Dahl, Walther

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Dahl, Walther, born on 27-03-1916 in Lug near Bad Bergzabern, was a German Oberst Luftwaffe  fighter ace and recipient of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves  during World War II. A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down five or more enemy aircraft during aerial combat. He was the son of a teacher who was killed in action in 1918 on the Western Front of World War I. Dahl joined the Army in 1935, initially serving in 119th Infantry Regiment in Stuttgart, before transferring to the Luftwaffe and becoming a fighter pilot. In May 1941, Dahl was transferred to the Geschwaderstab of Jagd Geschwader 3, nicknamed “Udet” JG3  commander Oberst. Gunther Lutzow Günther Lutzow was reported missing in action flying the Me 262 on 24-04-1945, age 32, while attempting to intercept a U.S Army Air Forces B-26 Maraud raid near Donauwörth. His body was never recovered.

Dahl gained his first victory on 22-06-1941 during the invasion of Russia. On 10 July, Dahl was transferred to II./Jagdgeschwader 3. By the end of October, Dahl had 17 victories to his credit, including three Russian aircraft shot down on 13-09-1941 to record victories seven through nine and a further three on 23 October, all Russian fighters. Dahl was transferred to 4th battalion of Jagdgeschwader 3, on 13-12-1941 and accompanied the unit to the Mediterranean theater. In April 1943, Dahl was transferred to the Staff of the General der Jagdflieger, Kommodore Jagd Geschwader 26 “Schlageter” JG26  Adolf “Dolfo” Galland. It was named after Albert Leo Schlageter

 a World War I veteran and Freikorps member arrested and executed by the French for sabotage on 26-05-1923, age 28. Although many Luftwaffe records were lost at the end of the war, research suggests that JG 26 claimed around 2.700 aircraft shot down, with 763 pilots killed (631 in action, 132 in accidents). Some 67 were shot down and became prisoners. In August, Dahl was next appointed Geschwader Adjutant, JG 3 on the Eastern front where he had raised his total to 51, being awarded the German Cross in Gold in December 1942. On the morning of 30-11-1944, Dahl was informed that Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering (see Goering Peter), (see Emmy Sonneman) and (see Carin Fock) was coming to visit the troops and to present Dahl with the Oak Leaves to the Knight’s Cross. Knights Cross being awarded.

 Soon the discussion came to the point if Dahl was of the opinion that given these bad weather conditions the Geschwader could not engage in combat. Dahl explained that only good conditions would they stand a chance against the overwhelming odds of being outnumbered 1:20. He also refers to the inexperience and inadequate training of his young pilots. Only the arriving General der Jagdflieger Adolf Galland, who confirmed Dahl’s’ opinion, saved Dahl from severe punishment. Nevertheless Dahl was immediately relieved from his command and sent on sick leave. Subsequently Dahl was not presented with the Oak Leaves that day.

Death and burial ground of Dahl, Walther.

  Despite his promotion, Dahl continued to fly operationally and survived the war and died on 25-11-1985 in Heidelberg at the age of 69.
He is buried on the Bergfriedhof of Heidelberg, only steps from the graves of Albert Speer Hitler’s favorite architect and minister of war productions, and that of conductor and composer,

Wilhelm Fürtwangler  here with the Führer and Bayreuth’s Winifred Wagner, two other of Hitler’s favourites. Walter Dahl in his Fw 190A-8 blaue “13” , shot down 128 enemy aircraft in 678 missions, including about 300 ground-attack missions. He claimed  30, possibly 36, four-engined bombers and 34 Il-2 Stormovik ground attack aircraft. Dahl also achieved 2, possibly as many as 9 victories, flying the Me-262. He recorded 84 victories over the Eastern Front. His 128 aerial victory claimed during World War II were challenged by the historians of JG 300 (Lorant/Goyat) who identified no more than 100 Dahl claims.?

IMG_20150423_0003  IMG_20150423_0003-001 IMG_20150423_0003-002

Cemetery location of Dahl, Walther.

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