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Specht, Günther

Date of birth:
November 13th, 1914 (Frankenstein/Lower Silesia, Germany)
Date of death:
January 1st, 1945 (in the air above Asch, Belguim)
Nationality:
German (1933-1945, German Reich)

Biography

Günther Specht was born November 13th, 1914 in Frankenstein, Lower Silezia, today known as Zabkowice Slaskie, Poland. At the start of the war, he served with Zerstörer Geschwader 76 (Fightersquadron 76) in III Group, flying a twin-engined Messerschmidt Bf 110 fighterbomber.
September 29th, 1939, he scored his first victories when he shot down two RAF Hampdens, medium bombers. Three months later, December 3rd, 1939, he scored his third victory by shooting down a Vickers Wellington, a twin-engined bomber, over the North Sea. He was severely injured when his cockpit was hit by return fire, forcing him to ditch in the sea. Although he was blinded in his left eye, this handicap did not prevent Specht from taking part in further operations. May 23rd, 1940, he rejoined his unit and shot down three Spitfires over the coast of France. Again his plane was seriously damaged and he had to make an forced landing near Calais. He was severely wounded again, this time his injuries grounded him for two years. During his recuperation he became a staff officer and October 31st, 1941, he was promoted to Gruppenkommandeur (Group Commander) of III Nachtjagdschule I (Nightfighterschool), a post he held until October 31st, 1942 when he returned to active duty. Serving with 10 JG/1, on February 26th, 1943, he shot down a USAAF B-17 four-engined bomber.
May 1943, Hauptmann (Captain) Specht was promoted to Gruppenkommandeur of II JG 11 and at the end of 1943, he had scored 24 kills, including 14 four-engined bombers. April 8th, with 31 kills to his credit, he was awarded the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes (Knight's Cross to the Iron Cross) and on May 15th, was promoted to Major in command of JG 11 (Fightersquadron 11). July 1944, he was once again forced to make an emergency landing due to technical problems and sustained a head injury. In the course of Operation Market Garden, Specht's unit shot down 22 enemy planes, two of which by himself on September 26th when he shot down two RAF Typhoons near Deventer.
January 1st, 1945, Specht and JG 11 were involved in Operation Bodenplatte (Ground plate). The objective was to destroy the Allied air forces on the ground so the Luftwaffe could regain air supremacy. Major Specht, flying a Focke-Wulf Fw 190 A-9, led his formation to the Allied airbase at Asch, Belgium for a hit-and-run attack. JG 11 however, was virtually annihilated by American P-51 Mustangs of the 487th Fightersquadron/352nd Fighter Group and P-47 Thunderbolts of the 390th Fightersquadron/399th Fighter Group. At the start of the attack, the Thunderbolts were already airborne and the Mustangs were revving up to embark on a fighterbombermission. In the course of the attack, JG 11 lost 25 pilots, killed or missing, including Major Specht. He was probably hit by anti-aircraft fire.
Specht was promoted posthumously to Oberstleutnant and nominated for the Eichenlaub (Oak Leaves) to his Eisernes Kreuz (Iron Cross).
Major Günther Specht's number of kills during WW 2 has been established at 34.

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Hauptmann (Captain)
Unit:
Gruppenkommandeure II. / Jagdgeschwader 11
Awarded on:
August 23rd, 1943
Details:
Date of publication in Ehrenliste der Luftwaffe is 23rd August 1943.
Luftwaffe Ehrenpokale für besondere Leistungen im Luftkrieg
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Hauptmann (Captain)
Unit:
Gruppenkommandeure II. / Jagdgeschwader 11
Awarded on:
November 25th, 1943
Deutsches Kreuz in Gold
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Major
Unit:
Gruppenkommandeure II. / Jagdgeschwader 11
Awarded on:
April 8th, 1944
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes

Sources

  • Photo: Wilco Vermeer
  • - Die Ordensträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht (CD), VMD-Verlag GmbH, Osnabrück, 2002
    - Fellgiebel W.P., Elite of the Third Reich, The recipients of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939-1945: A Reference, Helion & Company Limited, Solihull, 2003, ISBN 1-874622-46-9
    - Patzwall K., Scherzer V., Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941-1945, Geschichte und Inhaber Band II, Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall, Norderstedt, 2001, ISBN 3-931533-45-X
    - Patzwall K.D., Der Ehrenpokal für besondere Leistung im Luftkrieg, Studien zur Geschichte der Auszeichnungen, Band 6, Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall, Norderstedt, 2008, ISBN 978-3-931533-08-3
    - Defendingarnhem.com
    - Luftwaffe.cz
    - Das-ritterkreuz.de
    - Warbirdsresourcegroup.org