Schröer, Werner.

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Schroer, Werner
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Schröer, Werner,  born 12-12-1918 at Mülheim an der Ruhr, the son of Friedrich Johann Schröer and his wife Maria, born Schmitz. Schröer attended school from 1924 to 1937 and graduated with his Abitur (School Leaving Certificate). From April to October 1937, he then completed the compulsory Reichsarbeitsdienst (Reich Labour Service). His Luftwaffe career began in 1937 as a member of the ground staff. in 1938 as a Gefreiter he enrolled in basic flight training, which he completed, as a Feldwebel, in May 1940. He then spent two months posted with Jagdfliegerschule 1 getting advanced fighter training, graduating on 20-07-1940.  On 27-08-1940 he joined 2./Jagdgeschwader 27 under Oberstleutnant, later General der Flieger, Max Ibel,
 based on the Channel front. He flew his first combat missions during the Battle of Britain but did not claim any confirmed victories. In March 1941, I./JG 27 was deployed to North Africa in order to support the Afrika Korps  under the command of Erwin Rommel Schroer claimed his first victory, a RAF Hurricane, on 19-04-1941, however, his Bf 109 E was hit and he had to make a forced-landing near his airfield with 48 bullet holes in his aircraft. Schröer’s scoring progress was slow, as he adapted to the wide open spaces of desert aerial combat – his second victory was another Hawker Hurricane on 25 June, and by the end of 1941 his tally was just seven. On 29-08-1941 Schroer engaged in aerial combat with the top Australian ace Clive Caldwell  nickname “Killer” of No 250 Squadron RAF  north-west of Sidi Barrani. In the course of the battle Schröer damaged Caldwell’s P-40 Tomahawk. Caldwell suffered bullet wounds to the back, left shoulder, and leg but was still able to shoot down Werner Schröer’s wing man and heavily damage Werner’s own aircraft and thus forced him to disengage. Caldwell survived the war and although in later life Caldwell “spoke modestly” about his wartime service, upon his death in Sydney on 05-08-1994 in Sydney, Australia, many Australians “mourned the passing of a true national hero”.
On 21 April, in an engagement with RAF Hurricanes, an aircraft collided with his Bf 109 E slightly injuring him and requiring him to make another forced-landing. By the end of 1941 his score stood at seven. In March 1942, he was appointed Adjutant of I./Jagdgeschwader 27 under Oberst Bernard Woldenga  . who died very old age 97 on 19-01-1999. Schroer was appointed Staffelkapitän of 8./JG 27 on 22 June. In July he recorded 16 victories. On 9 September, he was awarded the Deutsches Kreuz in Gold . He shot down 13 enemy aircraft in September, including six on 15 September to record his 35th through 40th victories. In October, Schröer claimed 15 victories. Leutnant Schröer was awarded the Ritterkreuz on 21 October for 49 victories. On 4 November, Schroer, with Alfred Stückler   (10 victories), shot down two four-engined B-24s. On 11-02-1943, Schröer reportedly shot down two RAF Beauforts, although he claimed them as B-26s. When Major Gustav Rödel  (98 victories, including 13 four-engined bombers, RK-EL) was appointed Kommodore of JG 27, Hauptmann Schröer took his place as Gruppenkommandeur of II./JG 27 on 22-04-1943. Operating over Sicily and southern Italy, between 29 April and 23 July, Schröer was to claim 22 Allied aircraft shot down, including 12 four-engined bombers. On 2 August, he became the 268th recipient of the Eichenlaub , awarded for his 84 victories. In August 1943, II./JG 27 was transferred to Wiesbaden-Erbenheim in Germany for Reichsverteidigung duties. On 6 September, Schröer led the Gruppe on an interception of a formation of 262 B-17s. In all 45 American bombers were lost including four shot down by II./JG 27, three of which were claimed by Schröer as his victories 86 through 88. On 03-03-1944, Major Schröer scored his 99th victory and was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of III./JG 54, relieving Major Rudolf Sinner  (39 victories, DK) who had been badly wounded  on 6 March attacking a formation of four-engined bombers. III./JG 54 was based at Lüneberg and flew the Bf 109 G-6. On 24 May, Schroer shot down a P-51 and two P-47s for his 100th  to 102nd victories. On 21-07-1944, Schröer relinquished command of III./JG 54 to Hauptmann Robert “Bazi” Weiss (121 victories, RK-EL, killed in action 29-12-1944, age 24. Robert Weiss’s body lost or destroyed: It is assumed that Weiß was shot down in Fw 190 D-9 (Werknummer 210 060—factory number) “Black 10” by Flight Sergeant Haanes of No. 331 Squadron RAF (Norwegian Squadron) near Lingen. Schröer was transferred to a fighter pilot school as an instructor. On 4 August, he had to make a forced-landing when his engine malfunctioned. From November 1944 to February 1945 Schroer was retained in a training role. On 14-02-1945, Schröer was appointed Kommodore of JG 3 nickname “Udet” . With this unit he quickly claimed 12 Russian aircraft destroyed. On 19-04-1945 he became the 144th recipient of the Schwertern .
The Geschwaderstab (headquarters unit) withdrew along the Baltic coast into Schleswig-Holstein. There, on 05-05-1945, Schröer surrendered to British forces and was taken prisoner of war.

Death and burial ground of Schröer, Werner.

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Schröer was kept in British custody until 7 February 1946. Initially he worked as a Taxicab driver in Frankfurt to help finance his family. In parallel, he attended university attaining a Master of Business Administration (Diplom-Kaufmann). Together with his family, he then lived and worked in Rome, Italy for eleven years. In 1968, the spelling of his last name changed from Schroer to Schröer, with the Umlaut “ö”. Prior to his retirement, he held the position of head of the central protocol department with Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm  in Ottobrunn. Schröer, who was a member of the Gemeinschaft der Jagdflieger (Association of German Armed Forces Airmen) , died on 10-02-1985 in Ottobrunn, aged 66. He was buried with military honors at the Parkfriedhof (park cemetery) Haidgraben (street), in Ottobrunn on 15-02-1985, in Field I 10. My friend Radek Hroch sent me the photo of the grave.

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