Josef 'Pips' Priller joined the Luftwaffe in 1935 and on October 1, 1939, was appointed Staffelkapit'n of 6./JG 51. He gained his first victories on May 28, 1940 over Dunkirk in aerial combat with RAF fighters. On October 17, Oberleutnant Priller claimed his 20th victory and claimed at least fourteen victories in the Battle of Britain. On November 20, 1940, Priller was transferred as Staffelkapit'n to 1./JG 26 and claimed several victories between June 16 and July 11, 1941, shooting down 19 RAF aircraft, including 17 Spitfire fighters, to bring his victory total to 39. Hauptmann Priller became Gruppenkommandeur of III./JG 26 on December 6, 1941. He recorded his 60th victory on March 27, 1942 and his 70th victory on May 5.