Erich Hartmann Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1922– 1993 *** Full Name: Erich Hartmann was also known as The Black Devil and Bubi *** 19-04-1922: He was born on April 19, 1922 *** Place of Birth: Erich Hartmann was born in Weissach, Württemberg in Southwestern Germany *** Family background: His father was a doctor and his mother was one of the first female glider pilots in Germany *** Early life and childhood: Erich Hartmann spent the majority of his younger years in China as his father worked there as a doctor *** Erich Hartmann died on September 20, 1993 from natural causes.
Erich Hartmann Fact 1: Erich Hartmann was born on April 19, 1922 in Weissach, Württemberg in Southwestern Germany.
Erich Hartmann Fact 2: He was a German fighter pilot who was known by various nicknames including 'The Black Devil' and 'Bubi'.
Erich Hartmann Fact 3: Erich Hartmann is considered the most successful fighter ace in the history of aerial warfare; a term used to describe the use of military aircraft and other flying machines in warfare.
Erich Hartmann Fact 4: His father was a Doctor called Dr Alfred Erich Hartmann and his mother was one of the first female German glider pilots by the name of Elisabeth Wilhelmine Machtholf.
Erich Hartmann Fact 5: Erich Hartmann spent much of his early childhood in Changsha, China where his father worked as a doctor. He returned to Germany with his family in 1928 following the outbreak of the Chinese Civil War.
Erich Hartmann Fact 6: From 1928 to 1932 he attended the Volksschule in Weil im Schönbuch, 1932 to 1936 he joined the Gymnasium in Böblingen, 1936 to 1937 he studied at the National Political Institutes of Education in Rottweil and from 1937 to 1940 he attended and took his final examinations at the Gymnasium in Korntal.
Erich Hartmann Fact 7: His mother, Elisabeth Wilhelmine Machtholf, taught him how to fly at the glider training program of the fledgling Luftwaffe. Later, she set up a flying school and Erich Hartmann became a flying instructor. He received his pilot's licence in 1939.
Erich Hartmann Fact 8: His military career began at the 10th Flying Regiment in Neukuhren on October 1, 1940. Within the first two years he made remarkable progression. Erich Hartmann worked his way to the Luftkriegsschule 2 in Berlin-Gatow, made his first solo flight, completed advance flight training, learned gunnery skills and combat techniques, and learned how to fly the Messerschmitt Bf 109 at the Jagdfliegerschule 2 in Zerbst/Anhalt.
Erich Hartmann Fact 9: The following quote by Erich Hartmann reflects upon time spent in confinement following a gunning training flight on March 31, 1942, where he failed to listen to regulations and carried out some aerobatics in his aircraft:
'That week confined to my room actually saved my life. I had been scheduled to go up on a gunnery flight the afternoon that I was confined. My roommate took the flight instead of me, in an aircraft I had been scheduled to fly. Shortly after he took off, while on his way to the gunnery range, he developed engine trouble and had to crash-land near the Hindenburg-Kattowitz railroad. He was killed in the crash.'Erich Hartmann Fact 17: A British test pilot called Captain Eric Brown once asked him how he had amassed 352 air victories. He answered:
Erich Hartmann Fact 10: His brother, Alfred, was held prisoner of war for four years after been captured by the British during World War II. He was serving as a gunner for the Luftwaffe on a Junkers Ju 86 in North Africa.
Erich Hartmann Fact 11: Whilst serving for the Luftwaffe, Erich Hartmann participated in 1,404 combat missions and 825 aerial combats. He successfully shot down 352 Allied aircrafts of which 345 were Soviet and 7 American.
Erich Hartmann Fact 12: He managed to successfully crash-land his fighter planes fourteen times when they became damaged from shooting enemy aircraft and general mechanical failures.
Erich Hartmann Fact 13: During his military career, Erich Hartmann was never forced to land due to enemy fire nor was he ever shot down.
Erich Hartmann Fact 14: On August 25, 1944, as a result of claiming 301 aerial victories, he was presented with the highest military decoration of that time, the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds (Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub, Schwertern und Brillanten).
Erich Hartmann Fact 15: Erich Hartmann was sentenced to 25 years of hard labour after been tried on fabricated charges of war crimes. He had surrendered to the US Army forces, along with the rest of JG 52, and was turned over to the Red Army. Up until his release in 1955, he spent time in gulags and Soviet prison camps.
Erich Hartmann Fact 16: Erich Hartmann joined the West German Luftwaffe in 1956 where he became the first Geschwaderkommodore of Jagdgeschwader 71. A Geschwaderkommodore can be described as a position, usually Colonel, of the Luftwaffe.
'Well you can't believe it, but the Sturmovik, which was their main ground-attack aircraft, flew like B-17s in formation and didn't attempt to make any evasive manoeuvres. And all they had was one peashooter in the back of each plane. Also, some of the pilots were women. Their peashooter was no threat unless they had a very lucky hit on you. I didn't open fire til the aircraft filled my whole windscreen. If I did this, I would get one every time.'
Erich Hartmann Fact 18: He was a very successful and experienced pilot whose method of attack was generally to hold off firing until he was within a 20 meter range or less. He wouldn't reveal his position until the very last moment possible. His motto was: 'See-Decide-Attack-Reverse'
Erich Hartmann Fact 19: His own fighter plane became damaged on many occasions because he shot enemy aircrafts at close range. The debris from other aircrafts often hit his and caused damaged.
Erich Hartmann Fact 20: Erich Hartmann died from natural causes at the age of 71 on September 20, 1993 in Weil im Schönbuch. He is buried alongside his wife Ursula "Usch" Paetsch.
Influence & Legacy of Erich Hartmann:
Erich Hartmann is classed as the most successful fighter ace in the history of aerial warfare. Erich Hartmann served for the Luftwaffe during World War II, bringing down 352 Allied aircrafts, he took part in 1,404 combat missions. He was never forced to land due to enemy fire and he was never shot down.
Short Facts about Erich Hartmann for Kids
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