|Birth||January 22, 1916 (Bad Zwischenahn)|
|Death||March 6, 1945 (Altenburg)|
Walter Borchers (22 January 1916 – 6 March 1945) was a Luftwaffe night fighter flying ace of World War II. Borchers was credited with 59 aerial victories, including 43 nocturnal victories, 10 as a destroyer pilot and 6 four-engined bombers at day time, claimed in roughly 300 combat missions. A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down five or more enemy aircraft during aerial combat. Prior to his death he held the service position Geschwaderkommodore (wing commander) of the night fighter wing Nachtjagdgeschwader 5.
Walter Borchers was born on 22 January 1916 in Ofen in Ammerland, Duchy of Oldenburg as the third of three brothers. All of whom would be awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross during the course of World War II. His brother, Major Adolf Borchers received the Knight's Cross on 22 November 1944 as Staffelkapitän of 11./Jagdgeschwader 51 "Mölders". A second brother, SS-Hauptsturmführer Hermann Borchers received the Knight's Cross on 16 October 1944 as commander of the I. Battalion of the SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 19.
Borchers was a member of the 5th Staffel (squadron) of Zerstörergeschwader 76 (ZG 76—76th Destroyer Wing) at the outbreak of World War II on 1 September 1939. He became the Staffelkapitän of 5./ZG 76 in the fall of 1940. He claimed 10 aerial victories during the Battle of France and Battle of Britain.
His Staffel was transformed to the 8./Nachtjagdgeschwader 3 (NJG 3—3rd Night Fighter Wing) in the fall of 1941, flying night fighter missions in Defence of the Reich. Borchers claimed his first nocturnal aerial victory on the night of 3 March 1943. He claimed his 12th and 15th against the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) heavies—four-engined strategic bombers—in 1943. Still an Oberleutnant he was made Gruppenkommandeur of the III./Nachtjagdgeschwader 5 (NJG 5—5th Night Fighter Wing) on 22 April 1943, leading the Gruppe (group) until 23 March 1944. In this position he claimed a further six nocturnal victories and four heavy USAAF bombers shot down. He was promoted to Major and took command of NJG 5 as Geschwaderkommodore. He received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 29 October 1944 by which time he had achieved 45 aerial victories in total.
Having claimed an Avro Lancaster, Borchers was shot down and killed in action on the night of 6 March 1945 by a long-range British night fighter north of Altenburg. Flying Junkers Ju 88 G-6 "C9+GA" (Werknummer 622 319—factory number) his air gunner parachuted to safety while his radio operator Leutnant Friedrich Reul was also killed. Borchers had been nominated for the Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross which he never received. His victor was Wing Commander Walter Gibb and Flying Officer Kendall of No 239 Squadron, Royal Air Force (RAF), part of No. 100 Group RAF, flying a de Havilland Mosquito night fighter
- Iron Cross (1939) 2nd and 1st Class
- German Cross in Gold on 12 July 1943 as Oberleutnant in the 8./Nachtjagdgeschwader 3
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 27 July 1944 as Major and Geschwaderkommodore of Nachtjagdgeschwader 5.