Profile no 103. Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6

Black Double Chevron, flown by Hauptmann Wilhelm "Willi" Batz, Stab III./JG 52, Warzyn/Poland, 24 August 1944

When Wilhelm Bats arrived at II./JG 52, based on the Eastern Front, as the Adjutant of Johannes Steinhoff on 1 February 1943, he was definitely one of the most experienced flyers in the Luftwaffe. He started his career in the Luftwaffe already in November 1935 and after receiving his pilot's badge he was assigned to instructing duties beginning in 1937. And although Lt. Batz repeatedly requested to be transferred to a combat unit, this was rejected. However, after logging over 5,000 flying hours instructing at different flying schools he finally was released for duty. He managed to score his first victory 11 March 1943, an Il-2 Sturmovik, while flying a mission over the Strait of Kerch. A steady claimer by the end of 1943, Batz had amassed a total of 75 victories. He recorded his 100th victory on 22 March 1944, and four days later Oblt. Batz was awarded the Ritterkreuz for 101 victories. On 19 April, "Willi" Batz was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of III./JG 52, taking over the Gruppe from Major Günther Rall. Throughout the summer of 1944, he was to claim multiple victories daily against the VVS. Among others, on 31 May he set his personal record by downing 15 Soviet aircraft in seven missions, thereby recording his 141st to 155th Abschüsse. On 20 July Hauptmann Batz was awarded the Eichenlaub after 188 Abschüsse. His victories 200 to 203 were claimed on 17 August, and five days later he scored another six kills, five P-39s and one Il-2. By the end of 1944, Batz had downed a total of 224 enemy aircraft. Batz would remain in command of III./JG 52 until 31 January 1945, when he was transferred to take command of II./JG 52 in Hungary. On 21 April 1945, Major Batz received the Schwertern. At war's end Major Wilhelm Btatz was able to fly out his Gruppe from Hungary and return to Germany. His Gruppe was thus able to elude Soviet captivity as the only unit within JG 52 to do so. After the war, "Willi" Batz joined the Bundesluftwaffe and retired an Oberst. In all, "Willi" Batz was credited with a total of 237 Abschüsse in 445 combat missions. On 24 August 1944, the PK camera men not only filmed Batz getting airborne for a sortie, but also recorded Oblt. Erich Hartman's successes on this day, as he reached his 300th and 301st Abschüsse. Some good news for the German public to counter the bad news from Normandy and the powerful Bagration offensive in the East.

Note that this profile and caption is from my new book Luftwaffe Fighters, Profile book No 10

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