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Oberst Werner Mölders ~ Free Shipping

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$15.00
SKU:
626
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0.20 LBS
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11" x 14" Print Size ----- Unlimited print edition 

Oberst Werner Mölders

Werner "Vati" Mölders was born on 18 March 1913, at Gelsenkirchen in the Ruhrgebiet. He joined the army in 1931 and served as an officer cadet in the Infantry. In 1934, with the rebirth of the Luftwaffe as a result of Hitler coming to power, Mölders requested a transfer to become a pilot. At his first attempt to join the Luftwaffe, he was declared unfit for flying. He tried again and was accepted for flying training. He was badly afflicted by air sickness but overcame the problem through sheer willpower. On 1 July 1935, Leutnant Mölders was posted to Fliegergruppe Schwerin (later to be redesignated I./StG 162). He was appointed Staffelkapitän of 1./JG 334 (later to be redesignated 1./JG 53) on 15 March 1936. On 1 April 1936, he was transferred to the Schulstaffel of JG 134 to undertake instructing duties. For two years he was an instructor at Wiesbaden. He volunteered for the Condor Legion and arrived by sea in Cadiz on 14 April that year. He took over from Adolf Galland at the head of 3.J/88. During the Spanish conflict he showed considerable qualities not only as a pilot and marksman but also, and especially, as a tactician and organiser. Together with other airmen, in Spain he developed the technique known as the "finger four", or fan, which improved a flight's all-round vision and encouraged the pilots' initiative. Between 15 July and 3 November 1938, he shot down fourteen aircraft: eleven I-16 "Mosca", two Polikarpov I-15 "Chato" and one SB-2 "Katyuska", as well as one unconfirmed I-16 victory, most of these at the controls of  the Bf 109 C-1 coded 6-79 "Luchs". He was awarded the Spanienkreuz in Gold mit Schwertern und Brillanten in recognition of his achievements. At the end of the year he returned to Germany as the highest scoring German pilot of the Spanish conflict, with a glowing reputation and a maturity beyond his years and rank. At the beginning of World War II, Mölders was Staffelkapitän of 1./JG 53 "Pik As", based at Wiesbaden-Erbenheim. He became known by those under his command as "Vati" (Daddy) Mölders. He shot down his first aircraft of the Second World War on 21 September 1939, a French Curtiss 75 A fighter. On 1 November he went on to command  III./JG 53, also based at Wiesbaden-Erbenheim. On 27 May 1940, after his 20th victory, a French Curtiss 75 A SW of Amiens, he was promoted to Hauptmann and decorated with the Knight's Cross. He was shot down in combat on 5 June 1940, by French ace Sous Lieutenant René Pommier Layragues (6 victories) flying a D.520 of GC II/7 after having scored 25 victories during 128 missions and was taken prisoner. He was liberated two weeks later upon the armistice with France. He returned to Germany to be promoted to Major and given command of JG 51 as Kommodore. On 28 July 1940, during his first flight with his new unit, he succeeded in downing a Spitfire, but his aircraft was then hit by the enemy aircraft. Severely wounded in the legs, Mölders just managed to make an emergency landing at the airfield at Wissant in France. It was not until a month later that he was able to return to combat, most likely flying the Bf 109 E-4 W.Nr. 2404 (photographed on 31 August with 32 victory bars), as well as W.Nr. 3737, (shot down over England while being flown by Hptm Asmus on 25 October, with no stab markings according to the crash report, but 49 victory bars). He quickly brought his score up by downing 28 British fighters during the remainder of the Battle of Britain, including his 40th, a Spitfire over Dungeness, on 20 September, for which he was awarded the Oak Leaves (No. 2) the next day. On 22 October he downed three RAF Hurricanes to become the first Luftwaffe pilot to reach a score of 50 aerial victories. By the end of the Battle of Britain he had a total of 54 victories, and he would add one more before the end of the year.

    He continued flying and fighting over the Channel Front until early May, by which time he had brought down an additional 13 British aircraft. On 22 June 1941, the first day of Operation Barbarossa on the Eastern Front, he shot down four Russian aircraft, one I-153 and three SB-2 bombers, his 69th through 72nd victories, and was awarded the Schwertern (No. 2). He was the first pilot to surpass von Richthofen's WW I record score of 80 on 30 June, when he shot down 5 SB-2 bombers to score his 78th to 82nd victories on a day that JG 51 claimed 110 SB-2 and DB-3 bombers. He shot down a further four enemy aircraft on 5 July for his 83rd to 86th victories. On 15 July he became the first pilot in history to record 100 victories and was immediately awarded the Brillanten (No. 1), the first German soldier to be so recognized. He was immediately forbidden to fly combat on the personal orders of Göring. At only 28 years of age, he was promoted to Oberst and appointed Inspector General of Fighters on 7 August. Even though ordered to cease flying combat missions, he continued to do so and achieved several unconfirmed victories over the Crimea. He personally instructed many pilots on how to achieve success, and helped develop the  forward air controller concept. On 22 November 1941, he was flying as a passenger in a He 111 from the Crimea to Germany to attend the funeral of Ernst Udet. Landing during a thunderstorm at Breslau the aircraft crashed and Mölders and the pilot were killed. In his memory, on 20 December 1941, JG 51 was bestowed the honor name "Mölders". 
    He flew a total of some 330 missions during the Second World War, 100 of these on the Eastern Front, during which he shot down a total of 101 aircraft,  33 of these in the East. He also was the top scorer of the Legion Condor in Spain with 14 victories achieved in some 100 missions, and helped develop many of the modern fighter tactics still in use today. 
 


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