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Hans-Heinrich Koenig , Four engine-bomber ace

Discussion in 'Air War in Western Europe 1939 - 1945' started by Kai-Petri, Jul 13, 2012.

  1. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    On 1 November 1941, 5./ZG 76 was redesignated 8./NJG 3 undertaking night interception duties. During June 1942, Koenig was to record two night victories. However, on the night of 25/26 June, Koenig, in combat with a RAF bomber, was wounded resulting in the loss of an eye. Following his recovery from wounds, Koenig transferred to Jagdwaffe. Following conversion training he was posted to Jagdstaffel Helgoland.

    In the summer of 1943, Koenig shot down four USAAF four-engined bombers. On 10 October 1943, Koenig was appointed Staffelkapitän of 3./JG 11. He continued his success against the four-engined bombers recording his 20th victory on 15 April 1944, which included 15 viermots. His best day came on 29 April, when he shot down four four-engined bombers to record his 22nd through 25th victories.

    In May 1944, Koenig was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of I./JG 11. On 24 May 1944, Koenig attacked a four-engined bomber over Kaltenkirchen. His Fw 190 A-7 (W.Nr. 430 489) “<<+” was hit by return fire from the bomber’s gunners and exploded. The explosion ripped the left wing off the bomber and both aircraft plunged to the ground.

    Koenig was posthumously awarded the Ritterkreuz and promoted to the rank of Hauptmann on 19 August.

    Hans-Heinrich Koenig was credited with 28 victories.

    Aces of the Luftwaffe - Hans-Heinrich Koenig
     
  2. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    Kai

    -H-K demise was witnessed by ace Fritz engau nand cvovgered in his book post war "Frontal durch die Bomberpulks" since it was a frontal attack with terible high speeds of A/C of both sides niether König nor the B-17 crew really had a chance. Egau witnessed the accident being on the right side of a 9 Fw 190A staffel-like and the Number 3 flying an A-7/R2 with outboard 3cm cannon fitted.
     
  3. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member

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    I cannot begin to imagine the terror inside a paper thin skinned bomber flying a relative steady course with 20 and 30cm explosive shells going off inside it, especially with fuel and a bomb load on the "run in ".This brief clip is brutal just to watch.

    'Fortress' under the gun - YouTube

    It prompts a question, how effective were say B 17's and 24's at defending themselves in day or the British heavies at night. Is there a thread on this or an article on effectiveness. From the interesting post above if were appear they were highly venerable as well as from the huge loses of men in those branches. I realise the effectiveness of the escort fighter but how about the bombers themselves. ?

    Gaines
     
  4. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    Gaines the B-17 in the clip was being attacked by a II./ZG 1 Bf 110G-2 over the Alps.

    as to your question about self defence the bombers really got the shaft and even with the impressive claims the gunners made which of course were on the bounds of mythical, LW fighters without Allied escorts could chew up the day bombers at will. a slightly different scenario developed at night against BC where the LW Nachtjagd was not so effective in it's tactics due obviously to visibility concerns the useage of the upward firing twin cannons in the LW Schräge Musik increased overall destructive performance,
     
  5. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Erich, I surmised that gunners on bombers exaggerated their success to a high degree. In fighter to fighter combat the outcome would be easier to ascertain as would fighter on bomber, the fighter pilot had a clearer view and aided by gun cameras. If one were a ball or waist gunner and a Me 109 or FW 190 were diving at an angle , more likely diagonally , through a box it would only be in a sight picture for a moment and if hit, from which gunner or even which bomber. I suspect a hit became a kill in some minds. The infamous Schweinfurt and Regensburg raids illustrate a great disparity before escorts.

    There appears to be good data on the German side, Hans-Heinrich Koenig's history is a great example. I was curious if allied bomber units had an accurate idea of their effectiveness..

    The clip is interesting , the 110 having it's troubles with Spits and Hurricanes in the BOB but literally chewing up the 17 at will. I suspect the tail gunner went out early.

    I have a long time friend in Bodenwerder-Weser in Lower Saxony. I ask him what could I send him as a gift and he wanted a die cast B-26 in D-Day stripes ! It was 1:48 , quite large, but arrived safely.

    Gaines
     
  6. harolds

    harolds Member

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    As far as the effectiveness of bomber gunners goes, let me add a little bit here. My late uncle Glenn was a top turret gunner/flight engineer on a B-24 in the 15th AF. This was in 1944-45. By this time there was effective fighter escort and only single and pairs of LW fighters got through. Uncle Glenn said that every gun in the area turned on them and they almost always blew up in a fireball. It also occurs to me that probably every gunner firing at those one or two fighters claimed a kill! When the Jagdtwaffe was able to mount their concentrated "arrowhead" attacks and the gunners fire was dispersed, then the fighter attacks were effective.

    It also should be noted that while many thousands of 50 cal. rounds were fired without downing a LW fighter, it did have a fantastic deterrent effect on German fighter pilots. All those tracer were scary as hell and many fighter pilots broke off too soon-about the time their fire was starting to be effective. It was a problem that vexed Adolph Galland and other LW fighter leaders. Bombers separated from the "pulke" were seen as easy meat but the close-knit formations firing thousands of rounds per second was another matter. Only when heavily armed and armored FW 190s were issued were most pilots more willing to push their attacks home. Of course, this coincided with the advent of the Mustang which found the heavy FWs easy meat.
     
  7. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member

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    Harold, Many thanks, I had not thought about the psychological detriment. The other more subtle differences as the war progressed , ie., the weight increase of the 190, are of great interest.

    It would appear that armament on the German fighters were designed to be effective against bombers but might no be so against another fighter....few rounds per minute, possibility greater trajectory but if they did hit it would be more destructive.

    Gaines
     
  8. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    both the Fw 190 and Bf 109G variants - pilots, had to run the gauntlet of .50 fire whether in 43-44 an attack from the front or later war period and attack from the rear. Only with the advent in Juloy 1944 of the ehavier Fw 190A-8/R2 Sturmjäger was sme relief given though these again did not have an armored belly.

    In many cases - Fw 190 especially with the fuel used the A/C would smoke upon dive and turning over to it's side as it ran through the US bomber formation. thus the look of being hit and giving the US gunners a score............
     
  9. harolds

    harolds Member

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    On the effectiveness of German armament:

    In 1942 the German fighter force realized that its 20mm cannon, while good enough against fighers, was having a hard time doing enough damage to bring down the heavy American bombers. Not to mention the fact that many ME and FW variants then used still had the 7.92X57mm MGs in the cowling. A 7.92 round did not really impress a B-17 all that much. Sometime in 1943 the Germans went to drawn projectile cases and enhanced AP/INCD rounds. The rifle caliber fusilage guns were upgraded to 13mm, also with the enhanced AP/INCD rounds. Experienced LW flyers noted a substantial increase in distructive power on the "Viermots".
     
  10. FalkeEins

    FalkeEins Member

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    borne out by this quote from Steinhoff via Colin Heaton;

    " The B-17 Flying Fortress was dangerous without a doubt. They flew in defensive boxes, a heavy defensive
    formation, and with all of their heavy .50-caliber machine guns they were dangerous to approach. We
    finally adopted the head-on attack pioneered by Egon Mayer and Georg Peter Eder, but only a few
    Experten could do this successfully, and it took nerves of steel. Then you also had the long-range fighter
    escorts, which made life difficult, until we flew the Me-262 jets armed with four 30mm cannon and 24
    R4M rockets. Then we could blast huge holes in even the tightest formation from outside the range of
    their defensive fire, inflict damage, then come around and finish off the cripples with cannon fire......"
     
  11. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    my personal opinion ; development and execution of the 2cm and 3cm Minengeschoss rounds HE and HE/I. no Allied aircraft was going to stand up to these rounds properly placed
     

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