8 July 1917|
|Died||16 January 1998
|Years of service||1939–45|
|Unit||JG 3, JG 7, JV 44|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross|
Hans "Specker" Grünberg (8 July 1917 – 16 January 1998) was a former German Luftwaffe fighter ace and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) during World War II. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. Grünberg shot down 82 enemy aircraft in 550 missions.
Grünberg first acted in combat role when he was serving with Jagdgeschwader 3 (JG 3) based on the Eastern Front, in August 1942. Unteroffizier Grünberg achieved his first victory on 19 August 1942, when he shot down a Soviet DB-3 twin-engine bomber. By the end of 1942, Grünberg had amassed 11 victories. He had bailed out four times during his time in the Soviet Union. On 16 July 1943, it is possible he became a victim of a female fighter ace, Lydia Litvyak. Grünberg then flew with 5./JG 3 on Defense of the Reich duties based in Germany. On 9 May 1944, Grünberg was appointed Staffelkapitän of 5./JG 3 in the place of Leutnant Leopold "Poldi" Münster was shot down and killed in action the day before. His last victory was claimed on 19 April, when he shot down a United States Army Air Forces B-17 over Bohemia but he had to bail out of his Messerschmitt Me 262 near Prague in this engagement. He served out the remainder of the war with this unit.
Grünberg was credited with 82 victories in 550 combat missions. He recorded 61 victories over the Eastern Front, including 27 Il-2 Sturmoviks. Of his 21 victories recorded over the Western Front, at least 11 were four-engine bombers. He is credited with five victories with the Me-262 jet fighter, all were four-engine bombers.[Notes 1]
- Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe (9 August 1943)
- Iron Cross (1939) 2nd and 1st class
- German Cross in Gold on 31 August 1943 as Feldwebel in the 5./JG 3
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 9 June 1944 as Leutnant (war officer) and pilot in the 5./JG 3 "Udet"
- For a list of Luftwaffe Jet aces see List of German World War II jet aces
- Obermaier 1989, p. 123.
- Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 152.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 352.
- 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.
- MacLean, French L (2007). Luftwaffe Efficiency & Promotion Reports: For the Knight's Cross Winners. Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Military History. ISBN 978-0-7643-2657-8.
- 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.
- 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.
- "Aces of the Luftwaffe". Hans Grünberg. Retrieved 14 February 2008.