Späte, Wolfgang

Date of birth:
September 8th, 1911 (Dresden/Saxony, Germany)
Date of death:
April 30th, 1997 (Edewecht/Lower Saxony, Germany)
Nationality:
German (1933-1945, German Reich)

Biography

Wolfgang Späte was a German ace (fighterpilot with at least 5 victories). He was born September 8th, 1911 in Podersam. Before the war Späte was a famous glider pilot who had won many awards. Späte was educated at Darmstadt Technical University. He served in Jagdgeschwader 54 flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109. Later on he was appointed head of the testprogram of the Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet. He piloted this plane several times. After the Me 163 had been declared ready for action, the testprogram was relocated and Späte was transferred to an operational unit on the Eastern Front. He served in various squadrons during the last convulsions of the Third Reich. According to some sources, his Me 109 was painted red, either in the factory or by his crew, to make it look more like Von Richthofen’s plane, the well-known Red Baron of World War One. Späte was not amused and had the aircraft repainted. On the Eastern Front he served in Jagdgeschwader 400 and in JG-54, in Europe he served with JG-7. In 600 missions he alleged scored 99 victories. He also scored 5 victories flying the Me 262. After the war, he joined the West-German Bundeswehr in 1956.
Oberstleutnant Späte retired in 1967 and passed away April 30th, 1997 in Edewecht.

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
November 8th, 1939
Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
June 27th, 1940
Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
August 9th, 1941
Luftwaffe Ehrenpokale für besondere Leistungen im Luftkrieg
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Oberleutnant (Flying Officer)
Unit:
Flugzeugführer 5. / Jagdgeschwader 54
Awarded on:
October 5th, 1941
Action:
Awarded after 45 aerial victories.
Details:
338th Award.
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Oberleutnant (Flying Officer)
Unit:
II. / Jagdgeschwader 54
Awarded on:
December 9th, 1941
Details:
Award 5/6
Deutsches Kreuz in Gold
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Oberleutnant (Flying Officer)
Unit:
Staffelkapitän 5. / Jagdgeschwader 54
Awarded on:
April 23rd, 1942
Action:
Awarded after 72 aerial victories.
Details:
90th Award.
Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub

Sources