Aircrew Luftwaffe pilot II.JG76 Wolfgang Falck 01
Aircrew Luftwaffe pilot NJG1 Wolfgang Falck June 1940 01
Aircrew Luftwaffe pilot Wolfgang Falck 1932 01
Messerschmitt Bf 110C Zerstörer Geschwader Stab NJG1 (G9+AA) Deelen-Arnhem, Holland 1942 00
Profile 00: Messerschmitt Bf 110C-1 'G9+AA' flown by Major Wolfgang Falck, Kommodore of NJG1, Deelen-Arnhem, 1942 As explained previously, when Major Falck became Kommodore of NJG1, he was forbidden to fly operational missions but retained a Bf 110C bearing the markings G9+AA in grey 77 with the aircraft letter in the bright blue of the Geschwaderstab. The camouflage consisted of a green 70/71 splinter pattern on the uppersurfaces which had evidently been lightly polished and showed a slight sheen, with 65 on the undersurfaces. Note that although this was a non-operational machine, the white areas of the fuselage Balkenkreuz have been oversprayed grey while the Balkenkreuz under the wings have been removed entirely.
Messerschmitt Bf 110C Zerstörer Geschwader Stab NJG1 (G9+AA) Deelen-Arnhem, Holland 1942 01-02
Photo's 01-02: This Bf 110C-1 coded G9+AA was flown by Major Wolfgang Falck, the Kommodore of NJG1. Major Falck led this Geschwader from 26 June 1940 to 30 June 1943, during which period the unit was based entirely at Deelen-Arnhem in Holland. Falck having been prevented from flying combat missions by Kamrnhuber in 1940, this machine was used purely for non-operational flying.
Messerschmitt Bf 110C Geschwaderkommodore NJG 1 G9+GA Major Wolfgang Falck WNr 3920 Arnhem, Autumn 1940
As the original Geschwaderkommodore of NJG 1, Falck flew this aircraft, believed to be his first machine in nightfighter finish. from Arnhem-Deelen during the autumn of 1940. Previously credited with seven victories as a Zerstorer pilot with ZG 1, Falck's staff duties with NJG 1 allowed him no further chance to improve on his score, although he did fly a number of Bf 110s during the course of a long and distinguished career. The extra kill is something of a mystery, and may have been scored by another pilot.
Messerschmitt Bf 110C Geschwaderkommodore NJG 1 G9+AA Oberst Wolfgang Falck Holland June 1943
Promoted to the rank of Oberst. Falck was Geschwaderkommodore of NJG 1 until 30 June 1943. This aircraft shows typical nightfighter markings of the period, there being less colour in regard to Staff el letters and so forth than in other branches of the Luftwaffe, as high visibility was hardly necessary.
Heavy Cruiser Prinz Eugen 01
Photo 01: The heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen with two of its escorts.
Italian delegation led by General Biseo August 1942 01
Photo 01: Between 10 and 15 August 1942, an Italian delegation led by General Biseo flew to Germany and visited various night fighter units in Holland and Germany. The delegation was accompanied on their inspection tour by Kammhuber and his staff.
Nachtjagd badge 01-05
Photo's 01-04: The Nachtjagd badge proved extremely popular and was applied to the mudguard of Major Falck's car as well as other vehicles and all rypes of aircraft including non-operational types. Examples are Werner Streib's glider, seen here at Venlo in Holland (Photo 03, and (Photo 04) this Fi-156C-2 with the Stammkennzeichen CK+KF which served with the Verbindungsstaffel, or communications squadron, of NJG1 at Quakenbrück.
Aircrew Luftwaffe pilot II.JG76 Wolfgang Falck 1939 01
Photo 01: Members of 2./ZG 76 at the briefing before combat mission. Second from right is Hptm. Wolfgang Falck Westerland airfield, Autumn 1939.
Aircrew pilot Wolfgang Falck 1932 01
Photo 01: In the autumn of 1932, Wolfgang Falck joined 15th Company of Infantry Regiment No.7 and then underwent 14 weeks of basic army training at Schweidnitz, where this picture was taken.
Aircrew Luftwaffe pilots Wolfgang Falck I./ZG1 April 1940 01
Photo 01: In April 1940 Hptm. Wolfgang Falck compiled a report outlining the possibilities of combating the RAF at night. The report made an immediate impression on the staff in the Reichsluftfahrt ministerium, and in the same month Generaloberst Erhard Milch, the State Secretary of Aviation and Inspector General of the Luftwaffe (left, visited Falck at Aalborg in Denmark to discuss his report. In the centre is the Gruppen kommandeur of I./ZG1, Hptm. Reinecke.
Aircrew Luftwaffe pilots NJG1 Wolfgang Falck Amsterdam 1941 01
Photo 01: Falck addressing members of NJG1 gathered at the Hotel Amstel in Amsterdam on 26 April 1941 to celebrate the Geschwader's 100th victory.
Aircrew Pilots NJG1 pilot Wolfgang Falck June 1940 01
Photo 01: On 26 June 1940, Goring announced the formation of the Nachtjagd and the creation of the first night fighter Geschwader, Nachtjagdgeschwader I. At the same time, he appointed Wolfgang Falck, then a Hauptmann, its Kommodore.
Aircrew Pilots NJG1 pilot Wolfgang Falck 01
Photo 01: Although Wolfgang Falck himself never shot down a bomber at night, he was decorated with the Knight's Cross on 1 October 1940 for his seven day victories and, more importantly, for his contribution in the creation of the Nachtjagd.
Aircrew Pilots NJG1 pilot Wolfgang Falck 02
Photo 02: From his command post at Deelen, Falck began the unenviable task of organising and expanding the Nachtjagd from nothing. At that time, there was no aircraft designed as a night fighter, and ground and airborne radar were both in their infancy.
Aircrew Pilots NJG1 pilot Wolfgang Falck 03-04
Photo 04: One of only a few color photographs taken of Falck during the war. This one was taken whilst he was at Rom in Northern Denmark coordinating protection flights for the battle cruisers Admiral Scheer and Prinz Eugen which, in February 1942, left their berths at Wilhelmshaven for the safety of the Norwegian Fjords.
Aircrew Pilots NJG1 pilot Wolfgang Falck 05
Photo 05: shown as an Oberleutnant
Aircrew Luftwaffe pilots NJG1 Wolfgang Falck and Karl Bolle 01
Photo 01: In the centre of this photograph is Karl Bolle, a pilot who shot down 36 enemy aircraft in the First World War and who was awarded the Pour le Merite in August 1918. During the Second World War, Bolle was given the role of special advisor to the Luftwaffe and is seen here at Arnhem with Wolfgang Falck, celebrating the second anniversary of the formation of the Nachtjagd.
Aircrew Luftwaffe pilot NJG1 Wolfgang Falck at Deelen Holland 01
Photo 01: Temporarily setting aside the initial difficulties of establishing and building up the Nachtjagd, Falck relaxes at a garden party in the grounds of his headquarters at Deelen.
Aircrew Luftwaffe pilots NJG1 Wolfgang Falck at Velno 01-02
Photo's 01-02: Falck at Velno showing his unit's aircraft and command post to visiting Italian officers of the Regia Aeronautica. The two parties also exchanged relevant technical data.
Aircrew Luftwaffe pilots NJG1 Wolfgang Falck Trondheim Norway Feb 1942 01
Photo 01: This photograph was taken on 24 February 1942 at Trondheim in Norway, and shows members of 5./NJG1 who took part in 'Donnerkeil'. Fourth from the left is Lt. Georg Greiner. Sixth from left is Lt. Heinz Schnaufer and third from the right is Schnaufer's Bordfunker, Fritz Rumpelhardt.
Aircrew Luftwaffe pilot NJG1 Wolfgang Falck Eastern Front Aug Sep 1942 01-02
Photo's 01-02: During a fact-fmding tour of the Eastern Front in August and September 1942, Major Falck visited numerous Luftwaffe units to evaluate their ability to protect themselves at night against Russian bombers. In the course of this tour he met up with Hannes Trautloft, a close füend and Kommodore of Jagdgeschwader 54. These photographs were taken at Siverskaya where Trautloft had his headquarters.
Aircrew Luftwaffe pilot NJG1 Wolfgang Falck at Werneuchen 1943 01
Photo 01: Photographed at the Luftwaffe testing facility at Werneuchen in the spring of 1943 are, from left to right: Falck; General Wolfgang Martini (Chief of Communications); Generaloberst Hans-]ürgen Stumpf (Chief of Luftflorre 5); and with his back to the camera, Generalmajor Andreas Nielsen.
Aircrew Luftwaffe pilot NJG1 Wolfgang Falck Bernard Woldenga Rumania 1943 01
Photo 01: In early 1943, Kammhuber ordered Falck to Rumania where he was to set up Jagdfliegerführer Balkan, a command post for the protection of the Ploesti oilfields. This photograph shows Falck with his operations officer, Major Douglas Pitcairn (standing) and, at the head of the table, Ritterkreuztrager Obstlt. Bernard Woldenga, the officer responsible for fighter units in the Balkans.
Aircrew Luftwaffe pilot NJG1 Wolfgang Falck Berlin Wansee 1943 01
Photo 01: In September 1943 Falck was transferred to Berlin-Wansee where he became operations officer of Luftflotte Reich and was responsible for all ground defences and day and night fighters operating throughout the Reich. On the right in this photograph is Generalmajor Andreas Nielsen, and on the left, Oberleutnant Wever, the son of General Wever.
Aircrew Luftwaffe pilots NJG1 Wolfgang Falck at Walter Oesau funeral May 1944 01
Photo 01: On 11 May 1944, Oberst Walter Oesau was shot down and killed south-west of St. Vith in Belgium. His subsequent funeral was attended by a large number of high ranking Luftwaffe officers including Wolfgang Falck (left); Generaloberst Hans Jürgen Stumpff (foreground); and Generalmajor Walter Grabmann (behind and to Stumpff's left).
Aircrew Luftwaffe pilots NJG1 Wolfgang Falck at Schloss Schonau Bavaria 1945 01
Photo 01: On 2 May 1945, Wolfgang Falck, on the right, was taken prisoner by American troops at Schloss Schonau in Bavaria, where he was briefly interrogated before being released several weeks later.
Aircrew Luftwaffe pilots NJG1 Wolfgang Falck and Walter Schwabedissen 01
Photo 01: Wolfgang Falck in conversation with the commander of 2.Jagddivision, Generalmajor Walter Schwabedissen (left, whose divisional headquarters were located at Stade. Schwabedissen was responsible for all the night fighter units based in north-west Germany.
Aircrew Luftwaffe pilot NJG1 Wolfgang Falck HQ 01
Photo 01: Towards the end of 1940 an airfield was constructed at Deelen where Falck set up his headquarters. Seen in these photographs is the Kommodore's new office.
Aircrew Luftwaffe NJG1 officers mess 01
Photo 01: the officers' mess.
Aircrew Luftwaffe pilot Falck Professor Ernst Heinkel Rostock Marienehe 1942 01
Photo 01: From the left Falck; unknown (half hidden); and Kammhuber dining with the aircraft designer Professor Ernst Heinkel at his factory in Rostock-Marienehe in January 1942. Professor Heinkel is shown fourth from left.
Aircrew Luftwaffe pilot Falck Professor Ernst Heinkel Rostock Marienehe 1942 02
Photo 02: When Generalmajor Josef Kammhuber was relieved of his position as General der Nachtjagd, production of the He-219 night fighter was delayed, First conceived in 1940 as a high-speed bomber and reconnaissance aircraft, the He-219 was developed in late 1941 to meet a need for a new night fighter. Although Kammhuber was enthusiastic about the He-219, the project suffered setback when he was dismissed and further development and production was delayed due to a combination of short-sightedness within the RLM and opposition on the part of Generalfeldmarschall Milch. When the type did fmally enter service, it proved almost universally popular with the crews who found it fast, manoeuvrable and well-armed. This photograph was purportedly taken on 22 January 1942 during a visit by Generalmajor Josef Kammhuber to the Heinkel factory at Rostock/Marienehe. The purpose of the visit was to observe test flights of the He-219, then still under development. Behind Kammhuber is Major Wolfgang Falck, and on the far right of the picture is Ernst Heinkel.
Aircrew Luftwaffe pilot Falck Carl Schumacher Otto Dietrich 1939 01
Photo 01: Following the Luftwaffe's successful interception of RAF Wellington bombers over the Heligoland Bight on 18 December 1939, a few days later a press conference was called to announce the news to the German public. Seated second from the right in this photograph is Obstlt. Carl Schumacher, the Kommodore of JG1, responsible for protecting the German naval bases at Wilhelmshaven. Two places to his right is Obit. Johannes Steinhoff of 10./(N)JG26, soon to be redesignated to form part of IY.(N)/JG2. After the press conference, the Reich's Press Officer, Dr. Otto Dietrich (centre, speaks with Obstlt. Carl Schumacher and Hptm. Wolfgang Falck (right).
Aircrew Luftwaffe pilots Wolfgang Falck Hannes Trautloft 01
Photo 01: During a tour of the Eastern Front in August and September 1942, Falck visited numerous Luftwaffe units to evaluate their ability to protect themselves at night against Soviet bombers. He is seen here visiting the Geschwader kommodore of JG54, Hannes Trautloft.
Aircrew Luftwaffe pilots Wolfgang Falck Werner Streib May 1940 01
Photo 01: It is believed that this photograph was taken during the early phases of the invasion of France in May 1940.At that time Werner Streib (far left) was the Intelligence Officer for I./ZG 1. On the far right is Oberstleutnant Joachim-Friedrich Huth, the Kommodore of ZG26 'Horst Wessel', and, to his right, Hptm. Wolfgang Falck, the Kommandeur of I./ZG1.
Aircrew Luftwaffe pilots Wolfgang Falck Werner Streib Deelen in early 1941 01
Photo 01: Photographed during an informal meeting at Deelen in early 1941, Werner Streib is seen here seated next to the Kommandeur of I./NJG3, Hptm. Günther Radusch, who is in turn seated next to Major Wolfgang Falck.
Aircrew Luftwaffe pilots Wolfgang Falck Werner Streib Aug 1942 01
Photo 01: In August 1942, a delegation of Italian Air Force officers, interested in forming their own night fighter force, was invited to visit several units of the Nachtjagd in Holland and Germany. One of the units involved was I./NJG1, stationed at Venlo and commanded by Streib, seen here in conversation with several of the Italian officers. Falck is shown on the far left and General Josef Kammhuber is on the far right.
New IL-2 Sturmovik Cliffs of Dover - COD skins
Cliffs of Dover game skin by AS Bf 110C NJG1 (G9+GA) Wolfgang Falck Herbst 1940
Cliffs of Dover game skin by AS Bf 110C NJG1 (G9+GA) Wolfgang Falck Herbst 1940 V0A
NJG1 pilot Wolfgang Falck
Early Career enerally regarded as the creator and father of the Nachtjagd, Wolfgang Falck remained with the organisation from the time of its formation in June 1940 to its eventual demise in May 1945. Under his leadership and guidance he saw it expand from humble beginnings to an effective and deadly force feared and respected by its adversaries in Bomber Command.
Wolfgang Falck was born in Berlin on 19 August 1910, the son of a priest and the youngest of three children. He spent his entire childhood in the German capital where he witnessed Germany's defeat in 1918, the Kaiser's abdication, life under the Weimar Republic and experienced all the political changes of that period. After finishing his schooling in 1931 he applied to join the Army, which at that time was still restricted in size to 100,000 men under the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles. Falck's application was successful, but before he could join his Regiment he was selected by the Reichswehrministerium (Air Ministry) as one of 30 officer cadets most suitable to receive pilot training.
In April of that year Falck was posted to the Deutsche Verkehrsfliegerschule (German Commercial Flying School) at Schleissheim near Munich where he underwent basic flight training. Although the school trained commercial pilots for Lufthansa, there were also men like Falck who, it was intended, would become fighter pilots. At the conclusion of the training, ten of the 30 students were selected to go to Lipetsk in Russia for fighter pilot training. Falck was one of the lucky ten and he departed for Russia in April 1932 together with the future Luftwaffe aces Giinther Lutzow and Hannes Trautloft.
Returning to Germany six months later, he resumed his army training with the training battalion of the 7th Infantry Regiment at Schweidnitz where he underwent 14 weeks of basic infantry training. Between February 1933 and September 1934 he attended the Infantry School at Dresden, and on 1 October 1934 he was promoted to Leutnant. On receiving his commission, he was advised to resign from the Army so that he could join the Luftwaffe. At that time, however, the Luftwaffe did not officially exist as far as the rest of the world was concerned and, to keep its existence secret, the pilots and personnel operated under the guise of the Luftsportverband (Air Sports Association).
With his resignation accepted, Falck returned to the Deutsche Verkehrsfliegerschule at Schleissheim as a pilot instructor and for the next eighteen months he was responsible for assessing student pilots, deciding which were suitable to become fighter pilots and which were not. On 1 April 1936 he was promoted to Oberleutnant and transferred to Jagdgeschwader 132 'Richthofen' which was based at Juterbog-Damm near Berlin.As one of the most accomplished and capable fliers in the Geschwader, Falck was automatically chosen to instruct any new pilots joining the unit and to pass on his valuable expertise.
In early 1937 he was transferred to the staff of Jagdgeschwader 'Richthofen' and appointed Geschwader Adjutant. The monotony of the paperwork, combined with its numerous administrative duties, however, soon took its toll on Falck who began looking for a way to return to flying duties. An opportunity to do so presented itself in July 1938 when it was decided to add a third Gruppe to the Geschwader's establishment and Falck, on hearing the news, immediately applied to become a Staffelkapitän in the new unit. The Geschwaderkommodore, Major Gerd von Massow, accepted his application and Falck became the Staffelkapitän of 8. Staffel, stationed at Furstenwalde.
After the German occupation of Czechoslovakia, Falck's Gruppe was transferred to Olmutz in Bohemia-Moravia, where they received familiarisation training on the new, twin-engined Messerschmitt Bf 110. As it became available, this heavy fighter gradually replaced the Gruppe's Bf-109s and, once conversion was complete, the III.Gruppe was redesignated I./Zerstörergeschwader 76 (I./ZG76, one of the first such Destroyer Gruppen to be formed.
The Outbreak of War Towards the end of August 1939, as war loomed ever closer in Europe, I./ZG76 was transferred to a small airfield at Ohlau, Silesia, close to the Polish border. When war finally broke out on 1 September 1939, Falck and his men flew a bomber escort mission to Krakow but, disappointingly, failed to engage the Polish Air Force. On 5 September, however, L/ZG 76 attacked Dalikow airfield and Falck achieved his first confirmed victory of the war when he shot down a PZL P-23 bomber. Less than a week later, on 11 September, he increased his tally to three victories when he shot down a Fokker F IX and a single-engined reconnaissance aircraft. Two days later, as the highest-scoring pilot of his Gruppe, Falck was decorated by Goring himself with the Iron Cross, Second Class.
When the Polish campaign came to an end, I./ZG76 moved to Nellingen, near Stuttgart. On 16 December, after several months of flying border patrols, Falck was promoted to Hauptmann, and the Gruppe was transferred to Jever. The following day, 24 Wellington bombers were dispatched from England to attack the docks at Wilhelmshaven. However, as they crossed the North Sea, they were intercepted over the Heligoland Bight by a large number of German fighters. In the ensuing air battle, Falck claimed two of the 12 Wel1ingtons shot down but the RLM credited him with only one. The German press immediately took advantage of this propaganda opportunity, and Falck, together with other successful pilots, soon became well known to the German public.
As a direct result of the RAF losses experienced over the Heligoland Bight, Bomber Command changed its strategy and began operating mainly at night. It did, however, carry out a number of raids against German shipping in the North Sea, and it was against raids on 10 January and 17 February 1940 that Falck shot down two Blenheims, increasing his personal tally of victories to six. Both bombers were from 110 Sqn. and were shot down whilst carrying out reconnaissance flights over the North Sea.
Two days later, on 19 February, Falck was transferred from ZG76 and appointed Kommandeur of I./ZG 1. This Gruppe was based at Barth on the Baltic Coast and on 9 April it took part in the invasion of Denmark. During the first day of the operation, code-named' Weserubung', Falck claimed his seventh and what proved to be his last victory when he shot down a Fokker D-21 over Copenhagen-Vaerlose. When the Danes capitulated, I./ZG 1 flew sorties against Norway from its new airfield at Aalborg in Northern Denmark. Whilst operating from Aalborg, the airfield was often attacked by British bombers returning from operations against Germany and, as a consequence of these nuisance raids, Falck began to formulate plans to counter the bombers. He reported his theories to the Luftwaffe's High Command and, within a week, Falck was visited by Generaloberst Erhard Milch. The possibilities of night fighting were discussed at the meeting, but before any plans could be put into effect Germany invaded France and the Low Countries on 10 May 1940.
The Creation of the Nachtjagd Thoughts of night fighting were soon forgotten as the Wehrmacht rapidly advanced to the English Channel. Falck's own Gruppe flew countless sorties in support of the ground forces and losses began to rise accordingly. Then, just as the French capitulated, Falck's own Gruppe, minus one Staffel, was ordered back to Düsseldorf. Since the German bombing of Rotterdam, Bomber Command had been flying nocturnal operations to attack industrial targets in the Ruhr and Falck was tasked with defending them. On 26 June 1940, Falck was summoned to a meeting at Wassenaar where Goring appointed him the Kommodore of NJG1. However, with this appointment came the task of organising, expanding and developing Germany's night defences, a role in which Falck would prove instrumental.
Falck returned to Düsseldorf and began the mammoth task that lay ahead of him and, together with Oberst Josef Kammhuber, German night defences were transformed into an effective and formidable obstacle against Bomber Command. On 1 October 1940, in recognition of this pioneering night defence work and his previous operational service, he was awarded the Knight's Cross.
At the same time, however, Kammhuber banned Falck from all operational flying, although he remained Kommodore of NJG 1 until the end of June 1943. Thus, in addition to the day to day running of his Geschwader, Falck spent the next three years visiting all theatres of operations to improve existing night fighter defences or to establish them where they were most needed.
After the catastrophic raids against Hamburg in July 1943, during which some 40,000 civilians were killed in a single night, Kammhuber was replaced by General major Joseph Schmid and transferred to Norway to take charge of Luftflotte 5. Falck, who had been promoted to Oberst on 1 July 1943, was transferred to the General Staff and had to hand over command of NJG1 to his friend and fellow pioneer of night fighting, Werner Streib. In September 1943, Falck was assigned to Berlin where he became head of operations for the Reich's night fighter defences. Coincidentally, just a few short weeks before Falck arrived in Berlin, Air Chief Marshal Harris had begun an offensive against the German capital. The 'Battle of Berlin', as it was known, was destined to last almost seven months and from the time of the first raid on 23 August 1943 until the last raid on 24 March 1944, Bomber Command mounted 19 raids against the city, killing over 10,000 of its inhabitants. From his bunker at Berlin-Wannsee, Falck was able to oversee the Reich's defences in response to the strength and direction of any incoming bomber stream. By the time of the last raid, the combined efforts of the German defences had accounted for more than 600 bombers. Apart from representing a huge loss in men and machines, the loss rate was one that Bomber Command could not sustain indefinitely.
On 20 July 1944, Oberst Claus von Stauffenberg attempted to assassinate Hitler during a military conference at Rastenburg in East Prussia. This came as a shock for Falck, as he was related by marriage to the Stauffenberg family and had met Claus von Stauffenberg a week before the attempt. Fearing arrest because of his close association with the family, he approached his friend, the General der Jagdflieger, Adolf Galland. After a brief discussion, Galland agreed to transfer him to Pancevo near Belgrade as Jagdführer (Fighter Leader) Balkans. Falck arrived in Yugoslavia in August and remained there until the beginning of October. During this time the Soviets invaded Rumania and Bulgaria and when they were advancing into Yugoslavia, Falck was obliged to transfer his headquarters to Vienna. However, within a short time of his arrival in Austria he was again transferred, this time to Potsdam where he became Chief of Staff to General major von Massow who was responsible for flying training at Potsdam-Werder near Berlin.
In March 1945, Falck was seconded to Army Group B, commanded by Feldmarschall Model at Bensberg, near Cologne. With the Allies expected to cross the Rhine at any time, his task was to identify landing areas that could be used by enemy gliders and parachutists and to advise preventative measures, but it was immediately obvious to him that the situation for Germany was grave and that the war was as good as lost. By the end of April 1945, Falck was at Bad Aibling in Bavaria, awaiting the inevitable German capitulation. On 2 May he was captured by American troops but spent just five weeks in captivity before being released.
ABOVE: Wolfgang Falck in conversation with the commander of 2.Jagddivision, Generalmajor Walter Schwabedissen (left, whose divisional headquarters were located at Stade. Schwabedissen was responsible for all the night fighter units based in north-west Germany.
Post-War Life In July 1950, following a variety of jobs which included working for the British Army in Germany, Wolfgang Falck secured a job as a sales representative with a company manufacturing playing cards. He remained with this company until 1961, by which time he had risen to the position of Chief Executive Officer, but then left. He was then approached by North American Aviation and offered a position as a consultant, which he accepted, and in 1966 he was offered a similar position with McDonnell Douglas, remaining with this company until his retirement in March 1986. At the time of publication, Wolfgang Falck is approaching his 95th birthday and lives quietly at his Tyrolean home in the Austrian Alps.
Wolfgang ‘Wolf' Falck was born on 19 August 1910 at Berlin. Falck's aeronautical and military career began as a member of the Reichswehr, the modest Army allowed Germany under the Versailles Treaty, in April 1931. He was selected, along with 29 of the Army's brightest young men, for training at the clandestine Luftvehrschule at Schleissheim, near Munich and later, on Russian territory at Lipetsk, south of Moscow. He began his flying training in April 1932. When he came back to Germany, he rejoined his Regiment at Schweidnitz. From 1 February 1933, he attended the Infantry School at Dresden for officer training. Falck was promoted to the rank of Leutnant on 1 October 1934. He was able continue flying by undertaking an annual six week refresher course on Arado Ar-64 biplane fighters at Schleissheim. In March 1935, Leutnant Falck became Kettenführer (pilot instructor) at the Deutsche Verkehrsfliegerschule at Schleissheim in the new Luftwaffe. On 1 April 1936, Falck was promoted to the rank of Oberleutnant and transferred to JG132 Richtofen, where he became Staffelkapitän of 5.Staffel, based at Jüterbog-Damm. On 1 July 1938, when III./JG132 was established, Falck was appointed Staffelkapitän of 8. Staffel, based at Fürstenwalde. The new Gruppe was later redesignated I./ZG76 and equipped with the then new Bf 110 Zerstörer twin-engine fighter. Falck led 2./ZG76 during the Polish campaign from its base at Ohlau in Silesia. He gained three victories over Polish aircraft before the unit was relocated to Jever on the German Bight. Here he took part in the air battle with RAF Wellington twin-engine bombers attacking Wilhelmshaven on 18 December 1939. He claimed two of the bombers shot down, although one of his claims was not confirmed, but force-landed on Wangerooge after return fire from the gunners of the bombers damaged his engines.
On 19 February 1940, Hauptmann Falck was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of I./ZG1, based at Düsseldorf. The Gruppe was relocated to Barth on the Baltic coast at the beginning of April. On 9 April, Falck led the unit in the invasion of Denmark. He recorded his seventh, and final, victory when he shot down a Danish Fokker C V recce plane (R-49) belonging to the 5. eskadrille that was taking off from Vaerlöse airfield. It was while he was based at Aalborg in the north of Denmark that Falck, following the unmolested bombing of the airfield by RAF bombers in the pre-dawn hours, prepared a comprehensive report on the theories of night interception. I./ZG1 participated in the battle for France and, with that campaign successfully concluded, against the RAF from a base near Le Havre. However General Kesselring ordered Falck to withdraw the Gruppe to Düsseldorf and reform the unit in the night fighter role.
Thus Falck became Kommodore of NJG 1 on 26 June 1940. Major Falck received the Ritterkreuz on 7 October 1940. He was to lead NJG 1 for three years and five days but his legacy was to establish, in partnership with General Josef Kammhuber, an effective night fighter force. On 1 July 1943, Falck was promoted to the rank of Oberst and transferred to Generalstab as Kammhuber's representative at the Luftwaffenführungsstab. The Falck/Kammhuber partnership was dissolved when they failed to agree on the direction of the night fighter arm. Falck was appointed to a position with the Luftwaffenbefehlshaber Mitte responsible for the day and night fighter defence of the Reich, based at Berlin. He held the position until the abortive bomb plot against Hitler in July 1944. He then approached Adolf Galland and was appointed Jagdfliegerführer Balkan based at Pancevo near Belgrade in June 1944. He arrived in Belgrade the day Romania switched sides in the war. Five days later Bulgaria followed suit. Falck was forced to withdraw to Vienna. Falck was to become General Flieger-Ausbildung, responsible for all the Luftwaffe training schools, shortly thereafter. However on 1 March 1945, he was given an assignment commanding fighters in the Rhineland. He was destined never to take up the command, eventually becoming a prisoner of the Americans on 3 May 1945 in Bavaria. He was released on 7 June. Post war Falck undertook a variety of jobs including farming and working for a pharmaceutical company. He even worked for the British Army as a Civil Officer at the stores section of the 47th Royal Engineers! He attended night school and studied business, which resulted in his gaining a role selling playing cards. In 1961, after becoming the manager of the company, he was approached by North American Aviation to undertake aviation consultancy work. In 1966, he joined McDonnell Douglas. On retirement from business in 1986, he lived in St Ulrich in Austria. He continued his love of flying post war, joining many flying clubs. Wolfgang Falck is credited with seven victories in about 90 missions, all gained while flying the Bf 110. All his victories were scored in daylight.
No Date Time A/c Type Unit Location Comments
Falck led 2./ZG 76 during the Polish campaign from its base at Ohlau in Silesia. He gained three victories over Polish aircraft before the unit was relocated to Jever on the German Bight. Here he took part in the air battle with RAF Wellington twin-engine bombers attacking Wilhelmshaven on 18 December 1939. He claimed two of the bombers shot down, although one of his claims was not confirmed, but force-landed on Wangerooge after return fire from the gunners of the bombers damaged his engines. At the end of December 1939, Hauptmann Falck was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of I./ZG 1, based at Düsseldorf. With his new Gruppe he claimed 2 further victories: his 5th on 10.01.40 - Blenheim over Nordsee: Pl.Qu. 565 at 12.57, and his 6th on 17.02.40 Blenheim over Nordsee: Pl.Qu. Ida-Dora at 16.10
The Gruppe was relocated to Barth on the Baltic coast at the beginning of April. On 9 April, Falck led the unit in the invasion of Denmark. He recorded his seventh, and final, victory when he shot down a Danish Fokker C.V. M/33 'R.49' , crew - Lieutenant V.Gotfredsen (pilot) and 2nd Lieutenant G.F.Brodersen (observer, belonging to the 5. eskadrille that was taking off from Vaerløse (airfield outside Copenhagen). It was while he was based at Aalborg in the north of Denmark that Falck, following the unmolested bombing of the airfield by RAF bombers in the pre-dawn hours, prepared a comprehensive report on the theories of night interception.
At dawn on 10 May 1940 the 'Sitzkrieg' was over as the German armed forces launched their massive assault against France and the Low Countries. ZG 1 was assigned to Luftflotte 2 (Kesselring) operating in support of Army Group B's invasion of Holland and Belgium. I./ZG 1 was transferred to Kirchheim in anticipation of the attack on the low countries.
Because of the heavy Ju 52 transport movements near Waalhaven/Rotterdam 600 Squadron detailed 6 Blenheims IF to this target. At low level the airfield was attacked and one Ju 52 of KGr zbV 172 was set on fire. At the very same time a formation of Ju 52s headed for Waalhaven. These were escorte by Me 110's of 2. and 3./ZG 1. Very heavy dogfights started - only one Blenheim (piloted by F/O Hayes) managed to escape and return. The others were shot down by the Bf110's from I./ZG 1.
Falck describes his experiences as he tries to bag the one that escaped.
At the 22 June 1940, Gruppen Kommandeur Falck, along with the second and third Staffel of I./ZG 1, was transferred to Dusseldorf for night fighter training, the Gruppe being renamed I./NJG1 .The first staffel remained behind to become the nucleus of 1./Erpr.Gr. 210.
Thus Falck became Kommodore of NJG 1 on 26 June 1940. Major Falck received the Ritterkreuz on 7 October 1940. He was to lead NJG 1 for three years and five days but his legacy was to establish, in partnership with General Josef Kammhuber, an effective night fighter force. On 1 July 1943, Falck was promoted to the rank of Oberst and transferred to Generalstab as Kammhuber's representative at the Luftwaffenführungsstab. Falck was appointed to a position with the Luftwaffenbefehlshaber Mitte responsible for the day and night fighter defence of the Reich, based at Berlin. He held the position until the abortive bomb plot against Hitler in July 1944. He then approached Adolf Galland and was appointed Jagdfliegerführer Balkan based at Pancevo near Belgrade in June 1944. He arrived in Belgrade the day Romania switched sides in the war. Five days later Bulgaria followed suit. Falck was forced to withdraw to Vienna. Falck was to become General Flieger-Ausbildung, responsible for all the Luftwaffe training schools, shortly thereafter. However on 1 March 1945, he was given an assignment commanding fighters in the Rhineland. He was destined never to take up the command, eventually becoming a prisoner of the Americans on 3 May 1945 in Bavaria.
Asisbiz Database of 8 aerial victories for Wolfgang Falck
Editor for Asisbiz: Matthew Laird Acred
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