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Erica Hartmann (エーリカ・ハルトマン, Ērika Harutoman) is a witch of the 501st Joint Fighter Wing, originating from Karlsland and affiliated with the Karlsland Air Force and her home unit: the Luftwaffe's JG52. Some call her by the pet name of Frau (フラウ, Furau), especially her friends. However, she became renowned as the Black Devil (ブラックデビル, Burakku Debiru). Her radio callsign is 'Karaya-1' (カラヤ・アイン Karaya Ain). She is the twin sister of Ursula Hartmann, a scientist & witch. Erica is the Karlsland Air Force's (and therefore humanity's) number one ace.

Background

Erica was born in Weissach, in the southern part of Karlsland, to a doctor father and former witch mother. The past of her mother inspired Erica to become a witch and fly in the sky. Her twin sister, Ursula, also becomes a witch, serving up in Suomus. During her early childhood, her dream was to become a doctor, like her father. She went to Asian countries when she was a child for her father's work. Then she went home on the Trans-Siberian Railway because her mother was sick. After this, Erica decided to become a witch.

During her time at the training academy, she was transferred from a training school in Bayern to the same academy as Hanna-Justina Marseille. She was particularly attached to Marseille, with their relationship being a repetition of one-sided challenges and light turn downs. With Marseille being regarded as "impertinent and rebellious" by the instructors, the top student position of the training school ended up being taken away by Hartmann. Later, Erica was assigned to the Jagdgeschwader 52 (JG52) 4th Staffel together with (at the time) Pilot Officer Marseille.

Erica's first sortie was a catastrophe. First, she lost sight of Flight Sergeant Roßmann, who was flying with her, and then she thought she saw a Neuroi so she flew around trying to escape until she crash landed due to running out of magic power. However, and despite her reprehensible disposition, she later successively got shot-downs and gained conspicuous achievements. Around that period, she met (at the time) Flight Lieutenant Bonin.

She joined the JG52 at around the same time as Gertrud Barkhorn and Waltrud Krupinski, who she considers good friends. She spent a good deal of time with Waltrud, who was her lead wingman. When she was a rookie, she met Edytha Roßmann during her dismal wartime debut. Edytha's teaching skill, thanks to a talent for deftly influencing people, meant much of the efforts of instructing new pilots were left up to her. Erica learned most of the basics of dogfighting under her tutelage, although her skill at first was nothing special. Nakajima Nishiki fought with Erica and Gertrud on an occasion, but pitifully, she was completely forgotten by the two. Erica also met Angela Salas Larrazabal during the evacuation of Karlsland. At one point, she, Barkhorn, Johanna Wiese and Krupinski had an audience with the Emperor of Karlsland.

After finishing her training and getting assigned, Erica fought in the JG52 on the front line in the east, later during the defense of her home country, and they were later involved in the evacuation of Gallia. Her victory count had a sudden rise when Barkhorn was transferred to the unit. During the war, Erica earned a reputation as an outstanding ace and met with many famous witches. However, the other members of the flying corps were scattered in the middle of the evacuation war, with only her and Flight Lieutenant Barkhorn remaining together in the end. It was also around that time that she deepened her friendship with Flight Lieutenant Barkhorn and Wing Commander Wilcke. Afterwards, with the establishment of the 501st JFW, she joined in alongside Wing Commander Wilcke and Flight Lieutenant Barkhorn, becoming one of its founding members.

She extended her number of victories steadily after being assigned to the 501st Joint Fighter Wing, shot down 10 aircraft Neuroi per day in the spring of 1944, and was awarded with the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves when her total number reached 200 aircraft. On the day of her commendation, Erica misplaced her panties, so she ended up stealing Lucchini's. As Lucchini is forced to stand without wearing panties during Erica's ceremony, a breezy wind reveals the true culprit. When the 501st was disbanded, Erica, alongside Flight Lieutenant Barkhorn and Wing Commander Wilcke, decide to stay behind to find out about Maloney's plans. Later, she and the other Strike Witches liberated Gallia with the loss of the Warlock.

After the liberation of Gallia and the disband of the 501st JFW, Erica moved to Sint-Truiden (St. Trond), Belgica, along with Flight Lieutenant Barkhorn and Wing Commander Wilcke, engaging in Karlsland recapture operations and investigation of a disturbance over her home country. There, she gained her 300th shot down and was awarded.

When the 501st was reformed in Romagna, Erica volunteered to accompany Flight Lieutenant Marseille on the mission with the attack on the Neuroi Hive over Malta Island, liberating it in Barkhorn's place. This was due to Barkhorn, the first choice, getting along terribly with Marseille. After fooling around in a training session, which involved Marseille pretending to shoot Erica down, the two are ordered to stay in a room together to learn to cooperate. Obsessed with winning, Marseille has always wanted to settle things with Erica, whom she views as her equal. As of late, however, she had become annoyed with Erica's lack of competitive spirit. When Marseille badmouths Barkhorn, who wants an autograph for her sister, Erica agrees to compete with her during the mission. When they reach a draw after destroying the Neuroi, they have a tiebreaker dogfight, also ending in a draw. Before she leaves, Hanna decides to give Erica the autograph, albeit indirectly. Erica later participated in Operation Mars, and liberated Venezia with the rest of the 501st.

After the liberation of Venezia, she returned once again to St. Trond to engage in Karlsland recapture operations. There, Erica worked together with Flying Officer Ursula Hartmann, Wing Commander Wilcke, Squadron Leader Schnaufer and Flight Lieutenant Barkhorn. When Wing Commander Wilcke becomes curious about the reports on a new type of Neuroi, which appear too far away from the usual nests, she sends Barkhorn and Hartmann to investigate. Their search leads them to find several transforming Neuroi, as well as a tower-shaped one which escapes underground. With more Neuroi expected to come, the 501st Joint Fighter Wing is once again reformed.

In 1945, Erica is Karlsland's sixteen year old "ultra ace" of the Luftwaffe JG 52's legendary veteran troops with more than 300 confirmed victories and the rank of Flying Officer. Within the setting of the Strike Witches' world, she is one of the best-seven witches in terms of shot down count (the other six being Wilcke, Barkhorn, Schnaufer, Rall, Marseille, and Rudel).

Personality

While extremely efficient and strategic in battle, Erica is rather sloppy on the ground, and her room (which she has never cleaned) is extremely messy. She is the sort of person who is only serious when the situation calls for it. Her carefree attitude stands in stark contrast to her twin sister's quieter, more reserved demeanor. However, while seemingly lighthearted, she actually cares a lot about safety and well-being of her teammates and friends. She is also quite the rebel, not caring about violating regulations or promotions, which explains her relative lack of them.

She doesn't talk much, and she likes doing things at her own pace, but despite this, Erica is incredibly brave in battle, always performing accurate strikes. Despite her skill, she dislikes the bureaucratic structure of the military. Her favorite hobby is sleeping. Brilliant and yet innocent, Erica is amazing in combat, but otherwise she seems a little dreamy. She also likes food, especially potatoes. Though she might not look like it, she can be very stubborn sometimes, and always looks at things critically, so she isn't well-liked by military higher-ups.

Flippant, arrogant and a somewhat selfish girl. She seeks to do what she wants, not always paying attention to her surroundings. Erica sometimes partakes in unruly behavior. No matter what however, she always remains a faithful and reliable friend, able to be relied on in any serious situation. She has a reputation as a cheerful and carefree prankster.

The people never know what this one is thinking. She's quite mysterious. She's a truly amazing ace in the sky, but down on the ground, it seems like she thinks even just moving her finger is making too much an effort. Consequently, she is the frequent target of the strait-laced Barkhorn's disciplinary lectures but Erica normally ignores and tune it out. A cheerful, upbeat and friendly breath of fresh air who doesn't hold grudges and can get along with anybody. Erica also never seems to get stressed up or agitated. She even sleeps through an alarm clock and having books thrown at her. However, mention the possibility of having candy and she'll wake up instantaneously.

She has a close relationship with Flight Lieutenant Barkhorn and worries a lot about her, despite their very different personalities. Although Barkhorn is forever scolding her, the two has a very close relationship as best friends. Erica also has a good relation with Minna-Dietlinde Wilcke, like a relation of older and little sisters, and a surprisingly close relationship with Flying Officer Litvyak with whom she likes talking. She considers Flight Sergeant Roßmann and Flying Officer Krupinski good friends since her times in the JG52.

Her cooking skills are terrible, and Wing Commander Wilcke and Flight Lieutenant Barkhorn told her that 'You don't have to cook anything from now on…'. Since it was “orders from superior officers”, they even forced Erica to sign a paper on it. Her favourites foods are potatoes and sweets. If she has the chance, she tries to eat Barkhorn's potatoes.

Her dream is to become a worthy doctor like her father and live with her family when peace returns.

Abilities

Her special technique is an offensive barrel roll named Sturm (疾風 (シュトルム), Shutorumu; German for "Storm") which manipulates gusts of ether to attack enemies. Classified in the attack lineage, her inherent magic is the ability to manipulate the atmosphere, divert the enemies' attacks and facilitate special flight by having a thin breeze surrounding her. Using air lift is the basic function of a striker unit, but what is different from others is that Erica can enhance the lift with her own power. If Erica concentrates, it is powerful enough to blow a hole through a Neuroi, and it is also possible to attack a wider range with less power. In the movie, Hartmann has been seen combining her Sturm ability with Flying Officer Clostermann's Tonnerre attack, creating an attack that more than double their effectiveness.

She is extremely efficient and strategic in battle, even in small-scaled battles, which is a evidence of her biggest battle abilities. By Gertrud's own word she is the most expert witch in the unit. Bury the enemy surely to understand the situation around in a calm power of observation and intuition of genius, and she is the Ultra Ace of top class in the world. She also has never lost a wingman, same as Eila.

Equipment

On her Strikers, one can see the Black Tulip pattern that adorned Erich Hartmann's aircraft. Her Striker Unit, the Messersharf Bf109G-6, it's a new model with lots of details that have been updated, and the power of the engine has been increased.

She also uses in combat a Karlsland-made MG42.

Erica's Comments On Other Characters

Chara05 1 On Minna

"I'm not fond of rules, and I tend to say that even to superior officers, so I'm not very liked by the people above. But Minna is different. She doesn't dislike fighting, but she does dislike wasting her subordinates lives. Minna understands the importance of getting everyone home alive, so when I fly under her command, I can fight to the fullest."

7e76a6de6c77f06f0411243096a766fc On Lynette

"Lynne has cheered up a lot since Miyafuji came. She really seemed to be about to break from the pressure before that. I had a similar experience when I was new, but I was blessed with good companions. I guess the friendship between Miyafuji and Lynne is similar to the friendship between me and Trude in that regard."

14d1528b765811585ad16da16f4d04cd On Miyafuji

"Miyafuji is the one who saved Trude when she was badly injured not long ago. I'm really grateful! We didn't have a witch with healing powers in our unit before… I really wished they'd sent after her sooner. She still isn't very skilled and mostly just goes with flow, but I guess I’m not the one to talk about other peoples times as rookies."

E14538eb81bf8236ee742a8aa76241ac On Mio

"I met Major Sakamoto several times back in Karlsland, but she is still as amazing now as she was then. She's one of the few people I know who I feel I trust blindly. It seems like Minna trusts her a lot as well, almost so much it makes me feel jealous. Well, I'd never fit as a trainee instructor, so…"

Chara07 1 On Perrine

"I’ve heard Perrine is from some really high-class family. I guess that's why she's so obsessed with etiquette and manners… it took us quite some time to get used to each other. But she is honest in recognizing other good fighters and I’m sure her aerial victory score would go up steadily if she just found a good partner. But when I suggested Miyafuji she looked at me like the world was about to end."

35e6a0bfafdefcbb99c934cfba34f23e On Lucchini

"That Lucchini… No matter how many pranks she plays, she never gets put into house arrest or anything since she’s the youngest of us. I'm envious… My home is close to Romagna, so we may be alike because of that, but at least I’m not as carefree as she is… I think. Ah… Maybe I am. Ah, anyway, she's quite skilled, so her future looks bright."

C1be48c1f27bce67edbf28f2a92a719c On Shirley

"Shirley often looks at the battlefield from a distance. And then, when the enemy shows her a weakness, she comes flying in and takes it out using her special speed. She's the kind of person who thinks about how to use her strong points in battle. We've only formed a pair a few times, but when we did, she followed my moves well, and it was easy to do a good job. She might be unexpectedly good at taking care of others."

Chara06 1 On Trude

"Trude always complains about small things I’m doing that she doesn’t like, and is annoyingly strict when it comes to rules. But I understand she's doing it because she cares about me! I always think I shouldn’t cause her too much trouble, but I always end up doing it anyway. I guess she feels like a big sister to me. But although she seems very reliable, she can also be quite clumsy sometimes. Such as when it comes to her sister."

Chara11 1 On Sanya

"I actually get along well with Sanya! We talk to each other quite often, but I guess it's usually just me who's doing the talking. We're both usually not very talkative, but we still have a lot of things we want to talk about. What we're talking about doesn't really matter though!"

Chara10 1 On Eila

"Eila is quite an oddball! Eh? I’m not the one to talk? But the way she's dodging bullets as if she can see everything that's going on around her is really something else! Well, I know she has the ability to see the near future and all that, but it's as if she has eyes on the back of her head! The first time we met, she suddenly grabbed my breasts but… I wonder if that's how they greet each other in Suomus."

Strike Witches "What If" — 1947

What-if Hartmann

Flight Lieutenant Erica Hartmann, who has returned to JG52. Since many veteran witches have left the front lines, she accepted the duties of Flight Lieutenant and Company Commander, but that smiling face hasn't changed.

This shouldn't be considered entirely canonical, because it was only tweeted by Humikane.

Appearances

Anime

Audio Media

Light Novels

Manga

Video Games

Trivia

  • Her ace archetype is Erich Hartmann. Erica's hairstyle is based on Erich's nickname "Bubi". She has her hair in a "Bubischnitt", which is the German term for a "bob". Her striker unit has the black tulip pattern also present on Erich Hartmann's aircraft. Also, her sister is named Ursula, the name of Erich Hartmann's wife. Like Erica, Erich also had a problem with discipline, and the hubbub over her stealing Lucchini's underwear is based on Erich Hartmann accidentally taking Hitler's hat. Both of them share the nickname Black Devil due to their abilities in aerial combat.
  • Her familiar is the Dachshund, although her twin sister's familiar is a Badger in the light novels. Unlike other witches, the Hartmann twins don't actually grow animal ears; instead the tips of their hair turn black.[2]
  • Her nickname, Frau, is a feminization of "Bubi". Erich Hartmann was nicknamed Bubi as a reference to his boyish appearance. Frau, on the other hand, has the complete opposite meaning.
  • Erica's Black uniform resembles that worn famously by Luftwaffe mechanics during the early stages of the conflict.

Gallery

References

  1. Strike Witches Official Fanbook Complete File, page 35
  2. Twitter / humikane
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