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Karl-Heinz Schnell

No Photo Available

Victories : 72
-----------------------------
Country : Germany
Fought in : WW2
Fought for : Axis

This pilot scored 5 or more victories during the Battle of Britain, 10th July - 31st October 1940.

Awarded the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross
Knights
Cross


Latest Axis Aviation Artwork !
 Fiat CR.42 'Falco' belonging to 162a Squadriglia, 161ø Gruppo, Regia Aeronautica.  The unit badge bears the words <i>Varda che te sbrego!</i> - 'Beware - I'll tear you open!'.

Fiat CR.42 'Falco' by Jerry Boucher.
 It is a record likely to stand for all time, Erich Hartmann's tally of 352 victories is more than any other pilot in history.  Posted to JG52 over Russia in August 1942 his new Kommodore, Dieter Hrabak, placed the novice pilot under the guidance of Paule Rossman, one of the unit's most experienced and respected Aces.  However, during his very first combat Hartmann became so disorientated that he got lost in cloud and ran out of fuel.  His undoubted skill as a pilot enabled him to survive the inevitable crash-landing, but a few days later and just minutes after scoring his first ever victory, he was shot down - again crash-landing. This time he only just escaped from his burning aircraft before it exploded.  Any other new pilot might have succumbed but Hartmann was made of sterner stuff and , with Rossman's help and guidance, it was not long before everyone in JG52 realised that he possessed exceptional skill.  By the summer of 1943 <i>the Blond Knight</i> and his colleagues were flying up to six missions a day and having now perfected his technique, it was unusual for him to finish a day without a victory.  Never claiming to be an expert marksman, his approach, which took nerves of steel and great flying skills, was to get as close to his enemy as possible before opening fire at the last minute.  Often flying head on, the risks of collision and damage were great - of the sixteen times Hartmann was brought down, eight were as a result of flying into the debris of his victim!  Hartmann's 352 victories were achieved with JG52 - all except one.  It happened during a brief two week spell at the beginning of February 1945 when the top Ace was placed in temporary command of I./JG53.  His new unit were based in Hungary where German Army Group South was in bitter retreat and the fighting was as tough and relentless as ever.  <i>The Blond Knight</i>portrays Erich Hartmann climbing out of his Bf109 G-6 at Weszperem's snow-covered airfield after returning from another arduous mission leading Stab I./JG53 with whom, on 4th February he downed a Yak-9.  It was his 337th victory.

The Blond Knight by Robert Taylor.
 Those Aces with over 100 victories were exceptional.  To reach 200 victories was a spectacular achievement.  Yet two men went even further and accomplished a feat that will never be repeated - both of them shot down more than 300 enemy aircraft which placed them in a league of their own.  They were the elite of the elite, and their names are legendary - Erich Hartmann and Gerhard Barkhorn.  It is no surprise that these iconic Aces scored their victories whilst flying with the legendary fighter wing JG52.  Active from the beginning of the war, the unit fought in the Battle of France, but suffered terrible losses during the Battle of Britain before transferring to the Eastern Front at the outset of Operation Barbarossa, and it was here that it solidified its fearsome reputation.  Operating the Bf109 throughout the war, the Geschwader boasted some of the greatest Luftwaffe pilots of world war two among its ranks - including the top three Aces of all time.  Such renowned pilots as Gunther Rall (275 victories), Wilhelm Batz (237 victories), Hermann Graf (212 victories) and Helmut Lipfert (203 victories) helped this formidable unit notch up more than 10,000 victories, making it the most successful fighter wing in history.  <i>Hunters at Dawn</i> features Hptm. Gerhard Barkhorn, Gruppenkommandeur of II./JG52.  The great Ace, flying his Bf109 G-6, leads the Stab as they climb out from their base near the Black Sea, early November 1943.  The crisp air of day break is temporarily punctuated by the roar of Daimler-Benz engines as the deadly Messerschmitt fighters set off on their daily hunt for Soviet aircraft over the front line.

Hunters at Dawn by Robert Taylor.
The Luftwaffe had done everything in its power to pummel London into submission but they failed. By the end of September 1940 their losses were mounting. For weeks since the early days of September, London had been the main target for the Luftwaffe and during that time Luftwaffe High Command had grown increasingly despondent as their losses steadily mounted. Far from being on the brink of collapse RAF Fighter Command, though vastly outnumbered, had shown an incredible resilience. The fighting had reached a dramatic climax on Sunday 15th September when, bloodied and bruised, the Luftwaffe had lost the upper hand on a day of intense combat that had culminated with a humiliating retreat. Almost every day that had passed since then had seen the Luftwaffe do everything in its power to pummel London and regain the initiative, but the daylight raids were becoming increasingly costly. On Friday 27th September, 80 days after the Battle of Britain had officially begun, the Luftwaffe came once more, this time concentrating on the fastest bombers they had - Ju88s and Bf110s. And they came in force, principally targeting London and Bristol. Anthony Saunders' superb painting depicts one of these raids, this time by bombers from KG77 as they head over the Medway Estuary, east of the City of London, in an attempt to attack the capital's warehouses and docks. Among the many units defending the capital that day was 92 Squadron from Biggin Hill and Anthony portrays the Spitfire of Pilot Officer Geoffrey Wellum in his dramatic piece. With a deft flick of the rudder Wellum banks his fighter away to port seconds after sharing in the destruction of a Ju88. It was just one of more than 50 German aircraft destroyed by the RAF during the day.
Decisive Blow by Anthony Saunders.

Karl-Heinz Schnell

Squadrons for : Karl-Heinz Schnell
A list of all squadrons known to have been served with by Karl-Heinz Schnell. A profile page is available by clicking the squadron name.
SquadronInfo

JG51

Country : Germany
Founded : August 1939
'Ace of Hearts'

Click the name above to see prints featuring aircraft of JG51
JG51

Jagdgeschwader 51 Mölders was a Luftwaffe fighter wing during World War II, named after the fighter ace Werner Mölders in 1942. JG 51's pilots won more Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes than any other Jagdgeschwader, and flew combat from 1939 in all major theatres of war. Flying Bf 109s and then FW 190s, the wing claimed over 8,000 air victories. Experten included 'Toni' Hafner, Heinz Bär, Richard Leppla, Karl-Gottfried Nordmann, Günther Schack and the legendary Mölders.

Formed in August 1939, and commanded by 48-year-old World War I ace Onkel Theo Osterkamp, the early months of the war JG 51 was based in the West, fighting in the French campaign, and in the Battle of Britain. From late June to mid July JG 51 was the only fighter Geschwader engaged against the RAF constantly. During the whole battle JG 51 lost 68 pilots, the highest casualty rate of the Luftwaffe fighter units engaged. JG 51 was one of the two Geschewader that had four Gruppen. The other being JG 1.

Four Bf 109 of JG 51 in France 1940Whilst based out of the Belgian airfield at Mardyik in late 1940, the German ace Josef Pips Priller was a Staffelkapitän with JG 51, flying Bf 109-E Yellow One. Josef Priller went on to score over 100 victories, the third highest scoring Luftwaffe day fighter ace on the Western Front, fighting solely against the Western Allies.

Against the Western Allies JG 51 had claimed 345 aircraft destroyed by May 1941. JG 51 were therefore one of the Jagdwaffe's elite units, with 'top ten' aces at this time including Werner Mölders with 68 claims, Walter Oesau with 34 claims, and Hermann-Friedrich Joppien with 31. Major Werner Mölders became unit Geschwaderkommodore during July 1940 and led the unit into the invasion of Russia in June 1941.

Barbarossa (1941)

Claiming 69 kills on the first day of the offensive, by 30 June 1941 JG 51 became the first fighter Geschwader to claim 1,000 air victories (113 kills in 157 sorties were claimed for the day). On 24 June JG 51 claimed 57 bombers shot down for the day. Mölders became the first fighter pilot to reach 100 claims in August and in the same month JG 51's Oberfeldwebel Heinz Bär reached 60 claims and was decorated with the Oak Leaves. A total of 500 Soviet claims was reached on 12 July 1941, although 6 pilots had been lost by JG 51 in the intervening 3 weeks since the offensive had started.

After Mölders' departure in September 1941 (and death later that year) the Geschwader adopted his name as a title of honor in early 1942. Jagdgeschwader 51 Mölders was to remain on the centre sector of the Russian front throughout the rest of 1941. However Oberstleutnant Friedrich Beckh ( one of the few fighter pilots to wear spectacles) proved an uncharismatic commander after Mölders, and it was not until Major Karl-Gottfried Nordmann took over in April 1942 that a worthy successor to Mölders was found. In the period 22 June - 5 December 1941 the unit destroyed 1,881 Soviet aircraft, in return for 84 losses in aerial combat and a single aircraft on the ground.

Air support for the Wehrmacht's Army Group Centre was entrusted to General Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen's VIII. Fliegerkorps. In early January 1942, among the fighter units available to von Richthofen were II, III and IV/ JG 51. With the onset of the sub-zero conditions of the Russian winter, the majority of JG 51's available aircraft became grounded.

The Russian winter counter offensive forced III./ JG 51 into flying numerous fighter-bomber operations in direct support of the infantry, and the gruppe filed few aerial 'kill' claims through January 1942. II./ JG 51 however, accounted for most of VIII. Fliegerkorps's aerial victories during the Soviet offensive. Particularly successful was the duo of Lt. Hans Strelow and Ofw. Wilhelm Mink, both of 5. JG 51. They claimed five MiG-3s of 16 IAP on 4 January (Mink claimed three) and 9 days later Mink claimed a Pe-2 and Strelow destroyed two R-Z biplanes for his 30th and 31st victories. On 4 February, Strelow increased his victories to 36 by shooting down four Russian aircraft. The 19 year-old Strelow claimed his 40th victory on 28 February and claimed 4 victories on both 6 March and 17 March. The next day he was awarded the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes and also shot down seven Soviet aircraft. He was awarded the Eichenlaub on 24 March, his claims total at 66.

Normandy (1944)

7./JG 51, (with Bf 109G-6's) was attached to II./JG 1 in May 1944 from Brest-Litovsk, with pilots arriving at Störmede late in May and hurriedly converting to the FW-190. (It was later renamed 8./JG 1 on 15 August 1944 when the four-Staffeln Gruppe became standard) 7. Staffel was led by Ritterkreuzträger (Knight's Cross winner) Hptm. Karl-Heinz Weber with 136 confirmed kills. Its two other experten were Lt. Friedrich Krakowitzer (23 kills) and Ofhr. Günther Heckmann with 12 kills.

7./JG 51 joined II. Gruppe with 15 pilots on strength at the end of May, and during the first two months of the Normandy campaign the staffel was decimated, with twelve pilots killed, one POW and one severely wounded.

As the war turned against Germany JG 51 was forced to operate closer and closer to Germany, finally staging out of East Prussia.

Known Victory Claims - Karl-Heinz Schnell

DATE

PILOT

UNIT

JG

CLAIMED

LOCATION

TIME

FRONT

29/05/1940Ltn. Karl-Heinz Schnell3JG 20SpitfireNE Calais19.15Western Front
11/06/1940Ltn. Karl-Heinz Schnell3JG 20BeaufortEstrées-S. Rouen19.35Western Front
28/06/1940Ltn. Karl-Heinz Schnell3JG 20Hurricane10km W. Calais19.2Western Front
30/06/1940Ltn. Karl-Heinz Schnell3JG 20BlenheimS. St. Omer12.5Western Front
24/08/1940Ltn. Karl-Heinz Schnell9JG 51Curtiss P-36-9.4Western Front
28/08/1940Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell9JG 51HurricaneCanterbury: 6000m18.1Western Front
04/09/1940Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell9JG 51SpitfireS. London14.24Western Front
04/09/1940Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell9JG 51HurricaneS. London14.25Western Front
25/10/1940Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell9JG 51Hurricane-13.15Western Front
24/06/1941Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell9JG 51DB-3-10.58Eastern Front
24/06/1941Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell9JG 51SB-2-14Eastern Front
24/06/1941Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell9JG 51SB-2-14Eastern Front
24/06/1941Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell9JG 51SB-2-17.51Eastern Front
24/06/1941Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell9JG 51SB-2-17.52Eastern Front
24/06/1941Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell9JG 51SB-2-17.53Eastern Front
24/06/1941Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell9JG 51SB-2-17.53Eastern Front
26/06/1941Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell9JG 51SB-2-10.55Eastern Front
26/06/1941Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell9JG 51SB-2SE Wygonowskie See15.5Eastern Front
29/06/1941Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell9JG 51SB-2-17.5Eastern Front
30/06/1941Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell9JG 51DB-3-14.28Eastern Front
30/06/1941Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell9JG 51DB-3-18.55Eastern Front
30/06/1941Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell9JG 51DB-35km NE Bobruisk19Eastern Front
02/07/1941Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell9JG 51DB-3-14.5Eastern Front
05/07/1941Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell9JG 51DB-3-15.22Eastern Front
05/07/1941Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell9JG 51DB-3-15.23Eastern Front
11/07/1941Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell9JG 51Pe-2-19.2Eastern Front
11/07/1941Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell9JG 51Pe-2-6.25Eastern Front
11/07/1941Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell9JG 51Pe-2-14.07Eastern Front
13/07/1941Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell9JG 51I-16 Rata-16.45Eastern Front
13/07/1941Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell9JG 51I-16 Rata-16.55Eastern Front
28/07/1941Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell9JG 51DB-3--Eastern Front
29/07/1941Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell9JG 51DB-3-18.1Eastern Front
09/08/1941Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell9JG 51Pe-2-13.07Eastern Front
09/08/1941Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell9JG 51Pe-2-13.09Eastern Front
09/08/1941Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell9JG 51Pe-2-13.05Eastern Front
09/08/1941Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell9JG 51Pe-2-13.05Eastern Front
11/08/1941Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell9JG 51Pe-230km NE Jelnja7.45Eastern Front
13/08/1941Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell5JG 51Il-254 414: tiefflug17.08Eastern Front
07/09/1941Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell9JG 51Pe-2-12.25Eastern Front
07/09/1941Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell9JG 51I-16 Rata-17.4Eastern Front
28/05/1942Oblt. Karl-Heinz SchnellStab III.JG 51Il-2N. Kistowka-Roslavl: 800m9.35Eastern Front
02/07/1942Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell5JG 51Il-236 212: tiefflug17.5Eastern Front
02/08/1942Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell5JG 51Il-247 554: 300m13.15Eastern Front
02/08/1942Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell5JG 51Il-247 552: 300m13.2Eastern Front
02/08/1942Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell5JG 51Il-247 542: 300m13.25Eastern Front
02/08/1942Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell5JG 51Il-247 553: 500m15.1Eastern Front
02/08/1942Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell5JG 51Il-247 581: 500m18.37Eastern Front
03/08/1942Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell5JG 51Il-247 554: 400m12.35Eastern Front
08/08/1942Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell5JG 51Pe-247 524: 2000m18.24Eastern Front
22/08/1942Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell5JG 51Pe-254 434: 400m16.01Eastern Front
22/08/1942Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell5JG 51Il-254 421: tiefflug18.35Eastern Front
22/08/1942Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell5JG 51Il-254 42118.35Eastern Front
23/08/1942Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell5JG 51Il-254 414: tiefflug17.31Eastern Front
05/09/1942Oblt. Karl-Heinz Schnell5JG 51Il-2SE Styschupka17.03Eastern Front
26/09/1942Hptm. Karl-Heinz SchnellStab III.JG 51LaGG-347 521: 2000m12.25Eastern Front
29/01/1943Hptm. Karl-Heinz SchnellStab III.JG 51Il-263 451: 100m10.2Eastern Front
29/01/1943Hptm. Karl-Heinz SchnellStab III.JG 51Il-263 451: 100m10.22Eastern Front
29/01/1943Hptm. Karl-Heinz SchnellStab III.JG 51Il-263 451: 100m10.25Eastern Front
06/02/1943Hptm. Karl-Heinz SchnellStab III.JG 51Il-263 624: 50m13.25Eastern Front
24/02/1943Hptm. Karl-Heinz SchnellStab III.JG 51Il-244 434: 200m10.25Eastern Front
09/03/1943Hptm. Karl-Heinz SchnellStab III.JG 51LaGG-363 294: 3000m8.12Eastern Front
13/05/1943Major Karl-Heinz SchnellStab III.JG 51LaGG-363 223: 1200m5.1Eastern Front

Known Claims : 62

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