kendisine özel madalya icad ettiren efsane yakın destek pilotu. wehrmacht awards adlı siteden hayat hikayesi:
the lone recipient of the golden oak leaves, swords and diamonds, hans-ulrich rudel was born in 1916, in silesia . after a limited education, hans joined the emerging luftwaffe in 1936 as and officer cadet. though he applied for dive-bombing training, he was sent to reconnaissance observer pilot training primarily because, by his own admission, he was no star pupil. the outbreak of war found him in the reconnaissance wing of the luftwaffe, and he spent the polish campaign as a leutnant, flying long range missions. he earned the iron cross second class in that capacity on october 11, 1939. he was finally admitted to dive-bombing (stuka) training in may 1940, and after completing it, he was assigned to a stuka training wing near stuttgrat. rudel spent the french campaign there as an oberleutnant, but was still unable to prove his skills in action. though he took part in the invasion of crete as part of 1st staffel, 1st of stukageschwader 2 (1st squadron of dive bomber group 2) it was not in the combat zone, and his desire for action would have to wait until the invasion of the soviet union.
hans rudel flew his first combat mission on june 23rd, 1941. it soon became apparent that he was an able pilot, though his habit of diving very low to insure hits, a trademark that would eventually pay off, worried his superiors. despite this, or perhaps because of it, he was soon awarded the iron cross first class on july 18th, 1941.
on september 23rd, rudel participated in the attack on part of the soviet baltic fleet in the leningrad area. this attack was to earn him great fame, as it was his stuka that delivered the 2000 pound bomb which sank the battleship marat by hitting its ammunition dump. by december, he had flown over 500 mission with a great degree of success, and on the 30th of that month, he was the first in his squadron to receive the german cross in gold. soon after,, on january 15th, 1942 he was awarded the knights cross and according to luftwaffe policy removed from front line duty in order to take advantage of his already vast experience. rudel went on to lecture at graz, and while other officers may have welcomed this opportunity, training new stuka pilots was not to rudels liking, he longed to be in the front. in june of 1942 his demands prevailed and he was given command of the 1st staffel, wing 1 of stukageschwader 2, which was in the stalingrad area.
after fying his 1000th mission in february of 1943, rudel was once again removed from the front line, but this time to help in the testing and development of a new stuka “tank killer” which was equipped with two rheinmetall-borsig 37 mm cannons under the wings. this was done by "panzerjagdkommando weiss" which formed in briansk for this purpose. the new stuka were used by rudel and his squadron in the black sea against soviet landing crafts. in the three weeks that followed, he destroyed 70 soviet landing crafts. rudel received his oak leaves in april of that year, but refused to leave his front line assignment. his achievements continued when he was assigned to support the 3rd ss panzer division during operation “citadel”, when he knocked out twelve tanks in his first day of action. rudel went on to develop perfect tank killing tactics. these tactics were copied in the form of “tank killing” squats which were created and trained, based on rudel’s tactics. on october 25, 1943 rudel would receive the coveted swords to the knights cross with oak leaves. having now received this prestigious decoration it was once again requested that he no longer fly and endanger his life (and experience), yet he continued to go up in his stuka. by march 1944 rudel was promoted to oberst and reached his 1,500 mission.
rudel’s incredible luck could not last forever and he found himself stranded behind enemy lines. he had landed, against orders, to rescue downed comrades and could not take off again. his comrades, including his rear gunner, were unable to make it out. although rudel was wounded, and on foot, he still managed to reach german lines, eventually returning to his unit and the vociferous welcome of his comrades. on march 29th, he received the highest military decoration germany could offer at that time– the knights cross with oak leaves, swords and diamonds. he continued to defy his superiors and their orders not to fly, and went up in battle time after time. in november of 1944, he was wounded once again, this time in the thigh, but not even this could not slow him down.
it became apparent to hitler that a new decoration was called for in the case of oberst rudel. by now, he was an established national hero, and at a time when the luftwaffe had fallen out of favor, this was highly appreciated by hermann goring. rudel had continued to defy the odds, putting his life on the line day after day even after he was ordered not to do so. on january 1st, 1945, hitler presented hans rudel with the golden oak leaves, swords and diamonds, pictured below.
this special decoration, of which he is the sole recipient, was meant to be presented to a maximum of twelve officers after the war. he accepted the decoration on the condition that he would be allowed to continue serving with his squadron, and this was agreed upon. however, hitler changed his mind a short time later and ordered that he should not conduct any further combat operation. rudel disobeyed, and continued to fly charging his “kills” to the squadron as a whole to hide the fact that he was doing so.
in february of 1945, rudel received a serious injury to his right leg when he was hit by anti aircraft fire in the frankfurt area. he managed to land in friendly territory and was taken to the hospital, where his leg had to be amputated. incredibly this did not stop rudel, who after spending some time in berlin where he had an artificial limb fitted, returned to the front, and this stuka. he commanded until the last day of the war, the most experienced close support group, schlachtgeschwader 2 immelmann. on may 8th, 1945, following the official german capitulation, rudel flew his squadron into the american zone and surrendered, thereby avoiding russian capture.
throughout his military career he displayed talent, courage and toughness. his final tally of successes is awing;
-2530 sorties (including some 400 in a folke-wulf 190).
-11 air to air victories (in the fw-109).
-519 tanks destroyed (30+of these came when he was only flying with one leg).
-150 artillery pieces destroyed.
-1000 vehicles destroyed.
-70 landing crafts.
-sunk battleship “marat”.
-2 cruisers and a destroyer sunken.
rudel was released by the allies after a brief questioning period, and spent some time recuperating in bavaria. in 1948, rudel moved to argentina where he worked in the state aircraft industry with other german pilots such as adolf gallant. during this time he published two books in which he says he would fight bolshevism again if called upon. he was after the war what he was during it, a faithful nazi officer. rudel returned to germany in 1951, and published his diary “trotzdem” (nevertheless). he continued to be active and successful in business, and even ran for political office as an ultra-conservative candidate (unsuccessfully). he died in germany in 1982, at the age of 66.