Harro Harder
Hauptmann

Harro Harder

    Harro Harder was born on 28 November 1912 at Freiburg. He gained his initial combat experiences during the Spanish Civil War with the Condor Legion. Oberleutnant Harder was assigned to 1./J 88. He claimed his first victory over a Republican flown made Russian I-16 fighter on 4 January 1937. On 6 April, Oberleutnant Harder was appointed Staffelkapitän of 1./J 88. He gained a further 10 victories to become one of the German top-scorers of the conflict before relinquishing command of 1./J 88 on 18 December 1938 and returning to Germany. Harder returned to Spain in April 1938 to test the Heinkel He 112 fighter under combat conditions. Harder was awarded the Spanienkreuz in Gold mit Schwertern und Brillanten for his accomplishments. Harder led 1.(J)/LG 2 during the invasion of Poland. He shot down a Polish PZL P-24 fighter for his first victory of World War 2 on 9 September 1939 in the Lubien area. On 15 October 1939, Hauptmann Harder was appointed Staffelkapitän of Ergänzungs-Zerstörerstaffel 1. He served with the unit, undertaking instructional duties, until 31 March 1940. On 13 July 1940, Harder was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of III./JG 53 replacing Major Werner Mölders (115 victories, RK-Br, killed in flying accident on 22 November 1941) who was taking command of JG 51. Harder shot down three RAF Spitfire fighters on 11 August for his 18th through 20th victories. On 12 August 1940, Harder shot down two Spitfires to bring his victory total to 22. However, he failed to return from this combat and his body washed ashore near Dieppe on 13 September. It is thought Harder was shot down and killed by British ace Pilot Officer David Crook (6 confirmed, 2 probable and 1.5 damaged victories, killed in flying accident 18 December 1944) of 609 Sqn, RAF.
    Harro Harder’s victory total is not known for sure. He was credited with 11 victories in the Spanish Civil War. According to unconfirmed data he is thought to have obtained a further 11 victories in World War 2. However only six claims have been found for him of which the two for 12 August 1940 were submitted by his colleagues following his death and never formally submitted for confirmation.
 
No
Date
Time
A/c Type
Unit
Location / Comments
1
4.1.1937
-
I-16 1./J 88 Spain
2
27.8.1937
-
SB-2 1./J 88 Spain
3
7.9.1937
-
Envoy 1./J 88 Spain
4
9.9.1937
-
Nieuport 52C1 1./J 88 Spain / Gordou Lessure Gl 32
5
9.9.1937
-
I-15 1./J 88 Spain / Bristol Bulldog II
6
15.9.1937
-
I-15 1./J 88 Spain
7
27.9.1937
-
I-16 1./J 88 Spain
8
27.9.1937
-
I-16 1./J 88 Spain
9
28.9.1937
-
I-16 1./J 88 Spain
10
13.10.1937
-
I-16 1./J 88 Spain
11
5.12.1937
-
I-15 1./J 88 Spain
12
9.9.1939
17:00
PZL-24 1.(J)/LG 2 Lubien area
13
11.8.1940
11:40
Spitfire III./JG 53 -
14
11.8.1940
11:50
Spitfire III./JG 53 20km S Portland
15
11.8.1940
11:53
Spitfire III./JG 53 Portland-Isle of Wight
-
12.8.1940
13:20
Spitfire III./JG 53 E Isle of Wight / not confirmed
-
12.8.1940
13:20
Spitfire III./JG 53 E Isle of Wight / not confirmed

Victories : 15
Awards :
Units : J 88, LG 2, JG 53

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