Danish WW2 Pilots

Knud Erik Ravnskov

(1911 - 1942)

Knud Erik Ravnskov was one of several trained Danish army or navy pilots who volunteered for Luftwaffe duty, during the Second World War. He never saw combat as he was badly wounded and died following a crash in Krakow 17 September 1942.

Knud Erik Ravnskov was born 29 October 1911 in Nørre Sundby. He is the son of Ole Kristian Andersen og Anna Kirstine Ravnskov. Having graduated from high school, he joins the army's 20th Battallion on 10 November 1930. On 9 November 1931, he is appointed Kornet (Lance corporal) and posted to 6th Battallion. On 14 October 1932, he is accepted at the Army's Officers' School.

On 7 September 1934, he is appointed Sekondløjtnant (2nd Lieutenant) at the 2nd Regiment and he is appointed Premierløjtnant (1st Lieutenant) on 1 November 1934 (Boeck, 1934). From 7 September to 8 October 1936, he is attached to the army’s 3rd Battalion, but from 1 April 1935 he is trained as a pilot in the Army Air Corps. He receives his wings in 9 October 1935 (pilot’s certificate No. 163/35) and is posted at Jydske Flyverafdeling (Jutland section) of the Army Air Corps. He is appointed Kaptajnløjtnant (Lieutenant captain) on 1 November 1938.

At the outbreak of war in Denmark, he is attached to the Army Air Corps Technical Service in Værløse. He is following aeronautics training at the Polytechnic Institute in Copenhagen in 1938-40, which is equivalent to the first part of a Master of Science Degree in Engineering. On 1 January 1941, he is appointed Kaptajn (Captain).

Joining the Luftwaffe

On 8 July 1941, an announcement from the Ministry of War permits commissioned officers of the Danish armed forces to volunteer for Frikorps Denmark (Danish Free Corps). A number of Danish officers enlist; on of these being Knud Erik Ravnskov who volunteers for Luftwaffe service. On 8 July 1941, it is announced that he is on leave without pay from 30 July 1941 onwards. He leaves Copenhagen by train on 5 August 1941 and enlists in Berlin the next day at Hauptamt VI der Waffen SS.

On 14 August 1941, he is posted to Reichüberprufungsstelle Penzlau A/B 120 and after a few days he is transferred to Jagdvorshule. Following about a month of flying training in Prenzlau, he is to be transferred to Jagdfliegerschule 5, Villa Coublay outside Paris, France. He has chosen this posting himself from a number of alternatives.

Due to a bad health – he suffers from rheumatism – this posting is delayed. He is admitted to a hospital in Berlin, while to other Danish officers and pilots, Einar Thorup and Ove Terp is posted to Villa Coublay. He is not posted to Villa Coublay, 1st Staffel in Le Havre, until 23 November 1941. In January 1942, he is transferred to Jagdfliegerschule 1 in Wermunden. He is attached to the 4th Staffel, which is the last part of the training.

In the spring of 1942, for reasons that are not entirely clear the attachment of the Danish pilots to Luftwaffe is questioned and they are sent to Copenhagen. From 1 March 1942, Knud Erik Ravnskov is posted at the Blindfliegerschule in Kastrup. In the end of April the status of the Danish pilots is cleared and he is posted to the Ergänzungs-Jagdgruppe Ost, where he is attached to 1st Staffel that is a training unit for Jagdgeschwader 51 ‘Mölders.’

During May 1942, he commences training on the Bf. 109F, which is the type of aircraft he is intended to fly operationally, but again he is admitted to hospital due to his bad health.

The last sortie

In the end of August 1942, he is discharged from the hospital and after a brief leave he returns again to 1st Staffel, Krakow, which is intended to move to the south of France. On 14 September 1942, Knud Erik Ravnskov recommences flying practice, and it is obvious from his own description that he is influenced by the long stay in hospital.

17 September 1942, during an emergency landing in Krakow, he is badly wounded. He dies the next day from his injuries. On this particular day, he flies Bf. 109 F-1 “Weisse 18” (Wk. nr. 6609) (Ravnskov, 2000; Neulen, 2000).