Wolfgang Falck

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Wolfgang Falck
Wolfgang Falck.jpg
Wolfgang Falck
Born (1910-08-19)19 August 1910
Berlin
Died 13 March 2007(2007-03-13) (aged 96)
St. Ulrich (Tyrol)/Austria
Allegiance Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Service/branch Balkenkreuz.svg Luftwaffe
Years of service 1932–1945
Rank Oberst
Unit ZG 76, ZG 1, NJG 1
Commands held NJG 1
Battles/wars

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Wolfgang Falck (19 August 1910 in Berlin – 13 March 2007) was a German Luftwaffe fighter ace during World War II. He was one of the key organisers of the German night fighter defences.

Military career[edit]

On 7 April 1931, he began his pilot training at the Deutsche Verkehrsfliegerschule (German Air Transport School) at Schleißheim. The course he and 29 other trainees attended was called Kameradschaft 31, abbreviated "K 31". Among the members of K 31 were men like Hannes Trautloft and Günther Lützow. Falck graduated from the Deutsche Verkehrfliegerschule 19 February 1932. In February 1933 he attended the Infantry School at Dresden for officer training and made Leutnant in October 1934. In March 1935, Leutnant Falck became an instructor at the Deutsche Verkehrsfliegerschule at Schleissheim and in April 1936 promoted to Oberleutnant and transferred to JG 132 'Richthofen' based at Jüterbog-Damm, as Staffelkapitän of 5. Staffel. In July 1938, Falck was appointed Staffelkapitän of 8. Staffel of the new JG 132, based at Fürstenwalde. The new unit was later redesignated I./ZG 76 and equipped with the Bf 110 Zerstörer fighter.

Falck was a friend of Claus Graf Schenk von Stauffenberg and came under suspicion by the Gestapo after the July 20 Plot.

War Service[edit]

Falck led 2./ZG 76 during the Polish campaign from Ohlau in Silesia, gaining three victories over Polish Air Force aircraft. The unit was then relocated to Jever to protect the northern seaboard and the Kriegsmarine naval bases. On 18 December 1939 he claimed two Vickers Wellington twin-engine bombers attacking Wilhelmshaven. Falck force-landed his aircraft after return fire from the bombers damaged his engines. In February 1940 Hauptmann Falck was appointed Gruppenkommandeur I./Zerstörergeschwader 1 (ZG 1), based at Düsseldorf. The Gruppe was relocated to the Baltic coast in April and on 9 April, Falck led the unit during the invasion of Denmark. He recorded his seventh (and final) victory, shooting down a Danish Fokker C.V taking off from Værløse.

While based at Aalborg in Northern Denmark Falck prepared a comprehensive tactical appraisal report on night interception. Thus after I./ZG 1's participation in the Battle of France General Albert Kesselring ordered Falck to take his unit to Düsseldorf and reform for the night fighter role.

Father of the Nachtjagdwaffe[edit]

Major Falck became Kommodore of the first dedicated night fighter unit Nachtjagdgeschwader 1 in June 1940, and received the Ritterkreuz in October 1940. He was to command NJG 1 for three years and in partnership with General Josef Kammhuber develop a highly effective night fighter force.

In July 1943, Falck was promoted to Oberst and transferred to the Generalstab as Kammhuber's representative at the Luftwaffenführungsstab. Falck was then sent to Berlin and appointed within the Luftwaffenbefehlshaber Mitte, as overall responsible for the day and night fighter defence of the Reich.

He was then appointed Jagdfliegerführer Balkan based at Pančevo from June 1944. Falck then became General Flieger-Ausbildung, responsible for all Luftwaffe training schools, shortly after. In March 1945 he was given command of fighters based in the Rhineland, but did not take up the role, becoming a prisoner of the American Forces on 3 May 1945 in Bavaria.

Awards[edit]

Post-war career[edit]

Released in June 1945, Falck had a variety of jobs, including farming, working for a pharmaceutical company, and working for the British Army as a Civil Officer at the stores section of the 47th Royal Engineers. He attended night school and studied business, which resulted in a job selling playing cards. In 1961, he was approached by North American Aviation to undertake an aviation consultancy post. In 1966 he joined McDonnell Douglas. On retirement from business in 1986, he lived in St Ulrich in Austria. He continued flying post war, being a member of many flying clubs.

Documentary[edit]

In 1997, Falck appeared in the last episode of the documentary The Nazis: A Warning from History, named Fighting to the end. Falck was amongst several German war veterans who explained what motivated them to continue fighting late in the war. Falck himself explained the motivations of the Nachtjagdgeschwader (Night Fighter Wings) during the Defence of the Reich campaign. Falck served as president of the German veterans organization Gemeinschaft der Jagdflieger from 18 October 1975 to 8 October 1977.[2]

References[edit]

Citations
  1. ^ Scherzer 2007, p. 302.
  2. ^ "Namhafte Persönlichkeiten". Gemeinschaft der Flieger deutscher Streitkräfte e.V. (in German). Retrieved 7 February 2014. 
Bibliography
  • Braatz, Kurt (2005). Gott oder ein Flugzeug - Leben und Sterben des Jagdfliegers Günther Lützow. NeunundzwanzigSechs Verlag. ISBN 3-9807935-6-7.
  • Falck, Wolfgang (2003). Falkenjahre. NeunundzwanzigSechs Verlag. ISBN 3-9807935-2-4.
  • 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. 

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
none
Commander of Nachtjagdgeschwader 1
26 June 1940 – 1 July 1943
Succeeded by
Oberst Werner Streib
Preceded by
Oberstleutnant Bernhard Woldenga
Commander of Jagdfliegerführer Rumänien
June 1944 – 7 October 1944
Succeeded by
disbanded