Franz Schall

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Franz Schall
Franz Schall.jpg
Born(1918-06-01)1 June 1918
Graz, Austria
Died10 April 1945(1945-04-10) (aged 26)
Allegiance Nazi Germany
Service/branchBalkenkreuz (Iron Cross) Luftwaffe
RankHauptmann (captain)
UnitJG 52, Kommando Nowotny, JG 7
AwardsKnight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Franz Schall (born 1 June 1918 – 10 April 1945) was a German military aviator who served in the Luftwaffe during World War II. As a fighter ace, he flew approximately 550 combat missions and claimed 137 aerial victories—that is, 137 aerial combat encounters resulting in the destruction of the enemy aircraft.[1] He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, the highest award in the military and paramilitary forces of Nazi Germany during World War II.


On 13 July 1943 during the Battle of Kursk, Schall, accompanied by his wingman Oberfeldwebel Franz Woidich, claimed a Ilyushin Il-2 ground attack aircraft shot down.[2] In August 1944, Schall was appointed the Staffelkapitän (squadron leader) of 3./JG 52. Now fighting across southern Poland and based out of Krakow, it led to his most prolific period in the war with a number of multiple victories in a day: three on 12 August (74-76), three more on the 24th (79-81), 11 on the 26th (83-93) including six Il-2s and 13 on 31 August to bring him up to his century (97-109) including eleven Il-2s.[3] He was the 81st Luftwaffe pilot to achieve the century mark.[4]

Flying the Messerschmitt Me 262 and death[edit]

On 25 September 1944, Schall was posted to a specialist unit dubbed Kommando Nowotny, named after Walter Nowotny, for testing and establishing tactics for the newly developed Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter.[Note 1] General der Jagdflieger (General of the Fighter Force) Adolf Galland had hoped that the Me 262 would compensate for the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) numerical superiority. There, following the death of Hauptmann Alfred Teumer on 4 October, Schall was appointed Staffelkapitän of 2. Staffel.[5][6] On 7 October, Schall and Feldwebel Helmut Lennartz were scrambled at 13:45 from at Hesepe airfield to intercept a heavy bomber formation. In this encounter, both Schall and Lennartz each claimed a USAAF Consolidated B-24 Liberator bomber shot down, the first aerial victories of Kommando Nowotny.[6] Schall claimed a North American P-51 Mustang fighter destroyed on 28 October and a Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter on 6 November.[7]

Me 262 A, circa 1944

Generals Alfred Keller and Galland had scheduled an inspection of Kommando Nowotny for the afternoon of 7 November 1944. Galland had already visited Kommando Nowotny several times and was deeply concerned over the high attrition rate and meager success achieved by the Me 262. After inspecting the two airfields at Achmer and Hesepe, he stayed in the Penterknapp barracks discussing the problems of the past few weeks. Several pilots openly expressed their doubts as to the readiness of the Me 262 for combat operations.[8] The next morning, the Generals arrived again at Nowotny's command post a large bomber formation was reported. Two Rotten of Me 262 were prepared for take-off, Erich Büttner and Schall at Hesepe, and Nowotny and Günther Wegmann at Achmer. At first only Schall and Wegmann managed to take off because Büttner had a punctured tire during taxiing and Nowotny's turbines initially refused to start. Schall and Wegmann both made contact with the Americans, claiming a P-51 and P-47 respectively.[9][10] By the time the Americans returned from their bomb run, Nowotny, his aircraft now serviceable, and Schall took off alone and made contact with the bomber force at an altitude of 10,000 meters (33,000 feet). Schall shot down two P-51s before suffering engine failure. Attempting to glide his aircraft to Hesepe, Schall was shot down by Lieutenant James W. Kenney of the 357th Fighter Group. While Schall managed to bail out safely, Nowotny was killed in action.[11][12]

Following Nowotny's death, the pilots of Kommando Nowotny were moved to Lechfeld were they were joined by 20–25 pilots from III. Gruppe of Ergänzungs-Jagdgeschwader 3, also known as Erprobungskommando Lechfeld, a replacement training unit which had also trained on Me 262.[13] On 19 November, Kommando Nowotny became the III. Gruppe of Jagdgeschwader 7 (JG 7—7th Fighter Wing), the world's first operational jet fighter wing, and was moved to Brandenburg-Briest.[14][15] JG 7 had been formed in August 1944 and placed under the command of Oberst Johannes Steinhoff.[16] At the time of its creation, III./JG 7 was commanded by Major Erich Hohagen and command of 10. Staffel was handed to Schall.[17]

On 18 March 1945, the USAAF Eighth Air Force attacked Berlin with 1,329 bombers, escorted by 733 fighter aircraft. A number of Me 262s intercepted the bomber formation and its escorts in vicinity of Nauen-Rathenow-Brandenburg-Potsdam. At approximately 11:15, Schall claimed a P-51 shot down.[18][19] The next day, 374 Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bombers from the 3d Air Division attacked the Carl Zeiss AG, a manufacturer of optical systems, in Jena and the motor vehicle facturies at Zwickau and Plauen. In defense of this attack, Schall claimed a B-17 shot down north of Chemnitz.[20][21][22] On 21 March 1945, the USAAF Eighth Air Force attacked various Luftwaffe airfields in Germany with approximately 1,300 heavy bombers, escorted by 750 fighter aircraft.[23] That day, Schall claimed another aerial victory over a P-51.[24] The next, the Eighth Air Force again targeted various military installations and airfields in Germany.[25] Yet again Schall claimed a P-51 shot down, that day in the Cottbus-Bautzen-Dresden area.[26] On 24 March, 1,714 bombers, escorted by approximately 1,300 fighter aircraft, targeted 18 Luftwaffe airfields.[27] Schall led 10. Staffel at about 12:00 from Parchim airfield and engaged the bombers south of Berlin. Approximately 15 Me 262s, the majority of them armed with R4M air-to-air rockets, claimed a number of bombers destroyed, including a B-17 by Schall.[28] On 31 March 1945, the Royal Air Force (RAF) Bomber Command targeted Wilhelmshaven, Bremen and Hamburg. The attack force from No. 219, No. 429, No. 431, No. 434, No. 408, No. 415 and No. 425 Squadron had made their target approach by night. In morning hours, the British and Canadians were intercepted by 20 Me 262s from I. Gruppe and seven Me 262s from III. Gruppe who claimed 19 four-engined bombers, two fighters and probable destruction of another bomber. Schall claimed two victories in this engagement.[29]

On 4 April, Schall claimed a P-51 shot down.[30] That day, RAF Bomber Command had targeted Nordhausen with 243 Avro Lancaster bombers while the USAAF Eighth Air Force sent 950 B-17s and B-24s to Luftwaffe airfields at Kaltenkirchen, Parchim, Perleberg, Wesendorf, Faßberg, Hoya, Dedelstorf and Eggebek, as well as the U-boat yards at Finkenwerder and shipyards at Kiel. This bomber force was protected by 800 escort fighters.[31] On 9 April, the RAF targeted the German ships Admiral Scheer, Admiral Hipper and Emden moored at Kiel and other targets in northern Germany. That afternoon, Schall claimed a Lancaster shot down.[32] On 10 April 1945, Schall claimed a P-51 shot down but was then killed when his aircraft exploded during an attempted emergency landing at Parchim.[33] His aircraft rolled into a bomb crater, rolled over and exploded.[34]

Summary of career[edit]

Aerial victory claims[edit]

Matthews and Foreman, authors of Luftwaffe Aces — Biographies and Victory Claims, researched the German Federal Archives and found records for 133 aerial victory claims, plus four further unconfirmed claims. This figure of confirmed claims includes 117 aerial victories on the Eastern Front and 16 on the Western Front flying the Me 262 jet fighter, including five four-engined bombers.[35]

Victory claims were logged to a map-reference (PQ = Planquadrat), for example "PQ 35 Ost 61184". The Luftwaffe grid map (Jägermeldenetz) covered all of Europe, western Russia and North Africa and was composed of rectangles measuring 15 minutes of latitude by 30 minutes of longitude, an area of about 360 square miles (930 km2). These sectors were then subdivided into 36 smaller units to give a location area 3 × 4 km in size.[36]



  1. ^ For a list of Luftwaffe Jet aces see List of German World War II jet aces
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i The "m.H." refers to a Ilyushin Il-2 with rear gunner (mit Heckschütze).
  3. ^ According to Matthews and Foreman claimed as a Yakovlev Yak-1.[43]
  4. ^ According to Matthews and Foreman claimed as a Bell P-39 Airacobra.[43]
  5. ^ a b According to Matthews and Foreman claimed as a Ilyushin Il-2.[43]
  6. ^ a b According to Matthews and Foreman claimed as a Lavochkin La-5.[43]
  7. ^ According to Matthews and Foreman claimed as a Polikarpov Po-2, referred to as U-2.[43]
  8. ^ a b According to Matthews and Foreman claimed as a Lavochkin-Gorbunov-Gudkov LaGG-3 at 17:55.[43]
  9. ^ According to Matthews and Foreman claimed as a Yakovlev Yak-9.[43]
  10. ^ According to Obermaier on 22 February 1944.[5]
  11. ^ According to Scherzer as Staffelführer of the 3./Jagdgeschwader 52[54]



  1. ^ Spick 1996, p. 228.
  2. ^ Bergström 2007, p. 96.
  3. ^ a b Matthews & Foreman 2015, p. 1404.
  4. ^ Obermaier 1989, p. 243.
  5. ^ a b Obermaier 1989, p. 192.
  6. ^ a b Boehme 1992, p. 57.
  7. ^ Boehme 1992, p. 61.
  8. ^ Boehme 1992, pp. 61–62.
  9. ^ Boehme 1992, p. 62.
  10. ^ Morgan & Weal 1998, p. 27.
  11. ^ Boehme 1992, pp. 62–63.
  12. ^ Scutts 1987, p. 118.
  13. ^ Boehme 1992, p. 63.
  14. ^ Boehme 1992, p. 71.
  15. ^ Forsyth 2008, p. 17.
  16. ^ Boehme 1992, p. 72.
  17. ^ Forsyth 2008, pp. 18–19.
  18. ^ Boehme 1992, p. 111.
  19. ^ Smith & Creek 2000, p. 616.
  20. ^ Forsyth 2008, pp. 69–70.
  21. ^ Boehme 1992, p. 119.
  22. ^ Smith & Creek 2000, p. 618.
  23. ^ Forsyth 2008, p. 70.
  24. ^ Boehme 1992, p. 124.
  25. ^ Forsyth 2008, p. 73.
  26. ^ Boehme 1992, p. 127.
  27. ^ Forsyth 2008, p. 76.
  28. ^ Boehme 1992, p. 130.
  29. ^ Boehme 1992, pp. 137–139.
  30. ^ Boehme 1992, p. 148.
  31. ^ Forsyth 2008, p. 88.
  32. ^ Boehme 1992, p. 158.
  33. ^ Boehme 1992, pp. 160–161.
  34. ^ Forsyth 2008, p. 100.
  35. ^ Matthews & Foreman 2015, pp. 1102–1104.
  36. ^ Planquadrat.
  37. ^ Matthews & Foreman 2015, p. 1402.
  38. ^ Prien et al. 2012, p. 283.
  39. ^ a b c Prien et al. 2012, p. 290.
  40. ^ a b Prien et al. 2012, p. 284.
  41. ^ a b c Prien et al. 2012, p. 291.
  42. ^ Prien et al. 2012, p. 285.
  43. ^ a b c d e f g Matthews & Foreman 2015, p. 1102.
  44. ^ a b c Prien et al. 2012, p. 286.
  45. ^ a b c d e f g Prien et al. 2012, p. 292.
  46. ^ a b c Prien et al. 2012, p. 287.
  47. ^ a b c Prien et al. 2012, p. 288.
  48. ^ a b Prien et al. 2012, p. 293.
  49. ^ Matthews & Foreman 2015, pp. 1402–1404.
  50. ^ Matthews & Foreman 2015, p. 1104.
  51. ^ Patzwall 2008, p. 177.
  52. ^ Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 399.
  53. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 374.
  54. ^ Scherzer 2007, p. 656.


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