Shelves: ww-2 What a rip snorter of a read. This book is pure action and puts you right in the cockpit with the author, kicking the rudder bar, watching the tanks burns and dodging the flak. This memoirs reads like the author is sitting in a pub telling his story why sharing a drink with you. Feb 10, Joe Krakovsky rated it it was amazing Excellent book about a warrior and another story shedding light on the massive war of the Eastern Front.
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They had pulled out a dozen feet or so above the water. Behind them Rudel saw a 1,foot pillar of smoke and fire billowing from the battleship. His bomb had exploded in an ammunition magazine. Rudel had to watch as the CO took off, with Scharnowski still in back. In the midst of their attack dive, they took a hit in the tail. Unable to pull out, Steen aimed the Stuka at Kirov, but hit the sea alongside.
After 16 months the encirclement of Leningrad was broken. By that time Adolf Hitler had other goals: Ukrainian wheat. Caspian oil. Meanwhile Rudel—now a mission veteran—survived his first Russian winter and a summer commanding a Stuka training unit. By the time he rejoined StG. Stuka bombing precision was essential in this situation. Rudel flew 17 sorties, stopping the last tank himself just a few yards short of his own runway. He was then invited to Rechlin, Germany, to help test a new concept in anti-tank warfare.
Armed with two pound cannon pods, the Stuka became slow and unwieldy, unable to dive or carry bombs, but its 6-foot gun barrels could put 37mm tungsten-core shells through square-foot targets from the air at more than yards. Rudel demonstrates his preferred attack on a model of a Russian T Rudel got off to a bad start, shot down by flak on his first combat test, but he made short work of Russian landing craft on the Kuban front.
As thousands of German and Russian tanks wheeled and fired at point-blank range below him, Rudel circled behind the enemy armor formations to attack from the rear. In his first attack he disabled four tanks, and by the end of the first day he had bagged 12—the equivalent of a Soviet armor company. His mission tally and score rose dramatically; by November he had racked up 1, missions and more than tank kills.
His backseater, Sergeant Erwin Hentschel, became the most successful gunner in the Luftwaffe, with more than 1, missions and several enemy aircraft to his credit. To him nationalism and National Socialism were one and the same.
Prior to Operation Barbarossa, he believed the Soviet Union would simply allow its Nazi allies free access to its oil and raw materials; a few days afterward, he was just as willing to believe the Soviets had been ready to invade Germany and were beaten to the punch.
Rudel was also an associate of notorious ex-SS commando Lt. Otto Skorzeny, whose network facilitated the escape of hunted Nazis to South America. Even one-legged, he never gave up tennis, swimming and skiing. Only bad weather halted his ascent, just feet short of the summit, of 22,foot Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Americas.
He became so controversial that more than 20 years later two Luftwaffe generals were forcibly retired for publicly supporting him. Yet the Stukas were unable to halt the relentless Soviet offensives leading into the winter of Terrible weather shielded the enemy from aerial attack. On one reconnaissance mission, lost in thick fog and running low on fuel, Rudel felt his way down to a forced landing. Hentschel scouted a nearby road jammed with German truck traffic.
Many of them think they are seeing a ghost plane. Leaving Hentschel to guard the plane, Rudel caught a ride to base and returned to take off when the weather lifted. In late March , StG. On his eighth sortie that day, now-Major Rudel saw one of his crews forced down on the wrong side of the river and landed to pick them up.
He had performed such rescues a half-dozen times before, and had been so rescued himself. But with two extra passengers, his Stuka bogged down in the mud. Rudel and Hentschel Soviet troops closed in. Rudel, Hentschel and the rest ran several miles in full gear. Doffing flight suits and boots, they slid down riverbank cliffs into the water.
The yard-wide Dniester was in full flood, a few degrees above freezing and full of ice. His athletic training saved him: Last into the water, he was second to reach the far bank. Eighty yards short, gunner Hentschel threw up his arms and went under. The others were soon captured. Rudel had been shot in the shoulder, and was wet, barefoot and freezing. Although deep in enemy territory, he refused to be taken prisoner. Rudel sheltered among refugees and locals who had no love for Stalinist Russians, and barely survived his trek across some 30 miles of enemy territory to reach German lines.
His feet were so badly injured that when he next flew he had to be helped into his plane. Reluctant to risk his hero again, Hitler grounded him, but relented when Rudel said he would refuse the medal if forbidden to fly.
Rudel as propaganda star: German newsreel footage. Subtitled Germany needed heroes that summer of , and Rudel did not disappoint. His count rose: 2, missions flown, enemy tanks destroyed. Shot down over Latvia, he crash-landed with his gunner, Ernst Gadermann. Both men were wounded, and both were immediately back in the air. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel and appointed commanding officer of SG.
By now he had flown 2, missions and notched tank kills—approximately equal to three Soviet tank corps. Alfred Jodl, Grand Adm. No other German soldier has ever received it. Again Hitler ordered him grounded; again Rudel refused. But be careful, the German people need you. On February 8, with his leg still in a cast, Rudel shot up a dozen tanks that had breached the Oder River. He used his last cannon round to score an unlucky 13th, a Stalin, but his Stuka was hit by Soviet 40mm anti-aircraft fire.
Rudel woke up in a hospital with his leg amputated below the knee. One-legged Rudel Maj. Karl Kennel, commanding II. His subsequent tank kills were attributed to the squadron anonymously. By April 26, it was barely possible to fly into the embattled capital. Hitler refused, and within the week was dead.
Though Rudel would have preferred to lead his wing on a glorious suicide mission against a Soviet headquarters, instead he sent his men to flee overland, west toward the American lines, on May 8. He and a half-dozen other pilots deliberately crash-landed their planes on an American-held airfield and surrendered. In all, Hans-Ulrich Rudel was credited with 2, missions, one battleship, one cruiser, a destroyer, 70 landing craft, some vehicles, gun positions, numerous armored trains and bridges, tanks and nine aircraft.
He had been shot down more than 30 times never by an enemy pilot and wounded five times. Weidenfeld: Littlehampton Book Services, Ju 87 Stuka in Action Aircraft No. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, Weapons Book No. New York: Ballantine Books, Price, Alfred, Luftwaffe. Rudel, Hans Ulrich, trans. Hudson, Lynton, Stuka Pilot. New York: Bantam Books, Tokyo: Bonanza, Tank Buster vs. Combat Vehicle. Charlottesville, VA: Howell, ISBN 0 31 0.
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Early life[ edit ] Rudel was born on 2 July , in Konradswaldau , in Prussia. He was the third child of Lutheran minister Johannes Rudel. Rudel attended the humanities oriented Gymnasium , in Lauban. He joined the Hitler Youth in
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Von bis besuchte Rudel die Volksschule und in Lauban ein humanistisches Gymnasium, das er mit dem Abitur abschloss. Nach Ableistung der Arbeitsdienstpflicht im Herbst trat Rudel am 4. Dezember als Fahnenjunker in die Luftwaffe ein. Gruppe der Sturzkampfgruppe zugeteilt. Rudel wurde zum 1. Juni als Beobachter in die 2. Am
He destroyed one battleship, one cruiser, one destroyer, 70 landing craft, vehicles, gun positions, tanks and nine aircraft. His story is simply incredible. Like so many successful soldiers during World War Two, Rudel showed a great aptitude for adventure, risk and daring from an early age. His first brush with injury came when he was just eight years old as he jumped off a roof with an opened umbrella in an attempt to fly. It earned him a broken leg, but that was small fry in comparison with what would come later on. Rudel initially came to prominence within the Sturzkampfgeschwader 2 StG. And for a man who spent most of the first half of the war sitting in the backseat of a reconnaissance plane, or not flying at all, the numbers Rudel racked up are truly astonishing.