North African Ace, Oberleutnant Franz Stigler
Messerschmitt Bf 109F
Artwork and Research by;
Sir Ernie Hamilton Boyette
Bf-109F Ace, Franz Stigler
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Stigler was born on August 21 1915, near the ancient Danube River city of
Regensberg, Bavaria, Germany. He initially studied to become a Monk, although he
later trained as an aeronautical engineer. Franz
became a glider pilot in 1927 at the age of 12. He upgraded to powered aircraft
in 1933. He joined Lufthansa and flew an extensive number of single and
multi-engine aircraft between 1933 and 1939.
officially joined the Luftwaffe in 1939 and became an instructor pilot. He first
taught multi-engine aircraft and later fighter aircraft. Franz was a very effective
instructor, with many of his students becoming aces like Gerhard Barkhorn, who
was credited with 301 confirmed aerial victories. Franz
him self had been instructed by Ritter Von Greim. Von Greim later became Field Marshal
Ritter Von Greim, replacing Herman Goering as the last Luftwaffe commander.
served as an instructor until February 1942 when he was assigned to Squadron
4/II, JG-27, flying the Bf 109 fighter in combat in North Africa.
the next eighteen months, Franz served in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy,
scoring fifteen aerial victories. All of his victories were against allied
fighters, mainly the American P-40, the English Hawker Hurricane and the elite
Messerschmitt Bf 109F that Stigler flew in North Africa and the Mediterranean,
is shown above in the “Tropical” paint scheme that the Luftwaffe used during
The white 12 number on the fuselage was assigned to Franz. The African Campaign for the Luftwaffe was to have the aircraft wing tips, spinner and rudder painted in white. There was also a white fuselage band. The panel under the exhaust with the bottom air scoop was painted yellow. At first, Franz did not paint his victory marking on the rudder until near the end of the campaign.
Franz and his Squadron were transferred to Sicily, then to Italy, as the Allies advanced in the Mediterranean. Franz served briefly in Germany and then in Bulgaria. Franz was pulled back to Austria to defend against the American bomber formations. The heavy bombers were targeting German industrial and transportation centers. On one raid to Schweinfurt, Germany, sixty American bombers were shot down with Franz claiming two bombers for himself. While Franz was attacking a third bomber that day he was shot down by the tail gunner of the Fortress. Franz always described his Messerschmitt when it was hit by enemy bullets like being hit with a hammer. It was when the bullets were passing through the cockpit, then it was personal. Franz would be injured by the tail gun of a Flying Fortress several times in his fighter pilot career. Once Franz was injured in the forehead and once in his legs.
Stigler was credited with 28 aerial victories. Franz knows that he has more victories than the 28 but you must have a witness to claim a victory. Included in the 28 victories were eleven four engine bombers. Franz was also credited with over thirty probable enemy aircraft as well. Which means that Franz did have camera footage of him shooting the hell out of thirty other aircraft but there is no evidence the damaged caused the aircraft to crash.
was shot down seventeen times with eleven by American bomber gunners. Franz bailed out using his parachute six times and rode his aircraft down the
other eleven. Once
Franz had to bail out because a wing from an American P-47 fighter he shot down
tore his fighter in half! The American fighter lost one of its wings, which came back and struck his aircraft behind
the canopy, tearing the tail off his fighter!
the last weeks of the war Franz transferred to JV-44 and learned to fly the
Messerschmitt Jet-Fighter. While flying the Messerschmitt 262 Jet with JV-44,
Franz shot down two more American bombers. At this time however, the Luftwaffe
was scattered and disorganized so Franz did not receive credit for these
During his three plus years of combat flying with the Luftwaffe, Franz flew 487 missions. His decorations include the Iron Cross 2nd Class, the Iron Cross 1st Class, and the German Cross in Gold. Franz was nominated for the “Knight’s Cross”, but the war ended before he received it.
Photo Of Franz Stigler
Messerschmitt Bf-109F, Tropical; 1/32 Scale, Trumpeter
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B-17 Pilot Charlie Brown, Franz and Artist at Art Show.
Stigler signed original painting.
My brother Bill Boyette and Stigler with signed painting.
Close up of my painting.
This was sent to me on the web. It shows the Bf-109G-6 fighter Franz flew and his wife.
Read more about Luftwaffe Ace Franz Stigler
To read more exciting stories of this Luftwaffe Ace go to the links below.
Palm Sunday Massacre
This is an incredible story of the German withdrawal from North Africa and one mission that almost ended the life of this young fighter pilot.
Chivalry in the Air
A true story of an encounter by Luftwaffe Ace Franz Stigler and a shot up B-17 bomber named "Yea old Pub" piloted by an inexperienced and wounded American Captain named Charlie Brown. Read how instead of shooting down this crippled bomber Franz actually showed compassion and escorted the bomber and crew back to the safety of the English Channel.
Franz Stigler, Jet Fighter instructor and Jet pilot Ace in JV44
Read how Franz was selected to learn to fly the first jet fighter aircraft so he could instruct the leading Luftwaffe Aces of the time to fly the new jet fighter in combat. Franz later followed his students into combat flying the Messerschmitt Me-262 with famed Luftwaffe "Fighting General" Adolf Galland in the most elite group of Aces of all time in Jet Fighter Squadron JV44. Before the war ended several more American B-17 and B-24 bombers would fall to the guns of Franz Stigler in his futuristic fighter that was ahead of its time.
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All research, writings and artwork are by Sir Ernie Hamilton Boyette.
No one is permitted to republish any part of this story with out my personal permission.
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Sir Ernie Hamilton Boyette
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Originally Posted 2-9-07
Counter Started 3-1-11