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And the tour of duty was 25 missions. Not very favorable odds, but my father made it through it.
Many German and Japanese aircrew simply flew until the war ended, or they were killed or maimed...
A B-17 crewman had a life expectancy of 15 missions.
Getting maimed didn't always get you out of it. Saburo Sakai lost vision in one eye (and had some other pretty serious injuries) and was flying again (to be fair, he had to ask to be restored to flight status. And it did take a while -- and a desperate need for pilots -- to get him back on active duty)
Rudel flew 2,530 combat missions claiming a total of 2,000 targets destroyed; including 800 vehicles, 519 tanks, 150 artillery pieces, 70 landing craft, nine aircraft, 4 armored trains, several bridges, a destroyer, two cruisers, and the Soviet battleship Marat.
In November 1944, he was wounded in the thigh and flew subsequent missions with his leg in a plaster cast.
On 8 February 1945, a 40 mm shell hit his aircraft. He was badly wounded in the right foot and crash landed inside German lines. His life was saved by his observer Ernst Gadermann who stemmed the bleeding, but Rudel's leg was amputated below the knee. He returned to operations on 25 March 1945, claiming 26 more tanks destroyed before the end of the war.
#11 One of the things I found interesting about Rudel (quite literally a one man army. The Soviets made a serious effort to keep track of him) was that in his spare time he racked up 11 kills in an FW-190.
And the top scoring non-German ace was a Finn with 94 kills. There were 18 German aces with double that. Most (as with Juutilainen) piled up their kills on the Eastern front. Top on the West front is a mere 158 kills. Two night-fighter pilots picked up more than 100 kills which I find astonishing.
True, which is why Germany had many aces with 100+ kills, with Eric Hartmann I believe the leader with over 300.
Two night-fighter pilots picked up more than 100 kills which I find astonishing.
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