Woltersdorf, Helmut

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Woltersdorf, Helmut, born 15-11-1915 in Friedberg, initially joined Hermann Goering’s (did you know) Luftwaffe with the II. Gruppe Zerstörergeschwader 141  under command of Hauptmann Günther Reinecke,, based at Padubitz until May 1939, when it was renamed I.Zerstörergeschwader 76. Woltersdorfs first kill came on 02-09-1939 over Poland. While escorting Dornier Do 17s he shot down a PZL P.11 fighter. He was to score his second kill against this type on 9 September.  During the Norwegian Campaign Helmut scored four kills against RAF  Vickers Wellington bombers, two on the 12 April and two victories on 30 April. During the Battle of Britain Woltersdorf destroyed two Spitfires on 15 August, his only kills of the battle. I./Zerstorergeschwader 76  had been withdrawn from the front-line in September 1940 to re-train in the night-fighter role. Defending Belgian and Dutch air space, Woltserdorf destroyed nine Wellington, three Handley Page, two Avro Manchester, one Lockheed Ventura and a single Handley Page Halifax between 12-05-1941 and 02-06-1942.

Woltersdorf was posted to 4./Nachtjagdgeschwader 1 (1st Squadron of Night Fighter Wing 1) under command of Oberst Wolfgang Falck ,.Falck survived the war and died 13-03-2007, aged 96 in St. Ulrich, Austria. On 12-05-1941 Woltersdorf claimed a Handley Page Hampden over Enkhuizen at 02:57. Identified as Hampden AD900 attacking Hamburg. Crashed at Hoogkarspel. The pilot Acting Squadron Leader Colin Guy Champion Rawlins of No. 144 Squadron RAF was wounded and captured. On 24/25 June 1941 he claimed his second night victory against another Wellington north of Schiermonnikoog at 01:40.

On the night of 6/7 July 1941 Woltersdorf, now flying a Dornier Do 215B-5 night fighter equipped with the infra-Red “Spanner-Anlage” detection apparatus, detected a Wellington and shot it down west of Texel at 03:43.He was hit by return-fire and Woltersdorf ditched his aircraft into the Wadden Sea. In October 2007 the Dornier was discovered largely intact. Woltersdorf was moved 7 Staffel and claimed a victory against a Wellington over Ruurlo at 00:11 on 07-09-1941. The following night at 01:22 on the 8 September, Woltersdorf claimed another Wellington shot down northeast of Nienborg. Twelve days later, at 22:46 west of Hengelo, Woltersdorf claimed his sixth night victory over another Wellington. On 29-12-1941 Woltersdorf claimed a Handley-Page Hampden 22:45 near Winterswijk. It has been identified as the No. 408 Squadron RCAF Hampden piloted by Pilot Officer Stuart Brackenbury who was captured.

On the night of the 9/19 March 1942, east Münster, Woltersdorf accounted for another Wellington. On 26-03-1942, while flying a Dornier Do 215, Woltersdorf claimed a Avro Manchester at 00:32 near Bocholt, Germany. It was possibly the aircraft, L7465, piloted by Sergeant Paul Markides from No. 207 Squadron RAF, . All seven of the crew were killed. The victory was recorded on the Dornier’s gun camera, which shows the aircraft engulfed in flames. The clock records 00:09:30 as the time of the victory. It has also been suggested his victim was L7497, Code QK, of No. 61 Squadron RAF crashed killing all seven crew members; Sergeants C. G Furby, J.R Dow (RCAF), J. E Smart, D. C Brockley, J. Buckley, W. A Roberts, H. H Fetherston. The bomber crashed in Wertherbruch only several miles from Bocholt.

Woltersdorf scored again on 6/7 April 1942 when he claimed a Wellington southwest of Zwolle at 04:13. The victim was probably a Hampden from No. 455 Squadron RAAF, coded UB-T, which was flying an operation Essen. Sergeant Arthur. H Wincott, Flying Officer T. E Roberts, Sergeant C. Gammie and Sergeant K. W McIlrath were all killed in action. It was the first of several claims made by Woltersdorf this month. On 21-04-1942 he was the only Luftwaffe night fighter pilot to claim a victory over a Lockheed Ventura at 14:02 in an unknown location. On 24/25 April Wolterdorf downed an Avro Manchester south of Ameland at 23:32.

On the night of the 30/31 May 1942, Air Officer Commanding RAF Bomber Command, Arthur Harris, began his campaign of area bombing over Germany. It was the first of the 1,000-bomber air raids and it targeted the city of Cologne. Woltersdorf scrambled to intercept the armada in a Messerschmitt Bf 110. Southeast of Apeldoorn he spotted, engaged and shot down a Wellington at 02:25. Thirty minutes later southeast of Zutphen he claimed another Wellington. One of these machines was Wellington Mk. Ic N2894, code AA-?, of No. 75 Squadron RNZAF. Pilot Officer David Malcolm Johnson, Warrant Officer Oldrich Jambor (a Czech co-pilot), Flight Lieutenant Hector Austin Charles Batten, Flight Sergeants Josiah Robert Connor and John McKenzie Mclean were killed. Only G. J. Waddington-Allwright survived to be taken prisoner of war

 

 

On 02-06-1942 Woltersdorf was shot down and killed by a Hawker Hurricane piloted by New Zealander Sergeant Peter Gawith

  of No. 3 Squadron RAF . The RAF unit had been conducting night sweeps over Europe since 11-12-1941 Gawith survived just two more months.

Death and burial ground of Woltersdorf, Helmut.

 

 

On 28 July he was posted as missing in action over Noordwijk, Netherlands, Woltersdorf, age 26, is buried on the war cemetery of Ysselsteyn in the Netherlands, Plot Q. Also buried there the personalities, General der Infanterie, Feldkommandeur der 642th in Arnhem, Friedrich Kussin,

   the first killed and scalped General during Operation Market Garden. He was posthumously awarded the Oak Leaves to his Knight’s Cross on 02-03-1944. Also buried there the personalities, Generalleutnant der Infanterie, Kommandeur der 526th Reserve-Division, Kurt Scmidt, Generalmajor der Infanterie, Kommandeur der 376th Infanterie Regiment, Oskar von der Hagen, Major, Kommandeur III./N.J.G. 1, Egmond Prinz zur Lippe Weissenfeld, Major, Kommandeur I./N.J.G. 100, Heinrich Prinz zur Sayn Wittgenstein      and Oberleutnant with 3./NJG1  Paul Gildner,

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