Wilcke, Wolf-Dietrich “Fürst” .

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Wilcke, Wolf-Dietrich.
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Wilcke, Wolf-Dietrich, “Fürst” , born 11-03-1913S, in Schrimm, Posen, son of Hans Wilcke and his wife (marriage 1910) Hertha, born von Schuckmann (born 24-02-1889; died 1983), his father (born1878) was a Hauptmann of the Prussian army in the infantry regiment “King Ludwig III. von Bayern ”(2. Lower Silesian) No. 47. He died only four weeks after his birth from the consequences of severe pneumonia from the winter maneuver in 1913.

In 1919, after the First World War, his mother married the later Generalleutnant Friedrich “Fritz” von Scotti. From Scotti, for whom it was also the second marriage, Wolf-Dietrich accepted with all his heart, but it does not seem to have come to an adoption. On 08-04-1920 Wolf-Dietrich’s stepbrother Kaspar Nikolaus Friedrich Karl Severin von Scotti was born on the manor Brutzen in the middle of Pomeranian Switzerland. Kaspar was a Hauptmann in World War II and fell on the Eastern Front; he died of his fatal wounds on 07-05-1943 at the main dressing station of the medical company 2/58 in Tavrovo (Belgorod oblast, Russia). Major Walter von Scotti, Kaspar’s uncle, was killed in defense of the Reich on the Western Front on 31-03-1945. It has not yet been possible to determine whether Oberstleutnant Robert Wilcke of the cavalry, Oberleutnant Hans Wilcke of the Navy and Oberleutnant Hans-Albert Wilcke of the infantry (7.6.1914–26.10.1940) are related to Wolf-Dietrich. Generalleutnant Friedrich  von Scotti died age 80, on 16-07-1969 in Karlsruhe.

Wolf-Dietrich volunteered for military service in the Reichswehr of the Third Reich in 1934. Initially serving in the Heer (Army), he transferred to the Luftwaffe in 1935. Following flight training, he was posted to Jagdgeschwader 2 “Richthofen”  under command of Oberstleutnant, later Generalleutnant  “Gerd” Friedrich Wilhelm von Massow , in April 1936. Von Massow died age 71 in 1967. After an assignment as fighter pilot instructor he volunteered for service with the Condor Legion  under command of Generalmajor Hugo Sperrle, during the Spanish Civil War in early 1939. After his return from Spain, he was appointed Staffelkapitän (squadron leader) of the 7. Staffel (7th squadron) of Jagdgeschwader 53. Following the outbreak of World War II, he claimed his first aerial victory on 07-11-1939. On 18-05-1940, during the Battle of France, he was shot down and taken prisoner of war. After the armistice with France, he returned from captivity and was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of the III of JG 53, succeeding Hauptmann Harro Harder, during the Battle of Britain, claiming 10 victories over England. Harder, age 27, was killed on 12-08-1940 when his Bf 109 E-3 was shot down by a Spitfire east of the Isle of Wight. On 13 September, his body was washed ashore near Dieppe.

Wilcke then fought in the aerial battles of Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union  . There, after 25 aerial victories, he was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross on 06-08-1941. In September 1941, he relocated with his group to the Mediterranean Theater, where he was able to claim further victories. At the end of May 1942, he was transferred to the Stab (headquarters unit) of Jagdgeschwader 3 “Udet”, under command of Oberst Günther Lützow

and that August he was appointed as its Geschwaderkommodore Günther Lützow was reported missing in action flying the Me 262 on 24-04-1945 while attempting to intercept a U.S. Army Air Forces B-26 Marauder raid near Donauwörth, in the river Danube.. His body was never recovered. Following his 100th aerial victory on 6 September, he received the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves.

During the Battle of Stalingrad, on 17 December, Wilcke, here with Generalfeldmarschall der Luftwaffe Albert Kesselring , claimed his 150th aerial victory. On 23-12-1942, he was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords, his total now 155 aerial victories.

Death and burial ground of Wilcke, Wold-Dietrich,  “Fürst”.

Wilcke was promoted to Oberst on 01-12-1943 and requested permission to fly operationally and lead his Geschwader from the air. In February 1944, although still officially banned from flying operations, Wilcke ignored the order and flew several missions leading his Stabsschwarm against the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF)   in Defense of the Reich missions. He claimed his 157th victory, over a Lockheed P-38 Lightning, on 10 February and his 158th, over a Consolidated B-24 Liberator, on 24 February. He shot down two Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bombers on 04-03-1944, his 159th and 160th aerial victories. On 06-03-1944, his Bf 109G-6 was crippled in aerial combat and he made an emergency landing at Neuruppin. Combat on 6 March cost both sides heavy losses. The Eighth Air Force lost 75 four-engined bombers and 14 escort fighters, the Luftwaffe lost 65 aircraft; 36 German pilots were killed and 27 wounded.

On 23-03-1944, Wilcke led JG 3 “Udet” named after Generaloberst of the Luftwaffe Ernst Udet, against a USAAF bomber formation near Braunschweig. On this day, the USAAF was attacking aircraft factories at Braunschweig and other targets of opportunity in Münster, Osnabrück and Achmer. In total, the Eighth Air Force had committed 768 B-17s and B-24s bombers to this attack, supported by 841 long-range fighters. The Luftwaffe countered this attack with 13 day fighter Gruppen, mustering 259 fighters on this day. Following combat, the Luftwaffe claimed the destruction of 51 enemy aircraft, including 44 four-engined bombers. The Luftwaffe suffered 16 pilots killed and six wounded as well as 33 aircraft lost. The USAAF admitted the loss of 29 bombers and 5 escort fighters while claiming 62 German aircraft shot down and another 2 destroyed on the ground.

During this engagement, Wilcke shot down a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber and a North American P-51 Mustang fighter, but was then shot down in his Bf 109G-6 (Werknummer 160 613—factory number) near Schöppenstedt. It is assumed that the victors were Captain Don Gentile and Captain John Trevor Godfrey of the 4th Fighter Group. under command of Lieutenant Colonel Clairborne Holmes Kinnard Jr., Kinnard died 18-09-1966, age, 53, of a brain tumour.

By this date, Wilcke had claimed 162 enemy aircraft in 732 combat missions. Wilcke had been nicknamed “Fürst” (prince) by his comrades on account of his attitude towards his men and paternal sense of responsibility. He had also been very conscious of his style and appearance and wore a very expensive and custom tailored leather coat, a trade which also added to his perception and fostered the nickname.

His funeral ceremony was held at the airfield in Mönchengladbach (then “München Gladbach”). Among others, the funeral ceremony was attended by his stepfather. Wilcke is buried in the honor section of the cemetery in Mönchengladbach-Holt


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  1. Prego chi abbia ancora un parente vivo legato ame stessa. Per comunicazione riservata importante. Grazie.

  2. Scusate per il mio messaggio posto poco fa, non avevo aggiunto il nome del caduto Wolf dietrich wilcke nato schrimm/1913.o miei omaggi. Maria Grazia.

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