Hannig, Horst, born on 13-11-1921 in Frankenstein, Lower Silesia, joined the military service in the Luftwaffe as a Fahnenjunker (officer cadet) in October 1939. He was posted to the 6./Jagdgeschwader 54 “Grünherz” under command of Oberst Hannes Trautloft, in early 1941. Although Luftwaffe documentation were destroyed at the end of the war surviving records indicate JG 54 lost 491 pilots killed in action and 242 pilots missing. A further 322 pilots were wounded in action. The ground personnel lost 570 killed. Total losses in aircraft were approximately 1,071 Bf 109 and 746 Fw 190. His brother, Walter Hannig, received the German Cross in Gold on 28-04-1943 as an observer with Aufklärungsgruppe (Reconnaissance Group) 4.(F)/14 of the Luftwaffe. Horst Hannig claimed his first aerial victory, a Tupolev SB-2, on the first day of Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union on 22-06-1941. He achieved his first 30 victories up to November 1941. On 09-05-1942, Leutnant (second Lieutenant) Hannig was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross having flown over 200 operations and claiming 48 victories.He and Leutnant Hans Beißwenger received the Knight’s Cross from General der Flieger Helmuth Förster at Siverskaya. Leutnant Hans Beißwenger was reported missing in action on 06-03-1943, age 26, south of Staraya Russa, Soviet Union. General Helmuth Förster survived the war and died 07-04-1965, age 75, in Lenggries, Bavaria.. On 21-07-1942 Hannig claimed his 54th victory, a Petlyakov Pe-2 reconnaissance aircraft, near Lake Ilmen. It was Jagdgeschwader 54’s 2,500th aerial victory. By early 1943 he had achieved 90 kills on the Eastern Front, and became Staffelkapitän (squadron leader) of 2./Jagdgeschwader 2 “Richthofen” , named after the WW1 flying ace Manfred von Richthofen, in Northern Europe. While with 2./JG 2 he achieved another 8 victories, including 1 four-engine United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) heavy bomber shot down on 16-02-1943.
Death and burial ground of Hannig, Horst.
Horst Hannig was killed in action on 15-05-1943, age 21, in his Focke Wulf Fw 190 A-4 of I./JG 2, against Royal Air Force (RAF) operations that targeted Caen-Carpiquet Airdrome and Poix Airdrome. He was shot down by Squadron Leader Edward Francis John “Jack” Charles leading Yellow Section of No. 611 Squadron, and thus becoming the 1,000th aerial victory of the Biggin Hill Wing. He had managed to bail out but his parachute failed to open. Hannig was posthumously awarded the 364th Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves on 03-01-1944 and posthumously promoted to Oberleutnant (first Lieutenant). He is credited with 98 aerial victories claimed in over 350 combat missions and was interred at the German war cemetery at St. Desir-de-Lisieux, Block 3- Row 15- Grave 445.
Close by the grave of another flying ace, Major Kurt “Kuddel” Ubben On 27-04-1944, age 32, Ubben engaged United States Army Air Forces P-47 fighters near Fère-en-Tardenois. Ubben was shot down in Fw 190 A-8/R2/R6; He bailed out but his parachute failed to open either due to insufficient altitude or because of an improperly fastened harness. Also close by another fighter pilot ace with 102 aerial victories, Oberstleutnant Egon Mayer, killed in action March 1944.