Walter Schuck (30 July 1920 – 27 March 2015) was a German World War II fighter ace who served in the Luftwaffe from 1937 until the end of World War II. He claimed 206 enemy aircraft shot down in over 500 combat missions, eight of which while flying the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter.[Note 1] For these achievements, Schuck received the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub). The Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.
Born in the Saargebiet (Territory of the Saar Basin), Schuck volunteered for service in the Luftwaffe of the Third Reich in 1936 and was accepted in 1937. After a period of training at various pilot and fighter pilot schools, he was posted to Jagdgeschwader 5 (JG 5—5th Fighter Wing), operating on the most northern section of the Eastern Front, the Arctic Front, in April 1942. In April 1944 he was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross for 84 aerial victories. Following his 171st aerial victory he was injured in combat and received the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves during his convalescence. In early 1945 Schuck transferred to Jagdgeschwader 7 (JG 7—7th Fighter Wing) which operated the then revolutionary jet fighter Me 262. Claiming a further eight aerial victories, he was forced to bail out when his aircraft was shot down by a P-51 Mustang on 10 April 1945. Schuck sustained minor injuries preventing him from flying further combat missions.