Wilhelm Batz

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Wilhelm Batz
Wilhelm Batz.jpg
Born (1916-05-21)21 May 1916
Died 11 September 1988(1988-09-11) (aged 72)
Ebern in Unterfranken
Buried Leverkusen-Opladen
Years of service
  • 1935–45
  • 1956–72
Unit Flugzeugführerschule "S"
Commands held
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords

Wilhelm Batz (21 May 1916 – 11 September 1988) was a German Luftwaffe fighter ace during World War II. A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down five or more enemy aircraft during aerial combat.[1] Batz flew 445 combat missions and claimed 237 enemy aircraft shot down. 234 of these victories were achieved over the Eastern Front, including at least 46 Il-2 Sturmoviks, but he did claim three victories, including one four-engine bomber against the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) over the Ploieşti oil fields. Batz was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords.

Early life and career[edit]

Batz was born on 21 May 1916 in Bamberg, at the time in the Kingdom of Bavaria. He was the son of a Beamter, a civil servant. After Batz graduated with his Abitur (university-preparatory high school diploma), for four years, he volunteered military service in the Luftwaffe on 1 November 1935.[2] Batz grew up between the World Wars, with the Red Baron as his ideal of a fighter pilot.[3]

World War II[edit]

Batz joined the Luftwaffe in 1935 and trained as a fighter pilot, becoming an instructor in 1937 at the flying school at Kaufbeuren and the fighter pilot school at Bad Aibling. Promoted Leutnant in November 1940, his applications for combat assignment were continually rejected. With some 5,000 flying hours, Batz was finally transferred to 2./Ergänzungs-Jagdgruppe Ost in December 1942.[4] Batz was then transferred to II./Jagdgeschwader 52 (JG 52). On 11 March 1943, Batz claimed his first victory, an Il-2 Sturmovik, while flying a mission over the Strait of Kerch.[5] He was appointed Staffelkapitän (Squadron Leader) of 5./JG 52 in May 1943, and by September, he had claimed 20 victories. Batz claimed his 75th aerial victory on 26 March 1944 for which he received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes), followed by his 100th victory two days later.[6] He was the 67th Luftwaffe pilot to achieve the century mark.[7]

Group commander and surrender[edit]

Batz was promoted to Hauptmann (captain) on 1 April 1944. The narrow land bridge to the Crimean peninsula, held by the German 17th Army, came under attack from Soviet forces on 7 April, leading to the capture of Odessa on 10 April during the Dnieper–Carpathian Offensive. In these battles, Batz claimed six aerial victories on 8 April, five on 10 April, reaching his 120th victory on 13 April. One day later, II. Gruppe (2nd group) moved to an airfield at Cape Chersonez located at the Sevastopol Bay. That morning, the airfield came under aerial attack and bomb splinters injured Batz. Although his injuries were minor, he was grounded for two weeks and banned by the doctor from flying operationally. During his convalescence, Batz succeeded Günther Rall as Gruppenkommandeur (group commander) of III. Gruppe (3rd group) of JG 52 on 19 April 1944.[8]

In June, his unit was moved to defend Romanian targets against the American 15th Air Force. Batz claimed two P-51 Mustang fighter aircraft and a B-24 Liberator bomber at this time. Batz was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub) on 20 July for 188 victories, 200 being achieved on 17 August 1944. The award was presented by Adolf Hitler at the Führerhauptquartier (Führer Headquarters) at Rastenburg on 25 August 1944.[9] Two other Luftwaffe officers were presented with the Oak Leaves that day by Hitler, the night-fighter pilot Hauptmann (Captain) Heinz Strüning and the officer of anti-aircraft warfare, Major (Major) Herbert Lamprecht.[10]

By the end of 1944, Batz had shot down 224 enemy aircraft. In February 1945, Batz was transferred to take command of II. Gruppe of JG 52, based in Hungary. Batz was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern) on 21 April 1945. The bestowal of the Swords to his Knight's Cross cannot be verified via the records held in the German Federal Archives. Batz presented evidence of the conferment which was confirmed by the Gemeinschaft der Jagdflieger (Association of German Armed Forces Airmen).[11]

On 4 May 1945, II. Gruppe moved to Zeltweg Air Base but did not fly combat missions from this airfield. On 8 May, General der Flieger Paul Deichmann, the commanding officer of Luftwaffenkommando 4, ordered the cease-fire by 12:00. To avoid capture by Soviet forces, Batz conferred with Deichmann and was ordered to fly his aircraft to Munich, landing at Unterbiberg where they surrendered to US forces, becoming prisoners of war. He and II. Gruppe personnel where then taken to Fürstenfeldbruck where most of the men were released in June 1945. Batz was taken to Bad Aibling where the ground personnel had surrendered and released shortly after.[11]

Later life[edit]

Following World War II, Batz applied for service in the German Air Force of the Bundeswehr in 1955, joining in 1956 holding the rank of Major. Following flight training in the United States, he was commanded to a training squadron of Flugzeugführerschule "S", a pilot training school, in Landsberg. He later commanded this training facility for nine months in 1961. Batz was then appointed Geschwaderkommodore (wing commander) of Lufttransportgeschwader 63 (LTG 63–Air Transport Wing 63) stationed at the Hohn Air Base in Schleswig-Holstein. He commanded this wing from 1961 to 1964, surrendering command to Horst Rudat. Promoted to Oberstleutnant (lieutenant colonel), Batz then served as a staff officer with Lufttransportkommando (Air Force Transport Command) in Köln-Wahn and retired on 30 September 1972.[11] Batz died on 11 September 1988 in a hospital Ebern in Unterfranken. He was buried on the cemetery in Quettingen, a borough of Leverkusen-Opladen.[12]

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 found records for 233 confirmed and eight unconfirmed aerial victories, numerically ranging from 1 to 233, omitting the 223rd claim. All these victories were claimed on the Eastern Front.[13]

Victory claims were logged to a map-reference (PQ = Planquadrat), for example "PQ 85131". 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.[14]

  This and the ♠ (Ace of spades) indicates those aerial victories which made Batz 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 – (dash) indicates unconfirmed aerial victory claims for which Batz did not receive credit.
  This and the ! (exclamation mark) indicates information discrepancies listed by Prien, Stemmer, Rodeike, Bock, Matthews and Foreman.


Dates of rank[edit]

1 November 1940: Leutnant (Second Lieutenant)[39]
1 April 1943: Oberleutnant (First Lieutenant)[40]
1 April 1944: Hauptmann (Captain)[8]
April 1945: Major (Major)[11]
1964: Oberstleutnant (Major)[11]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n The "m.H." refers to a Ilyushin Il-2 with rear gunner (mit Heckschütze).
  2. ^ According to Matthews and Foreman claimed at 08:14.[15]
  3. ^ According to Obermaier on 14 November 1943.[31]
  4. ^ According to Scherzer as leader of the III./Jagdgeschwader 52.[34]
  5. ^ The Swords to the Knight's Cross were awarded without an official sequential number.[34] The sequential number "145" was assigned by the Association of Knight's Cross Recipients (AKCR).[38]



  1. ^ Spick 1996, pp. 3–4.
  2. ^ Stockert 2012, p. 92.
  3. ^ Toliver & Constable 1996, p. 165.
  4. ^ Kurowski 1996, p. 173.
  5. ^ Kurowski 1996, p. 174.
  6. ^ a b c d Berger 1999, p. 23.
  7. ^ Obermaier 1989, p. 243.
  8. ^ a b Stockert 2012, p. 97.
  9. ^ Stockert 2012, p. 3.
  10. ^ Stockert 2012, p. 100.
  11. ^ a b c d e Stockert 2012, p. 102.
  12. ^ Stockert 2012, p. 103.
  13. ^ Matthews & Foreman 2014, pp. 53–57.
  14. ^ Planquadrat.
  15. ^ a b Matthews & Foreman 2014, p. 53.
  16. ^ a b Prien et al. 2012, p. 379.
  17. ^ a b c d e f Prien et al. 2012, p. 381.
  18. ^ Prien et al. 2012, p. 383.
  19. ^ Matthews & Foreman 2014, pp. 53–55.
  20. ^ a b c Prien et al. 2012, p. 385.
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Prien et al. 2012, p. 394.
  22. ^ a b c d Prien et al. 2012, p. 387.
  23. ^ a b c d e f g Prien et al. 2012, p. 389.
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Prien et al. 2012, p. 390.
  25. ^ a b c d e Prien et al. 2012, p. 391.
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h Prien et al. 2012, p. 392.
  27. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Prien et al. 2012, p. 393.
  28. ^ Matthews & Foreman 2014, pp. 55–57.
  29. ^ Matthews & Foreman 2014, p. 57.
  30. ^ Patzwall 2008, p. 45.
  31. ^ Obermaier 1989, p. 41.
  32. ^ Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 26.
  33. ^ a b Thomas 1997, p. 23.
  34. ^ a b c Scherzer 2007, p. 204.
  35. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 123.
  36. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 85.
  37. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 48.
  38. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, pp. 48, 49.
  39. ^ Stockert 2012, p. 93.
  40. ^ Stockert 2012, p. 94.


  • 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 30 January 2018. 
  • 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. 
  • Kurowski, Franz (1996). Luftwaffe Aces. Winnipeg, Canada: J.J. Fedorowicz Publishing Inc. ISBN 978-0-921991-31-1. 
  • Matthews, Andrew Johannes; Foreman, John (2014). Luftwaffe Aces — Biographies and Victory Claims — Volume 1 A–F. Walton on Thames: Red Kite. ISBN 978-1-906592-18-9. 
  • 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. 
  • Spick, Mike (1996). Luftwaffe Fighter Aces. New York: Ivy Books. ISBN 978-0-8041-1696-1. 
  • Stockert, Peter (2012). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 6 [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 6] (in German) (3rd ed.). 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. 
  • Toliver, Raymond F.; Constable, Trevor J. (1996). Fighter Aces of the Luftwaffe. Schiffer Publishing. ISBN 0-88740-909-1. 
  • Weal, John (2004). Jagdgeschwader 52: The Experten (Aviation Elite Units). Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84176-786-4. 
Military offices
Preceded by
Oberst Joachim Pötter
Commander of Flugzeugführerschule "S"
January 1961 – September 1961
Succeeded by
Oberst Horst Merkwitz
Preceded by
Commander of Lufttransportgeschwader 63
November 1961 – 31 January 1964
Succeeded by
Oberst Horst Rudat