Hans "Assi" Hahn
Hans "Assi" Hahn
14 April 1914|
|Died||18 December 1982
|Years of service||1934 – 1945|
|Unit||JG 2, JG 54|
|Commands held||4./JG 2, III./JG 2, II./JG 54|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves|
Major Hans "Assi" Hahn (born 14 April 1914 - 18 December 1982) was a German World War II Luftwaffe Flying ace with 108 victories and a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub). He was shot down and captured by Russian forces in 1943, and remained a prisoner of war until 1950. Upon his release, Hahn became a successful businessman before retiring to the south of France. Hahn's memoirs "I Tell the Truth" recounted his military service and detailed life in Soviet captivity for himself and other Luftwaffe Aces like Hermann Graf.
World War II
Hahn enlisted in the army in 1934 as an officer candidate in the Infantry. In November 1935, Hahn transferred to the Luftwaffe, and underwent pilot training. Leutnant Hahn was then posted to 4./Jagdgeschwader 134 "Horst Wessel" (JG 134), based near Dortmund. On 1 November 1937, Hahn was posted as a flying instructor and Staffelführer (flight leader) of 1. Staffel at the new transferred Jagdfliegerschule (fighter flying school) at Werneuchen. Promoted to Oberleutnant on 1 February 1939, at the outbreak of World War II, Hahn was assigned to the newly formed II./Jagdgeschwader 2 "Richthofen" (JG 2), based at Zerbst, being appointed Staffelkapitän of 4./JG 2 late in 1939.
Hahn claimed his first two victories on 14 May 1940 during the Battle of France; two Hawker Hurricane fighters. Hahn would claim five victories during the Battle of France, before becoming even more successful in the Battle of Britain. After 20 claims by September 1940, Hahn was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes), promoted to the rank of Hauptmann and Gruppenkommandeur (group commander) of III./JG 2. Hauptmann Hahn was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub) in August 1941 for 41 victories. The presentation was made on 27 August 1941 by Hitler at the Führer Headquarter Wolfsschanze in Rastenburg (now Kętrzyn in Poland). Also present at the award ceremony were the fighter pilots Oberleutnant Hans Philipp and Oberleutnant Heinz Bär who were also awarded the Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross.
Hahn claimed a Supermarine Spitfire on 16 September 1942 to record his 66th claim over the Western Front. Two Spitfires were lost that day; One was shot down by Jagdgeschwader 26 "Schlageter" (JG 26) near Le Treport, while Spitfire Vb AB859 from No. 122 Squadron, piloted by Sgt G. Nadan crashed, owing to unknown reasons.
Hahn was then appointed Gruppenkommandeur of II./Jagdgeschwader 54 Grünherz (JG 54), based near Leningrad on the Eastern front, on 1 November 1942. In three months he claimed a further 42 Soviet kills. He recorded his 100th victory on 27 January 1943.
On 21 February 1943, Hahn encountered fighters near Staraya Russa. He shot down a Lavochkin La-5 fighter for his 108th victory before his aircraft received hits in the left wing. Disengaging from combat, Hahn's engine soon began overheating and he force-landed his Bf 109 G-2/R6 in enemy territory. Soviet sources claim Hahn was shot down by Soviet ace Leytenant Pavel Grazhdaninov (13 victories) of 169 IAP (169th Fighter Aviation Regiment).[Note 1]
Hahn was captured and subsequently made a prisoner of war. Hahn's recalcitrant and forceful personality even in the harsh Soviet regime of a prison camp meant he was held captive by the Soviet Union until 1950. After his release Hahn worked at the International Corporation of Bayer Leverkusen. He later became a director of Wano Schwarzpulver Company, which manufactured gunpowder, at Kunigunde near Goslar. He retired in 1977 and lived in southern France. Hahn died on 18 December 1982 in Munich.
Hahn was credited with 108 victories in some 560 missions. He recorded 66 victories over the Western Front, of which 53 were Spitfires. Of the 42 victories he recorded over the Eastern front, at least seven were Il-2 Sturmovik ground-attack aircraft.
- Iron Cross (1939)
- German Cross in Gold on 16 July 1942 as Hauptmann in the III./JG 2
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
- IAP—Istrebitelny Aviatsionny Polk (Истребительный Авиационный Полк)
- Steinecke 2012, p. 22.
- Franks 1998, p. 67.
- Thomas 1997, p. 241.
- Patzwall and Scherzer 2001, p. 160.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 361.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 211.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 55.
- Hahn, Assi (1953). Du ciel aux enfers. Paris, France : Flammarion
- 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.
- Obermaier, Ernst (1989). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Luftwaffe Jagdflieger 1939 – 1945 [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the Luftwaffe Fighter Force 1941 – 1945] (in German). Mainz, Germany: Verlag Dieter Hoffmann. ISBN 978-3-87341-065-7.
- 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.
- Spick, Mike (1996). Luftwaffe Fighter Aces. New York: Ivy Books. ISBN 978-0-8041-1696-1.
- Steinecke, Gerhard (2012). Ritterkreuzträger Profile Nr. 11 Hans Philipp — Einer von Vielen [Knight's Cross Profiles Nr. 11 Hans Philipp — One of Many] (in German). UNITEC-Medienvertrieb. ASIN B008AIT9Z6 (4 January 2013).
- Thomas, Franz (1997). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 1: A–K [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 1: A–K] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2299-6.
- Hans "Assi" Hahn in the German National Library catalogue
- "Aces of the Luftwaffe". Hans "Assi" Hahn. Retrieved 28 September 2007.
- "Wie ein Grammophon". Der Spiegel (in German) 50. 1951. Retrieved 18 June 2013.