This is a very special offering of the WWII German dagger of night fighter ace Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer, holder of the Knights Cross with Diamonds. The dagger features an ivory handle and damascus blade. It is complete with the original portapee and undamaged scabbard. The fittings on this magnificent dagger are of aluminum. The Damascus blade is unmarked and a thing of beauty to behold. Accompanying this dagger is a set of pre-war deluxe hangers which are original to the dagger. The blade remains in excellent, undamaged condition and is with the original factory tip. This dagger appeared on the cover of one of the AAG catalogs many years ago and was purchased by the collector from whom we acquired it. This piece is a true work of are and would be the centerpiece of any dagger collection.
Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer (16 February 1922 – 15 July 1950), was the highest-scoring German Luftwaffe night-fighter ace in the history of aerial warfare. All Schnaufer’s 121 victories were claimed during World War II, mostly against British four-engine bombers, for which he was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds, Germany’s highest military decoration at the time, on 16 October 1944. He was nicknamed “The Spook of St. Trond”, from the location of his unit’s base in occupied Belgium.
He claimed his first aerial victory on the night of 1/2 June 1942. As the war progressed, he accumulated further victories and later became a squadron leader and group commander. He was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross on 31 December 1943 for reaching 42 aerial victories.
Schnaufer achieved his 100th aerial victory on 9 October 1944 and was awarded the Diamonds to his Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords on 16 October. Schnaufer was taken prisoner of war by British forces in May 1945. After his release a year later, he returned to his home town and took over the family wine business. He was involved in an automobile accident on 13 July 1950 during a wine-purchasing visit to France and died of head injuries in a Bordeaux hospital two days later. He is buried in the family plot at Calwer Friedhof, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. The inscription on his headstone reads, “Here rests the best and undefeated night fighter of the Second World War, Major and Geschwaderkommodore Heinz Wolfgang Schnaufer, 1922 – 1950″.