Wolf-Dietrich "Fürst" Wilcke
Oberst

Wolf-Dietrich Wilcke

    Wolf-Dietrich “Fürst” Wilcke was born on 11 March 1913 at Schrimm in Posen. He enrolled in the Wehrmacht in 1934 and initially served in a Cavalry Regiment. In 1935, Oberfärnrich Wilcke transferred to the newly formed Luftwaffe. He completed his flying training at Perleberg and joined JG 132. In autumn of 1937 he became an instructor at the Jagdfliegerschule Werneuchen. In early 1939, Oberleutnant Wilcke was sent to Spain to serve with the Condor Legion. His time spent there was short and he was soon back in Germany serving with III./JG 53 under the command of Werner Mölders. On 18 September 1939, Hauptmann Wilcke was appointed Staffelkapitän and ordered to form 7./JG 53 within the newly constituted III./JG 53. He gained his first victory on 7 November when he shot down a French Potez 637 twin-engined fighter over the Saar valley. On 18 May 1940, Wilcke became separated from his Staffel during combat with French Hawk 75 fighters. He was shot down but managed to bale out. He was captured but was soon released at the fall of France. Wilcke returned to JG 53 and participated in the Battle of Britain. He was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of III./JG 53 on 13 August 1940, following the death of Hauptmann Harro Harder (17 victories) in aerial combat. He nearly did not have the opportunity to take up the new position. During a late afternoon mission on 12 August, Wilcke’s Bf 109 E-4 suffered engine failure. He baled out into the sea and was very fortunate to be found in bright moonlight and rescued by a Do 18 twin-engine flying boat of the German air-sea rescue services. By early summer he had recorded 13 victories. Wilcke led III./JG 53 during Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of Russia. On 22 June 1941, the opening day of the invasion, III./JG 53 were returning from its first mission against Russian airfields in Lithuania when it encountered a formation of I-15bis biplane fighters. In the ensuing combat Wilcke downed three of the fighters. He recorded two further victories later that day to take his victory total to 18. On 25 June, Wilcke was involved in a collision on take-off from Vilna in Bf 109 F-2 (W.Nr. 8104). Both aircraft involved in the incident were destroyed by fire. He was lucky to escape with minor injuries. Hauptmann Wilcke was awarded the Ritterkreuz on 6 August 1940 for 25 victories. In December 1941, III./JG 53 were transferred to Sicily. Wilcke’s victory tally had reached 32. Operating over Malta, he added four RAF Spitfire fighters to his score. In early May 1942, III./JG 53 was ordered to North Africa. On 18 May 1942, Wilcke was transferred to JG 3 operating on the Eastern front. On 12 August, Major Wilcke was appointed Kommodore of JG 3. He recorded his 100th victory on 6 September for which he was awarded the Eichenlaub (Nr 122) on 9 September. Wilcke participated in the Battle of Stalingrad, based at Pitomnik, where he directed day fighter operations over the city. During the summer offensive of 1942, under the command of Wilcke, the Geschwaderstab/JG 3 recorded 137 victories of which Wilcke claimed 97 (39-135). During this time the unit reported only one pilot lost. In September alone, Wilcke claimed 32 victories, including four enemy aircraft shot down on 18 September (103-106), six on 24 September (111-116) and another four shot down on 24 September (117-120). When Russian forces encircled Stalingrad, the Geschwaderstab/JG 3 was transferred to Morozovskaya-Öst, outside the pocket. Wilcke directed fighter escort missions for the transport aircraft attempting to supply the surrounded 6th German Army. He claimed five victories on 17 December (147-151). Wilcke was the fourth German fighter pilot to reach 150 victories. On 23 December, he was awarded the Schwerten (Nr 23) for 155 victories. On the same day, he led the unit to Morozovskaya-Süd to escape the advance of the Russian armoured spearhead. A further move followed to Tazinskaya on 3 January 1943 where the unit remained until after the end of the fighting in the Stalingrad pocket. During this time the unit claimed a further 25 victories for the loss in action of two pilots. Wilcke claimed 21 to raise his victory total to 156. From March 1943, he led JG 3 over the Kuban bridgehead. However, he had been forbidden to fly operationally and had to lead the unit from the ground. In May 1943, JG 3 was withdrawn to Germany. On its return to Germany, the Geschwaderstab/JG 3 was based at Mönchenglagbach. Oberst Wilcke was still under instructions not to fly combat missions. However, he began ignoring the orders in February 1944 and was able to record four victories over USAAF B-17 four-engined bombers and a single P-51 fighter. On 6 March, his machine Bf 109G-6 was damaged in aerial combat and Wilcke had to make an emergency landing at Neuruppin. Although his aircraft was destroyed, Wilcke escaped injury. On 23 March 1944, Wilcke led JG 3 in an attack on a USAAF bomber formation near Braunschweig. During the ensuing combat, Wilcke shot down his 162nd, and last, victory, an escorting P-51 fighter, but was shot down near Schöppenstedt. He died in the wreckage of his Bf 109 G-6 (W.Nr. 160 613) “Black << + -“. It is thought he had become the victim of American aces Major Don Gentile (21.833 confirmed and 3 damaged victories) and Major John Godfrey (16.333 confirmed, 2 probale and 5 damaged victories) of the 336th Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Group, USAAF.
    “Fürst” Wilcke was credited with 162 victories in 732 missions. He recorded 137 victories over the Eastern front. Of his 25 victories recorded over the Western front, four were four-engine bombers.
 
No
Date
Time
A/c Type
Unit
Location / Comments
1
7.11.1939
16:12
Potez 63 7./JG 53 Völklingen / Potez 637 of GR I/33 of Armée de l’Air
-
2.3.1940
-
Hurricane 7./JG 53 S Bitsch / not confirmed
2
11.3.1940
17:45
Potez 7./JG 53 6km NNE Sierck / Potez 63-11 of GR I/22 of Armée de l”Air flown by Lt Maitret
3
25.3.1940
14:55
Morane 7./JG 53 SW Saarbrücken / Morane 406 of GC III/3 of Armée de l’Air
4
31.8.1940
20:35
Spitfire III./JG 53 Dover area
5
1.9.1940
12:25
Spitfire III./JG 53 -
6
11.9.1940
18:40
Biplane III./JG 53 Dover-Calais / Probably Swordfish of RN FAA
7
15.9.1940
12:55
Hurricane III./JG 53 SW London
8
15.9.1940
15:15
Spitfire III./JG 53 Tonbridge
9
17.9.1940
16:40
Hurricane III./JG 53 -
10
20.9.1940
12:40
Hurricane III./JG 53 -
-
27.9.1940
-
Spitfire III./JG 53 SW London / not confirmed
11
30.9.1940
14:35
Spitfire III./JG 53 Dungeness-Hastings-London
12
30.9.1940
-
Spitfire III./JG 53 Dungeness-Hastings-London
13
10.10.1940
11:38
Spitfire III./JG 53 -
-
1.11.1940
-
Blenheim III./JG 53 Thames Estuary / not confirmed
14
22.6.1941
4:00
I-15bis III./JG 53 -
15
22.6.1941
4:05
I-15bis III./JG 53 -
16
22.6.1941
4:10
I-15bis III./JG 53 -
17
22.6.1941
7:16
I-16 III./JG 53 -
18
22.6.1941
16:43
I-17 III./JG 53 -
19
30.6.1941
18:31
I-15 III./JG 53 -
20
9.7.1941
16:45
Pe-2 III./JG 53 -
21
14.7.1941
-
R-5 III./JG 53 -
22
25.7.1941
6:20
I-16 III./JG 53 -
23
26.7.1941
8:01
I-17 III./JG 53 -
24
29.7.1941
16:05
I-15 III./JG 53 Dukovshchina area
25
30.7.1941
9:05
I-18 III./JG 53 Yartsevo-Bely area
26
8.8.1941
18:46
I-16 III./JG 53 -
27
23.8.1941
15:26
Pe-2 III./JG 53 Velikiye-Luki area
28
23.8.1941
15:30
Pe-2 III./JG 53 Velikiye-Luki area
29
27.8.1941
13:45
DB-3 III./JG 53 Toropets area
30
7.9.1941
16:55
Il-2 III./JG 53 -
31
8.9.1941
9:35
I-61 III./JG 53 -
32
8.9.1941
9:55
DB-3 III./JG 53 -
33
25.9.1941
10:55
Pe-2 III./JG 53 -
34
11.12.1941
11:00
Hurricane III./JG 53 -
35
2.4.1942
10:20
Spitfire III./JG 53 Malta
36
22.4.1942
18:00
Hurricane III./JG 53 off Valetta, Malta / Hurricane (Z4011) “B” of 185 Sqn, RAF flown by P/O OO Ormrod, killed
37
25.4.1942
12:55
Hurricane III./JG 53 St Paul’s Bay, Malta / Hurricane of 229 Sqn, RAF
38
12.5.1942
11:35
Spitfire III./JG 53 Malta
39
13.6.1942
10:20
LaGG-3 Stab/JG 3 -
40
22.6.1942
4:00
LaGG-3 Stab/JG 3 -
41
24.6.1942
11:20
LaGG-3 Stab/JG 3 -
42
24.6.1942
15:15
R-5 Stab/JG 3 -
43
30.6.1942
10:20
Hurricane Stab/JG 3 -
44
3.7.1942
9:36
Boston Stab/JG 3 -
45
3.7.1942
9:36
Boston Stab/JG 3 -
46
3.7.1942
9:37
Boston Stab/JG 3 -
47
4.7.1942
11:10
LaGG-3 Stab/JG 3 -
48
4.7.1942
12:00
LaGG-3 Stab/JG 3 -
49
4.7.1942
18:50
Boston Stab/JG 3 -
50
6.7.1942
10:45
P-39 Stab/JG 3 -
51
6.7.1942
11:00
LaGG-3 Stab/JG 3 -
52
6.7.1942
13:45
R-5 Stab/JG 3 -
53
6.7.1942
17:35
Hurricane Stab/JG 3 -
54
6.7.1942
17:40
Hurricane Stab/JG 3 -
55
6.7.1942
18:00
Hurricane Stab/JG 3 -
56
9.7.1942
19:20
Il-2 Stab/JG 3 -
57
9.7.1942
19:23
Il-2 Stab/JG 3 -
58
10.7.1942
4:30
Boston Stab/JG 3 -
59
10.7.1942
4:32
Boston Stab/JG 3 -
60
10.7.1942
4:33
Boston Stab/JG 3 -
61
10.7.1942
13:30
Boston Stab/JG 3 -
62
11.7.1942
11:40
MiG-1 Stab/JG 3 -
63
11.7.1942
11:42
MiG-1 Stab/JG 3 -
64
11.7.1942
13:30
R-5 Stab/JG 3 -
65
12.7.1942
13:00
R-5 Stab/JG 3 -
66
12.7.1942
16:05
LaGG-3 Stab/JG 3 -
67
12.7.1942
16:07
LaGG-3 Stab/JG 3 -
68
18.7.1942
15:50
LaGG-3 Stab/JG 3 -
69
24.7.1942
10:25
I-153 Stab/JG 3 -
70
26.7.1942
12:45
Hurricane Stab/JG 3 -
71
26.7.1942
12:50
Hurricane Stab/JG 3 -
72
26.7.1942
16:05
Pe-2 Stab/JG 3 -
73
26.7.1942
16:06
Pe-2 Stab/JG 3 -
74
27.7.1942
10:30
LaGG-3 Stab/JG 3 -
75
28.7.1942
16:30
LaGG-3 Stab/JG 3 -
76
4.8.1942
15:00
Su-2 Stab/JG 3 -
77
5.8.1942
17:10
LaGG-3 Stab/JG 3 -
78
6.8.1942
10:10
LaGG-3 Stab/JG 3 -
79
9.8.1942
11:05
MiG-1 Stab/JG 3 ENE Kalatsch
80
12.8.1942
17:15
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
81
13.8.1942
12:10
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
82
13.8.1942
17:45
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
83
17.8.1942
12:20
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
84
20.8.1942
4:42
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
85
20.8.1942
4:46
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
86
20.8.1942
4:49
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
87
23.8.1942
7:46
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
88
23.8.1942
14:50
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
89
26.8.1942
8:35
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
90
26.8.1942
8:37
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
91
28.8.1942
9:35
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
92
30.8.1942
9:05
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
93
31.8.1942
9:00
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
94
31.8.1942
9:10
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
95
31.8.1942
13:10
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
96
31.8.1942
17:10
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
97
3.9.1942
13:40
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
98
3.9.1942
17:16
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
99
6.9.1942
17:15
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
100
6.9.1942
17:17
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
101
10.9.1942
11:10
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
102
12.9.1942
11:38
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
103
18.9.1942
9:15
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
104
18.9.1942
9:54
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
105
18.9.1942
12:10
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
106
18.9.1942
12:15
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
107
19.9.1942
11:40
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
108
19.9.1942
12:00
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
109
20.9.1942
12:30
LaGG-3 Stab/JG 3 -
110
20.9.1942
12:34
LaGG-3 Stab/JG 3 -
111
22.9.1942
12:02
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
112
22.9.1942
12:04
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
113
22.9.1942
16:20
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
114
22.9.1942
16:25
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
115
22.9.1942
16:27
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
116
22.9.1942
16:29
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
117
24.9.1942
11:01
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
118
24.9.1942
11:05
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
119
24.9.1942
11:12
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
120
24.9.1942
16:32
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
121
25.9.1942
11:36
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
122
28.9.1942
11:05
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
123
28.9.1942
11:08
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
124
28.9.1942
11:20
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
125
29.9.1942
10:19
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
126
29.9.1942
10:21
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
127
29.9.1942
15:33
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
128
29.9.1942
15:37
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
129
3.10.1942
12:00
Yak-4 Stab/JG 3 20km NE Kalatsch
130
24.10.1942
15:20
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
131
24.10.1942
15:23
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
132
25.10.1942
14:34
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
133
26.10.1942
14:15
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
134
1.11.1942
14:10
Yak-1 Stab/JG 3 N Stalingrad
135
1.11.1942
14:12
Yak-1 Stab/JG 3 N Stalingrad
136
24.11.1942
12:50
Il-2 Stab/JG 3 -
137
24.11.1942
12:53
Yak-1 Stab/JG 3 -
138
30.11.1942
9:00
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
139
30.11.1942
9:50
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
140
30.11.1942
12:10
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
141
2.12.1942
13:40
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
142
8.12.1942
12:57
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
143
8.12.1942
12:59
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
144
8.12.1942
13:02
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
145
12.12.1942
12:35
La-5 Stab/JG 3 -
146
12.12.1942
12:40
Yak-1 Stab/JG 3 -
147
12.12.1942
12:45
Yak-1 Stab/JG 3 -
148
12.12.1942
12:55
Yak-1 Stab/JG 3 -
149
17.12.1942
7:50
Yak-1 Stab/JG 3 -
150
17.12.1942
7:55
Yak-1 Stab/JG 3 -
151
17.12.1942
11:15
Yak-1 Stab/JG 3 -
152
18.12.1942
9:35
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
153
18.12.1942
9:38
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
154
18.12.1942
9:45
E/a Stab/JG 3 -
155
28.12.1942
8:55
Yak-1 Stab/JG 3 -
156
5.1.1943
10:05
Il-2 Stab/JG 3 10km SE Skrimskaya
157
10.2.1944
11:50~
P-38 Stab/JG 3 Hannover-Braunschweig
158
24.2.1944
14:30
B-24 HSS Stab/JG 3 Bad Nauheim-Koblenz
159
4.3.1944
13:10
B-17 Stab/JG 3 Wittenberg-Neuruppin-Stendal
160
4.3.1944
13:10
B-17 Stab/JG 3 Wittenberg-Neuruppin-Stendal
161
23.3.1944
-
B-17 Stab/JG 3 -
162
23.3.1944
-
P-51 Stab/JG 3 Near Schöppenstedt

Victories : 162
Awards : Deutsches Kreuz in Gold (3 November 1942)
                Ritterkreuz (6 August 1941)
                Eichenlaub (8 September 1942)
                Schwertern (23 December 1942)
Units : JG 53, JG 3

Home