Werner Hoffmann
Major

Werner Hoffmann

    Werner Hoffmann was born on 13 January 1918 at Stettin. He began flying gliders in 1932. He joined the Luftwaffe on 4 December 1936, being posted to the Luftkriegschule at Wilpark/Werder near Potsdam with the rank of Fahnenjunker. Between then and March 1937, and before commencing flying training, Hoffmann had to undertak basic military training. He began his flying training in April. In spring 1938, Hoffmann attended the Officer’s Academy at Wildpark. He was awarded his Pilot’s Badge on 2 June 1938. On 1 July 1938, Hoffmann was transferred to 7./JG 234, based at Düsseldorf. However, he was immediately sent to Jagfliegerschule 1 at Werneuchen for further training before returning to active service with 7./JG 234, now based at Schweidnitz, on 15 August. He received promotion to the rank of Leutnant on 1 October. On 1 November, III./JG 234 was redesignated I./JG 143, which became I./ZG 143 on 1 January 1939 and, finally, I./ZG 52 on 1 May, becoming one of the first units to be equipped with the new Bf 110 Zerstörer twin-engine fighter. Hoffmann was obliged to undergo further training at the Pilot’s School at Erding before transitioning to the new fighter. With the outbreak of World War 2, I./ZG 52 underwent further changes in designation becoming JGr 152 from 24 September 1939 before becoming II./ZG 52 on 6 January 1940.  Hoffmann was assigned to 4./ZG 2 and participated in the invasion of France. He claimed his first victory on 24 May 1940, when he shot down a RAF fighter over Calais. He was wounded in the left elbow on 19 June, while performing a night ground-attack against a French army column near Badonviller, and was hospitalised. After several weeks of convalescing, in July 1940, Hoffmann was transferred to Ergänzungs-Zerstörergruppe Vaerlose to undertake a spell of instructing. Shortly after his arrival, he was promoted to the rank of Oberleutnant. On 1 July, Hoffmann was appointed a Staffelkapitän within the Gruppe. He remained with the unit until 3 August 1941, when the unit was disbanded. Hoffmann transferred to the Nachtjagd. Following his conversion training, which had included his attendance at the Blindflugschule 4 at Copenhagen-Kastrup during May and June 1941 and Nachtjadgschule 2 at Manching between 1 September and 15 November, he was posted as Staffelkapitän to 5./NJG 3, based at Schleswig. On 13 February 1942, he participated in Operation Donnerkeil, providing aerial protection for the German Navy’s battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and the heavy Cruiser Prinz Eugen for their Channel dash from the French port of Brest to German ports. On the night of 25/26 June 1942, Hoffmann shot down two RAF twin-engine bombers, during the 1,000-bomber raid on Bremen, to record his first victories at night. He received promotion to the rank of Hauptmann on 1 February 1943. On 11 February 1943, Hoffmann was appointed Staffelkapitän of 4./NJG 5 based at Greifswald. He recorded three victories with the unit, including two RAF Halifax four-engine bombers shot down, out of a force of 339 bombers raiding Stettin, on the night 20/21 April for his third and fourth victories. His stay with the unit was short, being seconded to I./NJG 1, based at St Trond in Belgium, on 26 May. Hoffmann was appointed acting Gruppenkommandeur of I./NJG 5 on 5 July 1943, replacing Hauptmann Siegfried Wandam (13 victories,) who had been shot down and killed on 4 July. On 15 November, Hoffmann was awarded the Deutsches Kreuz in Gold for 15 victories. By the end of 1943, Hoffmann had increased his victory total to 18. On 20 January 1944, Hoffmann was obliged to bale out over Berlin when his aircraft was damaged by return fire from a RAF Lancaster four-engine bomber. On the night of 28/29 January, he shot down three RAF Halifax bombers raiding Berlin (22-24). He claimed two RAF Lancaster four-engine bombers shot down the next night (25-26).  Hauptmann Hoffmann was awarded the Ritterkreuz for 31 victories on 4 May 1944. He was appointed permanent Gruppenkommandeur of I./NJG 5 and promoted to the rank of Major on 1 June. On 29 June, Hoffmann recorded a RAF four-engine bomber shot down but was again obliged to use his parachute, when his aircraft received hits from defensive fire from the bombers he was attacking. In baling out of his stricken aircraft, Hoffmann contacted the tail unit resulting in severe bruising that prevented him from flying for a week. On the night of 7/8 July, he shot down three RAF four-engined bombers, of 208 bombers raiding the flying bomb storage dump at St Leu (34-36). At the end of July 1944, I./NJG 5 was withdrawn to Stendal in Germany for re-equipment with the Ju 88 G-6 twin-engine night fighter. Deployed to Jesau in East Prussia, Hoffmann claimed four victories over Russian aircraft over and around Libau in December 1944. By the end of 1944, Hoffmann had 44 victories to his credit. Following the opening of the Russian offensive on 12 January 1945, Major Hoffmann was forced into the ground-attack role against the Russian army. On 25 January 1945, I./NJG 5 was again operating from bases in Germany being relocated to Parchim and Erfurt-Bindersleben. Hoffmann added a further seven victories during 1945. On the night of 16/17 March, Hoffmann shot down three RAF Lancaster four-engine bombers (49-51). However, he was shot down in Ju 88 G-6 (W.Nr. 620 046) “C9 + BB” near Nüremberg by a RAF night fighter. Hoffmann and his crew baled out. It is thought he was shot down by, the RAF night-fighter ace, Flight Lieutenant Dennis Hughes (5 victories) of 239 Sqn, RAF flying a Mosquito XXX twin-engine night fighter. Hoffmann suffered severe bruising to his chest in the heavy landing that following the premature deployment of his parachute, which tore 3 m2 of silk away from the canopy increasing his speed of fall. Between 21 and 25 April, he was involved in night operations against Russian troops to the southeast of Berlin, resulting in the destruction of a number of enemy vehicles. On 1 May 1945, Hoffmann joined 7./NJG 3, based at Hussum in Schleswig Holstein. However, he was unable to fly any combat missions before surrendering to British troops on 7 May. Following three months internment in the prison camp at Wiedelah, Hoffmann was released. He studied pharmacy and opened a Dispensary at Goslar in Harz. In 1957, Hoffmann was engaged by the Hoechst AG concern of Bremen in an advisory role. He now lives in retirement in Bremen.
    Werner Hoffmann was credited with 51 victories in 192 missions. He recorded one victory by day. Of his 50 night victories, four were recorded over the Eastern front. Hoffmann was recommended for the award of the Eichenlaub.
 
No
Date
Time
A/c Type
Unit
Location
Comments
1
24.5.1940
-
Spitfire 4./ZG 2 Calais Spitfire IIa (P9374) of 92 Sqn, RAF flown by P/O P Casenove, force-landed, POW
-
24.5.1940
-
Hurricane 4./ZG 2 Calais Not confirmed
2
26.6.1942
2:26
Hudson 5./NJG 3 Frel  
3
26.6.1942
3:24
Whitley 5./NJG 3 6km N Büsum  Whitley V (V6730) “UO-Z” of ?OTU, RAF flown by Sgt JJ Makarewicz
4
21.4.1943
0:45
Halifax 4./NJG 5 1.5km E Eggesin Halifax (JB912) “VR-B” of 419 Sqn, RAF flown by F/Sgt DA Watkin
5
21.4.1943
0:50
Halifax 4./NJG 5 500m S Güt-Borkum Halifax (JB804) “KN-Q” of 77 Sqn, RAF flown by F/Lt TS Lea
6
30.5.1943
1:45
Halifax 4./NJG 5    
7
25.6.1943
1:24
Lancaster 4./NJG 5 Near Brasel  
8
25.6.1943
1:54
Wellington 4./NJG 5 Near Brasel Wellington of 166 Sqn, RAF flown by P/O RE Currie, 5 killed
9
29.6.1943
2:18
Stirling 4./NJG 5 Leopoldsburg Stirling (BK694) “LS-C” of 15 Sqn, RAF flown by Sgt JB Keen
10
4.9.1943
0:32
Lancaster I./NJG 5 Mitte Berlin  
11
7.9.1943
0:24
Viermot I./NJG 5 München  
12
7.9.1943
0:45
Lancaster I./NJG 5 N München  
13
27.9.1943
23:18
Viermot I./NJG 5 50km S Hannover  
14
18.10.1943
20:25
Lancaster I./NJG 5 5-10km 030° Hannover  
15
22.10.1943
21:14
Lancaster I./NJG 5 35km N Kassel  
16
22.10.1943
21:32
Lancaster I./NJG 5 Lüneburg  
17
23.11.1943
20:08
Halifax I./NJG 5 Berlin  
18
2.12.1943
20:23
Lancaster I./NJG 5 Berlin  
19
2.12.1943
20:34
Lancaster I./NJG 5 Berlin  
20
2.1.1944
3:06
Lancaster I./NJG 5 Berlin  
21
20.1.1944
19:20
Lancaster I./NJG 5 Berlin  
22
29.1.1944
3:12
Halifax I./NJG 5 Berlin  
23
29.1.1944
3:27
Halifax I./NJG 5 Berlin  
24
29.1.1944
3:55
Halifax I./NJG 5 Berlin  
25
30.1.1944
20:15
Lancaster I./NJG 5 Berlin  
26
30.1.1944
20:36
Lancaster I./NJG 5 Berlin  
27
15.2.1944
20:48
Halifax I./NJG 5 Mecklenburger Bucht Halifax V (LL140) “MP-A” of 76 Sqn, RAF flown by F/Sgt DA Eaton, 1 killed, 6 POW
28
20.2.1944
2:51
Lancaster I./NJG 5 Braunschweig  
29
20.2.1944
3:17
Halifax I./NJG 5 Near Stendal  
30
4.5.1944
0:36
Lancaster 4./NJG 5 15-20km S Mailly-le-Camp  
31
4.5.1944
0:37
Lancaster 4./NJG 5 15-20km S Mailly-le-Camp  
32
3.6.1944
1:24
Viermot 4./NJG 5 S Elbeuf  
33
28.6.1944
3:50
Viermot I./NJG 5 Samer-Desvres  
34
29.6.1944
0:58
Viermot I./NJG 5 05 Ost S/TH  
35
8.7.1944
1:31
Viermot I./NJG 5 05 Ost S/TD-UD  
36
8.7.1944
1:40
Viermot I./NJG 5 Blangy  
37
8.7.1944
1:50
Viermot I./NJG 5 St Quentin  
38
13.7.1944
2:12
Lancaster I./NJG 5 04 Ost N/GL 3-CM 4  
39
13.7.1944
2:18
Lancaster I./NJG 5 04 Ost N/GL 2-GL 5  
40
15.7.1944
2:01
Lancaster I./NJG 5 Pancey  
41
30.8.1944
1:37
Viermot I./NJG 5    
42
14.12.1944
16:54
DB-3F I./NJG 5 Libau  
43
20.12.1944
17:19
PS-84 I./NJG 5 E Libau  
44
20.12.1944
18:09
DB-3F I./NJG 5 E Libau  
45
20.12.1944
18:28
DB-3F I./NJG 5 E Libau  
46
6.1.1945
21:12
Halifax I./NJG 5 Danzig  
47
14.2.1945
22:00
B-17 I./NJG 5 Danzig  
48
14.2.1945
22:11
Lancaster I./NJG 5    
49
16.3.1945
21:18
Lancaster I./NJG 5 SW Schwäbisch Hall Lancaster I of 12 or 103 Sqn, RAF
50
16.3.1945
21:26
Lancaster I./NJG 5 Near Ansbach Lancaster I (PA234) “AS-M” of 166 Sqn, RAF flown by F/O Muncer, 5 killed, 2 POW
51
16.3.1945
21:30
Lancaster I./NJG 5 E Ansbach Lancaster of 625 Sqn, RAF

Victories : 51
Awards : Ehrenpokal (28 February 1944)
                Deutsches Kreuz in Gold (15 November 1943)
                Ritterkreuz (4 May 1944)
Units : ZG 2, NJG 3, NJG 1, NJG 5

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