Walter Wolfrum

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Walter Wolfrum
Walter Wolfrum.jpg
Walter Wolfrum
Born(1923-05-23)23 May 1923
Schmölz, Küps
Died26 August 2010(2010-08-26) (aged 87)
Schwabach, Germany
Allegiance Nazi Germany
Service/branchBalkenkreuz (Iron Cross) Luftwaffe
Years of service1940–45
RankOberleutnant (first lieutenant)
UnitJG 52
Commands held1./JG 52
AwardsKnight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Other workGold leaf business
Aerobatics pilot & coach

Walter Wolfrum (23 May 1923, Schmölz, Küps, Germany – 26 August 2010, Schwabach) was a German military aviator who served in the Luftwaffe during World War II. As a fighter ace, he flew 424 combat missions and claimed 137 aerial victories—that is, 137 aerial combat encounters resulting in the destruction of the enemy aircraft. This ties him for 43rd place among highest scoring fighter aces. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, the highest award in the military and paramilitary forces of Nazi Germany during World War II.


On 20 May 1944, Wolfrum claimed six aerial victories, an "ace-in-a-day" achievement.[1] He became a double "ace-in-a-day" following eleven aerial victories on 30 May 1944.[2] The next day, he again claimed six aircraft shot down, again making him an "ace-in-a-day".[1] On 1 June 1944, Wolfrum was credited with his 100th aerial victory. He was the 74th Luftwaffe pilot to achieve the century mark.[3] On 16 July, Wolfrum again became a double "ace-in-a-day" when he claimed ten aircraft shot down in combat near Kamionka, northeast of Lviv. Following his tenth victory, he was severely wounded requiring a lengthy period of convalescence.[4]

On 31 August 1944, Oberst (Colonel) Dietrich Hrabak, Geschwaderkommodore (wing commander) of Jagdgeschwader 52 submitted a report, requesting a preferential promotion for Wolfrum to Oberleutnant (first lieutenant). The application was seconded by General Hans Seidemann, commander-in-chief of the VIII. Fliegerkorps, on 8 September. The request was approved and the promotion backdated to 1 September.[5] At the end of the war, Wolfrum surrendered to the US 90th Infantry Division.[6]

After the war he became a successful aerobatics pilot, winning the German Championship in 1962 and taking second place in 1961, 1963, 1964 and 1966.[7]

Hans-Ulrich Rudel[edit]

According to Wolfrum's own account, he and Hans-Ulrich Rudel were in contact in the first years following the end of World War II. The two had briefly met twice during the war. Wolfrum's girlfriend Irene Rühl had a friend who worked for the Americans as a secretary at a hospital in Fürth were Rudel was being treated. With the help of this friend, Rudel's release papers were signed and he was set free.[8] Wolfrum states that he then periodically aided Rudel as a motocycle driver and currier. Additionally, Wolfrum's father helped Rudel's father, Johannes Rudel, find a new home and position as a pastor in Gunzenhausen. At the time, Rudel was getting in contact with his former comrades from Schlachtgeschwader 2. With the aid of these comrades, Rudel had set up a smuggling ring across the various zones of Allied-occupied Germany. The official currency in Germany at the time was still the Reichsmark and its exchange rate varied from zone to zone. Rudel and his men built an illegal business, disguised as a haulage company, around this discrepancy in exchange rates by smuggling large sums of money from one zone to another, buying and selling currency with a profitable margin.[9] Wolfrum states that his contact with Rudel ended in 1948 after Rudel had left for Argentina.[10]

Summary of career[edit]

Aerial victory claims[edit]

Matthews and Foreman, authors of Luftwaffe Aces — Biographies and Victory Claims, researched the German Federal Archives and state that Wolfrum was credited with 134 aerial victories, plus sixteen further unconfirmed claims. All of his victories were claimed on the Eastern Front.[11]

Victory claims were logged to a map-reference (PQ = Planquadrat), for example "PQ 34 Ost 76891". 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.[12]



  1. ^ a b c The "m.H." refers to a Ilyushin Il-2 with rear gunner (mit Heckschütze).
  2. ^ According to Matthews and Foreman claimed at 08:04.[19]
  3. ^ According to Obermaier on 20 April 1944.[28]
  4. ^ According to Scherzer as pilot in the I./Jagdgeschwader 52.[31]



  1. ^ a b Bergström 2008, p. 55.
  2. ^ Weal 2004, p. 107.
  3. ^ Obermaier 1989, p. 244.
  4. ^ Weal 2004, p. 109.
  5. ^ MacLean 2007, p. 482.
  6. ^ Heaton et al. 2011, p. 72.
  7. ^ Carson 1986, p. 212.
  8. ^ Wolfrum 2009, p. 175.
  9. ^ Wolfrum 2009, pp. 176–177.
  10. ^ Wolfrum 2009, p. 177.
  11. ^ Matthews & Foreman 2015, pp. 1444–1447.
  12. ^ Planquadrat.
  13. ^ Matthews & Foreman 2015, pp. 1444–1445.
  14. ^ Prien et al. 2012, p. 383.
  15. ^ a b c Prien et al. 2012, p. 389.
  16. ^ a b Prien et al. 2012, p. 385.
  17. ^ Prien et al. 2012, p. 390.
  18. ^ a b c d e f Prien et al. 2012, p. 391.
  19. ^ Matthews & Foreman 2015, p. 1444.
  20. ^ a b c d Prien et al. 2012, p. 386.
  21. ^ Prien et al. 2012, p. 387.
  22. ^ Prien et al. 2012, p. 388.
  23. ^ Prien et al. 2012, p. 392.
  24. ^ a b Prien et al. 2012, p. 394.
  25. ^ Matthews & Foreman 2015, pp. 1445–1446.
  26. ^ Matthews & Foreman 2015, pp. 1446–1447.
  27. ^ Patzwall 2008, p. 221.
  28. ^ Obermaier 1989, p. 227.
  29. ^ Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 522.
  30. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 452.
  31. ^ Scherzer 2007, p. 797.


  • Bergström, Christer. "Bergström Black Cross/Red Star website". Identifying a Luftwaffe Planquadrat. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  • Bergström, Christer (2008). Bagration to Berlin – The Final Air Battles in the East: 1944–1945. Ian Allan. ISBN 978-1-903223-91-8.
  • Carson, Annette (1986). Flight fantastic: the illustrated history of aerobatics—A Foulis aviation book. Sparkford: Haynes. ISBN 978-0-85429-490-9.
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) [1986]. 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.
  • Heaton, Colin D.; Lewis, Anne-Marie; Olds, Robin; Schulze, Kurt (2011). The German Aces Speak: World War II Through the Eyes of Four of the Luftwaffe's Most Important Commanders. Voyageur Press. ISBN 978-1-61059-748-7.
  • MacLean, French L (2007). Luftwaffe Efficiency & Promotion Reports: For the Knight's Cross Winners. Two. Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Military History. ISBN 978-0-7643-2658-5.
  • Matthews, Andrew Johannes; Foreman, John (2015). Luftwaffe Aces — Biographies and Victory Claims — Volume 4 S–Z. Walton on Thames: Red Kite. ISBN 978-1-906592-21-9.
  • Obermaier, Ernst (1989). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Luftwaffe Jagdflieger 1939 – 1945 [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the Luftwaffe Fighter Force 1939 – 1945] (in German). Mainz, Germany: Verlag Dieter Hoffmann. ISBN 978-3-87341-065-7.
  • 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. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8.
  • Patzwall, Klaus D. (2008). Der Ehrenpokal für besondere Leistung im Luftkrieg [The Honor Goblet for Outstanding Achievement in the Air War] (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-08-3.
  • Prien, Jochen; Stemmer, Gerhard; Rodeike, Peter; Bock, Winfried (2012). Die Jagdfliegerverbände der Deutschen Luftwaffe 1934 bis 1945—Teil 12/II—Einsatz im Osten—4.2. bis 31.12.1943 [The Fighter Units of the German Air Force 1934 to 1945—Part 12/II—Action in the East—4 February to 31 December 1943] (in German). Eutin, Germany: Buchverlag Rogge. ISBN 978-3-942943-05-5.
  • 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.
  • Weal, John (2004). Jagdgeschwader 52: The Experten (Aviation Elite Units). London, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84176-786-4.
  • Wolfrum, Walter (2009). Cronauer, Peter, ed. Unbekannte Pflicht - Meine Erinnerungen als Jagd- und Kunstflieger 1923 – 2009 [Unknown Duty - My Memories as a fighter and Aerobatics Pilot 1923 – 2009] (in German). Moosburg, Germany: NeunundzwanzigSechs. ISBN 978-3-9811615-4-0.

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