Hansgeorg Bätcher, the son of an engineer, was born on January 13th, 1914 in Finsterwalde. As a child Batcher dreamt of becoming a pilot and had achieved every requirement to become a glider pilot by the age of 17. In January 1935 he joined the newly formed Luftwaffe division and much to his disappointment began training as an observer. Batcher still had dreams of becoming a head pilot so on his off-duty time he began clocking hours on a multi-engine plane. In October 1938 he had once again achieved his goals and his long sought after dreams of becoming a pilot.
During Batcher’s time in the war he completed an outstanding 658 combat missions. He told place and witnessed some of the most prominent battles in the war. He participated in the invasion of Poland in 1939, and in the invasion of France in 1940. During one mission, he was shot down and captured in Rouen on the 5th of June, 1940. He was released following France’s surrender, and for a short time acted as a flying instructor. He continued active service in May 1941 with KGr.100 “Wiking,” fitted with Heinkel He 111 Bombers. In July 1941 he was made Staffelkapitän of KGR. 100, and deployed on the Eastern Front. His unit was flying missions over Moscow in late summer and fall of 1941. During these missions he earned the Bomber Clasp in Bronze in August, Silver in September, and Gold in November. In early 1942, KG 100 was conducting maritime attacks against Soviet naval targets in the Black Sea. Bätcher had the distinction of being the most successful Pilot during this operation, sinking several Soviet vessels. In March of the same year he was promoted to Hauptmann. In the summer of 1942 he was engaged in the aerial assault of Sevastopol, and on July 2nd he successfully carried out his 300th mission.
In August 1942 his unit participated in the Battle of Stalingrad. He began flying supply missions to the 6th Army which was desperately besieged by the Red Army. Bätcher was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross on the 21st of December, 1942. The tale of his actions started to spread and he began being featured on the cover of propaganda magazines, particularly the Signal, as a poster boy for Germany.
In the summer of 1943, his unit was involved in the Battle of Kursk. They later flew mission over the Kuban Bridgehead. He completed his 500th Combat Mission on the 30th of July, 1943 and became the first to do so. In November 1943, Bätcher was promoted to Major, and made Group Commander of the newly designated KG.4 (I/KG.4) “General Wever”.
He completed his 600th mission on November 21st, 1943, and his 650th on February 9th, 1944. After having completed his 658th combat mission, Bätcher was assigned to the staff of Luftflotte (air fleet) 4 in May 1944. During this time Adolf Hitler personally awarded Batcher the Oakleaves to his Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross, making him the 434th soldier to receive the decoration.
The following December he was given the command of KG.76 (III/KG.76), which was equipped with the first Jet Bombers, the Arado Ar 234.These jet bombers were capable of going 570 mph at treetop level even with bombs attached, making it a hard target for Allied forces to hit. His last Bomber missions were carried out with the Ar-234 against Allied troops in the West in February 1945. In February 1945 he was given the command of KG(J) 54 equipped with the Jet powered Messerschmitt Me-262; he held this post until the end of the War. Bätcher was captured by American troops in May 1945. Batcher went on to become a chairman on the board of directors at a firm in Berlin. He died on April 23rd, 2003.