Since Jan 10, 2017
One of the greatest, almost untold stories of WWII is the number of German aces who scored over 100 kills.”
(July, 1916 - 1982)During his career, Rudel flew over 2530 (around 400 of his sorties were flown in a Focke-Wulf 190 fighter plane during which he was credit with 11 air victories ) missions and destroyed around 150 various artillery pieces , 519 tanks, around 1000 various vehicles, 70 landing crafts, 2 Lavochkin La-3 fighters, Il-2 Stormovik and sunk Battleship “Marat”, 2 Cruisers and a Destroyer. On February 10th of 1943, Hans Rudel flew his 1000th mission and became a national hero to the German public. Rudel was then posted to the new special “Panzerjagdkommando Weiss” unit formed at Briansk to test newly developed tank-busting version of Ju-87 D-3.Modified Stuka armed with two Rheinmetall-Borsig 37mm (BK) Flak 18 guns (each mounted in special canopy under each wing with 6 rounds of ammunition) was developed at the Luftwaffe’s experimental station at Rechlin. Rudel was responsible for such huge damages to the Red Army that Joseph Stalin himself put a price of 100.000 rubles on his head. Rudel thought that the Lend-Lease American tanks were easier to kill than the Soviet T-34s, but he hated their machine guns, because once he was shotdown by one. Rudel was an outstanding pilot with experience, who loved to fly. He hated to take homeleave or sickleave and even when he got his leg amputated he was depressed since he couldn’t still do what he loved - fly. However, once he was fitted for a prosthetic leg he returned to flying and the Eastern front, to destroy more Soviet equipment. During his career, Hans Rudel showed remarkable power, toughness, fearlessness, unparalleled determination but none of his photos show any impact of the hardship of war on his face. His personal bravery was beyond belief and his place in the annals of military history thoroughly deserved, although it is important to remember the words of an American Protocol-Officer, who absolutely correctly named Rudel “the typical Nazi Officer”. Rudel’s famous quotation was “Verloren ist nur, wer sich selbst aufgibt” (”Lost are only those, who give up on themself”).
I read somewhere Rudel, because of his WWII Tank busting experience, was consulted when the Warthog Tank buster was in development.