Wick, Helmut Paul Emil.

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Wick, Helmut Paul Emil, born on 05-08-1915 at Mannheim. the youngest of three children of the agricultural engineer, Karl Wick and Berta Wick, born Schenck. Helmut’s eldest brother Walter was born in Swakopmund, at the time in the German protectorate in South-West Africa. After the outbreak of World War I, the family returned to Germany. Owing to the demand for his father’s skills and expertise building roads and bridges, Helmut spent most of his childhood traveling throughout the German Empire. The Wick family moved to Hanover in 1919; Helmut’s mother died there in February 1922. His father then took the family to Oliva, near Danzig and Königsberg in East Prussia, finally settling in Berlin in 1935. On completion of his schooling, he began training as a forestry worker. Wick joined the new Luftwaffe in 1935. By April 1936, he had received the rank of Fahnenjunker and by July 1937, he had been promoted to the rank of Fähnrich. On completion of his training, Wick was assigned to II./Jagdgeschwader 134 Horst Wessel flying Arado Ar 68 biplane fighters.    under command of Major Walter Grabmann   The later Generalmajor Grabmann was taken prisoner at the end of the war, and repatriated to Germany in May 1948. He died in Munich on 20-08-1992, age 86. Wick was commissioned with the rank of Leutnant on 01-09-1938. In January 1939, Wick was transferred to 1./Jagdgeschwader 53 , under command of Oberstleutnant Werner Junck, flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter under the command of Werner Mölders

   115 victories, RK-Br, killed in flying accident 22-11-1941). Wick was transferred to JG 2 on 30-08-1939. Leutnant Wick was assigned to 3./JG 2 and served with the unit in the air defence of Berlin during the Polish Campaign. He recorded his and the Geschwader’s first victory on 22-11-1939, when he shot down a French Hawk 75 fighter near Strasbourg, piloted by ace Adjutant Camille Plubeau  (14 victories) of GC II/4, Armée de l’Air, who crash-landed, wounded. Camille Plubeau survived the war and  died age 88 in 1998. On 10 May, 3./JG 2 was relocated to the western front but Wick remained behind while his aircraft underwent an engine change. He finally arrived at the front on 21 May. Wick was particularly successful during the French campaign recording 12 confirmed and two unconfirmed victories, including four French fighters shot down on 5 June to record his fourth through seventh victories and his 10th victory shot down on 8 June. The two unconfirmed victories related to two Royal Navy Swordfish torpedo bomber biplanes shot down at the end of May for which he had no witnesses.Wick was to have continued success during the Battle of Britain. He was appointed Staffelkapitän of 3./JG 2 on 01-08-1940, although he had been leading the unit since 23 June. He recorded his 19th and 20th victories on 25 August and on 26 August claimed a further two to take his score 22. For this feat, Oberleutnant Wick was awarded the Ritterkreuz  on 27-08-1940. On 04-09-1940, Wick received promotion to the rank of Hauptmann and took command of 6./JG 2.

 The Bf 109 E-4 “Schwarzer Doppelwinkel”, Werknummer 5344, was flown by Major Wick, October 1940

He added six further victories with this unit to raise his victory total to 28. Wick was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of I./JG 2 on 9 September. On 5 October, he shot down five RAF fighters in the Isle of Wight area (37-41). This gained him the immediate award of the Eichenlaub  by Hermann Goering

Further promotion followed and, at 25 years of age, Wick was the youngest Major in the Wehrmacht. Wick was appointed Kommodore of JG 2 on 20-10-1940, succeeding Major Wolfgang Schellmann   (25 victories, RK) who had left to command Jagdgeschwader 27.  Schellmann’s Messerschmitt Bf 109-E was rammed by an I-153 Chaykahe piloted by a Lieutenant Kuzmin near Grodno. Kuzmin was killed in the collision but Schellmann managed to bail out over Soviet territory but was never seen again. It was believed that while attempting to make his way back to German lines he was captured and later killed by NKVD troops. On 6 November, Wick claimed five RAF fighters shot down (48-52). On 28-11-1940, Wick achieved his 55th victory during an early sortie to become the leading fighter ace in the world. Later in the day, on a “Freie Jagd” over the English Channel, Wick scored his 56th victory, a Spitfire. In turn, his aircraft was shot down by British ace Flight Lieutenant John Dundas  of the No. 609 Squadron RAF  (13.333 confirmed, 2 probable and 4.5 damaged victories) .

Death and burial ground of Wick, Helmut Paul Emil.

Dundas was probably shot down by Wick’s wingman, Rudolf Pflanz

Pflanz, Rudolf "Rudi" who claimed a victory and saw the Spitfire crash into the sea  with the pilot still inside. Like Wick, Dundas’ body was never found Wick was seen to bale out of Bf 109 E-4 (W.Nr. 5344) “Black < – + -“ over the Channel, his “Geschwaderstab Schwarm” mate Hauptmann “Rudi” Pflanz (52 victories, RK, killed in action 31-07-1942) circled the area calling over the radio that a “Spitfire was down” hoping to attract the British air/sea rescue. Pflanz continued to circle until his fuel was almost empty, crash-landing at landfall on his return over the Channel but Wick was never found.

On 05-08-1939, Wick married Ursel Rolfs (1916–1968) in Berlin. The marriage produced two children, Walter (born in October 1939) and a girl, Sabine, born after Wick’s death, in February 1941.] On 23-01-1941, Wick’s father received a telephone call from Bodenschatz at the Führer Headquarters that Wick had been rescued and taken prisoner of war. Apparently an official Reuters report had indicated that a 25-year-old Luftwaffe Major, credited with 56 aerial victories, had been interned in a prisoner-of-war camp in Canada. Both Hitler and Goering initiated steps to get confirmation of the report. On 05-02-1941, a telegram from Ottawa informed Ursel that Wick was not interned in Canada. Ursel married the military doctor, Stabsarzt (equivalent to captain) Dr. Gerhard Tausch, later in the war. Dr. Gerhard Tausch was born in 1921, in Innsbruck Stadt, Tirol, Austria, his father, Dr. Karl Tausch, was 38 and his mother, Therese Keifl, was 32. He died in 2008, in his hometown, at the age of 87.

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