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Günther Steinhausen
Born 15 September 1917
Died 6 September 1942(1942-09-06) (age 77)
Place of birth Lobkevitz on the isle of Rügen
Place of death near El Alamein
Allegiance Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Service/branch Luftwaffe
Rank Leutnant
Unit JG 27
Battles/wars

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Feldwebel Günther Steinhausen (born 15 September 1917 in Lobkevitz on the isle of Rügen – killed in action, 6 September 1942 near El Alamein, Egypt) was a German World War II Luftwaffe Flying ace with 40 combat victories to his name. He was also a posthumous recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German language:Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. For the fighter pilots, it was a tangible measure of their skill and success.

BiographyEdit

Günther Steinhausen was born 15 September 1917 at Lobkevitz, on the island of Rügen. After flight training, Steinhausen was posted, as an Unteroffizier, to 1./JG 27 (the 1st aquadron of the 27th Fighter Wing) in the spring of 1941, transferring with the unit to North Africa soon after.

The first Luftwaffe fighter unit in Africa, they were initially based at Ain-el-Gazala, just west of the besieged port of Tobruk. Flying the older Bf 109E-7, it was still found to be eminently competitve against the British squadrons based there. He recorded his first victory on 9 June, shooting down a Hawker Hurricane north of Tobruk. On 26 August Steinhausen claimed his fifth victory: probably a Tomahawk IIb of No. 250 Sqn flown by British ace Sgt. Maurice Hards (7 victories) who force-landed wounded near Mersa Matruh. In August, as the remaining Gruppen of Jagdgeschwader 27 transferred in to North Africa from Russia as reinforcements, I./JG 27 rotated its squadrons back to Germany to re-equip onto the Bf 109F.

After the British Operation Crusader in November and December had relieved Tobruk and driven the Axis back, in January Rommel had sufficient fuel supplies to launch his next counter-attack, and he took Benghazi on 29 January, as the aircrew retraced their steps to airfields they had abandoned only a month or so previously. On 28 March Steinhausen claimed his 10th victory, when he shot down a Kittyhawk fighter of 94 Squadron RAF flown by P/O Crosbie, near Timimi. Four days after his 13th victory on 22 May 1942, Rommel launched his offensive that woudl eventually take the Axis forces right across Libya and into Egypt, almost to the gates of Alexandria. It was this time, as with many other pilots of JG27 that was to be particularly successful for Steinhausen. With a rush of multiple victories he advanced his tally: a pair of South African Tomahawks on 31 May, followed by four fighters in the El Adem area on 16 June (20-23v.) and then a further four Hurricanes (of No. 238 Sqn (RAF)) on 28 June over Sidi Haneish (27-30v.).

On 9 July, Steinhausen shot down a United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) B-24 Liberator, ("Eager Beaver"), and only the second four-engine bomber claimed by JG 27. One of six bombers of the Halverston Detachment that had been sent to attack an Axis supply convoy, it was his 34th victory.[1] By now the front had stabilised at the Alamein line and both sides paused to draw breath, and build up supplies for their next offensives. In the interim, he was awarded the Ehrenpokal (Trophy of Honour) on 5 August, and then the German Cross in Gold on 21 August, for his success to date.

At the end of August, activity picked up again, and Rommel launched his assualt on the fortified Alamein line at the beginning of September. On 6 September 1942, on an early-morning patrol, Fw Steinhausen shot down a Hurricane of No. 7 Sqn (SAAF) or No. 274 Sqn (RAF) near El Alamein for his 40th victory. However, he was then himself shot down in his Bf 109F-4 "White 5" (WerkNr. 13272). His body was never recovered. Günther Steinhausen was credited with 40 victories, all recorded over the Western Desert, all but two of those were over single-seat fighters. On 3 November he was posthumously awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (Ritterkreuz) and promoted to Leutnant.

AwardsEdit

VictoriesEdit

No Date Time Unit & Airfield Gruppe Kommandeur[3] Location / Planquad Claimed Aircraft Source / Comments[4]
19 Jun 19415.051./JG 27 - Ain-el-Gazala Hptm Eduard Neumann N of TobrukHurricaneC.2036/II Nr.64914/41; of RAF 73 Sqn
218 Jun '415.051./JG 27 - Ain-el-Gazala Hptm Eduard Neumann Buq BuqBuffalo (P-40)C.2036/II Nr.64914/41; of RAF 250 Sqn
32 Aug '4118.501./JG 27 - Ain-el-Gazala Hptm Eduard Neumann 40 km NW of Mersa MatruhHurricaneC.2036/II Nr.81857/41; of SAAF 1 Sqn
42 Aug '4118.501./JG 27 - Ain-el-Gazala Hptm Eduard Neumann 40 km NW of Mersa MatruhHurricanePrien & Bock; of SAAF 1 Sqn
526 Aug '41 ?1./JG 27 - Ain-el-Gazala Hptm Eduard Neumann N of Sidi BarraniP-40 (Tomahawk)Prien & Bock; Sgt Hands of RAF 250 Sqn
614 Sep'4118.151./JG 27 - Ain-el-Gazala Hptm Eduard Neumann SE of Gasr-el-AhridP-40 (Tomahawk) C.2036/II Nr. 83012/42; of RAAF 3 Sqn
77 Jan 1942 13.021./JG 27 - Agedabia Hptm Eduard Neumann NE of AgedabiaP-40 (Tomahawk) C.2036/II Nr. 100037/43; of SAAF 2 or 4 Sqn
89 Jan '42 15.051./JG 27 - Agedabia Hptm Eduard Neumann E of AgedabiaP-40 (Hurricane) Prien & Bock; of RAF 229 Sqn
99 Jan '42 15.301./JG 27 - Agedabia Hptm Eduard Neumann E of AgedabiaP-40 (Hurricane) C.2036/II Nr. 100037/43; of RAF 229 Sqn
1028 Mar'4213.401./JG 27 - Martuba Hptm Eduard Neumann S of TmimiP-40 (Kittyhawk) C.2036/II Nr. 100037/43; P/O Crosbie of RAF 94 Sqn
1111 Apr'4210.501./JG 27 - Martuba Hptm Eduard Neumann N of Bir HabexP-40 (Tomahawk) C.2036/II Nr. 100037/43; of SAAF 4 Sqn
1225 Apr'4210.101./JG 27 - Martuba Hptm Eduard Neumann ESE of Ain-el-Gazala P-40 C.2036/II Nr. 100037/43
1322 May'427.501./JG 27 - Martuba Hptm Eduard Neumann 20 km S of Martuba P-40 (Kittyhawk) C.2036/II Nr. 100037/43; of RAF 250 Sqn
1428 May'427.501./JG 27 - Martuba Hptm Eduard Neumann 5 km N of Gasr-el-Ahrid Hurricane C.2036/II Nr. 100037/43; F/Sgt Wintersdorf of RAF 80 Sqn
1531 May'427.251./JG 27 - Tmimi Hptm Eduard Neumann N of Martuba P-40 (Tomahawk) C.2036/II Nr. 100037/43; of SAAF 4 Sqn
1631 May'427.351./JG 27 - Tmimi Hptm Eduard Neumann N of Martuba P-40 (Tomahawk) C.2036/II Nr. 100037/43; of SAAF 4 Sqn
179 Jun'427.531./JG 27 - Tmimi Hptm Eduard Neumann S of Mteifel Chebir P-40 (Tomahawk) C.2036/II Nr. 101541/43; of SAAF 4 or 5 Sqn
1812 Jun'4219.031./JG 27 - Tmimi Hptm Eduard Neumann W of El Adem Hurricane C.2036/II Nr. 101541/43; of RAF 73 or 208 Sqn
1912 Jun'4219.141./JG 27 - Tmimi Hptm Gerhard Homuth SSW of El AdemP-40 (Kittyhawk) C.2036/II Nr. 101541/43; of RAF 260 Sqn
2016 Jun'4218.001./JG 27 - Ain-el-Gazala Hptm Gerhard Homuth E of El AdemHurricane C.2036/II Nr. 103614/43; of RAF 73 or 208 Sqn
2116 Jun'4218.101./JG 27 - Ain-el-Gazala Hptm Gerhard Homuth E of El AdemP-40 (Tomahawk) C.2036/II Nr. 103614/43; of SAAF 2, 4 or 5 Sqn
2216 Jun'4218.141./JG 27 - Ain-el-Gazala Hptm Gerhard Homuth SW of El AdemP-40 C.2036/II Nr. 103614/43
2316 Jun'4218.201./JG 27 - Ain-el-Gazala Hptm Gerhard Homuth E of GambutP-40 (Kittyhawk) C.2036/II Nr. 103614/43; of RAF 250 Sqn
2427 Jun'428.581./JG 27 - Sidi Barrani Hptm Gerhard Homuth WSW of El-Daba Martin 167 (Baltimore) Prien & Bock; of RAF 223 Sqn
2527 Jun'4218.27 1./JG 27 - Sidi Barrani Hptm Gerhard Homuth SW of Fuka Hurricane C.2036/II Nr. 103945/43
2627 Jun'4218.30 1./JG 27 - Sidi Barrani Hptm Gerhard Homuth SW of Fuka Hurricane C.2036/II Nr. 103945/43
2728 Jun'42 11.25 1./JG 27 - Bir-el-Astas Hptm Gerhard Homuth SW of Fuka Hurricane C.2036/II Nr. 103945/43; of RAF 238 Sqn
2828 Jun'42 11.30 1./JG 27 - Bir-el-Astas Hptm Gerhard Homuth S of Fuka Hurricane C.2036/II Nr. 103945/43; of RAF 238 Sqn
2928 Jun'42 11.31 1./JG 27 - Bir-el-Astas Hptm Gerhard Homuth SW of Fuka Hurricane C.2036/II Nr. 103945/43; of RAF 238 Sqn
3028 Jun'42 11.33 1./JG 27 - Bir-el-Astas Hptm Gerhard Homuth SW of Fuka Hurricane C.2036/II Nr. 103945/43; of RAF 238 Sqn
313 Jul'42 9.15 1./JG 27 - Mumin Busak Hptm Gerhard Homuth ESE of El Alamein P-40 C.2036/II Nr. 103945/43
324 Jul'42 17.05 1./JG 27 - Mumin Busak Hptm Gerhard Homuth 20 km SSE of El AlameinHurricane C.2036/II Nr. 103945/43; of SAAF 1 Sqn
335 Jul'42 18.00 1./JG 27 - Mumin Busak Hptm Gerhard Homuth Burg-el-Arab P-46 Prien & Bock
349 Jul'42 18.00 1./JG 27 - Turbiya Hptm Gerhard Homuth 100 km NW of Bir-el-Astas B-24 C.2036/II Nr. 103945/43; of USAAF Halverston Det
3522 Aug'42 14.07 1./JG 27 - Quotaifiya Hptm Gerhard Homuth 7 km S of El-HammamSpitfire V Prien & Bock; F/Sgt Schofield of RAF 601 Sqn
3625 Aug'42 14.07 1./JG 27 - Quotaifiya Hptm Gerhard Homuth S of El-Alamein Hurricane II Prien & Bock; of RAF 213 or 274 Sqn
371 Sep'42 17.46 1./JG 27 - Quotaifiya Hptm Gerhard Homuth Alam el Halfa Hurricane II C.2036/II Nr. 105004/43
383 Sep'41 15.43 1./JG 27 - Quotaifiya Hptm Gerhard Homuth N of Manga el Rahla Hurricane II Prien & Bock
383 Sep'41 15.46 1./JG 27 - Quotaifiya Hptm Gerhard Homuth N of Manga el Rahla Hurricane II C.2036/II Nr. 105004/43
406 Sep'41 7.57 1./JG 27 - Quotaifiya Hptm Gerhard Homuth SE of El-Alamein P-40 (Hurricane) C.2036/II Nr. 103067/43; of SAAF 7 Sqn or RAF 274 Sqn
6 Sep'41 ? 2./JG 27 - Quotaifiya Hptm Gerhard Homuth S of El-Alamein

ReferencesEdit

Citations
  1. Weal 2003, pg. 83.
  2. Obermaier 1989, p. 210.
  3. Luftwaffe Air Units: Single–Engined Fighters website.
  4. Aces of the Luftwaffe website.
Bibliography
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000), Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 (in German). Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 3-7909-0284-5.
  • Obermaier, Ernst (1989) (in German). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Luftwaffe Jagdflieger 1939 – 1945 [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the Luftwaffe Fighter Force 1941 – 1945]. Mainz, Germany: Verlag Dieter Hoffmann. ISBN 978-3-87341-065-7. 
  • 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. 
  • Scutts, Jerry (1994). Bf109 Aces of North Africa and the Mediterranean. Oxford: Osprey Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-85532-448-2.
  • Smith, J.Richard & Pegg, Martin (2003). Jagdwaffe Vol 3, Sec3: War over the Desert June1940 - June1942” Hersham, Surrey: Ian Allan Publishing ISBN 1-903223-22-9, incl a profile of his aircraft, p.235
  • Roba, Jean-Louis & Pegg, Martin (2003). Jagdwaffe Vol 4, Sec2: The Mediterranean 1942 - 1943” Hersham, Surrey: Ian Allan Publishing ISBN 1-903223-35-0
  • Weal, John (2003). Aviation Elite Units #12: Jagdgeschwader 27 'Afrika'. Oxford: Osprey Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-84176-538-4.

External linksEdit

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