Paul Zorner
Major
 
Paul Zorner
 
    Paul Zorner was born on 31 March 1920 at Roben in the Leobschütz region of Schlesien. He joined the Luftwaffe in October 1938 and began his basic military training at Oschatz-Sachsen on 7 November. He attended the Luftkriegsschule 2 at Berlin/Gatow in March 1939, where he studied simultaneously to be an officer and to fly. By November he had qualified on single-engined aircraft and was sent to a C-Schule at Alt-Lönnewitz where he underwent training on twin-engine aircraft. On completion of his training at the end of February 1940, he was selected for training as an instructor. Zorner was promoted to the rank of Leutnant on 1 April. He completed an instructor’s course and was posted to the C-Schule at Zeltweg on 5 July. During his time there as an instructor he also attended Blindflugschule at Neuburg-Donau. In March 1941, Zorner was posted to KGr.z.b.v. 104. Leutnant Zorner was assigned to 4./KGr.z.b.v. 104 flying Ju 52 three-engine transport aircraft. He was to fly 162 missions in the Mediterranean theatre, including a detachment to Iraq with Sonnderkommando Junck supporting the pro-Axis Government in an attempt to oust the Allies. In August, he was operating over the Ukraine on the Eastern front. On 1 October 1941, Zorner commenced training as a night fighter pilot attending the Jagdfliegerschule at Schliessheim and the Nachtjagdschule at Manching near Ingolstadt. During this time he was promoted to the rank of Oberleutnant. On completion of his training on 1 July, he was posted to NJG 2. Zorner was assigned to 8./NJG 2 based at Gilze-Rijen flying Ju 88 C twin-engine night fighters. He flew his first night fighter mission on 17 August 1942, encountering a RAF Wellington twin-engine bomber but was unable to record a victory. From 6 December 1942, Zorner led 2./NJG 3, based at Wittmundhafen flying Bf 110 and Do 217 twin-engine night fighters. On the night of 17/18 January 1943, Zorner claimed his first victory. On 16 March, he was appointed Staffelkapitän of 3./NJG 3, based at Vechta. He had six victories to his credit at this time. He was shot down on 17 April attempting to intercept USAAF four-engine bombers by day. He successfully force-landed Bf 110 E-1 (W.Nr. 3962) “D5 + DH” near Cloppenburgh. He claimed his 10th victory on the night of 25/26 July, when he shot down a RAF Halifax four-engine bomber raiding Essen but he and his crewman again had to bale out when his Bf 110 G-4 (W.Nr. 6219) developed an engine fire. In mid-August 1943, Zorner was appointed Staffelkapitän of 8./NJG 3. He claimed three RAF Lancaster four-engine bombers raiding Berlin shot down on the night of 23/24 December to record his 17th through 19th victories. He shot down another RAF Lancaster near Luckenwalde as his 20th victim on the night of 2/3 January 1944. He claimed four RAF Lancasters raiding Leipzig shot down on the night of 19/20 February (27-30) and followed this up with five of the force raiding Schweinfurt shot down on the night 24/25 February (31-35). Three more RAF Lancasters raiding Essen were claimed on the night of 26/27 March (39-41). Zorner claimed a RAF Mosquito twin-engine bomber shot down during the night of 20/21 April. Zorner was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of III./NJG 5 on 25 April 1944. On the night of 27/28 April, Zorner claimed three more RAFLancasters shot down from the force of 322 bombers raiding the armament factories of Friedrichshaven (44-46). Oberleutnant Zorner was awarded the Ritterkreuz on 9 June for 48 victories. He shot down four RAF four-engine bombers of the 432 bombers targetting railway installations at Acheres, Dreux, Orleans and Versailles in support of the Normandy invasion on the night of 10/11 June (49-52) and then a further three RAF Halifaxes targetting V-1 launch sites in the Pas-de-Calais area on the night of 24/25 July (56-58). Hauptmann Zorner was awarded the Eichenlaub (Nr 588) on 17 September for 58 victories. On 22 October 1944, Zorner was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of II./NJG 100 based at Nowy-Dwor on the Austria/Czechoslovakia border. The Gruppe was equipped with Ju 88 twin-engine night-fighters. In February 1945, II./NJG 100 was relocated to Wien-Seyring. Major Zorner claimed his 59th, and last, victory on the night of 5/6 March 1945, when he shot down an Allied B-24 four-engine bomber near Graz. Zorner surrendered, with the rest of his Gruppe, to US troops in the Karlsbad area on 10 May 1945. However, Zorner was handed over to Russians on 17 May. He finally returned to Germany, after many years of Russian incarceration, on 30 December 1949. Following recuperation from his ordeal at the hands of the Russians, Zorner undertook practical training at a local machine company and studied mechanical engineering at the Technical University at Stuttgart. On completion of his training he entered the field of refrigeration engineering. In January 1956, he joined the Bundesluftwaffe. He was not considered fit to fly and returned to civilian life in May 1957. He was employed in the Cryogenics field initially then the reconstruction and maintenance service within the chemical industry. Zorner retired in 1981 as chief engineer of one of the Hoechst factories producing plastics near Frankfurt. He now lives in Homburg.
    Paul Zorner was credited with 59 victories in 272 missions, including 110 night-fighter missions. All his victories were recorded at night.
 
No
Date
Time
Unit
A/c Type
Location / Comments
1
17.1.1943
21:55
2./NJG 3 Halifax 45km NW Juist
2
11.2.1943
20:44
2./NJG 3 Lancaster 40km WNW Borkum
3
19.2.1943
20:34
2./NJG 3 Boston 12km N Nordeney / Wellington of 426 Sqn, RAF flown by Sgt J Gauthier
4
26.2.1943
20:46
2./NJG 3 Stirling 30km NNW Schirmannikoog
5
7.3.1943
20:30
2./NJG 3 Wellington 12km NE Nordeney
6
14.3.1943
3:51
2./NJG 3 Wellington N Nordeney
7
29.6.1943
2:22
1./NJG 3 Wellington 9km NW Löwen / Wellington of 300 Sqn, RAF flown by F/Sgt Kleinschmidt
8
4.7.1943
1:09
1./NJG 3 Wellington 2km E Neerhespen
9
9.7.1943
1:53
1./NJG 3 Lancaster Near Harzé
10
25.7.1943
3:54
1./NJG 3 Halifax Ten Boer / Halifax “LQ-M” of 405 Sqn, RAF flown by P/O ME Tomczak
11
18.8.1943
1:53
3./NJG 3 Lancaster Greifswald / Lancaster of 57 Sqn, RAF flown by W/C Haskill
12
18.8.1943
2:03
3./NJG 3 Lancaster Peenemünde / Lancaster of 426 Sqn, RAF, flown by F/Lt Shuttleworth
13
23.11.1943
20:09
8./NJG 3 Lancaster 40km NW Berlin
14
2.12.1943
19:24
8./NJG 3 Lancaster S Sulingen
15
2.12.1943
20:29
8./NJG 3 Lancaster SW Berlin
16
20.12.1943
20:02
8./NJG 3 Lancaster Hintermeiligen
17
24.12.1943
3:02
8./NJG 3 Lancaster Rodsenhain
18
24.12.1943
5:43
8./NJG 3 Lancaster Vechta-Quakenbrück
19
24.12.1943
6:02
8./NJG 3 Lancaster 2km NW Apeldoorn
20
3.1.1944
3:10
8./NJG 3 Lancaster Luckenwalde
21
6.1.1944
-
8./NJG 3 Lancaster NW Stettin
22
6.1.1944
-
8./NJG 3 Lancaster NW Stettin
23
20.1.1944
-
8./NJG 3 Lancaster N Berlin
24
20.1.1944
-
8./NJG 3 Lancaster N Berlin
25
15.2.1944
20:22
8./NJG 3 Lancaster 3km SE Rebeitz
26
15.2.1944
21:11
8./NJG 3 Lancaster N Neuruppin
27
20.2.1944
3:04
8./NJG 3 Lancaster N Hannover
28
20.2.1944
3:17
8./NJG 3 Lancaster Wesendorf
29
20.2.1944
3:26
8./NJG 3 Lancaster Burg/Gardelegen
30
20.2.1944
3:41
8./NJG 3 Lancaster S Briest
31
24.2.1944
22:15
8./NJG 3 Lancaster SW Stuttgart
32
24.2.1944
22:20
8./NJG 3 Lancaster SW Stuttgart
33
24.2.1944
22:30
8./NJG 3 Lancaster S Stuttgart
34
25.2.1944
0:25
8./NJG 3 Lancaster NW Stuttgart
35
25.2.1944
0:51
8./NJG 3 Lancaster N Stuttgart
36
22.3.1944
21:43
8./NJG 3 Lancaster Giessen area
37
22.3.1944
22:18
8./NJG 3 Lancaster Giessen area
38
24.3.1944
22:57
8./NJG 3 Lancaster E Leipzig
39
26.3.1944
22:30
8./NJG 3 Lancaster N Oberhausen
40
26.3.1944
23:04
8./NJG 3 Lancaster W St Trond
41
26.3.1944
23:12
8./NJG 3 Lancaster SW Brussels
42
21.4.1944
3:30
III./NJG 5 Mosquito 20km SE Brussels / Mosquito (DD616) of 169 Sqn, RAF flown by F/Lt Morgan
43
23.4.1944
1:03
III./NJG 5 Halifax SW Aachen
44
28.4.1944
1:20
Stab III./NJG 5 Lancaster S Nancy
45
28.4.1944
1:19
Stab III./NJG 5 Lancaster SW Strasbourg
46
28.4.1944
2:09
Stab III./NJG 5 Lancaster NW Friedrichshafen
47
1.6.1944
2:35
Stab III./NJG 5 Lancaster Villeguines-Anmont
48
3.6.1944
1:22
Stab III./NJG 5 Lancaster 30km WN Évreux
49
11.6.1944
1:00
Stab III./NJG 5 Halifax W Dreux
50
11.6.1944
1:01
Stab III./NJG 5 Halifax SE Verneuil-sur-Avre
51
11.6.1944
1:08
Stab III./NJG 5 Halifax SE Verneuil-sur-Avre
52
11.6.1944
1:42
Stab III./NJG 5 Lancaster SW Dreux
53
25.6.1944
0:32
Stab III./NJG 5 Viermot E Boulogne
54
25.6.1944
0:50
Stab III./NJG 5 Viermot NW Etaples
55
1.7.1944
1:22
Stab III./NJG 5 Lancaster 15km SW Bourges
56
25.7.1944
2:25
Stab III./NJG 5 Viermot W Strasbourg
57
25.7.1944
2:35
Stab III./NJG 5 Viermot NW Strasbourg
58
25.7.1944
2:54
Stab III./NJG 5 Viermot 30km NW St Dizier
59
6.3.1945
1:30
Stab II./NJG 100 B-24 SSE Graz
 
Victories : 59
Awards : Ehrenpokal (31 August 1943)
                Deutsches Kreuz in Gold (20 March 1944)
                Ritterkreuz (9 June 1944)
                Eichenlaub (17 September 1944)
Units : NJG 2, NJG 3, NJG 5, NJG 100
Home