Erich Rudorffer

Career Highlights

Victories: 222

Airplane: Bf 109

Front: Russian

Medal: Knight's Cross to the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords

Erich Rudorffer

Top photo - Bundesarchiv Photos / CC-BY-SA [CC-BY-SA-3.0-de], via Wikimedia Commons

Erich Rudorffer

Leading Bf 109 Ace

By , Dec. 2008. Updated July 8, 2011.

He flew over 1,000 missions, with 222 aerial victories, and was shot down 16 times, including 9 bailouts. He flew the Bf 109 in the Battle of Britain in late 1940.

He went to Tunisia in late 1942 when the Luftwaffe sought to check the American advances in North Africa. In February, 1943, he was flying the Fw.190 with J.G. 2 against the Americans. On the 9th, while based at Kairouan, his unit got word of an attack by dozens of USAAF bombers and fighters. They attacked the B-17s, as the P-40s, P-38s, Spitfires and Hurricanes came to defend them. In the ensuing dogfight, the P-40s went into a defensive Lufbery. But Rudorffer repeatedly penetrated it, and shot down six of the Curtiss fighters in a few minutes. As the dogfight broke up, he spotted some P-38s below, and destroyed two of them. Eight in one day! One of his best days ever.

He was sent to Russia in August, and achieved great success on that front as well, downing eleven Russian machines on two different occasions.

In 1944, he flew the Me.262 jet against the U.S. bombers that were attacking Germany. While the Me.262 was very fast,it had a lot of bugs, and there were simply too many Allied aircraft by that time.

Rudorffer also survived the war.


Aces of the Reich: The Making of a Luftwaffe Fighter Pilot, by Mike Spick, Greenhill Books, London, 2006

Illustrated Dictionary of Fighting Aircraft of World War II, by Bill Gunston, Salamander Books, London, 1988

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