Erich Hohagen

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Erich Hohagen
Born (1915-01-09)9 January 1915
Velbert
Died 8 March 1990(1990-03-08) (aged 75)
Jever
Allegiance  Nazi Germany (to 1945)
 West Germany
Service/branch Balkenkreuz (Iron Cross) Luftwaffe
Bundeswehrkreuz (Iron Cross) German Air Force
Years of service 1934–45
1956–74
Rank Major (Wehrmacht)
Brigadegeneral (Bundeswehr)
Unit JG 51, JG 2, JG 27, JG 72, EJG 2, JG 7, JV 44
Commands held 4./JG 51, I./JG 2, I./JG 27, JG 72, III./JG 7
Battles/wars

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Other work Bundeswehr (1956 – 1974)

Erich Hohagen (9 January 1915 – 8 March 1990) was a German Luftwaffe flying ace during World War II and a General in the post war Bundeswehr. A holder of the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes (Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross), Hohagen led several Luftwaffe units during the war and became a well-respected fighter commander.

During his career in military aviation Hohagen accumulated several thousand hours of flying time on over 60 different aircraft types and survived over 500 combat missions during World War II.

Career[edit]

Erich Hohagen was one of the very few of the Luftwaffe's veterans to have flown in combat almost continuously throughout the war.

Hohagen flew on the Channel Front with 4./JG 51 in 1940 and then in the campaign against the Soviet Union during 1941-42 with 4./JG 51 and Stab II./JG 51. He then served on the Western Front in 1943-44 with 7./JG 2 and Stab I./JG 2, and the Reichsverteidigung or "Defence of the Reich" in 1944-45 with Stab I./JG 2 and JV 44.

As a Leutnant based on the Channel Coast with 4./JG 51 he scored his first aerial victory - an RAF Supermarine Spitfire over Southern England on 5 July 1940. Eleven more RAF fighters fell to his guns before late May 1941, when his unit was transferred to the East for Operation Barbarossa.

Hohagen's most successful sortie on the Eastern Front was on 22 June 1941 when he shot down three Soviet SB-2 bombers in the space of five minutes.Hohagen received the Ritterkreuz on 5 October 1941, after 30 victories. Hohagen was posted to 7./JG 2 in January 1943, serving in the West.

On 1 June 1943 Oblt. Wilhelm Steinmann of 3./JG 27 claimed an RAF Supermarine Spitfire shot down, however he had made an identification error and in fact shot down the Bf 109 G-6 flown by Hauptmann Hohagen. Hohagen was forced to bail and was wounded.

On 16 September 1943 Hohagen, now Gruppenkommandeur of I./JG 2, was piloting an Fw 190A-6 fighter (W.Nr. 550532) leading the Stab I./JG 2 in a sharp engagement with USAAF B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombers. Hohagen was again wounded and crash landed his damaged aircraft near Rennes, France. During the subsequent belly landing, Hohagen suffered a severe cranial injury when his head hit the gunsight mount. Recovering from his wounds and still suffering from headaches he was deemed fit for operations.

Hohagen led the I./JG 2 from 19 August 1943 until 24 September 1944. In late February 1944 elements of JG 2 were sent to Italy to help counter the Allied invasion at Anzio. Hohagen's I./JG 2, flying the Fw 190A-6 (three Staffeln) and Bf 109 G-6 (one Staffel), was stationed at Castiglione del Lago and later at Canino. Hohagen's unit was withdrawn to France in April 1944 after losing 18 aircraft, 8 pilots dead and six wounded. In return the Gruppe claimed 52 Allied aircraft destroyed, about half of which can be reconciled with actual RAF and USAAF losses.

On D-Day Hohagen was in combat over the front and at 17.25 hours claimed an RAF fighter shot down around Beaumont-le-Roger; probably a Mustang I (Serial No. AG465) of No. 430 Squadron RCAF flown by F/O J. S. Cox, who was killed.

Major Hohagen flew the new Me 262 jet aircraft for one week at Lechfeld with III./EJG 2, before being posted to the command of III./JG 7, based at Bradenburg-Briest airfield. In the latter months of 1944 Hohagen helped to convert pilots to the new jets. Soon, Hohagen was declared unfit for further combat operations and sent immediately to a Fighter Pilots' Hospital near Berlin for a more thorough recuperation from his many and still troublesome wounds.

In early 1945 Generalleutnant Adolf Galland and Oberst Johannes Steinhoff recruited Hohagen from hospital to join the new Jagdverband 44 (JV 44) forming at Bradenburg-Briest. Galland had received permission to create and staff the unorthodox fighter group from Luftwaffe Chief, Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring.

Hohagen became the Technical Officer for JV 44 and assisted with the conversion of newly arriving pilots to the Me 262. The unit transferred to München-Riem on 31 March 1945. He served as JV 44's Technical Officer until the crash of Oberst Johannes Steinhoff on 18 April 1945, and Hohagen replaced the injured Steinhoff as the unit's Einsatzchef (Operations Chief).[1]

Hohagen remained operational with JV 44 until the end of the war. He was one of the surviving JV 44 pilots who transferred with the unit's jet aircraft to Salzburg, Austria in May 1945.

He is credited with 56 aerial victories, including 13 four-engined bombers in the West and 17 Soviet aircraft in the East.

Awards[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ According to Scherzer on 6 October 1941 as leader of the II./JG 51.[3]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Forsyth 2008, p. 66.
  2. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 233.
  3. ^ Scherzer 2007, p. 401.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) [1986]. Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile [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 1939 – 1945] (in German). Mainz, Germany: Verlag Dieter Hoffmann. ISBN 978-3-87341-065-7. 
  • 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 Militaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. 
  • Forsyth, Robert (1999). Battle Over Bavaria: The B-26 marauder versus the German Jets - April 1945. Classic Publications. ISBN 0-9526867-4-0.
  • Forsyth, Robert (2008). Jagdverband 44 Squadron of Experten. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84603-294-3.
Military offices
Preceded by
Major Walter Nowotny
Commander of Kommando Nowotny
8 November 1944 – 19 November 1944
Succeeded by
disbanded
Preceded by
none
Commander of Jagdgeschwader 72
11 November 1959 – October, 1961
Succeeded by
Oberstleutnant Friedrich Obleser