Franz Götz (28 January 1913 – 4 May 1980) was a German Luftwaffe fighter ace and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross during World War II. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. Franz Götz was the last Geschwaderkommodore (wing commander) of the renowned Jagdgeschwader 26 "Schlageter".
Franz Götz enlisted as a fighter pilot in the pre-war Luftwaffe and began the war with III./Jagdgeschwader 53 (JG 53—53rd Fighter Wing) "Pik-As". Holding the rank of Oberfeldwebel he gained his first victory in May 1940 during the Battle of France. Götz served with JG 53 through successive European, Soviet, Mediterranean, and Reich Defence campaigns. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) and became Gruppenkommandeur (group commander) of III./JG 53 from October 1942 until early 1945. He claimed his first of three B-17 Flying Fortress on 24 August 1944 over the Lüneburger Heide.
On 28 January 1945, (Götz's 32nd birthday) he was posted as Geschwaderkommodore of Jagdgeschwader 26 (JG 26—26th Fighter Wing), based at Fürstenau. His final tally was 63 victories, including 3 heavy bombers.
At war's end Götz's Fw 190 D-13 was surrendered to the British at Flensburg, in Northern Germany.The very rare Focke Wulf Fw 190 D-13/R11 (Werknummer 836017—factory number) is now on display at the Flying Heritage Collection in Everett, Washington, which recently had its Junkers Jumo 213 engine on YouTube once more, to prepare it for flight in the 21st century.
- Iron Cross (1939) 2nd and 1st Class
- Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe (14 November 1940)
- German Cross in Gold on 15 October 1941 as Oberleutnant in the 9./JG 53
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 4 September 1942 as Oberleutnant and Staffelkapitän of the 9./JG 53
- Obermaier 1989, p. 119.
- Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 143.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 198.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 340.