“Göring continued, his face reddened and streaked with protruding veins.
“‘Hold your tongue, you rebel. You and your rotten fighter pilots are at last going to feel my hand. Before the sun sets tonight, I shall have you shot.’ He was raving like a madman. Everyone fell silent as, turning to me once again, he said ominously: ‘I came here today to give you this.’ Momentarily, he opened a leather case in which the Oak Leaves glittered. ‘But now I cannot. Today I must make an example. From this moment, you have lost your command and are degraded. There will be a court-martial, and you will be shot.’ The case snapped shut. Raising his Reichsmarschall’s baton to the attendant officers in a stiff farewell, he climbed into his giant Mercedes and shouted: ‘Away! Drive me out of this sink!’
“To be shot for cowardice—or was it mutiny? It seemed a strange reward for shooting down over 80 enemy aircraft, bailing out 15 times, being wounded three times, and having no leave, except in hospital, since the war began.”
Walther Dahl was claiming born on March 27, 1916, at Lug near Bad Bergzabern, southwest of Landau on the Franco/German border. Dahl’s military career began when he was 19, when he joined Infantry Regiment 119 of the German Army based at Stuttgart. Typical of many pilots who were later to become famous, he quickly transferred to the Luftwaffe, which had only been revealed to the world in 1935. He was soon promoted to Leutnant and eventually became a flight instructor. His cherished ambition of joining an operational unit was not realized until October 1, 1940, when, as an Oberleutnant, he was posted to the Geschwader Stab (headquarters flight) of JG 3 based at Desvres in France. The Battle of Britain was almost over, and Dahl saw little operational flying until the summer of 1941 when JG 3 was transferred to Hostyn- Zamocs airfield on June 18.
Just after midnight on June 22, the Kommodore of JG 3, Maj. Günther Lützow, assembled his Geschwader at the airfield, saying: “Men, at dawn today we begin the war against the Soviet Union.” For the opening assault, JG 3 was attached to the V. Fliegerkorps, which was part of Luftflotte 4 whose task was to cover the movements of Army Group South. At 2:50 a.m., Dahl took off in his Bf 109 F2, an aircraft far in advance of anything the Soviet Air Force possessed, to patrol the front line until first light. At 4 a.m., the first sortie over enemy territory was flown, Dahl escorting a formation of bombers attacking Lemberg airfield. About 30 minutes into the sortie, he shot down his first enemy aircraft, an I-16 Rata, but another Russian fighter had slipped in undetected and scored hits on the engine of his Messerschmitt. Finally, the engine cut, and he was forced to make a deadstick landing miles behind enemy lines. After a forced march of three days, a very unkempt Dahl returned to his unit.
On July 10, Dahl was transferred to Hptm. (captain) Gordon Gollob’s II./JG 3 as adjutant, claiming his second victory, another Rata, on the 16th. Eight days later, he was awarded the Iron Cross, Second Class, his Gruppe flying operations over all the focal points of the southern sector of the Russian front, Korowograd, Uman, Zhytomyr, Kiev, Kremenchug, Tscherkassy, Dnepropetrovsk, Nikolayev and Cherson. On September 14, Dahl claimed his tenth victory, a Polikarpov I-153 biplane, and had already received the Iron Cross First Class. Operations followed over Jochnow, Wjasma, Briansk and Orel, then, on October 3, the Gruppe flew its first mission over Moscow. Heavy flak over the city riddled Dahl’s Messerschmitt, and he was forced to make an emergency landing on Setschinskaia airfield. A little later, II./JG 3 had moved to the Crimean Peninsula, and on October 23, Dahl shot down two MiG-1s and another I-16.
In January 1942, the Gruppe, now under the command of Hptm. Karl-Heinz Krahl, moved to the Mediterranean island of Sicily, operating from Sciaccia and San Pietro against Malta. On April 1, Dahl, now the Staffelkapitän of 4./JG 3, claimed his the main supply airfield for the Stalingrad airlift, Morosovskaja. Here, too, they were threatened with encirclement, and eventually, Russian T-34 tanks broke through the outer defense perimeter onto the airfield. In a daring attack, Dahl was able to destroy one of them by throwing a hand grenade into its turret. After completing 25 sorties in the Stalingrad battle, he was promoted to Hauptmann on March 1, 1943, and by April 17, he had shot down his 51st enemy aircraft, a LaGG-3.
As the last major German offensive in the east, Operation Zitadelle, was proceeding, the commander of III./JG 3, Maj. Wolfgang Ewald, was shot down on July 14 and taken prisoner. Dahl took over soon afterwards, but on August 3, his new Gruppe was relocated from Bessonwka in Russia to Münster-Handorf in Germany.
Dahl’s unit now began intensive operations against the daylight raids being flown by the B-17s and B-24s of the U.S. 8th Air Force. One of the most important of these was against the Schweinfurt/Regensburg raid on August 17. Although this resulted in heavy American losses, III./JG 3 was intercepted by Spitfires of 222 Squadron RAF, and five Bf 109s were shot down. Dahl himself had to make a belly landing when his Bf 109 G-6 suffered engine failure. On September 6, he got his revenge when he shot down two B-17s. Interception of a second U.S. raid against the Schweinfurt ball-bearing factories on October 14 proved more successful for III./JG 3. Dahl led the takeoff of his 25 Bf 109 Gs from Bad Wörishofen near Memmingen with them intercepting the bombers around 2:20 p.m. In the 20-minute action that followed, the Gruppe shot down 25 B-17s including two by Dahl.
Other raids followed and Dahl continued to add to his score. On January 29, 1944, he shot down two B17s; on February 23, two B-24s and a P-38; and the next two days saw four bombers and another P-38 fall to his guns. Previously, on January 1, he had been promoted to major, and on March 11, in recognition of his 66 kills, he was awarded the Knight’s Cross. On April 24, Dahl claimed two more B-17s and a P-51 on April 24, bringing his score to 71.
And then there were four
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
April 25, 1967, VA-212 tests the A-4 to the limit
Boeing’s electronic attack weapon
Naval Aircraft Factory N3N-3
Authenticated by its log books, an N3N that 41st U.S. President George H.W. Bush trained in is preserved and still flying—now owned by Stewart Wells.
Five-Gun Fury .
Lt. Floyd Fulkerson: Wingman to the Aces
Impossible barriers are made to be broken
Few technologies have had such a rapid development and such a powerful impact on mankind as the invention of the airplane.
YELLOW SCORPIONS - P-51 Mustangs rule the skies in China
Using Chinese airfields, the 311th Fighter Group was the first to take World War II to the Japanese. The 311th’s 530th Fighter Squadron, which became known as the “Yellow Scorpions,” was the first squadron based in China. During their combat tour, they flew A-36 dive bombers along with all versions of the P-51 (A, B, C and D). However, it was their expertise with P-51 B and C models that earned them the respect of Japanese pilots.
WACO “Super Sport” S3HD - A Golden Age king
The WACO “Super Sport” S3HD is often referred to as the “King of the WACO biplanes.” Built as only one example, it is the stuff of legends.
SPITFIRE WITH A PUNCH - ROYAL AIR FORCE FIGHTER IN POLISH COLORS
Squadron Leader Clive Rowley, MBE RAF (Ret.), a former officer commanding the Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, tells the story behind the latest color scheme for the Flight’s Spitfire Mk XVI TE311.
F-35B LIGHTNING II SEMPER FI
The JSF (Joint Strike Fighter) program is synonymous with the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, which ultimately won the competition against Boeing and its X-32. The JSF plan was to have a similar new fighter for the U.S. Marine Corps, Air Force, and Navy and U.S. allies: Build a bunch and keep the price tag down. It has been a success story since then.
DEFENDER OF THE REICH WW II as seen by a Luftwaffe Ace
Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring was in rare form, his eyes full of fire as he faced one of the better known of Germany’s aces, Oberst Walther Dahl. “Göring’s reply astonished even me,” Dahl remembered. “In the presence of pilots with heads, arms and legs in plaster, he yelled: ‘You cowards! Now I know why your Geschwader holds the record for parachute jumps: you jump so as not to fight.’
GOLD MINING IN DAHLONEGA, GEORGIA
History and Panning Adventures
LiDAR MAPPING A GOLD MINE
When Consolidated Gold Mine in Dahlonega, Georgia, wanted to open more of its areas to public tours, they asked Inspired Intelligence, a family owned and operated drone business in Buford, Georgia, to help. Inspired Intelligence CEO and founder Nir Pe’er explained, “Besides drone technology, we also used new, amazing cutting-edge technology called LiDAR.
CHEAT CODES BREAK DOWN HOW THEY CAME TOGETHER, COLLABORATING WITH DEMI LOVATO AND LATE NIGHT TATTOOS.
Take A Walk On The Wild Side
When you let nature do what comes naturally, the results are spellbinding. Simply take down the barriers, leave your plants to their own devices and you’ll quickly find they do just fine
Hoppy new home for rescue pets
DUMPED Easter bunnies Dahlia and Iris have found a new family.
Give Dahlias A Head Start
Ruth starts prepping tubers for a long summer of colour
The Witches at 30
Nicolas Roeg’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Witches terrified a generation of children. As the film turns 30, and a big-budget remake approaches, Total Film reflects with star Anjelica Huston on the making of a kid-friendly creepfest.
Festivities in the air
Festivals have been bringing people together for centuries. They bring in positive values and a certain zest that helps build a better and blissful society. Festivals in India have always had a certain flair and spirit that make it all the more exciting and fun. Divya Ramesh takes a look at some of the exciting festival line-up this August
Killed on the catwalk!
Van Der Valk must solve a fashion crime as an old case comes back to haunt him and his boss…
Find A New Favourite With Undiscovered Dahlias
Why just stick to what you know when there are so many dahlias to choose from? Graham Rice unearths some tempting tubers you may not have grown before…