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Heinz Schnaufer, a historic souvenir


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A historic aviation piece was recently offered at a renowned auction house in Gloucestershire, Britain. It was one of the tailfins of the Messerschmitt Bf 110 flown by highest scoring night fighter, Major Heinz Schnaufer. This was recently shown on the Franco-German TV channel ARTE under Treasures of the World or similar title. Interviewed was a lady, whose father was shot down by Schnaufer in early 1943. She would like to have purchased the object, but this was out of her financial reach, but she was able to get photos of this significant object. The tailfin has been definitely attributed to the machine of Heinz Schnauffer, listed on the fin are all the victories with plane type and date! This was taken from a wreck postwar, and was brought to the auction by a collector from Germany, who was unable to sell this in Germany due to the strict laws regarding the swastika, it was claimed.

Schnaufer, with 121 victories and the Knights Cross with Oakleaves, Swords and diamonds, was the highest scoring nightfighter of the war. Schnaufer, who survived the war, died on July 15, 1950 following a road accident while on a wine-buying trip in Bordeaux. A further article on this can be viewed under:



A further text viewed under Find a grave.com does not quite coincide with the previous information:

German Ace Fighter Pilot. Holder of the 21st (of 27 awarded) Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds. A scourge during the air battles over occupied Europe, during 164 night missions, he downed a confirmed total of 121 bombers, mostly British. He became a prize target for British gunners and aircraft known to them as "The Night Ghost". He was captured by advancing British forces in Schleswig-Holstein in May 1945. His plane was displayed in London's Hyde Park after the war. The tail with 121 victory markings can still be seen today in the Imperial War Museum. He was released by the British in 1945 and returned to Germany where he operated a wine store. Five years after his release from captivity, death, which eluded him miraculously during years of uninterrupted combat claimed him at last. Just 28 years of age, while on business in Southern France, a car accident near Bordeaux took his life. His remains were taken back to his hometown and buried in the family plot in Calw, Germany.




This one is on display at the Imperial War Museum, London

Schnaufer second from left, standing next to Hartmann

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