The experiences of Luftwaffe fighter pilot Walter Sommer, thrown into battle with III./JG 76 and its Messerschmitt Bf 109Gs as the Allies gained air superiority over western Europe, were typical of the period. Not long before his death, he recalled his eventful combat baptism

The first operational type Walter Sommer flew was the Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6, with which III./JG 76 was equipped when he joined the unit.

“Climb climb, climb, we should only ever climb”. That, recalled former Messerschmitt Bf 109 pilot Walter Sommer, was the sole advice the Luftwaffe’s young, inexperienced men were given in the event of entering aerial combat late in the war. A few months before his death on 30 January this year, the 97-yearold was reminiscing about his last flight on 20 October 1944, when he was shot down by American fighters and injured. He may have owed his life to that injury, given how many of his comrades never made it back from the final air battles over the German Reich.

Become a Premium Member to Read More

This is a premium article and requires an active Key.Aero subscription to view. You can also access it if you’re subscribed to one of our Key Publishing magazines.

I’m an existing member, sign me in!

I don’t have a subscription…

Why not join our community of aviation enthusiasts? Pick one of our introductory offers and access a wealth of world-class aviation content.