Günther Scheel

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Günther Scheel
Günther Scheel.jpg
Günther Scheel
Born (1921-11-23)23 November 1921
Dannenberg, Germany
Died 16 July 1943(1943-07-16) (aged 21)
MIA (Missing in Action)
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Balkenkreuz.svg Luftwaffe
Years of service 1940–43
Rank Leutnant
Unit JG 54
Battles/wars

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (posthumously)

Günther Scheel (23 November 1921 – 16 July 1943) was a German Luftwaffe fighter ace and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (posthumously) during World War II. Günther Scheel holds the unique record in World War II of shooting down more aircraft than he flew missions. He was credited with 71 aerial victories—that is, 71 aerial combat encounters resulting in the destruction of the enemy aircraft—in just 70 missions. All his victories were recorded over the Eastern Front.

Military career[edit]

Upon completing flight training, Leutnant Scheel was posted to 3 Staffel of Jagdgeschwader 54[1] (sometimes cited as 2 Staffel[2][3]) which was based on the northern end of the Eastern Front in January 1943.[Note 1] At that time, most fighter activity was still involved in covering the blockade of Leningrad. He flew many ground attack missions destroying a number of locomotives and other vehicles. Scheel recorded his first aerial victories on 9 February 1943 by shooting down a pair of La-5 fighters. After that he rarely flew a day without claiming a victory. On 30 May, he shot down four fighters (18-21v.) and did so again on 21 June (26-29v.). By the time of his 50th mission on 22 June his score was 30 victories.

However it was in July, when his unit was transferred to Orel to support the Kursk offensive that he hit a phenomenal purple patch, shooting down 41 planes in just 16 days. On the opening day (5 July) he shot down 8 aircraft (31-38v.), then 7 aircraft on 7 July (40-46v.). He shot down five fighters on the 10th (53-57v.) and seven more on 13 July (62-67v.), including three Yak-9 fighters in just two minutes.[4]

But with such intense air activity, his luck finally ran out on the morning of 16 July 1943. Flying his Fw 190 A-5 (Werknummer 710 002, Yellow-8 - the 3 Staffel unit colour) he shot down two fighters, but then collided with the wreckage of the second and crashed.[2]

The loss report read: "Ltn Scheel took off at 07.07 hours together with 3.Staffel of I./JG 54 in order to provide a Stuka formation with fighter escort in the vicinity of Orel. After completion of this mission, Ltn Scheel shot down two Yak-9s, during a subsequent fighter sweep. During the second combat, his 71st in total, his left wing hit the enemy aircraft. The wing broke off at the fuselage, which caused the aircraft to immediately start descending from an altitude of 800 metres. In 50 metres altitude the aircraft caught fire and exploded on impact in Planquadrat 64356, at 8.06 hours. Point of impact: about 15 kilometres northest[clarification needed] of Bolkhov".[5]

In a tour of only six months he flew 70 missions and scored 71 victories. All his victories were recorded over the Eastern Front and included 20 Il-2 Sturmoviks. He was posthumously awarded the Deutsches Kreuz in Gold, the Ehrenpokal, and finally the Ritterkreuz on 5 December 1943.

Missing in Action[edit]

Reports of his fate vary: some say he was killed in the crash and subsequent explosion, others that he bailed out at 200 meters (660 feet) and landed behind enemy lines. Scheel was reportedly seen in a camp at Yelabuga in 1946, and receiving medical treatment in a camp at Solny in 1948.[2] However, he officially remains missing in action.

Victories[edit]

No Date Time Unit & Airfield Gruppe Kommandeur[6] Location / Planquad Claimed Aircraft Source / Comments[2]
1  ?  ? 2./JG 54 - Krasnowardeisk Hptm Hans Philipp  ?  ? -
2 9 February 1943 9:20 3./JG 54 - Krasnowardeisk Hptm Hans Philipp 10 123 : 1000m LaGG-5 C.2035/I AnerkNr 361
3 9 February 1943 15:25 3./JG 54 - Krasnowardeisk Hptm Hans Philipp 10 142 : 900m LaGG-5 C.2035/I AnerkNr 362
4 14 February 1943 13:21 3./JG 54 - Krasnowardeisk Hptm Hans Philipp 10 473 : 400m Il-2 C.2035/I AnerkNr 370
5 14 February 1943 13:37 3./JG 54 - Krasnowardeisk Hptm Hans Philipp 10 452 : 200m Il-2 C.2035/I AnerkNr 371
6 18 February 1943 8:20 3./JG 54 - Krasnowardeisk Hptm Hans Philipp 10 532 : 50m Il-2 C.2035/I AnerkNr 385
7 23 February 1943 10:59 3./JG 54 - Krasnowardeisk Hptm Hans Philipp 10 172 : 400m LaGG-5 C.2035/I AnerkNr 405
8 21 March 1943 8:45 3./JG 54 - Krasnowardeisk ? Hptm Hans Philipp 00 193 : 4000m LaGG-3 C.2032/II AnerkNr 449
9 24 March 1943 8:53 3./JG 54 - Krasnowardeisk ? Hptm Hans Philipp 10 193 : 150m Il-2 C.2032/II AnerkNr 452
10 3 April 1943 17:57 3./JG 54 - Krasnowardeisk ?  ? 10 141 : 2000m P-39 C.2032/II AnerkNr 463
11 8 April 1943 16:28 3./JG 54 - Krasnowardeisk ?  ? 90 252 : 10m LaGG-5 C.2032/II AnerkNr 467
12 16 April 1943 12:25 3./JG 54 - Krasnowardeisk ? Maj Reinhard Seiler  ? LaGG-5 C.2032/II AnerkNr 471
13 1 May 1943 15:55 3./JG 54 - Krasnowardeisk ? Maj Reinhard Seiler 00 164 : 400m LaGG-5 C.2032/II AnerkNr 475
14 5 May 1943 11:45 3./JG 54 - Krasnowardeisk ? Maj Reinhard Seiler 00 152 : 4000m LaGG-3 C.2032/II AnerkNr 475
15 5 May 1943 11:48 3./JG 54 - Krasnowardeisk ? Maj Reinhard Seiler 00 161 : 2500m LaGG-3 C.2032/II AnerkNr 476
16 24 May 1943 19:37 3./JG 54 - Staraja-Russa Maj Reinhard Seiler 09 791 : 400m Il-2 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 478
17 24 May 1943 19:38 3./JG 54 - Staraja-Russa Maj Reinhard Seiler 09 872 : low-level Il-2 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 479
18 30 May 1943 13:48 3./JG 54 - Nikolskoye Maj Reinhard Seiler 10 113 : 2000m LaGG-3 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 484
19 30 May 1943 19:50 3./JG 54 - Nikolskoye Maj Reinhard Seiler 11 783 : 3000m LaGG-3 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 485
20 30 May 1943 19:51 3./JG 54 - Nikolskoye Maj Reinhard Seiler 11 784 : 2500m LaGG-3 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 486
21 30 May 1943 20:18 3./JG 54 - Nikolskoye Maj Reinhard Seiler 10 123 : 1300m P-40 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 487
22 5 June 1943 12:01 3./JG 54 - Nikolskoye Maj Reinhard Seiler 10 451 : 2000m LaGG-3 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 490
23 5 June 1943 12:10 3./JG 54 - Nikolskoye Maj Reinhard Seiler 10 151 : 4000m LaGG-3 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 492
24 10 June 1943 18:16 3./JG 54 - Nikolskoye Maj Reinhard Seiler 10 692 : 3000m LaGG-5 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 498
25 18 June 1943 2:02 3./JG 54 - Nikolskoye Maj Reinhard Seiler 00 334 : low-level LaGG-5 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 500 night-time intercept
26 21 June 1943 10:14 3./JG 54 - Nikolskoye Maj Reinhard Seiler 10 261 : low-level LaGG-3 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 503
27 21 June 1943 10:15 3./JG 54 - Nikolskoye Maj Reinhard Seiler 10 262 : 400m LaGG-3 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 504
28 21 June 1943 15:25 3./JG 54 - Nikolskoye Maj Reinhard Seiler 20 112 : 400m LaGG-5 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 507
28 21 June 1943 20:05 3./JG 54 - Nikolskoye Maj Reinhard Seiler 20 131 : 3000m LaGG-3 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 508
30 22 June 1943 2:25 3./JG 54 - Nikolskoye Maj Reinhard Seiler 90 634 : low-level LaGG-3 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 512 night-time intercept
31 5 July 1943 4:18 3./JG 54 - Orel Maj Reinhard Seiler 63 612 : 2000m LaGG-5 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 519
32 5 July 1943 10:02 3./JG 54 - Orel Maj Reinhard Seiler 63 551 : 1500m P-40 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 526
33 5 July 1943 10:06 3./JG 54 - Orel Maj Reinhard Seiler 63 534: 50m P-40 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 527
34 5 July 1943 12:02 3./JG 54 - Orel Maj Reinhard Seiler 63 583 : 1300m P-40 C. 2032/II AnerkNr.528
35 5 July 1943 18:35 3./JG 54 - Orel Maj Reinhard Seiler 63 481 : 50m Il-2 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 535
36 5 July 1943 18:37 3./JG 54 - Orel Maj Reinhard Seiler 63 364 : 200m Il-2 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 537
37 5 July 1943 18:38 3./JG 54 - Orel Maj Reinhard Seiler 63 444 : 100m Il-2 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 538
38 5 July 1943 18:39 3./JG 54 - Orel Maj Reinhard Seiler 63 451 : 100m Il-2 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 540
39 6 July 1943 11:48 3./JG 54 - Orel Maj Reinhard Seiler 63 568 : 200m LaGG-5 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 546
40 7 July 1943 8:30 3./JG 54 - Orel - 53 561 : 100m Il-2 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 552
41 7 July 1943 8:31 3./JG 54 - Orel - 56 563 : 100m Il-2 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 553
42 7 July 1943 8:32 3./JG 54 - Orel - 53 592 : 150m Il-2 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 556
43 7 July 1943 8:32 3./JG 54 - Orel - 53 591 : 150m Il-2 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 555
44 7 July 1943 14:12 3./JG 54 - Orel - 53 691 : 2400m Boston C. 2032/II AnerkNr 563
45 7 July 1943 14:15 3./JG 54 - Orel - 63 514 : 1000m Yak-7 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 565
46 7 July 1943 14:20 3./JG 54 - Orel - 63 592 : 100m Pe-2 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 567
47 8 July 1943 8:04 3./JG 54 - Orel - 63 561 : 2500m Boston C. 2032/II AnerkNr.568
48 8 July 1943 17:31 3./JG 54 - Orel - 63 531 : low-level La-5 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 572
49 8 July 1943 17:40 3./JG 54 - Orel - 53 693 : low-level P-39 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 573
50 9 July 1943 4:45 3./JG 54 - Orel - 63 576 : 1500m P-39 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 574
51 9 July 1943 5:11 3./JG 54 - Orel - 63 575 : 1000m Il-2 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 576
52 9 July 1943 5:12 3./JG 54 - Orel - 63 579 : 1000m Il-2 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 578
53 10 July 1943 7:19 3./JG 54 - Orel - 63 753 : 1500m P-39 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 584
54 10 July 1943 7:20 3./JG 54 - Orel - 63 754 : 1500m P-39 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 585
55 10 July 1943 7:22 3./JG 54 - Orel - 63 743 : 1000m P-39 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 586
56 10 July 1943 13:33 3./JG 54 - Orel - 63 543 : low-level LaGG-3 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 590
57 10 July 1943 18:50 3./JG 54 - Orel - 63 714 : low-level Yak-1 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 593
58 11 July 1943 4:24 3./JG 54 - Orel - 63 572 : 1200m LaGG-3 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 594
59 11 July 1943 4:26 3./JG 54 - Orel - 63 573 : 1500m LaGG-3 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 595
60 11 July 1943 4:33 3./JG 54 - Orel - 63 597 : low-level La-5 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 596
61 12 July 1943 7:09 3./JG 54 - Orel - 64 753 : 600m Il-2 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 597
62 13 July 1943 11:11 3./JG 54 - Orel - 73 144 : 1000m LaGG-5 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 606
63 13 July 1943 11:13 3./JG 54 - Orel - 73 123 : 1100m Yak-9 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 607
64 13 July 1943 11:13 3./JG 54 - Orel - 73 123 : 1200m Yak-9 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 608
65 13 July 1943 14:04 3./JG 54 - Orel - 54 413 : 200m Il-2 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 614
66 13 July 1943 14:12 3./JG 54 - Orel - 54 442 : 600m Il-2 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 615
67 13 July 1943 19:12 3./JG 54 - Orel - 64 821 : 1200m LaGG-5 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 616
68 14 July 1943 15:45 3./JG 54 - Orel - 54 481 : 100m Il-2 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 618
69 16 July 1943 5:25 3./JG 54 - Orel - 54 443 : 3000m Spitfire C. 2032/II AnerkNr 620
70 16 July 1943 7:55 3./JG 54 - Orel - 65 412 : 800m Yak-9 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 621
71 16 July 1943 8:05 3./JG 54 - Orel - 64 356 : 200m Yak-9 C. 2032/II AnerkNr 623
16 July 1943 8:06 3./JG 54 - Orel - 15 km NE of Bolkhov, Orel JG 54 Archiv

Awards[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ For an explanation of the meaning of Luftwaffe unit designation see Luftwaffe Organization
  2. ^ According to Scherzer as pilot in the 3./Jagdgeschwader 54.[10]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Luftwaffe 39-45 Historia website.
  2. ^ a b c d Aces of the Luftwaffe website.
  3. ^ Bergström 2007, pp. 53, 71, 73.
  4. ^ Bergström 2007, p. 87.
  5. ^ Bergström 2007, p. 103., taken from unpublished source JG 54 Grünherz Archiv, courtesy Günther Rosipal.
  6. ^ Luftwaffe Air Units: Single–Engined Fighters website.
  7. ^ Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 401.
  8. ^ Patzwall 2008, p. 178.
  9. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 375.
  10. ^ Scherzer 2007, p. 657.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Bergström. Christer (2007). Kursk – The Air Battle, July 1943. Classic Publications ISBN 1903223881.
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • Weal, John (2001). Aviation Elite Units #6: Jagdgeschwader 54 ‘Grünherz’. Oxford: Osprey Publishing Limited. ISBN 1-84176-286-5.
  • Weal, John (2007). More Bf109 Aces of the Russian Front. Oxford: Osprey Publishing Limited. ISBN 1-84603-177-X.
  • Weal, John (1995). Focke-Wulf Fw190 Aces of the Russian Front. Oxford: Osprey Publishing Limited. ISBN 1-85532-518-7.

External links[edit]