This is the story of one German flying Experten from June 1941 through the summer of 1945. Hans Ulrich Rudel (Uli) was the most highly decorated member of the German Armed Forces during WWII. This fictionalized account is based on information from German Archives, Rudel’s own writings, and media reports. Rudel flew an incredible 2,530 combat missions, some after losing his left leg below the knee while his right leg was still healing from an earlier wound. As the war developed, Rudel became much more aware of strategy and the errors that were being committed by his superiors. He was repeatedly ordered to stop flying by his superiors, including the Fuhrer, but he was always able to convince them that his leadership and strategic knowledge were needed in the eastern front. He work ethic came from his preacher father, and his endurance came from his athleticism. He did not drink, but he did like his sweets.
The author always makes clear where each section of the book is taking place. And pages that are not directly part of Rudel’s story (such as on location with Hitler or Stalin) are italicized. At times, I wished for a map to show the locations where the wing was located and where it was attacking, but then I accepted that this is not a history book. Rather, it is a story of a dedicated warrior.
The Prologue, the Epilogue, and the cover of the book are well designed to give the full story of a flying ace from a point of view not usually studied.
Reviewed by Nancy Kauffman, MWSA Reviewer
The Third Reich's Last Eagle is a fictionalized account of Hans Ulrich Rudel, the most highly decorated member of the German armed forces during WWII. Rudel was a Stuka pilot on the Eastern Front credited with 513 tanks, one battleship, two cruisers, four destroyers, four armored trains and sufficient artillery and transport vehicles to equip a few Russian divisions. In addition, he shot down nine Russian fighter aircraft flying a bomber with the aerial possibilities of an 18-wheeler. He won the equivalent of five medals of honor along with numerous other decorations while flying an incredible 2,500 combat sorties. On six occasions he landed behind Russian lines to pick up downed pilots and crews. He was wounded six times and shot down thirty-three times by ground fire, never by another aircraft. His last wound severed his leg below the knee. He got the plane back to his base and was flying again in less than a month using a home-made prosthesis.
Rudel was a man like no other. The German word Experten defines his flying skills, his incredible loyalty to his comrades, his bravery under the most adverse of situations, his refusal to bemoan the hand fate dealt and his unending desire to excel no matter the odds. Rudel was an Experten---the best of the best in all that came his way.
Book Format(s): Hard cover, Soft cover
Genre(s): Historical Fiction
Number of Pages: 247