Karl-Heinz Weber

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Karl-Heinz Weber
Karl-Heinz Weber.jpg
Karl-Heinz Weber during World War 2
Nickname(s)Benjamin
Born(1922-01-30)30 January 1922
Heringsdorf
Died7 June 1944(1944-06-07) (aged 22)
south of Rouen, France
Allegiance Nazi Germany
Service/branchBalkenkreuz (Iron Cross) Luftwaffe
Years of service1939–44
RankHauptmann (captain)
UnitJG 51, JG 1
Commands heldIII./JG 1
Battles/warsWorld War II
AwardsKnight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves

Karl-Heinz Weber (30 January 1922 – 7 June 1944) was a Luftwaffe flying ace of World War II. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, the highest award in the military and paramilitary forces of Nazi Germany during World War II. Weber was credited with 136 aerial victories—that is, 136 aerial combat encounters resulting in the destruction of the enemy aircraft. All his victories were claimed over the Eastern Front in over 500 combat missions.

Career[edit]

Karl-Heinz Weber was born on 30 January 1922 in Heringsdorf in the province of Pomerania, a Free State of Prussia. A pre-war glider pilot, he volunteered for military service in the Luftwaffe in late 1939. Leutnant Weber was posted to 7. Staffel (7th squadron) of Jagdgeschwader 51 (JG 51—51st Fighter Wing) on 1 October 1940.[1][Note 1]

On the Eastern Front[edit]

In June 1941, JG 51 and the majority of the Luftwaffe were transferred to the Eastern Front in preparation for Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union.[2] There, Weber claimed his first aerial victory on 24 June 1941 over a Tupolev SB-2 bomber.[3]

During the Battle of Rzhev on 3 September 1942, Weber claimed a Petlyakov Pe-2 twin-engined dive bomber shot down in combat southwest of Sychyovka. [4] Later that day, the airfield at Dugino came under Soviet bomber attack, during its defense, he was shot down and wounded in his Messerschmitt Bf 109 F-2 (Werknummer 8240—factory number) northwest of Dugino.[5][6] While Weber was recovering from his injuries, III. Gruppe was relocated to Jesau, near Königsberg in East Prussia for conversion to the Focke Wulf Fw 190 A-2 and A-3. On 19 November 1942, Soviet forces launched the Velikiye Luki offensive operation. During this operation, Weber claimed a Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-3 fighter east-southeast of Zubtsov on 15 January 1943.[7]

On 5 June 1943, Weber temporarily was given command of 7. Staffel, replacing Hauptmann Herbert Wehnelt who had fallen ill.[8] During the Battle of Kursk on 12 July, Weber and his wingman Unteroffizier Heinrich Dittlmann shot down Mladshiy Leytenant Nikolay Zhukov and Leytenant Nikolay Safonov from 32 GIAP (Guard Fighter Air Regiment).[9]

On 13 August, Weber was then officially appointed Staffelkapitän (squadron leader) of the Staffel.[8] The day before, he had been credited with his 100th aerial victory.[10] He was the 49th Luftwaffe pilot to achieve the century mark.[11]

Group commander and death[edit]

Emblem of III./JG 1

Weber was appointed Gruppenkommandeur (group commander) of III. Gruppe (3rd group) of Jagdgeschwader 1 (JG 1—1st Fighter Wing) on 3 June 1944, succeeding Major Hartmann Grasser.[12] Only four days later, on 7 June, Weber led III. Gruppe of JG 1 from Beauvais–Tillé against Allied fighters south of Rouen on his first mission over the Invasion Front. It is assumed that he was shot down and killed in his Bf 109 G-6/AS (Werknummer 410 399) by P-51 Mustang fighters from No. 315 Polish Fighter Squadron.[13][14]

Following Weber's death, command of III. Gruppe was temporarilly given to Haupmann Alfred Grislawski who had led 8. Staffel of JG 1.[15] Weber's body was never recovered. He was posthumously awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub).[1]

Summary of career[edit]

Aerial victory claims[edit]

Authors Prien, Rodeike, Obermaier and Spick list Weber with 136 aerial victories claimed in over 500 combat missions.[1][12][16] Matthews and Foreman, authors of Luftwaffe Aces — Biographies and Victory Claims, researched the German Federal Archives and found records for 132 aerial victory claims, plus one further unconfirmed claim. All of his aerial victories were claimed on the Eastern Front.[17]

Victory claims were logged to a map-reference (PQ = Planquadrat), for example "PQ 57744". The Luftwaffe grid map (Jägermeldenetz) covered all of Europe, western Russia and North Africa and was composed of rectangles measuring 15 minutes of latitude by 30 minutes of longitude, an area of about 360 square miles (930 km2). These sectors were then subdivided into 36 smaller units to give a location area 3 × 4 km in size.[18]

Awards[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ For an explanation of Luftwaffe unit designations see Organisation of the Luftwaffe during World War II.
  2. ^ According to Matthews and Foreman this claim is unconfirmed.[14]
  3. ^ a b c d This claim is not listed by Matthews and Foreman.[14]
  4. ^ According to Matthews and Foreman claimed at 05:08.[14]
  5. ^ According to Matthews and Foreman claimed at 12:26.[33]
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n The "m.H." refers to an Ilyushin Il-2 with rear gunner (mit Heckschütze).
  7. ^ According to Matthews and Foreman claimed at 17:56.[33]
  8. ^ According to Matthews and Foreman claimed as a Lavochkin La-5.[33]
  9. ^ According to Matthews and Foreman claimed at 12:35.[33]
  10. ^ According to Matthews and Foreman claimed as a Lavochkin-Gorbunov-Gudkov LaGG-3.[33]
  11. ^ According to Matthews and Foreman claimed at 15:04.[33]
  12. ^ According to Matthews and Foreman claimed at 19:00.[33]
  13. ^ According to Matthews and Foreman claimed at 05:06.[33]
  14. ^ According to Obermaier and Thomas on 30 September 1942.[1][47]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Obermaier 1989, p. 68.
  2. ^ Aders & Held 1993, p. 85.
  3. ^ a b Prien et al. 2003, p. 302.
  4. ^ Prien et al. 2006, pp. 319, 332.
  5. ^ Prien et al. 2006, pp. 319, 337.
  6. ^ Bergström et al. 2006, p. 199.
  7. ^ Prien et al. 2006, pp. 321, 334.
  8. ^ a b Prien et al. 2012, p. 56.
  9. ^ Bergström 2007, p. 85.
  10. ^ Weal 1998, p. 64.
  11. ^ Obermaier 1989, p. 244.
  12. ^ a b Prien & Rodeike 1996, p. 997.
  13. ^ Prien & Rodeike 1996, pp. 1008–1009, 1186.
  14. ^ a b c d e Matthews & Foreman 2015, p. 1378.
  15. ^ Prien & Rodeike 1996, p. 1009.
  16. ^ Spick 1996, p. 230.
  17. ^ Matthews & Foreman 2015, pp. 1378–1381.
  18. ^ Planquadrat.
  19. ^ a b c Prien et al. 2003, p. 307.
  20. ^ Prien et al. 2003, p. 303.
  21. ^ a b Prien et al. 2003, p. 304.
  22. ^ Prien et al. 2003, p. 308.
  23. ^ a b Prien et al. 2003, p. 305.
  24. ^ a b Prien et al. 2003, p. 309.
  25. ^ Prien et al. 2005, p. 107.
  26. ^ Prien et al. 2005, p. 108.
  27. ^ Matthews & Foreman 2015, pp. 1378–1379.
  28. ^ a b c d Prien et al. 2006, p. 330.
  29. ^ a b c d e Prien et al. 2006, p. 332.
  30. ^ a b c d e f Prien et al. 2006, p. 334.
  31. ^ a b Prien et al. 2006, p. 331.
  32. ^ Matthews & Foreman 2015, pp. 1379–1380.
  33. ^ a b c d e f g h Matthews & Foreman 2015, p. 1379.
  34. ^ a b c d Prien et al. 2012, p. 60.
  35. ^ a b c d e Prien et al. 2012, p. 66.
  36. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Prien et al. 2012, p. 67.
  37. ^ a b c d e f Prien et al. 2012, p. 61.
  38. ^ a b c Prien et al. 2012, p. 62.
  39. ^ a b c d e f g h Prien et al. 2012, p. 63.
  40. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Prien et al. 2012, p. 68.
  41. ^ a b c d e f g h Prien et al. 2012, p. 64.
  42. ^ a b c d Prien et al. 2012, p. 71.
  43. ^ a b c d e f g h i Prien et al. 2012, p. 65.
  44. ^ a b c d e f Prien et al. 2012, p. 72.
  45. ^ a b Prien et al. 2012, p. 73.
  46. ^ Matthews & Foreman 2015, pp. 1380–1381.
  47. ^ a b c Thomas 1998, p. 419.
  48. ^ Patzwall 2008, p. 213.
  49. ^ Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 498.
  50. ^ a b Scherzer 2007, p. 770.
  51. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 437.
  52. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 85.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Aders, Gebhard; Held, Werner (1993). Jagdgeschwader 51 'Mölders' Eine Chronik – Berichte – Erlebnisse – Dokumente [Fighter Wing 51 'Mölders' A Chronicle - Reports - Experiences - Documents] (in German). Stuttgart, Germany: Motorbuch Verlag. ISBN 978-3-613-01045-1.
  • Bergström, Christer. "Bergström Black Cross/Red Star website". Identifying a Luftwaffe Planquadrat. Archived from the original on 22 December 2018. Retrieved 30 December 2019.
  • Bergström, Christer; Dikov, Andrey; Antipov, Vlad; Sundin, Claes (2006). Black Cross / Red Star Air War Over the Eastern Front, Volume 3, Everything for Stalingrad. Hamilton MT: Eagle Editions. ISBN 978-0-9761034-4-8.
  • Bergström, Christer (2007). Kursk—The Air Battle: July 1943. Hersham, Surrey: Classic Publications. ISBN 978-1-903223-88-8.
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) [1986]. 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.
  • Matthews, Andrew Johannes; Foreman, John (2015). Luftwaffe Aces — Biographies and Victory Claims — Volume 4 S–Z. Walton on Thames: Red Kite. ISBN 978-1-906592-21-9.
  • 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.
  • Patzwall, Klaus D. (2008). Der Ehrenpokal für besondere Leistung im Luftkrieg [The Honor Goblet for Outstanding Achievement in the Air War] (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-08-3.
  • Prien, Jochen; Rodeike, Peter (1996). Jagdgeschwader 1 und 11—Einsatz in der Reichsverteidigung von 1939 bis 1945—Teil 2—1944 [Jagdgeschwader 1 and 11—Operations in the Defense of the Reich from 1939 to 1945—Volume 2—1944] (in German). Eutin, Germany: Struve-Druck. ISBN 978-3-923457-24-3.
  • Prien, Jochen; Stemmer, Gerhard; Rodeike, Peter; Bock, Winfried (2003). Die Jagdfliegerverbände der Deutschen Luftwaffe 1934 bis 1945—Teil 6/I—Unternehmen "BARBAROSSA"—Einsatz im Osten—22.6. bis 5.12.1941 [The Fighter Units of the German Air Force 1934 to 1945—Part 6/I—Operation "BARBAROSSA"—Action in the East—22 June to 5 December 1941] (in German). Eutin, Germany: Struve-Druck. ISBN 978-3-923457-69-4.
  • Prien, Jochen; Stemmer, Gerhard; Rodeike, Peter; Bock, Winfried (2005). Die Jagdfliegerverbände der Deutschen Luftwaffe 1934 bis 1945—Teil 9/I—Winterkampf im Osten—6 December 1941 bis 30 April 1942 [The Fighter Units of the German Air Force 1934 to 1945—Part 9/I—Winter War in the East—6 December 1941 to 30 April 1942] (in German). Eutin, Germany: Struve-Druck. ISBN 978-3-923457-76-2.
  • Prien, Jochen; Stemmer, Gerhard; Rodeike, Peter; Bock, Winfried (2006). Die Jagdfliegerverbände der Deutschen Luftwaffe 1934 bis 1945—Teil 9/II—Vom Sommerfeldzug 1942 bis zur Niederlage von Stalingrad—1.5.1942 bis 3.2.1943 [The Fighter Units of the German Air Force 1934 to 1945—Part 9/II—From the 1942 Summer Campaign to the Defeat at Stalingrad—1 May 1942 to 3 February 1943] (in German). Eutin, Germany: Struve-Druck. ISBN 978-3-923457-77-9.
  • Prien, Jochen; Stemmer, Gerhard; Rodeike, Peter; Bock, Winfried (2012). Die Jagdfliegerverbände der Deutschen Luftwaffe 1934 bis 1945—Teil 12/II—Einsatz im Osten—4.2. bis 31.12.1943 [The Fighter Units of the German Air Force 1934 to 1945—Part 12/II—Action in the East—4 February to 31 December 1943] (in German). Eutin, Germany: Buchverlag Rogge. ISBN 978-3-942943-05-5.
  • 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 Militaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
  • Spick, Mike (1996). Luftwaffe Fighter Aces. New York: Ivy Books. ISBN 978-0-8041-1696-1.
  • Stockert, Peter (2012). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 6 [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 6] (in German) (3rd ed.). Bad Friedrichshall, Germany: Friedrichshaller Rundblick. OCLC 76072662.
  • Thomas, Franz (1998). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 2: L–Z [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 2: L–Z] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2300-9.
  • Weal, John (1998). Focke-Wulf Fw 190 Aces of the Russian Front. London: Osprey. ISBN 978-1-85532-518-0.

External links[edit]