Walter Nowotny had a period whereby he racked up an incredible string of victories, claiming 49 VVS aircraft in August of 1943 alone bringing his total to 161 victories. On 1 September, he scored ten victories in two sorties which took his tally to 183. Seventy-two hours later that number had risen to 189, earning him the Eichenlaub to his Knight's Cross on 8 September.
The award was to be presented personally by Hitler on 22 September. However, prior to this date Nowotny had claimed his 200th on 8 September, and on 15 September his 215th victory making him the highest-scoring pilot in the Luftwaffe at that time. Two La-5s and a Yak-9 followed on 17 September bringing his score to 218 victories earning him the Schwerter on 22 September.
Therefore the planned "Oak Leaves" presentation thus became a "Swords" ceremony! The presentation was made by Hitler at the "Wolf´s Lair", Hitler's headquarters in Rastenburg, on 22 September. Nowotny was promoted to Hauptmann following his 225th confirmed victory. And on 14 October, he became the first pilot to reach 250 victories, following his 442nd combat mission.
That evening Nowotny was celebrating at the Ria Bar in Vilna when he received a phone call from Hitler himself, announcing that he had been awarded the Brillanten, making him the eighth of 27 men to be so honored. The Brillanten was subsequently presented by Hitler once more at Rastenburg on 19 October.
Nowotny immediately went on a short vacation to Vienna before returning to JG 54, and on 15 November he claimed his final two aerial victories on the Eastern Front. In total, Nowotny had 255 confirmed kills plus a further 50 unconfirmed, before he was taken off combat duty and forbidden to fly any more operational missions.
Then follow a tour in Germany visiting different production plants in an effort to boost morale. After a short stint back to JG 54 on 1 April 1944, he was appointed Geschwaderkommodore of Jagdgeschwader 101 and commander of the Jagdfliegerschule 1.
This was a Luftwaffe fighter pilot training school at Pau in southern France. The unit operated several training types, including the Gotha 143 and Bucker 131 biplanes and the French-built Dewotine D. 520 fighter. JG 101 also operated the first examples of the two-seater Bf 109. The G-12 was a modified G-2 with the fuselage extended behind the existing cockpit and a second seat for the instructor. The two seat Fw 190 S-8/U-1 trainer was also employed.
In being posted to JG 101 Hptm. Walter "Nowi" Nowotny felt relegated to the background and no longer needed. However on this day, 24 May 1944, being a handball enthusiast he arrived at Mont de Marsan base for a match between FAGr 5 and his own JG 101. Greeted by the long-range recce commander Oblt. Schmidt, the match however ended in a loss, 17 to 4 in the FAGr 5 team's favor.
This highly polished
pastiche look-alike JG 54 machine was Nowotny's personal mount,
and while being posted in southern France it had most of the
attributes anyone could expect from a Nowotny Fw 190.