11 June 1913|
|Died||18 September 1941
|Buried at||Lommel, Belgium
(Block 38-grave 459)
|Years of service||193?-1941|
|Unit||J/88, JG 26|
|Commands held||II./JG 26|
Spanish Civil War
|Awards||Spanish Cross in Gold with Swords
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Walter Adolph (11 June 1913 – 18 September 1941) was a Luftwaffe fighter ace. A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down five or more enemy aircraft during aerial combat. He flew 79 combat missions during World War II and was credited with 25 aerial victories including 1 in the Spanish Civil War.
Leutnant Adolph served with 1./Jagdgruppe 88 of the Condor Legion during the Spanish Civil War from late 1937 until spring 1938. He claimed one victory, a Republican Polikarpov I-15 fighter, on 30 December 1937. He was awarded the Spanish Cross in Gold with Swords, for his service in the Spanish Civil War. From early 1939 Adolph served as Staffelkapitän, 2./Jagdgeschwader 1 (JG 1). He flew several missions during the campaign in Poland. He first scored in World War II by claiming an Royal Air Force (RAF) Bristol Blenheim of No. 139 Squadron (flown by F/O AC MacLachlan) over Osnabrück on 1 October 1939. During the French campaign Adolph claimed five more victories, including three No. 139 Squadron Blenheim bombers shot down in just five minutes over Maastricht on 12 May 1940.
On 9 July 1940 2./JG 1 was redesignated as 8./Jagdgeschwader 27 (JG 27). Adolph was appointed Gruppenkommandeur, II./Jagdgeschwader 26 (JG 26) on 4 October 1940. By this time he had nine victories. Hauptmann Adolph was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 13 November 1940 after 15 victories.
II./JG 26 was chosen as the first Luftwaffe unit to transition to the new Focke Wulf Fw 190 fighter, receiving their first aircraft in July 1941, being completely equipped by 1 September.
At the time of his death he was a Hauptmann (Captain) commanding II./JG 26. On 18 September 1941 he was killed flying a Focke-Wulf Fw 190 A-1 (Werknummer 0028—factory number) while on escort duty with eight other aircraft when they encountered a flight of Bristol Blenheims escorted by Spitfires and Hurricanes. The British flying ace F/O Cyril Babbage of 41 Squadron is believed to have shot down Adolph. His Fw 190 A-1 was the first of its kind to be lost in aerial combat. His body washed ashore near Knokke in Belgium. He was buried in Lommel, Belgium.
- Spanish Cross in Gold with Swords
- Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe (26 October 1940)
- Iron Cross (1939) 2nd and 1st Class
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 13 November 1940 as Hauptmann and Gruppenkommandeur of the II./JG 26 "Schlageter"
- Spick 1996, pp. 3–4.
- Obermaier 2007, p. 81.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 114.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 188.
- Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 – Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtsteile [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] (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6.
- Obermaier, Ernst (1989). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Luftwaffe Jagdflieger 1939 – 1945 [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the Luftwaffe Fighter Force 1941 – 1945] (in German). Mainz, Germany: Verlag Dieter Hoffmann. ISBN 978-3-87341-065-7.
- Scherzer, Veit (2007). 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] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
- Spick, Mike (1996). Luftwaffe Fighter Aces. New York: Ivy Books. ISBN 978-0-8041-1696-1.
- "Aces of the Luftwaffe". Walter Adolph. Retrieved 22 May 2007.
- "Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945". Walter Adolph. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 22 May 2007.