How reliable is Rudel's record?

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Imad
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How reliable is Rudel's record?

Post by Imad » 04 Dec 2010 02:10

Hello

I'm seriously starting to take a second look at Ulrich Rudel's kill record. 500 tanks is an astonishing figure by any standard but were all these kills confirmed by witnesses? And what were the Luftwaffe's standards for kill-confirmation anyway? I tend to believe he sank a battleship because it's a little hard to lie about something like that but what about the rest of his record?

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Polar bear
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Re: How reliable is Rudel's record?

Post by Polar bear » 04 Dec 2010 19:14

hi,
Imad wrote: he sank a battleship because it's a little hard to lie about something like that ?
just this quoted example is not quite true.

Rudel hit the battleship MARAT so hard that she sank (with a destroyed bow) in the shallow waters of Kronstadt harbour.

Her turrets X, Y and later B were made operational again and fired on German troops off Leningrad.

greetings, the pb
Peace hath her victories no less renowned than War
(John Milton, the poet, in a letter to the Lord General Cromwell, May 1652)

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Ironmachine
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Re: How reliable is Rudel's record?

Post by Ironmachine » 04 Dec 2010 20:11

Well, as an example of the general reliability of Rudel's record, in these links you will find an argument about the effectiveness of the Hs 129 B-2s and Ju 87 G-1s in tank busting and the accuracy of the German claims of tanks destroyed by aircraft, including an specific claim by Rudel himself:
http://www.dupuyinstitute.org/ubb/Forum ... 00016.html
http://www.dupuyinstitute.org/ubb/Forum ... 016-2.html
Regards.

Mark V
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Re: How reliable is Rudel's record?

Post by Mark V » 04 Dec 2010 22:29

Polar bear wrote:she sank (with a destroyed bow) in the shallow waters of Kronstadt harbour.
Lost the buoyancy and hit the bottom = sunk.

It was not Rudels fault that harbor was shallow.

Also, who would deny the similar claims from pilots/divers in:
- Taranto
- Pearl Harbor
- Alexandria

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Ironmachine
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Re: How reliable is Rudel's record?

Post by Ironmachine » 04 Dec 2010 23:24

On the other hand, forum member mars posted this:
My friend, that day, Marrat was hit by 3 not 1 1000 kg bombs dropped by Stuka, Rudel's bomb hit the middle ship not the bow, and you forgot Marrat was already heavily damaged by Luftwaffe's assault on Sep 16 and was unsailed since then, you may downgrad Luftwaffe's efficiency.
in this thread: http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 3&p=436344

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Takao
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Re: How reliable is Rudel's record?

Post by Takao » 05 Dec 2010 01:53

That is what he said, true, but the link, http://admiral.centro.ru/memor06.htm he posted mentions nothing of two other bomb hits. IIRC, I have usually seen two bomb hits on the Marat.

Still, this photo http://navsource.narod.ru/photos/01/035/01035029.jpg says "sunk" to me.

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Re: How reliable is Rudel's record?

Post by VtwinVince » 05 Dec 2010 06:03

Regardless, I think we can agree that he was a flyer of incredible gallantry.

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Re: How reliable is Rudel's record?

Post by nebelwerferXXX » 05 Dec 2010 06:41

Here's the text of Rudel's record...

Tank Buster

'...Although not a fighter ace, Hans Ulrich Rudel was one of the most remarkable men to fight for Hitler's Luftwaffe. Flying an extraordinary total of 2,530 combat missions in the obsolete Junker Ju 87, he destroyed 523 Soviet tanks, 800 other vehicles, one battleship, a cruiser and a destroyer as well as countless other targets. He also gained nine air victories whilst flying the Focke-Wulf Fw 190.

Shot down 30 times, he rescued six aircrew members from hostile territory and was wounded five times. He was the only man to win the Knight's Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords and diamonds...'

source:
German Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop and Adam Warner, p.179.

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Ironmachine
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Re: How reliable is Rudel's record?

Post by Ironmachine » 05 Dec 2010 09:20

Takao wrote:Still, this photo http://navsource.narod.ru/photos/01/035/01035029.jpg says "sunk" to me.
Yes, but the problem is whether she was sunk by Rudel or not. As far as I can see, no one here is saying that it was not sunk.
If, as you say, there were two bomb hits on the Marat, were they both achieved by Rudel?
See, for example:
Klaus, Soviet battleship Marat was already heavily damaged in a sorties on Sep 16, hit by a 500-kg bomber dropped by the commander of III/StG 2 Hauptmann Ernst-Sigfried Steen, because lack of material and time to repair the damage, it was decided Marat would be used as a floating battery inside Kronstadt, many of her sailor was re-deployed as infantry. Then in the Luftwaffe air raid on Sep 23, Marat was hit by 3 1000-Kg bomb, one was dropped by Oberleutnant Hans-Ulrich Rudel of III/Stg 2, the other was dropped by Oberleutnant Lothar Lau, the StG 2 technical officer, it was not certain who dropped the third bomb, and it looked like it was the bomber dropped by Oberleutnant Lau caused the most serious damage on the battleship's bow, however the battleship did not sink, the reason was simple, the water was too shallow to allow such a large warship to sink, only one of the turret of guns could resume fire after the damage, which resume fire support almost immediately, after repair, eventually all of Marat's guns were put back to action,and the warship itself could slowly moving in the navy base, however Marat was never sailed to ocean in the war time.
Rudel's destory and cruiser claimed could not be confirmed by Soviet loss records.
http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showthread.php?t=3972

Or this:
She was sunk at her moorings on 23 September 1941 by two near-simultaneous hits by 1,000-kilogram (2,200 lb) bombs near the forward superstructure. They caused the explosion of the forward magazine which heaved the turret up, blew the superstructure and forward funnel over to starboard and demolished the forward part of the hull from frames 20 to 57. 326 men were killed and the ship gradually settled to the bottom in 11 meters (36 ft) of water.[17] Her sinking is commonly credited to the Stuka pilot Leutnant Hans-Ulrich Rudel of III./StG 2, but Rudel only dropped one of the two bombs.[18]
Yes, it comes from wikipedia ( :? ), but [18] refers to Rohwer, Jürgen (2005). Chronology of the War at Sea 1939–1945: The Naval History of World War Two (Third Revised ed.), p. 102
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Takao
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Re: How reliable is Rudel's record?

Post by Takao » 05 Dec 2010 12:33

Ironmachine,

For the Marat, I wonder what Rudel's other squadron members have to say about the sinking of the battleship. But, as you quoted it is commonly attributed to Rudel.

I'd like to know more about his claimed soviet cruiser and destroyer. After reading this thread yesterday, I started leafing through my paperback copy of "Stuka Pilot." I found mention of his sinking a Soviet cruiser, this happened shortly before "his" sinking of the Marat. Oddly enough, this mention, is only a single sentence. Now, compared to Rudel's lengthy description of the attack on the Marat, his single sentence description of the cruiser seems out of place. Thus, I have my doubts that it had occurred. I found no mention of a destroyer, but I likely missed that passage, since the paperback has no index.

I'll keep looking to see what else I can find.

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Ironmachine
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Re: How reliable is Rudel's record?

Post by Ironmachine » 05 Dec 2010 13:14

Regarding the destroyer, I have used the search funcion for the word "destroyer" with an on-line pdf copy of Stuka Pilot, and I found no claim of Rudel sinking a destroyer.

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Imad
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Re: How reliable is Rudel's record?

Post by Imad » 05 Dec 2010 13:28

Here's a quote from Niklas Zetterling in the Dupuy Forum discussion:

"I too find it difficult to believe in the 12 kills in this instance, but also his "score" of 500+ for hte entire war. I am of course speculating here, but I believe that Wittman probably destroyed more tanks than Rudel. It would surprise me if one is not forced to knock off at least three quarters or more of Rudels claims. In any case, it would be good to have some specific events to check against Soviet primary sources. The bruno Meyer event certainly suggest that it would be possible, given sufficiently detailed data on where and when Rudel was supposed to have "scored"."

I'm not really appealing to authority here, but I think Zetterling's statement reflects something I've realised a while back - that in a lot of these cases one just needs to apply sheer commonsense. We're all familiar with the 'fog of war'. We simply cannot take a single soldier's word at face value when he reports this or that many kills without independent corroboration. For the record I even doubt the Omaha Beach story of the Hein Severloh who reportedly killed about 2,000 G.Is on the first day of Operation Overlord.

The Dupuy article is worth a read IMO.

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Re: How reliable is Rudel's record?

Post by LWD » 06 Dec 2010 13:46

Ironmachine wrote:Regarding the destroyer, I have used the search funcion for the word "destroyer" with an on-line pdf copy of Stuka Pilot, and I found no claim of Rudel sinking a destroyer.
Might be worth searching for "torpedo boat" as that term in German equatest to smaler destroyers in other countries. If it were translated as such in Stuka Pilot but translated as destroyer in other documents that could possibly account for it. Or as stated it could be a fabrication. Ship classes were widely misidentified by both air and surface forces during the war as was the extent of damage inflicted.

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Re: How reliable is Rudel's record?

Post by redcoat » 06 Dec 2010 14:15

Imad wrote:Hello

I'm seriously starting to take a second look at Ulrich Rudel's kill record. 500 tanks is an astonishing figure by any standard but were all these kills confirmed by witnesses? And what were the Luftwaffe's standards for kill-confirmation anyway? I tend to believe he sank a battleship because it's a little hard to lie about something like that but what about the rest of his record?
In the only official study done of the kill-comformation of aircraft against tanks during WW2, it was found that the claims were incorrect by a factor of ten, ie; if they claimed 50, they actually destroyed nearer to 5.

ps; As far as I'm aware Rudels claims against armour have never been checked against Soviet records, so his claims are .... just claims, and given the amount of overclaiming made against armoured targets I consider we are looking at a figure of far less than 500.

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Re: How reliable is Rudel's record?

Post by Tim Smith » 06 Dec 2010 14:44

Imad wrote: For the record I even doubt the Omaha Beach story of the Hein Severloh who reportedly killed about 2,000 G.Is on the first day of Operation Overlord.
Hein Severloh definitely shot at 2,000 American G.I.'s on D-Day. That's enough by itself to make him a brave man, even if he hadn't killed any of them. But he certainly didn't kill anywhere near that many by himself. It's not even likely that he wounded 2,000 men by himself that day, let alone kill them all.

From a machine gun nest 500 metres away from the shoreline, it must have been difficult to tell the difference between men being hit and falling down and uninjured men diving for cover. So it's not surprising that Severloh's fire must have seemed far more effective to him than it actually was.

SImiliar applies to Rudel. It's entirely plausible that Rudel shot at over 500 Soviet tanks, making him a worthy hero. It's even plausible that he hit that many, he could have seen the flashes of the shell impacts on their armour. But destroying that many, 500 plus? Not likely - the majority of Rudel's targets were more likely to have been damaged, but repairable.

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