Hermes' Wings

History, Writing and Personal Musings

Von Kaganeck

Hailing from German aristocracy, Erbo Graf von Kageneck (b. 2 April 1918-12 January 1942) earned a reputation as an “ace hunter,” for shooting down several seasoned Allied veterans. Born into a family heavily committed in the war (another brother was a celebrated tank commander), von Kageneck, like so many Luftwaffe experten started the war seeing action over Poland and France. From July 1940, he joined in operations against Britain, shooting down seven RAF fighters before the daylight battles ended in October. Posted to III/JG27 “Afrika,” a crack fighter unit destined for North Africa, von Kageneck operated for a time against Malta in May 1941. His time over the island may have been brief — just two weeks — but he shot down four British Hurricane fighters, two of them piloted by rising RAF stars, Flight Lieutenant Innes Westmacott, who bailed out on May 13, and the impeccably dressed and handsome Pilot Officer Claud “Hamish” Hamilton of 185 Squadron who was so badly wounded on May 14, that he crash-landed at the Marsa Sports Club racetrack, stepped out of his intact Hurricane and died on the racetrack. Von Kageneck met his own match on 24 December 1941, when he was shot down and badly wounded, possibly by the great Australian ace, Clive Caldwell, over the Western Desert. Evacuated to Italy, he died later in a Naples hospital.

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