Horst Petzschler
Oberfeldwebel

Horst Petzschler

    Horst Petzschler was born on 1 September 1921 at Berlin. He completed an apprenticeship as a toolmaker with Henschel Flugzeugwerke A.G. at Schönefeld after leaving school in April 1938. He was also active flying gliders. Petzschler joined the Luftwaffe on 1 April 1941. He spent five months receiving military training before reporting to Flugzeugführerschule A/B 10 at Grottau. Having qualified for his pilot’s licence, Unteroffizier Petzschler entered the flying schools at Oels and Ohlau to qualify on multi-engine aircraft following which he was transferred to the pilot training school at Prenzlau as an instructor. On 7 March 1943, he was assigned to JG 105 at Villacoublay near Paris for fighter pilot training. Petzschler completed his final training on the Fw 190 A-2 near Toulouse, France. Petzschler was posted to JG 51, where he was assigned to the Geschwaderstab, based at Smolensk, arriving there on 23 August 1943. On his first mission on 7 September, flying as wingman to Feldwebel Anton Hafner (204 victories, RK-EL, killed in action 17 October 1944), he was shot down by Russian flak and baled out. His primary role was Jagdbomber tank busting, however he was also often involved in aerial combat and claimed his first victory on 11 May, when he shot down a Russian Yak-7 fighter near Nevel. He had completed 126 fighter-bomber missions and had three victories to his credit when he was advised of his transfer to the Western front. Petzschler was to 2./JG 3, based at Burg in Germany, on 13 April 1944. On 12 May, he flew his first mission against the USAAF when he was scrambled to intercept an incoming raid. In the subsequent aerial combat southeast of Frankfurt, Petzschler claimed a B-17 four-engine bomber Herausschuss and an escorting P-51 fighter shot down. However, he received hits from other P-51 fighters necessitating a forced-landing near Fritzlar. He was shot down again a few days later when, attempting to intercept a large formation of USAAF four-engine bombers heading for Berlin, he was intercepted and shot up by USAAF P-38 twin-engine fighters necessitating another belly-landing. On 28 May, he shot down a USAAF P-51 fighter near Magdeburg but was then again shot down himself. He baled unhurt near Rothensee.
 

Light grey RLM 76 camouflaged Bf 109G-6/AS (W.Nr. 412 179) black 14 belonging to Fw. Horst Petzschler of 2./JG 3.
Light grey RLM 76 camouflaged Bf 109G-6/AS (W.Nr. 412 179) "black 14" belonging to Fw. Horst Petzschler of 2./JG 3. On 30 May 1944 his friend Fw. Otto Büssow (3 victories, 2x B-17 HSS and P-51) was killed in this machine while engaged in a dogfight with P-51`s near Belzig.
 
    Reassigned to JG 51 in June 1944, Petzschler was reassigned to the Geschwaderstaffel, based at Minsk. He recorded his 10th victory in July when he shot down a Russian Yak-9 fighter near Wilkowischken. In September, Petzschler was transferred to the Fighter Pilot School at Liegnitz as an instructor. He returned to the Geschwaderstaffel of JG 51 on 13 February 1945. He recorded his 20th victory in March, when he shot down a Russian Il-2 ground-attack aircraft near Zinten. On 1 April, he received promotion to the rank of Fahnenjunker-Feldwebel. He had taken his victory total to 26 when, on 4 May 1945, III./JG 51 were ordered to leave East Prussia for Schleswig-Holstein. However, Petzschler, due to navigational problems and a damaged fuel tank, make a dead-stick landing at Bulltofta in neutral Sweden because he had run out of fuel. The Swedish authorities interned Petzschler. In January 1946, Sweden handed Petzschler over to the Russians who imprisoned him. He was eventually released on 22 September 1949. After six months recuperation, Petzschler joined the Berlin police force. However, he soon returned to aircraft manufacturing, his pre-war profession. In 1951, he gained employment with British European Airways. In 1953, he and his family immigrated to Canada. There he worked as an auto mechanic before moving to the United States. In the US he started to work in the aircraft industry. He has worked for Boeing, Lear, Northrop and Beechcraft. He finally retired in 1988.
     Horst Petzschler was credited with 26 victories in 297 missions. He recorded four victories over the Western front, including two four-engine bombers. Petzschler was shot down 13 times during his combat career, crash-landing 11 times and baling out twice. He was shot down 11 times by flak and twice by enemy fighters.
 
No
Date
Time
A/c Type
Unit
Location / Comments
1
11.5.1943
-
Yak-7 Stab/JG 51 S Nevel
2
10.11.1943
-
Il-2 Stab/JG 51 SE Nevel
3
10.11.1943
-
Il-2 Stab/JG 51 SW Nevel
4
12.5.1944
12:28
B-17 HSS 2./JG 3 Frankfurt
5
12.5.1944
12:35
P-51 2./JG 3 SE Frankfurt
6
14.5.1944
-
B-24 2./JG 3 N Braunschweig
7
28.5.1944
14:15
P-51 2./JG 3 NE Magdeburg / P-51 of 352FG, USAAF
8
VI.1944
-
Yak-9 Stab/JG 51 SW Baranowice
9
VI.1944
-
Pe-2 Stab/JG 51 E Baranowice
10
VII.1944
-
Yak-9 Stab/JG 51 SE Wilkowischken
11
VII.1944
-
MiG-3 Stab/JG 51 W Wilkowischken
12
VII.1944
-
Il-2 Stab/JG 51 SW Wilkowischken
13
9.8.1944
-
La-5 Stab/JG 51 E Schaken
14
7.9.1944
-
Pe-2 Stab/JG 51 W Memel
15
IX.1944
-
Pe-2 Stab/JG 51 NE Memel
16
IX.1944
-
Il-2 Stab/JG 51 SW Autz
17
IX.1944
-
La-5 Stab/JG 51 E Autz
18
IX.1944
-
A-20 Stab/JG 51 S Memel
19
II.1945
-
La-5 Stab/JG 51 SE Graudenz
20
III.1945
-
Il-2 Stab/JG 51 SW Zinten
21
III.1945
-
Yak-9 Stab/JG 51 NW Danzig
22
III.1945
-
Il-2 Stab/JG 51 SE Pruess-Stargard
23
III.1945
-
La-7 Stab/JG 51 SE Gotenhafen
24
III.1945
-
Yak-3 Stab/JG 51 S Danzig
25
III.1945
-
Yak-3 Stab/JG 51 NW Gotenhafen
26
IV.1945
-
Pe-2 Stab/JG 51 NE PIllau

Victories : 26
Awards : Ehrenpokal (10 September 1944)
Units : JG 51, JG 3

Home