19 June 1913|
|Died||13 June 1953
|Unit||JG 54, EJG 1, JG 7|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross|
Rudolf "Rudi" Rademacher (19 June 1913 – 13 June 1953) was a World War II fighter ace and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. Rademacher was credited with 97, potentially up to 126, aerial victories—that is, 97 aerial combat encounters resulting in the destruction of the enemy aircraft—claimed in over 500 combat missions.
Rademacher was born on 19 June 1913 in Lüneburg, Province of Hanover, a province of the Kingdom of Prussia in the German Empire. On 1 December 1941, Rademacher, holding the rank of Unteroffizier (Staff Sergeant), was posted to 3. Staffel (squadron) of Jagdgeschwader 54 (JG 54—54th Fighter Wing) on the Eastern Front.
As of 1 February 1943, Walter Nowotny, his wingman Karl Schnörrer, Anton Döbele and Rademacher, formed a team known as the "chain of devils" (Teufelskette) or the Nowotny Schwarm, which during the course of the war was credited with 524 combined kills, making them the most successful team in the Luftwaffe.
He was severely wounded in a Defense of the Reich mission against the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) on 18 September 1944. Following a period of convalescence, he joined 11. Staffel of Jagdgeschwader 7 (JG 7—7th Fighter Wing) on 30 January 1945. There on 1 February 1945, flying the Messerschmitt Me 262 first operational jet fighter, he claimed a Supermarine Spitfire shot down near Braunschweig.[Note 1] The Allies reported a Hawker Tempest lost in the vicinity of the action.
Rademacher was credited with 126 victories in over 500 combat missions.[Note 2] 90 of his victories were claimed over the Eastern Front, including 21 Il-2 Stormoviks. At least eight of his victories claimed over the Western Front were gained flying the Me 262. Rademacher was killed in a glider crash at Lüneburg on 13 June 1953.
- Iron Cross (1939) 2nd and 1st class
- Honour Goblet of the Luftwaffe on 19 October 1942 as Oberfeldwebel and pilot
- German Cross in Gold on 25 March 1943 as Oberfeldwebel in the 3./Jagdgeschwader 54
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 30 September 1944 as Leutnant and pilot in the 1./Jagdgeschwader 54
- For a list of Luftwaffe Jet aces see List of German World War II Jet aces
- According to Spick, Rademacher is credited with 126 aerial victories, 90 of which claimed over the Eastern Front and 36 in the western theatre of operations, including 10 heavy bombers. According to Obermaier, he is credited with 97 aerial victories, 76 of which claimed over the Eastern Front, including 21 Il-2s and 7 Pe-2s. He also claimed 23 further victories on the Eastern Front without witnesses supporting his claim.
- Held 1998, p. 69.
- Forsyth 2008, p. 30.
- Forsyth 2008, p. 32.
- Spick 1996, p. 230.
- Obermaier 1989, p. 183.
- Patzwall 2008, p. 165.
- Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 364.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 348.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 610.
- Bergström, Christer; Mikhailov, Andrey (2001). Black Cross / Red Star Air War Over the Eastern Front, Volume II, Resurgence January–June 1942. Pacifica, California: Pacifica Military History. ISBN 978-0-935553-51-2.
- Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) . Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches] (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6.
- Forsyth, Robert (2008). Jagdgeschwader 7 'Nowotny'. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84603-320-9.
- Held, Werner (1998). Der Jagdflieger Walter Nowotny Bilder und Dokumente [The Fighter Pilot Walter Nowotny Images and Documents] (in German). Stuttgart, Germany: Motorbuch Verlag. ISBN 978-3-87943-979-9.
- Obermaier, Ernst (1989). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Luftwaffe Jagdflieger 1939 – 1945 [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the Luftwaffe Fighter Force 1939 – 1945] (in German). Mainz, Germany: Verlag Dieter Hoffmann. ISBN 978-3-87341-065-7.
- Patzwall, Klaus D.; Scherzer, Veit (2001). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II [The German Cross 1941 – 1945 History and Recipients Volume 2] (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8.
- Patzwall, Klaus D. (2008). Der Ehrenpokal für besondere Leistung im Luftkrieg [The Honor Goblet for Outstanding Achievement in the Air War] (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-08-3.
- Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Militaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
- Spick, Mike (1996). Luftwaffe Fighter Aces. New York: Ivy Books. ISBN 978-0-8041-1696-1.
- Weal, John (1998). Focke-Wulf Fw 190 Aces of the Russian Front. London, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-85532-518-7.
- Weal, John (2001). Jagdgeschwader 54 'Grünherz'. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-286-5.
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