Leutnant Ettel was posted to 4 staffel, Jagdgeschwader 3 (JG 3—3rd Fighter Wing) on the Eastern Front in early 1942. On 24 June, he claimed his first two victories when he shot down two Il-2 Sturmovik aircraft. He was shot down near Voronezh on 10 July, while destroying a Russian-flown Douglas Boston bomber. He bailed out of his stricken Messerschmitt Bf 109 F-4 "White 1" behind Russian lines, swam across the River Don to return to his unit four days later. He recorded his 20th victory on 9 August and his 30th by 7 October.
4./JG 3 was relocated to the Kuban bridgehead in February 1943, and during the months of intensive operations Ettel claimed some 28 Russian aircraft shot down in March and 36 more in April, including five shot down on 11 April. He claimed his 120th victory on 11 May but was shot down by flak and belly-landed his Bf 109 G–4 between the front lines, returning to German lines despite Russian rifle fire. That same night Ettel led a Wehrmacht patrol to his damaged aircraft to salvage important equipment. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) on 1 June.
Wolf Ettel was credited with 124 victories in over 250 missions. Of his 120 victories over the Eastern front 21 were Il-2 Sturmovik ground-attack aircraft. He recorded 4 victories over Sicily including 2 USAAF four-engine bombers.
Ettel, Wolf (1997). Sie nannten ihn König der Kubanjäger — Feldpostbriefe 1941–1943 des Jagdfliegers Wolf Ettel. Frankfurt am Main: Haag + Herchen. ISBN 3-86137-579-6.
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. ISBN978-3-7909-0284-6.
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. ISBN978-3-87341-065-7.
Patzwall, Klaus D.; Scherzer, Veit (2001). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II [The German Cross 1941 – 1945 History and Recipients Volume 2] (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN978-3-931533-45-8.
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. ISBN978-3-938845-17-2.
Scutts, Jerry (1994). Bf 109 Aces of North Africa and the Mediterranean. London: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-85532-448-2.