|Allegiance Nazi Germany (to 1945)|
Commands held II./JG 2 I./JG 11
|Years of service ?–1945|
Name Walter Matoni
|Battles/wars World War II
Battle of Britain
Defense of the Reich|
Died June 26, 1988, Frankfurt, Germany
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Battles and wars Battle of Britain, Operation Barbarossa, Operation Overlord, Defence of the Reich, World War II
Unit Jagdgeschwader 27, Jagdgeschwader 26, Jagdgeschwader 11, Jagdgeschwader 2
Walter Matoni (27 June 1917 – 26 June 1988) was a German Luftwaffe ace and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) during World War II. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.
Matoni was born on 27 June 1917 in Duisburg. Feldwebel Matoni was assigned to 9./Jagdgeschwader 27 (JG 27—27th Fighter Wing) in the summer of 1940 and his first claim, a Hawker Hurricane followed on 30 September. During mid 1941 Matoni operated over Russia and claimed three victories (Two DB-3's and an R-10). On 17 August 1941 Feldwebel Matoni was posted to 5./Jagdgeschwader 26 (JG 26—26th Fighter Wing) based on the Channel front. He was soon transferred to 7./JG 2 (JG 2—2nd Fighter Wing) in September.
He was badly wounded in aerial combat resulting in a lengthy convalescence, following which he served as an instructor with Jagdgruppe West from October 1942 to February 1943, when Leutnant Matoni returned to II./JG 26.
He shot down a Supermarine Spitfire on 17 June as his fifth victory. On 31 August, Oberleutnant Matoni's Focke Wulf Fw 190 A-5 was hit and he was wounded by return fire from United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) B-17 bombers, force-landing at Montdidier. In December he claimed a Spitfire near Boulogne on 21 December as his 8th victory.
In an action against USAAF B-26 twin-engine bombers on 14 January 1944 Matoni shot down a Spitfire escorting the bombers, probably flown by Austrian-born S/L. Franz Colloredo-Mansfeld DFC (3 destroyed) of No. 132 Squadron RAF, who was killed. On 24 February Matoni shot down a USAAF B-24 four-engine bomber near Frankfurt for his 13th and JG 26's 2,000th victory. Matoni was appointed Staffelkapitan (squadron leader) 5./JG 26 in February 1944, and on 10 May was awarded the German Cross in Gold for 20 victories. On 15 August 1944, Hauptmann Matoni was appointed Gruppenkommandeur (group commander) of I./Jagdgeschwader 11 (JG 11—11th Fighter Wing) before being appointed Gruppenkommandeur of I./JG 2 on 24 September.
On 5 December, Matoni was so seriously injured in a crash he was unfit to undertake any further combat flying. Despite this, he was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of II./JG 2 in January 1945 until 28 February. Matoni was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 16 December 1944.
Walter Matoni was credited with 34 victories in over 400 missions. He recorded three victories over the Eastern Front, and of 31 victories claimed over the Western Front, 14 were four-engine bombers.
He ended the war at the Fighter Pilot's rest-home at Bad Wiessee. Matoni died on 26 June 1988 in Frankfurt.
Just three years before his death, Matoni appeared on the British television show This Is Your Life on the 8 May 1985, the 50th anniversary of the German capitulation. He was guest on the Johnnie Johnson episode, celebrating the RAF ace' life. Matoni's presence owed to a British media-created legend that Johnson personally challenged the German to a duel over Normandy.