Carl-Alfred Schumacher

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Carl-Alfred Schumacher
Born (1896-02-19)19 February 1896
Rheine
Died 22 May 1967(1967-05-22) (aged 71)
Bad Godesberg
Allegiance  German Empire (to 1918)
 Weimar Republic (to 1933)
 Nazi Germany
 Federal Republic of Germany
Service/branch Balkenkreuz.svg Luftwaffe
Rank Generalmajor
Commands held II./JG 77, JG 1, Jafü Norwegen
Battles/wars World War I

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Other work politician

Generalmajor Carl-Alfred (August) Schumacher[Note 1] (19 February 1896, Rheine – 22 May 1967, Bad Godesberg) was a German military officer and politician. During World War II, Schumacher served in the German Luftwaffe, commanding the Jagdgeschwader 1 (JG 1) fighter wing. After World War II, Schumacher was an active politician and elected member of the Landtag in Lower Saxony (1951–1963).

Military career

Schumacher initially fought in World War I as an artillerist before he transferred to the Kaiserliche Marine and participated in the Battle of Jutland as a Fähnrich on a battlecruiser.[1] He learned to fly in 1930 and transferred to the newly emerging Luftwaffe in 1934, involved in the flight- and leader-training departments.[2] On 1 August 1936 he was given a squadron command in I./JG 136, he was subsequently promoted to major, and full command of the I./JG 136 — Gruppe (subsequently renamed II./JG 333 on 1 November 1938, and again on 1 May 1939 to II./Jagdgeschwader 77) based on the northern coast, the German Bight.

With the country at war, his unit was tasked with covering the northern approaches to the Third Reich, and he was appointed Jagdfliegerführer Deutsche Bucht (Jafü Deutsche Bucht—Fighter-commander German Bight) in October as well, to control all the disparate fighter units defending the northern coast. As the Luftwaffe expanded, in November he was then given orders to set up a brand new Geschwader. Initially (and unusually) comprising just a Stab or HQ Flight, called Stab./JG Nord, it was soon officially authorised as JG 1 on 30 November 1939, with Obstlt Schumacher as its first Geschwaderkommodore (wing commander).[3] It inherited command of I./JG 1 which had been previously operating without an HQ, and was also based at Jever on the northwest coast.

With his Geschwader he defended against the first British bombing campaigns. He claimed his first aerial victory over a Vickers Wellington bomber, among the 12 shot down in the aerial battles of the Heligoland Bight on 18 December 1939.[4] His successful co-ordination of a range of different units and aircraft was effective and forced a fundamental change in air strategy for the Royal Air Force (RAF) in the first year of the war, as they abandoned unescorted bomber missions. He claimed his only other victory, a Bristol Blenheim, over the North Sea on 27 December 1939.

He led his Geschwader in the Battle of the Netherlands, although his unit did not follow the armies in the invasion of France or the Battle of Britain, instead being kept back on the coast as Reich Defence. For his outstanding leadership and success he was the very first fighter pilot awarded the Knight's Cross - on 21 July 1940. Because of that, and/or his lack of direct involvement in the Battle of Britain, he kept his role as a Geschwaderkommodore and was not dismissed by Hermann Göring in his purge of the senior fighter commanders a month later.

On 8 November 1941, he controversially shot down a de Havilland Dragon of the Finnish Air Force by mistake, and was relieved of command.[5] However, he was soon re-appointed to a new post - as Jagdfliegerführer Norwegen on 5 January 1942. Again this was a role to co-ordinate a number of scattered units, this time across Norway, facing both the Russian Polar Front, the North Sea and Arctic Ocean. This subsequently also got further centralised with the formation of the new Jagdgeschwader 5 in May 1942. In late February 1943 he was sent to Romania, and in May became head of the Luftwaffe mission to oversee the training of the Romanian air-force. Finally, in the latter years of the war, now a Generalmajor, he was tasked with assignments co-ordinating the Defence of the Reich. He finished the war having flown 160 missions, with just the two victories from 1939.

Victories

No Date Time Aircraft type Unit Location Source & comments[6]
1 18 December 1939 14:35 Wellington Stab./JG 1 10 km N of Spiekeroog: 300m Prien/Bock
2 27 December 1939 14:02 Blenheim Stab./JG 1 10 km N of Langeoog: 300m Prien/Bock

Awards

Post-war career

Schumacher was a prisoner-of-war from 1945–7. He was subsequently hired by the district President of Aurich in 1948 and was working for the Olympia-Werke AG, in the typewriter industry, starting 1951. He was elected member of the Landtag in Lower Saxony as deputy of the GB/BHE faction in 1953 and re-elected in 1955. He then joined the Deutsche Partei (DP) in 1958 and changed to the Christian Democratic Union faction in 1962. He lost his mandate in 1963 and died in 1967.[8]

In accordance with his wishes, he was cremated and his ashes were sprinkled in the North Sea.

Notes

  1. Some sources refer to him as Carl-August Schumacher

References

Citations

  1. Luftwaffe 39-45 Historia website.
  2. Luftwaffe Officer Career Summaries website.
  3. Weal 2006, pg.8
  4. Weal 2006, pp.8-9
  5. Luftwaffe Officer Career Summaries website.
  6. Luftwaffe Fighter Claims website.
  7. Fellgiebel 2000, pp. 394, 504.
  8. B.Simon (1996) p. 352

Bibliography

  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) [1986]. Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Mombeek, Eric (2001). Jagdwaffe Vol 1, Sec3: Blitzkrieg and Sitzkrieg: Poland & France 1939 - 1940 Hersham, Surrey: Ian Allan Publishing ISBN 0-95-268677-5, incl. a colour profile of his aircraft
  • Obermaier, Ernst (1989). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Luftwaffe Jagdflieger 1939 – 1945 (in German). Mainz, Germany: Verlag Dieter Hoffmann. ISBN 978-3-87341-065-7. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Simon, Barbara (1996), "Abgeordnete in Niedersachsen 1946-1994. Biographisches Handbuch". Released by the President of the Landtag of Lower Saxony. Hanover, Germany: Schlütersche Verlagsanstalt.
  • Weal, John (1996). Bf109D/E Aces 1939-41. Oxford: Osprey Publishing Limited. ISBN 1-85532-487-3. incl colour profile of his aircraft [#1]
  • Weal, John (2006). Bf109 Defence of the Reich Aces. Oxford: Osprey Publishing Limited. ISBN 1-84176-879-0.

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
unknown
Squadron Leader of 2./KüJGr 136
1 August 1936 – 1 October 1936?
Succeeded by
Hptm Hans Busolt?
Preceded by
Maj Hermann Edert
Group Commander of I./KüJGr 136
29 September 1937 – 31 October 1938
Succeeded by
unit renamed II./JG 333
Preceded by
new unit
Group Commander of II./JG 333
1 November 1938 – 30 April 1939
Succeeded by
unit renamed II./JG 77
Preceded by
new unit
Group Commander of II./JG 77
1 May 1939 – 29 November 1939
Succeeded by
Maj Harry von Bülow-Bothkamp
Preceded by
new
Commander of Jagdgeschwader 1
30 November 1939 – 5 January 1942
Succeeded by
Maj Erich von Selle
Preceded by
none
Commander of Jagdfliegerführer Deutsche Bucht
21 (or 12) December 1939 – 31 July 1941
Succeeded by
GenLtn Werner Junck
Preceded by
unknown
Commander of Jagdfliegerführer Norwegen
5 January 1942 – 30 April 1944
Succeeded by
ObtLt Gerhard Schöpfel