Günther Rall : biography
Lieutenant-General Günther Rall (10 March 1918 – 4 October 2009) was the third most successful fighter ace in history. He achieved a total of 275 victories during World War II: 272 on the Eastern Front, of which 241 were against Soviet fighters. He flew a total of 621 combat missions, was shot down 8 timesKaplan 2007, p. 66 and was wounded 3 times. He fought in the invasion of France, the Battle of Britain, in the Balkan Campaign and over Crete. He began the conflict as a young Second Lieutenant, and was a Major and Kommodore of JG 300 at the surrender. Toliver 1996 p. 136. He claimed all of his victories in the Messerschmitt Bf 109.
- Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe (17 November 1941)Obermaier 1989, p. 33
- Combined Pilots-Observation BadgeBerger 2000, p. 277.
- Iron Cross (1939)
- 2nd Class (23 May 1940)Thomas 1998, p. 181.
- 1st Class (July 1940)
- Wound Badge (1939) in Gold
- German Cross in Gold on 15 December 1941 as Oberleutnant in the 8./JG 52Patzwall and Scherzer 2001, p. 365.
- "Crete" Cuffband
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords
- Knight's Cross on 3 September 1942 as Oberleutnant and Staffelkapitän of the 8./JG 52Fellgiebel 2000, p. 349.
- 134th Oak Leaves on 26 October 1942 as Oberleutnant and Staffelkapitän of the 8./JG 52Fellgiebel 2000, pp. 62, 476.
- 34th Swords on 12 September 1943 as Hauptmann and Gruppenkommandeur in the III./JG 52
- Front Flying Clasp of the Luftwaffe for fighter pilots in Gold with penant "600"
- Mentioned two times in the Wehrmachtbericht
- "Honorary Fellow" Society of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP)
- Großes Bundesverdienstkreuz mit Stern (1973)
|Date||Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording||Direct English translation|
|29 August 1943||Hauptmann Rall, Führer einer Jagdfliegergruppe, errang am 28. August seinen 200. Luftsieg.Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 2, p. 550||Captain Rall, leader of a fighter group, achieved his 200th aerial victory on 28 August.|
|30 November 1943||Major Rall, Gruppenkommandeur in einem Jagdgeschwader, errang am 28. November an der Ostfront seinen 250. LuftsiegDie Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 2, p. 617||Major Rall, group commander of a fighter wing, achieved his 250th aerial victory on the Eastern Front on 28 November 1943.|
After the war
Whilst in a prisoner of war camp near Heidelberg, Rall was approached by the Americans who were gathering Luftwaffe pilots who had experience with the Messerschmitt Me 262 fighter. Rall was transferred to Bovingdon near Hemel Hempstead. Rall was then based at RAF Tangmere, where he met the RAF ace Robert Stanford Tuck, with whom he reportedly became close friends.Kaplan 2007, p. 69
Returning to post-war Germany, he was unable to find work. Rall started a small wood cutting business in the forest. He eventually joined Siemens as a representative, leaving in 1953. Rall rejoined the military in 1956, after meeting a wartime friend and Luftwaffe pilot who insisted on him flying again. He rejoined and continued his career in the new Luftwaffe der Bundeswehr after the re-militarization of West Germany in 1955. One of his tasks was to oversee the engineering development made to the F-104 fighter to comply with the requirement of the Bundeswehr before their acquisition, and this led to the F-104G version. He insisted on the replacement of the ejection seat for safety concerns.
From 1 January 1971 to 31 March 1973, he held the position of Inspekteur der Luftwaffe der Bundeswehr and from 1 April 1974 to 13 October 1975, he was a military attaché with NATO.
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