With at least 255 victories to his credit on the Eastern Front, Major Walter ‘Nowi’ Nowotny had deservedly received the highest of accolades culminating in October 1943 when he was awarded the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds for becoming the first pilot ever to notch up 250 victories. Fearing that his loss in action would damage morale, Nowotny was ordered to stand down from combat flying.
Nevertheless , with the Luftwaffe increasingly stretched and desperate for skilled pilots, in September 1944 he was posted back to front-line action; this time commanding a specialist trials unit, ‘Kommando Nowotny’, equipped with Messerschmitt’s radical new jet – the Me262. Based near Osnabruck in Lower Saxony, Nowotny’s task was simple but vital: to test, develop and adapt tactics best suited to the new fighter.
It didn’t take long for his experience to pay off. On 7 October his unit intercepted a formation of B-24 Liberators engaged on a raid attacking Kassel. In a scene dramatically recreated by artist Richard Taylor, Nowotny has taken full advantage of his jet’s high speed to swoop through the escorting P-51s in the skies high above the town of Bramsche to successfully attack a B- 24 from the 392nd Bomb Group. It was his 256th victory.
Tragedy, however, soon followed. On Thursday 8 November 1944, after further victories over a P-51 and another B-24, his engine is believed to have caught fire. While returning to base at Achmer, he crashed and was killed. With 258 victories to his credit he was still only 23.
Adding considerable historic significance, each copy in the highly-restricted editions below is issued mounted to full conservation standards to include the original and authentic autographs of SIX highly-regarded Luftwaffe pilots who flew Me262s in combat during WWII.Signatures on matted Collector's Editions, Artist's Proofs and Remarque Editions:Leutnant ALFRED AMBS - JG7 with 7 victories in the jet – 7 victories in total
Major HANS-EKKEHARD BOB - JG2 & JV44 – 60 victories in total
Generalleutnant ADOLF GALLAND - JV44 with 7 victories in the Me262 – 104 victories in total
Feldwebel ERNST GIEFING - JG 7 with 2 victories in the jet – 6 victories in total
Major ERICH RUDORFFER - JG7 with 12 victories in the jet – 222 victories in total
General JOHANNES ‘MACKY’ STEINHOFF - JG7 & JV44 with 6 jet victories – 178 victories in total