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Hans Baur

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Hans Baur

Johann "Hans" Peter Baur
Hans Baur in the 1950s
Born 19 June 1897
Ampfing, Bavaria, German Empire
Died 17 February 1993(1993-02-17) (aged 95)
Herrsching, Bavaria, Germany
Allegiance  German Empire (to 1918)
 Weimar Republic (to 1933)
 Nazi Germany
Years of service 1915–1918, 1933–1945
Rank Gruppenführer
and Generalleutnant of the Police
Unit Die Fliegerstaffel des Führers
Commands held Regierungsstaffel
Battles/wars First World War
Second World War
Awards Iron Cross First Class
Komtur Cross
Other work Ich flog mit den Mächtigen der Erde (autobiography)
On 10 March 1943, under heavy security, Hitler flew in to Army Group South's headquarters at Zaporozh'ye, Ukraine. Seen here, Generalfeldmarschall Erich von Manstein is greeting Hitler on the local airfield; on the right are Hans Baur and the Luftwaffe Generalfeldmarschall Wolfram von Richthofen
(photographer: Heinrich Hoffmann)

SS-Gruppenführer Hans Baur (19 June 1897 – 17 February 1993) was the Nazi German leader Adolf Hitler's pilot during his political campaigns of the early 1930s. He later became Hitler's personal pilot and leader of the Reichsregierung squadron.[1] Captured by the Soviets at the end of the Second World War in Europe, he endured ten years of imprisonment in the USSR before being released on 10 October 1955 to the French, who then imprisoned him until 1957.

He died in Herrsching, Bavaria, in 1993.

Contents

  • Early life 1
  • First World War 2
  • Between the wars 3
  • Pilot to Hitler 4
  • Die Fliegerstaffel des Führers 5
  • Führerbunker and Soviet detention 6
  • Later life and book 7
  • Personal life 8
  • Decorations and awards 9
  • References 10

Early life

Baur was born Johann Peter Baur in Ampfing, Bavaria and educated at the Erasmus-Grasser-Gymnasium in Sendling-Westpark, Munich.

First World War

Baur was called up to the Imperial German Army in 1915, and trained in field artillery at the airfield in Augsburg. He then joined the Luftstreitkräfte (air force) as an artillery spotter. During the war he claimed 6 victories, with 3 additionally unconfirmed.[2] During one flight, Baur's aircraft experienced engine failure and was forced to descend, but he was able to restart the engine. For his victories, Baur was awarded the Iron Cross first class for bravery.[3]

Between the wars

Under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, Germany had to disband its air force. Baur joined the Freikorps under Franz von Epp, and in the same year became a courier flier for military airmail in Fürth.

From 1921 to 1923 he was a pilot for Bayrische Luftlloyd, and then Junkers Luftverkehr. In May 1923, Baur flew the opening flight of the Munich-Vienna route in a Junkers F 13. In 1926, Baur became one of the first six pilots of Deutsche Luft Hansa,[3] and in May 1928 flew the opening flight of the Munich-Milan-Rome route.[1]

In 1926, Baur became a member of the NSDAP (Nazi Party No. 48,113).[4] On 1 April 1931 Baur flew the opening flight of the Berlin-Munich-Rome route, known as the Alpine flight, whose passengers included Nuntius Eugenio Pacelli, Arturo Toscanini and Tsar Boris III of Bulgaria.

Pilot to Hitler

Hitler was the first politician to campaign by air travel, deciding that travel by plane was more efficient than travel by railway. Baur first piloted him during the 1932 General Election.[4]

Hitler obtained his first private aeroplane, a Junkers Ju 52/3m with registration number D-2600 (Werk Nr. 4021), in February 1933, on becoming German Chancellor. Powered by BMW 132 licence-built Pratt and Whitney radial engines, it was named Immelmann II after the First World War pilot Max Immelmann.[5] The Fuehrermaschine had a small folding table in Hitler's favourite seat on the right, with a clock, altimeter and airspeed indicator on the bulkhead just in front.

Baur had just became an "air millionaire" of Lufthansa, having flown his millionth kilometre for the airline.[3] As a result of his combination of experience and capability to restart a plane engine in combat, which Hitler took as a sign of fate, Baur was personally selected by Hitler to be his official pilot in February 1933.

Die Fliegerstaffel des Führers

Baur was appointed head of the Hitler's personal squadron, initially based at Oberwiesenfeld, Munich.[6] As the Luftwaffe was not yet established, Hitler wanted Baur to be able to command sufficient power and respect to assure his security, and therefore commissioned Baur a Standartenführer (colonel) in the Schutzstaffel (SS No. 171,865).[4]

Upon his arrival in Berlin in 1933, Baur's first task was to expand Hitler's squadron and implement new security procedures. With the approval of then Luft Hansa Director Erhard Milch, an additional Ju 52/3m was designated to meet with Baur's security requirements, named Richthofen.[6] In 1935, 4021 was replaced by 4053, taking the latter's name Buddecke; while 4053 was designated Immelmann II with tail number D-2600.

In 1934, after the death of Berlin-Tempelhof Airport, Baur was charged with providing flights and pilots for the Führer's cabinet and for his generals. There were eight planes able to carry 17 passengers each at his disposal. D-2600 remained Adolf Hitler's primary aircraft.[6]

Adolf Hitler's personal Fw 200 Condor, bearing the insignia of the Fliegerstaffel des Führers on its nose

After Hitler became Führer, he increasingly relied on Baur for advice about air war policy and technical developments. He allowed Baur to fill his squadron with experienced Luft Hansa pilots, and train them in military procedures in preparation for the forthcoming war:

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