Walter "Nowi" Nowotny was born December 7, 1920 in Gmünd, Austria. He was trained and served on the Eastern Front with JG 54 "Grunherz." Nowotny quickly made himself known in Messerschmitt Bf 109's with I/JG 54. He would have most of his success in the Focke Wulf FW 190A. “Nowi” and his squad-mates Karl "Quax" Schnorrer, Anthony "Toni" Dobele, and Rudolf "Rudi" Rademacher were able to achieve 500 aerial victories as a group. Together they were known as Der Teufelskette (Devil chain or chain of devils) or Nowotny Schwarm. In October of 1943, Nowotny reached 250 victories, the first fighter pilot to ever reach the milestone. While celebrating his feat with squad-mates, he received a phone call from the Führer acknowledging Nowi's achievements and congratulating him on being awarded Diamonds to his Knight's Cross with Swords and Oak Leaves. In late November 1943, Nowotny was assigned to SJG 101, a training and propaganda unit. Nowotny spent most of 1944 visiting units and giving awards in his personal FW 190A-6 marked "<<<+".

In September 1944, Erprobungsgruppe 262 transferred their Messerschmitt Me 262's to the new fighter unit named Kommando Nowotny. The purpose of Epg 262 was to test the abilities of the new fighter. After the fighter was deemed ready for combat, the Luftwaffe needed a new, elite unit led by an elite pilot. That pilot was Walter Nowotny. Nowotny's mission was to develop tactics for the revolutionary jet fighter. One of the first developments was protection of the airfields from fighters. The "Turbos" were most vulnerable on takeoff and landing; by placing a combat air patrol above the field while the Me 262's were launching and landing, the survivability rate of the squadron increased dramatically. The squad who was given this duty was JV 44. JV 44 painted the undersides of their FW 190D “Dora’s” red to signal to the vulnerable Me 262’s below that the airspace was safe. If the jets saw red underbellies above them, they knew they were safe.

Kommando Nowotny was made up of the three Staffeln plus a leadership Staffel. Most of its pilots were twin fighter pilots from ZG 26. Kommando Nowotny was based at Achmer and Hesepe and were plagued with technical problems. The unit was indeed an experimental unit and more than half of their 26 Me 262's lost were lost due to technical issues, rather than to combat. Soon after Walter Nowotny died on November 8, 1944, the unit was disbanded and became III/JG 7. JG 7 named itself after Walter Nowotny and was led by Johannes Steinhoff. In less than two months of operating against the Allies on the Western Front, Kommando Nowotny claimed 22 victories, proving that the future of aerial combat would be dominated by turbine powered fighters.

Nowotny jet
Nowotny 262s