Wurmheller, Josef, born 04-05-1917 in Hausham, Oberbayern, After growing up on his uncle’s farm at Schliersee, he spent four years working as a miner like his father. He was an accomplished glider and powered aircraft pilot pre-war. He began his training as a fighter pilot in Hermann Goering’s (did you know) Luftwaffe in 1937. By summer of 1938, Gefreiter Wurmheller was serving with 2./Jagdgeschwader 334, under command of Major Hubert Merhart von Bernegg. At the outbreak of World War II, Unteroffizier Wurmheller was serving with 2./Jagdgeschwader 53, nickname “Ace of Spades” or “Pik As” under command of Major Hans Klein. Hans Klein died on 18-11-1944, age 53,. The official cause of death was from injuries received in a car accident, however his family suspected he was murdered, an inspection of Klein’s body allegedly showing evidence of a gunshot wound to the head.
Wurmheller recorded his first victory, a RAF Fairey Battle single-engined bomber near Saarbrücken, on 30-09-1939. From November 1939 to June 1940, Wurmheller undertook instructing duties. In June 1940, Wurmheller returned to JG 53 and combat duty. Feldwebel Wurmheller was assigned to 5./JG 53. He, here with Oberstleutnant Kurt Buhligen, who survived the war and died 11-08-1985 (aged 67) in Nidda, Hesse.
They participated in the Battle of Britain (see Bomber Arthur Harris) surviving two ditchings in the English Channel. Sepp’s dousing in the Channel of 23 November in Bf 109 E-4 following aerial combat over England resulted in hospitalisation until March 1941. On 07-05-1941, he gained his 9th and 10th victories when he downed two RAF Spitfire fighters. He spent a short period on the Eastern Front where he added nine victories to his tally. Meanwhile Oberfeldwebel Wurmheller, was transferred back to the Channel front to serve with the Stabsstaffel of II./JG 2 in July 1941. In less than four weeks, Wurmheller claimed 13 Spitfires. On 4 September, Wurmheller was awarded the Ritterkreuz for 31 victories. A further spell of instructing followed before a return to combat duty in May 1942. Assigned to 1./JG 2, nickname “Richthofengeschwader” , under Oberstleutnant,Walter “Gulle” Oesau
, Wurmheller gained 10 victories during May 1942. In June he claimed another 11 victories. His most successful day came during the Allied landings at Dieppe on 19-08-1942. Despite a crash-landing, during which he broke a leg and suffered concussion, Wurmheller claimed seven victories during the day. The feat earned Wurmheller a promotion to the rank of Leutnant and the award of the Eichenlaub , Nr 146, presented on 20-08-1942. His score stood at 60 victories. On 01-04-1943, Wurmheller was appointed Staffelkapitän of 9./JG 2 . He recorded his 70th victory on 17 May, when he shot down a USAAF B-17 four-engine bomber. On 23 September, he was wounded by bomb splinters while making an emergency landing in Fw 190 A-6 “Yellow 2” during a bombing raid at Vannes-Meuçon. On 08-03-1944, he claimed his 90th victory. Now Hauptmann, Wurmheller was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of III./JG 2 on 08-06-1944. He replaced Hauptmann, Herbert Huppertz
,78 victories, who had been shot down and killed, age 25, in aerial combat on 08-06-1944. He downed two USAAF P-47 fighters near Caen on 12 June (100-101).
Death and burial ground of Wurmheller, Josef “Sepp”.
Wurmheller was killed in his Fw 190 A-8, on 22-06-1944, age 27, during aerial combat with Allied fighters near Alençon when he collided with his wingman. He was posthumously awarded the Schwerten , Nr 108 and promoted to the rank of Major on 24-10-1944. Before he was killed on June 22, Sepp” Wurmheller, flying an Fw190, was credited with 102 enemy aircraft (93 on the Western Front). His most successful day was during the ill-fated “Dieppe Raid” when he shot down 7 British aircraft… despite suffering from a broken leg! “Sepp”, still recovering, on crutches. “
Sepp Wurmheller is buried on the war cemetery Champigny St. André, only steps of the graves of the Waffen SS General, Kommandeur der 7th Heeresgruppe, Friedrich Dollmann , Brigadeführer der Waffen SS, Kommandeur SS-Panzer Grenadier Regiment 1, Fritz Witt and General der Flieger, “ Hangman of Paris ” Kommandeur Wehrkreis XVII, Otto von Stülpnagel and (Carl) SS Obersturmführer with 1st SS Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler , under command of SS-Brigadeführer, Theodor Wisch, former adjudant from Hitler and husband of Traudl Junge-Humps , Hans Hermann Junge.
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