|Born||1 February 1918
|Died||24 April 1944
Rain am Lech
|Years of service||1941–44|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross|
Franz Schwaiger (1 February 1918 – 24 April 1944) was a 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.
Franz completed his pilot training in the summer of 1941, just as the German invasion of Russia (Operation Barbarossa) opened. 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.
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 .
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).
|No||Date||Time||Unit & Airfield||Gruppe Kommandeur||Location / Planquad||Claimed Aircraft||Source / Comments|
|1||16 August 1941||6:55||6/JG 3 - Signajewka, Ukraine||Hptm Gordon Gollob||-||DB-3||Prien/Bock|
|2||19 August 1941||13:55||6/JG 3 - Kirovograd, Ukraine||Hptm Gordon Gollob||-||I-153||Prien/Bock|
|3||21 August 1941||7:55||6/JG 3 - Stschastliwaja, Ukraine||Hptm Gordon Gollob||-||DB-3||Prien/Bock|
|4||21 August 1941||7:58||6/JG 3 - Stschastliwaja, Ukraine||Hptm Gordon Gollob||-||DB-3||Prien/Bock|
|5||26 August 1941||16:15||6/JG 3 - Stschastliwaja, Ukraine||Hptm Gordon Gollob||E of Dneprpropetrovsk||Pe-2||Prien/Bock|
|6||3 September 1941||7:55||6/JG 3 - Mironovka, Ukraine||Hptm Gordon Gollob||-||Pe-2||Prien/Bock|
|7||8 September 1941||13:47||6/JG 3 - Mironovka, Ukraine||Hptm Gordon Gollob||-||SB-2||Prien/Bock|
|8||6 October 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 June 1942||17:27||6/JG 3 - Tschuguyev, Ukraine||Maj Kurt Brändle||-||Il-2||C.2036/II #103293/43|
|13||11 June 1942||12:27||6/JG 3 - Tschuguyev, Ukraine||Maj Kurt Brändle||-||Il-2||C.2036/II #103293/43|
|14||22 July 1942||5:00||6/JG 3 - Novy Cholan||Maj Kurt Brändle||-||I-16||C.2036/II #104773/43|
|15||24 July 1942||13:20||6/JG 3 - Novy Cholan||Maj Kurt Brändle||-||Yak-1||C.2025/I|
|16||26 July 1942||8:15||6/JG 3 - Novy Cholan||Maj Kurt Brändle||-||Il-2||C.2036/II #104926/43|
|17||26 July 1942||8:20||6/JG 3 - Novy Cholan||Maj Kurt Brändle||-||Il-2||C.2036/II #104926/43|
|18||27 July 1942||11:40||6/JG 3 - Novy Cholan||Maj Kurt Brändle||39251: 50m||Yak-1||C.2025/I AnerkNr88|
|19||31 July 1942||13:55||6/JG 3 - Frolov||Maj Kurt Brändle||39192: 600m||Il-2||C.2025/I AnerkNr98|
|20||31 July 1942||14:00||6/JG 3 - Frolov||Maj Kurt Brändle||39184: 600m||LaGG-3||C.2025/I AnerkNr100|
|21||4 August 1942||16:30||2/JG 3 - Frolov||Hptm Georg Michalek||38285: 50m||MiG-1||C.2025/I AnerkNr47|
|22||5 August 1942||17:37||2/JG 3 - Frolov||Hptm Georg Michalek||49739: 400m||LaGG-3||C.2025/I AnerkNr50|
|23||9 August 1942||11:47||2/JG 3 - Frolov||Hptm Georg Michalek||39417: 4500m||Yak-1||C.2032/II AnerkNr57|
|24||9 August 1942||12:00||2/JG 3 - Frolov||Hptm Georg Michalek||49183: low-level||Yak-1||C.2032/II|
|25||12 August 1942||4:22||2/JG 3 - Tusov, Stalingrad||Hptm Georg Michalek||39460: 200m||LaGG-3||C.2032/II AnerkNr561|
|26||13 August 1942||17:54||2/JG 3 - Tusov, Stalingrad||Hptm Georg Michalek||39432: 300m||MiG-1||C.2032/II AnerkNr65|
|27||17 August 1942||16:51||2/JG 3 - Tusov, Stalingrad||Hptm Georg Michalek||30894: 700m||Il-2||C.2032/II AnerkNr75|
|28||17 August 1942||16:52||2/JG 3 - Tusov, Stalingrad||Hptm Georg Michalek||40773: 400m||Il-2||C.2032/II AnerkNr77|
|29||17 August 1942||16:58||2/JG 3 - Tusov, Stalingrad||Hptm Georg Michalek||40793: 200m||Il-2||C.2032/II AnerkNr80|
|30||20 August 1942||10:25||2/JG 3 - Tusov, Stalingrad||Maj Klaus Quaet-Faslem||49613: 500m||Pe-2||C.2032/II AnerkNr83|
|31||20 August 1942||10:32||2/JG 3 - Tusov, Stalingrad||Maj Klaus Quaet-Faslem||49451: 300m||LaGG-3||C.2032/II AnerkNr85|
|32||21 August 1942||18:42||2/JG 3 - Tusov, Stalingrad||Maj Klaus Quaet-Faslem||49124||LaGG-3||C.2032/II AnerkNr88|
|33||28 August 1942||5:18||2/JG 3 - Tusov, Stalingrad||Maj Klaus Quaet-Faslem||40894: 200m||MiG-1||C.2032/II AnerkNr94|
|34||29 August 1942||13:50||2/JG 3 - Tusov, Stalingrad||Maj Klaus Quaet-Faslem||49361: 3000m||P-40||C.2032/II AnerkNr95|
|35||31 August 1942||16:07||2/JG 3 - Tusov, Stalingrad||Maj Klaus Quaet-Faslem||49333||Il-2||C.2032/II AnerkNr97|
|36||3 September 1942||4:55||2/JG 3 - Tusov, Stalingrad||Maj Klaus Quaet-Faslem||40813: 3500m||LaGG-3||C.2032/II AnerkNr110|
|37||4 September 1942||17:01||2/JG 3 - Tusov, Stalingrad||Maj Klaus Quaet-Faslem||49241: 3500m||Yak-1||C.2032/II AnerkNr120|
|38||6 September 1942||17:05||2/JG 3 - Tusov, Stalingrad||Maj Klaus Quaet-Faslem||49134: 1500m||LaGG-3||C.2032/II AnerkNr124|
|39||29 September 1942||10:05||3/JG 3 - Pitomnik, Stalingrad||Maj Klaus Quaet-Faslem||49251: 200m||Il-2||C.2032/II AnerkNr86|
|40||29 September 1942||10:08||3/JG 3 - Pitomnik, Stalingrad||Maj Klaus Quaet-Faslem||49222: 50m||Il-2||C.2032/II AnerkNr87|
|41||29 September 1942||15:50||3/JG 3 - Pitomnik, Stalingrad||Maj Klaus Quaet-Faslem||59162: 500m||MiG-1||C.2032/II AnerkNr89|
|42||30 September 1942||14:45||3/JG 3 - Pitomnik, Stalingrad||Maj Klaus Quaet-Faslem||40753: 1500m||LaGG-3||C.2032/II|
|43||4 October 1942||16:07||3/JG 3 - Pitomnik, Stalingrad||Olt Helmut Mertens (temp)||49623: 300m||La-5||C.2035/I|
|44||5 October 1942||7:12||3/JG 3 - Pitomnik, Stalingrad||Olt Helmut Mertens (temp)||40424: 100m||MiG-1||C.2035/I AnerkNr91|
|45||6 October 1942||14:02||3/JG 3 - Pitomnik, Stalingrad||Olt Helmut Mertens (temp)||40442: 400m||Il-2||C.2035/I AnerkNr92|
|46||6 October 1942||14:14||3/JG 3 - Pitomnik, Stalingrad||Olt Helmut Mertens (temp)||40432: 1800m||MiG-1||C.2035/I AnerkNr93|
|47||7 October 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 October 1942||8:40||3/JG 3 - Pitomnik, Stalingrad||Olt Helmut Mertens (temp)||50672: 5000m||LaGG-3||C.2035/I AnerkNr95|
|49||9 October 1942||14:38||3/JG 3 - Pitomnik, Stalingrad||Olt Helmut Mertens (temp)||49131: 2500m||LaGG-3||C.2035/I AnerkNr99|
|50||9 October 1942||14:43||3/JG 3 - Pitomnik, Stalingrad||Olt Helmut Mertens (temp)||49124: 1500m||LaGG-3||C.2035/I AnerkNr100|
|51||15 October 1942||7:58||3/JG 3 - Pitomnik, Stalingrad||Olt Helmut Mertens (temp)||59314: 50m||R-5||C.2035/I AnerkNr110|
|52||15 October 1942||8:58||3/JG 3 - Pitomnik, Stalingrad||Olt Helmut Mertens (temp)||-||Yak-1||Prien JG3 lists f.557|
|53||29 October 1942||14:15||3/JG 3 - Pitomnik, Stalingrad||Olt Helmut Mertens (temp)||59324: 1500m||LaGG-3||C.2035/I AnerkNr122|
|54||31 October 1942||13:20||3/JG 3 - Pitomnik, Stalingrad||Olt Helmut Mertens (temp)||50171: 800m||LaGG-3||C.2035/I AnerkNr124|
|55||2 November 1942||6:20||3/JG 3 - Pitomnik, Stalingrad||Maj Klaus Quaet-Faslem||49431: 50m||LaGG-3||C.2035/I AnerkNr126|
|56||2 November 1942||6:58||3/JG 3 - Pitomnik, Stalingrad||Maj Klaus Quaet-Faslem||49434: 100m||R-5||C.2035/I AnerkNr167|
|?||12 August 1943||9:30||1/JG 3 - Mönchen-Gladbach||Maj Klaus Quaet-Faslem||-||B-17||Prien JG3 lists f.561|
|?||19 August 1943||20:15||1/JG 3 - Mönchen-Gladbach||Maj Klaus Quaet-Faslem||-||B-17||Prien JG3 lists f.561|
|?||19 April 1944||10:55||1/JG 3 - Burg||Hptm Helmut Mertens||S of Munden: 100m||Mustang||C.2027/I AnerkNr89|
|67||24 April 1944||-||1/JG 3 - Burg||Hptm Helmut Mertens||near Augsburg||Mustang|
|†||24 April 1944||-||1/JG 3 - Burg||Hptm Helmut Mertens||Rain am Lech|
- Front Flying Clasp of the Luftwaffe
- Iron Cross (1939)
- 2nd Class
- 1st Class
- German Cross in Gold on 29 October 1942 as Unteroffizier in the 3./Jagdgeschwader 3
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 23 October 1942 as Unteroffizier and pilot in the 6./Jagdgeschwader 3 "Udet"[Note 1]
- According to Scherzer as pilot in the I./Jagdgeschwader 3 "Udet".
- Luftwaffe 39-45 Historia website.
- Luftwaffe Air Units: Single–Engined Fighters website.
- Luftwaffe 39-45 Historia website.
- Musciano 1989, pp.109.
- Luftwaffe Air Units: Single–Engined Fighters website.
- Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 434.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 394.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 694.
- 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.
- 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 Militaer-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.
- Ritterkreuztraeger 1939-1945
- Luftwaffe 1939-1945
- "Luftwaffe Air Units: Single–Engined Fighters". Jagdgeschwader 3. Retrieved 7 January 2013
Ltn Hans Frese
|Squadron Leader of 1./JG 3
7 March 1944 – 24 April 1944
Hptm Ernst-Albert Laube