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27 March 1916|
25 November 1985 (aged 69)|
|Years of service||1935–45|
|Commands held||JG 300|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves|
Walther Dahl (27 March 1916 – 25 November 1985) was a German pilot and a fighter ace during World War II. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves of Nazi Germany. Dahl claimed some 128 enemy aircraft shot down in 678 missions.
World War II
Dahl was born on 27 March 1916 in Lug near Bad Bergzabern, son of a school teacher who was killed in action in 1918 in World War I. Dahl joined the military service in October 1935, and transferred to the Luftwaffe in 1938. In May 1941 Dahl was posted to Jagdgeschwader 3 (JG 3—3rd Fighter Wing) and claimed his first victory on 22 June during the first day of the invasion of the Soviet Union.
On 21 May 1944, Dahl was appointed commander of Jagdgeschwader zur besonderen Verwendung (JG z.b.V.—a special purpose fighter wing). He led the unit until taking command of Jagdgeschwader 300 (JG 300—300th Fighter Wing) on 27 June 1944. Dahl set up his Geschwaderstab (headquarters unit) at Ansbach, planning combined operations with JG 3 "Udet".
On 7 July 1944, a force of 1,129 B-17 Flying Fortresses and B-24 Liberators of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) Eighth Air Force set out from England to bomb aircraft factories in the Leipzig area and the synthetic oil plants at Boehlen, Leuna-Merseburg and Lützkendorf. This force was divided into three prongs. The first group consisted of 373 B-24s, the second force of the 3rd Bomb Division was made up of 303 B-17s, and the third wave was made up of 450 B-17s. A series of accidents at the start of the mission allowed the Luftwaffe to focus their attacks on the B-24 force. This formation was intercepted by a German Gefechtsverband consisting of IV.(Sturm) Gruppe Jagdgeschwader 3 escorted by two Gruppen of Bf 109s from JG 300 led by Dahl. Dahl drove the attack to point-blank range behind the Liberators of the 492nd Bomb Group before opening fire. 492nd Bomb Group was temporarily without fighter cover. Within about a minute the entire squadron of twelve B-24s had been annihilated. The Germans claimed 28 USAAF 2nd Air Division B-24s that day and were credited with at least 21. The majority to the Sturmgruppe attack, IV./JG 3 lost nine fighters shot down and three more suffered damage and made crash landings; five of the unit's pilots were killed. On this mission, Dahl was credited with his 72nd aerial victory, a B-24 shot down in the vicinity of Quedlinburg.
On 13 September, Dahl claimed to have brought down a B-17 four-engined bomber by ramming according to his own account. Lorant and Goyat, the historians of JG 300, found no evidence of a corresponding loss in US archives.
On 26 January 1945, Hermann Göring appointed him Inspekteur der Tagjäger (Inspector of the Day Fighters). Despite his promotion, Dahl continued to fly operationally. On 28 February 1945, Dahl was credited with his 100th aerial victory. He was the 98th Luftwaffe pilot to achieve the century mark.
Dahl ended the war flying the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter with III./Ergänzungs-Jagdgeschwader 2 (a supplementary fighter unit). On 27 March 1945, Dahl claimed two P-47 Thunderbolt fighter kills. His 129th and last victory was a USAAF P-51 Mustang near Dillingen an der Donau on 26 April 1945. Dahl was promoted to Oberst (colonel) on 30 April 1945. He was taken prisoner of war by US forces in Bavaria at the end of World War II in Europe.
Post World War II
Following the war, Dahl became a member of the Deutsche Reichspartei (DRP—German Reich Party) In the West German federal election of 1961 he unsuccessfully ran as a candidate for the DRP. On 8 May 1961, Dahl founded the "Reichsverband der Soldaten" (lit. "Reich Association of Soldiers"). Dahl was married to Regina Dahl, a journalist with the National Zeitung, a weekly extreme right newspaper published by Gerhard Frey. Dahl was a spokesman for the German People's Union, a nationalist political party founded by Frey. In 2004, Frey and Hajo Herrmann published an abstract of Dahl's biography in the book Helden der Wehrmacht – Unsterbliche deutsche Soldaten [Heroes of the Wehrmacht – Immortal German soldiers]. This publication was classified as a far-right wing publication by Claudia Fröhlich and Horst-Alfred Heinrich. Dahl died on 25 November 1985 of heart failure in Heidelberg.
- Rammjäger: Bericht über seine Kriegserlebnisse 1943 bis 1945 (in German). Pour le Mérite Verlag ISBN 3-932381-01-7 (2000).
- Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe (23 December 1941)
- German Cross in Gold on 2 December 1942 as Oberleutnant in the Stab/JG 3
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
- Spick 1996, p. 230.
- Stockert 2008, p. 40.
- Lorant & Goyat 2005, p. 206.
- Lorant & Goyat 2005, p. 211.
- Caldwell & Muller 2007, p. 216.
- Dahl 2000, pp. 46–66
- Weal 1996, p. 78.
- Lorant & Goyat 2005, p. 213.
- Lorant & Goyat 2005, p. 325.
- Obermaier 1989, p. 243.
- Stockert 2008, p. 43.
- Morgan & Weal 1998, p. 21.
- Jenke 1967, p. 128.
- Frederik 1966, p. 161.
- Jaschke 2013, p. 90.
- Fröhlich & Heinrich 2004, p. 134.
- Obermaier 1989, p. 72.
- Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 77.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 264.
- Caldwell, Donald; Muller, Richard (2007), The Luftwaffe Over Germany: Defense of the Reich, MBI Publishing Company, ISBN 978-1-85367-712-0
- Fröhlich, Claudia; Heinrich, Horst-Alfred (2004). Geschichtspolitik: Wer sind ihre Akteure, wer ihre Rezipienten? [Political History: Who are their Players, who their Recipients?] (in German). Stuttgart, Germany: Franz Steiner Verlag. ISBN 978-3-515-08246-4.
- Frederik, Hans (1966). NPD. Gefahr von rechts? (in German). München-Inning, Germany: Verlag Politisches Archiv. ASIN B0000BSV71.
- Jaschke, Hans-Gerd (2013). Entstehung und Entwicklung des Rechtsextremismus in der Bundesrepublik: Zur Tradition einer besonderen politischen Kultur [Creation and Development of Right-Wing Extremism in the Federal Republic: the Tradition of a Particular Political Culture] (in German). Wiesbaden, Germany: Springer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-322-99709-8.
- Jenke, Manfred (1967). Die nationale Rechte. Parteien, Politiker, Publizisten (in German). Frankfurt am Main, Germany: Büchergilde Gutenberg. ASIN B0024N8QEI.
- Lorant, Jean Yves; Goyat, Richard (2005). Jagdgeschwader 300 "Wilde Sau" — Volume One: June 1943 – September 1944. Hamilton, Montana: Eagle Edition. ISBN 978-0-9761034-0-0.
- Morgan, Hugh; Weal, John (1998). German Jet Aces of World War 2. London; New York: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-85532-634-7.
- 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.
- Prien, Jochen; Stemmer, Gerhard (2002). Jagdgeschwader 3 "Udet" in WWII: Stab and I./JG 3 in Action with the Messerschmitt Bf 109. Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Military History. ISBN 978-0-7643-1681-4.
- 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.
- Spick, Mike (1996). Luftwaffe Fighter Aces. New York: Ivy Books. ISBN 978-0-8041-1696-1.
- Stockert, Peter (2008). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 8 [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 8] (in German). Bad Friedrichshall, Germany: Friedrichshaller Rundblick. OCLC 76072662.
- Thomas, Franz (1997). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 1: A–K [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 1: A–K] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2299-6.
- Weal, John (1996). Focke-Wulf Fw 190 Aces of the Western Front. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-85532-595-1.
- Walther Dahl in the German National Library catalogue
- "Walther Dahl". Walther Dahl - his aircraft and his (inflated) claims. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
Major Gerhard Michalski
| Commander of Jagdgeschwader z.b.V.
20 May 1944 – 6 June 1944
Major Gerhard Schöpfel
Oberstleutnant Kurd Kettner
| Commander of Jagdgeschwader 300
27 June 1944 – 26 January 1945
Major Kurd Peters