Erich Hartmann - how did his comrades regard him?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by paradoxguy, Aug 13, 2011.

  1. paradoxguy

    paradoxguy Member

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    I recently read some comments on other websites, notably 12 O'Clock High!, that suggested Erich Hartmann was not highly regarded by his comrades and subordinates and that at one point, members of his Staffel threatened to revolt against him. My knowledge of Hartmann is limited and admittedly based in part on the suspect biography The Blond Knight of Germany. For those who know, how was Hartmann viewed by his comrades? How did he perform as a Staffelkapitan and Gruppenkommandeur? I am not trying to "dig up dirt", I am only trying to factually augment my knowledge of Hartmann.

    Thanks for reading and any information.

    PG
     
  2. Ratsel

    Ratsel Banned

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    #2 Ratsel, Aug 13, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2011
    That was all ones guys opinion, with no proof to back it up. He also made a big hooplah about Hartmanns claims also, based on Khazanov's research. ' It has already been demonstrated that Khazanov's findings in regards of Hartmann's claims in East can be forgotten, as they are sloppy and motivated by politics. So any references to his 'study' should be discarded outright '. A brutal Russian inprisonment for 10 years alone should lend some creedence to Erich's claims.

    According to the book " The Blonde Knight of Germany", Hartmann was ' tough as nails as a C/o '. Furthermore there is zero proof that his Staffel was planning a revolt against Hartmann. No reassignments, no punishments, no 'talking too's', no stripping of rank. Boss's are like anyother.. some like their boss, some do not.

    I think Hermann Graf others was a bit peeved when Hartmann was appointed Commador. Maybe thats where it began.
     
  3. Altea

    Altea Banned

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    What is demonstrated is that Khazanov findings are uncomplete, but reliable from soviet sources. The main error factor is the doubtfull The Blond Knight of Germany biography.

    Hazanov did made some job, but not to much* and proved nothing except that there were hudge overclaim over the eastern front from both sides. (3 to 5 for Luft in 43-44, even more for the VVS). But it was well known well before him.

    *The Hartman claims were taken from Oliver and Constable book, but then it occured that there were not correspunding to unit docs, not even to his logbook, something like that...
     
  4. Ratsel

    Ratsel Banned

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    one should also point out that Khazanov gives no indication of how or why he arrives at a victory total of '70 to 80' claims.. ' his article is simply not detailed enough and he presents evidence from Soviet archives for only a handful of dates.. Khazanov bases the 'factual' content of the Toliver/Constable book which automatically discredits him in the eyes of the serious historians '.
     
  5. CORSNING

    CORSNING Active Member

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    paradoxguy,

    Today I read an article for the second time in over 35 years. It was published in WINGS Vol.5 No.5 October, 1975. Defending the Reich was the title. It was an interview with Erich. The last paragraph states:
    Although Hartmann tried to dissuade (Major Guenther) Capito from flying combat, telling him the war would be over soon, the older (32yrs.) pilot kept urging his commander to allow him to fly his wing. After admonishing Capito to stay close and to forego slow standard bomber turns (Capito was an ex bomber pilot), Hartmann relented. In an air battle with Russian Airacobras, Capito neglected to follow his leader's instructions and was promptly shot down. He bailed out, but was picked up safely, Hartmann shooting down his attacker. Together they went over to the down Russian's plane. The Soviet pilot was an ace. Capito had been his 26th victim. In 1,400 missions he was the only wingman Hartmann ever lost.

    I don't think I would have minded being Erich's wing man. I'll have to look the article over more thoroughly to see if it states anything about how others felt about him. It sounds like he was a great leader to me.
     
  6. Maximowitz

    Maximowitz Active Member

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    Well, he wasn't particularly highly regarded in his twenty minute tenure with JG53....
     
  7. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    The claims thing has been beaten to death.
    What others thought of him is a matter of their opinion and varies as widely as you'd expect. Love him or hate him he was a good combat pilot.
    Take "The Blond Knight Of Germany" the same way as you would several other war time biographies (Clostermann,Bader and many more). The authors are writing up good stories which should not to be taken as historical documents. This doesn't make them a bad read but a bucket of salt is needed.
    Steve
     
  8. Altea

    Altea Banned

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    Rather unsustainted assesment.
    A pilot with high results could be
    1) an excepional pilot, really
    2) an exceptional overclaimer, no more...

    This is not a love/taste problem, but logic/maths.

    About Hartman, nothing is proven anyway...
     
  9. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    I hve to disagree with that. The purpose of the thread is solely opinion and nothing mathematical about it...

    its all very open to debate and opinion.
     
  10. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    My position on Hartmann (and everyone else) is entirely neutral but his most vociferous detractors are forced to credit him with around eighty victories. That may be way short of three hundred and fifty two but it still makes him a good combat pilot. He'd still be a good combat pilot if he only had a quarter of that number of victories.He also managed to survive the war which many of his talented contemporaries on all sides did not. That is a fact.
    Luftwaffe overclaiming seems to have been seperated from everybody else's in recent years with the implication that the Luftwaffe pilots were making deliberately falsified claims whereas everyone else was doing it innocently. There is evidence in only a few cases for this. The Luftwaffe,like every other air force,endeavoured to verify claims stringently as acting on false intelligence,or assessments of enemy strength, can have unfortunate results. It wasn't a game it was a war.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  11. Ratsel

    Ratsel Banned

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    #11 Ratsel, Aug 14, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2011
    how are they forced to credit Erich Hartmann with 80 claims? Günther Rall gave a very good explanation on how such high claims were achieved. And I don't see anybody disputing General Rall's claims. or Barkhorns for that matter. I think Erich Hartmanns revised claims are either 307 or 324. I'll have to recheck.
     
  12. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    #12 tyrodtom, Aug 14, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2011
    Anyone who would suggest that his staffel was about to revolt against Hartmann is totally out touch with how things are in the military. Revolt or mutiny is taken very serious in any military unit, it's not tolerated in any form. The German armed forces executed over 11,000 of it's own troops for deriliction of duty, combat avoidance, desertion, etc, during WW2, and i've seen some figures to suggest the numbers may have been even triple that. These executions were not done in secret, everyone knew the consequences .
     
  13. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    I said his most vociferous critics,that's not my opinion. There are researchers in the East who have tallied at least eighty (ish) ,I don't have the figures to hand, of his claims with Soviet losses. They are effectively undeniable even by those who would like to deny them. I suspect he had many more than that. His number of revised claims simply depends on who does the revision,we'll never know for sure,they didn't know then.It's pointless and as I said earlier,has been done to death.
    My point was that whatever number you pick Hartmann was a good combat pilot.
    Claims for all pilots of all nationalities are debatable. They all overclaimed. The questions are by how much and with what intent.
    Some,a few,are dishonest and it can be shown to be so.There is the famous case of pilots from JG 27 strafing sand dunes and claiming victories. There are cases of claims being witnessed by colleagues who either weren't flying or in one famous case were no longer serving in the same unit. I'm not naming names,it sets off a mindless opinionated debate and serves no purpose,they are easy enough to find if you look.
    Many honest men overclaimed,not fraudulently. I'd be surprised if the two you mentioned didn't.It's a reflection of the confusion of air to air combat.
    The RAF,like other airforces did there best to check claims and get a true figure for enemy losses but look how far off they were in the BoB. The same applies to every airforce throughout the war.
    Steve
     
  14. Ratsel

    Ratsel Banned

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    It is well known fact that the victory claims made by fighter pilots of all airforces generally were exaggerated. However, there is no evidence that there was any official German policy of exaggerating the fighter pilots claims; on the contrary, each claim had to go through a thorough procedure, including research, before it was officially accepted.

    According to Gemeinschaft der Jagdflieger, pilots claimed a total of 70,000 aerial victories during WWII- 25,000 against the west and 45,000 on the osten front. According to the same source, 16,400 German day fighters were lost ( aerial and ground, total loss ie: more then 59% damage) as the result of hostile action during the war years. 8,500 pilots were killed, 2,700 MIA/taken prisoners, and 9,100 wounded.

    Different total loss figures for the RAF and USAAF are published frequently. According to the russian archives, the combat losses of the VVS between 1941 and 1945 amounted to 46,100 aircraft. Due to the fact that several VVS records were lost during the first few months of Operation Barbarossa, the actual combat VVS losses probably were higher, totaling approx. 50,000 aircraft.
     
  15. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Rall, Steinhoff and Galland thought highly of Hartmann and by all acounts he was an excellent Post War Luftwaffe General also serving with Steinhoff and Rall. Pretty good character references from pretty good warriors - no matter what nationality.
     
  16. Ratsel

    Ratsel Banned

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    yep. Rall seen the potential in Hartmann. That would be one reason Rall appointed him Staffelkapitän of 9./JG 52. for the most part Hartmann was well liked. Another little tibit about Erich Hartmann is that sometimes he would swap mounts with his wingman when going on patrol. I think the VVS refered to Erich Hartmann as 'Black Death' for a reason.
     
  17. paradoxguy

    paradoxguy Member

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    Thanks much for the responses and discussion. Many have commented on Hartmann's victory claims. Although helpful to know, I wanted to know more about how his comrades regarded him as comrade and CO. I apologize, I should have been more specific--I am interested in Hartmann's character and performance as officer, such as his time in JG53, and "comrade to others". At the time I initiated the thread, I did not know how to phrase my post more accurately. The veracity of Hartmann's victory claims is a separate topic that is equally, if not more, interesting than this one.

    PG
     
  18. Ratsel

    Ratsel Banned

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    Not much drama to his JG 53 stay. Help them reorganize, then He relinquished the role to Hauptmann Helmut Lipfert, and went back to JG 52.
     
  19. Altea

    Altea Banned

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    Hello

    This is a little of-top, but only 2250 german first aces had already about more than 80 000 confirmed claims. Count other pilots, bomber, stuka crews...
    You seem do not understand the numbers you use. 46 100 is in the complete account, with full exhaustive data.

    So on 22.06.41 VVS had 32 100 planes, in 09.08.45 ; 64 200. They recieved (accepted) 138 500 planes from allies and industry. So account losses were 106 400, of them 46 100 for combat reasons.

    Where would you place your others 4000 planes lost in combat records?
    There were about 5 000 planes and 2 000 lost without established reasons in 41 and 42 in some * intermediate and uncomplete accounts, not in the GHQ numbers you use.

    * For instance 14 300 planes lost (from WD) for VVS from 22/06 to 12/41, 2200 for ADD, PVO and marine aviation for all kind of reasons and some "unaccounted" losses , later added on corrected losses lists.


    Regards
     
  20. Maximowitz

    Maximowitz Active Member

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    He was with them so briefly it hardly mattered according to various sources, including Prien in his history of JG53. He didn't want the job and neither did Lipfert.
     
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