this is where he scored his first victory a Spitfire on just his third Sortie.



Early in 1941 Marseille was sent to North Africa he was assigned to I/JG 27 here he was to score the units first victory , but around this time he was also shot down himself, upon belly landing over thirty bullet holes were found in his Messerscmit. It was here again that Marseille found himself at odds with his superiors, whilst flying on a patrol near Tobruk Marseille sighted a flight of Bleniem Bombers, before any once else in his unit had sighted the formation Marseille was off!!. He pumped shells into one of the bombers engines and sent it crashing earthwards. Marseille was severely reprimanded for this action and it was said of Marseille that he found it very difficult to fight in a concerted attack with his unit and would rather race of and fight alone, thus on returning to base his plane would often be riddled with enemy bullet holes. By May of 1941 Marseille had been promoted to the rank of Leutant and had 14 victories to his name, it was also around this time that Marseille now being an officer was entitled to a 'Batman' or servant, he choose a man by the name of Mathias and the two would become very close friends.

Mathias -  Marseille's 'Batman' the two would become very close 



Marseille far right

The first of Marseille's many multiple victory dogfights was on the 22nd of November 1941 when his unit engaged 14 Hurricanes, Marseille accounted for 4 of these. By the 2nd of December 1941 Marseille's score had risen to 33 and he had found his combat style. He was awarded the Ritterkreuz on the 22nd of February 1942 for his 50th victory. It was around this time that Marseille learned that his sister had died, he was devested, he spoke to no one and lived only to fly, on the 3rd of June 1942 he shot down six Kittyhawks in just 11 minutes, on the 17 of June he reached  the 100 mark when he shot down ten planes, six of these in just  seven minutes. By now back home in Germany Marseille had become a national hero, he became engaged during a trip home to Germany and set a date for a Christmas wedding. On his return to Africa Marseille shot down 10 aircraft on his first day of action, by now though the Luftwaffe were outnumbered by six to one. On the first of September 1942 Marseille would shoot down 17 aircraft in just one day. But  the allies had had enough of their nemesis 'yellow 14' and would attack him in groups of five or six.


Marseille was now showing signs of continual combat and on the 30 of September 1942 he stepped into his cockpit for what would be his final time. On a routine patrol looking for enemy aircraft smoke started to poor into his cockpit, unable to breath Marseille decided to bail out, as he was attempting to bail though, the plane dropped slightly and Marseille was struck by the tail, Marseille fell 4 miles to his death. Marseille had flown 388 sorties in just over a year and had 157 victories to his name. Hundreds of Germans and Italian military travelled to his funeral to pay their respects. A pyramid was erected over his grave with a plaque that read 'here lies undefeated Hptm Hans Marseille'.