On 26 October 1941 the Kommodore of JG 2 Major Walter Oesau returned his 100th victory, only the third Luftwaffe ace to achieve this landmark after Oberst Werner Mölders and Günther Lützow. At 28 years old he had already been awarded the 'Swords' for his 80th victory in July 1941. Here he is being feted by ground crews while Lt. Gerhard Lohmann of the Geschwader Stab presents him with a 'commemorative' banner. All three of these aces would be blocked from further combat flying in the immediate aftermath of their 100th...
".. the machines are straight away prepared for their next sortie..."
Fw. Josef 'Jupp' Bigge recalled; "...On 26 October 1941, our Kommodore, Major Walter Oesau won his 100th victory. But his satisfaction was marred by an order from the highest echelons - he was banned from flying on the same day. To date, the Kommodore had flown almost all missions with his Stabschwarm, comprising Oblt. Erich Leie (Adjutant), Oblt. Rudi Pflanz (Technical Officer) and Stabsfeldwebel Fritz Stritzel (a comrade from Oesau’s time at Döberitz). To complete the Stabschwarm, the Kommandeur of III. Gruppe also based in St Pol, Hptm. 'Assi' Hahn, had been ordered to surrender the pilot that seemed best suited for this position. It was I who was chosen with the consent of my Kapitän, Oblt. Stolle...We were relatively independent of the rest of our Geschwader and enjoyed great flexibility of action. In addition, we had the best equipment. Sometimes it was Oesau himself who gave the order to take off. Relying on accurate maps and good information, we were usually sent directly to the areas of fighting. Neither myself nor Stritzel had much opportunity to win victories for our job was almost exclusively to protect the backs of our Rottenführer. We were more than satisfied when we managed to follow Leie and Pflanz since in combat they would usually embark on a series of manoeuvres that would be as tight as they were acrobatic - we simply had no time to consider any success other than simply to cover them. Moreover, our bosses were appreciative of our efforts and never failed to thank us. Personal contacts within the Stab were excellent in spite of a strict respect for rank. After the missions, events were analysed with great precision and calm. We rubbed shoulders in the mess or in the barracks in an atmosphere of camaraderie and independence..."
Also on this blog
Walter Oesau and JG 20 in the French campaign
Kommodore Oesau's last sortie May 1944 JG 1 Bf 109 G-6/AS
the aces of JG 2 victory claims and credits during 1941