Batz, Wilhelm “Willi”, born on 21-05-1916 at Bamberg, entered the Luftwaffe in 1935. He trained as a fighter pilot at the Flying School at Kaufbeuren and the fighter pilot school at Bad Aibling, but was assigned instructing duties from 1937. He was promoted Leutnant on 01-11-1940. His repeated requests for a transfer to combat duty were rejected. After 5.000 flying hours instructing at the Flying School at Kaufbeuren and the Fighter Pilot School at Bad Aibling, Batz was finally transferred to 2./Ergänzung-Jagdgruppe Ost to undergo operation training on 20-12-1942. On 01-02-1943, Batz was appointed adjutant to Major, Kommandeur der II./J.G. 52. Johannes Steinhoff
in II./Jagd Gruppe 52 based on the Eastern front. He did not score his first victory until 11-03-1943. He was appointed Staffelkapitän of 5./JG 52 in May 1943, by which time he had seven victories to his credit. On 9 September, he claimed his 20th victory. His 40th followed on 16 November and his 50th on 30 November. By the end of 1943, Batz had 75 victories to his credit. Batz fell ill in February 1944 and was grounded for two weeks. On his return he became spectacularly successful. He recorded his 100th victory on 22-03-1944. Oberleutnant Batz here with Heinrich Sturm, Gerhard Barkhorn and Otto Fonnekold was awarded the Ritterkreuz on 26-03-1944 for 101 victories. Hauptmann Heinrich Sturm on the 22-12-1944, age 24, he scored his last two kills. Taking off for another sortie from Csór that day, one of the landing gear struts hit a truck killing him in the accident. Oberleutnant Otto Fönnekold on 31-08-1944, age 24, managed to shoot three US hunters P-51 Mustang. He was bombarded by P-51 when he landed on the square of Ssass-Budak and received a deadly heart shot. Still, he flattened his plane and rolled out.
On 19 April, Batz was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of III./JG 52 , taking over from Major, Gruppenkommandeur III./JG 52 and II./JG 11, Gunther Rall, 275 victories, RK-S. He was operating with such luminaries as Hauptmann, Erich “Bubbi” Hartmann, Oberleutnant, Friedrich “Fritz” Obleser, he died age 81, on 05-06-2004 (120 victories, RK) and Oberleutnant, Walter Wolfrum, he died old age 87, on 26-08-2010, in Schwabach, among the high-scoring pilots of III./JG 52 at that time.
Friedrich Obleser. Walter Wolfrum.
Throughout the summer of 1944, he was downing three or four Soviet aircraft a day. He downed 15 enemy aircraft on 31-05-1944 to record his 141st through 155th victories, scoring these victories on seven separate missions. In June he was to combat USAAF aircraft over Rumania and recorded two P-51s and a B-24 during this time. Hauptmann Batz was awarded the Eichenlaub on 20 July after 188 victories, by Reichsmarshall, Hermann Goering (did you know). His 200th victory was gained on 17-08-1944. By the end of 1944 Batz had shot down 224 enemy aircraft, including six for his 204th through 209th victories on 22 August. Batz remained in command of III./JG 52 until 31-01-1945 when he was transferred to take command of II./JG 52 in Hungary. Major Batz was awarded the Schwertern on 21-04-1945. At war’s end he was able to extricate his Gruppe from Hungary via Austria, and return to Germany. He was thus able to elude Soviet captivity that befell the other two Gruppen and the JG 52 staff. Post-war “Willi” Batz joined the Bundesluftwaffe and retired an Oberst.
Death and burial ground of Batz, Wilhelm “Willi”
Batz here on the right with ace Gerhard “Gerd” Barkhorn, passed away on 11-09-1988, age 72, at Mauschendorf in Unterfranken. ”Willi” Batz flew 445 combat missions in scoring his 237 victories. 234 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 over the Western front. He was wounded three times and was shot down four times. Batz is buried with his wife Aenne, who died old age 80 in 1999, in Leverkusen.