Thursday, March 09, 2006


Hans Ulrich Rudel’s book, “Stuka Pilot” is probably my all time favorite book about WWII. If half of what he writes is true, he was the most exceptional soldier of the war. Although he fought for the Third Reich, he was not a member of the Nazi party, and has never been accused of war crimes. That being said, let’s do a brief overview of his military career:
Flew 2530 combat missions (more than any airman in any air force ever).
Destroyed 518 Russian Tanks, 700 trucks, over 150 flak and artillery guns, 9 enemy aircraft, countless bridges, rail lines, and bunkers, and most impressive of all, the battleship October Revolution, and the cruiser Marat, in addition to scores of other smaller naval vessels.

Rudel did not emerge unscathed from these engagements. He was shot down 32 times (one of which, he had to swim a river in freezing temperatures and then sneak through occupied territory for several miles, getting winged in the shoulder outrunning some Russian soldiers), and lost part of his right leg, but still flew until the end of the war.

Rudel was also the most decorated German soldier, being awarded the Knight’s Cross with Golden Oakleaves, Swords and Diamonds (an award created especially for him, as he had won every other decoration available). The funniest thing is that he nearly washed out of flight school because he was taking too long to master the aircraft.

Postwar, Rudel carved out a new life in Argentina working for the Focke-Wulf aircraft company, and made a name for himself as a mountain climber, scaling the highest peak in the Americas, Aconcagua.

The book is a great read. Even though I am an American, I can admire the accomplishments of this man and be against him at the same time. If he had been on our side, just think of how much quicker we would have won the war. He can never be a hero to me, as he never renounced the Nazi's after the war. In fact, in 1982 when he died, a West German Luftwaffe general was sacked for authorizing a flight of aircraft in the “missing man” formation over his funeral. I do respect him for what he accomplished. How can one find heroes in the ranks of our soldiers if they can’t face a truly exceptional adversary . Rudel was such an adversary. His motto was "Verloren ist nur, wer sich selbst aufgibt" ("Lost are only those, who give up themselves"). Actually, I thought Arnold Schwarzenegger would have been perfect to play him in a film back in the '80's but in this politically correct age this is one film that will never be made. Ironically, Graz, Austria figured prominently in the lives of both men.

“We fly in low from the south; it is dark and murky; I cannot distinguish anything more than 2000 to 2500 feet ahead. Now I see straight in the line of my flight a black moving mass: the road, tanks, vehicles, Russians. I at once yell: “Attack!” Already at almost point blank range the defense looses off a concentrated fire from in front of me, twin and qaudruple flak, machine guns, revealing everything with a livid brightness in this foggy light. I am flying at 90 feet and have bumped right into the middle of this hornet’s nest. Shall I get out of it? I twist and turn in the crazyest defensive maneuvers to avoid being hit: I shoot without taking aim… my head is as hot as the metal screaming past me. A few seconds later a tell-tale hammering. “Engine on fire!” Flames lick the cockpit. Our Kite will be our crematorium. Can we bail out in time?”

This drawing was done with ink and a number 4 brush. Click on it to see it full size, like all other drawings on this blog.I hope you like it- Tim


The Conservative UAW Guy said...

Never heard of that guy.
Thanks for the history.

Nice drawing, too!

Tim said...

Thank you for visiting, Jimmy.

O' Tim said...

Hey Tim! I just wanted to pop and say 'Hi' and see what you got going on yer blog. Nice drawing, indeed. BTW - my brother and I loved "Combat!" when we were kids!

Joe the Troll said...

O'Tim must have seen it in syndication, as I hardly remember it and we're about the same age. I think it might have been on channel 44 in Chicago, after the roller derby.......

Tim said...

Thanks for stopping by guys

Mark said...

Tim - This is off-topic, but since you have no e-mail available, I am leaving it here. I thought you might like to see this:

Offensive? You bet. But created by Jews to underscore the fact that no cartoons, however offensive, should be censored out of fear of reprisal.

They also mirror what is published in the Arab world on a daily basis.

On this topic, nice drawing, and yeah, most of the German Army and Air Force weren't Nazis. One of Rommel's motivations for being involved in the plot to assassinate Hitler was learning of the Final Solution, something he was not made privy to at first, if my memory serves.

Tim said...

Welcome back, Mark!
Some of those cartoons are very funny. I liked the one that said "6 million Jews died and Barbara Striesand gets yo live? Must be a lie." I still think the Mohammed cartoons were a bad idea. I have seen some of the Arab cartoons attacking Jews and they are way more vile than anything from boomka. Personally, I like art to be humorous in a non offensive way. I think holocast denial is very wrong as well.
This is another major flaw in the character of Rudel. All through Stuka Pilot, every time he meets with Hitler, he raves about the genius of the man, and how those around him have lied to and betrayed him at every turn. After the war, he actively said that he doubted the truth about the final solution. When I researched this post, my web search pulled up a couple of neo-nazi links, praising this hero of Germany who refused to be defeated by moving to Argentina, etc.,etc. white supremacy garbage. I had mixed emotions about posting the post, but decided to go ahead and do it. As I said in the post, you have to have a worthy adversary to bring out the Heroes within your own ranks, and Rudel was such an adversary.
To email me, just click on the Captain America at the right and you can email from that page.

shoprat said...

As there were villians who fought for America, there were decent people who fought, not so much for Hitler as for their country. Some of were actually unaware of the scope of the Holocaust, though I do not know how that would be possible. My best friend in college's Mom grew up in Hitler's Germany and she didn't know what he really was until the last months of WWII - but she was quite young then too.

Joe_the_Troll said...

I'm sure that people didn't know what was going on at Auschwitz any more than we know what goes on at Gitmo.

Tim said...

Thank you for stoping by, Shoprat! I too, after standing in the gas chamber in Dachau (a suburb of Munich) fail to know how everday Germans didn't know what "that smell" (which still permeated the air almost 40 years later) was all about. Joe- although I am against Gitmo (I was there during the Mariel boat lift in 1980), I know that whatever went on there is as nothing as to what happened in Dachau. Yes it is wrong to hold people w/o trial, etc., but I don't believe we are exterminating people wholesale. To equate Bush to Nazi Germany a far far stretch. That being said, I will be glad to see him gone in two years.

Joe_the_Troll said...


We've just begun corresponding, so I'll explain. I NEVER insinuate. I come right out and SAY. Therefore, you can now see that I wasn't saying that we're roasting humans at Gitmo, just pointing out that we have no idea what goes on there, (which, honestly, we don't)just as many Germans didn't know what went on at Auschwitz. My point is, ours is FAR from the first government to hide its activities from the populace, and the populace usually makes it easy to do.

If I ever intend to compare Bush to Hitler, you'll see come right out and say "Bush is like Hitler, and here's why....."

As far as the smell goes, many Germans I'm sure weren't close enough to catch it, and those that were (and had the balls to ask about it) probably believed whatever lie they were told. Just like the 36% of us who still approve of Bush do.

Tim said...

Well put, JtT

Trevor Pitt said...

Great Stuka illo. My Dad and I put a radio controlled Stuka together when I was a kid. Messerschmitt's are neat looking planes too. But I think Stuka's are a bit more menacing looking....I can only imagine the fear they struck all over Europe as they descended upon their prey. Rudel's story has always amazed me, the things that man went through, and he kept crawling back in the cockpit.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tim,

can I use this picture

in a post at my blog about Rudel's book?

Is it your (c) drawing?


Anonymous said...
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