Stuka Pilot (1950) by Hans-Ulrich Rudel is a war memoir by the highest decorated German fighter of WWII. Rudel destroyed 500 tanks which is more than anyone ever has or probably ever will. Flying over 2500 thousand missions throughout the war and continuing to fly after losing a leg Rudel was an incredible ground support pilot.
The book recounts Rudel’s training and his journey from flying reconnaissance to flying Stuka ground attack aircraft on the Eastern Front. Rudel was almost rejected for flying these craft but his determination to fly carried him through.
The book describes Rudel’s missions including the times he had to ditch his plane in enemy territory and snuck back to German held ground. Each mission tends to have statements about how he destroyed 5 or more tanks. They are quite remarkable. Rudel goes on to describe the retreat to Berlin and defeat in the war in terms of the grinding action he saw. The accounts of the tactics used and his aircraft are not particularly detailed but some details are given.
The book is a memorable account of a pilot’s story over the Eastern Front and is of interest to anyone interested in the period and in the role that ground attack aircraft can play in supporting troops and armor in battle.