Hansgeorg Bätcher

Hansgeorg Bätcher
Born 13 January 1914
Finsterwalde
Died 23 April 2003(2003-04-23) (aged 89)
Uelzen
Allegiance Nazi Germany
Service/branch Heer (1934–35)
Luftwaffe (1935–45)
Years of service 1934–45
Rank Oberstleutnant
Unit KG 100
KG 4
KG 76
KG 54
Commands held I./KG 4
III./KG 76
KG 54
Battles/wars

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves

Hansgeorg Bätcher (13 January 1914 – 23 April 2003) was a highly decorated Oberstleutnant bomber pilot in the Luftwaffe during World War II, and one of only 882 recipients of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. Hansgeorg Bätcher was captured by American troops in May 1945.

Career

Born in January 1914, Bätcher received flight training at Fliegergruppe Tutow between November 1935 and March 1936. As a Leutnant, he joined I./KG 157 (later I./KG 27) in December 1938. He served with this unit during operations against Poland in 1939. In 1940 Bätcher participated in the invasion of France, though he was shot down and captured near Rouen on 5 June 1940.

Following the surrender of France, Bätcher was released. He then served as a flying instructor before returning to operations in May 1941, with Kampfgruppe 100 "Viking", equipped with the Heinkel He 111.

In July 1941 Bätcher was appointed Staffelkapitän 1./K.Gr. 100, and posted to the Eastern Front. Bätcher operations over Moscow in the late summer and autumn of 1941. Bätcher was awarded with the Bomber Pilot's Clasp in Bronze on 23 August 1941, in Silver in September 1941, and Gold in November 1941.

In early 1942 I./KG 100 flew maritime attacks against the Soviet fleet in the Black Sea. Bätcher became the most successful bomber pilot during this campaign, sinking or damaging several Soviet naval vessels. In March 1942, he was promoted to Hauptmann. In the summer of 1942 Bätcher took part in the assault against Sevastopol, and he carried out his 300th combat mission on 2 July 1942.

Following missions over the Caucasus during August 1942, he then participated in the Battle for Stalingrad. With Stalingrad surrounded by the Red Army, Bätcher carried out supply flights to the besieged Sixth Army. Bätcher was awarded with Knight's Cross on 21 December 1942.

In the summer of 1943 Bätcher took part in Operation Zitadelle; the Battle of Kursk. He also flew missions over the contested Kuban Bridgehead. On 30 July 1943 Bätcher completed his 500th combat mission.

In November 1943, I./KG 100 was redesignated as I./KG 4, and Bätcher was promoted to Major and appointed Gruppenkommandeur. Bätcher completed his 600th combat flight on 21 November 1943 and his 650th combat flight on 9 February 1944.

After completing 658 bomber missions Bätcher was posted to the Staff of Luftflottenkommando 4 in May 1944. He remained there until December 1944, when he was posted to command III./KG 76 equipped with the first Jet bomber, the Arado Ar 234. Bätcher's last bomber missions were made with the Ar 234 against British and American troops in February 1945.

In February 1945, he was appointed to command the Me 262-equipped KG(J) 54, which he led until the end of the war.

Awards and decorations

References

Citations
  1. ^ a b Thomas 1997, p. 19.
  2. ^ Patzwall 2008, p. 45.
  3. ^ Patzwall and Scherzer 2001, p. 26.
  4. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 103.
  5. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 69.
Bibliography

External links

  • Lexikon der Wehrmacht
  • World War 2 Awards.com
  • Ritterkreuztraeger 1939-1945
Military offices
Preceded by
Oberstleutnant Volprecht Riedesel Freiherr zu Eisenbach
Geschwaderkommodore of Kampfgeschwader 54
27 February 1945 – 8 May 1945
Succeeded by
None
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