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Stuka Pilot

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  1,537 ratings  ·  107 reviews
Hans Ulrich Rudel was a Stuka dive-bomber pilot during World War 2. The most highly decorated German serviceman of the war, Rudel was one of only 27 military men to be awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds.
Rudel flew 2,530 combat missions claiming a total of 2,000 targets destroyed, including 800 vehicles, 519 tanks, 150 artiller
Mass Market Paperback, 239 pages
Published 1965 by Ballantine Books (first published 1948)
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Average rating 4.11  · 
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 ·  1,537 ratings  ·  107 reviews

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Jan 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015-challenge
An excellent account of the war from one of the best pilots in history. Hans-Ulrich Rudel describes how he goes from a pilot nearly washing out to the deadliest bomber pilot of the entire Eastern Front. His dealings with the Luftwaffe and even the Nazi leadership demonstrate a soldier whose only concern is to fight, not who's in charge. A must-read for those interested in history. ...more
If you ever watched the 2017 movie Dunkirk, do you remember the sequence in which the British soldiers were on the beach waiting to be evacuated ( Dunkirk 2017 Sinking the Medical Ship Scene Movie clip) and out of know where comes a screaming Ju 87 Stuka Dive Bomber? They were equipped with a propeller driven siren fitted on each undercarriage leg for the purpose of damaging enemy morale and causing physiological damage. The sirens were known as "Jericho Trumpet" and gave the Stuka a terrifying ...more
Joe Krakovsky
Feb 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book about a warrior and another story shedding light on the massive war of the Eastern Front. Like Eric Hartmann and Michael Wittmann, his story tells just what the Germans were up against facing the Soviet hordes in WWII. What I found it interesting was that these guys did not suffer from PST or anything even though some, like Hartmann, spent years in a Soviet work camp after the war. Why is that?
Michael Flanagan
Dec 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ww-2
What a rip snorter of a read. This book is pure action and puts you right in the cockpit with the author, kicking the rudder bar, watching the tanks burns and dodging the flak. This memoirs reads like the author is sitting in a pub telling his story why sharing a drink with you.
Mark Veira
Feb 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
A richly insightful account of a born aviator's exploits on the Eastern front.

Several aspects of this book are striking. First and foremost is the almost mythical tenacity, devotion, and stamina possessed by Rudel, who often flew back-to-back combat sorties from dusk til dawn, often in terrible weather, and almost always under intense anti-aircraft fire. Rudel was shot down over 30 times and survived - an unbelievable feat in itself. You are amazed as he casually describes being repeatedly brou
Ellie Midwood
This memoir is worth reading simply because Hans Ulrich Rudel - its author - was the most successful dive bomber pilot of WW2 and therefore, he definitely had quite a few stories to tell. You may agree or disagree with Rudel on many political and ideological questions (I, for one, still do) but if you disregard those instances, Rudel’s missions and skills are definitely worth reading about. As a cadet, he was a slow student who was dreaming of becoming a fighter pilot. Instead, he found himself ...more
Sep 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
First book I've read in years. This guy explains more truth about the war than the history channel. The dude was a frickin beast. Escaping death and dodging Russians like no other. He was not only extremely lucky but incredibly skilled. Dodging bullets like Neo. Busting more tanks than a squadron of P-51s. Rudel had BALLS OF STEEL. ...more
Feb 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ww2, non-fiction
It seems some reviewers have rated this based on Rudel's politics rather than the content. That's a shame. Its an almost unbelievable story of death-defying proportions. Six years of war, three thousand five hundred sorties (17 in one day), over 500 tank kills (13 in one sortie), the list goes on and on. Shot down countless times (by flak) and never by another aircraft, he survived incredible odds to end the war the most decorated serviceman in Germany.

What is even harder to credit is that he f
Matteo Di giovanni
Jul 14, 2014 rated it it was ok
I didn't know who Rudel was. I once found this book on a shelf in a used book store and decided to buy it after reading "Iron Coffins", another report of WWII on the German side which I found very interesting. After finishing the book I looked for some informations about the author and learned that, after WWII, he became a member of an extreme-right wing party in Western Germany and this made me think: "I should have expected that". The book is actually permeated with hate against the Russians, ...more
I read this "flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants" combat memoir as a teenager during the early 1980s and was thrilled by it. Rudel joined the Luftwaffe in 1936 and underwent flight training as an officer cadet, But, as he had difficulties in perfecting his flying skill, Rudel was transferred to a reconnaissance flight school. He saw limited action early in the war with a reconnaissance unit in the Polish Campaign and was regarded as a pilot with marginal skill. Back for additional training he went, ...more
Jack Hwang
Apr 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a very good memoir of the leading German Stuka pilot and commander. He was the leading German Stuka pilot and commander, with one battleship, one cruiser, two destroyers, scores of crafts, 519 tanks, hundreds of artillery and vehicles, and various bridges and trains destroyed. It is really amazing to read how he could have almost incessantly in constant battle from the beginning of Operation Barbarossa till the end of the war. It was almost four full years and it's all at the eastern fro ...more
Michal Rosa
Nov 12, 2012 rated it did not like it
Huge disappointing. The book is terribly written (or perhaps translated, who the hell writes a memoir in present tense?) It's full of typos and factual errors. Its "human side" is also disappointing, I have learnt very little about its author except that he was a Nazi idiot who idolized Hitler. It's the worst WWII autobiography I have read so far. Avoid at all costs. ...more
William B.
Feb 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ann Epic Story About a German. Pilot

So candid, so apparently true, this book should be required reading for all ww2 history students. May it. never happen. again.
Zatoichi Kage
May 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: millitary, biography
Autobiography of Hans-Ulrich Rudel where he covers his amazing WW2 military career and some of his life after the war in Argentina. He glosses over the "fanatic Nazi" aspect of his life, but the book is still a great read.

Rudel was the most highly decorated German serviceman of the war. He flew 2,530 combat missions. Rudel's credited with destroying 800 vehicles, 519 tanks, 150 artillery guns, a destroyer, two cruisers, one Soviet battleship. He also shot down nine aircraft.

Too bad he was on the
Hugh Evans
Sep 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: military
Second greatest war book I have ever read (after Storm of Steel by Earnst Junger). Rudel is a superhuman character and an inspiration to all walks of life. 2530 combat missions, 17 in one day. I thought he operated with fighter top cover, but no, most often his squadron was unprotected and many times he would go out alone between sorties to find a few more soviet tanks. He single handedly plugged gaps in the Eastern Front for two years, no exaggeration. In fact the book is understated throughout ...more
Tom Schulte
May 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
I enjoy reading about WWII and there are few that seem available in English that area such telling and potent views from the other side. Earning the highest decorations issued for air aces, Rudel saw the war from the Eastern front to the fall of Berlin losing limbs and hope along the way. His aspect from altitude and heroic attitude makes for a fascinating read.
Feb 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
"Stuka Pilot" by Hans Ulrich Rudel, 1958. "Stuka Pilot" is the autobiography of Germany's most decorated serviceman, dive bomber pilot, Hans Ulrich Rudel. Relentlessly driven to the of point obsession, Rudel's combat record is a testimony to the determination of Germany's elite aviators. Fearless, courageous Rudel accomplishes what seems to be beyond what is humanly possible. He is, with out question, one of the greatest aviators of the Second World War. While most of the famous, high scoring Lu ...more
Peter Roise
Sep 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Absolutely amazing account of the air war, mostly on the Eastern Front, from the Nazi perspective. Hans Ulrich Rudel remained a convinced Nazi through the end of the war and this is his account of the war. His own part in the war was not insignificant as his story includes dozens of rescues of other downed airman, many planes shot out from under him, an escape on foot from over 50 miles behind enemy lines, and the destruction of a battleship and as many as 500 tanks.

The style is part of the exp
Jul 21, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwii
This book is written very well. Rudel does a good job of putting you into the cockpit with him as he flies and fights his way through the Eastern Front. That being said, the copy that I read had many grammatical and spelling errors, presumably the translators fault. On top of all this it was hard to develop any sort of sympathy for a man who led a Neo-Nazi political party after the war.

All during my reading of the book in the back of my mind Im constantly remembering that this man was a unapolo
Giles Burrows
May 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wwii
Stuka Pilot is a memoir by a German dive bomber ace who served on the Eastern front. It is told in a basic style in which he describes his operations but only occasionally tells us how he feels about what is going on. There is little of his personal life here. Up until about a third of the way through, I was finding it interesting but not that special but it gradually shifts up several gears through the number of extraordinary exploits he recounts, to the point that I was unable to put it down. ...more
Jun 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
I had low expectations for this book. Found a 54 YO copy hanging around at my folks house, took a gander and decided to give it a go. Paperback, paper was orange from old age. Enjoyed the hell out of it; almost could not put it down. Interesting to hear from the other side (USSR beat the Germans - we played an important role, but they did the bulk of the dirty work - no offense to our team). He was a truly remarkable pilot, and he was unbelievably lucky on high number of occasions. He fought har ...more
E. Kahn
Nov 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
Vaguely interesting start, not much in the way of actual air-to-ground tactics and combat (which is what the book was recommended to me for). Devolves into pure fantasy and Nazi apologetics as it goes.

If there's one thing Rudel wants you to take from this book, it's this: Rudel is the greatest pilot who ever lived, bar none.

OK read if you take it with a gigantic pile of salt and enjoy unintentional irony, otherwise give it a wide miss.
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ww2-in-the-air
Great war memoir by arguably the most highly decorated and skillful pilot ever to fly in combat. Rudel takes you to flying in combat over the Eastern Front and it is amazing that he survived with all the odds stacked so heavily against him. He evidently was a firm believer in what Germany was fighting for and it comes through strongly in the book, but that should not detract anything from this great book.
Michael Bond
Jun 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The things that happened to Rudel, as well as his feats, defy belief. I finished this one in record time.
Frederick Sykes
Jul 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I always figured you had to be brave to fly a dive-bomber, but I never figured you had to be this brave.
Leonard Mokos
Jan 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
Reading this was possibly more painful than the war itself.

Ideal for the weather reports enthusiast.
Another of Ballantine Books' personal history war stories featuring the story of the Luftwaffe's most decorated airman, Hans Ulrich Rudel.

After the blitzkrieg of France and the low-countries followed by the Luftwaffe's failure to overcome the RAF in the Battle of Britain, Rudel served the remainder of the war on the Russian Front. He flew over 2500 missions, sometimes as many as six in a day, and was credited with destroying over 520 soviet tanks, hundreds of artillery pieces and transport vehic
Jul 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Its hard not to like this tale, even if you know the autobiography is of a devout Nazi! (most German pilots were just flight loving patriots, this guy was a Nazi to the core)

He keeps his politics out, but even then, if you read countless WW-2 pilot biographies as I have, this one is the strangest. He did the seemingly impossible, fly an antiquated dive bomber at low level against tanks, AAA, and fighters only emerge victorious against all odds every time.

While it easy to follow the records of t
Marius van Blerck
Jun 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
A most readable account of Hans Rudel's war experiences as a Stuka pilot and a senior Luftwaffe officer. Most accounts of war are written by the victors, which makes Rudel's story all the more interesting. Rudel was hugely talented, extraordinarily brave, and valiant in the classic sense. The story is marred only by the knowledge that, while he fought an honourable war, he remained loyal to Hitler and to the extremes of Nazi ideology not only in the immediate aftermath, which might have been und ...more
Jan 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, war, biography
My edition is ugly, pages offensively badly laid out and awfully translated.
Rudel's story is fascinating and I was surprised by how little of the clearest fanaticism there was, as I knew that he was a real hardcore NSDAP member. At the time of writing, bringing that kind of stuff up may not have been the best idea, so that maybe explains it.

The action is intensely described and some of the events are just baffling. Especially the many times he got seriously wounded and refused to rest a bit befo
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Stuka dive-bomber pilot during World War II.

The most highly decorated German serviceman of the war, Rudel was one of only 27 military men to be awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds, and the only person to be awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds.

Rudel flew 2,530 combat missions claiming a total of 2,00

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“The Western Powers have accepted a grave responsibility – perhaps for centuries to come – by weakening Germany only to give additional strength to Russia.” 5 likes
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