|Born||28 June 1913|
Farnewinkel, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire
|Died||11 May 1944 (aged 30)|
near St. Vith, German-occupied Belgium
Friedhof Meldorf Meldorf, Germany
|Years of service||1933–44|
|Unit||Condor Legion, JG 1, JG 2, JG 51, Jagdgruppe 88|
|Commands held||III./JG 3, III./JG 51, JG 2, Jagdfliegerführer Bretagne, JG 1.|
|Awards||Spanish Cross in Gold with Swords and Diamonds|
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords
Walter "Gulle" Oesau (28 June 1913 – 11 May 1944) was a German fighter pilot during World War II. A fighter ace, he served in the Luftwaffe from 1934 until his death in 1944. He rose to command Jagdgeschwader 1, which was named in his honor after his death.
He served with the Condor Legion during the Spanish Civil War with the Jagdgruppe 88. He claimed nine aircraft during the campaign, becoming one of only 28 people to earn the award of the Spanish Cross in Gold and Diamonds.
At the start of World War II, Oesau was given command of a fighter group within Jagdgeschwader 20. The group took part in the Invasion of Poland, later moving to the Western Front as the redesignated III Gruppe, Jagdgeschwader 51. Oesau operated on both the Western and Eastern Fronts.
He returned to operations as commander of Jagdgeschwader 1. He was killed in action on 11 May 1944 aged 30. JG 1 was given the name "Oesau" in his honor.
Walter "Gulle" Oesau was born to a bank director in Farnewinkel near Meldorf, Germany on 28 June 1913. He joined the German Army (Heer) in October 1933 and served in the Second Artillery Regiment as an enlisted soldier. After being transferred to a Luftwaffe transport unit, he undertook flying training in 1934 as a cadet (Fahnenjunker) at the Luftwaffe Academy (Deutsche Verkehrsfliegerschule) in Hanover. Upon completion of his training he was assigned to Jagdgeschwader 132, as a Leutnant. The unit was re–designated as Jagdgeschwader 2 "Richthofen" in May 1939.[Note 1]
Spanish Civil War
Oesau started his operational career with the Condor Legion, along with future contemporary aces such as Werner Mölders and Adolf Galland. He was one of the first to join 3. Jagdgruppe 88 in Spain in April 1938.[Note 2] The Staffel, commanded by Werner Mölders, took part in the Spanish Civil War where Oesau claimed nine victories, flying 130 combat missions. For this he received the Spanish Cross (Spanienkreuz) in Gold with Diamonds. He was also wounded in this conflict which earned him the Spanish Wound Badge. He also received the Medalla de la Campaña and the Medalla Militar.
Western Front 1939–40
On 1 March 1939 Oesau joined the Headquarters Flight (Stabsschwarm) of I./JG 2. By 15 July 1939 Oesau was promoted to Oberleutnant and given command of 2./JG 20. On 15 July 1939, I./JG 20 was activated in Döberitz initially consisting of two Staffeln drawn from JG 2. Prior to the invasion of Poland I./JG 20 was transferred to Strausberg on 26 August 1939. From there, the group was transferred to Sprottau (modern Szprotawa) anticipating an attack from the Polish Air Force. A week later the group moved to Brandenburg. On 21 February 1940, the unit was relocated to Bönninghardt under the control of JG 51. It continued to operate in this fashion until the end of the Battle of France. On 4 July it was re–designated III./JG 51. Oesau served as Staffelkapitän of 7./JG 51.
Battle of France
Oesau got his first World War II victory during the Battle of France on 13 May 1940, when he claimed a French Curtiss P-36 Hawk over Halsteren in the Netherlands, earning him the Iron Cross 1st class (Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse). On 31 May, he claimed three Spitfires during a patrol North West of Dunkirk and next day he claimed a Bristol Blenheim. On 13 June 1940, he shot down the last French aircraft kill claimed by JG 51, a French Amiot bomber. By the end of hostilities in France on 25 June, his World War II tally stood at 5 (13 including Spanish kills).
Following the Battle of France, the Luftwaffe started its attacks on Channel convoys as a prelude to the Battle of Britain. The primary task of JG 51 during this time was to provide fighter escort to these bomber missions. The commander of JG 51, Oberst Theo Osterkamp established a policy of unrestricted combat air patrol (freie Jagd) of fighter Staffeln providing loose protection rather than close escort to the bombers, actively seeking out Royal Air Force fighters. On 7 July 1940 Oesau claimed one Spitfire.
Battle of Britain
On 10 July 1940, the first major clashes of the Battle of Britain occurred in a phase known as the Kanalkampf. 20 Bf 109s of III./JG 51 led by Hauptmann Hannes Trautloft and 30 Bf 110 C of I./Zerstörergeschwader 26 escorted 20 Dornier Do 17 bombers of II./Kampfgeschwader 2 attacking a large convoy off Folkestone. Oberleutnant Oesau was leading 7./JG 51.
Trautloft noticed three of a flight of six intercepting Hurricanes of No. 32 squadron higher than the escorts, attempting to intercept the bombers. Soon they were joined by four squadrons of British fighters: No. 56 Squadron, No. 111 Squadron, No. 64 Squadron and No. 74 Squadron. Oesau was able to claim three Spitfires. Two 7./JG 51 aircraft crash landed in France. British losses show that no Spitfire was lost or destroyed in the ensuing battle. Only one No. 32 Hurricane, piloted by Pilot Officer Higgs, was destroyed in a collision with one of the Do 17s and only one other Hurricane was damaged. It is possible Oesau was responsible for damaging Higgs' Hurricane, causing him to lose control. Two Spitfires landed with light damage while a third was also slightly damaged and force-landed at RAF Manston. Over claiming of enemy losses was rife on both sides during the battle.
On 19 July, III./JG 51 were confronted by Defiants of No. 141 Squadron south of Folkestone. As the German pilots were now aware of the Defiant's lack of forward armament, they soon gained the advantage in combat and claimed 11 Defiants shot down in 8 minutes. Oesau was credited with one Defiant, taking his score to 19. He was the first one of JG 51 to reach double digits in World War II. RAF losses record six Defiants destroyed and two damaged.
On 18 August 1940, III./JG 51 escorted Dorniers attacking Hornchurch airfield. Intercepted by Hurricanes over Kent, Oesau claimed one Hurricane shot down as his 20th victory, earning him the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) two days later, the first pilot of JG 51 to be thus honored. On 24 August 1940, Trautloft took over as Geschwaderkommodore of Jagdgeschwader 54, and Oesau replaced him as Gruppenkommandeur of III./JG 51. By October 1940, Oesau had a total score of 48 (including 26 Spitfires).
On 10 November 1940, Oesau succeeded Wilhelm Balthasar as Gruppenkommandeur of III. Gruppe of Jagdgeschwader 3. With 39 victories he was currently the 4th highest scoring fighter pilot behind Helmut Wick, Werner Mölders and Adolf Galland. On 5 February 1941 he shot down a Hurricane over Desvres, France, his 40th victory. He was awarded the Oak Leaves (mit Eichenlaub) to his Knight's Cross next day. It also earned him a second entry in the Wehrmachtbericht. In early 1941, JG 3 returned to Germany to replace their Bf 109 'Emils' with the new 'F' variant (Friedrich). However, Oesau disliked the Bf 109F and kept flying his 'Emils' for some time. JG 3 returned to France in May 1941 and Oesau added two more kills on 16 May and 28 May bringing his total to 51.
Oesau's III./JG 3 was then involved in Operation Barbarossa the invasion of Russia, launched on 22 June 1941. Oesau shot down his first Soviet aircraft on 24 June 1941, and by 30 June 1941 had reached his 60th victory, downing a Tupolev SB bomber. Next day he downed three more SB bombers near Lvov (modern Lviv, Ukraine). This earned him his 3rd entry in the Wehrmachtbericht. On 10 July 1941, Oesau claimed 5 more aircraft and two more kills by 11 July 1941. On 12 July 1941, he shot down 7 Soviet aircraft in one sortie. In the five weeks since moving to the Eastern Front, Oesau was credited with 44 Soviet aircraft downed. He became the third pilot to reach 80 victories, the 80th kill an Ilyushin DB-3 bomber. He was awarded the Swords to his Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves (Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern) on same day. He was the third person to earn the Swords. He was again then wounded, receiving heavy splinter injuries in face and knee. A fortnight later he was transferred to the Western Front to take over JG 2.
Defence of the Reich 1941–44
He succeeded Balthasar for the second time as JG 2 commander, who had died in combat with Spitfires over northern France when he pulled the tail off his Bf 109F in a dive. The Bf 109F-2 proved an excellent match to the Spitfire V, but Oesau disliked its reduced armament compared to the 'Emil', and continued to fly an E-4 model in preference to the Bf 109F, until lack of spares forced him to switch to the newer variant. Upon his appointment on 4 July 1941, he addressed JG 2 with the following words.
In the spirit of Manfred von Richthofen, and following the example set by my predecessors, Major Wick and Hauptmann Balthasar, constant readiness and devotion to duty will enable us to achieve yet further successes.
JG 2 was tasked with defending targets in occupied France against the RAF fighter offensive. For the next two years Oesau led JG 2 through the war of attrition waged by the RAF. On 10 August 1941 Oesau claimed a Spitfire for his first kill with JG 2. Over the next two days, he claimed four more Spitfires. By the end of September 1941, Oesau had claimed two more Spitfires.
JG 2 participated in the Luftwaffe air cover of the Channel Dash. Two B-17 C Flying fortresses of No. 90 Squadron attacked the German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. In one of the highest altitude interceptions of World War II, the bombers were attacked by I./JG 2, resulting in the destruction of one. This aircraft put JG 2's score past the 800 mark, matching the score of their Great War namesake. Kills No. 88 to 92 were all Spitfires claimed between Calais and Dungeness on 12 August 1941. Oesau claimed his 100th kill on 26 October 1941, the third pilot to do so.[Note 4] This earned him his 4th entry in the Wehrmachtbericht.
He was then grounded from flying on operations, as his experience and leadership qualities were regarded as too valuable to risk further in front line combat. He did fly on occasional sorties, the most famous involving the shooting down of a Lancaster bomber of No. 44 Squadron RAF piloted by Warrant Officer G. T. Rhodes in April 1942, during a rare RAF daylight raid on targets in Augsberg. It was his 101st kill. In August 1942, the Geschwaderstab of JG 2 exchanged their Bf 109 F aircraft for the FW 190 A–2s.
Oesau added four more to his tally by mid-1943. Shortly before his 30th birthday, Oesau was elevated to a series of Luftwaffe staff and administration positions. On 1 July 1943 he was posted as Fighter Leader Brittany (Jagdfliegerführer Bretagne[Note 5]), before being appointed as Geschwaderkommodore of JG 1 on 12 November 1943, following the death of JG 1's Hans Philipp in October 1943. The ban on Oesau's combat flying was lifted. While commanding JG 1, Oesau became an expert (Experten) at shooting down 4 engine bombers, with 14 bomber kills claimed. He was awarded the Combined Pilots-Observation Badge in gold and diamonds on 17 October 1943. He was awarded the German Cross in Gold on 10 January 1944.
For Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe Hermann Göring it was an ongoing concern that inadequate numbers of fighters were able to continually engage the bomber streams, at the very time that the USAAF's 8th Air Force's new commander, Maj. Gen. Jimmy Doolittle had instituted a new fighter strategy against the Luftwaffe. Hence on 23 February 1944 — near the midpoint of the USAAF's Big Week bomber offensive against the Luftwaffe, also being carried out by the 15th Air Force flying out of Italian bases — Generalmajor Joseph Schmid Commander of I. Jagdkorps established a new rule for the fighters returning to base. They were to arrive at the nearest designated fighter airfield for resupply instead of returning to their own base. They were to be commanded by the senior pilot landing on that airfield, irrespective of their unit. This was meant to turn around the fighters in time to intercept returning bombers.
On next day, B-24s of 2nd Bomb division of the Eighth Air Force bombed Gotha. JG 1 (under Oesau), JG 11 and JG 3 were sent to intercept. Due to high winds, the bombers were ahead of the escorts unprotected. Two groups of JG 1 met them before Gotha and 9 B-24s were claimed as a result. Since B-17s of 1st Bomb division also bombed Schweinfurt, other fighter units also arrived to intercept, eventually involving almost all the Western day fighter units of the Luftwaffe. This caused some confusion among pilots landing on airfields other than their own. This tested the directive of Schmid. Oesau led one of two such improvised formations successfully, with the other led by Hauptmann Borris of I./JG 26 Oesau added 4 fighters to his score between January and March 1944, and his tally stood at 117. On 8 May 1944 he claimed a Thunderbolt shot down over Hanover; his last kill.
While being the Geschwaderkommodore of JG 1 Oesau frequently received his share of Hermann Göring's anger and frustration over the failure to beat off the Allied bomber offensive. Göring questioned the commitment of commanders who were not flying regularly and thus not really "leading" their respective units. In this context it should be stated that in order not to risk one of the Luftwaffe expert's life [German fighter aces were called Experten], there was an automatic ban on Oesau for further combat flying since his 100th victory. Perhaps the ban was lifted temporarily or bypassed when he was appointed Geschwaderkommodore of JG 1. On the other hand, Oesau might simply have ignored the ban and continued to lead missions.
Oesau added several victories over American heavy bombers in the first five months of 1944. On 11 May 1944 one thousand U.S. heavy bombers from Eighth Air Force attacked railway targets in Eastern France and North East Belgium. They were escorted by even more numbers of P-38 and P-51 fighters. Oesau was in bed with influenza. Upon hearing the news, Göring phoned Oesau's staff:
Göring – "Is the Kommodore flying?"
Staff – "No, he is in bed with fever."
Göring – "Yes, yes, I know that kind!", Göring said scornfully,
Göring – "He has also turned tired and coward!"
Angered by this comment, Oesau took off in a Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6/AS "Green 13" (Werknummer 20601—factory number) from Paderborn despite a high fever. Leading three aircraft of the Geschwaderstab, the schwarm broke formation over the Ardennes as it approached the bombers. In the dogfight Oesau's wingman reported damage to his machine and he was ordered to break off. Left alone, Oesau faced P-38s and possibly P-51s as well. According to Major Hartmann Grasser, Gruppenkommandeur of III./JG 1, who was on the same mission, there were five P-38s facing Oesau.
What followed is unclear as there are several versions. Oesau was chased by 1st Lt. James Leslie Doyle, 1st Lt. Wilbur L. Jarvis III and 1st Lt. James C. Austin, of the 428th Fighter Squadron (474th FG, 9th AF). All three were experienced pilots and chased Oesau from 28,000 feet to tree-top level. In the ensuing 20 minute dogfight, Oesau defended skillfully, though his aircraft was damaged by gunfire. While attempting an emergency landing, his Gustav received a final burst of fire in the cockpit area and crashed into the ground 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) southwest of St. Vith. His body was thrown clear of the aircraft some yards away.
According to the "Eighth Air Force Mission Folder for 11 May 1944, Mission 351", Lt. Doyle engaged in a turning dogfight with a pair of Bf 109s, scoring hits on the leader. Doyle had then broken off combat without claiming a kill, unaware that his victim, Oesau, had been killed by a 20 mm shell. Doyle's kill had been the first kill of the 474th Fighter Group in its first combat with the Luftwaffe.
There is some dispute regarding who exactly shot down his fighter. Some sources claim that he was shot during the dogfight and while the aircraft was falling to the ground, he was shot at again a few feet above ground, possibly by the Mustangs of 354th FG. Lt Wilbur Jarvis, No. 2 in the flight led by Doyle received a Damaged credit (not a kill) for Oesau's aircraft. Doyle noted bullet damage in the cockpit area and his gun camera footage showed that it was Oesau's Green 13. German records indicated that his death was caused by an explosive shell in the cockpit, his body having several bullet wounds. Later an image from the Gun camera was published (without caption) that purportedly showed Oesau's aircraft from the right side.
Oesau was aged 30 at the time of his death. He had a total of 127 kills gained over 300 missions. 27 were Spitfires, 14 four-engined bombers, 44 were scored on the Eastern Front and 9 in the Spanish Civil War. In recognition of his record, JG 1 received the title Oesau in honor of its fallen Geschwaderkommodore. Only Werner Mölders had a similar honor with JG 51 Mölders. Walter Oesau is buried in Meldorf, close to his birthplace and the town museum (Dithmarscher Landesmuseum) has documented his last journey in pictures.
Johannes Steinhoff, the high-ranking Luftwaffe ace (176 Kills) who went on to become the Chief of Staff for Allied Air Forces in Central Europe, once said: "Walter Gulle Oesau was the toughest fighter pilot in the Luftwaffe".
In 1940, frustrated with the perceived lack of success against RAF Fighter Command, Göring was keen on infusing the fighter force leadership with younger blood. He perceived a lack of aggressiveness in the Jagdgeschwader leadership. The likes of Theo Osterkamp were the first victim of this policy, handing over JG 51 to Werner Mölders. Oesau was considered to be one such rising star. However, being a star and staying in Göring's favor required keeping up the kill rate and promotions were invariably linked to scores. According to Dr. Kurt Tank, the Focke–Wulf designer, although many of the younger generation were good flyers, they were unable to cope with problems of overall planning and broader strategic aspects. However, Oesau was one of the outstanding leaders ever produced by Luftwaffe fighter wings with the likes of Werner Mölders and Adolf Galland.
The decision to continually retain or return gifted experts (Experten) to front line battle proved extremely costly, resulting in the death in combat of many of the earlier experts and aces. This, coupled with the acute shortage of well trained pilots and the fact that by 1943 they were facing a better equipped and well-trained enemy, meant the life expectancy of even the most gifted was tragically short. Author John Weal says that, although other Geschwaderkommodore would end up dying in combat, nothing would showcase the changing fortunes of Luftwaffe fighter forces than the death of Walter Oesau.
Personality and personal life
German historian Hans Otto Böhm commented on Oesau as "One of my best professors". There is little information available on the personal side of Walter Oesau. He had good sense of humor and liked to spend time with his friends. He was a simple man, who did not display any flamboyant personal emblems on his aircraft. His aircraft while commanding JG 2 did not have any special markings except for the unit's normal yellow under–cowling. While Oesau commanded, JG 2, like many others, dropped the special symbols for Stab (headquarters flight) units in favor of numerals. This helped make the leader's aircraft anonymous. Unlike other aces, Oesau reportedly never had markings on his rudder representing his personal tally, although this is contradicted by some photos displaying what may be his aircraft rudder painted with score of downed aircraft. The authenticity of the photograph is questioned by some as there are also Ju 87 photos supposedly signed by Oesau (he never flew a Stuka bomber).
Summary of career
Aerial victory claims
Matthews and Foreman, authors of Luftwaffe Aces — Biographies and Victory Claims, researched the German Federal Archives and found documentation for 127 aerial victory claims, plus three further unconfirmed claims. This number includes 9 claims during the Spanish Civil War, 44 on the Eastern Front, and 74 on the Western Front, including 13 four-engined bombers.
Victory claims were logged to a map-reference (PQ = Planquadrat), for example "PQ 05 Ost 0021". The Luftwaffe grid map (Jägermeldenetz) covered all of Europe, western Russia and North Africa and was composed of rectangles measuring 15 minutes of latitude by 30 minutes of longitude, an area of about 360 square miles (930 km2). These sectors were then subdivided into 36 smaller units to give a location area 3 × 4 km in size.
|Chronicle of aerial victories|
Ace of spades) indicates those aerial victories which made Oesau an "ace-in-a-day", a term which designates a fighter pilot who has shot down five or more airplanes in a single day. This and the ♠ (
|Spanish Civil War|
|– Stab of Jagdgruppe 88 –|
Spanish Civil War — July – November 1938
|1||15 July 1938||
|I-15||6||15 August 1938||
|2||17 July 1938||
|I-15||7||20 August 1938||
|3||18 July 1938||
|I-16||8||15 October 1938||
|4||20 July 1938||
|I-15||9||3 November 1938||
|5||27 July 1938||
|World War II|
|– 1. Staffel of Jagdgeschwader 20 –|
Battle of France — 10 May – 25 June 1940
|10||13 May 1940||19:27||Curtiss||Halsteren||12||31 May 1940||18:26||Spitfire||northwest of Dunkirk|
|23 May 1940||
|Hurricane||13||1 June 1940||11:35||Blenheim||20 km (12 mi) north of Ostend|
|11||31 May 1940||18:22||Spitfire||northwest of Dunkirk||14?[Note 7]||13 June 1940||15:41||Amiot 351||southwest of Les Andelys|
|– 7. Staffel of Jagdgeschwader 51 –|
At the Channel and over England — 26 June – August 1940
|15||7 July 1940||14:05||Spitfire||5 km (3.1 mi) south of Dover||22||5 August 1940||09:59||Spitfire||10 km (6.2 mi) southwest of Dover|
|15?[Note 8]||7 July 1940||19:27||Curtiss||23||14 August 1940||13:59||Hurricane||northwest of Dover|
|16||10 July 1940||14:39||Spitfire||5 km (3.1 mi) south of Dover||24||15 August 1940||12:32||Spitfire||south of Folkestone|
|17||10 July 1940||14:49||Spitfire||10 km (6.2 mi) south of Dover
west of Folkestone
|25||15 August 1940||12:34||Spitfire||5 km (3.1 mi) south of Folkestone|
|18?[Note 9]||10 July 1940||15:04||Spitfire||west of Folkestone||26||16 August 1940||17:35||Spitfire||20 km (12 mi) northwest of Cap Gris-Nez|
|19||19 July 1940||13:50?[Note 10]||Defiant||south of Folkestone||27||16 August 1940||17:36||Spitfire||20 km (12 mi) northwest of Cap Gris-Nez|
|20||19 July 1940||13:55?[Note 11]||Hurricane||south of Dover||28||18 August 1940||18:37||Hurricane||3 km (1.9 mi) south of Canterbury|
|21||25 July 1940||15:52?[Note 12]||Spitfire||5 km (3.1 mi) south of Dover||29||18 August 1940||18:50||Hurricane||8 km (5.0 mi) northwest of Cap Gris-Nez|
|– Stab III. Gruppe of Jagdgeschwader 51 –|
At the Channel and over England — September – November 1940
|30||4 September 1940||
|Spitfire||40||28 September 1940||
|31||6 September 1940||
|Spitfire||41||29 September 1940||
|32||7 September 1940||
|Spitfire||London||42||29 September 1940||
|33||11 September 1940||
|Spitfire||43||30 September 1940||
|34||14 September 1940||
|Spitfire||44||5 October 1940||
|35||14 September 1940||
|Spitfire||45||12 October 1940||
|36||15 September 1940||
|Spitfire||46||15 October 1940||
|37||18 September 1940||14:30||Spitfire||5 km (3.1 mi) southeast of Ashford||47||25 October 1940||
|38||27 September 1940||
|Hurricane||48||1 November 1940||
|39||27 September 1940||
|– Stab III. Gruppe of Jagdgeschwader 3 –|
At the Channel and over England — February – 9 June 1941
|49||5 February 1941||15:05?[Note 13]||Hurricane||Desvres||51||28 May 1941||19:25||Hurricane||north of Calais|
|50||16 May 1941||15:45||Spitfire||south of Folkestone|
|– Stab III. Gruppe of Jagdgeschwader 3 –|
Operation Barbarossa — 22 June – July 1941
|52||24 June 1941||12:08||I-18 (MiG-1)||74♠||10 July 1941||11:50||I-17 (MiG-1)|
|53||24 June 1941||15:15||I-15||75♠||10 July 1941||12:35||Pe-2|
|54||26 June 1941||06:42||SB-2||76♠||10 July 1941||15:55||I-153|
|55||26 June 1941||06:45||SB-2||77♠||10 July 1941||18:35||I-16||east of Makarow|
|56||26 June 1941||12:45||I-15||78||11 July 1941||17:44||I-16|
|57||26 June 1941||12:50||SB-2||79||11 July 1941||18:00||SB-2|
|58||29 June 1941||18:10||V-11 (Il-2)||north of Ostroh||80♠||12 July 1941||13:00||V-11 (Il-2)|
|59||30 June 1941||09:20||V-11 (Il-2)||81♠||12 July 1941||13:04||V-11 (Il-2)|
|60||30 June 1941||13:30||SB-2||82♠||12 July 1941||15:35||I-16|
|61||1 July 1941||18:20||SB-2||vicinity of Lviv||83♠||12 July 1941||15:35||I-16|
|62||1 July 1941||18:22||SB-2||north of Hoszca||84♠||12 July 1941||15:35||I-16|
|63||1 July 1941||18:24||SB-2||north of Korets||85♠||12 July 1941||15:36||SB-2|
|64||2 July 1941||12:00||DB-3||86♠||12 July 1941||15:37||SB-2|
|65||6 July 1941||14:42||SB-3||87||13 July 1941||11:44||DB-3|
|66||6 July 1941||17:20||SB-2||88||15 July 1941||12:50||I-153|
|67||6 July 1941||17:24||Pe-2||89||15 July 1941||12:55||DB-3|
|68||7 July 1941||05:57||Pe-2||90||22 July 1941||16:40?[Note 14]||Il-2?[Note 14]||low level attack on an airfield|
|69||8 July 1941||13:00||SB-2||91||23 July 1941?[Note 15]||11:20?[Note 15]||DB-3?[Note 15]|
|70||8 July 1941||13:02||SB-2||92||23 July 1941||13:44||SB-2|
|71||8 July 1941||13:04||SB-2||northeast of Miropol||93||23 July 1941||15:28||I-15|
|72||8 July 1941||17:15||SB-2||94||23 July 1941||17:22||DB-3||west of Bila Tserkva|
|73♠||10 July 1941||09:07||V-11 (Il-2)||95||24 July 1941||13:55||DB-3|
|– Stab of Jagdgeschwader 2 "Richthofen" –|
On the Western Front — August – 31 December 1941
|96||10 August 1941||14:15||Spitfire||northeast of Calais||103||21 August 1941||10:23||Spitfire||west of Calais|
|97♠||12 August 1941||11:43||Spitfire?[Note 16]||north-northwest of Calais||104||21 August 1941||15:10||Spitfire||east of Étaples|
|98♠||12 August 1941||12:50?[Note 17]||Spitfire||northwest of Saint-Omer||105||31 August 1941||20:07||Spitfire||Rouen|
|99♠||12 August 1941||12:54||Spitfire||northwest of Saint-Omer||106||4 September 1941||17:35||Spitfire||Saint-Omer/Béthune|
|100♠||12 August 1941||13:06||Spitfire||15 km (9.3 mi) southeast of Dover||107||13 October 1941||14:35||Spitfire||15 km (9.3 mi) southwest of Boulogne|
|101♠||12 August 1941||13:15?[Note 18]||Spitfire||southeast of Dover
15 km (9.3 mi) south of Dungeness
|108||13 October 1941||15:28||Spitfire|
|102||16 August 1941||19:38||Spitfire||4 km (2.5 mi) northwest of Calais||109||26 October 1941||13:08||Spitfire|
|– Stab of Jagdgeschwader 2 "Richthofen" –|
On the Western Front — 1 January – 31 December 1942
|110||17 April 1942||17:10||Lancaster||west of Évreux||111?[Note 19]||20 December 1942||12:30||B-17||Melun|
|111||5 September 1942||12:30||Spitfire||PQ 05 Ost 0021||112||20 December 1942||13:53||B-17||25 km (16 mi) north-northwest of Dieppe|
|– Stab of Jagdgeschwader 2 "Richthofen" –|
On the Western Front — 1 January – 31 December 1943
|113||4 April 1943||14:30||B-17||10 km (6.2 mi) southeast of Elbeuf
west of Saint-Pierre
|114||29 May 1943||17:25||B-17*||PQ 14 West 3972|
PQ 14 West 3831
|– Stab of Jagdgeschwader 1 –|
Defense of the Reich — January – 11 May 1944
|115||5 January 1944||12:00?[Note 20]||B-24||Heide||121||22 February 1944||15:25||B-17|
|116||30 January 1944||12:00||B-17||southwest of Osnabrück||122||24 February 1944||12:40||B-17||PQ 05 Ost S/HT/HU, vicinity of Minden|
|30 January 1944||12:20||B-17&||123||25 February 1944||13:05||B-17||PQ 04 Ost N/AR, vicinity of Baden-Baden|
|117||8 February 1944||12:00||P-38||PQ 05 Ost S/PS
220° from Bad Nauheim
|124||25 February 1944||15:00||B-24||PQ 04 Ost N/AQ-2/3, west of Baden-Baden|
|118||10 February 1944||12:55?[Note 21]||B-17||PQ 05 Ost S/FO, east of Zwolle||125||6 March 1944||12:05?[Note 22]||P-47||PQ 05 Ost S/EQ, northwest of Vechta|
|119||10 February 1944||13:00||P-47||PQ 05 Ost S/FM/FN, vicinity of Zwolle||126||6 March 1944||12:20?[Note 23]||B-17||PQ 05 Ost S/ER, south of Delmenhorst|
|120||22 February 1944||13:36?[Note 24]||B-17||north of Thiel||127||8 May 1944||09:45?[Note 25]||P-47||PQ 05 Ost S/FS/FT, southwest of Verden|
- Spanish Medalla de la Campaña
- Spanish Medalla Militar
- Spanish Cross in Gold with Swords and Diamonds
- Iron Cross (1939)
- Front Flying Clasp of the Luftwaffe in Gold for fighter pilots with pennant "300"
- Wound Badge (1939) in Black
- German Cross in Gold on 17 October 1943 as Oberstleutnant and Jagdfliegerführer 4
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords
Date of Rank
|October 1933:||Enlisted Soldier|
|20 April 1937:||Leutnant (Second Lieutenant)|
|15 July 1939:||Oberleutnant (First Lieutenant)|
|19 July 1940:||Hauptmann (Captain)|
|20 July 1941:||Major (Major)|
|1 February 1943:||Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant Colonel)|
|1 May 1944:||Oberst (Colonel) (posthumous promotion after death)|
- For an explanation of the meaning of Luftwaffe unit designation see Luftwaffe Organization
- Jagdgruppe 88, four squadrons equipped with the Heinkel He 51
- Oesau is the 2nd person on the left side of the coffin behind Adolf Galland and in front of Dietrich Peltz.
- The first fighter pilot to claim 100 aerial victories in combat was Oberstleutnant Werner Mölders on 15 July 1941 and the second was Major Günther Lützow on 24 October 1941.
- Reformed 6 September 1943 in Saint-Pol–Brias from Jagdfliegerführer 2
- This unconfirmed claim is listed by Matthews and Foreman, but not by Prien, Stemmer, Rodeike and Bock.
- According to Matthews and Foreman this claim is unconfirmed.
- According to Matthews and Foreman this claim is listed as Oesau's 15th aerial victory. However, Prien, Stemmer, Rodeike and Bock do not list this claim.
- This claim is not listed by Matthews and Foreman.
- According to Matthews and Foreman claimed at 13:48.
- According to Matthews and Foreman claimed at 13:50.
- According to Matthews and Foreman claimed at 15:34.
- According to Matthews and Foreman claimed at 14:05.
- According to Matthews and Foreman claimed at 11:20 over an Ilyushin DB-3.
- According to Matthews and Foreman claimed on 22 July 1941 at 16:40 over an aircraft of unknown type.
- According to Matthews and Foreman claimed as a Hawker Hurricane.
- According to Matthews and Foreman claimed at 11:50.
- According to Matthews and Foreman claimed at 19:27.
- According to Matthews and Foreman this claim is listed as Oesau's 111th aerial victory. However, Prien, Stemmer, Rodeike and Bock do not list this claim.
- According to Matthews and Foreman claimed at 12:10.
- According to Matthews and Foreman claimed at 13:00.
- According to Matthews and Foreman claimed at 12:10.
- According to Matthews and Foreman claimed at 12:10.
- According to Matthews and Foreman claimed at 13:26.
- According to Matthews and Foreman claimed at 10:00.
- According to Scherzer on 16 July 1941.
- Weal 1999, pp. 70–71.
- Williamson & Bujeiro 2004, pp. 30–31.
- Weal 2006, pp. 15–25.
- Sundin & Bergström 2002, p. 56.
- Weal & Price 1996, pp. 50–52.
- Weal & Price 1996, p. 68.
- Bekker & Ziegler 1994, p. 132.
- Foreman 2003, p. 99.
- Mason 1969, p. 158.
- Kacha 2007.
- Mason 1969, p. 180.
- Prien et al. 2002b, p. 80.
- Weal 2006, p. 31.
- Holmes 2007, p. 74.
- Miller 1997, p. 30.
- Weal 2006, pp. 41–43.
- Weal 1999, p. 10–11.
- Deighton 1977, p. 281.
- Weal 2001, p. 28.
- Kay, Smith & Creek 2002, p. 234.
- Mombeek 2003.
- Weal 2000, p. 78.
- Berger 1999, p. 268.
- Weal 2000, p. 80.
- Weal 1996, p. 79.
- Weal 1996, p. 21.
- Weal 2000, pp. 77–104.
- Caldwell & Muller 2007, pp. 160–162.
- Weal 1996, p. 57.
- Caldwell & Muller 2007, p. 194.
- "Aero-Journal", no 3, April 1997
- James L. Doyle at Arlington National Cemetery
- Townsend 2000, p. 339.
- Weal 2000, p. 125.
- Toliver & Constable 1996, p. 352.
- Matthews & Foreman 2015, pp. 932–934.
- Matthews & Foreman 2015, p. 932.
- Forsyth 2011, p. 103.
- Prien et al. 2000, p. 187.
- Prien et al. 2000, p. 188.
- Prien et al. 2002b, p. 83.
- Prien et al. 2002b, p. 84.
- Matthews & Foreman 2015, pp. 932–933.
- Prien et al. 2002b, p. 86.
- Matthews & Foreman 2015, p. 933.
- Prien et al. 2002a, p. 247.
- Prien et al. 2003b, p. 137.
- Prien et al. 2003b, p. 140.
- Prien et al. 2003b, p. 141.
- Prien et al. 2003b, p. 138.
- Prien et al. 2003b, p. 142.
- Prien et al. 2003b, p. 144.
- Matthews & Foreman 2015, pp. 933–934.
- Prien et al. 2003a, p. 411.
- Prien et al. 2003a, p. 412.
- Matthews & Foreman 2015, p. 934.
- Prien et al. 2004, p. 213.
- Prien et al. 2010, p. 428.
- Prien & Rodeike 1996, p. 1200.
- Prien & Rodeike 1996, p. 1202.
- Prien & Rodeike 1996, p. 1201.
- Prien & Rodeike 1996, p. 1203.
- Prien & Rodeike 1996, p. 1208.
- Berger 1999, p. 255.
- Thomas 1998, p. 130.
- Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 336.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 576.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 329.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 54.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 39.
- Stockert 1996, p. 66.
- Stockert 1996, p. 68.
- Bekker, Cajus; Ziegler, Frank H. (1994). The Luftwaffe War Diaries: The German Air Force in World War II. Da Capo Press. p. 448. ISBN 978-0-306-80604-9.
- Berger, Florian (1999). Mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern. Die höchstdekorierten Soldaten des Zweiten Weltkrieges [With Oak Leaves and Swords. The Highest Decorated Soldiers of the Second World War] (in German). Vienna, Austria: Selbstverlag Florian Berger. ISBN 978-3-9501307-0-6.
- Bergström, Christer. "Bergström Black Cross/Red Star website". Identifying a Luftwaffe Planquadrat. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
- Caldwell, Donald; Muller, Richard (2007). The Luftwaffe Over Germany: Defense of the Reich. MBI Publishing Company. ISBN 978-1-85367-712-0.
- Deighton, Len (1977). Fighter: The True Story of the Battle of Britain. London, UK: Jonathan Cape. ISBN 978-0-7126-7423-2.
- "Records of Colonel James Leslie Doyle on Arlington National cemetery". Colonel James Leslie Doyle. Retrieved 10 September 2008.
- Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) . Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile [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.
- Foreman, John (2003). Fighter Command Air Combat Claims, 1939–45: A Listing of Combat Claims Submitted by RAF Fighter Pilots 1939 to 1940. Red Kite/Air Research. p. 311. ISBN 978-0-9538061-8-8.
- Forsyth, Robert (2011). Aces of the Legion Condor. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84908-347-8.
- "historia.nom.br". Walter Oesau. Retrieved 2 December 2008. Something of a mini-biography on Walter Oesau.
- Holmes, Tony (2007). Spitfire Vs Bf 109: Battle of Britain. Osprey Publishing. p. 80. ISBN 978-1-84603-190-8.
- Kacha, Petr (2007). "Walter Oesau". Luftwaffe.cz. Retrieved 20 February 2007.
- Kay, Antony L.; Smith, Richard J.; Creek, Eddie J. (2002). German Aircraft of the Second World War: Including Helicopters and Missiles. Naval Institute Press. p. 400. ISBN 978-1-55750-010-6.
- Mason, Francis (1969). Battle Over Britain. London: McWhirter Twins Ltd. ISBN 978-0-901928-00-9.
- Matthews, Andrew Johannes; Foreman, John (2015). Luftwaffe Aces — Biographies and Victory Claims — Volume 3 M–R. Walton on Thames: Red Kite. ISBN 978-1-906592-20-2.
- Miller, David A. (1997). Die Schwertertraeger Der Wehrmacht: Recipients of the Knight's Cross with Oakleaves and Swords (3rd Revised ed.). Merriam Press. p. 62. ISBN 978-1-57638-025-3.
- Mombeek, Eric (13 September 2003). Defenders of the Reich: Volume 3, 1944–45. Classic Publications. ISBN 978-1-903223-03-1.
- 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. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8.
- Prien, Jochen; Rodeike, Peter (1996). Jagdgeschwader 1 und 11—Einsatz in der Reichsverteidigung von 1939 bis 1945—Teil 2—1944 [Jagdgeschwader 1 and 11—Operations in the Defense of the Reich from 1939 to 1945—Volume 2—1944] (in German). Eutin, Germany: Struve-Druck. ISBN 978-3-923457-24-3.
- Prien, Jochen; Stemmer, Gerhard; Rodeike, Peter; Bock, Winfried (2000). Die Jagdfliegerverbände der deutschen Luftwaffe 1934 bis 1945 Teil 3—Einsatz in Dänemark und Norwegen 9.4. bis 30.11.1940—Der Feldzug im Westen 10.5. bis 25.6.1940 [Fighter Pilot Association of the German Luftwaffe 1934 to 1945 Part 3—Assignments in Denmark and Norway 9 April to 30 November 1940—The campaign in the West 10 May to 25 June 1940] (in German). Struve-Druck. ISBN 978-3-923457-61-8.
- Prien, Jochen; Stemmer, Gerhard; Rodeike, Peter; Bock, Winfried (2002a). Die Jagdfliegerverbände der Deutschen Luftwaffe 1934 bis 1945—Teil 4/I—Einsatz am Kanal und über England—26.6.1940 bis 21.6.1941 [The Fighter Units of the German Air Force 1934 to 1945—Part 4/I—Action at the Channel and over England—26 June 1940 to 21 June 1941] (in German). Eutin, Germany: Struve-Druck. ISBN 978-3-923457-63-2.
- Prien, Jochen; Stemmer, Gerhard; Rodeike, Peter; Bock, Winfried (2002b). Die Jagdfliegerverbände der Deutschen Luftwaffe 1934 bis 1945—Teil 4/II—Einsatz am Kanal und über England—26.6.1940 bis 21.6.1941 [The Fighter Units of the German Air Force 1934 to 1945—Part 4/II—Action at the Channel and over England—26 June 1940 to 21 June 1941] (in German). Eutin, Germany: Struve-Druck. ISBN 978-3-923457-64-9.
- Prien, Jochen; Stemmer, Gerhard; Rodeike, Peter; Bock, Winfried (2003a). Die Jagdfliegerverbände der Deutschen Luftwaffe 1934 bis 1945—Teil 5—Heimatverteidigung—10. Mai 1940 bis 31 Dezember 1941—Einsatz im Mittelmeerraum—Oktober 1940 bis November 1941—Einsatz im Westen—22. Juni bis 31. Dezember 1941—Die Ergänzungsjagdgruppen—Einsatz 1941 bis zur Auflösung Anfang 1942 [The Fighter Units of the German Air Force 1934 to 1945—Part 5—Defense of the Reich—10 May 1940 to 31 December 1941—Action in the Mediterranean Theater—October 1940 to November 1941—Action in the West—22 June to 31 December 1941—The Supplementary Fighter Groups—Action from 1941 until their Breakup in Early 1942] (in German). Eutin, Germany: Struve-Druck. ISBN 978-3-923457-68-7.
- Prien, Jochen; Stemmer, Gerhard; Rodeike, Peter; Bock, Winfried (2003b). Die Jagdfliegerverbände der Deutschen Luftwaffe 1934 bis 1945—Teil 6/I—Unternehmen "BARBAROSSA"—Einsatz im Osten—22.6. bis 5.12.1941 [The Fighter Units of the German Air Force 1934 to 1945—Part 6/I—Operation "BARBAROSSA"—Action in the East—22 June to 5 December 1941] (in German). Eutin, Germany: Struve-Druck. ISBN 978-3-923457-69-4.
- Prien, Jochen; Stemmer, Gerhard; Rodeike, Peter; Bock, Winfried (2004). Die Jagdfliegerverbände der Deutschen Luftwaffe 1934 bis 1945—Teil 7—Heimatverteidigung—1. January bis 31 Dezember 1942—Einsatz im Westen—1. Januar bis 31. Dezember 1942 [The Fighter Units of the German Air Force 1934 to 1945—Part 7—Defense of the Reich—1 January to 31 December 1942—Action in the West—1 January to 31 December 1942] (in German). Eutin, Germany: Struve-Druck. ISBN 978-3-923457-73-1.
- Prien, Jochen; Stemmer, Gerhard; Rodeike, Peter; Bock, Winfried (2010). Die Jagdfliegerverbände der Deutschen Luftwaffe 1934 bis 1945—Teil 10/IV—Einsatz im Westen—1.1. bis 31.12.1943 [The Fighter Units of the German Air Force 1934 to 1945—Part 10/IV—Action in the West—1 January to 31 December 1943] (in German). Eutin, Germany: Struve-Druck. ISBN 978-3-923457-92-2.
- 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 Militaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
- Stockert, Peter (1996). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 1 [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 1] (in German). Bad Friedrichshall, Germany: Friedrichshaller Rundblick. ISBN 978-3-9802222-7-3.
- Sundin, Claes; Bergström, Christer (2002). More Luftwaffe Fighter Aircraft in Profile. Schiffer Publishing. p. 56. ISBN 978-0-7643-1559-6.
- Thomas, Franz (1998). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 2: L–Z [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 2: L–Z] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2300-9.
- Toliver, Raymond F.; Constable, Trevor J. (1996). Fighter Aces of the Luftwaffe. Schiffer Publishing. p. 352. ISBN 978-0-88740-909-7.
- Townsend, Peter (2000). Duel of Eagles: The Struggle for the Skies from the First World War to the Battle of Britain. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. p. 480. ISBN 978-1-84212-211-2.
- Weal, John; Price, Alfred (1996). Bf 109D/E Aces 1939–41. Osprey Publishing. p. 96. ISBN 978-1-85532-487-9.
- Weal, John (1996). Fw 190 Aces of the Western Front. Osprey Publishing. p. 96. ISBN 978-1-85532-595-1.
- Weal, John (1999). Bf 109 F/G/K Aces of the Western Front. Osprey Publishing. p. 96. ISBN 978-1-85532-905-8.
- Weal, John (2000). Jagdgeschwader 2: 'Richthofen'. Osprey Publishing. p. 128. ISBN 978-1-84176-046-9.
- Weal, John (2001). Bf 109 Aces of the Russian Front. Osprey Publishing. p. 96. ISBN 978-1-84176-084-1.
- Weal, John (2006). Jagdgeschwader 51 'Mölders'. Osprey Publishing. p. 128. ISBN 978-1-84603-045-1.
- Williamson, Gordon; Bujeiro, Ramiro (2004). Knight's Cross and Oak-Leaves Recipients 1939–40: Knight's Cross and Oakleaves,1939–40. Osprey Publishing. p. 64. ISBN 978-1-84176-641-6.
- Bergström, Christer; Mikhailov, Andrey (2000). Black Cross / Red Star Air War Over the Eastern Front, Volume I, Operation Barbarossa 1941. California: Pacifica Military History. ISBN 0-935553-48-7.
- Holmes, Tony; Dibbs, John (2000). Spitfire: Flying Legend. Osprey Publishing. p. 192. ISBN 1-84603-190-7.
| Commander of Jagdgeschwader 2 Richthofen
4 July 1941 – 1 July 1943
| Commander of Jagdfliegerführer 4
1 July 1943 – 6 September 1943
| Commander of Jagdfliegerführer Bretagne
6 September 1943 – 11 November 1943
| Commander of Jagdgeschwader 1 Oesau
12 November 1943 – 11 May 1944