Friday 21 October 2022

Uffz. Walter Lühs, 9./JG 26 - service record and death in combat


Fw 190 A-4 'Yellow 14' flown by Uffz. Walter Lühs of 9./JG 26, late 1942-early 1943, probably Flugplatz Maldegem, Belgium (East Flanders).

Born on March 27, 1920 in Schwerin/Meckl, Walter Lühs was a 23-year old III./JG 26 Fw 190 pilot. According to his service record (reproduced below from his Ehrenbuch entry at Freiburg) he started training during the summer of 1939 and arrived at his first combat unit, III./JG 26 on the Channel coast, three years later in September 1942. Note (above) the EK II on his tunic - probably awarded following his first (and only) victory - he downed a four-engine bomber early in his career as a fighter pilot..."..durch seine fliegerisches Können und seine Einsatzfreudigkeit gelang es ihm schon bei den ersten Einsätzen ein viermotoriges Kampfflugzeug abzuschießen.." He flew 21 combat sorties in total. 

Flying from an airfield in Belgium, he failed to return along with his Rottenführer from a combat sortie against four-engine bombers over the North Sea ("norddeutsche Küstengebiet") on June 25, 1943. 

".. as unit leader ...[Einheitsführer] is my sad duty to inform you that you son failed to return from a combat sortie on 25 June. On this date we flew a mission to intercept four-engine bombers. In the course of the  air battle our Staffel was forced to disperse and therefore I am unable to give any further details as to the exact  fate of your son although through radio communication it has been established that he was with his Rotte leader up to the last moments. Both failed to return from the mission. As combat took place out over the sea the air-sea rescue services were immediately notified on our return to base, although their efforts did not meet with success. These events have hit us all very hard. Be assured of our Staffel's deepest sympathies...Your son was a much-loved comrade..[..] and an enthusiastic pilot. In the time he was a member of the Staffel his grit and fighting spirit earned him the admiration and appreciation of all the unit's pilots......"