Wolf-Udo Ettel (26 February 1921 – 17 July 1943) was a German World War II Luftwaffe 124 victories Flying ace and a posthumous recipient of the coveted Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. Ettel was credited with 124 aerial victories—that is, 124 aerial combat encounters resulting in the destruction of the enemy aircraft—claimed in over 250 missions. He was killed in action by Anti Aircraft artillery on 17 July 1943.
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.
On 5 June 1943, Ettel was appointed Staffelkapitän (squadron leader) to 8./Jagdgeschwader 27 (JG 27—27th Fighter Wing) based in Greece. He shot down a Royal Air Force (RAF) Spitfire over Sicily on 14 July. On 16 July, he shot down two United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) B-24 Liberator bombers and another Spitfire. He was shot down and killed in action on 17 July 1943, flying a ground support mission attacking British Anti Aircraft artillery position south east of Lentini. Ettel was posthumously awarded the 289th Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub) on 31 August 1943.
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.
- ^ According to Scherzer as pilot and not Staffelführer in the 4./JG 3 "Udet"
- ^ Weal 2001, p. 66.
- ^ Scutts 1994, p. 60.
- ^ Weal 2003, p. 97.
- ^ Obermaier 1989, p. 59.
- ^ Patzwall and Scherzer 2001, p. 106.
- ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 175.
- ^ a b Scherzer 2007, p. 299.
- ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 72.
- 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 (in German). Friedburg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 3-7909-0284-5.
- Obermaier, Ernst (1989). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Luftwaffe Jagdflieger 1939 – 1945 (in German). Mainz, Germany: Verlag Dieter Hoffmann. ISBN 3-87341-065-6.
- Patzwall, Klaus D. and Scherzer, Veit (2001). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II. Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 3-931533-45-X.
- 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 (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
- Scutts, Jerry (1994). Bf 109 Aces of North Africa and the Mediterranean. London: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-85532-448-2.
- Spick, Mike (1996). Luftwaffe Fighter Aces. New York: Ivy Books. ISBN 0-8041-1696-2.
- Weal, John (2001). Bf 109 Aces of the Russian Front. Oxford: Osprey Publishing Limited. ISBN 1-84176-084-6.
- Weal, John (2003). Jagdgeschwader 27 'Afrika'. London: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-841765-38-4.
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