Parish register record of Maximilian Stotz's birth and baptism with a note about the date when he was declared dead.
Photo of Maximilian Stotz
from summer 1942 after
ward of Knight´s Cross.
At the time of his death, Afanasiy was single. The Navy contacted his mother Anisiya Petrovna Sofyina. The news that her son had fallen in battle must have been
devastating. However, her daughters Tatiana, Kena, Valentina, Galina, and Agrafena, and her sons Yefim and Alexander, survived the war.
The parents of Maximilain Stotz didn’t get any good news through 1943. Their son
was born on February 13th, 1912 in Mannswörth, not far from Vienna. His father,
Johann Stotz, was a farmer and hailed from Gottesthal in Carinthia. His mother,
Marianne, born Vit, was from Vienna. In 1933, Max joined the Austrian army and
was a mountain troops of Alpenjäger-Regiment 11 in Klagenfurt. In 1935, he asked
for a transfer to the Austrian Air Force and was trained as such at Flieger-Regiment 2 in Graz through the latter half of 1936. He reportedly displayed a talent
for flying, as indicated by his membership in the Austrian Aerobatic Display Team
from 1938. After the Anschluss, Stotz was assigned to the Luftwaffe’s 1./JG 76 (later
4./JG 54 „Grünherz“). He would get his first kill in November, 1939. During the French
campaign, he claimed twelve kills, but he was wounded during the Battle of Britain. After being transferred to the Balkans, he moved on to the Eastern Front and
in June, 1942, after his 53rd victory, he was awarded the Knight’s Cross. The Oak
Leaves addition came in October of the same year, after his 100th kill. From April,
1943, he commanded 5./JG 54, but by then, combat stresses began to leave their
mark, and his superiors forced him to take a month off. After his return to active
duty, he recorded his 177th to 182nd kills between August 9th and 15th north of Orel.
He went MIA on August 19th after an unexpected head-on encounter with enemy
fighters. He was flying Fw 190 A-6 coded „Black 7“ (W.Nr. 550 201). He parachuted
down north of Kirov in a wooded area about six kilometers behind the front line. He
was later declared killed and was posthumously elevated in rank to Hauptmann.
The reason why German authorities concluded he is dead, is not known.
Stotz’s „Black 5“
In the spring of 1943, Stotz was several times photographed with Fw 190 A-5 „Black
5“and it is safe to assume that this was his personal airplane. Several publications
have claimed that the serial number of this aircraft was 5868. This is in error, and
from the records of II./JG 54, we can conclude that actual serial number was 5888.
It was produced at the beginning of 1943 at Arado’s plant in Warnemünde, and its
complete W.Nr. was 155 888. (3)
On that fateful August 19th flight , Stotz’s „Black 5“ was in all likelihood flown by his
wingman, Uffz. Herbert Koller, who was forced into an emergency landing due to
engine failure west of Kirov. He piloted the aircraft coded „5“ only twice, both times
on that day. (4)
„Black 5“ (W.Nr. 155 888) was destroyed on October 7th, 1943, at Demidov, when
5./JG 54 officer Lt. Karl-Heinz Lüchau was shot down while flying it. He was wounded in the ordeal, but managed to take to his parachute. Sources don’t agree as to
whether he was shot down by flak or an enemy fighter. This airman was born in
1922 and initially served with 6./JG 54. After recovering from his injuries, he was
given command of 6./JG 11 in April, 1944, operating over western Europe. He got his
final, 19th, kill on June 7th, 1944 at Caen in combat with Thunderbolts. In the same
combat, however, he was shot down and killed, and he was flying Bf 109G-6/AS,
Yellow ‘20’ (W.Nr. 440623). His II./JG 11 suffered the loss of nine aircraft, five pilots
killed, one captured, and two seriously wounded.
Air combat from the Second World War still attracts a lot of attention. With the
growing access to archival material, it is easier to analyze things with greater
accuracy than ever before. However, the fact that most air combat brought tragic
consequences to not just the flyers, but their families as well, should never be
My gratitude goes out to Mikhail Bykov, Matti Salonen and Mr. Mikhail Alexandrovich Sofyin, nephew of A. M. Sofyin for their invaluable help in the preparation of
this article. I would like to express my thanks to Russian company OOO Centrspetsremont for help with contact to Mr. Sofyin.
1) In June, 1941, the 71st IAP also had several MiG-3s and Yak-1s at its disposal, and transferred
its remaining Yaks to the 5th IAP VVS KBF.
2) According to T. Wood, this was Map Reference 36 Ost/71 883. Prien cites 21 883 (the southeast section of Ladoga Lake area), but given the kill claims of this day, it appears as though there
was an inadvertent mixup between the „2“and „7“ digits in the original period documentation.
3) The actual Fw 190 A-5 with the W.Nr. 155 868 flew over western Europe on night missions
with 5./JG 302 and day missions with 3./JG 11 at the same time. It carried the code „Yellow 1“, and
on December 4th, 1943, Fw. Kurt Becker was killed in its cockpit. He reportedly crashed into the
Elbe River near Freiburg. He was a member of II./JG 302 and his body was discovered and laid
to rest at the end of February, 1944.
4) I have been in contact with Mr. Koller for many years and I have used his memories in
preparing this article. There is more information about Herbert (Heibert) Koller in the INFO
06/2011 issue at
CALDWELL D.: JG 26 War Diary, Volume 2, 1943 -1945
KESKINEN K., STENMAN K.: Aerial Victories 2, Suomen Ilmavoimien Historia 26 and 27
KESKINEN K., STENMAN K.: Suomen Ilmavoimat V, 1943
PRIEN J., STEMMER G., RODEIKE P., BOCK W.: Die Jagdfliegerverbände der Deutschen Luftwaffe 1934 - 1945,
Teil 12/III, Einsatz im Osten, 4.2 bis 31.12.1943
WOODS, T: O.K.L. Fighter Claims, Chef für Ausz. und Dizsiplin, Luftwaffen-Personalamt L.P. (A) V Films & Supplementary Claims from Lists, Eastern Front (Ostfront), January-June 1943
KOLLER H.: Flugbuch
D-3 class torpedo boat photographed in May 1943 in the Gulf of Finland. On board is
the crew of st. leytenant I. G. Kyselev. The boat was taken over by the Baltic fleet in
December 1941 under the designation „122“, in November 1942 it was changed to „32“
and in October 1944 to „SK-183“. The Baltic fleet used these boats not only to attack
enemy vessels, but also to land marines, supply ammunition, lay mines, escort vessels, anti-submarine operations and destroy enemy mines. Photo: Goskatalog
INFO Eduard - March 2021