Franz Schwaiger

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Franz Schwaiger
Born 1 February 1918
Ulm
Died 24 April 1944(1944-04-24) (aged 26)
Rain am Lech
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Luftwaffe
Years of service 1941-1944
Rank Leutnant
Unit JG 3
Battles/wars

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Franz Schwaiger (1 February 1918 – 24 April 1944) was a German Luftwaffe ace and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross during World War II. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership - for the fighter pilots, it was a quantifiable measure of skill and success.

Military career[edit]

Franz completed his pilot training in the summer of 1941, just as the German invasion of Russia (Operation Barbarossa) opened.[1][2] He was posted, as an Unteroffizier, with 6./JG 3, a part of II./JG 3 under the command of Gordon Gollob and fighting with Army Group South. Schwaiger quickly earned his first air victory, on 16.08.1941, but by the end of the year had reached a total of eight victories at which time his unit was rotated back to the Reich for rest and re-equipping.[3]

A short secondment for his Gruppe to the Mediterranean Theatre, from January to April 1942, yielded no further success for Franz, but upon their return to the Eastern Front in May he started scoring steadily. Again covering Army Group South and the advance across the Ukraine toward Stalingrad, he scored his 20th victory on 31 July. The next week he was transferred to 2./JG 3, in the same sector. He scored his 30th victory on 17 August, and his 40th on 29 September, between which he had been transferred again, this time to 3./JG 3. Promoted to Feldwebel in early October, he scored his 50th victory on the 9th before being awarded the Knight's Cross, for 53 victories, on 29 October.

At the start of 1943 as the disaster at Stalingrad unfolded, and with 56 victories, Franz was sent for officer-training. Commissioned as a Leutnant, he returned to I./JG 3 as their highest-scoring pilot. In the intervening months the Gruppe had been recalled to Germany for Defence of the Reich duties against the increasingly intensive bombing raids of the 8th United States Army Air Forces (USAAF). This was a completely different type of aerial warfare - at high altitude and against the slow but very heavily armed box-formations of American bombers. Based around the industrial Ruhr heartland and Holland for the next year, he slowly added to his score.

He was made Staffelkapitän of 1./JG 3 on 9 March 1944. However only 6 weeks later on April 24, while fighting a formation of American bombers and their fighter escort, Schwaiger shot down his 67th victory - a P-51 Mustang - but his Bf 109G had problems with its fuel supply, forcing him to break off and return to base. On the way back, and flying alone, his plane was intercepted by U.S. fighters near Augsburg. Forced to crash-land, he was killed by American pilots strafing him as he attempted to escape from his aircraft[4][5][6] .

At the time of his death, Leutnant Franz Schwaiger had 67 victories comprising 56 on the Russian front (including 13 Il-2 Sturmovik bombers) and 11 on the Western Front (including four four-engined bombers).

Victories[edit]

No Date Time Unit & Airfield Gruppe Kommandeur[7] Location / Planquad Claimed Aircraft Source / Comments[8]
1 16 Aug 1941 6:55 6/JG 3 - Signajewka, Ukraine Hptm Gordon Gollob - DB-3 Prien/Bock
2 19 Aug 1941 13:55 6/JG 3 - Kirovograd, Ukraine Hptm Gordon Gollob - I-153 Prien/Bock
3 21 Aug 1941 7:55 6/JG 3 - Stschastliwaja, Ukraine Hptm Gordon Gollob - DB-3 Prien/Bock
4 21 Aug 1941 7:58 6/JG 3 - Stschastliwaja, Ukraine Hptm Gordon Gollob - DB-3 Prien/Bock
5 26 Aug 1941 16:15 6/JG 3 - Stschastliwaja, Ukraine Hptm Gordon Gollob E of Dneprpropetrovsk Pe-2 Prien/Bock
6 3 Sep 1941 7:55 6/JG 3 - Mironovka, Ukraine Hptm Gordon Gollob - Pe-2 Prien/Bock
7 8 Sep 1941 13:47 6/JG 3 - Mironovka, Ukraine Hptm Gordon Gollob - SB-2 Prien/Bock
8 6 Oct 1941 9:20 6/JG 3 - Sechtschinskaja, Ukraine Hptm Gordon Gollob - Pe-2 Prien/Bock
9 27 May 1942 12:50 6/JG 3 - Tschuguyev, Ukraine Maj Kurt Brändle 3 km NNW of Izyum: low level Il-2 C.2034 AnerkNr 71
10 29 May 1942 18:35 6/JG 3 - Tschuguyev, Ukraine Maj Kurt Brändle - V-11 C.2036/II #102276/43
11 29 May 1942 18:40 6/JG 3 - Tschuguyev, Ukraine Maj Kurt Brändle - V-11 C.2036/II #102276/43
12 4 Jun 1942 17:27 6/JG 3 - Tschuguyev, Ukraine Maj Kurt Brändle - Il-2 C.2036/II #103293/43
13 11 Jun 1942 12:27 6/JG 3 - Tschuguyev, Ukraine Maj Kurt Brändle - Il-2 C.2036/II #103293/43
14 22 Jul 1942 5:00 6/JG 3 - Novy Cholan Maj Kurt Brändle - I-16 C.2036/II #104773/43
15 24 Jul 1942 13:20 6/JG 3 - Novy Cholan Maj Kurt Brändle - Yak-1 C.2025/I
16 26 Jul 1942 8:15 6/JG 3 - Novy Cholan Maj Kurt Brändle - Il-2 C.2036/II #104926/43
17 26 Jul 1942 8:20 6/JG 3 - Novy Cholan Maj Kurt Brändle - Il-2 C.2036/II #104926/43
18 27 Jul 1942 11:40 6/JG 3 - Novy Cholan Maj Kurt Brändle 39251: 50m Yak-1 C.2025/I AnerkNr88
19 31 Jul 1942 13:55 6/JG 3 - Frolov Maj Kurt Brändle 39192: 600m Il-2 C.2025/I AnerkNr98
20 31 Jul 1942 14:00 6/JG 3 - Frolov Maj Kurt Brändle 39184: 600m LaGG-3 C.2025/I AnerkNr100
21 4 Aug 1942 16:30 2/JG 3 - Frolov Hptm Georg Michalek 38285: 50m MiG-1 C.2025/I AnerkNr47
22 5 Aug 1942 17:37 2/JG 3 - Frolov Hptm Georg Michalek 49739: 400m LaGG-3 C.2025/I AnerkNr50
23 9 Aug 1942 11:47 2/JG 3 - Frolov Hptm Georg Michalek 39417: 4500m Yak-1 C.2032/II AnerkNr57
24 9 Aug 1942 12:00 2/JG 3 - Frolov Hptm Georg Michalek 49183: low-level Yak-1 C.2032/II
25 12 Aug 1942 4:22 2/JG 3 - Tusov, Stalingrad Hptm Georg Michalek 39460: 200m LaGG-3 C.2032/II AnerkNr561
26 13 Aug 1942 17:54 2/JG 3 - Tusov, Stalingrad Hptm Georg Michalek 39432: 300m MiG-1 C.2032/II AnerkNr65
27 17 Aug 1942 16:51 2/JG 3 - Tusov, Stalingrad Hptm Georg Michalek 30894: 700m Il-2 C.2032/II AnerkNr75
28 17 Aug 1942 16:52 2/JG 3 - Tusov, Stalingrad Hptm Georg Michalek 40773: 400m Il-2 C.2032/II AnerkNr77
29 17 Aug 1942 16:58 2/JG 3 - Tusov, Stalingrad Hptm Georg Michalek 40793: 200m Il-2 C.2032/II AnerkNr80
30 20 Aug 1942 10:25 2/JG 3 - Tusov, Stalingrad Maj Klaus Quaet-Faslem 49613: 500m Pe-2 C.2032/II AnerkNr83
31 20 Aug 1942 10:32 2/JG 3 - Tusov, Stalingrad Maj Klaus Quaet-Faslem 49451: 300m LaGG-3 C.2032/II AnerkNr85
32 21 Aug 1942 18:42 2/JG 3 - Tusov, Stalingrad Maj Klaus Quaet-Faslem 49124 LaGG-3 C.2032/II AnerkNr88
33 28 Aug 1942 5:18 2/JG 3 - Tusov, Stalingrad Maj Klaus Quaet-Faslem 40894: 200m MiG-1 C.2032/II AnerkNr94
34 29 Aug 1942 13:50 2/JG 3 - Tusov, Stalingrad Maj Klaus Quaet-Faslem 49361: 3000m P-40 C.2032/II AnerkNr95
35 31 Aug 1942 16:07 2/JG 3 - Tusov, Stalingrad Maj Klaus Quaet-Faslem 49333 Il-2 C.2032/II AnerkNr97
36 3 Sep 1942 4:55 2/JG 3 - Tusov, Stalingrad Maj Klaus Quaet-Faslem 40813: 3500m LaGG-3 C.2032/II AnerkNr110
37 4 Sep 1942 17:01 2/JG 3 - Tusov, Stalingrad Maj Klaus Quaet-Faslem 49241: 3500m Yak-1 C.2032/II AnerkNr120
38 6 Sep 1942 17:05 2/JG 3 - Tusov, Stalingrad Maj Klaus Quaet-Faslem 49134: 1500m LaGG-3 C.2032/II AnerkNr124
39 29 Sep 1942 10:05 3/JG 3 - Pitomnik, Stalingrad Maj Klaus Quaet-Faslem 49251: 200m Il-2 C.2032/II AnerkNr86
40 29 Sep 1942 10:08 3/JG 3 - Pitomnik, Stalingrad Maj Klaus Quaet-Faslem 49222: 50m Il-2 C.2032/II AnerkNr87
41 29 Sep 1942 15:50 3/JG 3 - Pitomnik, Stalingrad Maj Klaus Quaet-Faslem 59162: 500m MiG-1 C.2032/II AnerkNr89
42 30 Sep 1942 14:45 3/JG 3 - Pitomnik, Stalingrad Maj Klaus Quaet-Faslem 40753: 1500m LaGG-3 C.2032/II
43 4 Oct 1942 16:07 3/JG 3 - Pitomnik, Stalingrad Olt Helmut Mertens (temp) 49623: 300m La-5 C.2035/I
44 5 Oct 1942 7:12 3/JG 3 - Pitomnik, Stalingrad Olt Helmut Mertens (temp) 40424: 100m MiG-1 C.2035/I AnerkNr91
45 6 Oct 1942 14:02 3/JG 3 - Pitomnik, Stalingrad Olt Helmut Mertens (temp) 40442: 400m Il-2 C.2035/I AnerkNr92
46 6 Oct 1942 14:14 3/JG 3 - Pitomnik, Stalingrad Olt Helmut Mertens (temp) 40432: 1800m MiG-1 C.2035/I AnerkNr93
47 7 Oct 1942 8:58 3/JG 3 - Pitomnik, Stalingrad Olt Helmut Mertens (temp) 8 km E of Kotluban: 800m Yak-1 C.2035/I AnerkNr94
48 8 Oct 1942 8:40 3/JG 3 - Pitomnik, Stalingrad Olt Helmut Mertens (temp) 50672: 5000m LaGG-3 C.2035/I AnerkNr95
49 9 Oct 1942 14:38 3/JG 3 - Pitomnik, Stalingrad Olt Helmut Mertens (temp) 49131: 2500m LaGG-3 C.2035/I AnerkNr99
50 9 Oct 1942 14:43 3/JG 3 - Pitomnik, Stalingrad Olt Helmut Mertens (temp) 49124: 1500m LaGG-3 C.2035/I AnerkNr100
51 15 Oct 1942 7:58 3/JG 3 - Pitomnik, Stalingrad Olt Helmut Mertens (temp) 59314: 50m R-5 C.2035/I AnerkNr110
52 15 Oct 1942 8:58 3/JG 3 - Pitomnik, Stalingrad Olt Helmut Mertens (temp) - Yak-1 Prien JG3 lists f.557
53 29 Oct 1942 14:15 3/JG 3 - Pitomnik, Stalingrad Olt Helmut Mertens (temp) 59324: 1500m LaGG-3 C.2035/I AnerkNr122
54 31 Oct 1942 13:20 3/JG 3 - Pitomnik, Stalingrad Olt Helmut Mertens (temp) 50171: 800m LaGG-3 C.2035/I AnerkNr124
55 2 Nov 1942 6:20 3/JG 3 - Pitomnik, Stalingrad Maj Klaus Quaet-Faslem 49431: 50m LaGG-3 C.2035/I AnerkNr126
56 2 Nov 1942 6:58 3/JG 3 - Pitomnik, Stalingrad Maj Klaus Quaet-Faslem 49434: 100m R-5 C.2035/I AnerkNr167
 ? 12 Aug 1943 9:30 1/JG 3 - Mönchen-Gladbach Maj Klaus Quaet-Faslem - B-17 Prien JG3 lists f.561
 ? 19 Aug 1943 20:15 1/JG 3 - Mönchen-Gladbach Maj Klaus Quaet-Faslem - B-17 Prien JG3 lists f.561
 ? 19 Apr 1944 10:55 1/JG 3 - Burg Hptm Helmut Mertens S of Munden: 100m Mustang C.2027/I AnerkNr89
67 24 Apr 1944 - 1/JG 3 - Burg Hptm Helmut Mertens near Augsburg Mustang
24 Apr 1944 - 1/JG 3 - Burg Hptm Helmut Mertens Rain am Lech

Awards[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ According to Scherzer as pilot in the I./Jagdgeschwader 3 "Udet".[10]

References[edit]

Citations
  1. ^ Luftwaffe 39-45 Historia website.
  2. ^ Luftwaffe Officer Career Summaries website.
  3. ^ Luftwaffe Air Units: Single–Engined Fighters website.
  4. ^ Luftwaffe 39-45 Historia website.
  5. ^ Luftwaffe Officer Career Summaries website.
  6. ^ Musciano 1989, pp.109.
  7. ^ Luftwaffe Air Units: Single–Engined Fighters website.
  8. ^ Luftwaffe Fighter Claims website.
  9. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 394.
  10. ^ Scherzer 2007, p. 694.
Bibliography
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 – Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtsteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches] (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. 
  • Patzwall, Klaus D.; Scherzer, Veit (2001). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II [The German Cross 1941 – 1945 History and Recipients Volume 2] (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8. 
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. 
  • Barbas, Bernd (1985). Planes of the Luftwaffe Fighter Aces Vol I Kookaburra Technical Publishing. ISBN 0-85880-048-9 incl a colour profile of his aircraft [p62]
  • Musciano, Walter (1989). Messerschmitt Aces Tab Books ISBN 0-8306-8379-8
  • Spick, Mike (2006). Aces of the Reich Greenhill Books. ISBN 1-85367-675-6
  • Scutts, Jerry (1994). Bf 109 Aces of North Africa and the Mediterranean. London, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-85532-448-0. 
  • Weal, John (2007). More Bf109 Aces of the Russian Front Oxford: Osprey Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-84603-177-X.
  • Weal, John (1999). Bf109F/G/K Aces of the Western Front Oxford: Osprey Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-85532-905-0.
  • Weal, John (2006). Bf109 Defence of the Reich Aces Oxford: Osprey Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-84176-879-0.

External links[edit]

Military Offices held[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Ltn Hans Frese
Squadron Leader of 1./JG 3
7 March 1944 – 24 April 1944
Succeeded by
Hptm Ernst-Albert Laube