Military Wiki
Franz Schall
Franz Schall
Born (1918-06-01)1 June 1918
Died April 10, 1945(1945-04-10) (aged 26)
Place of birth Graz, Austria
Place of death Parchim
Allegiance Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Service/branch Balkenkreuz.svg Luftwaffe
Rank Hauptmann
Unit JG 52, Kommando Nowotny, JG 7
Commands held 3./JG 52

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Franz Schall (born 1 June 1918 in Graz, Austria – killed in action 10 April 1945 in Parchim) was a German World War II fighter ace. A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down five or more enemy aircraft during aerial combat.[1] He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German language: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes). 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 combat success.


Following the Austrian Anschluss in 1938, Franz volunteered for the Luftwaffe[2] and initially served as a gunner in a FlaK battery.[3] In 1940 he transferred to the Jagdwaffe and started training as a pilot in September 1941.[4] On completing his flight training in February 1943, Leutnant Schall was transferred to the Eastern Front and assigned to 3./52: the 3rd Staffel (squadron) of Jagdgeschwader 52 (JG 52—52nd Fighter Wing) which was at that time based at the city of Kursk.[5][6] He achieved his first victory, a La-5 fighter, on 6 May. His victories continued steadily through 1943, as his Gruppe supported the southern attack of the Kursk offensive, then fought in the intense air battles over the Kuban bridgehead on the Black Sea coast. By the end of the year he had 26 victories to his credit. This success carried into 1944 with the retreat across the Ukraine into Romania, with his 40th victory on 19 April, 50th on 17 May and 60th on 4 June.

On 11 August, he was appointed the Staffelkapitän (squadron leader) of 3./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 a hefty 13 on the last day of August to bring him up to his century (97-109) including eleven Il-2s. It was not all one-sided however, and during this period he was himself shot down four times, including a forced landing behind enemy lines.

At the beginning of September 1944, with his score at 116, he was transferred to the new Kommando Nowotny, named after its commander, Walter Nowotny, at that time the top fighter pilot in the world with 255 victories. This was a test-unit set up to devise and evaluate combat tactics for the brand new jet fighter - the Messerschmitt Me 262. Such an advanced machine was plagued with problems and in the first month of test-flying nearly half the unit's aircraft were damaged or destroyed in accidents. On 2 October, on only their second operational mission, StaKa and Ritterkreuzträger Fred Teumer was killed when an engine flamed out as he was trying to land. Ltn Schall was chosen to replace him as commander of 2 Staffel. A week later, on 10 October, he was awarded the Ritterkreuz with his tally then at 117 victories.

On 8 November 1944, Fighter General Adolf Galland was visiting to question the slow progress with the unit. But only four aircraft were able to take to the air. Although Schall could not get through to the bomber stream, he was able to shoot down a pair of United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) P-51 Mustang fighter escorts, but then suffered a flameout of both engines. While attempting to glide back to his base at Hesepe, he was intercepted by a P-51, probably piloted by 1st Lt. James W. Kenney of the 357th Fighter Group, which badly damaged Schall's Me 262 A-1a (Werknummer 110 404—factory number) "White 7". Schall managed to bail out just before his aircraft exploded. It was far worse though for the unit Kommodore Maj Nowotny who was, in almost identical circumstances, also bounced by Mustangs after another engine flameout. Witnesses saw his burning aircraft plummet straight into the ground just east of their Hesepe airfield, killing Nowotny instantly.[7][8]

Within a fortnight the unit had been disbanded, and absorbed into the newly formed JG 7, the world’s first operational jet-fighter unit, and Hauptmann Franz Schall, now with 122 victories, and his unit (now renamed 10./JG 7) was based at Oranienburg. He continued to score regularly in the Me 262, eventually ending with at least 14 confirmed jet victories (there were probably more victories, but they remain unconfirmed amidst the chaotic records of the last days of the war), making him the 3rd highest scorer of jet victories in the war. On 22 March 1945, he shot down a Yak-9, probably the one flown by L.I. Sivko from 812.IAP, himself one of the first Soviet pilots to shoot down an Me 262 jet fighter.[9] On 10 April 1945, Schall shot down a P-51 Mustang for his final victory, but then attempted an emergency landing at Parchim airbase. His aircraft rolled into a bomb crater and exploded, killing him instantly.

Reports vary that Franz Schall was credited with either 133[10][11][12][13] or 137 [14] victories in 550 missions.[15] The majority of his victories were claimed over the Eastern front, including 61 Il-2 Stormoviks. All 14 (or 16) of his victories claimed over the Western front were gained flying the Me 262 jet fighter and included six four-engine bombers and 10 P-51 fighters.[Notes 1] At the time of his death he had been nominated for the Oakleaves to the Knight's Cross, however this was never awarded.


Reference in the Wehrmachtbericht

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
1 September 1944 Leutnant Schall, Flugzeugführer in einem Jagdgeschwader, schoß gestern 13 sowjetische Flugzeuge ab und erhöhte damit die Zahl seiner Luftsiege auf 106.[22] First Lieutenant Schall, pilot in a fighter wing, shot down 13 Soviet aircraft yesterday and increased his total number of aerial victories to 106.


  1. For a list of Luftwaffe Jet aces see List of German World War II Jet aces
  2. According to Scherzer as Staffelführer of the 3./JG 52[21]


  1. Spick 1996, pp. 3–4.
  2. Luftwaffe 39-45 Historia website.
  3. Luftwaffe Officer Career Summaries website.
  4. Aces of the Luftwaffe website.
  5. Aces of the Luftwaffe website.
  6. Luftwaffe 39-45 Historia website.
  7. Morgan & Weal 1998, pp.27-28.
  8. Forsyth 2008, p.14.
  9. Morgan 1999, p.53.
  10. Aces of the Luftwaffe website.
  11. Luftwaffe 39-45 Historia website.
  12. Luftwaffe Officer Career Summaries website.
  13. Forsyth 2008, pg. 100.
  14. Morgan & Weal 1998, pp. 27-28.
  15. Spick 1996, p. 229.
  16. Obermaier 1989, p. 192.
  17. Luftwaffe Officer Career Summaries website.
  18. Patzwall and Scherzer 2001, p. 399.
  19. Luftwaffe Officer Career Summaries website.
  20. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 374.
  21. Scherzer 2007, p. 656.
  22. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939-1945 Band 3, p. 227.
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) (in German). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 – Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtsteile [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]. Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. 
  • Forsyth, Robert (2008). Aviation Elite Units #29: Jagdgeschwader 7 'Nowotny’. Oxford: Osprey Publishing Limited. ISBN 1-84603-320-9
  • Morgan, Hugh. Gli assi Sovietici della Seconda guerra mondiale. (in Italian) Edizioni del Prado/Osprey Aviation, 1999. ISBN 84-8372-203-8.
  • Morgan, Hugh & Weal, John (1998). German Jet Aces of World War 2. Oxford: Osprey Publishing Limited. ISBN 1-85532-634-5, with colour aircraft profiles #4 & #18
  • Obermaier, Ernst (1989) (in German). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Luftwaffe Jagdflieger 1939 – 1945 [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the Luftwaffe Fighter Force 1941 – 1945]. Mainz, Germany: Verlag Dieter Hoffmann. ISBN 978-3-87341-065-7. 
  • Patzwall, Klaus D.; Scherzer, Veit (2001) (in German). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II [The German Cross 1941 – 1945 History and Recipients Volume 2]. Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8. 
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007) (in German). 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]. Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. 
  • Spick, Mike (1996). Luftwaffe Fighter Aces. Ivy Books. ISBN 0-8041-1696-2.
  • Weal, John (2001). Bf109 Aces of the Russian Front. Oxford: Osprey Publishing Limited. ISBN 1-84176-084-6
  • Weal, John (2004). Aviation Elite Units #15: Jagdgeschwader 52 The Experten. Oxford: Osprey Publishing Limited. ISBN 1-84176-786-7.
  • (in German) Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, 1. Januar 1944 bis 9. Mai 1945 [The Wehrmacht Reports 1939–1945 Volume 3, 1 January 1944 to 9 May 1945]. München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 978-3-423-05944-2. 

External links

Military Offices held

Military offices
Preceded by
Oberleutnant Franz Woidich
Squadron Leader of 3./JG 52
11 August 1944 – 24 September 1944
Succeeded by
Leutnant Leonhard Färber,
Preceded by
Oberleutnant Alfred Teumer
Squadron Leader of 2./Kdo Nowotny
4 October 1944 – 19 November 1944
Succeeded by
none: unit renamed 10./JG 7
Preceded by
new unit
Squadron Leader of 10./JG 7
19 November 1944 – 10 April 1945
Succeeded by
Oberleutnant Franz Külp

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