Piloto De Stukas
New revised paper edition with photos.
Hans-Ulrich Rudel, author of this autobiographical book, began the Second World War with the rank of second lieutenant and ended it with that of colonel of the Luftwaffe. According to his instructors, he was not among the most gifted individuals for piloting, he was no more than a mediania. He would have liked to fly a fighter plane but had to adapt to the Stukas, bombers that at first seemed heavy and unwieldy.
Hans-Ulrich Rudel, author of this autobiographical book, began the Second World War with the rank of second lieutenant and ended it with that of colonel of the Luftwaffe. According to his instructors, he was not among the most gifted individuals for piloting, he was no more than a medium. He would have liked to fly a fighter plane but had to adapt to the Stukas, bombers that at first seemed heavy and unwieldy. Nevertheless, in them he made 2,530 war flights, with the result of the destruction of 500 Russian tanks and the sinking of the battleship Marat. At the end of the war he ended up with the only leg he had left in plaster. He was the most decorated soldier in Germany.from a page of the book: ...We pick, one after the other, at an angle that must oscillate between 70 and 80 degrees. Already the "Marat" is framed in the viewfinder, it enlarges, it becomes enormous. All its cannons are pointed directly at us and we have the impression of rushing towards a wall of fire. If we succeed, the infantry will not be stopped along the coast and will pay less for every inch of land. Suddenly I open my eyes out of all proportion: the captain's apparatus, from which I am separated by only a few metres, seems to literally leave me in place. In a few seconds I see it far away. Did you pick up the brakes at the last moment to get down faster? Naturally, I imitate it again; at full speed I fall on the tail of the plane in front of me. And then I realize that my plane is faster and I can't get hold of it. The moment I catch up with my boss, I perceive, right in front of me, the livid figure of sub-assistant Lehmann, the captain's machine gunner. He thinks that my propeller will cut off the rudder of his machine in no time. With all my strength I push the lever to accentuate my angle of fall; I must be almost vertical. An icy sweat slips down my back. The captain's plane is just below mine. Am I going to pass without touching it, or are we both going to go down in flames?...Another passage: ...Curious fact: the idea of surrendering passively doesn't even cross my mind; all I think about is escaping, even if I only have one chance in a hundred of getting it. In no case do I want to be a prisoner of the soviets; they would be very happy to have me. Prudently, I turn my head to see if the road is clear behind me; immediately the three Russians suspect something and one of them shouts "I am! All the worse, I get off abruptly at the same time as I turn on my heels and run, zigzagging all the time. On my back there are three simultaneous detonations, and then the machine gun starts to spit out its bursts. I feel a stabbing pain in my back, but I continue to run like a hare, always zigzagging; I reach the top of a hill while the bullets whistle left and right. The Russians chase me with an unpleasant tenacity: they run, they stop to shoot, they run again, they stop again, they shoot and they don't hit me. I've never done a similar sprint before; it's a pity there isn't a timekeeper around, I'm certainly about to break the 400m record. At every step, blood gushes from my back, I must fight against fading; a black veil crosses before my eyes, I grit my teeth telling myself that fate abandons only those who abandon themselves....