Military Wiki
Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer
Nickname Spook of Sint-Truiden
Born (1922-02-16)16 February 1922
Died 15 July 1950(1950-07-15) (aged 28)
Place of birth Calw, Württemberg
Place of death Bordeaux
Buried at Calw, Village Cemetery
Allegiance Flag of German Reich (1935–1945) Nazi Germany
Service/branch Regulation WW II Underwing Balkenkreuz Luftwaffe
Years of service 1939 – 1945
Rank Major
Unit NJG 1, NJG 4
Commands held 12./NJG 1, IV./NJG 1, NJG 4

World War II

Awards Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub, Schwerten und Brillanten
Other work wine business

Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer (16 February 1922 – 15 July 1950) was a German Luftwaffe night fighter pilot and is the highest scoring night fighter ace in the history of aerial warfare. A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down five (in some services, notably the World War I German air force, classification as an ace required ten) or more enemy aircraft during aerial combat.[1] All of his 121 aerial victories were claimed during World War II at night, mostly against British four-engine bombers.[Note 1] For which he was awarded the coveted Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds (German language: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub, Schwertern und Brillanten) on 16 October 1944. At the time of its presentation to Schnaufer it was Germany's highest military decoration.[Note 2] He was nicknamed "The Spook of St. Trond", from the location of his unit's base in occupied Belgium.

Born in Calw, Schnaufer began military service in the Third Reich by joining the Luftwaffe in 1939. After training at various pilot and fighter-pilot schools, he was posted to Nachtjagdgeschwader 1 (NJG 1—1st Night Fighter Wing), operating on the Western Front, in November 1941. He flew his first combat sorties in support of Operation Cerberus, the breakout of the German ships Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, and Prinz Eugen from Brest. Schnaufer participated in the Defence of the Reich campaign from 1942 onwards, in which he would achieve most of his success. He claimed his first aerial victory on the night of 1/2 June 1942. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross for 42 aerial victories on 31 December 1943. Schnaufer achieved his 100th aerial victory on 9 October 1944 and was awarded the Diamonds to his Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords on 16 October. Schnaufer was appointed Geschwaderkommodore (wing commander) of Nachtjagdgeschwader 4 (NJG 4—4th Night Fighter Wing) on 4 November 1944. He was taken prisoner of war by British forces in May 1945. A year later he was released and returned to home town and took over the family wine business. He died of injuries sustained in a road accident on 13 July 1950 during a wine-purchasing visit to France. Schnaufer succumbed to his injuries in a hospital at Bordeaux on 15 July 1950, two days after the accident.

Childhood, education and early career[]

Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer was born 16 February 1922 in Calw, at the time in the Free People's State of Württemberg of the German Reich during the Weimar Republic.[2] He was the first of four children of the mechanical engineer (Diplom-Ingenieur) and merchant Alfred Schnaufer and his wife Martha, née Frey.[Note 3] The other three children were his brother Manfred, his sister Waltraut and his brother Eckart.[Note 4] His father owned and operated the family business, the winery Schnaufer-Schlossbergkellerei (literal translation for Schnaufer's Castle Mountain Winery), in the Lederstraße, Calw.[4]

Calw schnaufer1

House Schnaufer
Home of the Schlossbergkellerei

The winery had been founded by both his father and his grandfather, Hermann Schnaufer, shortly after World War I in 1919.[5] Following the death of his grandfather in 1928 the winery was run by his father alone. When his father unexpectantly died in 1940, his mother then ran the business until her children took over the winery after World War II. The company then expanded the business and in addition to the winery offered wine imports, sparkling wines, and a distillery for wine and liqueur. The distribution channel worked with agents and sales offices throughout Germany.[4]

Schnaufer, at the age of six, went to the local Volksschule (primary school) at Calw. After completing his fourth grade, he received two years of schooling at the Oberschule in Calw. At an early age he expressed his wish to join an organisation of military character and joined the Deutsches Jungvolk (German Youth) in 1933.[6] After completing his six grade he took and passed the entry examination at the Backnang National Political Institutes of Education (Nationalpolitische Erziehungsanstalt—Napola), a secondary boarding school founded in Nazi Germany. The goal of the Napola schools was to raise a new generation for the political, military and administrative leadership of Nazi Germany. Schnaufer was considered a very good student, finishing top of his class every year. Aged seventeen he graduated with his Abitur (diploma) in November 1939 with distinction. At the Napola school he also received the Reich Youth Sports Badge (Reichsjugendsportabzeichen), the base-certificate of the German Life Saving Association (Deutsche Lebens-Rettungs-Gesellschaft), the bronze Hitler Youth-Performance Badge (HJ-Leistungsabzeichen), and completed his B-license to fly glider aircraft.[2] In 1939 Schnaufer was one of two students posted to the Napola in Potsdam. The Flying Platoon (Fliegerzug) stationed in Potsdam centralised all the destined flyers from all the Napolas. Here he learned to fly glider aircraft, at first short hops on the DFS SG 38 Schulgleiter, and later on the two-seater Göppingen Gö 4 which was towed by a Klemm Kl 25.[7] During his stay at Potsdam, the film producer Karl Ritter was making the Ufa film Cadets in Potsdam. The Napola had detached two companies to work on the film, among them Schnaufer. It remains unclear what role exactly he played on this film.[8]

Following his graduation from school Schnaufer passed his entry exams for officer cadets of the Luftwaffe. He joined the Luftwaffe on 15 November 1939 and underwent his basic military training at the Fliegerausbildungsregiment 42 (42nd flight training regiment) at Salzwedel.[2] Schnaufer was appointed as Fahnenjunker (cadet) on 1 April 1940.[9] He then received his flight training at the Flugzeugführerschule A/B 3 (FFS A/B 3—flight school for the pilot license) at Guben, present-day the Cottbus-Drewitz Airport.[Note 5] He completed his A/B flight training on 20 August 1940. He was trained to fly the Focke-Wulf Fw 44, Fw 56 and Fw 58, and the Heinkel He 72, He 41 and He 51, the Bücker Bü 131, the Klemm Kl 35, the Arado Ar 66 and Ar 96, the Gotha Go 145 and the Junkers W 34 and A 35.[2]

Schnaufer then attended the advanced Flugzeugführerschule C 3 (FFS C 3—advanced flight school) at Alt Lönnewitz near Torgau and the blind flying school Blindflugschule 2 (BFS 2—2nd blind flying school) at Neuburg an der Donau from August 1940 to May 1941. This qualified him to fly multi-engine aircraft. During this assignment he was promoted to Fähnrich (cadet sergeant) on 1 September 1940, to Oberfähnrich (rank equivalent to Company Sergeant Major) on 1 February 1941 and to the officer rank of Leutnant (second lieutenant) on 1 April 1941.[2] He was then posted for ten weeks to the Zerstörerschule (destroyer school) at Wunstorf near Hanover. At Wunstorf Schnaufer and the aerial radio operator (Bordfunker) Friedrich Rumpelhardt crewed up on 3 July 1941. Schnaufer's previous radio operator had proved unable to cope with aerobatics, therefore Schnaufer thoroughly tested Rumpelhardts ability to cope with aerobatics before they teamed up. Here the two decided to volunteer to fly as night fighters in defence of the increasing Royal Air Force (RAF) Bomber Command offensive against Germany.[10] Following their training at Wunstorf, the two were sent to the Nachtjagdschule 1 (1st night fighter school) at Schleißheim near Munich, formerly the Zerstörerschule 1 (ZS 1—1st destroyer school), to learn the rudiments of night-fighting.[2]

World War II[]

File:Lang Hartmann Schnaufer Kaubisch Skrizpek Glunz.jpg

Friedrich Lang, Erich Hartmann and Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer receive the Oak Leaves with Swords, Horst Kaubisch, Eduard Skrzipek and Adolf Glunz the Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross from Adolf Hitler

In November 1941 Schnaufer was posted to the II. Gruppe of Nachtjagdgeschwader 1 (II./NJG 1—2nd group of the 1st Night Fighter Wing) at the time based at Stade near Hamburg.[Note 6] Here, Schnaufer was assigned to the 5. Staffel (5./NJG 1—5th squadron of 1st Night Fighter Wing). On 15 January 1942, II./NJG 1 transferred to Sint-Truiden—Saint-Trond in the French pronunciation—in Belgium. Schnaufer's first operation came in February 1942, when II./NJG 1 flew escort for the German capital ships Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, and Prinz Eugen when they broke out from Brest in the Channel Dash.

His first aerial victory was claimed on the night 1/2 June 1942, when he claimed a Handley Page Halifax south of Louvain in Belgium.[11] The aircraft probably was a Halifax from No. 76 Squadron piloted by Sergeant Thomas Robert Augustus West which was shot down at 01:55 on 2 June 1942 and crashed at Grez-Doiceau, 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) south of Louvain. West and another member of the crew were killed. Schnaufer and Rumpelhardt were vectored to their target by means of ground-controlled interception of the Kammhuber Line. Once near to the target, Rumpelhardt had visually found the bomber and directed Schnaufer into attack position from below and astern. The Halifax went into flames after two firing passes. Both were awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class (Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse) for their first aerial victory.[12]

Schnaufer had to wait two months to achieve another victory, claiming the destruction of two Vickers Wellingtons and Armstrong Whitworth Whitley within the space of 62 minutes in the early hours of the 1 August.[13] On the night of the 24/25 August 1942, Schnaufer became an ace, when he filed a claim for another Wellington, while following this success with another on the 28/29 August.[14] On the night of the 21/22 December 1942, Schnaufer shot down an Avro Lancaster; his first victory against this type. It was Schnaufer's seventh victory, establishing him as a successful fighter pilot.[15]

By the end of the year, his total stood at 7, with 3 victories recorded on one night. Schnaufer was promoted to Oberleutnant in July 1943, when his total was 17. Schnaufer was transferred to IV./NJG 1, based in the Netherlands, where he was appointed Staffelkapitän (squadron leader) in August 1943. Oberleutnant Schnaufer was awarded the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes for 42 victories in December 1943.

On the night before his 22nd birthday on 15 February 1944, Schnaufer and his crew claimed aerial victories 45 to 47. Bomber Command had sent 561 Lancasters and 314 Halifax four-engined bombers, supported by Mosquitoes night-fighters and bombers, destined for Berlin.[16] Schnaufer, who had been suffering from stomach pains all day, and his crew returned to Leeuwarden at 00:14. Rumpelhardt had been the first to congratulate him on his birthday over the intercom. Their fellow airmen had prepared a birthday celebration.[17] The stomach pains had become unbearable and Schnaufer was taken to a hospital with appendicitis. He stayed in the hospital for about two weeks before, together with Rumpelhardt, went on vacation back home. Carelessly lifting his suitcase, the stitches burst, mandating further hospitalization. His flew his first mission after these events on 19 March 1944.[18]

March 1944 saw Schnaufer appointed Gruppenkommandeur (group commander) IV./NJG 1. He claimed five enemy aircraft on the night of 24/25 May. Hauptmann Schnaufer was awarded the Eichenlaub on 24 June for 84 victories and the Schwerter on 30 July, with his total at 89.

In September 1944, IV./NJG 1 retreated into Germany, Schnaufer achieved his 100th victory on 9 October 1944. He was awarded the Brillanten personally by Adolf Hitler.

Geschwaderkommodore of Nachjagdgeschwader 4[]

Schnaufer was then appointed Geschwaderkommodore (wing commander) of Nachtjagdgeschwader 4 (NJG 4—4th Night Fighter Wing) on 20 November 1944; the youngest Geschwaderkommodore in the Luftwaffe at 22. The Geschawaderstab as well as the II. Gruppe were stationed at Gütersloh. He flew his first combat mission as Geschwaderkommodore on the 22 November 1944 from Gütterloh and claimed two victores in the area of Dortmund. Schnaufer and his crew flew from Gütersloh to Berlin-Staaken on 27 November 1944 for the official presentation of the Diamonds to the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords by Hitler.[19] Following the official photo session by Hitler's photographer Heinrich Hoffmann, Schnaufer met with Oberst (Colonel) Nicolaus von Below, Hitler's Luftwaffe adjutant, at the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (Ministry of Aviation). Here Schnaufer and his crew were filmed for the German newsreels Die Deutsche Wochenschau. Three days later they returned to Gütersloh.[20]

At the end of the year, his victory total stood at 106.

RAAF 462 Sqn crew with Me 110 of W Schnaufer 1945

Members of the Royal Australian Air Force pose with Schnaufer's Bf 110G-4 (G9+BA) at Schleswig, Germany, shortly after the end of the war (19 June 1945)

Schnaufer was ordered to Carinhall, the residence of the Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring, on 8 February 1945. Göring informed him about the intent to appoint him as Inspekteur der Nachtjäger (Inspector of the night fighter force), a role held by Oberst Werner Streib at the time. Schnaufer pushed back, not wanting to push out his friend and mentor from this position. He argued that he would better serve the German cause in an enemy facing position. Göring was convinced and Schnaufer remained in his position as Geschwaderkommodore.[21]

The British propaganda radio station Soldatensender Calais (Soldiers' Radio Calais) congratulated Schnaufer on account of his 23rd birthday on 16 February 1945. The radio station explicitly addressed the soldiers of NJG 4 stationed in Gütersloh followed by the song "Das Nachtgespenst" [The Bogeyman] praising him for the honorary title given to him by the British bomber crews "The spook of St. Trond".[21]

Schnaufer's greatest one-night success came on 21 February 1945, when he claimed nine Lancaster heavy bombers in the course of one day. Two were claimed in the early hours of the morning and a further seven, in just 19 minutes, in the evening between 20:44 and 21:03.[22] On 7/8 March, he claimed three RAF four-engine bombers as his last victories of the war. He was then banned from further combat flying and was tasked with evaluating the then new Dornier Do 335, a twin-engine heavy fighter with a unique "push-pull" layout, for its suitability as night fighter. Disobeying his ban from combat flying, he flew his last mission of the war on 9 April 1945. Attempting to chase a Lancaster he took off from Faßberg Air Base at 22:00 and landed after 79 minutes at 23:19 without success.[23]

His radar operator on his first 12 claims was Fw. Dr. Leo Baro, while 100 of his claims were with Lt. Friedrich "Fritz" Rumpelhardt. His air gunner on 98 claims was Oberfeldwebel Wilhelm Gänsler. Both the latter received the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes.

Schnaufer flew variants of the Messerschmitt Bf 110 exclusively.

Prisoner of war[]

Schnaufer was taken prisoner of war by the British Army in Schleswig-Holstein in May 1945. According to Schumann he was taken to England for interrogation. In this account British authorities were especially interested in knowing whether his achievements had been made under the influence of methamphetamine or other stimulating psychoactive drugs which induce temporary improvements in either mental or physical functions or both. He was released later that year in November following a Diphtheria illness.[24]

According to Hinchliffe this is an incorrect statement. Hinchliffe based his account on Rumpelhardt's testimony who claims that Schnaufer was never taken to England. Rumpelhardt was released on 4 August 1945 and soon after Schnaufer was admitted to a hospital in Flensburg, ill with a combination of Diphtheria and scarlet fever.[25] Interrogation had begun in late May 1945 by a team of twelve officers from the Department of Air Technical Intelligence (DAT), led by Air commodore Roderick Aeneas Chisholm.[26] The German prisoners were brought to Eggebek. Here they conducted a number of interviews with various members of the night fighter force.[27]

Later life and death[]

Following his release from the hospital and as prisoner of war—the exact date is unknown—Schnaufer took over the family wine business. Schnaufer had never planned to run the family winery, his ambition had always been to pursue an officer's career in the Luftwaffe. The state of the family business shortly after World War II did virtually no longer exist and Schnaufer was tasked with rebuilding the business from scratch. He had to re-establish business links to suppliers and customers and to consolidate them. Next he had to expand and grow the business by making new contacts, and lastly he had to create an infrastructure which supported the growth of the business.[28]

"Quality before Quantity."[29]

Heinz Schnaufer's business motto

Although the business began to prosper Schnaufer also gave thought to alternative employment possibilities.[29] He continued seeking for an opportunity to pursue a career in peacetime aviation. Together with his wartime friend Hermann Greiner they wanted to explore the opportunity to find employment as a pilot in South America. The two met at Weil am Rhein and crossed the Swiss-German border illegally.[30] They met with South American diplomats in Bern, Switzerland with disappointing results. Forced to return, they again tried to cross the Swiss-German border illegally and were caught by Swiss border guards, who handed them over to the French occupation authorities. The two were imprisoned in Lörrach, where they remained until Schnaufer managed to make contact to a French general, who was a customer of the Schnaufer winery and had them released. This adventure kept him away from his business for about half a year.[31]

Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer tail fin

One of the tail fins of Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer's Bf 110. It displays all of his 121 victories,Imperial War Museum (2010)

Schnaufer was visiting France on a wine buying visit in July 1950. He was heading south on the Route Nationale No. 10 (N10) just south of Bordeaux on the afternoon of 13 July 1950. He died of injuries sustained in an accident in which his Mercedes-Benz convertible with the registration number AWW 44-3425, collided with a Renault 22 truck near Bordeaux at about 18:30. The accident occurred at the intersection of road D1, present-day D211, and the N10, present-day D1010, in Cestas (44°42′04″N 0°42′20″W / 44.70111°N 0.70556°W / 44.70111; -0.70556). The truck, driven by Jean Antoine Gasc, carried a six ton load of empty gas cylinders. The collision ruptured the fuel tank of the Mercedes, igniting the petrol. Witnesses to the accident quickly put out the flames. Alice Ducourneau gave first aid to Schnaufer, who was bleeding from a wound from the back of his head. The police appeared at the scene of the accident at about 19:30 followed by an ambulance shortly after. Suffering a fractured skull, he was then immediately taken to the Saint-André Hôpital in Bordeaux.[3]

The investigation concluded that though the impact of the two vehicles was severe, it seemed unlikely that the collision itself was the cause of his injuries. It was speculated that at least one of the 30 empty gas cylinders which were thrown off the truck by the collision had struck Schnaufer on the head.[3] Schnaufer never regained consciousness and succumbed to his injuries at the hospital two days later on 15 July 1950. Subsequently Gasc was charged with manslaughter and breach of traffic regulations before a court at Jauge, Cestas. The hearing began on 29 July 1950 and concluded with his conviction on 16 November 1950. Gasc was found guilty of not yielding the right of way, and his speed was considered too high. It was ruled that as a consequence of not observing the law, he involuntarily caused the death of Schnaufer.[32]

Schnaufer's Messerschmitt Bf 110 G-4/U 8 was brought to England as well. The aircraft was displayed in the London Hyde Park.[33] The portside vertical stabiliser this twin tail Bf 110 G-4, tallying all his kills, is now on display at the Imperial War Museum in London.[34] In addition, another fin from a Bf-110 of Schnaufer's is at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. The street "Heinz-Schnaufer-Straße" in Calw was named after him.[35]

Aerial victory credits[]

Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer was the top-scoring night fighter pilot of World War II. He was credited with 121 aerial victories claimed in just 164 combat missions. His victory total includes 114 RAF four-engine bombers; arguably accounting for more RAF casualties than any other Luftwaffe fighter pilot and becoming the third highest Luftwaffe claimant against the Western Allied Air Forces. His flight book indicated 2,300 takeoffs and 1,133 flying hours.[33]

      This and the ♠ (Ace of spades) indicates those aerial victories which made Schnaufer an ace in a day, a term which designates a fighter pilot who has shot down five or more airplanes in a single day.
      This along with the + (plus) indicates almost certain identification.
      This along with the * (asterisk) indicates probable identification.
      This along with the ? (question mark) indicates possible identification.

Chronicle of aerial victories[36]
Victory Date Time Type Location Unit Serial No./Squadron No.
– II. Gruppe/Nachtjagdgeschwader 1 –
1 2 June 1942 01:55 Halifax II Grez-Doiceau, 15 km (9.3 mi) S of Louvain, Belgium No. 76 Squadron W1064/MP-J*
2 1 August 1942 02:47 Wellington IC 1 km (0.62 mi) SW Loon op Zand, Netherlands 25 Operational Training Unit DV439/-H*
3 1 August 1942 03:17 Wellington IC Huldenberg, Belgium 27 Operational Training Unit DV552/UJ-N+
4 1 August 1942 03:45 Whitley V Gilly, Charleroi, Belgium 24 Operational Training Unit BD347*
5 25 August 1942 02:54 Wellington III Near Loonbeek, Belgium No. 150 Squadron BJ651/JN-M*
6 29 August 1942 01:16 Halifax II Tombeek, 16 km (9.9 mi) SE of Brussels, Belgium No. 78 Squadron W7809/EJ*
7 21 December 1942 23:53 Lancaster I Poelkapelle, Belgium No. 106 Squadron R5914/ZN-+
8 14 May 1943 02:14 Stirling I Heerlen, Netherlands No. 214 Squadron R9242/BU-O*
9 14 May 1943 03:07 Halifax II Near Blanden, Belgium No. 78 Squadron JB873/EY-J+
10 30 May 1943 00:48 Stirling III S of Baelen, Belgium No. 218 Squadron BF565/HA-H+
11 30 May 1943 01:43 Halifax II Budingen, 7 km (4.3 mi) NW of Sint-Truiden, Belgium No. 35 Squadron DT804/TL-C+
12 30 May 1943 02:22 Stirling III Schaffen Air Base, 22 km (14 mi) N of Sint-Truiden, Belgium No. 218 Squadron BK688/HA-A+
13 22 June 1943 01:33 Stirling III Langdorp, Belgium No. 218 Squadron BK712/HA-D+
14 25 June 1943 02:58 Wellington Hamme-Mille, S of Louvain, Belgium
15 29 June 1943 01:25 Lancaster III Solwaster, SE of Verviers, Belgium No. 97 Squadron LM323/OF-U+
16 29 June 1943 01:45 Halifax V Wandre, NE of Liège, Belgium No. 76 Squadron DK137/NP-R+
17 29 June 1943 01:55 Halifax II Near Vottem, N of Liège, Belgium No. 35 Squadron HR812/TL-F+
18 4 July 1943 00:48 Wellington X Averbode, 7 km (4.3 mi) NW of Diest, Belgium No. 196 Squadron HE980ZO-+
19 4 July 1943 01:01 Stirling III Near Geetbets, 9 km (5.6 mi) NW of Sint-Truiden, Belgium No. 149 Squadron BF530/OJ-B+
20 9 July 1943 02:33 Lancaster III Near Grobbendonk, 23 km (14 mi) ESE of Antwerp, Belgium No. 49 Squadron ED663/EA-+
21 11 August 1943 00:32 Lancaster Hähnlein, 25 km (16 mi) SSW of Darmstadt, Germany
– 12. Staffel/Nachtjagdgeschwader 1 –
22 28 August 1943 03:59 Halifax II Jemeppe-sur-Sambre, 15 km (9.3 mi) W of Namur, Belgium No. 102 Squadron JB835/DY-X+
23 31 August 1943 22:41 Halifax II 2 km (1.2 mi) SE Kuinre, Zuider Zee No. 35 Squadron HR878/TL-J+
24 31 August 1943 03:53 Wellington X Near Lozen, N of Bree, Belgium No. 166 Squadron HE988/AS-U*
25 24 August 1943 00:09 Halifax II Near Eschede, 20 km (12 mi) NNE of Celle, Germany No. 77 Squadron JD379/KN-M*
26 23 September 1943 23:00 Stirling III 5 km (3.1 mi) S Kirchheimbolanden, Germany No. 218 Squadron EJ104/HA-G+
27 27 September 1943 23:31 Halifax Near Stemmen, W of Stadthagen, Germany
28 3 October 1943 21:50 Halifax II Near Lande, 8 km (5.0 mi) N of Minden, Germany No. 51 Squadron HR728/LK-D?
29 9 October 1943 01:13 Halifax II Near Schwaförden, 9 km (5.6 mi) N of Sulingen, Germany No. 158 Squadron HR945/NP-Y*
30 9 October 1943 01:42 Four-engined bomber Near Holtensen, SW of Hanover, Germany
31 18 October 1943 20:25 Lancaster III Near Negenborn, NNW of Hanover, Germany No. 101 Squadron DV230/SR-T*
32 20 October 1943 19:13 Lancaster III Near Gieten, E of Assen, Netherlands No. 7 Squadron JB175/MG-A+
33 20 October 1943 19:25 Lancaster III Near Harrenstätte, NW of Werlte, Germany No. 405 Squadron JB348/LQ-R+
34 22 October 1943 21:40 Lancaster III Near Dransfeld, Hanover, Germany No. 57 Squadron JB320/DX-X*
35 23 November 1943 18:50 Lancaster III 2 km (1.2 mi) NW Ter Apel, near Emmen, Netherlands No. 405 Squadron JA939/LQ-C+
36 23 November 1943 19:00 Lancaster III Lorup, NNW Cloppenburg, Germany No. 12 Squadron JB537/PH-N?
37 16 December 1943 18:01 Lancaster III Near Follega, Netherlands No. 7 Squadron JA853/MG-L+
38 16 December 1943 18:12 Lancaster I Near Lemmer, Netherlands No. 101 Squadron DV300/SR-W+
39 16 December 1943 18:23 Lancaster III SW Wolvega, Netherlands No. 49 Squadron JB545/EA-O+
40 16 December 1943 18:41 Lancaster II 2 km (1.2 mi) SW Wirdum, Netherlands No. 432 Squadron DS831/QO-N+
41 29 December 1943 18:50 Halifax II 5 km (3.1 mi) NE Meppel, Netherlands No. 10 Squadron JD314/ZA-X+
42 29 December 1943 19:45 Lancaster II Near Wietmarschen, W of Lingen, Germany No. 408 Squadron DS718/EQ-R+
43 27 January 1944 19:45 Lancaster III Near Essen, 4 km (2.5 mi) NW of Quakenbrück, Germany No. 12 Squadron JB283/PH-W?
44 30 January 1944 22:15 Lancaster In GK5, W of Amsterdam, Netherlands
45 15 February 1944 22:58 Lancaster III In the sea, DJ93 No. 103 Squadron ND363/PM-A+
46 15 February 1944 23:19 Lancaster II Near Hoorn, Netherlands No. 115 Squadron LL689/KO-P+[37]
47 15 February 1944 23:33 Lancaster I EL78 in the Wattenmeer, Netherlands No. 622 Squadron W4272/GJ-C+
48 22 March 1944 23:10 Lancaster III Halle, near Lembeck, 18 km (11 mi) S of Brussels, Belgium No. 9 Squadron LM430/WS-B+
49 25 March 1944 00:12 Four-engined bomber E of Dortmund, Germany
50 25 March 1944 00:21 Lancaster I Neuwarendorf, E of Münster, Germany No. 626 Squadron HK539/UM-A2*
51 25 March 1944 00:41 Four-engined bomber Near Varsseveld, Netherlands, NE Emmerich, Germany
– IV. Gruppe/Nachtjagdgeschwader 1 –
52 11 April 1944 23:15 Lancaster III Near Beerse, 6 km (3.7 mi) W of Turnhout, Belgium No. 83 Squadron ND389/OL-A+
53 11 April 1944 23:25 Lancaster I 2 km (1.2 mi) N Sint-Lenaarts, Belgium No. 49 Squadron LL899/EA-P+
54 25 April 1944 02:03 Lancaster I Near Alken, Belgium No. 115 Squadron HK542/KO-J*
55 25 April 1944 02:28 Lancaster II 3 km (1.9 mi) N Mechelen, Belgium No. 115 Squadron DS734/KO-Y+
56 25 April 1944 02:30 Halifax III 1 km (0.62 mi) W of Haasdonk, Belgium No. 192 Squadron LW622/DT-R*
57 25 April 1944 02:40 Halifax In the sea at LG 35
58 27 April 1944 02:05 Lancaster III 1 km (0.62 mi) S Achtmaal, Netherlands No. 156 Squadron JB307/GT-H+
59 27 April 1944 02:18 Lancaster II Over the sea, LG 38 No. 408 Squadron DS719/LQ-U*
60 28 April 1944 01:30 Halifax V 8 km (5.0 mi) N Aubel, Belgium, 15 km (9.3 mi) SW of Aachen, Germany No. 434 Squadron LL258/WL-W+
61 28 April 1944 01:40 Halifax III Verviers, Belgium No. 432 Squadron MZ588/QO-W+
62 9 May 1944 03:34 Halifax III Near Grand-Reng, 30 km (19 mi) SW of Charleroi, Belgium No. 432 Squadron LW594/QO-G+
63 13 May 1944 00:44 Halifax III Londerzeel, 8 km (5.0 mi) W of Mechelen, Belgium No. 426 Squadron LK883/OW-E*
64 13 May 1944 00:46 Halifax III 5 km (3.1 mi) ENE Hasselt, Belgium No. 158 Squadron HX334/NP-C?
65 13 May 1944 00:48 Halifax III Hoogstraten, 16 km (9.9 mi) NW of Turnhout, Belgium No. 466 Squadron LV919/HD-O+
66 22 May 1944 01:34 Lancaster 3 km (1.9 mi) S of Mol, Belgium
67 22 May 1944 01:51 Lancaster 10 km (6.2 mi) S of Herentals, Belgium No. 550 Squadron DV309/BQ-S+[38]
68 23 May 1944 01:23 Lancaster I Near Neerpelt, Belgium No. 75 Squadron ME690/AA-Z+
69 23 May 1944 01:36 Lancaster I Near Brecht, 22 km (14 mi) NE of Antwerp, Belgium No. 100 Squadron ME670/HW-Q*
70♠ 25 May 1944 01:15 Halifax III 3 km (1.9 mi) NW of Eindhoven, Netherlands No. 51 Squadron LK885/MH-Z+
71♠ 25 May 1944 01:18 Halifax III 2 km (1.2 mi) NNW of Tilburg, Netherlands No. 158 Squadron LW653/NP-T?
72♠ 25 May 1944 01:22 Halifax III 1.5 km (0.93 mi) W Goirle, SSW of Tilburg, Netherlands No. 76 Squadron MZ622/MP-L*
73♠ 25 May 1944 01:25 Halifax III Between Dongen and Tilburg, Netherlands No. 429 Squadron LW124/AL-N?
74♠ 25 May 1944 01:29 Lancaster 7 km (4.3 mi) SW of Tilburg, Netherlands
75 13 June 1944 00:27 Lancaster II Avesnes-les-Auvert, E of Cambrai, France No. 408 Squadron DS772/EQ-T+
76 13 June 1944 00:31 Lancaster II Cambrai airfield No. 408 Squadron DS726/EQ-Y*
77 13 June 1944 00:34 Lancaster II Tilloy, N of Cambrai, France No. 408 Squadron DS688/EQ-R+
78 16 June 1944 01:00 Lancaster N of Arras, France
79 17 June 1944 01:54 Four-engined bomber Dreumel, N of s'Hertogenbosch, Netherlands
80 17 June 1944 02:04 Halifax III Berkel, Netherlands No. 77 Squadron NA524/KN-F+
81 22 June 1944 01:25 Lancaster III Valkenswaard, Netherlands No. 44 Squadron LM582/KM-Q*
82 22 June 1944 01:30 Lancaster I 2 km (1.2 mi) S of Meeuwen, Belgium No. 207 Squadron ME683/EM-W*
83 22 June 1944 01:36 Lancaster III 5 km (3.1 mi) S of Opoeteren, Belgium No. 44 Squadron LM434/KM-F?
84 22 June 1944 02:05 Lancaster I 6 km (3.7 mi) S of Hamont, Belgium No. 630 Squadron ME843/LE-U*
85 21 July 1944 01:40 Lancaster I 1.5 km (0.93 mi) N of Boxtel, Netherlands No. 90 Squadron LM183/WP-L?
86 21 July 1944 01:51 Four-engined bomber 8 km (5.0 mi) N of Breda, Netherlands
87 29 July 1944 01:38 Lancaster I Pforzheim, Germany No. 467 Squadron ME856/PO-T?
88 29 July 1944 01:50 Four-engined bomber Eutingen, near Pforzheim, Germany
89 29 July 1944 01:57 Lancaster I Malmsheim, 20 km (12 mi) W of Stuttgart, Germany No. 106 Squadron ME778/ZN-O?
90 13 August 1944 00:48 Four-engined bomber Wasserliesch, Germany
91 13 August 1944 01:09 Lancaster III Werbomont, SSE of Liège, Belgium No. 635 Squadron ND694/F2-R*
92 13 August 1944 01:15 Four-engined bomber Gouvy, 28 km (17 mi) SSW of Malmédy, Belgium
93 13 August 1944 01:19 Four-engined bomber 3 km (1.9 mi) W of Mons, near Liège, Belgium
94 12 September 1944 23:07 Four-engined bomber RQ-RP
95 23 September 1944 22:56 Four-engined bomber JP-HP
96 23 September 1944 23:10 Four-engined bomber JO
97 23 September 1944 23:15 Four-engined bomber HO-JO
98 23 September 1944 23:25 Four-engined bomber JN-HN
99 9 October 1944 20:32 Four-engined bomber S of Bochum, Germany
100 9 October 1944 20:55 Four-engined bomber JO
101 6 November 1944 20:55 Four-engined bomber KP-IP
102 6 November 1944 19:34 Four-engined bomber KP-IP
103 6 November 1944 19:41 Four-engined bomber KP-IP
– Stab/Nachtjagdgeschwader 4 –
104 21 November 1944 19:05 Four-engined bomber KP
105 21 November 1944 19:11 Four-engined bomber KP
106 12 December 1944 20:00 Four-engined bomber MO-LO
107 3 February 1945 21:09 Four-engined bomber LO
108♠ 21 February 1945 01:53 Lancaster MM-MN
109♠ 21 February 1945 01:58 Lancaster MM
110♠ 21 February 1945 20:44 Lancaster HQ-HP
111♠ 21 February 1945 20:48 Lancaster HP-HO
112♠ 21 February 1945 20:51 Lancaster HP-HO
113♠ 21 February 1945 20:55 Lancaster HP-HO
114♠ 21 February 1945 20:58 Lancaster IO-JN
115♠ 21 February 1945 21:00 Lancaster JN-KM
116♠ 21 February 1945 21:03 Lancaster KM-KL
[Note 7]
21 February 1945 21:10 Lancaster I KM-KL No. 463 Squadron NG329/JO-Z*
117 3 March 1945 21:55 Lancaster HQ
118 3 March 1945 22:04 Lancaster HQ
119 7 March 1945 20:41 Lancaster LR-MR
120 7 March 1945 20:47 Lancaster LS-MS
121 7 March 1945 21:56 Lancaster GC-HC


Wehrmachtbericht reference[]

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
10 October 1944 Der vom Führer mit dem Eichenlaub mit Schwertern zum Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes ausgezeichnete Hauptmann Schnaufer, Gruppenkommandeur in einem Nachtjagdgeschwader, errang in der Nacht vom 9. zum 10. Oktober seinen 100. Nachtjagdsieg.[54] During the night of the 9th to the 10th October Haupmann Schnaufer, Gruppenkommandeur (group commander) in a Nachtjagdgeschwader (night fighter wing), whom the Führer has decorated with the Oak Leaves with Swords to the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, scored his 100th night aerial victory.[55]

Dates of rank[]

1 April 1940: Fahnenjunker[9]
1 April 1941: Fahnenjunker-Gefreiter[9]
1 July 1940: Fahnenjunker-Unteroffizier[9]
1 September 1940: Fähnrich[9]
1 February 1941: Oberfähnrich[9]
1 April 1941: Leutnant (Second Lieutenant)[9]
1 July 1943: Oberleutnant (First Lieutenant)[9]
1 May 1944: Hauptmann (Captain)[9]
1 December 1944: Major (Major)[9]


  1. For a list of Luftwaffe night fighter aces see List of German World War II night fighter aces
  2. In 1944, the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds was second only to the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross (Großkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes), which was awarded only to senior commanders for winning a major battle or campaign, in the military order of the Third Reich. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds as the highest military order was surpassed on 29 December 1944 by the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Goldenem Eichenlaub, Schwertern und Brillanten).
  3. According to Schumann his mothers first name was Elisabeth.[2]
  4. Waltraut married Schanufer's adjutant, Oberleutnant Georg Fengler, on 15 April 1950.[3]
  5. Flight training in the Luftwaffe progressed through the levels A1, A2 and B1, B2, referred to as A/B flight training. A training included theoretical and practical training in aerobatics, navigation, long-distance flights and dead-stick landings. The B courses included high-altitude flights, instrument flights, night landings and training to handle the aircraft in difficult situations. For pilots destined to fly multi-engine aircraft, the training was completed with the Luftwaffe Advanced Pilot's Certificate (Erweiterter Luftwaffen-Flugzeugführerschein), also known as C-Certificate.
  6. For an explanation of the meaning of Luftwaffe unit designation see Organisation of the Luftwaffe during World War II.
  7. Schnaufer did not claim this aerial victory. His cannon had malfunctioned during the attack and the crew did not observe the result of the attack.[39]
  8. According to Scherzer on 3 August 1944.[47]


  1. Spick 1996, pp. 3–4.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Schumann 2000, p. 4.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Hinchliffe 1999, p. 268.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£. "Die Entwicklung bis 1945" (in German). Schnaufer—Schlossbergkellerei GmbH. Retrieved 25 July 2013. 
  5. Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£. "Die Firmengründung im Jahr 1919" (in German). Schnaufer—Schlossbergkellerei GmbH. Retrieved 19 August 2013. 
  6. Hinchliffe 1999, p. 18.
  7. Hinchliffe 1999, pp. 20–21.
  8. Hinchliffe 1999, p. 21.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 9.8 9.9 Schumann 2000, p. 2.
  10. Hinchliffe 1999, pp. 28–30.
  11. Foreman, Matthews and Parry 2004, p. 43.
  12. Hinchliffe 1999, pp. 49, 298.
  13. Foreman, Matthews and Parry 2004, p. 53.
  14. Foreman, Matthews and Parry 2004, p. 56.
  15. Foreman, Matthews and Parry 2004, p. 63.
  16. Hinchliffe 1999, p. 144.
  17. Hinchliffe 1999, p. 145.
  18. Hinchliffe 1999, p. 146.
  19. Schumann 2000, p. 18.
  20. Schumann 2000, pp. 18–21.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Schumann 2000, p. 23.
  22. Foreman, Matthews and Parry 2004, p. 236.
  23. Schumann 2000, p. 24.
  24. Schumann 2000, p. 32.
  25. Hinchliffe 1999, p. 257.
  26. Hinchliffe 1999, p. 248.
  27. Hinchliffe 1999, p. 251.
  28. Hinchliffe 1999, p. 260.
  29. 29.0 29.1 Hinchliffe 1999, p. 261.
  30. Hinchliffe 1999, p. 262.
  31. Hinchliffe 1999, p. 263.
  32. Hinchliffe 1999, p. 270.
  33. 33.0 33.1 Schumann 2000, p. 29.
  34. Imperial War Museum Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£ (2011). "EPH 2961 - fin fragment from a German Messerschmitt Me 110 aircraft (flown by Major Heinz Wolfgang Schnaufer)". Imperial War Museum Collection Search. Retrieved 1 July 2012. 
  35. Google (24 July 2013). "Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer". Google Maps (Map).ße%20@+48.71760,%20+8.76140+to:+B-295%20@+48.7115,%20+8.7685. 
  36. Hinchliffe 1999, pp. 298–302.
  37. Chorley 1992, p. 78.
  38. Chorley 1992, p. 231.
  39. Hinchliffe 1999, p. 302.
  40. 40.0 40.1 40.2 Berger 1999, p. 314.
  41. 41.0 41.1 Thomas 1998, p. 273.
  42. Kurowski 2007, p. 139.
  43. Patzwall 2008, p. 184.
  44. Patzwall and Scherzer 2001, p. 417.
  45. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 384.
  46. Von Seemen 1976, p. 304.
  47. 47.0 47.1 47.2 47.3 Scherzer 2007, p. 675.
  48. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 84.
  49. Von Seemen 1976, p. 46.
  50. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 44.
  51. Von Seemen 1976, p. 17.
  52. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 38.
  53. Von Seemen 1976, p. 13.
  54. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, p. 284.
  55. Kurowski 1996, p. 380.
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External links[]

Military offices
Preceded by
Oberleutnant Wolfgang Thimmig
Commander of Nachtjagdgeschwader 4
20 November 1944 – 8 May 1945
Succeeded by

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