Werner Mölders was a World War II German Luftwaffe pilot and the leading German fighter ace in the Spanish Civil War. Mölders became the first pilot in aviation history to claim 100 aerial victories and was highly decorated for his achievements. He was instrumental in the development of new fighter tactics, which led to the finger-four formation. He was captured by the British in the Battle of France and then turned over to the French. Upon signing the Armistice, they released him back to Germany. On 22 November 1941, Mölders traveled as a passenger in a Heinkel He 111 from the Crimea to Germany to attend the funeral of his superior, Ernst Udet, who had committed suicide. Attempting to land at Breslau during a thunderstorm, the aircraft crashed. Mölders, pilot Oberleutnant Kolbe and flight engineer Oberfeldwebel Hobbie were killed. Mölders’ fatal injuries included a broken back and a crushed ribcage. He was given a state funeral in Berlin on 28 November 1941. His coffin was laid out in the honour court of the Imperial Air Ministry.
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