The Man That Confronted A Dictator | Günther Rall’s Incredible Story

Germany’s Last WW2 Ace

Günther Rall, Germany’s Last WW2 Ace. FULL DOCUMENTARY | Amazing Stories of WW2, in their own words.
You could say that history repeats itself. This wonderful documentary, filmed by our partners at Air2AirTV ( is also masterfully narrated by Gary Sinise.

Günther Rall (10 March 1918 – 4 October 2009) was a highly decorated German military aviator, officer and General, whose military career spanned nearly forty years. Rall was the third most successful fighter pilot in aviation history, behind Gerhard Barkhorn, who is second, and Erich Hartmann, who is first.

Rall was born in Gaggenau, the German Empire, in March 1918. Rall grew up in the Weimar Republic. In 1933 the Nazi Party seized power and Rall, deciding upon a military career, joined the Wehrmacht in 1936 to train as an infantry soldier. Rall transferred to the Luftwaffe soon after and he qualified as a fighter pilot in 1938.

In September 1939 World War II began with the German invasion of Poland. Rall was assigned to Jagdgeschwader 52 (JG 52—52nd Fighter Wing) and flew combat patrols in the Phoney War period on the Western Front. Rall flew combat missions in the Battle of France and Battle of Britain, claiming one enemy aircraft destroyed in May 1940. Rall’s wing sustained heavy casualties and the then-22 year old was appointed to Staffelkapitän (squadron leader). He then served in the Balkans Campaign in April and May 1941 without success.

In June 1941, JG 52 moved to the Eastern Front, where it remained from Operation Barbarossa until the end of the war. Rall claimed his first successes in the air defense of Romania. In November 1941, he was shot down, wounded and invalidated from flying for a year. At this time Rall had claimed 36 aerial victories. His achievements earned him the German Cross in Gold in December 1941.

Rall returned in August 1942 and was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross on 3 September 1942 for 65 enemy aircraft shot down. By 22 October Rall had claimed 100 and received the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves. He reached 200 in late August 1943. On 12 September 1943 he was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords, the second highest military award in Nazi Germany at the time of the presentation. By the end of 1943 Rall had achieved over 250, the second flier to do so after Walter Nowotny did in October 1943.

In April 1944 Rall left JG 52 and the Eastern Front. He was given command of II. Gruppe (2nd group) of Jagdgeschwader 11 and served in the Defense of the Reich where he was wounded for a third time. In November 1944 Rall was appointed as an instructor and flew captured Allied fighter aircraft in order to prepare instruction notes on their performance to German fighter pilots. Rall ended the war with an unsuccessful stint commanding Jagdgeschwader 300 (JG 300—300th Fighter Wing) near Salzburg, Austria, where he surrendered in May 1945.

Rall remained in a prisoner of war camp for a matter of weeks. Rall was approached by the Americans who were recruiting Luftwaffe pilots who had experience with the Messerschmitt Me 262 fighter.[104] He was transferred to Bovingdon near Hemel Hempstead, and then based at RAF Tangmere, where he met the RAF fighter pilot Robert Stanford Tuck, with whom he became close friends.

After his release, Rall settled back into civilian life working for Siemens & Halske as a salesman from July 1947 to May 1948. In 1948 he visited England again. Rall accompanied Hertha Rall and stayed in Grosvenor Square with Dr Paul Kaspar and Jewish acquaintances, whom she had helped to escape from the Nazis. Rall knew of Hertha’s wartime Jewish connections and was concerned it would attract the attention of Nazi authorities. In 1943, Hertha was suspected of Jewish sympathies by the Gestapo, but no action was taken.

Of Nazi crimes, Rall acknowledged the pilots at the front knew of Nazi concentration camps but didn’t know exactly what they were used for. When he first heard of Auschwitz and the Holocaust, initially he believed it to be propaganda. Rall could not believe that Germans would do such things. The criminal nature of the Nazi Party did not occur to Rall when Hitler came to power; “The fact that we did not explore the essence of the Nazi regime when it came to power is, of course, one of our great failings.”

During World War II Rall was credited with the destruction of 275 enemy aircraft in 621 combat missions. He was shot down five times and wounded on three occasions. Rall claimed all of his victories in a Messerschmitt Bf 109, though he also flew the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 operationally. All but three of his claims were against Soviet opposition.

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