Wolfgang Schellmann

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Wolfgang Schellmann
Wolfgang Schellmann.jpg
Wolfgang Schellmann
Born (1911-03-02)2 March 1911
Died 22 June 1941(1941-06-22) (aged 30)
near Grodno, Belarus
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Balkenkreuz (Iron Cross) Luftwaffe
Years of service 1935–41
Rank Oberstleutnant
Unit JG 135, Condor Legion, JG 77, JG 2, JG 27
Commands held JG 2, JG 27

Spanish Civil War

World War II

Awards Spanienkreuz in Gold mit Schwertern und Brillanten

Oberstleutnant Wolfgang Schellmann (2 March 1911 – 22 June 1941) was Luftwaffe pilot who commanded JG 2 and JG 27. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. 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.


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. 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.[1]

Upon his return to Germany he was awarded the Spanish Cross in Gold 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 Hauptmann 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).

On 18 September, he was awarded the Ritterkreuz for his 23 victories (including the 12 in Spain). The presentation was made by Göring at the headquarters of the Wehrmachtbefehlshaber Niederlande (Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht in the Netherlands), General der Flieger (General of the Flyers) Friedrich Christiansen, at Wassenaar near The Hague on 19 September. That day, both Schellmann and Günther Lützow, Geschwaderkommodore of Jagdgeschwader 3 (JG 3—3rd Fighter Wing), were so honored.[2]

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).





  1. ^ Petr Kacha. "Wolfgang Schellmann". Aces of the Luftwaffe. Retrieved 15 October 2011. 
  2. ^ Braatz 2005, p. 226.
  3. ^ Bergström 2007, p. 18.
  4. ^ Weal, p. 21
  5. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 375.
  6. ^ Scherzer 2007, p. 659.


  • Bergström, Christer (2007). Barbarossa - The Air Battle: July–December 1941. London: Chervron/Ian Allan. ISBN 978-1-85780-270-2. 
  • 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. 
  • Braatz, Kurt (2005). Gott oder ein Flugzeug - Leben und Sterben des Jagdfliegers Günther Lützow [God or an Airplane - Life and Death of Fighter Pilot Günther Lützow] (in German). Moosburg, Germany: NeunundzwanzigSechs Verlag. ISBN 978-3-9807935-6-8. 
  • 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.
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  • 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 Militaer-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.
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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