How successful were bomber gunners from World War II

Heinrich-Wilhelm Ahnert - Heinz Schilchegger

Heinrich-Wilhelm Ahnert (April 29, 1915 - August 23, 1942) was a German Luftwaffe ace and received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross during World War II. Ahnert scored 57 victories, 4 over the western front and 53 over the eastern front. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to him in recognition of his extreme bravery on the battlefield or his successful military leadership.


Heinrich-Wilhelm Ahnert was originally an intelligence officer and reconnaissance pilot. He flew missions during the invasion of Poland and during the Battle of France. In 1941 he was retrained as a fighter pilot and joined 3rd Squadron, Jagdgeschwader 52 (JG 52-52nd Fighter Wing) in the Netherlands, where he won 4 victories over the Western Front. Sergeant Major Ahnert claimed a hurricane over Ostend, Belgium on February 15, 1941, shot down two Bristol Blenheims on June 9, 1941 and August 26, and claimed a Spitfire on September 12, 1941. In October 1941 he was transferred to the Eastern Front and scored another 53 victories. On July 9, 1942, Oberfeldwebel Ahnert demanded that his 50th enemy aircraft be destroyed.

On August 23, 1942, Ahnert Petlyakov enlisted Pe-2 twin-engine bombers in the battle for Koptewo. His Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-2 "Yellow 9" was hit by counterfire from the bomber gunners and fell to his death. For his actions he was posthumously awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.






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