Anton Hafner

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Anton Hafner
File:Anton Hafner (pilot).jpg
Anton Hafner
Nickname(s) Toni
Born (1918-06-02)2 June 1918
Erbach an der Donau
Died 17 October 1944(1944-10-17) (aged 26)
near Gumbinnen, East Prussia
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Luftwaffe
Years of service 1940–44
Rank Oberleutnant
Unit JG 51
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves

Anton "Toni" Hafner (born 2 June 1918 in Erbach an der Donau, killed in action 17 October 1944 on the Eastern Front) was a German Luftwaffe fighter ace and 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 the Oak Leaves was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.

World War II

File:Emil Lang Oak Leaves.jpg
Alfred Grislawski, Emil Lang, Günther Schack, Otto Kittel and Anton Hafner (shaking hands with Adolf Hitler) receiving the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves from Adolf Hitler and Hermann Göring at the Berghof, Obersalzberg on 5 May 1944. Hafner is shaking Hitler's hand

On 18 December 1942 Hafner was on a bomber intercept mission. While approaching the bomber formation they engaged the escorting P-38 Lightning fighter escort. In the ensuing dog fight Hafner flamed the left engine of a P-38. The pilot, Norman L. Widen of the 94th Fighter Squadron,[1] bailed out and was taken prisoner of war and brought to Hafner's airfield. After Hafner landed, Widen presented Hafner his silver pilot insignia. Before Widen was taken to the POW camp, Hafner and Widen promised to meet again after the war. Hafner sent the gift to his brother, Alfons Hafner, with the request to return the gifts together with a medal and picture of Anton Hafner in case of Anton Hafner getting killed in action. In 1960 Alfons Hafner managed to contact Major Widen via the US Airforce to fulfil his brother's will.[2] [3] On 15 October 1943, Hafner was credited with his 100th aerial victory. He was the 56th Luftwaffe pilot to achieve the century mark.[4]

On 16 October 1944, Hafner destroyed four fighters thus taking him past the double century mark. Hafner's 204th and last victory was a Soviet Yak-7 fighter on 17 October 1944. However, during the dogfight his plane hit a tree. His Bf 109 G-6 (Werknummer 442 013—factory number) "Black 1" crashed killing Hafner, the highest scoring pilot of JG 51 "Mölders".[5]

Anton Hafner was credited with 204 victories in 795 combat missions. He claimed 184 victories over the Eastern Front. Of his 20 victories claimed over the Western Front, eight were P-38 two engine fighters. Among his claims are 55 Il-2 Sturmoviks.

Awards

References

Citations

  1. Axis History Forum
  2. [1] and [2] pictures of Widen captured; several later appeared in the German Propaganda English Language magazine Signal.]]
  3. Life Magazine April 14, 1961
  4. Obermaier 1989, p. 243.
  5. Weal 2001, p.92.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Thomas 1998, p. 237.
  7. Obermaier 1989, p. 65.
  8. Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 159.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Scherzer 2007, p. 360.
  10. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 210.
  11. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 81.

Bibliography

  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) [1986]. Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Obermaier, Ernst (1989). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Luftwaffe Jagdflieger 1939 – 1945 (in German). Mainz, Germany: Verlag Dieter Hoffmann. ISBN 978-3-87341-065-7. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Patzwall, Klaus D.; Scherzer, Veit (2001). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • 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 (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Thomas, Franz (1997). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 1: A–K (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2299-6. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Weal, John (2001). Bf 109 Aces of the Russian Front. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84176-084-1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

  • Petr Kacha. "Anton Hafner". Aces of the Luftwaffe. Retrieved 16 November 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • "Anton Hafner". Adlertag (in German). Retrieved 16 November 2012. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>