Lt. Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer, II./NJG 1, Saint-Trond, Belgium, April/May 1943
Heinz Wolgang Schnaufer, the most successful night fighter ace, served with night fighter units from the very beginning of his aviation career.
He is credited with 121 victories, most of them being British four-engined bombers. He was wounded only once during WWII, and no member of his crew was ever wounded in action. Schnaufer was awarded the Knight´s Cross with Oak leaves, Swords and Diamonds. Schnaufer
survived the war and worked at his family winery. He died on June 15th, 1950, two days after a fatal collision involving his car and a truck in
Cestas, close to Bordeaux, France.
Schnaufer was dubbed 'The Spook from St. Trond', and he flew this aircraft in the spring 1943. The aircraft wore the standard camouflage
scheme of RLM 74/75/76 colors. A WB 151 pod containing a pair of MG 151/20 cannon can be seen in photographs of Schnaufer’s aircraft.
Maj. Helmut Lent, the CO of Stab NJG 3, Stade, Germany, September 1944
Helmut Lent joined the Luftwaffe in 1936. He enlisted as a fighter pilot and served with II./JG 141. On May 1st, 1939, II./JG 141 was redesignated I./ZG 76 and equipped with Bf 110 fighters. In battles over Poland, Norway and France, Lent downed seven enemy aircraft, and
101 victories were added to his credit while serving with NJG 1, NJG 2 and NJG 3. On August 1st, 1943, when he was 25 years old, Maj. Lent
was appointed CO of the entire NJG 3. He led the Geschwader until October 5th, 1944 when his Ju 88G-6 crashed during landing after port
engine failure. The entire crew succumbed to their injuries within two days. Lent was awarded the Knight´s Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords
Lent´s Bf 110G-4 wore a standard day fighter camouflage scheme of RLM 74/75/76. The starboard wing undersurfaces were painted black.
Note the Geschwader CO marking on the fuselage, quite an unusual practice for night fighter units.
INFO Eduard - January 2021