After Hans-Ulrich Rudel ended his combat career by purposely crash-landing on an American airfield, the defiant Nazi refused to surrender. Considering his options, he decided to surrender to the Americans, in the hope that he would receive medical attention for his right leg, which had been amputated below the knee and was still swollen and bleeding. After thanking his officers for their loyalty and courage, he said farewell to his ground personnel, who were leaving in trucks and other vehicles. Rudel radioed the U.

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During the war, Rudel was credited with the destruction of tanks, as well as one battleship , one cruiser , 70 landing craft and artillery emplacements.

Rudel surrendered to US forces on 8 May and emigrated to Argentina in In the West German federal election of , Rudel, who had returned to West Germany , was the top candidate for the far-right German Reich Party but was not elected to the Bundestag.

In , he became a spokesman for the German People's Union , a neo-Nazi political party founded by the extremist politician Gerhard Frey. Rudel died in West Germany in 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 As an air observer, Rudel flew on long-range reconnaissance missions over Poland. In early , he underwent training as a Stuka pilot.

It caused the explosion of the forward magazine which demolished the superstructure and the forward part of the hull. Rudel's gunner from October was Erwin Hentschel, who served with Rudel for the next two and a half years, both men earning the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross during that period.

Hentschel completed 1, sorties with Rudel and drowned on 21 March when they were making their way to the German lines following a forced landing. In early , Rudel got married while home on leave. The footage from an onboard gun camera was used in Die Deutsche Wochenschau , a Reich Ministry of Propaganda newsreel.

On 12 July Rudel claimed 12 Soviet tanks in one day. Rudel was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of III. Gruppe on 22 February Gruppe , joined Rudel as his new radio operator and air gunner. The presentation was made by Hitler personally. This award, intended as one of 12 to be given as a post-war victory award for Nazi Germany, was presented to him by Hitler on 1 January , four months before Nazi Germany was defeated.

On 8 February , Rudel was badly wounded in the right foot, and landed inside German lines as his radio operator shouted flight instructions.

Rudel's leg was amputated below the knee. He claimed 26 more tanks destroyed by the end of the war. While Rudel had been interned, his family fled from the advancing Red Army and had found refuge with Gadermann's parents in Wuppertal. Rudel was released in April and went into private business. In Rome , with the help of South Tyrolean smugglers, and aided by the Austrian bishop Alois Hudal , he bought himself a fake Red Cross passport with the cover name "Emilio Meier", and took a flight from Rome to Buenos Aires , where he arrived on 8 June In Argentina, he founded the " Kameradenwerk " lit.

Prominent members of the " Kameradenwerk " included SS officer Ludwig Lienhardt, whose extradition from Sweden had been demanded by the Soviet Union on war crime charges, [33] Kurt Christmann, a member of the Gestapo sentenced to 10 years for war crimes committed at Krasnodar , Austrian war criminal Fridolin Guth, and the German spy in Chile, August Siebrecht. Sassen convinced Adolf Eichmann to share his view on the Holocaust.

Together with Eberhard Fritsch , a former Hitler Youth leader, Sassen began interviewing Eichmann in with the intent of publishing his views. Discussion ensued in Germany on Rudel being allowed to publish the book, because he was a known Nazi. In the book, he supported Nazi policies. This book was later re-edited and published in the United States, as the Cold War intensified, under the title, Stuka Pilot , which supported the German invasion of the Soviet Union.

Pierre Clostermann , a French fighter pilot, had befriended Rudel and wrote the foreword to the French edition of his book Stuka Pilot. He was also active as a military adviser and arms dealer for the Bolivian regime, Augusto Pinochet in Chile and Stroessner in Paraguay.

Schwend, according to Hammerschmidt, had close links with the military services of Peru and Bolivia. In his political speeches, Rudel made generalizing statements, claiming that he was speaking on behalf of most, if not all, former German soldiers of World War II. Rudel's political demeanor subsequently alienated him from his former comrades, foremost Gadermann.

Fearing that Rudel would spread Nazi propaganda on the German Air Force airbase in Bremgarten near Freiburg , Schmidt ordered that the meeting could not be held at the airbase. Krupinski contacted Gerhard Limberg , Inspector of the Air Force , requesting that the meeting be allowed to be held at the airbase. Limberg later confirmed Krupinski's request, and the meeting was held on Bundeswehr premises, a decision to which Schmidt still had not agreed. Rudel attended the meeting, at which he signed his book and gave a few autographs but refrained from making any political statements.

During a routine press event, journalists, who had been briefed by Schmidt, questioned Krupinski and his deputy Karl Heinz Franke about Rudel's presence. Calling Wehner an extremist , they described Rudel as an honorable man, who "hadn't stolen the family silver or anything else". Leber, a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany SPD , was heavily criticized for his actions by the Christian Democratic Union CDU opposition, and the scandal contributed to the minister's subsequent retirement in early The Rudel Scandal subsequently triggered a military-tradition discussion, which the Federal Minister of Defense Hans Apel ended with the introduction of "Guidelines for Understanding and Cultivating Tradition" on 20 September There he was welcomed by team manager Sepp Herberger.

Rudel was married three times. They divorced in According to the news magazine Der Spiegel , one reason for the divorce was that his wife had sold some of his decorations, including the Oak Leaves with Diamonds, to an American collector, but she also refused to move to Argentina. The marriage produced his third son, Christoph, born in Rudel died after suffering another stroke in Rosenheim on 18 December , [44] and was buried in Dornhausen on 22 December During Rudel's burial ceremony, two Bundeswehr F-4 Phantoms appeared to make a low altitude flypast over his grave.

Dornhausen was situated in the middle of a flightpath regularly flown by military aircraft, and Bundeswehr officers denied deliberately flying aircraft over the funeral.

Four mourners were photographed giving Nazi salutes at the funeral, and were investigated under a law banning the display of Nazi symbols. He was credited with the destruction of tanks, severely damaging the battleship Marat , as well as sinking a cruiser incomplete and heavily damaged Petropavlovsk , a destroyer Leningrad-class destroyer Minsk and 70 landing craft.

Rudel also claimed to have destroyed more than vehicles of all types, over artillery, anti-tank or anti-aircraft positions, 4 armored trains, as well as numerous bridges and supply lines.

Rudel was also credited with 51 aerial victories, 42 of which were fighter aircraft and 7 Ilyushin Il-2s. He was shot down or forced to land 30 times due to anti-aircraft artillery, was wounded five times and rescued six stranded aircrew from enemy-held territory. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Hans-Ulrich Rudel in Adolf Galland in the back-ground. Schriftenreihe zur Gegenwart, Nr. Es geht um das Reich [ It is about the Reich ].

Trotzdem [ Nevertheless ] in German. Stuka Pilot. Translated by Hudson, Lynton. New York: Ballantine Books. Rosenheim, Germany: Deutsche Verlagsgesellschaft. Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk in German. Archived from the original on 27 November Retrieved 27 November Sueddeutsche Zeitung in German. Retrieved 28 November United Press International. Emory University. Astor, Gerald Berlin, Germany: Walter de Gruyter Saur. Pacifica, California: Pacifica Military History.

Hamilton MT: Eagle Editions. Hersham, Surrey: Classic Publications. Burgess Hill: Classic Publications. Leicester: Troubador Publishing. Stuttgart, Germany: Motorbuch. Retrieved 9 January Back Bay Books. Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. Knights of the Reich. Geschichtspolitik: Wer sind ihre Akteure, wer ihre Rezipienten? Stuttgart, Germany: Franz Steiner Verlag. Die Tageszeitung in German. Retrieved 5 January London, UK: Granta.

James Bender Publishing. Frankfurt am Main, Germany: S. Stuka Pilot Hans Ulrich Rudel. Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Military History. Die Zeit in German.


The Iron Eagle’s Last Flight

The most decorated combat pilot of all time was not, as you might expect, a fighter pilot, though he did shoot down nine enemy aircraft. However, his courage, tenacity and resilience in the face of horrendous wounds brought him the highest awards in Nazi Germany. Like most military aviator trainees, Rudel dreamed of becoming a fighter pilot. He went through basic training in the newly created German Luftwaffe in the late s and as the date of passing out approached, all the trainees in his year began to wonder to which arm of the air force they would be posted. Most hoped for an assignment to fighters but, as the time approached, a rumor swept the school that all the trainees from that year were to be assigned to heavy bomber squadrons.


Hans-Ulrich Rudel: Eagle of the Eastern Front

Until very recently the remote forward airstrip had been deep inside Soviet Russia, but now it was Nazi territory. The men of Sturzkampfgeschwader 2 StG. It would be nothing like raining bombs and fear over fleeing enemy infantry and civilians, as Stukas had across Spain, Poland, Belgium and France. And Rudel had flown his first combat mission just three months earlier. Young Rudel, an avid skier and athlete, came of age in early s Germany at the same time as Nazism and the dive bomber. Plummeting from on high with sirens wailing and bombs whistling, Stukas struck terror long before they struck targets. Yet withstanding rapid changes in air pressure as he plunged thousands of feet, not to mention near-blackout on pull-up, proved difficult for Rudel.

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