Gunther Rall

Last Waretime rank: Major
Units: JG 52, JG 11, JG 300

Theatres: Eastern, Western

Decoration:The Knight`s Cross to the Iron Cross With Oak Leaves & Sword

(12.Sep`43 as Hauptmann with JG52)

Born: N/A

Kills: 275

272 (E)

3 (W)

Total Sorties: 621

Strike Rate:2.26 (Sorties per victory)

Combat Debut: Fall 1940

On 26 November 1942 Hitler personally decorated him with the Oak Leaves, after his 100th victory. From April 1943 to March 1944, Rall commanded III./JG 52. He scored his 200th victory on 29 August 1943, and on 12 September 1943 Führer awarded him the Swords. In October 1943 alone, he downed over 40 Soviet planes. In the spring (April) of 1944 Rall came back from Eastern Front in Germany to the Home Defense (II./JG 11 - Reichsverteidigung) fighting, this time, against the 8th Air Force. In one of those battles on 12 May 1944, flown in Bf 109 G-5 WNr.110089 of Stab II./JG 11, Rall was shot down by a P-47 "Thunderbolt" of the 5th Fighter Group. One of the enemy shells cut his left thumb off. During the war Rall was shot down eight times, and in three of those incidents he was wounded. Beginning in March 1945, he commanded units of JG 300, but by then the Luftwaffe was badly disorganized and German air power was very weak.

After the war, Rall was captured and interrogated by the British. In 1956 he joined the new Bundesluftwaffe at the rank of Major. He trained in the USA on F-84 "Thunderjets", then on F-104 "Starfighters". He retired at the end of 1975. Rall is ranked third on the list of top Luftwaffe aces, with a record of 275 kills in a total of 621 sorties.

Gunther Rall in later years