Wilhelm Batz

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Wilhelm Batz
Wilhelm Batz
Nickname(s) Willi
Born (1916-05-21)21 May 1916
Died 11 September 1988(1988-09-11) (aged 72)
in the clinic at Mauschendorf/Ebern in Unterfranken
Buried at Leverkusen-Opladen
Years of service
  • 1935–45
  • 1956–72
  • Major (Wehrmacht)
  • Oberst (Bundeswehr)
Unit JG 52
Commands held
  • III./JG 52 (19 April 1944 – 31 January 1945)
  • II./JG 52 (1 February 1945 – 8 May 1945)
  • Flugzeugführerschule "S"
    LTG 63
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords

Major Wilhelm "Willi" Batz (21 May 1916, in Bamberg – 11 September 1988, in Mauschendorf/Ebern in Unterfranken) was a German Luftwaffe fighter ace. The sixth-most successful fighter pilot in the history of aerial warfare, Willi 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. He was wounded three times and was shot down four times. Batz was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves and Swords was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.

Early life and career

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.[1]

Wilhelm Batz grew up between the World Wars, with the Red Baron as his ideal of a fighter pilot.[2]

World War II

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.[3] 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.[4] 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.[5] He was the 67th Luftwaffe pilot to achieve the century mark.[6]

In April, Batz was appointed Gruppenkommandeur (Group Commander), III./JG 52. In June, his unit was moved to defend Romanian targets against the American 15th Air Force. Batz downed two P-51s and a B-24 at this time. Hauptmann 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.

By the end of 1944, Batz had shot down 224 enemy aircraft. In February 1945, Batz was transferred to take command of II./JG 52, based in Hungary. Major Batz was awarded the Schwerter on 21 April 1945. At war’s end he was able to extricate his unit and men from Hungary and Austria back to Germany to surrender to American forces. He was thus able to avoid the prolonged Soviet captivity that befell the personnel of other two JG 52 Gruppen.


Dates of rank

1 November 1940: Leutnant (Second Lieutenant)[19]
1 April 1943: Oberleutnant (First Lieutenant)[20]
1 April 1944: Hauptmann (Captain)[21]
April 1945: Major (Major)[22]
1964: Oberstleutnant (Major)[22]


  1. According to Obermaier on 14 November 1943.[8]
  2. According to Scherzer as leader of the III./Jagdgeschwader 52.[11]
  3. The Swords to the Knight's Cross were awarded without an official sequential number.[11] The sequential number "145" was assigned by the Association of Knight's Cross Recipients (AKCR).[18]



  1. Stockert 2012, p. 92.
  2. Toliver & Constable 1996, p. 165.
  3. Kurowski 1996, p. 173.
  4. Kurowski 1996, p. 174.
  5. Berger 1999, p. 23.
  6. Obermaier 1989, p. 243.
  7. Patzwall 2008, p. 45.
  8. Obermaier 1989, p. 41.
  9. Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 26.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Thomas 1997, p. 23.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Scherzer 2007, p. 204.
  12. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 123.
  13. Von Seemen 1976, p. 77.
  14. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 85.
  15. Von Seemen 1976, p. 46.
  16. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 48.
  17. Von Seemen 1976, p. 20.
  18. Fellgiebel 2000, pp. 48, 49.
  19. Stockert 2012, p. 93.
  20. Stockert 2012, p. 94.
  21. Stockert 2012, p. 97.
  22. 22.0 22.1 Stockert 2012, p. 102.


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  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) [1986]. Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Kurowski, Franz (1996). Luftwaffe Aces. Winnipeg, Canada: J.J. Fedorowicz Publishing Inc. ISBN 978-0-921991-31-1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Kurowski, Franz (2008). Major Wilhelm Batz Vom Fluglehrer zum Schwerterträger (in German). Würzburg, Germany: Flechsig. ISBN 978-3-88189-765-5. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Obermaier, Ernst (1989). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Luftwaffe Jagdflieger 1939 – 1945 (in German). Mainz, Germany: Verlag Dieter Hoffmann. ISBN 978-3-87341-065-7. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Patzwall, Klaus D.; Scherzer, Veit (2001). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Patzwall, Klaus D. (2008). Der Ehrenpokal für besondere Leistung im Luftkrieg (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-08-3. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Schaulen, Fritjof (2003). Eichenlaubträger 1940 – 1945 Zeitgeschichte in Farbe I Abraham – Huppertz (in German). Selent, Germany: Pour le Mérite. ISBN 978-3-932381-20-1. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • 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 (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  • Thomas, Franz (1997). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 1: A–K (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2299-6. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Toliver, Raymond F.; Constable, Trevor J. (1996). Fighter Aces of the Luftwaffe. Schiffer Publishing. ISBN 0-88740-909-1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Von Seemen, Gerhard (1976). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 : die Ritterkreuzträger sämtlicher Wehrmachtteile, Brillanten-, Schwerter- und Eichenlaubträger in der Reihenfolge der Verleihung : Anhang mit Verleihungsbestimmungen und weiteren Angaben (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7909-0051-4. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Weal, John (2004). Jagdgeschwader 52: The Experten (Aviation Elite Units). Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84176-786-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

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