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Major Erich Rudorffer (deceased)
Erich Rudorffer was born on November 1st 1917 in the town of Zwickau in Saxony. Erich Rudorffer joined the Luftwaffes I./JG2 Richthofen in November 1939, and was soon flying combat patrols in January 1940 and was assigned to I/JG 2 Richthofen with the rank of Oberfeldwebel. He took part in the Battle of France, scoring the first of his many victories over a French Hawk 75 on May 14th, 1940. He went on to score eight additional victories during the Battle of France and the Battle of Britain. Rudorffer recalled an incident in August 1940 when he escorted a badly damaged Hurricane across the Channel - ditching in the English Channel was greatly feared by pilots on both sides. As fate often does, Rudorffer found the roles reversed two weeks later, when he was escorted by an RAF fighter after receiving battle damage. By May 1st 1941 Rudorffer had achieved 19 victories, which led to the award of the Knights Cross. In June 1941 Rodorffer became an Adjutant of II./JG2. In 1942 Rudorffer participated in Operation Cerberus (known as the Channel Dash) and flew over the Allied landings at Dieppe. Erich Rudorffer along with JG2 was transferred to North Africa in December 1942. It was in North Africa that Rudorffer showed his propensity for multiple-victory sorties. He shot down eight British aircraft in 32 minutes on February 9th 1943 and seven more in 20 minutes six days later. After scoring a total of 26 victories in Tunisia, Rudorffer returned to France in April 1943 and was posted to command II./JG54 in Russia, after Hauptmann Heinrich Jung, its Kommodore, failed to return from a mission on July 30th 1943. On August 24th 1943 he shot down 5 Russian aircraft on the first mission of the day and followed that up with three more victories on the second mission. He scored seven victories in seven minutes on October 11th but his finest achievement occurred on November 6th when in the course of 17 minutes, he shot down thirteen Russian aircraft. Rudorffer became known to Russian pilots as the fighter of Libau. On October 28th 1944 while about to land, Rudorffer spotted a large formation of Il-2 Sturmoviks. He quickly aborted the landing and moved to engage the Russian aircraft. In under ten minutes, nine of the of the II-2 Sturmoviks were shot down causing the rest to disperse. Rudorffer would later that day go on and shoot down a further two Russian aircraft. These victories took his total to 113 and he was awarded the Oak Leaves on April 11th 1944. Rudorffer would on the 26th January 1945 on his 210th victory receive the addition of the Swords. In February 1945 Rudorffer took command of I./JG7 flying the Me262. He was one of the first jet fighter aces of the war, scoring 12 victories in the Me262. He shot down ten 4-engine bombers during the "Defense of the Reich missions". He was the master of multiple scoring - achieving more multiple victories than any other pilot. Erich Rudorffer never took leave, was shot down 16 times having to bail out 9 times, and ended the war with 222 victories from over 1000 missions. He was awarded the Knights Cross, with Oak Leaves and Swords. Erich Rudorffer died on 8th April 2016.
|Ace with 222.00 Victories|
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|Aircraft for : Major Erich Rudorffer (deceased)|
|A list of all aircraft associated with Major Erich Rudorffer (deceased). A profile page including a list of all art prints for the aircraft is available by clicking the aircraft name.|
Manufacturer : Fokke-Wulf
Production Began : 1940
Retired : 1945
The Focke-Wulf 190 development project began in 1937. Conceived as a hedge against total dependence on the Messerchmitt 109, the 190 was designed by Kurt Tank utilizing a radial engine. This was against generally accepted design criteria in Germany, and many historians believe that the decision to produce a radial engine fighter was largely due to the limited manufacturing capacity for in-line, water-cooled engines which were widely used on all other Luftwaffe aircraft. Despite these concerns, Tanks design was brilliant, and the 190 would become one of the top fighter aircraft of WWII. The first prototype flew in mid-1939. The aircraft had excellent flying characteristics, a wonderful rate of acceleration, and was heavily armed. By late 1940 the new fighter was ordered into production. Nicknamed the butcher bird, by Luftwaffe pilots, early 190s were quite successful in the bomber interceptor role, but at this stage of the war many Allied bombing raids lacked fighter escort. As the war dragged on, Allied bombers were increasingly accompanied by fighters, including the very effective P-51 Mustang. The Allies learned from experience that the 190s performance fell off sharply at altitudes above 20,000 feet. As a result, most Allied bombing missions were shifted to higher altitudes when fighter opposition was likely. Kurt Tank had recognized this shortcoming and began working on a high-altitude version of the 190 utilizing an in-line, water-cooled engine. Utilizing a Jumo 12-cylinder engine rated at 1770-HP, and capable of 2,240-HP for short bursts with its methanol injection system, the 190D, or Long Nose or Dora as it was called, had a top speed of 426-MPH at 22,000 feet. Armament was improved with two fuselage and two wing mounted 20mm cannon. To accommodate the changes in power plants the Dora had a longer, more streamlined fuselage, with 24 inches added to the nose, and an additional 19 inches added aft of the cockpit to compensate for the altered center of gravity. By mid 1944 the Dora began to reach fighter squadrons in quantity. Although the aircraft had all the right attributes to serve admirably in the high altitude interceptor role, it was not generally focused on such missions. Instead many 190Ds were assigned to protect airfields where Me-262 jet fighters were based. This was due to the latter aircrafts extreme vulnerability to Allied attack during takeoff and landing. The 190Ds also played a major role in Operation Bodenplatte, the New Years Day raid in 1945 which destroyed approximately 500 Allied aircraft on the ground. The High Command was impressed with the 190Ds record on this raid, and ordered most future production of the Doras to be equipped as fighter-bombers. In retrospect this was a strategic error, and this capable aircraft was not fully utilized in the role for which it was intended.
Manufacturer : Messerschmitt
Number Built : 1400
The Messerschmitt Me-262 Swallow, a masterpiece of engineering, was the first operational mass-produced jet to see service. Prototype testing of the airframe commenced in 1941 utilizing a piston engine. General Adolf Galland, who was in charge of the German Fighter Forces at that time, pressured both Goring and Hitler to accelerate the Me-262, and stress its use as a fighter to defend Germany from Allied bombers. Hitler, however, envisioned the 262 as the aircraft which might allow him to inflict punishment on Britain. About 1400 Swallows were produced, but fortunately for the Allies, only about 300 saw combat duty. While the original plans for the 262 presumed the use of BMW jet engines, production Swallows were ultimately equipped with Jumo 004B turbojet engines. The wing design of the 262 necessitated the unique triangular hull section of the fuselage, giving the aircraft a shark-like appearance. With an 18 degree swept wing, the 262 was capable of Mach .86. The 262 was totally ineffective in a turning duel with Allied fighters, and was also vulnerable to attack during take off and landings. The landing gear was also suspect, and many 262s were destroyed or damaged due to landing gear failure. Despite its sleek jet-age appearance, the 262 was roughly manufactured, because Germany had lost access to its normal aircraft assembly plants. In spite of these drawbacks the 262 was effective. For example, on April 7, 1945 a force of sixty 262s took on a large force of Allied bombers with escort fighters. Armed with their four nose-mounted cannons, and underwing rockets the Swallows succeeded in downing or damaging 25 Allied B-17s on that single mission. While it is unlikely that the outcome of the War could have been altered by an earlier introduction or greater production totals for this aircraft, it is clear to many historians that the duration of the War might have been drastically lengthened if the Me-262 had not been too little too late.
|Squadrons for : Major Erich Rudorffer (deceased)|
|A list of all squadrons known to have been served with by Major Erich Rudorffer (deceased). A profile page is available by clicking the squadron name.|
Country : Germany
Founded : 1st May 1939
Click the name above to see prints featuring aircraft of JG2
Jagdgeschwader 2 was formed from parts of Jagdgeschwader 131 Richthofen on 1 May 1939 in Döberitz and its first commander was Oberst Robert Ritter von Greim. At the outbreak of the war JG 2 was tasked with defence of the Reich and based in the Berlin area under Luftgaukommando III. Stab and II. Gruppe were equipped with the Bf 109E and were located at Döberitz with 10.(N) staffel flying the Bf 109D in Straussberg.
10.(N) Staffel was one of the first night fighter units formed in the Luftwaffe. Later this staffel was expanded into IV.(N) Gruppe. This Gruppe gained the Luftwaffe’s first night kill over the RAF Bomber Command on the night of 25/26 on April 1940 when Ofw Förster shot down a Handley Page Hampden.
The unit saw little combat until the Western offensive against France and the Low Countries from 10 May 1940 onwards. During the campaign against France, JG 2 was tasked with escorting raids and defending German airspace to the south of Heinz Guderian's Panzer forces which were encircling the French and the British Expeditionary Force further north. Leutnant Helmut Wick, who later became part of a trio of outstanding aces (including Adolf Galland from Jagdgeschwader 26 (JG 26) and Werner Mölders from Jagdgeschwader 51 (JG 51)) in the Battle of Britain, attained his first and the Geschwader's second kill on 22 November 1939, a French Curtiss Hawk Model 75. The first victory for the JG 2 was scored by Oberfeldwebel Kley (3. Staffel) at the same day.
JG 2 took part in the Battle of Britain, operating Bf 109Es over the South Coast of England and the English Channel from bases in Cherbourg and Normandy. Major Helmut Wick emerged as one of the Battle’s top Luftwaffe aces, claiming 31 kills for a personal total of 56, before being killed (MIA) in action versus Spitfires of No. 609 Squadron in November 1940. Wick was seen to bail out successfully but was not found by German Air/Sea Rescue attempts. The Spitfire who dispatched him was immediately shot down by Oberleutnant Rudolf Pflanz. Ofw. Schnell, Ofw. Machold and Olt. Hans Assi Hahn also claimed heavily during this period, with 16 kills each. Some 42 JG 2 pilots were killed or made POW during the battle.
Country : Germany
Click the name above to see prints featuring aircraft of JG54
I./JG 54 was initially formed as I./JG 70 near Nuremberg in July 1939, just two short months before hostilities broke out. As was to become tradition within Grunherzgeschwader, the Gruppe took the Nurember coat-of-arms (a veritcally divided shield with a black heraldic bird on the left, and red and white diagonal stripes on the right) to represent the region the unit came from.
On September 15, 1939, I./JG 70 was redesignated I./JG 54
The initial unit designation for II./JG 54 was I./JG 138. This unit was raised in 1938 after the Austrian annexation. Naturally many Austrian nationals were recruited when I./JG 138 was formed. The Aspern coat of arms (black lion's head surmounting a white cross on a red field) was taken by the Gruppe for its identity.
I./JG 138 was briefly designated I./JG 76 before finally becoming II./JG 54 on April 6, 1940.
The III./JG 54 has its roots in Prussia. Initially I./JG 21, the members were drawn from the Jesau region in Prussia. The modified Jesau coat-of-arms (a shield with a Jesau cross with three diving aircraft on a red background, with a white outline on the shield) was adopted as the Gruppe's own.
On July 15, 1939, I./JG 21 was redesignated III./JG 54. However, the bureaucratic nature of the young Luftwaffe was such that it was over a year before records would reflect the new designation. Consequently, III./JG 54 fought in Poland and France as I./JG 21.
Kommodoren of JG 54 :
Major Martin Mettig; 2 Feb 40 to 25 Aug 40.
Oberst Hannes Trautloft; 25 Aug 40 to 5 Jul 43.
Major Hubertus von Bonin; 6 Jul 43 to 15 Dec 43.
Oberstleutnant Anton Mader; 28 Jan 44 to Sep 44.
Oberst Dieter Hrabak; 1 Oct 44 to 8 May 45.
Country : Germany
Click the name above to see prints featuring aircraft of JG7
Nowotny was a Luftwaffe fighter-wing of World War II and the first operational jet fighter wing in the world.
It was created late in 1944 and served until the end of the war in May 1945, and it operated the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter exclusively.
JG 7 was formed under the command of Oberst Johannes Steinhoff, with Kommando Nowotny (the initial Me 262 test wing ) renumbered III./JG 7. Under the command of Major Erich Hohagen III./JG 7 was the only element of JG 7 ready to operate against the Allies. Throughout its existence JG 7 suffered from an irregular supply of new aircraft, fuel and spares. With such a radically new aircraft, training accidents were also common, with 10 Me 262s being lost in six weeks.
The technical troubles and material shortages meant initial tentative sorties were only in flight strength, usually no more than 4 or 6 aircraft. Flying from Brandenburg-Briest, Oranienburg and Parchim, the Geschwader flew intermittently against the huge USAAF bomber streams.
By the end of February 1945 JG 7 had claimed around 45 four-engine bombers and 15 fighters, but at this stage of war this success rate had no affect whatsoever on the Allied air offensive. During March JG 7 finally began to deliver larger scale attacks against the heavy bomber streams. 3 March saw 29 sorties for 8 kills claimed (one jet was lost). On 18 March III./JG 7 finally managed their biggest attack numerically thus far, some 37 Me 262s engaging a force of 1,200 American bombers and 600 fighters. This action also marked the first use of the new R4M rockets. 12 bombers and 1 fighter were claimed for the loss of 3 Me 262s.
The total numbers of aircraft shot down by JG 7 is difficult to quantify due to the loss of Luftwaffe records, but at least 136 aircraft were claimed, and research indicates as many as 420 Allied aircraft may have been claimed shot down.
Known Victory Claims - Erich Rudorffer
|14/05/1940||Fw. Erich Rudorffer||2||JG 2||Curtiss||SW Les Sees la Gresn: 2000m||15.08||Western Front|
|17/05/1940||Fw. Erich Rudorffer||2||JG 2||LeO 451||La Caponne||13.28||Western Front|
|19/05/1940||Fw. Erich Rudorffer||2||JG 2||Morane 406||E. Guise||7.3||Western Front|
|25/05/1940||Fw. Erich Rudorffer||2||JG 2||Blenheim||St. Quentin||20.35||Western Front|
|26/05/1940||Fw. Erich Rudorffer||2||JG 2||Spitfire||NW Calais: 2500m||9.45||Western Front|
|26/05/1940||Fw. Erich Rudorffer||2||JG 2||Spitfire||NW Calais||9.47||Western Front|
|06/06/1940||Ofw. Erich Rudorffer||2||JG 2||Martin 167||N. Roye||20.45||Western Front|
|06/06/1940||Ofw. Erich Rudorffer||2||JG 2||LeO 451||N. Roye: 1500m||20.5||Western Front|
|06/06/1940||Ofw. Erich Rudorffer||2||JG 2||Curtiss||N. Soissons||13.1||Western Front|
|11/08/1940||Ofw. Erich Rudorffer||2||JG 2||Spitfire||SE Portland: 7000m||11.49||Western Front|
|11/08/1940||Ofw. Erich Rudorffer||2||JG 2||Hurricane||E. Weymouth||11.38||Western Front|
|31/08/1940||Ofw. Erich Rudorffer||2||JG 2||Hurricane||Dover||9.4||Western Front|
|01/09/1940||Ofw. Erich Rudorffer||2||JG 2||Spitfire||Dover||12.45||Western Front|
|02/09/1940||Ofw. Erich Rudorffer||2||JG 2||Hurricane||Faversham||18.2||Western Front|
|04/09/1940||Ofw. Erich Rudorffer||2||JG 2||Hurricane||Dover||9.58||Western Front|
|07/09/1940||Fw. Erich Rudorffer||2||JG 2||Hurricane||Themesmündung||18.3||Western Front|
|07/09/1940||Fw. Erich Rudorffer||2||JG 2||Spitfire||Themesmündung||18.4||Western Front|
|07/09/1940||Fw. Erich Rudorffer||2||JG 2||Spitfire||Themesmündung||18.43||Western Front|
|10/10/1940||Ofw. Erich Rudorffer||2||JG 2||Spitfire||Portland||16.2||Western Front|
|21/04/1941||Ltn. Erich Rudorffer||2||JG 2||Blenheim||30km N. Jersey||15.03||Western Front|
|07/07/1941||Ltn. Erich Rudorffer||Stab II.||JG 2||Spitfire||E. Boulogne||15.35||Western Front|
|07/07/1941||Ltn. Erich Rudorffer||Stab II.||JG 2||Spitfire||E. Boulogne||15.4||Western Front|
|09/07/1941||Ltn. Erich Rudorffer||Stab II.||JG 2||Hurricane||NW St. Omer||13.45||Western Front|
|09/07/1941||Ltn. Erich Rudorffer||Stab II.<|