Interview with Günther Rall


Interview with Günther Rall


Gunther Rall was raised in Stuttgart and, as a youngster, enjoyed outdoor and sporting activities. He was also a Boy Scout. He became a cadet in the army and joined the 13th Infantry Regiment. He met a friend in the air force and decided it was the service for him. He joined the Luftwaffe in 1938and he decided he wanted to be fighter pilot. He scored his first aerial victory in 1940 during the Battle of France, shooting down a Curtiss P36 Hawk. During the combat he also sustained damage to his aeroplane, which made him realise how dangerous air combat can be. He also took part in the Battle of Britain flying against convoys and supporting Ju 87 Stukas as well as facing Spitfire and Hurricane fighters of the RAF. He was posted to Romania flying the Bf 109F and took part in support of the German invasion of Crete, and the beginning of Operation Barbarossa, the attack against Russia, shooting down Russian bombers. He became an ace, flying as a squadron commander with Jagdgeswader 52, in support of Stuka dive bombers. In one combat with the Russian air force, he cut off the right wing of his opponent with his propeller, damaging his own aircraft, but made it back to friendly territory. During the attack against the Russians he experienced harsh weather conditions and relied on re-supply by the few Ju 52 transport aircraft available. In 1943 he received the award of Oak Leaves and Swords to add to his Knights Cross and Iron Cross from Adolf Hitler but left his meeting feeling depressed with a feeling that the war was lost. In 1944 he became commander of Jagdgeswader 11 flying in defence of the Reich, mainly in daylight against the American 8TH Air Force. During his career he was able to fly captured aircraft such as the P 51 Mustang, and Spitfire, he also flew the Me 262 jet fighter. After the war he became a prisonerand was flown to England where he met some of his former enemy fighter pilots and particularly remembers Wing Commander Robert S Tuck. In the 1950s he joined the post war Luftwaffe and became Project Officer in the procurement of the F104 Starfighter aircraft. In later life he was invited to meet some Russian fighter pilots and veterans at their base in Kubinka, where he was treated to the finest foods and drank many toasts. T

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Temporal Coverage




01:39:16 audio recording


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Ken Cothliff and David Tappin, “Interview with Günther Rall,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 13, 2024,

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