Heinrich Prinz Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein
Heinrich Alexander Ludwig Peter Prinz zu Sayn-Wittgenstein (14 August 1916 – 21 January 1944) was a German of aristocratic descent and a Luftwaffe night fighter flying ace during World War II. A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down five or more enemy aircraft during aerial combat. At the time of his death, he was the highest scoring night fighter pilot in the Luftwaffe and still the third highest by the end of World War II.
Prinz zu Sayn-Wittgenstein was born on 14 August 1916 in Copenhagen, Denmark and joined the cavalry of the German Wehrmacht in the spring of 1937. He was accepted for flight training and transferred to the emerging Luftwaffe. He initially served as an observer and later as pilot in Kampfgeschwader 1 (KG 1) and Kampfgeschwader 51 (KG 51). With these units he fought in the Battle of France, Battle of Britain and Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union, before he transferred to the night fighter force. He claimed his first aerial victory on the night of 6/7 May 1942. By October 1942, he had accumulated 22 aerial victories for which he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) on 7 October 1942. He received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub) on 31 August 1943, for 54 aerial victories. He was tasked with the leadership of Nachtjagdgeschwader 2 (NJG 2) in January 1944, before he was killed in action on the night of 21 January 1944. Posthumously he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern).