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"Rudel alone is worth an entire division."

Discussion in 'Eastern Europe' started by C.Evans, Jan 24, 2003.

  1. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    those words were said by Generalfeldmarschall Ferdinand Schorner.

    These words were meant as praise for the outstanding German Stuka Pilot: Hans-Ulrich Rudel. He was born in 1916 and passed away in 1982. He is the only Recipient of the Golden Oak Leaves-Swords and Diamonds.

    He has 2,530 Combat missions to his credit. At 1,000 missions--it is said that he flew a total of 188,000 miles in his out-dated Stuka--which is equal to seven times around the earths equator. He used enough feul to fill near twenty locomotive tank cars, fired off three boxcars worth of ammunition and dropped over 35 boxcars worth of bombs. And this was not even at the halfway mark in his total number of Combat Sorties!!!!!

    He is credited with destroying 518 tanks, three Russian Warships which included a Destroyer--a Cruiser and the Battleship: Marat. He also destroyed 70 Landing Craft. Included in this is also nine aircraft shot down and many many bridges, refineries, factories and barracks.

    On Seven occasions, when pilots from his squadron had been shot down behind enemy lines, Rudel landed his aircraft near the wreckage to rescue his comrades. the seventh attempt almost cost him his own life.

    He landed and his Stuka got stuck in mud and could not be freed. Russians suddenly appeared and the two Stuka Crews (4 men) jumped into the frigid Dnestr River--swimming over 300 yards to the opposite side. Along the way, Rudels Gunner: Sergeant Hentschel, drowned in the crossing.

    A few hours later--the three men were captured by a Russian Patrol. Immediately Rudel, made a run for it, and was shot in his left shoulder. Though he was seriously wounded, he evaded capture and walked over 25 miles bare-footed--to German lines.

    Because of his shabby appearance, the German sentries did not believe that he was the famous "Eagle of the Eastern Front." To I.D. himself--he pulled from his pocket, hie: Knights CRoss with Oak Leaves and Swords hanging from it.

    On February 8 1945, Rudels Stuka took direct hits from A/A fire and he barely managed to land it behind German lines. He had been wounded a 5th time, and at a battlefield hospital, his badly damaged right leg had been amputated. He was sent to recovery, and after a short period of time there--he disobeyed his doctors orders and returned to active duties with his squadron.

    He was fitted with a wooden leg and continued fighting and destroying tanks until the last day of the war. He surrendered to the Americans and went into captivity in May 1945.

    At Fuhrer Headquarters West: on January 1 1945, the supreme commanders of all of the German Forces gathered to honor their most decorated soldier. He was presented his Golden Oak Leaves and Swords before the likes of: Reichsmarschall Herman Goring, Grand Admiral Donitz, Feldmarschall Keitel and Chief of Operations Jodl.

    A Newspaper report read:

    "FUHRER HEADQUARTERS, 2 January (DNB) - In a decree on 12/29/1944, the Fuhrer created the Golden Oak Leaves with Swords and Diamonds as the highest German decoration for bravery. It will be awarded twelve times at the most. On 1 January, Oberstleutnant Rudel, commander of the Immelmann Squadron, became the first soldier of the German Armed Forces to be awarded the decoration, recieving it from the Fuhrer himself. At the same time, the Fuhrer promoted Oberstleutnant Rudel to Oberst in recognition of his proven heroism and his unique success as a pilot and fighter."

    He truely was an absolutely amazing soldier--as well as men like Erich Alfred Hartmann and many others.

    [ 24. January 2003, 03:51 PM: Message edited by: C.Evans ]
     
  2. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    Carl :

    Don't forget that Schroner was making reference not to just Rudel but to his whole Panzerstaffel. My personal opinion which has been knocked over the years is that Rudel never amassed the total of 500 plus panzers. I believe that many were as a result to his wingman and the others of his staffel but who are you going to give credit too ? The greatest of course. Think he was such a propaganda toy, which he was, that many kills were accredited to him as the number 1 tank killer which he was !
    Love to have been able to see and read his flugbuch.

    E
     
  3. TA152

    TA152 Ace

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    I have to agree with Erich, the 500+ tanks sounds a bit fishy. Who is it that confirmed all these kills, his rear gunner an NCO ? I know the guy was really good at dive bombing and gunnery, but that comes out to about one tank every three days for five years. The Russians were not that easy to kill.
     
  4. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    I definately agree with you guys--all I did was to put down what the author said in the book: "The Iron Time." ;)
     
  5. Panzerknacker

    Panzerknacker New Member

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    On a Stuka Raid to the Black Sea Fleet base in the Baltic in 1942, Rudel also dropped his specially adapted 500LB Armour-Piercing bomb on teh already damaged Russian Battleship, The 'Okstrayaba Revolucion'....
     
  6. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Anyway, well over 2,000 battle flights and he was angry ( according to his book ) that he could not fly more and kill more Russians...to save German soldier´s blood! And his other leg once broken and flying and the next time amputated and still flying...
    and even against Hitler´s orders...I think that´s incredible even if the figures were down to 1/3 of the mentioned.

    I think Hitler said that if he had a son he would have wanted one like Rudel..

    PS. He definitely was a nazi fanatic but one hell of a pilot as well!

    :eek:

    [ 26. January 2003, 10:49 AM: Message edited by: Kai-Petri ]
     
  7. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    Kai :

    I agree, even if in rality the guy scored 250 panzer kills, it is a feat that will never be repeated probably, even with the standards of today and the US A-10 Hog. I think a coluple of US pilots scored something like 45 to 65 tank kills then back some 10 plus years ago, but look at what type of armored bathtub these guys were flying !
    Kai, thanks for the private, but I cannot answer as my return mail server is messed up. Can the Finnish AF publication be purchased for the 43-45 article now ?

    E
     
  8. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Sorry, Erich, it won´t be in the shops until May...or late April...But I´ll try to find some of these guys who write about these things if they can help a little..

    :(
     
  9. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    crying icon please ! boo-hoo.....well then I will await your replies Kai. Thanks :D
     
  10. Panzerknacker

    Panzerknacker New Member

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    Kai-Hitler actually said that about Waffen SS 'Wallonien' Sturmbrigade leader, Leon Degrelle.
     
  11. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Yeah, Panzerknacker...As soon as you mentioned it I realized that´s it...Sorry about the wrong person choice...It was Degrelle!Thanx for the correction!


    ;)
     
  12. Bish OBE

    Bish OBE Member

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    I don't see why the 500+ figure seems so far out. Think about it.

    A good way to see how good a pilot is, is to look at the srike rate. Rudels is about 4 sorties per tank destroyed. I have not worked it out exactly.

    Hartmanns SR is 4.05, about the same as Rudels if you believe the figures. But this is low compared to some fighter pilots.

    And,tanks are easyier to kill than other aircraft.
    Add to this that he is armed wth two 3.7cm guns each with 20 ronds. It would only take probably 4 rounds to take out a tank. lets say 5, thats 4 tanks per sortie.

    So, if you cmpare Rudels 500+ tanks out of 2,300+ sorties with say Hartmanns 352 kills out of 1,425, it is not that hard to believe.

    Its all a mater of oppuruaty. And i have read many accounts of Rudels flying 2 or three sorties a day. Often coming in wih one group, jumping into another plane and taking off with another group.

    So,until someone comes up with evidence to say otherwise, i will except the figure of 500+.

    I have also heard it said that Wittmanns klls are just propoganda. But agan, no evidence is offered. It hust seems that many want to downplay how good these guys were.

    For me, there are 4 men who raine supreme as soldiers in WW2.

    Rudel
    Wittmann
    Hartmann
    Kretschmer

    [ 27. January 2003, 03:00 PM: Message edited by: Bish OBE ]
     
  13. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    Well said--and coming from someone who KNOWS his Armour--like you know I know you do :D really makes one think deeply into this.

    Now wouldnt it be somewhat easier on Rudel being able to take better aim with his Stuka because of its slowed speed?
     
  14. Bish OBE

    Bish OBE Member

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    Yes. And something the Americans knew well when they built the A-10 Tankbuster.

    And the tactic Rudel devised of attacking from behind, so as to hit the engine decks, would have greatly increased his chancers of a kill

    [ 27. January 2003, 05:38 PM: Message edited by: Bish OBE ]
     
  15. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    I guess we can give guesstimates all we want. Rudel no doubt was a bright spot in an otherwise dull setting for the W-SS and Heer Divisions in 44-45. His panzerstaffel along with the rest of 3 and 77's could kick Soviet butt and the records prove it. Only with scepticism do I accept his 500 plus kills, knowing prefectly well the man was a solo aritst and only becuase he could pull rank which he did numerous occasssions thus getting to the head of battle and the first to attack Soviet armor. Usually in the case of Stuka G's and Hs 129's there was a wingman included to confirm kills and a good possiblity the rest of the staffel of 10 a/c or more would be present, this on many occassion when their was vast amounts of T-34's present attacking in waves......but isn't it funny though that the closest Panzer killer in score only had a kill rate of 150 ! makes you wonder doesn't it. Rudel had more than 9 lives that is fact as many of his Kameraden fell to accurate Soviet mobil flak from trucks.

    The US A-10 Warthog was formualted on the ideas of the German Hs 129, another and probably the best German air tank destroyer.

    You are correct Carl the Stuka G pilot had to come in real slow and they knew they were sitting ducks in 44-45 with the numerous AA defences as well as even rifle fire. The Hs 129 was more armored especailly in the front around the cockpit and under the belly, but yet it was fodder for the roving Migs and Yaks as was the Stuka G, although at least it had a twin mg 81 for rear defence.

    E
     
  16. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    Thanks Bish--Erich.

    Now my head is so full of new things today that I think its about to burst--but glad for it :D
     
  17. Bish OBE

    Bish OBE Member

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    Actauly Erich,i don't think Rudels score whe compared to Wittmann is that strange.

    Tanks are harder to see from the ground. The armour another tank aims at will aways be the thickest. So, less chance of a kill even when hitting.

    An aircraft can come from any where. Is hader to defend against and to see.

    I have always believed that the tanks biggest threat is the aircaft.
     
  18. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    I think it strange for the reasons given during 1944 through 45. He soloed many times and we know that he was ordered not too even with an amputated leg. He was a pure propaganda boy as several other Luftwaffe notables, and two of them I cannot share my feelings about because they are still alive. But in the case of taking the wingman's score or another staffel mates is not that unknown and was quite regular especially for day fighter pilots on the Ost front......I must stop here because I am giving too much away. Another member is of the night fighter force and we know for fact he fudged on his scores and even others kills were accredited to him.
    Do you not think if Rudel was in the air and only his radio operator/gunner was there to confirm that scores would be inflated somewhat... ? Rudel never wanted his total kills be made known and in 44 till war's end he recommended quite strongly that they be just added to the overall tally of his 10./Panzerstaffel and Schlachtgeschwader Immelmann in general. No one can doubt the guy was an unreal pilot and courageous in the air and in the attack. The man was driven like no one else.....for the ground attack units.

    E
     
  19. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    Please bear with me as I am in a little ground attack mood......

    here is an e-mail albiet two plus years old from friend Dr. Martin Ilg in Germany. We had been discussing ration of kills to reality and about the speciifcs of the Hs 129 and the Stuka G models, armaments and effectiveness. Please excuse the randomness of this post but wanted to share a little material from Martin and his thoughts on a few subjects. maybe this will be of some interest....

    Guten morgen Erich,

    lots of interesting points in your mail, as for the mobile AAA its a real mystery(Soviet). I have a friend who is an expert in WW 2 soviet armor, he has no idea. Same on the websites dedicated to it. There is a post-war twin barrel Aa on a T-34 chassis which was used on the Ho Chi Minh Tail however....
    ......this is strange because German intellignece (Fremde Heere Ost) was in sheer panic about the Russian tank production after the fall of 1942 and they kept close watch on their losses numbers. This panic was the reason for the invention of the Panzerjägers in the first place and gave rise to such weird ideas like Unternehmen Eisenhammer....
    The other thing you do not find much about is tactics, especially of the Hs 129, and I have no video footage of the a/c, but of the Ju 87G attack in March of 1945 on the Oder.
    Good coverage of the Il-2 is in V. Baginskis book "Aggressors: Tank Busters". I think they became really effective in 1944 when they could raom freely and had solid tactics.

    P.S. you are right about the white-washed Ju 87G's in the other posting. I have pics of the SG 2's Gustav's camoed 'the broom way.'

    a little tidbit for all.....

    E
     
  20. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    last but not least.....

    10(Pz) SG 1 formed January 27, 1944 at Orscha with the Ju 87G. On January 7, 1945 the unit became 2.(Pz)/SG 9. the unit was equipped with both the Ju 87D varinats and the G-1 and G-2 with longer pointed wings.

    10(Pz)/SG 2 formed in Pervomaisk on October 18, 1943 from 10.(Pz)/St.G.2.
    Surrendered in Graz, Austria in May ofm 45. This was Rudels unit and he and several others in Ju 87G's and Fw 190's flew to Kitzingen to the 405th fighter group to surrender.

    10 (Pz)/SG 3 formed March 7, 1944 at Jakobstadt from 4./St. G.2. On January 7, 1945 it became 3 (Pz)/SG 9 at Eggersdorf. Flew the Ju 87G variants.

    Schlachtgeschwader 9 a formualtion of several different staffeln and a much feared unit. Fw 190's with Panzerblitz rockets, two stafflen the 2nd and 3rd with the Ju 87G's.
    IV. gruppe was equipped with the very effective Hs 129, the 10th through 14th staffels. The 12th and 13th staffels changed over to the Fw 190 with Panzerblitz in November of 44 and January 45 repectively.

    10.(Pz)/SG 77 formed on October 18, 1943 at Orscha from 10.(Pz)/St.G.1. On January 27, 1944 it became 10.(Pz)/SG 1. Surrender in May of 45 at Pardubitz and surrounding areas. Equipped with the D-3 and D-5 plus G variants.

    a few scores

    Rudel 519
    Horst Kaubisch 137
    Harmut Vogt 125
    Anton Hubsch 120
    Gerhard Studemann 117
    Alois Wosnitza 104
    Hendrik Stahl 100
    Anton Korol with the Ju 87G 99
    Wilhelm Joswig 88
    Max Diepold 87
    wilhelm Noller 86
    Hans Ludwig 85
    Heinz Edhoffer 84
    Theodor Nordmann 80
    Kurt Plenzat 80
    siegfried fischer 80
    Kurt Lau 80
    Rudolf-Heinz Ruffler of Hs 129 fame 80 plus.

    there of course are others.....

    E
     

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