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Horst Hannig

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Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Commands held  7./JG 54, 2./JG 2
Name  Horst Hannig
Service/branch  Luftwaffe
Years of service  1939–43
Battles/wars  World War II
Battles and wars  World War II
Unit  Jagdgeschwader 54

Buried at  German War Cemetery at St. Desir-de-Lisieux
Rank  Oberleutnant (posthumously)
Died  May 15, 1943, Rocquancourt, France
Awards  Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Horst Hannig

Horst Hannig (13 November 1921 – 15 May 1943) was a German Luftwaffe fighter ace and posthumous recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub) during World War II. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down five or more enemy aircraft during aerial combat. Hannig is credited with 98 aerial victories claimed in over 350 combat missions. He was killed in action following combat with Royal Air Force (RAF) Spitfire's on 15 May 1943.



Born in 1921 in Frankenstein, Lower Silesia, Hannig joined the military service in the Luftwaffe as a Fahnenjunker (officer cadet) in October 1939. He was posted to the 6./Jagdgeschwader 54 "Grunherz" (JG 54—54th fighter wing) in early 1941. His brother, Walter Hannig, received the German Cross in Gold (Deutsches Kreuz in Gold) on 28 April 1943 as an observer with Aufklarungsgruppe (reconnaissance group) 4.(F)/14 of the Luftwaffe. Horst Hannig claimed his first aerial victory, a Tupolev SB-2, on the first day of Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941. He achieved his first 30 victories up to November 1941. On 9 May 1942, Leutnant (second Lieutenant) Hannig was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) having flown over 200 operations and claiming 48 victories. He and Leutnant Hans Beiswenger received the Knight's Cross from General der Flieger Helmuth Forster at Siverskaya. On 21 July 1942 he claimed his 54th victory, a Petlyakov Pe-2 reconnaissance aircraft, near Lake Ilmen. It was JG 54 2,500th aerial victory.

By early 1943 he had achieved 90 kills on the Eastern Front, and became Staffelkapitan (squadron leader) of 2./Jagdgeschwader 2 "Richthofen" (JG 2—2nd fighter fing) in Northern Europe. While with 2./JG 2 he achieved another 8 victories, including 1 four-engine United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) heavy bomber shot down on 16 February 1943.

Horst Hannig was killed in action on 15 May 1943 against Royal Air Force (RAF) operations that targeted Caen-Carpiquet Airdrome and Poix Airdrome. He was shot down by Squadron Leader J. Charles leading Yellow Section of No. 611 Squadron, and thus becoming the 1,000th aerial victory of the Biggin Hill Wing. He had managed to bail out but his parachute failed to open. Hannig was posthumously awarded the 364th Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub) on 3 January 1944 and posthumously promoted to Oberleutnant (first Lieutenant). He was interred at the German war cemetery at St. Desir-de-Lisieux, block 3 row 15 grave 445.


  • Iron Cross (1939)
  • 2nd Class (17 July 1941)
  • 1st Class (September 1941)
  • Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe (15 September 1941)
  • German Cross in Gold on 24 November 1941 as Leutnant in the II./JG 54
  • Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
  • Knight's Cross on 9 May 1942 as Leutnant and pilot in the 6./JG 54
  • 364th Oak Leaves on 3 January 1944 (posthumously) as Leutnant and Staffelfuhrer of the 2./JG 2 "Richthofen"
  • References

    Horst Hannig Wikipedia

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