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Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer's Bf 110 tail section on display in Canberra (AWM)

Article about: Some photos of the tail section of Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer's Bf 110 which is currently on display in the Australian war Memorial, in Canberra. The opposite side of this Bf 110's tail sectio

  1. #1

    Default Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer's Bf 110 tail section on display in Canberra (AWM)

    Some photos of the tail section of Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer's Bf 110 which is currently on display in the Australian war Memorial, in Canberra. The opposite side of this
    Bf 110's tail section is also on display, in the IWM, London.

    Bob


    Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer was born on the 16 February 1922 at Stuttgart. He learned to fly on gliders as a member of a Nationalpolitische Lehranstalt at Potsdam in 1939. Schnaufer entered the Luftwaffe as a trainee officer-pilot on 15 November 1939. Following basic military training at Flieger-Ausbildungs-Regiment 42 at Salzwedel, he underwent flying training at Flugzeugführerschule A/B 3 at Guben. On 1 April 1941, Schnaufer was promoted to the rank of Leutnant while undergoing multi-engine flying training at Flugzeugführerschule C at Alt-Lönnewitz. There followed eight weeks at Blindflugschule at Schwäbisch Hall and 10 weeks at the Zerstörer-Schule at Wunstorf. Finally, Schnaufer was posted to the Nachtjagdschule 1, based at Schleissheim to learn the rudiments of the night-fighting art. In early November 1941, Schnaufer was posted to II./NJG 1, based at Stade near Hamburg. Leutnant Schnaufer was assigned to 5./NJG 1. On 15 January 1942, II./NJG 1 transferred to Saint-Trond in Belgium. Schnaufer's first operational experience came in February, when II./NJG 1 were detached to fly escort for the German navy’s capital ships Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen when they broke out from Brest en route for Norway. On 10 April, Schnaufer was appointed Technischer Offizier of II./NJG 1. His first victory was claimed on the night of 1/2 June 1942, when he shot down a RAF Halifax four-engine bomber near Louvain in Belgium. However, while attacking a second enemy aircraft, his aircraft was hit by return fire and he was wounded in the left leg. Schnaufer managed to successfully land his damaged aircraft at Saint-Trond. He was later admitted to hospital and did not return to his unit until 25 June. This would be the only time that Schnaufer or one of his crewmembers would be wounded in aerial combat during the war. By the end of the year, his victory total stood at seven, including three victories recorded on the night of 31 July/1 August. Schnaufer was promoted to the rank of Oberleutnant in July 1943, when his victory total stood at 17. He achieved his 20th victory on the night of 8/9 July 1943. Schnaufer was transferred to IV./NJG 1, based at Leeuwarden in Holland, where he was appointed Staffelkapitän 12./NJG 1, on 13 August 1943. He recorded his 30th victory on the night of 8/9 October. Oberleutnant Schnaufer was awarded the Ritterkreuz for 42 victories on 31 December. He recorded his 50th victory, and IV./NJG 1’s 500th victory, on the night of 24/25 February 1944.

    Oblt. Heinz-W. Schnaufer Staffelkapitän of 12./NJG 1 is showing his 47th victory bar on the rudder of his Bf 110 G, at St. Trond in February 1944.
    On 1 March 1944, Schnaufer was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of IV./NJG 1, based at Leeuwarden in Holland. He shot down five enemy aircraft on the night of 24/25 May to record his 70th through 74th victories. On 17 June, he shot down two RAF four-engine bombers to record his 79th and 80th victories. Schnaufer claimed four further RAF four-engine bombers shot down on the night of 21/22 June (81-84). Hauptmann Schnaufer was awarded the Eichenlaub (Nr 507) on 24 June for 84 victories. He was awarded the Schwertern (Nr 84) on 30 July, with his victory total at 89. In September 1944, IV./NJG 1 retreated back into Germany, being stationed temporarily at Dusseldorf and Dortmund. Schnaufer achieved his 100th victory on 9 October 1944. He was awarded the Brillanten by Adolf Hitler on 16 October. Schnaufer, still only 22 years old, was appointed Kommodore of NJG 4, based at Gutersloh, on 4 November 1944. At the end of the year, his victory total stood at 106. In December, he was promoted to the rank of Major. Schnaufer's greatest one-off success came on 21 February 1945, when he shot down nine RAF four-engine bombers in the course of one day: two in the early hours of the morning (108-109) and a further seven, in 19 minutes, in the evening (110-116). Post-war research suggests that, in fact, his total that day was 10, one claim not having been acknowledged. On 7 March, he shot down three RAF four-engine bombers (119-121) to record his last victories of the war. Schnaufer was taken prisoner by the British at Eggebek in Schleswig-Holstein in May 1945, but was released later that year and returned to Calw, where he took over the reins of the family wine business, his father having died during the war. However, Schnaufer wished to continue in a career involving flying. He and Georg-Hermann Greiner (51 victories, RK-EL) decided to try and earn a living flying in South America and, on 23 September 1946, set out for Switzerland to contact the relevant consulates to arrange this. However, they crossed the border illegally and were arrested by border guards and interned. Six months late Schnaufer and Greiner were released. Schnaufer returned to the family wine business and by the time of his death in 1950, he had built up the business to a very prosperous concern. His end came when, during a wine-purchasing visit to France, his open sports car was in collision with a lorry on the main road south from Bordeaux. The lorry had failed to observe right of way and entered the main road illegally. Heavy gas cylinders from the lorry fell on to Schnaufer's car, at least one of them hitting Schnaufer on the head. He died in hospital on 15 July 1950, two days after the accident.
    Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer was the top-scoring Nachtjäger of World War 2. He was credited with 121 victories recorded in 164 combat missions. His victory total includes 114 four-engine bombers.
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  2. #2

    Default

    A friend of mine who lives in the UK took these shots of the other surviving Bf 110 tail section that belonged to Heinz Wolfgang Schnaufer's aircraft,
    this is the one that is now in the Imperial War Museum in London.


    Bob
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