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Mission: Defence of the Reich.

Date: 11
th May 1944

Unit: Geschstab./Jagdgeschwader 1

Type: Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6/AS


Coded: + 13 (Green)

Location: SW of St.Vith, Belgium.

Pilot: Oberst. Walter Oesau (Knights Cross) Born 28.06.1913 – Killed.


Leading three aircraft of the
Geschwaderstab, the schwarm broke formation over the Ardennes as it approached the bombers. In the dogfight Oesau's wingman reported damage to his machine and he was ordered to break off. Left alone, Oesau faced P-38s and possibly P-51s as well. According to Major Grasser , Gruppenkommandeur of III./JG 1, who was on the same mission, there were five P-38s facing Oesau.
What followed is unclear as there are several versions. Oesau was chased by 1st Lt. James Leslie Doyle, 1st Lt. Wilbur L. Jarvis III and 1st Lt. James C. Austin, of the 428th Fighter Squadron (474th FG,9th AF ). All three were experienced pilots and chased Oesau from 28,000 feet to tree-top level. In the ensuing 20 minute dogfight, Oesau defended skillfully, though his aircraft was damaged by gunfire. While attempting an emergency landing, his Gustav received a final burst of fire in the cockpit area and crashed into the ground 6 miles south west of St. Vith. His body was thrown clear of the aircraft some yards away
By a sad twist of fate, several hours after the loss of Oesau, a letter signed by Adolf Galland (The General of Fighters), arrived at the Stab of the unit. It was an order posting Oesau to the headquarters Staff of Galland. Too late! All that could be done is honour the fallen hero (127 victories). From henceforth the premier fighter unit would be called “Jagdgeschwader 1 Oesau”.

Pasted Graphic
An early signed post card photo of Walter Oesau. (Brownless)

Pasted Graphic 1
Grave photo (Gerd Schuelke, Meldorf)

Burial details: Meldorf, Stadtfriedhof. Field A - Row 4 - Grave 208.

Researched and compiled by Melvin Brownless (March) 2013.

Sources: The history of Jagdgeschwader 1 Oesau by Eric Mombeek ( ISBN 0 9515737 1 3) Wikipedia.