Werner “Vati” Mölders volunteered for duty in Spain at age 23. By the end of that civil war, he was the most successful German fighter pilot of the Condon Legion with 14 aerial victories. He was also a gifted tactician and is often credited with the development of the Luftwaffe’s flying formations, the rote and the schwarm. Flying in JG (Jagdgeschwader) 53 during the Battle of France, Mölders became the first to achieve 20 victories and the first fighter pilot (Jagdflieger) to receive the Knight’s Cross. Shot down later, he was taken prisoner, and then released when France sued for armistice. Mölders was soon back in action. As Commander of JG51, he scored 68 victories in the west, and another 33 against the Russians. Famed throughout Germany, he was the first man to be awarded the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds on 16 July 1941. At age 27, he was the youngest wing commander in the Luftwaffe and the first to be “General der Jagdflieger.” At age 28, Mölders was killed in a plane crash on 22 November 1941. He was returning from Russia to attend the funeral of General Ernst Udet. Mölders is buried in Invaliden Cemetery in Berlin near the grave of von Richthofen…WWI ace. Edition: 1000 signed/numbered by Jay Ashurst and three aces of JG-51: Fritz Losigkeit (68 victories), Heinz Lange (70 victories) and Otto Schultz (73 victories) SIZE: 18 x 24
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