Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer
Major

Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer

    Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer was born on the 16 February 1922 at Stuttgart. He learned to fly on gliders as a member of a Nationalpolitische Lehranstalt at Potsdam in 1939. Schnaufer entered the Luftwaffe as a trainee officer-pilot on 15 November 1939. Following basic military training at Flieger-Ausbildungs-Regiment 42 at Salzwedel, he underwent flying training at Flugzeugfhrerschule A/B 3 at Guben. On 1 April 1941, Schnaufer was promoted to the rank of Leutnant while undergoing multi-engine flying training at Flugzeugfhrerschule C at Alt-Lnnewitz. There followed eight weeks at Blindflugschule at Schwbisch Hall and 10 weeks at the Zerstrer-Schule at Wunstorf. Finally, Schnaufer was posted to the Nachtjagdschule 1, based at Schleissheim to learn the rudiments of the night-fighting art. In early November 1941, Schnaufer was posted to II./NJG 1, based at Stade near Hamburg. Leutnant Schnaufer was assigned to 5./NJG 1. On 15 January 1942, II./NJG 1 transferred to Saint-Trond in Belgium. Schnaufer's first operational experience came in February, when II./NJG 1 were detached to fly escort for the German navys capital ships Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen when they broke out from Brest en route for Norway. On 10 April, Schnaufer was appointed Technischer Offizier of II./NJG 1. His first victory was claimed on the night of 1/2 June 1942, when he shot down a RAF Halifax four-engine bomber near Louvain in Belgium. However, while attacking a second enemy aircraft, his aircraft was hit by return fire and he was wounded in the left leg. Schnaufer managed to successfully land his damaged aircraft at Saint-Trond. He was later admitted to hospital and did not return to his unit until 25 June. This would be the only time that Schnaufer or one of his crewmembers would be wounded in aerial combat during the war. By the end of the year, his victory total stood at seven, including three victories recorded on the night of 31 July/1 August. Schnaufer was promoted to the rank of Oberleutnant in July 1943, when his victory total stood at 17. He achieved his 20th victory on the night of 8/9 July 1943. Schnaufer was transferred to IV./NJG 1, based at Leeuwarden in Holland, where he was appointed Staffelkapitn 12./NJG 1, on 13 August 1943. He recorded his 30th victory on the night of 8/9 October. Oberleutnant Schnaufer was awarded the Ritterkreuz for 42 victories on 31 December. He recorded his 50th victory, and IV./NJG 1s 500th victory, on the night of 24/25 February 1944.

Oblt. Heinz-W. Schnaufer Staffelkapitn of 12./NJG 1 is showing his 47th victory bar on the rudder of his Bf 110 G, at St. Trond in February 1944.
 Oblt. Heinz-W. Schnaufer Staffelkapitn of 12./NJG 1 is showing his 47th victory bar on the rudder of his Bf 110 G, at St. Trond in February 1944.

    On 1 March 1944, Schnaufer was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of IV./NJG 1, based at Leeuwarden in Holland. He shot down five enemy aircraft on the night of 24/25 May to record his 70th through 74th victories. On 17 June, he shot down two RAF four-engine bombers to record his 79th and 80th victories. Schnaufer claimed four further RAF four-engine bombers shot down on the night of 21/22 June (81-84). Hauptmann Schnaufer was awarded the Eichenlaub (Nr 507) on 24 June for 84 victories. He was awarded the Schwertern (Nr 84) on 30 July, with his victory total at 89. In September 1944, IV./NJG 1 retreated back into Germany, being stationed temporarily at Dusseldorf and Dortmund. Schnaufer achieved his 100th victory on 9 October 1944. He was awarded the Brillanten by Adolf Hitler on 16 October. Schnaufer, still only 22 years old, was appointed Kommodore of NJG 4, based at Gutersloh, on 4 November 1944. At the end of the year, his victory total stood at 106. In December, he was promoted to the rank of Major. Schnaufer's greatest one-off success came on 21 February 1945, when he shot down nine RAF four-engine bombers in the course of one day: two in the early hours of the morning (108-109) and a further seven, in 19 minutes, in the evening (110-116). Post-war research suggests that, in fact, his total that day was 10, one claim not having been acknowledged. On 7 March, he shot down three RAF four-engine bombers (119-121) to record his last victories of the war. Schnaufer was taken prisoner by the British at Eggebek in Schleswig-Holstein in May 1945, but was released later that year and returned to Calw, where he took over the reins of the family wine business, his father having died during the war. However, Schnaufer wished to continue in a career involving flying. He and Georg-Hermann Greiner (51 victories, RK-EL) decided to try and earn a living flying in South America and, on 23 September 1946, set out for Switzerland to contact the relevant consulates to arrange this. However, they crossed the border illegally and were arrested by border guards and interned. Six months late Schnaufer and Greiner were released. Schnaufer returned to the family wine business and by the time of his death in 1950, he had built up the business to a very prosperous concern. His end came when, during a wine-purchasing visit to France, his open sports car was in collision with a lorry on the main road south from Bordeaux. The lorry had failed to observe right of way and entered the main road illegally. Heavy gas cylinders from the lorry fell on to Schnaufer's car, at least one of them hitting Schnaufer on the head. He died in hospital on 15 July 1950, two days after the accident.
    Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer was the top-scoring Nachtjger of World War 2. He was credited with 121 victories recorded in 164 combat missions. His victory total includes 114 four-engine bombers.
 
No
Date
Time
A/c Type
Unit
Location
Comments
1
2.6.1942
1:55
Halifax II./NJG 1 Grez-Doiceau Halifax II (W1064) MP-J of 76 Sqn, RAF flown by Sgt TRA West, 2 killed
2
1.8.1942
2:47
Wellington II./NJG 1 1km SW Loon-op-Zand Wellington IC (DV439) of 25 OTU, RAF
3
1.8.1942
3:17
Wellington II./NJG 1 Huldenberg Wellington IC (DV552) UJ-N of 27 OTU, RAF, 6 killed
4
1.8.1942
3:45
Whitley II./NJG 1 Gilly Whitley V (BD347) of 24 OTU, RAF flown by P/O G Silva, 1 killed, 3 evaded
5
25.8.1942
2:54
Wellington II./NJG 1 1km E Loonbeek Wellington III (BJ651) JN-M of 150 Sqn, RAF 
6
29.8.1942
1:16
Halifax II./NJG 1 1km E E Tombeek Halifax II (W7809) of 78 Sqn, RAF flown by Sgt JAB Marshall
7
21.12.1942
23:53
Lancaster II./NJG 1 Poelkapelle Lancaster I (R5914) of 106 Sqn, RAF flown by Sgt JD Brinkhurst, 3 killed, 4 POW
8
14.5.1943
2:14
Stirling II./NJG 1 Heerlen Stirling I (R9242) BU-O of 214 Sqn, RAF, flown by Sgt RM Gibney, 4 killed, 3 POW
9
14.5.1943
3:07
Halifax II./NJG 1 Near Blanden Halifax II (JB873) EY-J of 78 Sqn, RAF flown by Sgt G Dane, 2 killed, 5 POW, 1 evaded
10
30.5.1943
0:48
Stirling II./NJG 1 S Baelen Stirling III (BF565) HA-H of 218 Sqn, RAF
11
30.5.1943
1:43
Halifax II./NJG 1 Budingen Halifax II (DT804) TL-C of 35 Sqn, RAF
12
30.5.1943
2:22
Stirling II./NJG 1 1km E Fl.Pl. Diest-Schaffen Stirling III (BK688) HA-A of 218 Sqn, RAF flown by F/Sgt WAM Davis, 6 killed
13
22.6.1943
1:33
Stirling II./NJG 1 Langdorp Stirling III (BK712) HA-D of 218 Sqn, RAF flown by P/O W Shillinglaw, 8 killed
14
25.6.1943
2:58
Wellington II./NJG 1 Hamme-Mille  
15
29.6.1943
1:25
Lancaster II./NJG 1 Solwaster Lancaster III (LM323) OF-U of 97 Sqn, RAF
16
29.6.1943
1:45
Halifax II./NJG 1 Wandre Halifax V (DK137) NP-R of 76 Sqn, RAF
17
29.6.1943
1:55
Halifax II./NJG 1 Near Vottem Halifax II (HR812) TL-F of 35 Sqn, RAF
18
4.7.1943
0:48
Wellington II./NJG 1 1km N Averbode Wellington X (HE980) of 196 Sqn, RAF
19
4.7.1943
1:01
Stirling II./NJG 1 W Geebets Stirling III (BF530) OJ-B of 149 Sqn, RAF
20
9.7.1943
2:33
Lancaster II./NJG 1 Near Grobbendonk Lancaster III (ED663) of 49 Sqn, RAF
21
11.8.1943
0:32
Lancaster II./NJG 1 S Hhnlein  
22
28.8.1943
3:59
Halifax 12./NJG 1 Jemeppe sur Sambre Halifax II (JB835) DY-X of 102 Sqn, RAF
23
31.8.1943
22:41
Halifax 12./NJG 1 2km SE Kuinre Halifax II (HR878) TL-J of 35 Sqn, RAF
24
31.8.1943
3:53
Wellington 12./NJG 1 Near Lozen Wellington X (HE988) AS-U of 166 Sqn, RAF
25
24.8.1943
0:09
Halifax 12./NJG 1 Near Eschede Halifax II (JD379) KN-M of 77 Sqn, RAF flown by P/O A Massie, 3 killed, 4 POW
26
23.9.1943
23:00
Lancaster 12./NJG 1 5km S Kirchheimbolanden Stirling III (EJ104) HA-G of 218 Sqn, RAF
27
27.9.1943
23:31
Halifax 12./NJG 1 Near Stemmen  
28
3.10.1943
21:50
Halifax 12./NJG 1 Near Lande Halifax II (HR728) LK-D of 51 Sqn, RAF
29
9.10.1943
1:13
Halifax 12./NJG 1 Near Schwafrden Halifax II (HR945) NP-Y of 158 Sqn, RAF flown by Sgt DCR Cater, 7 POW
30
9.10.1943
1:42
Viermot 12./NJG 1 Near Holtensen  
31
18.10.1943
20:25
Halifax 12./NJG 1 Near Negenborn Lancaster III (DV230) SR-T of 101 Sqn, RAF, 9 killed
32
20.10.1943
19:13
Lancaster 12./NJG 1 Near Gieten Lancaster III (JB175) MG-A of 7 Sqn, RAF, 7 killed
33
20.10.1943
19:25
Lancaster 12./NJG 1 Near Harrensttte Lancaster III (JB348) LQ-R of 405 Sqn, RAF, 6 killed, 1 POW
34
22.10.1943
21:40
Lancaster 12./NJG 1 Near Dransfeld Lancaster III (JB320) DX-X of 57 Sqn, RAF
35
23.11.1943
18:50
Lancaster 12./NJG 1 2km NW Ter Apel Lancaster III (JA939) LQ-C of 405 Sqn, RAF, 6 killed, 1 POW
36
23.11.1943
19:00
Lancaster 12./NJG 1 Lorup Lancaster III (JB537) PH-N of 12 Sqn, RAF, 6 killed, 1 POW
37
16.12.1943
18:01
Lancaster 12./NJG 1 Near Follega Lancaster III (JA853) MG-L of 7 Sqn, RAF flown by W/O WA Watson, 7 killed
38
16.12.1943
18:12
Lancaster 12./NJG 1 3km NW Lemmer Lancaster I (DV300) SR-W of 101 Sqn, RAF flown by F/Lt R MacFarlane, 8 killed
39
16.12.1943
18:23
Lancaster 12./NJG 1 SW Wolvega Lancaster III (JB545) EA-O of 49 Sqn, RAF flown by P/O G Ratcliffe, 7 killed
40
16.12.1943
18:41
Lancaster 12./NJG 1 2km SW Wirdum Lancaster II (DS831) QO-N of 432 Sqn, RAF, flown by F/O WC Fisher, 5 killed, 2 POW
41
29.12.1943
18:50
Halifax 12./NJG 1 3km NE Meppel Halifax II (JD314) ZA-X of 10 Sqn, RAF, 7 killed
42
29.12.1943
19:45
Lancaster 12./NJG 1 Near Wietmarschen Lancaster II (DS718) EQ-R of 408 Sqn, RAF, flown by F/Lt WT Wilton, 7 killed
43
27.1.1944
19:45
Lancaster 12./NJG 1 Near Essen Lancaster III (JB283) PH-W of 12 Sqn, RAF
44
30.1.1944
22:15
Lancaster 12./NJG 1 W Amsterdam  
45
15.2.1944
22:58
Lancaster 12./NJG 1 Off Texel Lancaster III (ND363) PM-A of 103 Sqn, RAF
46
15.2.1944
23:19
Viermot 12./NJG 1 Near Hoorn Lancaster II (LL689) KO-P of 115 Sqn, RAF
47
15.2.1944
23:33
Viermot 12./NJG 1 Wattenmeer Lancaster I (W4272) GJ-C of 622 Sqn, RAF
48
22.3.1944
23:10
Lancaster 12./NJG 1 Halle Lancaster III (LM430) WS-B of 9 Sqn, RAF
49
25.3.1944
0:12
Viermot 12./NJG 1 Neuwarendorf  
50
25.3.1944
0:21
Viermot 12./NJG 1 Neuwarendorf Lancaster I (HK539) UM-A2 of 626 Sqn, RAF
51
25.3.1944
0:41
Viermot 12./NJG 1 Near Varssefeld  
52
11.4.1944
23:15
Lancaster IV./NJG 1 Near Beerse Lancaster III (ND389) OL-A of 83 Sqn, RAF
53
11.4.1944
23:25
Lancaster IV./NJG 1 2km N St Lenaerts Lancaster I (LL899) EA-P of 49 Sqn, RAF flown by F/Lt DJ Bacon, 7 killed
54
25.4.1944
2:03
Lancaster IV./NJG 1 Near Alken Lancaster I (HK542) KO-J of 115 Sqn, RAF
55
25.4.1944
2:28
Lancaster IV./NJG 1 3km N Mechelen Lancaster II (DS734) KO-Y of 115 Sqn, RAF
56
25.4.1944
2:30
Halifax IV./NJG 1 Antwerp area Halifax III (LW622) DT-R of 192 Sqn, RAF
57
25.4.1944
2:40
Halifax IV./NJG 1 LG 35  
58
27.4.1944
2:05
Lancaster IV./NJG 1 1km S Achtmaal Lancaster III (JB307) GT-H of 156 Sqn, RAF
59
27.4.1944
2:18
Viermot IV./NJG 1 LG 38 Lancaster II (DS719) LQ-U of 408 Sqn, RAF
60
28.4.1944
1:30
Halifax IV./NJG 1 8km N Aubel Halifax V (LL258) WL-W of 434 Sqn, RAF
61
28.4.1944
1:40
Lancaster IV./NJG 1 Verviers Halifax III (MZ588) QO-W of 432 Sqn, RAF
62
9.5.1944
3:34
Viermot IV./NJG 1 Near Grand-Reng Halifax III (LW594) QO-G of 432 Sqn, RAF flown by P/O SA Hawkins, 3 killed, 2 POW, 2 evaded
63
13.5.1944
0:44
Halifax IV./NJG 1 Londerzeel Halifax III (LK883) OW-E of 426 Sqn, RAF flown by F/O JH Black
64
13.5.1944
0:46
Lancaster IV./NJG 1 5km ENE Hasselt Halifax III (HX334) NP-C of 158 Sqn, RAF
65
13.5.1944
0:48
Halifax IV./NJG 1 Hoogstraaten Halifax III (LV919) HD-O of 466 Sqn, RAF
66
22.5.1944
1:34
Lancaster IV./NJG 1 3km S Mol  
67
22.5.1944
1:51
Lancaster IV./NJG 1 3km NW Tongerooge Lancaster (DV309) BQ-S of 550 Sqn, RAF flown by W/C J Harris
68
23.5.1944
1:23
Lancaster IV./NJG 1 Near Neepelt Lancaster I (ME690) AA-Z of 75 Sqn, RAF
69
23.5.1944
1:36
Lancaster IV./NJG 1 Near Brecht Lancaster I (ME670) HW-Q of 100 Sqn, RAF
70
25.5.1944
1:15
Viermot IV./NJG 1 3km NW Eindhoven Halifax III (LK885) MH-Z of 51 Sqn, RAF
71
25.5.1944
1:18
Viermot IV./NJG 1 2km NNW Tilburg Halifax III (LW653) NP-T of 158 Sqn, RAF
72
25.5.1944
1:22
Viermot IV./NJG 1 1.5km W Goirle Halifax III (MZ622) MP-L of 76 Sqn, RAF
73
25.5.1944
1:25
Viermot IV./NJG 1 Dongen-Tilburg Halifax III (LW124) AL-N of 429 Sqn, RAF
74
25.5.1944
1:29
Viermot IV./NJG 1 7km SW Tilburg  
75
13.6.1944
0:27
Viermot IV./NJG 1 Avennes les Auvert Lancaster II (DS772) EQ-T of 408 Sqn, RAF
76
13.6.1944
0:31
Viermot IV./NJG 1 Cambrai a/f Lancaster II (DS726) EQ-Y of 408 Sqn, RAF
77
13.6.1944
0:34
Viermot IV./NJG 1 Tilloy Lancaster II (DS688) EQ-R of 408 Sqn, RAF
78
16.6.1944
1:00
Viermot IV./NJG 1 N Arras  
79
17.6.1944
1:54
Viermot IV./NJG 1 Dreumel  
80
17.6.1944
2:04
Viermot IV./NJG 1 Berkel Halifax III (NA524) KN-F of 77 Sqn, RAF
81
22.6.1944
1:25
Viermot IV./NJG 1 Valkenswaard Lancaster III (LM582) KM-Q of 44 Sqn, RAF
82
22.6.1944
1:30
Viermot IV./NJG 1 2km S Meeuven Lancaster I (ME683) EM-W of 207 Sqn, RAF
83
22.6.1944
1:36
Viermot IV./NJG 1 5km S Opoerteren Lancaster III (LM434) KM-F of 44 Sqn, RAF
84
22.6.1944
2:05
Viermot IV./NJG 1 6km S Hamont Lancaster I (ME843) LE-U of 630 Sqn, RAF
85
21.7.1944
1:40
Lancaster IV./NJG 1 1.5km N Boxtel Lancaster I (LM183) WP-L of 90 Sqn, RAF
86
21.7.1944
1:51
Viermot IV./NJG 1 8km N Breda  
87
29.7.1944
1:38
Viermot IV./NJG 1 Pforzheim Lancaster I (ME856) PO-T of 467 Sqn, RAF
88
29.7.1944
1:50
Viermot IV./NJG 1 Eutingen  
89
29.7.1944
1:57
Viermot IV./NJG 1 Malmsheim Lancaster I (ME778) ZN-O of 106 Sqn, RAF
90
13.8.1944
0:48
Viermot IV./NJG 1 Wasserliesch  
91
13.8.1944
1:09
Viermot IV./NJG 1 Werbomont Lancaster III (ND694) F2-R of 635 Sqn, RAF
92
13.8.1944
1:15
Viermot IV./NJG 1 Gouvy  
93
13.8.1944
1:19
Viermot IV./NJG 1 3km W Mons  
94
12.9.1944
23:07
Viermot IV./NJG 1 Gemnden area  
95
23.9.1944
22:56
Viermot IV./NJG 1 JP-HP  
96
23.9.1944
23:10
Viermot IV./NJG 1 JO  
97
23.9.1944
23:15
Viermot IV./NJG 1 HO-JO  
98
23.9.1944
23:25
Viermot IV./NJG 1 JN-HN  
99
9.10.1944
20:32
Viermot IV./NJG 1 S Bochum  
100
9.10.1944
20:55
Viermot IV./NJG 1 NE Bocholt  
101
6.11.1944
20:55
Viermot IV./NJG 1 KP-IP  
102
6.11.1944
19:34
Viermot IV./NJG 1 KP-IP  
103
6.11.1944
19:41
Viermot IV./NJG 1 KP-IP  
104
21.11.1944
19:05
Viermot Stab/NJG 4 KP  
105
21.11.1944
19:11
Viermot Stab/NJG 4 KP  
106
12.12.1944
20:00
Viermot Stab/NJG 4 MO-LO  
107
3.2.1945
21:09
Viermot Stab/NJG 4 LO  
108
21.2.1945
1:53
Lancaster Stab/NJG 4 MM-MN  
109
21.2.1945
1:58
Lancaster Stab/NJG 4 MM  
110
21.2.1945
20:44
Lancaster Stab/NJG 4 HQ-HP  
111
21.2.1945
20:48
Lancaster Stab/NJG 4 HP-HO  
112
21.2.1945
20:51
Lancaster Stab/NJG 4 HP-HO  
113
21.2.1945
20:55
Lancaster Stab/NJG 4 HP-HO  
114
21.2.1945
20:58
Lancaster Stab/NJG 4 IO-JN  
115
21.2.1945
21:00
Lancaster Stab/NJG 4 JN-KM  
116
21.2.1945
21:03
Lancaster Stab/NJG 4 KM-KL  
117
3.3.1945
21:55
Lancaster Stab/NJG 4 HQ  
118
3.3.1945
22:04
Lancaster Stab/NJG 4 HQ  
119
7.3.1945
20:41
Lancaster Stab/NJG 4 LR-MR  
120
7.3.1945
20:47
Lancaster Stab/NJG 4 LS-MS  
121
7.3.1945
21:56
Lancaster Stab/NJG 4 GC-HC  

Victories : 121
Awards : Ehrenpokal (26 July 1943)
                Deutsches Kreuz in Gold (16 August 1943)
                Ritterkreuz (31 December 1943)
                Eichenlaub (24 June 1944)
                Schwertern (30 July 1944)
                Brillanten (16 October 1944)
Units : NJG 1, NJG 4

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