Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6

Flown by Leutnant Hans Schleef, 7./JG 3, Makejewka/USSR, 1 August 1943


Yakolvev Yak-1b

Flown by Lydia Litvyak, 73rd GvIAP, Krasnyy Luch/USSR, 1 August 1943

This day Leutnant Hans Schleef claimed his 93rd and thereby his last abschuss on the Eastern front. In fact this was to be the final day of fighting for III./JG 3 before joining the air defense of Germany.

Taking off at daybreak from his base at Makejewka this summer Sunday he spotted some Il-2:s escorted by Yak fighters. In a classic bounce he attacked one of the Yak´s and shoot it down at 05:25.

The pilot of this Yak-1 was the female ace Lydia Litvyak who didn't detect the attacking Messerschmitt util it was to late. Her fellow pilot friend Ivan Borisenko, saw her a last time, through a gap in the clouds, her Yak-1 pouring black smoke. Borisenko descended to see if he could find her. However no parachute was to be seen, and no explosion, yet she never returned from the mission.

The official version of Litvyak´s death is controversial, in 1979 a search party discovered that an unidentified woman pilot had been buried in the village of Dmitrievka, in the Shakhterski district. It was then assumed that it was Litvyak and that she had been killed in action after sustaining a mortal head wound. A specialist commission was formed to inspect the exhumed body and it concluded the remains were those of Litvyak. However those fact has in resent time been disputed. New evidence had later conclude that Litvyak was pulled from the downed aircraft by German troops and held prisoner for some time. Furthermore the body found was never exhumed and that verification was limited to comparison of a number of reports.
However on May 6, 1990, USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev posthumously awarded Lydia Litvyak Hero of the Soviet Union. Her final rank was also promoted to senior lieutenant. With 12 air victories and a further three shared she is ranked as the top female fighter ace in history.

Hans Schleef was credited with 99 and at least two unconfirmed victories in over 500 missions. He recorded 91 victories over the Eastern Front, including fifteen Il-2 Sturmoviks, Of his eight victories recorded over the Western allies, two was 4-engine bombers. On 31 December 1944, Oberleutnant Hans Schleef was shot down and killed in aerial combat near Bad Durkheim flying in his Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-10 "Blue 4".

Please note that there is not any photos of the Bf 109 G flown by Schleef his day, this profile is therfore based on other macines from this unit and space of time.

© Claes Sundin 2015