- This article was considered for deletion at Wikipedia on April 7 2017. This is a backup of Wikipedia:Erich_Handke. All of its AfDs can be found at Wikipedia:Special:PrefixIndex/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Erich_Handke, the first at Wikipedia:Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Erich_Handke.
Erich Handke (2 November 1920 – 11 November 1987) was a highly decorated Luftwaffe Oberfeldwebel during World War II. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (Template:Lang-de). During his career he participated in 129 missions as a radio operator.
He served as a radio operator with Feldwebel Georg Kraft, Oberleutnant Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer (121 victories), and Major Martin Drewes (43 victories) all who were decorated with the Oak Leaves or higher. With Kraft, who was shot down and killed in action by Wing Commander Bob Braham on the night of 17/18 August 1943, he had claimed 14 aerial victories.
During his service Handke formed part of the most successful night fighter crew with Schnaufer, who shot down more aircraft at night than any other aviator in the history of aerial warfare. Handke's role in the night fighter was to guide the pilot, by means of airborne radar, to the bomber. Handke was already an experienced radar operator before he joined Schnaufer. Radar did not guarantee success and required a high-level of skill to allow the pilot to engage a target. The radar, and it's operator, were critical to the success of night fighter pilots: without such operators, interception was a matter of luck.
Awards and decorations
- Aviator badge
- Front Flying Clasp of the Luftwaffe in Gold
- Honour Goblet of the Luftwaffe (Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe) on 17 January 1944 as Unteroffizier and radio operator
- Iron Cross (1939)
- 2nd Class
- 1st Class
- German Cross in Gold on 29 March 1944 as Unteroffizier in the 12./Nachtjagdgeschwader 1
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 27 July 1944 as Fahnenjunker-Feldwebel and Bordfunker (radio operator) in the IV./Nachtjagdgeschwader 1Template:Refn
- Hinchcliffe 1999, p. xi.
- Boiten 1997, p. 56.
- Mackay 2000, p. 139.
- Hinchcliffe 1999, p. 95.
- Boiten 1997, p. 92.
- Aders 1974, p. 58.
- Patzwall 2008, p. 94.
- Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 163.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 212.
- Aders, Gebhard (1978). History of the German Night Fighter Force, 1917–1945. Janes Publishing, London. ISBN 0-354-01247-9
- Boiten, Theo (1997) (in English). Nachtjagd: the night fighter versus bomber war over the Third Reich, 1939–45. London: Crowood Press. ISBN 978-1-86126-086-4.
- Bowman, Martin (2016). German Night Fighters Versus Bomber Command 1943–1945. Barnsley, South Yorkshire: Pen and Sword Aviation. ISBN 978-1-4738-4979-2.
- Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000)  (in German). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches]. Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6.
- Hinchliffe, Peter (1999). Schnaufer: Ace of Diamonds. Brimscombe Port, UK: Tempus. ISBN 978-0-7524-1690-8.
- Mackay, Ron. Messerschmitt Bf 110. Wiltshire, UK: The Crowood Press, 2000. ISBN 1-86126-313-9
- Obermaier, Ernst (1989) (in German). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Luftwaffe Jagdflieger 1939 – 1945 [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the Luftwaffe Fighter Force 1939 – 1945]. Mainz, Germany: Verlag Dieter Hoffmann. ISBN 978-3-87341-065-7.
- Patzwall, Klaus D.; Scherzer, Veit (2001) (in German). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II [The German Cross 1941 – 1945 History and Recipients Volume 2]. Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8.
- Scherzer, Veit (2007) (in German). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives]. Jena, Germany: Scherzers Militaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.