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Walter Nowotny was born on 7 December at Gmund. He joined the Luftwaffe on October 1st, 1939. In 1941 he scored his first victories near the island of Osel, located in the Baltic by shooting down three I-153s. However, he was hit in combat and had to ditch his aircraft over the sea. He spent three days in his dinghy, using his hands as paddles, until he reached land. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross after scoring his 56th victory on 4 September 1942 - four weeks after shooting down seven Russian aircraft in a single day. On the 25th October 1942, and 21 years old, Nowotny was promoted to command 9./JG 54. It was a momentous promotion, as JG 54, the famous "Green Hearts", was one of Luftwaffe's most powerful fighter units.

He scored nine kills on August 13th of 1943, and then scored seven more on the 21st. During September 1943, his total of kills reached 200. He received the Oak leaves and Swords on September 22nd and became the 37th holder of these awards. By mid-October 1943 he won 250 victories, becoming the first pilot in history to reach that number. He then received the Diamonds, becoming the youngest ever (at 22 years old) and only eighth recipient of this, Germany's highest military award. His career was temporarily put on hold when he was assigned command of Schulegeschwader (SJG) 101, a training unit for new pilots, based in Palau. Although this was an unpopular assignment with veteran fighter pilots, Nowotny again brilliantly succeeded, earning a reputation of a first-class instructor. After that, he was given command of the very first jet-fighter unit- Kommando Nowotny- and given the momentous task of developing tactics for the use of the new jets. Major Nowotny achieved two victories on the day he died in November 1944 - a B-24 and a P-51. Those brought his total to 258 victories.

And for the finale a quote from "Me 262-STORMBIRD RISING" by Hugh Morgan: "Perhaps the final words on Nowotny should come from one of his adversaries during the conflict. RAF Typhoon pilot John Golley recalls:

'Early in November 1944 there was a rumour going around that Nowotny, the German ace flying Me 262s, had been shot down. Nobody, as far as I was aware, was particularly excited about it, and nobody had claimed the kill. All I heard was that a Tempest squadron had got him. There was sadness rather than elation that such a great fighter pilot had been killed.'

After his death, demoralized by the death of their leader, Kommando Nowotny was disbanded  Sections of the squadron were used to form the elite Jagdverband 44, commanded by Adolf Galland. Also, a new Jagdgeschwader, JG 7 ("Hindenburg") was formed under the command of Colonel Johannes "Macki" Steinhoff. It's No.III Gruppe was inherited from "Kommando Nowotny".

    Walter Nowotny's Me262 White 8    


Model photographs kindly donated by Brian Cauchi, Malta

  

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