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Major Werner Schröer

© Dan & Nick’s Collaborative Experten Biographies

[photo credits |]

Werner Schröer was the second most successful claimant of air victories after Hans-Joachim Marseille in the Mediterranean, and was decorated with the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords.
He was credited with shooting down 114 enemy aircraft claimed in 197 combat missions;
📌 102 of his victories were scored on the Western Front, including 61 claimed over North Afrika and 22 in Italy.
✈ This figure includes 26 four-engined bombers shot down, four of which claimed as Herausschüsse (separation shots). ✅❌
He was born 12 February 1918 in Mülheim an der Ruhr, at the time in the Rhine Province of the Kingdom of Prussia. He was the son of Friedrich Johann Schröer and his wife Maria, née Schmitz.Schröer attended school from 1924 to 1937 and graduated with his Abitur (School Leaving Certificate).
Schröer joined the military service with the Luftwaffe of Nazi Germany in 1937. On 1 April 1938, he was transferred to the Flughafenbetriebskompanie (Airport Operation Company) of Jagdgeschwader 132 (JG 132—132nd Fighter Wing) to Düsseldorf, serving with the ground personnel.
On 1 July 1938, Schröer was posted to the 7. Staffel (7th squadron) of Jagdgeschwader 234 (JG 234th—234th Fighter Wing) where his flight training began.
He then served with the Fliegerhorstkompanie (Airfield Company) in Düsseldorf from 13 August 1938 to 30 June 1939.
On 1 July 1939, Schröer was then transferred to II. Gruppe (2nd group) of Jagdgeschwader 26 “Schlageter” (JG 26—26th Fighter Wing), where he was posted to the 6. Staffel.
From 1 September to 15 October 1939, Schröer attended an air observer course at the Aufklärungsfliegerschule (Reconnaissance Flying School) at Hildesheim.
📌On 16 May 1940, he completed his flight training with Flugkommando 23 (Flight Commando) in Braunschweig. During this training period, he was promoted to Feldwebel (sergeant) on 1 December 1939. Schröer then received fighter pilot training at the Jagdfliegerschule 1 (fighter pilot school) at Werneuchen.
On 20 August 1940, Schröer was transferred to the 2. Staffel of Jagdgeschwader 27 (JG 27—27th Fighter Wing), a front line fighter unit. JG 27 at the time was under the command of Oberst (Colonel) Max Ibel and based in Plumetot, France on the Channel Front.
There, JG 27 was subordinated to Jagdfliegerführer 3 (Jafü 3), the fighter force commander of Luftflotte 3 under the command of Generalfeldmarschall (Field Marshal) Hugo Sperrle, and fought in the Battle of Britain (10 July – 31 October 1940).
On 28 August 1940, JG 27 relocated from the vicinity of the Cotentin Peninsula to an airfield at Peuplingues, about 6 kilometers (3.7 mi) southwest of Calais and subsequently was placed under the command of Jagdfliegerführer 2.
🇬🇧 Operating over the English Channel and southern England, Schröer flew his first combat missions and claimed three aerial victories which were not confirmed.
I. Gruppe was withdrawn from the Channel Front on 30 September 1940. Relocation to Stade, west of Hamburg, began on 1 October. There, I. Gruppe was placed under the command of Geschwaderstab of Jagdgeschwader 1 (JG 1—1st Fighter Wing).
During the following three weeks, I. Gruppe was tasked with flying combat air patrols over the German Bight.
In parallel, the Gruppe replenished its losses of 14 men killed or missing in action, four wounded and seven taken prisoner of war, losses sustained while fighting over Britain.
On 21 October, I. Gruppe was again ordered to France, then based at Dinan in northeastern Brittany under the command of Jafü 3 again.
On 3 December, I. Gruppe relocated again, this time to Döberitz with the orders to provide fighter protection for Berlin. Following the arrival in Döberitz, the majority of the flying and ground personnel were sent on vacation.
📌On 24 February, the pilots of 1. and 2. Staffel were temporarily sent to Sicily where they flew missions against Malta, protecting the German naval convoys taking the Afrika Korps to Tripoli. During this period, 2. Staffel was based at Comiso. From 7 to 10 March, the pilots returned to Munich-Riem.
🏆During this brief interlude, Schröer was promoted to Leutnant (second lieutenant) and transferred to 1. Staffel on 1 March.
On 4 April 1941, the Gruppe relocated to Graz in preparation of operation Operation Marita, the Battle of Greece.
On 11 April, I. Gruppe flew fighter escort missions for Junkers Ju 87 dive bombers in this campaign.
📌The next day, the unit deployed to Zagreb before transferring to Africa.
On 15 April 1941, the first elements of 1. and 2. Staffel began relocation to North Africa to Tripoli. From Tripoli, the Staffeln were ordered to Ain el Gazala airfield, west of Tobruk, where they arrived between 18 April to 24 April 1941.
📌Schröer was credited with his first aerial victory on 19 April 1941, a Royal Air Force (RAF) Hawker Hurricane fighter of the No. 274 Squadron shot down near Tobruk.
🔰🔰🔰Claims Verification Research by
Nick Hector
🔰1st claim
19.4.41/1100-1245 (error?)
W of Tobruk
274 sqn. W9296 of P/O H J Baker baled out POW and V7811 of S/L J H Lapsley DFC forcelanded, WIA. Schroer is known to have been involved in strafing the wreck of V7811
Schroer claimed his first victory, a RAF Hurricane, on 19 April 1941, however, his Bf 109E (WNr 3790) was hit and he had to make a forced-landing near his airfield with 48 bullet holes in his aircraft.
That day, the Gruppe claimed its first four victories in Africa.
💥In this encounter, Schröer was shot down in his Bf 109E-7 (Werknummer 3790—factory number), resulting in a forced landing at Ain el Gazala.
🥈For this, Schröer was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class (Eisernes Kreuz zweiter Klasse).
📌Two days later, on 21 April 1941, I. Gruppe engaged in combat with Hurricane fighters over Tobruk, claiming one victory by Oberfeldwebel Albert Espenlaub for the loss of Unteroffizier Hans Sippel who was killed in action.
On 21 April, in an engagement with RAF Hurricanes, an aircraft collided with his Bf 109 E (WNr 4170) slightly injuring him and requiring him to make another forced-landing.
🇩🇪🛩 Schröer’s Bf 109E-7 (Werknummer 4170—factory number) also sustained combat damage in this encounter.
He managed to fly his aircraft back to Ain el Gazala, making another forced landing and slightly injuring himself.
📌Schröer claimed his second aerial victory over two months later.
On 25 June 1941, he claimed a Hurricane shot down, presumably from 2 Squadron of the South African Air Force (SAAF).
🔰2nd claim
S of Sidi Barrani
DAF. Appears to be overclaiming
💥He makes his 3rd claim on 8 July 1941.
🔰3rd claim
DAF. Believed these were actually claimed the previous day against 73 sqn, 5 losses in total. V7802 of F/L Aidan Crawley POW, Z4173 of F/L P O V Green POW, Z4649 of P/O S J Leach KIA, V7757 of P/O R W K White KIA, and M9197 of Sgt. G A Jupp KIA
🇬🇧💥🇬🇧 On 11 July 41, Twelve Kittyhawks of 2 SAAF Squadron and twelve Tomahawks of 5 SAAF Squadron escorted twelve Bostons on a raid south-west of El Alamein.
On the way to the target, a large formation was seen, composed of 30 Ju 87s escorted by seven Bf 109 from I Gruppe, twelve of II Gruppe and two from III/JG 27, the Curtiss fighters being ordered to leave the Bostons and attack.
🇬🇧 The Kittyhawks of 2 SAAF made contact with Major Human and Captain Clifton each claiming a Ju 87, Lieutenant Wildsmith claiming a Bf 109E, Lieutenant Hope a Bf 109F and Lieutenants Higgo and Bryant each a probable Bf 109.
27-year-old Lieutenant Ruper Alan Durose (SAAF no. 103189) was shot down and killed.
🇬🇧 The Tomahawks of 5 SAAF however were bounced before they could attack with Captain K. R. Coster and 27-year-old Second Lieutenant Lionel William Rapp (SAAF no. 206068) being shot down.
Rapp was killed while the aircraft of Lieutenant Lindbergh, 2nd Lieutenant Hinton and Major D. V. D. Lacey DFC were all badly damaged; the two former pilots being wounded.
On the return flight Major Human was attacked by three Bf 109s and force-landed in Allied lines.
🇩🇪The Luftwaffe fighters reported meeting a total of 40 to 45 British fighters. Unteroffizier Josef Vavra of 5. staffel claiming a Spitfire at 16:03 east of El Alamein.
Feldwebel Heinrich Steis of 4. staffel claimed a Hurricane south of El Alamein at 16:05.
📌At the same time, Leutnant Werner Schroer of 8. staffel claimed one Spitfire destroyed 10km south-east of El Alamein at 300 meters altitude, followed at 16:07 by Oberleutnant Ernst Börngen of 5. staffel, who claimed a Spitfire south-west of El Alamein.
💥Four P-40s were claimed at 16:10, one each by Leutnant Werner Schroer 10km south-east of El Alamein at 150 meters altitude, Unteroffizier Walter Timmerman of 1. staffel south of Mumin Busak, Leutnant Hans-Arnold Stahlschmidt of 2. staffel, south-west of El Alamein and Feldwebel Heinrich Steis, west of El Alamein.
❌Schroer’s claim was not confirmed however.
📌On 19 July 1941, a flight of three Schwärme, flights of four aircraft, from I. Gruppe encountered a mixed flight of Hurricanes and P-40 “Tomahawk” fighters on a combat air patrol north of Sidi Barrani.
Twelve Hurricanes from No. 73 Squadron RAF, augmented by P-40s from 2 Squadron SAAF, provided fighter escort for Allied shipping destined for Tobruk. In this encounter, the Germans claimed three victories without sustaining any losses.
🇩🇪🛩 Flying his now famous Black 8, Schröer was credited with his fourth victory that day, a P-40 claimed at 18:17 northeast Ras Asaz.
🔰4th claim
Hurricane (“P-40 Tomahawk”)
NE of Ras Asaz
73 sqn. W9270 of P/O Reynolds shot down and Sous Lt. Albert Littolf’s plane damaged
(Franzisket and Werfft also claimed)
📌On 21 August 1941, Schröer claimed his fifth victory, a Hurricane from No. 229 Squadron on an escort mission for a flight of Martin Maryland bombers from 24 Squadron SAAF on a bombing mission to Menastir, near Bardia.
🔰5th claim
NE of Bardia
229 sqn. Only known loss was P/O Peter John Horniman KIA
(Foerster claimed some time beforehand)
🇩🇪🇬🇧💥On 29 August 1941, Schröer engaged in aerial combat with the top Australian ace Clive Caldwell of No. 250 Squadron RAF north-west of Sidi Barrani, and made his 6th claim.
🔰6th claim
P-40 Tomahawk
NW of Sidi Barrani
AM493 of 250 sqn, P/O Clive Robertson “Killer” Caldwell, damaged but returned safely. (AHOTMAW gives AK493)
In the course of the battle Schröer damaged Caldwell’s P-40 “Tomahawk”.
🇬🇧 Caldwell suffered bullet wounds to the back, left shoulder, and leg but was still able to shoot down Schröer’s wingman and heavily damage Schröer’s own aircraft and thus forced him to disengage.
❌According to Prien, Rodeike and Stemmer, authors of Messerschmidt Bf 109 im Einsatz bei Stab und I./Jagdgeschwader 27, 1939 – 1945 [Messerschmidt Bf 109 in Action with the Headquarters Unit and I./Jagdgeschwader 27, 1939 – 1945], I. Gruppe did not record any loss or damaged aircraft in this encounter.
📌During the middle of September 1941, Schröer makes his 7th aerial kill over a Hurricane.
🔰7th claim
TacR Hurricane I
S of El Hambra
451 sqn RAAF. F/O W D “Paddy” Hutley returned safely and V7485 of Sgt. Rowlands WIA
🇩🇪The arrival in September of II. Gruppe from the Eastern Front allowed I./JG 27 to rotate its pilots back to Germany, a squadron at a time, for rest and re-equipment with the improved Bf 109 F.
📌By the end of 1941 his score stood at seven victories.
On 1 March 1942, when Werner became adjutant in I./JG 27 learning command under the experienced Eduard Neumann, they were back at Martuba, east of Derna.
🔰8th claim
P-40 Kittyhawk I
NE of Bir Hacheim
3 sqn RAAF, either F/L Andrew William “Nicky” Barr (returned) in AK889 or Sgt. Colin Shaw MacDiarmid MIA-KIA in AL153. – This one said to be “Nicky” Barr
(Rudi Sinner inflicted the other loss)
🔰9th claim
Hurricane (“Curtiss P-40”)
5km W of Bir Hacheim
3 and 213 sqns. 73 lost BN370 of F/L T P K Scade WIA (awarded a DFC later), 213’s other losses were BN159/J of Sgt. D H Jackson KIA and BN562/F of F/O J A Sowrey safe
(versus 8 claims, of which one is attributed to Marseille)
🔰🔰10th and 11th claims
15.6.42/1806 and 1811
2 x Curtiss P-40s
NW of El Adem
No matchable allied losses
🇩🇪🏆🇩🇪 On 22 June 1942, the day after the fall of Tobruk, he was promoted to Staffelkapitän of 8./JG 27, based further forward at Gazala.
📌The next day, 23 June, with Marseille having just reached 101 victories, Werner scored his 12th victory and finally started scoring regularly.
🔰12th claim
10km S of Sidi Omar
274 sqn Hurricanes. Overclaiming, no losses
On the 26th of June 1942, Schröer makes three more claims to register his 15th victory.
🔰🔰13th and 14th claims
26.6.42/1140 and 1144
Hurricane and Curtiss P-40
SW of Mersa Matruh
Was this 238 sqn, Sgt. Lawrence-Smith?
🔰15th claim
Curtiss P-40
SW of Marsa Matruh
Possibly Sgt. Carlile of 260 sqn
🇩🇪💥🇩🇪 With the Battle of Gazala well underway, and Rommel charging 500 km onto El Alamein, the airwar finally heated up.
📌He then preceded to score 16 victories in July 1942.
▪A double on 2 July 1942.
🔰🔰16th and 17th claims
2.7.42/0700 and 0705
2 x Curtiss P-40s
SE and E of El Alamein
These appear to be overclaims, no matching losses
▪Another triple on 3 July.
🔰🔰18th and 19th claims
3.7.42/1440 and 1447
2 x Hurricane IIs
S of Imayid, SE of El Hammam
🔰20th claim
P-40 Kittyhawk I
SE of El Hammam
AK920/GA- of 112 sqn. Sgt. Donald Jeffrey Birchall White, baled out and evaded capture.
▪The next day, another Kittyhawk is shot down.
🔰21st claim
P-40 Kittyhawk
SE of El Alamein
AK852 of 112 sqn. Sgt. J B Agnew. Badly damaged, pilot safe
▪On 6 July, he scores 2 x P-40s.
🔰🔰22nd and 23rd claims
6.7.42/1145 and 1148
2 x Curtiss P-40s
(Rosenberg claimed as well)
20km SW of El Alamein
2 sqn SAAF. Overclaiming, only one loss: AK970/C of Lt. A D Allen Cat II damaged
▪Another double on 11 July 1942 brings his total to 25 victories.
🔰🔰24th and 25th claims
11.7.42/1605 and 1610
2 x Curtiss P-40 (“Spitfires”)
10km SE of El Alamein
2 and 5 sqns SAAF. 2 sqn lost ET1020(?)/B of Lt. Rupert Alan Durose KIA and ET912/H “Pinkie IV of Lt. L C H Hope slightly damaged. 5 sqn lost AK392 of Capt. K R Coster WIA-POW and AK382 of 2/Lt. Lionel William Rapp KIA whilst AK439 of Lt. Lindbergh WIA, AN451 of 2/Lt. Hinton WIA and AN394 of Maj. D V D Lacey DFC were all badly damaged. 2 sqn also had ET530/G of Maj. J D W Human forcelanded in Allied lines on the return flight
❌❌❌ On the 13th of July 1942, Schröer claims another triple Hurricane kill over 8 minutes, but no attributed losses can be located.
🔰🔰🔰26th, 27th and 28th claims
13.7.42/0957, 1002 and 1005
3 x Hurricane IIs
Overclaiming, all losses were in the evening
▪He makes 3 more claims during July 1942.
🔰29th claim
SW of El Alamein
Likely 260 sqn. 3 losses: F/L W R McKay MIA, P/O J A Maclean and Sgt. N E McKee both safe. Serials not known
(Glaeser and Schoefbeck also claimed)
🔰30th claim
Curtiss P-40
SW of El Alamein
AK537/S of 5 sqn SAAF. Lt. C Sommerville. Aircraft badly damaged, pilot safe
(Rosenberg also claimed, so this could be viewed as overclaiming)
🔰31st claim
Hurricane IIB (“Curtiss P-40”)
W of El Alamein
P296/U of 238 sqn. S/L Richard George Arthur Barclay KIA
📌After about a month away from the fighting, he scored a further 13 victories bringing his total to 44.
🔰🔰32nd and 33rd claims
8.9.42/1245 and 1250
2 x Spitfires (one was actually a P-40)
Deir-el-Tarfa area
AK625 of 3 sqn RAAF. Sgt. K H Freer forcelanded in a minefield but safe. 145 sqn apparently also lost a Spitfire in this engagement, no details known
🏆🏆🏆 On 9 September 1942, he was awarded the German Cross in Gold (Deutsches Kreuz in Gold) after his 32nd & 33rd victories the day before.
🎥🎞🎬 Video from Africa:
🔰34th claim
P-40 Kittyhawk I
Possibly AK716 of 112 sqn. Sgt. J H Morrison crashlanded safe, aircraft destroyed by fire
📌He claimed he shot down 13 enemy aircraft in September 1942, including six victories on 15 September, to record his 35th through 40th victories.
❌❌❌ The claims submitted by JG 27 on 15 September 1942 are a matter of controversy. Some 26 claims were submitted for aircraft shot down by JG 27 — six by Schröer.
🔰🔰🔰35th 36th and 37th claims
3 x Curtiss P-40s
260 sqn. Other, unidentified squadrons possibly involved. There don’t seem to have been any losses
🔰🔰38th and 39th claims
15.9.42/1645 and 1650
2 x Curtiss P-40s
El Alamein/NW of Deir-el-Tarfa
112 and 250 sqns, plus 3 and 450 sqns, RAAF. 3 sqn lost 41-36599/EV345 of P/O Jack Donald and EV322/CV-I of Sgt. Gordon George Scribner KIA whilst P/O Keith Kildey and Sgt. Ken Bee (WIA) both had their planes damaged. 250 sqn lost P/O Thorpe and Sgt. Strong. 450 sqn lost Sgt. Peter Ewing POW
🔰40th claim
El Alamein area
Sgt. Young said to have been hit by flak but it was probably a Bf 109. 450 sqn lost Sgt. Ewing POW
✅✅ In fact only five Allied aircraft were shot down in aerial combat that day.
📌He makes four more claims before the end of September 1942, to bring his total to 44 victories.
🔰41st claim
Curtiss P-40
S of El Alamein
(Schoefbeck claimed as well)
3 sqn, RAAF. Overclaiming, only one loss: Sgt. Woods, WIA returned to base
🔰42nd claim
Curtiss P-40
8km SW of El Alamein
4 sqn SAAF. EV316 of Lt. T B Milne forcelandedand returned the next day, AK795/L of Lt. R B McKechnie crashlanded WIA and ET971 of P/O J D Howard POW
(Schneider and Keller also claimed, so these were legitimate victories
🔰43rd claim
N of El Hammam
92 sqn. Overclaiming, no loss
📌On 30 September 1942, Schröer was leading 8. Staffel on a Stuka escort mission covering the withdrawal of the group and relieving the outward escort, III./Jagdgeschwader 53(JG 53—53rd Fighter Wing), which had been deployed to support JG 27 in Africa.
Hans-Joachim Marseille’s 3. Staffel visually sighted the RAF fighters but were unable to make contact. Marseille vectored Schröer onto the enemy aircraft. Marseille heard Schröer claim a Spitfire over the radio at 10:30. Both flights remained airborne over the next hour on patrol.
🔰44th claim
P-40 Kittyhawk? (“Spitfire”)
near Abu Dweis
Possibly a Kittyhawk of 112 or 250 sqn. Overclaiming, no losses
🇩🇪🏆🍁🍁⚔⚔⚰ At 11:30 Marseille radioed his engine was smoking and his flight escorted him to German lines. Marseille bailed out but struck the vertical stabilizer and fell to earth without his parachute deploying.
Schröer arrived near 3. staffel in time to see Marseille’s Bf 109 hit the ground but saw no parachute. He later learned of Marseille’s death.
📌He continued claiming regularly in October, downing a further 15 aircraft.
🔰45th claim
P-40 Kittyhawk
NNE of Deir-el-Tarfa
3 sqn RAAF and 112 sqn. Overclaiming no losses
(Schoefbeck and Gruber also claimed)
💥💥💥Schroer scored three victories on 9 October 1942 for his 46th – 48th victory credits.
🔰46th claim
Baltimore II (“Boston”)
NE of El Daba
AG975 of 223 sqn. Sgt. B V Ekbery, Sgt. W E Bates, Sgt. E R Moss and Sgt. W R Johnstone all POW, attributed to flak by the British
🔰🔰47th and 48th claims
9.10.42/1615 and 1620
Spitfire and Hurricane
El Daba and Bir el Abd
14 losses by WDAF this day. They include: 4 sqn, SAAF lost Lt. Shulz (Schulz?), 2sqn SAAF had two Kittyhawks badly damaged. 3 sqn, RAAF had P/O Clabburn attacked by 5 Bf109s and Sgt. Holloway
(Canadian with 450 sqn) shot down and POW. 5 Sqn, SAAF lost Lts. Thornley and Murdock. 250 sqn lost P/O Rogerson and F/O Tribken’s machine was damaged (said to be by MC202) as were 3 others.
📌He scores his 49th victory on 20 October 1942.
🔰49th claim
Hurricane (“Curtiss P-40”)
SW of Deir-el-Tarfa
238 sqn. P/O Ormerod’s machine known to be damaged
(versus 3 claims in total)
🇩🇪🏆🥇Leutnant Schröer was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) on 21 October 1942 for 49 victories, just before Montgomery launched his victorious Battle of El Alamein.
📌In the frantic air battles overhead El Alamein, Schroer shot down 10 aircraft in a week, from 23 – 30 October.
🔰🔰50th and 51st claims
23.10.42/0800 and 0830
2 x P-40 Kittyhawk (“P-46”)
NE of El Alamein
Overclaiming? No matchable losses
🔰52nd claim
P-40 Kittyhawk
NE of El Alamein
Enemy unit uncertain
🔰53rd claim
SW of El Alamein
Enemy unit uncertain – 33 sqn definitely in action this day in any case
🔰54th claim
Curtiss P-40
W of El Alamein
112 sqn, losses were P/O Drake and FR263/GA-X F/O Keith Ronald Gardener (who was KIA). One of the serials lost this day was P-40F 41-14009/FL337, crashlanded near LG 21 after being damaged by Bf109s
🔰🔰🔰55th 56th and 57th claims
3 x Kittyhawks
Quotifiya – El Daba
64th and 65th Fighter Squadrons with Spitfires from 601 sqn. No losses, but Hurricanes from both 33 and 213 sqn were also involved losing F/S S G Brooks and BP398 of S/L R M Lloyd (243 Wing) plus P/O Gardner (of 33 sqn top flight). Sgts Bates and Marcus had their machines damaged
🔰58th claim
P-40 Kittyhawk (“Spitfire”)
S of El Alamein
2 sqn SAAF or 260 sqn. 2 sqn suffered AK568/V damaged and EV166 of Lt. John Graham Hunter Wilmot KIA was lost. 260 sqn lost 41-13760/FL223 of unknown pilot, believed downed by Bf109s
🔰59th claim
P-39 Airacobra
SSE of El Daba
Probably a misidentified Spitfire. EP643 certainly missing presumed shot down by Bf109 this date. F/O Howard James Phillips MIA-KIA
Out of 15 verifiable four engine bomber claims located by Nick Hector, ONLY 3 out of 15 claims have attributable losses.
3✅ Confirmed & Verified
12❌ Over Claims
Adrienne Messer
📌On 4 November 1942, the newly promoted Oberleutnant Schröer shot down his first four-engined bomber – a Consolidated B-24 Liberator – west of Sollum.
🔰60th claim✈
B-24 Liberator
Between Sollum and Benghazi
Halverson detachment? Overclaiming? Can’t find an attibutable loss❌
Schroer, with Alfred Stückler (10 victories), shot down two four-engined B-24s.
⚔ Fittingly, as the Gruppe’s highest scorer, Werner scored one of its last African victories on 16 November 1942.
🌅🌴🌴🌅 He makes his 61st and last victory claim over another P-40 on 16 November near Tecis.
🔰61st claim
Curtiss P-40
S of Tecis
Overclaiming, no attributable losses
🛡Those 61 victories, all scored in Africa, made him the second-highest scoring ace of the Desert War, after Marseille (who had been killed in a flying accident on 30 September 1942 with 158 victories).
🇩🇪 However, the end in Africa was nigh, and with the Afrika Korps in full retreat, III./JG 27 handed over its aircraft to Jagdgeschwader 77 (the 77th Fighter Wing) replacing it on the continent, and evacuated to Crete and the Aegean islands.
In the few months they were in the Aegean, including a posting with the Italian forces on Rhodes, the newly promoted Hauptmann Schroer shot down two light bombers on 11 February.
📌On 11 February 1943 Oblt Werner Schroer donned his best uniform to fly back to Crete to get married and during the course of this flight claimed two British Beauforts.
(Schroer reportedly shot down two RAF Beauforts, although he claimed them as B-26s.)
🔰🔰62nd and 63rd claims✈✈
2 x B-26 Marauders? (“Beauforts”)
Believed by some sources to be 14 sqn B-26A-1-MA Marauder Is reported missing on 15.2.43 (….why the discrepancy in dates??) one was 41-7377/FK150, P/O Colin Carl Truman RAAF and crew all MIA. The other was FK142, force landed in Turkey with crew interned in Ankara.
They do not appear to have been the result of enemy action and the losses took place hours later at around 1600 BT
Possible overclaiming✅❌
🥂🎶🎺 After that he had extended leave at home for his wedding.
On 22 April 1943, a number of command position were changed, impacting Schröer. The Geschwaderkommodore, Eduard Neumann, was ordered to the staff of the General der Jagdflieger Adolf Galland.
The vacancy in the Geschwaderkommodore position was back-filled by the Gruppenkommandeur of II./JG 27 Gustav Rödel, who surrendered his command to Schröer.
II./JG 27 was now operating with the new Bf 109G out of Trapani, on the western corner of the island, in the dangerous skies over Sicily, as the Allies prepared for invasion with heavy preparatory bombing raids.
💥Just before Schroer took over command, on the evening of 18 April 1943, only 6 transports had made it to Sicily out of 65 leaving Tunis. Flying at sea-level, half had been shot down and the remainder turned back damaged.
Powerless to help, II./JG 27 claimed only one enemy fighter in response.
📌However, with renewed vigour, Werner led from the front and over the next two months, claimed 22 Allied aircraft shot down, including 12 four-engined heavy bombers.
▪He claims 2 x P-38s on 29 April 1944.
🔰🔰64th and 65th claims
29.4.43/1808 and 1810
2 x P-38F Lightnings
S of Marettimo
82nd FG. 95th FS lost 2/Lts. Charles R Curran, James P Reding and William P White KIA. 2/Lt. Louis E Curdes and Robert L Wells both crashlanded. 97th FS lost 2/Lt. James F Conners III and Robert C Delp KIA
🇩🇪🇩🇪🇩🇪 The surrender in May 1943, of the Afrika Korps was of a comparable scale to the surrender of 6. Armee at Stalingrad only a few months earlier.
📌Schroer still continues to register victory claims through May 1943, scoring his 76th on 31 May.
🔰66th claim✈
B-24D Liberator
NW of Marettimo
Overclaiming, no losses this date❌
🔰67th claim✈
B-24 Liberator
1km E of Capo Gallo
Appears to be overclaiming, several were damaged this date but on a later raid❌
B-17F 42-5147 “Old Ironsides” damaged by fighter and collided with 41-24415 (both of 414th BS, 97th BG. Both crews all safe except one man baled out MIA). One other attributed to flak with crew all KIA, one force landed after Flak hit and 21 others lesser damage attributed to Flak
🔰68th claim
P-38 Lightning
70km NW Cap San Vito @ 8500m
Overclaiming, no losses of P-38s mentioned this date
🔰69th claim
P-38G-15-LO Lightning
60km NE of Cap Bon @ 6500m
43-2334 of 49th FS, 14th FG. Wayne M Chavis KIA. Last seen upside down with left engine on fire. Not seen to crash. Approx. 1200 hrs., 15-20 mi. SW of Marsala
(Either Schroer or Clade – more likely – might have downed him)
🔰70th claim✈
B-17 Flying Fortress
25km S of Marsala @ 3000m
Overclaiming, no losses this date❌
🔰71st claim✈
B-17 Flying Fortress
50km NW of Trapani @ 4500m
Overclaiming, no losses❌
🔰72nd claim
P-38 Lightning
10km W of Marettimo @ 1000m
14th FG. Includes John L Woolford of 49th FS KIA around 1230 (turned into Bf109s to allow two crippled planes to escape), Robert B Benton of 48th FS KIA and Frank C Howk Jr of 49th FS KIA by fighters near Trapani
🔰73rd claim✈
B-17 Flying Fortress
35km S of Marsala @ 7000m
Overclaiming, no losses❌
🔰74th claim
20km NW of Pantalleria @ 800m
Said to be a USAAF machine (31st or 52nd FG?). No losses at this time in any case. Overclaiming
🔰75th claim✈
B-17F Flying Fortress
40km NW of Marettimo @ 2200m
Losses attributed to fighters include B-17F-25-BO 41-24576 of 341st BS, 97th BG, 1/Lt. William Albright and 7 others safe, 1 WIA and 1 MIA. 49th BS, 2nd BG had 42-29638 damaged and forcelanded at Bizerta. 2/Lt. William J Valentine and six safe, three WIA. Possibly to fighters: B-17F-30-DL 42-3174 “Thunderbird” of 416th BS, 99th BG, Capt. Robert E L Goad and crew all KIA
347th BS had 42-29489 “Persuader” and 42-29490 “Axis Ass Ache” both damaged, crews safe✅
🔰76th claim✈
B-17F-25-VE Flying Fortress
WNW (300 deg) of Trapani @ 100m
(Kampe, Kapp and Buschek also claimed)
Only loss was 42-5831 “The Virgin” of 32nd BS, 97th BG. 1/Lt. Victor J Lewin and six others safe, two or three (sources vary) KIA❌
📌On 7 June 1943, Hauptmann Werner Schroer took off from Trapani at 0510 on a “Jabobegleitschutz” mission, and returned to the same airfield at 0715.
During this sortie he claimed one Curtiss P40 (77th victory).
🛩 He was flying “Bf 109G <<+-“, probably a 109 G6.
🔰77th claim
P-40 Kittyhawk
5km N of Pantellaria
Overclaiming, no losses at this time
▪He claims another double on 10 June.
🔰🔰78th and 79th claims
10.6.43/0926 and 0927
2 x P-40s
SSW of Granitola Torreta
Overclaiming, no losses at this time
▪Another B-17 claimed on 15 June is his 81st victory.
🔰81st claim✈
B-17F Flying Fortress
2km W Favignana @ 3600m
No mention of any B-17 losses. Overclaiming❌
🇺🇸🇬🇧 Operation Husky, the Allied invasion of Sicily, started on 10 July 1943. Unable to influence the result to any great degree, II./JG 27 had already been ordered back to the Italian mainland.
🔰82nd claim✈
B-24 Liberator
into the sea 25km S of Crotone @ 5500m
Overclaiming, no losses to fighters (only loss was due to an accident)❌
🔰🔰83rd and 84th claims✈✈
16.7.43/1300 and 1315
2 x B-24D Liberators
SW of Santeramo in Colle/WSW of Bari
11 claims for just three losses in total:
42-40649/73 of 514th BS, 376th BG. 1/Lt. Samuel D Rose and eight others baled out POW, one man KIA
42-40236 “Fyrtle Myrtle” of 513th BS, 376th BG. 1/Lt. Charlie G Hinson and six others KIA, 3 POW
42-40110/53 “Pink Lady” of 513th BS, 376th BG. 1/Lt. Roger Smith Jr and four others POW, 1 returned and 3 POW✅❌
🔰85th claim✈
B-17 Flying Fortress
20km N of Stromboli
Overclaiming, no losses❌
On 28 July 1943, the unit was ordered to hand its aircraft over to other units and the pilots and crews returned to Germany for much-needed rest and re-equipment. At Foggia, the remaining aircraft were handed over to Jagdgeschwader 3, Jagdgeschwader 53 and Jagdgeschwader 77.
The pilots took a train to Vienna-Aspern.
🇩🇪🏆🥇🍁🍁On 2 August 1943, Schröer was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub), his tally at the time was 85 victories.
The presentation was made by Adolf Hitler at the Wolf’s Lair, Hitler’s headquarters in Rastenburg, present-day Kętrzyn in Poland.
On August 1943, II./JG 27 was transferred to Wiesbaden-Erbenheim in Germany and starting training for a completely different air-war:
Reichsverteidigung (Defense of the Reich) duties, at high altitude against the big, heavily armed massed-formations of four-engined bombers, or Viermots.
🇩🇪💥🇩🇪 From August to March, Schroer shot down 14 aircraft, 11 of them being Viermots – an indication of the type of air-combat in which he was now fighting.
📌The unit’s first operational sortie in the Reich, 6 September, 1943 was their most successful with nine bombers claimed, including three for Schröer (86th -88th).
On 6 September, Schroer led the Gruppe on an interception of a formation of over 260 B-17s.
🇺🇸 In all 45 American bombers were lost including four shot down by II./JG 27, three of which were claimed by Schroer as his victories 86 through 88.
Now into the beginning of 1944, on 7 January 1944, III./JG 54 was based at Lüneberg and flew the Messershmitt Bf 109G-6.
📌On this day, Schröer was credited with the destruction of a P-38 Lightning piloted by Joseph P. Marsiglia of the 55th Fighter Group, 338th Fighter Squadron.
🇺🇸 Marsiglia had to bail out and was apprehended near Holz in the district of Saarbrücken. This was Schröer’s 92nd aerial victory.
🇩🇪 Schroer leads a stab flight from II. JG27 and intercepts bombers of the USAAF attacking Osnabruck. The bombers were escorted by P-38’s from the 55th Fighter Group, 338th Fighter Squadron.
💥💥During the action Schroer managed to shoot down two of the escorting P-38’s (92nd and 93rd victories), one of which was flown by Captain Joseph Marsiglia.
🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 Marsiglia had to bail out and was apprehended near Holz, his aircraft crashed not far from there, near Riegelsberg, in a wooded area. Marsiglia was able to survive the ordeal and later recounted his parachute landing and subsequent capture;
“As usual flak over the target area was intense and as the big birds withdrew cripples started to trail. My flight of four had gotten scattered in the twisting and turning and I found myself very much alone and out of radio contact. I was with the main bomber stream however and continued to turn enemy fighters away as well as I could by turning toward them.
One 17 however was trailing smoke from the port side and losing altitude when four 109s started a gunnery pattern on it. I turned toward this attack which was about 5 thousand feet below, and off to my left and started a run on the fighters, calling for others in the escort to come down.
No luck. My left engine was hit, flamed, and I was forces to bail out. I landed near the town of Fischbach, high up in a tree, right arm injured, in a driving rain.
I managed to get to the ground and disposed of all military items. I buried them. I was picked up about an hour later by a forest ranger and his dog who had seen me coming down and who had alerted the military.”
Marsiglia’s aircraft is believed to have been P-38H 42-67048.
📌On 3 March 1944, Major Schroer scored his 99th victory and was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of III./JG 54, relieving Major Rudolf Sinner (39 victories, DK) who had been badly wounded on 6 March attacking a formation of four-engined bombers.
🇩🇪🏆🇩🇪 On 14 March 1944, Schröer (with 99 victories) was appointed Gruppenkommandeur, III./Jagdgeschwader 54 (JG 54—54th Fighter WIng), based in the north at Lüneberg.
🛩 In April the unit retrained and transferred onto the Focke-Wulf Fw 190.
💯 On 24 May 1944, Schröer claimed a P-51 Mustang and two P-47 Thunderbolts to reach his century (100–102).
📌 He was the 73rd Luftwaffe pilot to achieve the century mark.
From Jean-Louis Roba’s bio in ‘Histoire de Guerre’ (defunct Belgian magazine) entitled ‘The second star of Africa’- in May, Schroer was hospitalised because of illness.
But the worsening situation and the intense pressure was taking its toll, and he was sent on a month’s stress-leave in early June just as Allied attention turned to Normandy, possibly saving his life as the unit took very heavy losses in France.
On 21 July 1944, Schroer relinquished command of III./JG 54 to Hauptmann Robert “Bazi” Weiss (121 victories, RK-EL, killed in action 29 December 1944).
📌On 4 August 1944, Major Schroer was leading 2 Staffeln of his Gruppe against a “US-Bomberpulk” of B-17s, when they were attacked by escorting Mustangs.
💥💥💥During the ensuing battle, Schroer’s FW 190 was struck by defensive fire from one of the bombers which inflicted severe damage to his aircraft, shattering the cockpit canopy and severely wounding him in the process.
Not wishing to risk bailing out, he elected to make an emergency landing when his engine malfunctioned. He ended up spending 3 months in hospital recuperating from his wounds.
📌Returning to duty, from 5 November 1944 to 5 February 1945, Schröer was senior instructor at the Verbandsführerschule (Training School for Unit Leaders) of the General der Jagdflieger at Königsberg in der Neumark, present-day Chojna in western Poland.
🇩🇪🏆🇩🇪 In mid-February 1945, Schröer assumed command of JG 3 “Udet”, named after Ernst Udet, from Oberstleutnant Heinrich Bär who had transferred to jet fighters.
On 14 February, Schröer was officially appointed Geschwaderkommodore (wing commander) of JG 3 “Udet”.
The Geschwader was deployed in eastern Germany, initially subordinated to Luftflotte 6 and then under Luftwaffenkommando Nordost, where it fought over the lower Oder in the Battle of the Oder–Neisse.
📌There, he claimed 12 Soviet aircraft destroyed – his only victories not on the Western Front.
🇩🇪🏆🥇🍁🍁⚔⚔On 19 April 1945, he received the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern).
The Geschwaderstab (headquarters unit) withdrew along the Baltic coast into Schleswig-Holstein.
☮ There, on 5 May 1945, Schröer surrendered to British forces and was taken prisoner of war.
Schröer was kept in British custody until 7 February 1946.
🇩🇪⚔🇩🇪 He was credited with shooting down 114 enemy aircraft shot down claimed in 197 combat missions, the majority of which on the Western Front, including 61 in North Africa and 22 in Italy.
This figure includes 26 four-engined bombers, four of which claimed as Herausschüsse (separation shots).
📌His tally of 26 four-engined bombers ranked him the 5th most successful pilot against that formidable type.
⚔Likewise, his score of 102 victories against the Western Allies, including 61 claimed over North Africa, make him the 5th-equal ranked pilot, alongside Joachim Müncheberg and Egon Mayer.
Initially he worked as a Taxicab driver in Frankfurt to help finance his family. In parallel, he attended university attaining a Master of Business Administration (Diplom-Kaufmann).
Together with his family, he then lived and worked in Rome, Italy for eleven years. In 1968, the spelling of his last name changed from Schroer to Schröer, with the Umlaut “ö”.
📌Prior to his retirement, he held the position of head of the central protocol department with Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm in Ottobrunn.
Schroer’s famous later years were devoted to work on a Marseille monument, who was a contemporary and a friend, but he passed away before the project was completed. ​
⚰Schröer died on 10 February 1985 in Ottobrunn, aged 66.
He was buried with military honors at the Parkfriedhof (park cemetery) in Ottobrunn on 15 February 1985.
▪JG 27, JG 54, JG 3
▪Wound Badge in Black
▪Front Flying Clasp of the Luftwaffe in Gold
•in Silver (15 September 1941)
•in Gold (15 September 1942)
▪Combined Pilots-Observation Badge
▪Honour Goblet of the Luftwaffe (Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe) on 10 August 1942 as Leutnant and pilot
▪Italian Silver Medal of Military Valor
▪German Cross in Gold on 9 September 1942 as Leutnant in the III./Jagdgeschwader 27
▪Iron Cross (1939)
•2nd class (19 April 1941)
•1st class (9 September 1941)
🇩🇪🏆🥇Knight’s Cross on 20 October 1942 as Leutnant (war officer) and Staffelführer of the 8./Jagdgeschwader 27
🍁🍁268th Oak Leaves on 2 August 1943 as Hauptmann (war officer) and Gruppenkommandeur of the II./Jagdgeschwader 27
⚔⚔144th Swords on 19 April 1945 as Major (war officer) and Geschwaderkommodore of Jagdgeschwader 3 “Udet”
🛡Foreign awards:
▪05.11.41 Italienisch Kriegskreuz (Italian War Service Cross)
▪22.06.42 Italienisch Flugzeugführerabzeichen (Italian Pilots Badge)
▪02.08.43 Medaille Für Italienisch-Deutschen Feldzug in Afrika (The Italo-German Campaign Medal in Africa)
🛡Dates of rank:
1 October 1938: Gefreiter
1 April 1939: Unteroffizier
1 December 1939: Feldwebel
1 March 1941: Leutnant (Second Lieutenant)
1 November 1942: Oberleutnant (First Lieutenant)
1 February 1943: Hauptmann (Captain)
1 November 1943: Major (Major)

Reproduced with permission of the copyright owners © Dan & Nick’s Collaborative Experten Biographies.
AWG Team would like to thank Dan Case & Nick Hector for their contribution and continuous support for our Project.
More Biographies from Dan Case and Nick Hector | ‘Dan & Nicks’ Luftwaffe Aces’ Biographies/Claims Vault’.

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