|Born||15 October 1920
|Died||25 March 1945
|Buried at||Tutzing, New Cemetery|
|Years of service||1939–45|
|Commands held||I./JG 2|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross|
Franz Hrdlicka[Note 1] (15 October 1920 – 25 March 1945) 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. During his career Franz Hrdlicka was credited with 60 aerial victories.
Hrdlicka was born on 15 October 1920 in Maxdorf in Mähren, present-day the suburb Dvorska of Brno in the Czech Republic. He volunteered for service in the Luftwaffe in late 1939. On 27 September 1944 he was shot down and wounded in combat with Supermarine Spitfires near Arnhem but managed to bail out. Following his 44th aerial victory, he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) on 18 October 1944. He was transferred to Jagdgeschwader 2 "Richthofen" (JG 2—2nd Fighter Wing) in mid-October 1944. There he first commanded the 1. Staffel as Staffelkapitän (squadron leader) before he was appointed Gruppenkommandeur (group commander) of the I. Gruppe of JG 2 "Richthofen" on 9 December 1944.
Hrdlicka was shot down by United States Army Air Forces fighters and killed in action on 25 March 1945 near Betzenrod, present-day a suburb of Schotten, Hesse. His remains were recovered on 8 September 1951. He had been nominated for the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub) which was not approved.
Awards and decorations
- Aviator badge
- Front Flying Clasp of the Luftwaffe in Gold
- Iron Cross (1939)
- 2nd Class
- 1st Class
- Wound Badge (1939)
- in Black
- Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe on 13 September 1942 as Leutnant and pilot
- German Cross in Gold on 12 July 1943 as Oberleutnant in the II./Jagdgeschwader 77
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 9 August 1944 as Hauptmann and Staffelkapitän of the 5./Jagdgeschwader 77[Note 2]
- Weal 2000, p. 116.
- Obermaier 1989, p. 137.
- Patzwall 2008, p. 106.
- Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 200.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 236.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 406.
- Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). 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.
- 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.
- Patzwall, Klaus D. (2008). Der Ehrenpokal für besondere Leistung im Luftkrieg [The Honor Goblet for Outstanding Achievement in the Air War] (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-08-3.
- 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.
- Weal, John (2000). Jagdgeschwader 2 'Richthofen'. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84176-046-9.