Walter Nowotny bigraphy, stories - German/Austrian flying ace

Walter Nowotny : biography

December 7, 1920 - November 8, 1944

Major Walter "Nowi" Nowotny (7 December 1920 – 8 November 1944) was an Austrian-born German fighter ace of World War II. He is credited with 258 aerial victories—that is, 258 aerial combat encounters resulting in the destruction of the enemy aircraft—in 442 combat missions. Nowotny achieved 255 of these victories on the Eastern Front and three while flying one of the first jet fighters, the Messerschmitt Me 262, in the Defense of the Reich. He scored most of his victories in the Focke-Wulf Fw 190, and approximately 50 in the Messerschmitt Bf 109.Spick 1996, p. 227.

Nowotny joined the Luftwaffe in 1939 and completed his fighter pilot training in 1941, after which he was posted to Jagdgeschwader 54 "Grünherz" (JG 54) on the Eastern Front. Nowotny was the first pilot to achieve 250 victories – 194 in 1943 alone – earning him the coveted Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub, Schwertern und Brillanten (Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds) on 19 October 1943. For propaganda reasons, he was ordered to cease operational flying.

Reinstated to front-line service in September 1944, Nowotny tested and developed tactics for the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter. He was credited with three victories in this aircraft type before being killed in a crash following combat with United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) fighters on 8 November 1944. After his death, the first operational jet fighter wing, Jagdgeschwader 7 "Nowotny", was named in his honour.Forsyth 2008, p. 22.

Early life

Walter Nowotny was born in Gmünd, a small town in Lower Austria. His father, Rudolf Nowotny, was a railway official; his two brothers, Rudolf and Hubert, became officers in the Wehrmacht. Hubert Nowotny was killed in action in the Battle of Stalingrad.Held 1998, p. 48. From 1925 to 1935, his family lived in Schwarzenau until his father was relocated to Mistelbach, north of Vienna. Walter attended the primary school (Volksschule) in Schwarzenau before graduating to the Bundesoberrealschule in Waidhofen an der Thaya. During these years, he also sang in the Cistercian convent choir in the Zwettl Abbey.Fraschka 1994, p. 113.

Due to his father's relocation, Nowotny transferred to the secondary school (Oberschule) in Laa an der Thaya, where he received his diploma (Abitur) in May 1938. In his teens, Nowotny was interested in all kinds of sports. In 1935, he played football for the school team in Waidhofen, and in 1937, took first place in the javelin throw and third place in the lower Austrian track and field championships. Nowotny also visited the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. For his then mandatory Labour Service (Reichsarbeitsdienst), he joined the Luftwaffe on 1 October 1939.Held 1998, pp. 15, 17–19.


  • Order of the Cross of Liberty 1st ClassBerger 1999, p. 250.
  • Ehrenabzeichen der finnischen Luftwaffe
  • Combined Pilots-Observation Badge in Gold with Diamonds
  • Eastern Front Medal
  • Front Flying Clasp of the Luftwaffe for fighter pilots in Gold with pennant "400" (17 May 1942)
  • Honor Goblet of the Luftwaffe (14 July 1942)
  • Wound Badge (1939) in Black
  • Viennas city ring of honor (11 January 1944)Held 1998, p. 130.
  • Iron Cross (1939) 2nd and 1st Class
  • German Cross in Gold on 21 August 1942 as Leutnant in the I./JG 54Patzwall and Scherzer 2001, p. 334.
  • Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub und Brillanten
    • Ritterkreuz (4 September 1942) as pilot in the 9./JG 54Fellgiebel 2000, p. 327
    • 293rd Eichenlaub (4 September 1943) as Staffelkapitän of the 1./JG 54
    • 37th Schwerter (22 September 1943) as Gruppenkommandeur of the I./JG 54
    • 8th Brillanten (19 October 1943) as Gruppenkommandeur of the I./JG 54
  • Mentioned six times in the Wehrmachtbericht
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