|Erich Michael Axthammer|
|Born||December 3, 1920|
|Died||December 22, 2015(aged 95)|
|Place of birth||Mariahof, Austria|
Nazi Germany (to 1945)|
|Years of service||
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross|
Erich Michael Axthammer (3 December 1920 - 22 December 2015) was a highly decorated Oberfeldwebel in the Luftwaffe during World War II. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.
Career[edit | edit source]
Born 3 December 1920 in Neumark, Austria, Axthammer joined the Luftwaffe in November 1938, and during 1941 was posted to the eastern front with 7./Schlachtgeschwader 1 flying the Henschel Hs 123 ground attack biplane. On 10 March 1943 he flew his first combat mission near Krasnohrad on the eastern front, and flew over 300 missions before being awarded the German Cross in Gold in November 1943. He then served with 1./Schlachtgeschwader 152, 5./Schlachtgeschwader 77 and later 8./Schlachtgeschwader 10 by August 1944. Oberfeldwebel Axthammer was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross in April 1945, one of the last pilots to be thus awarded.
During his wartime career he flew 530 missions, 300 with the Hs 123 and the remainder with the Focke-Wulf Fw 190. He claimed four Soviet aircraft destroyed in aerial combat (plus two unconfirmed victories) and numerous ground targets, including 42 trucks, 27 other vehicles, two tanks, two artillery pieces, two anti-aircraft positions, and two aircraft on the ground.
After the war he worked as a miner and in 1958 he joined the German Air Force of the Federal Republic of Germany. He served until 1979 retiring as a Stabsfeldwebel. Axthammer died in December 2015 at the age of 95.
Awards and decorations[edit | edit source]
- Front Flying Clasp of the Luftwaffe
- in Bronze (1 June 1942)
- in Silver (6 June 1943)
- in Gold (22 July 1943)
- in Gold with "530" Pendant (11 August 1944)
- Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe (2 October 1943)
- Iron Cross (1939)
- 2nd Class (10 June 1943)
- 1st Class (10 August 1943)
- War Merit Cross with Swords
- 2nd Class (12 November 1943)
- German Cross in Gold on 14 November 1943 as Unteroffizier in the 7./Schlachtgeschwader 1
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 28 April 1945 as Feldwebel and pilot in the Stab/Schlachtgeschwader 10
References[edit | edit source]
- Patzwall and Scherzer 2001, p. 19.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 101.
- Brütting, Georg (1995) (in German). Das waren die deutschen Stuka-Asse 1939 – 1945 [These were the German Stuka Aces 1939 - 1945]. Stuttgart, Germany: Motorbuch. ISBN 978-3-87943-433-6.
- Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) (in German). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 – Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtsteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches]. Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6.
- Obermaier, Ernst (1976) (in German). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Luftwaffe 1939–1945 Band II Stuka- und Schlachtflieger [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the Luftwaffe 1941 – 1945 Volume II Dive Bomber and Attack Aircraft]. Mainz, Germany: Verlag Dieter Hoffmann. ISBN 978-3-87341-021-3.
- Patzwall, Klaus D.; Scherzer, Veit (2001) (in German). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II [The German Cross 1941 – 1945 History and Recipients Volume 2]. Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8.
- Scherzer, Veit (2007) (in German). 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 [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives]. Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.