Wolfgang Schellmann

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Wolfgang Schellmann
Wolfgang Schellmann.jpg
Wolfgang Schellmann
Born (1911-03-02)2 March 1911
Kassel
Died 22 June 1941(1941-06-22) (aged 30)
near Grodno, Belarus
Allegiance Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Service/branch Balkenkreuz.svg Luftwaffe
Years of service 1935–1941
Rank Oberstleutnant
Unit JG 135, Condor Legion, JG 77, JG 2, JG 27
Commands held JG 2, JG 27
Battles/wars

Spanish Civil War
World War II

Awards Spanienkreuz in Gold mit Schwertern und Brillanten
Ritterkreuz

Oberstleutnant Wolfgang Schellmann (2 March 1911 – 22 June 1941) was German World War II Luftwaffe Ace, commander of JG 2 and JG 27 and a winner of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership - for the fighter pilots, it was a quantifiable measure of skill and combat success. Wolfgang Schellmann was credited with 25 victories in over 150 combat missions. He recorded 12 victories during the Spanish Civil War.[Note 1] Of his 13 victories recorded during World War II, 12 were claimed over the Western front and one over the Eastern front.

Career[edit]

Wolfgang Schellmann started his combat training as one of the select few German pilots at the Lipetsk fighter-pilot school in the Soviet Union. After his return and upon the official announcement of the new Luftwaffe, he was given command of the new 2./JG 135 squadron, in March 1935.[1] Two years later, on 19 December 1937, Oberleutnant Schellmann took over command of the 1st Staffel of Jagdgruppe 88, in the "Condor Legion", fighting in the Spanish Civil War. Over the next year he became one of the leading aces in the theatre with 12 victories, second only to Werner Mölders.[2]

Upon his return to Germany he was awarded the Spanish Cross with Swords and Diamonds (Spanienkreuz in Gold mit Schwertern und Brillanten) and promoted to Hauptmann (Captain). He then served on the Stab (Headquarters) flight of the newly formed IV Gruppe of the Jagdgeschwader 132, gaining command experience. Over the next year, it was renamed I./JG 331, then finally I./JG 77. At the outbreak of war in September 1939, he led this unit in the invasion of Poland, then afterward took up an administrative post for a short term, in the headquarters of Luftflotte 2.

On 15 December 1939, the now Hptm Schellmann, was made Gruppenkommandeur of the newly formed II./Jagdgeschwader 2 "Richthofen" (JG 2 — 2nd Fighter Wing), but he only scored his first victory in World War II after the invasion of France, on 15 May 1940. By the end of the campaign he had amassed six further victories. Scoring another victory on 18 July in the Battle of Britain, on 3 September he was promoted to Geschwaderkommodore of JG 2 "Richthofen" as part of Göring's policy to replace the 'Old Guard' fighter commanders with young lions like Werner Mölders (JG 51), Adolf Galland (JG 26), Günther Lützow (JG 3) and Hannes Trautloft (JG 54). Soon after, on 18 September, he was awarded the 'Ritterkreuz' for his 23 victories (including the 12 in Spain). A month later he made way for the charismatic Helmut Wick (at the time in a 3-way battle with Galland and Mölders, as top-scoring pilot) and moved to take command of JG 27. Promoted to Major, he led this Geschwader into the Balkan campaign in Spring 1941, scoring a 24th victory in Greece (20 April 1941), before the unit was pulled out, to central Poland in June, to prepare for the invasion of the Soviet Union.

On 22 June 1941, Major Schellmann was probably the highest profile German casualty of the opening day of Operation Barbarossa. Schellmann's Messerschmitt Bf 109-E (Werknummer 4189—factory number) was rammed by an I-153 Chaykahe piloted by a Lt Kuzmin just after he had shot down his 25th victim, an I-16, near Grodno. Kuzmin was killed in the collision but Schellmann managed to bail out over Soviet territory but was never seen again. It was believed that while attempting to make his way back to German lines he was captured and later killed by NKVD troops.[3][4]

Wolfgang Schellmann scored 25 victories in 150 missions (including 12 over Spain), and was posthumously promoted to Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant Colonel).

Victories[edit]

No Date Time Unit Gruppe Kommandeur[5] Location Claimed Aircraft Source / Comments[6]
1 18 Jan 1938 - 1./JGr 88 - Spain I-16
2 8 Mar 1938 - 1./JGr 88 - Spain I-15
3 24 Mar 1938 - 1./JGr 88 - Spain I-15
4 13 Jun 1938 - 1./JGr 88 - Spain I-16
5 25 Jun 1938 - 1./JGr 88 - Spain I-16
6 18 Jul 1938 - 1./JGr 88 - Spain I-16
7 20 Jul 1938 - 1./JGr 88 - Spain I-16
8 20 Jul 1938 - 1./JGr 88 - Spain I-16
9 12 Aug 1938 - 1./JGr 88 - Spain SB-2
10 12 Aug 1938 - 1./JGr 88 - Spain SB-2
11 14 Aug 1938 - 1./JGr 88 - Spain I-16
12 20 Aug 1938 - 1./JGr 88 - Spain I-16
13 15 May 1940 9:35 Stab II./JG 2 - Peer Obstlt Harry von Bülow-Bothkamp Couly, E of Rethel Hurricane OKL & Prien/Bock
14 17 May 1940 8:35 Stab II./JG 2 - Attenrode Obstlt Harry von Bülow-Bothkamp SE of Brussels Lysander OKL & Prien/Bock
15 19 May 1940 6:05 Stab II./JG 2 - Attenrode Obstlt Harry von Bülow-Bothkamp W of Tournai Lysander OKL & Prien/Bock
16 31 May 1940 15:55 Stab II./JG 2 - Grandglise Obstlt Harry von Bülow-Bothkamp Furnes, E of Dunkirk Spitfire OKL & Prien/Bock
17 1 Jun 1940 5:45 Stab II./JG 2 - Grandglise Obstlt Harry von Bülow-Bothkamp Dunkirk Lysander OKL & Prien/Bock
18 2 Jun 1940 9:45 Stab II./JG 2 - Grandglise Obstlt Harry von Bülow-Bothkamp Dunkirk Spitfire OKL & Prien/Bock
19 3 Jun 1940 14:45 Stab II./JG 2 - Grandglise Obstlt Harry von Bülow-Bothkamp Compiegne Morane 406 OKL & Prien/Bock
20 18 Jul 1940 13:15 Stab II./JG 2 - Beaumont-le-Roger Obstlt Harry von Bülow-Bothkamp N of Le Havre Blenheim OKL & Prien/Bock; of 236 Sqn
21 25 Aug 1940 18:30 Stab II./JG 2 - Beaumont-le-Roger Obstlt Harry von Bülow-Bothkamp Warmwell Spitfire OKL & Prien/Bock
22 27 Aug 1940 ~18:30 Stab II./JG 2 - Beaumont-le-Roger Obstlt Harry von Bülow-Bothkamp Wareham Spitfire OKL & Prien/Bock
23 31 Aug 1940 9:25 Stab II./JG 2 - Beaumont-le-Roger Obstlt Harry von Bülow-Bothkamp Eastchurch Hurricane OKL & Prien/Bock
- 26 Sep 1940 17:40 Stab/JG 2 - Beaumont-le-Roger Maj Wolfgang Schellmann Isle of Wight: 6000m Spitfire OKL & Prien/Bock
24 20 Apr 1941 12:10 Stab/JG 27 - Larissa, Greece Maj Wolfgang Schellmann Tanagra Hurricane C. 2033/I AnerkNr 31; P/O J Still of 80 Sqn
25 22 Jun 1941 3:15 Stab/JG 27 - Sobolevo, Poland Maj Wolfgang Schellmann Kamenki, nr Grodno I-16 C. 2036/II Nr 81857 opening missions of Barbarossa
22 Jun 1941 - Stab/JG 27 - Sobolevo, Poland Maj Wolfgang Schellmann Kamenki, nr Grodno

Awards[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

Citations
  1. ^ Luftwaffe Officer Career Summaries website.
  2. ^ Aces of the Luftwaffe website.
  3. ^ Bergström 2007, p. 18.
  4. ^ Weal, p. 21
  5. ^ Luftwaffe Air Units: Single–Engined Fighters website.
  6. ^ Aces of the Luftwaffe website.
  7. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 375.
  8. ^ Scherzer 2007, p. 659.
Bibliography
  • Bergström, Christer (2007). Barbarossa - The Air Battle: July–December 1941. London: Chervron/Ian Allan. ISBN 978-1-85780-270-2.
  • 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. 
  • Forsyth, Robert (2011). Aces of the Legion Condor. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84908-347-8. 
  • Musciano, Walter (1989). Messerschmitt Aces. Tab Books ISBN 0-8306-8379-8
  • Nauroth, Holger (2005). Jagdgeschwader 2 "Richthofen", A Photographic History. Schiffer Publishing, Atglen, PA. ISBN 0-7643-2094-7.
  • 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. 
  • Ringlstetter, Herbert (2005). Helmut Wick, An Illustrated Biography Of The Luftwaffe Ace And Commander Of Jagdgeschwader 2 During The Battle Of Britain. Schiffer Publishing, Atglen, PA. ISBN 0-7643-2217-6.
  • 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. 
  • Weal, John (2008). Aviation Elite Units #1: Jagdgeschwader 2 'Richthofen’. Oxford: Osprey Publishing Limited. ISBN 1-84176-046-3
  • Weal, John (2003). Aviation Elite Units #12: Jagdgeschwader 27 'Afrika'. Oxford: Osprey Publishing Limited. ISBN 1-84176-538-4.
  • Weal, John (1996). Bf109D/E Aces 1939-41. Oxford: Osprey Publishing Limited. ISBN 1-85532-487-3.
  • Weal, John (1998), Bf109 Aces of the Russian Front, Oxford: Osprey, ISBN 1-85532-722-8 .

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Oblt Harro Harder
Squadron Leader of 1.J/88
19 December 1937 – early September 1938
Succeeded by
Hptm Siebelt Reents
Preceded by
none: new unit
Group Commander of II./JG 2
15 December 1939 – 20 August 1940
Succeeded by
Hptm Karl-Heinz Greisert
Preceded by
ObstLt Harry von Bülow-Bothkamp
Commander of Jagdgeschwader 2 Richthofen
3 September 1940 – 19 October 1940
Succeeded by
Maj Helmut Wick
Preceded by
Maj Bernhard Woldenga
Commander of Jagdgeschwader 27 Afrika
22 October 1940 – 21 June 1941
Succeeded by
Maj Bernhard Woldenga