Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Most Outstanding Combat Pilot Of All Time

Hans-Ulrich Rudel

Hans Rudel is not the kind of "Panzer Ace" such as Wittmann or Barkmann, simply because he was "Stuka Ace" and destroyed enemy armored fighting vehicles from the air. During his career, as Stuka pilot he managed to destroy enormous number of enemy equipment, including 519 Soviet tanks. 

Hans-Ulrich Rudel was born in 1916 in Silesia.He was the son of a clergyman - minister. He was never good at school and received limited education. Rudel was a teenager when the NSDAP took charge and became indoctrinated at very early age.Since young age, Rudel showed interest in sports and did not do well in school. 

In 1936, he joined the Luftwaffe as an cadet officer as a way to continue and develop his sporting activities. After passing his flying training course and becoming a pilot, Hans Rudel applied for further training in the technique of the dive-bombing but was turned down. 

Instead, he received reconnaissance observer's training and flew long range reconnaissance missions during Polish Campaign in September of 1939 as a Lieutenant. 

On October 11th of 1939, Rudel was awarded Iron Cross 2nd Class.At the same, Rudel continued applying for Ju-87 Stuka (Sturzkampfflugzeug - dive bomber)training course and was finally admitted in May of 1940. After the completion of the course, Oberleutnant Rudel was posted to Stuka Training Wing near Stuttgart, where he spent the French Campaign. Afterwards, Rudel was transferred to 1st Staffel (1st Squadron) of Stukageschwader 2 (Dive-Bomber Group 2) and took part in the airborne invasion of Crete in May of 1941, although not in the battle zone. 

In preparations for the Operation Barbarossa, Rudel's Group was transferred to the Eastern Front and on June 23rd of 1941 at 3:00am flew his first combat dive-bombing mission. 

During next 18 hours, he flew total four combat missions. On July 18th of 1941, Rudel was awarded Iron Cross 1st Class.

More @ Achtung Panzer


After the war, Rudel became a close friend and confidante of the Argentine president Juan Perón Rudel wrote a book titled In Spite of Everything, and a book of memoirs called Stuka Pilot that supported the German invasion of the Soviet Union. Even without a leg, he remained an active sportsman, playing tennis, skiing, and even climbing the highest peak in the Americas, Aconcagua (6,962 meters or 22,841 feet). He also ascended the second highest volcano on Earth three times, the Llullay-Yacu in the Argentine Andes (6,739 meters or 22,109 feet). In addition, Rudel's input was used during the development of the A-10 ground attack aircraft. 

Rudel returned to West Germany in 1953 and joined the German Reich Party. He became a successful businessman in post-war Germany. He died in Rosenheim in 1982, and was buried in Dornhausen.
In 1976 Rudel was involved in what came to be known as the Rudel Scandal. Two high ranking Bundeswehr generals, Karl Heinz Franke and Walter Krupinski, were forced into early retirement.
Rudel was a teetotaler and non-smoker. His fellow pilots coined the phrase "Hans-Ulrich Rudel, trinkt nur Sprudel!" ("Hans-Ulrich Rudel, ... he drinks only mineral water!").

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