Saturday, 12 March 2016

The fast mower: 237 kills in 2 years - Wilhelm "Willy" Batz

Wilhelm "Willy" Batz
Wilhelm Batz was born in Bamburg on 21 may 1916. After completing his schooling, he joined the Luftwaffe in 1935. From beginning they recognized in him a young man with outstanding skills and with natural ability to be spectacular pilot.  Finally, his real story in Luftwaffe started from be a instructor at various Luftwaffe training schools in 1937. step by step, his career progressed from assistant instructor to flight instructor. Batz was as guarantee for Luftwaffe to sent on the front really good aviators.
After spent more than 5000 hours in the air, "Willy" really longed to join the many aviators he sent to the front and fight with them. last two year showed his superiors how much he deserve to realise his desire. The commander of Flying Schools ordered him released from his duties as an instructor and transferred to a combat unit.

Part of Legend

In December 1942 Leutnant Batz join the JG52 (is the most successful fighter-wing of all time, with a claimed total of more than 10,000 victories over enemy aircraft during World War II. It was the unit of the top three scoring flying aces of all time, Erich Hartmann, Gerhard Barkhorn and Günther Rall), based in the Barvenkovo-Kerch area in the aproaches to Stalingrad. Batz spent in this unit rest of the war. He started as adjutant for commander Hauptmann Johannes Steinhoff and was trainee in the environment front. 
Geschwaderkommodore Oberstleutnant Dietrich "Dieter" Hrabak, , Oberleutnant Erich "Bubi" Hartmann , Leutnant Karl Gratz , Oberleutnant Friedrich "Fritz" Obleser, Hauptmann Wilhelm "Willi" Batz in 1944
On 11 march 1943 Batz flew mission over the Strait of Kerch as a wingman to Leutnant Haberda. It was a clear morning and, as the two fighter neared their patrol position, Batz spotted several silvery objects about twenty kilometers away that grew rapidly in size. Franz Kurowski describes it in his book Luftwaffe Aces:

Wilhelm Batz with wounds face
The two German pilots recognized the enemy aircraft as four Il-2s, whose mission was obviously to attack German ferry traffic in the strait. By now Wilhelm Batz was familiar with Soviet aerial tactics. The four Il-2s were in a four-plane zveno formation. Other formations used by the Red Air Force included the para, which consisted of two aircraft, and the gruppa, made up of eight machines. A gruppa was usually accompanied by a para, which flew ahead of and about 350 to 800 meters above the leading zveno, providing top cover. The course they were flying suggested that this zveno of Il-2s had been sent to attack German marine traffic.“I’ll take the one in front,” called Haberda. “You take the rear one.”“Understood!” replied Batz.Wilhelm Batz rammed the throttle forward and pushed the nose of his Messerschmitt down. He felt the aircraft vibrating beneath him. The two fighters very quickly reached a position 1,000 meters above the enemy aircraft, which stubbornly maintained their course, seemingly unconcerned about the two German fighters. 
Batz felt the excitement coursing through him. Now it was time to put into practice all that he had learned. He rolled out of a turn and saw Haberda carry out the same maneuver. Both German aircraft were then above and behind the Il-2s and flying in the same direction. The Messerschmitts quickly caught up with the enemy; the two pilots dropped behind their chosen victims, gaining speed as they did so. Batz saw the Il-2 wander into his sight and finally fill it.Just before he opened fire, Batz saw flashes from the guns of his squadron commander’s aircraft. Then he pressed the triggers and the two machine guns and the 20-mm MG 151/20 roared to life. There were flashes as the bullets and cannon rounds bounced off the armored flanks of the Il-2. Batz dropped lower. Glancing ahead, he saw Haberda’s victim go down in a flat spin and explode as it struck the ground.Batz followed the enemy aircraft, which had veered off when it was hit. In seconds he was again in firing position. Approaching from below and behind, he fired a long burst into the oil cooler of the Il-2. A dense stream of oil sprayed from the shattered cooler. The Soviet aircraft began to burn and plunged toward the earth like a comet.Instinctively veering off, Batz avoided the stream of oil. Then the Il-2 pulled out of its dive. Batz closed in and fired again. This time the enemy aircraft exploded in mid air.Batz turned away and, as he did so, he received a warning call from Leutnant Haberda: “Look out, behind you!”Batz hauled his Messerschmitt
Willy Batz
into a steep turn, avoiding a burst of fire from an enemy aircraft, which was shot down by Leutnant Haberda seconds later. The fourth Il-2 had meanwhile left the scene and was headed home alone.The attempt by the Soviet bombers to attack the ferries had been frustrated. An hour later the patrol was over and the pair of Messerschmitts flew back to base. For the first time Wilhelm Batz waggled his wings as he flew over the airfield, the signal to those on the ground that he had shot down an enemy aircraft. His ground crew received him with waves and shouts of jubilation. They helped him remove his parachute and shook his hand.“Your first, sir. Continued good hunting!”“Thanks, Hillers,” said Batz, grasping the hand offered by the mechanic. Haberda, who had landed first, came over to Batz. “Your first kill was a textbook one, Wilhelm. There should be many more.”“Thanks for covering me,” declared Batz. 

“That’s one of the finer points you’ll achieve after you’ve done this a few times, Wilhelm.”During a briefing in the group barracks Hauptmann Steinhoff also praised Batz for his first kill. Wilhelm Batz received the Iron Cross, Second Class, the first war decoration to adorn his flight jacket. Whether even greater rewards would follow was still written in the stars.

This was the first aerial victory of Leutnant Willhelm "Willy" Batz. 
On 20 April 1943 the JG52 achieved its 5 000th victory. The unit's confirmed 6 000th kill came only eleven weeks later.
Oblt. Wilhelm Batz (on the right) in conversation with Hptm. Gerd Barkhorn (301 victories) and Lt. Heinrich Sturm (157 victories) in front of untagged Bf 
In this same period Batz shot down his twentieth enemy aircraft. On 8 May 1943 Oberleutnant 
Helmut Haberda was shot down in combat over the Kuban.  The next day Oberleutnatnt Wilhelm Batz was named to succeed him s commander of the 6th squadron.
To the 26 March 1944 he claimed his 75th aerial victory for which he received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes), followed by his 100th victory two days later. He was the 67th Luftwaffe pilot to achieve the century mark.
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.
Wilhelm Batz (right)
In the end of the war, 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.  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.

Heinrich Sturm, Gerhsrd Barkhorn, Wilhdlm Batz and Otto Fonnekold
assed away on 11-09-1988, age 72, at Mauschendorf in Unterfranken. Batz is buried with his wife Aenne, who died old age 80 in 1999, in Leverkusen.
Hauptman Wilhelm "Willy" Batz was a unique example of the combination of many skills as a pilot. In less than a period of two and half years at the front, he has claimed 237 victories, which undoubtedly gives him a place in the elite of the world pilots of warbirds in history of military aviation.

Batz family grave
List of the victories of Wilhelm "Willy" Batz:

Hauptmann Gerhard Barkhorn fter his 1000 combat mission with Oberleutnant Wilhelm Batz and others
Sources source for compilation:
Luftwaffe Aces Franz Kurowski
and other website

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