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Rudolf Singler Pilot, 2./Stukageschwader 77 (Luftwaffe)

I'm 79 years old, a soldier of the Luftwaffe from 1936, a prisoner of the French for the two years to 1947. I entered a Luftwaffe Flying School as a young glider pilot and by the end of 1937, I'd won all my flying certificates. In 1938, I was awarded my flying instructors ticket and at the same time promoted to the rank of Unteroffizier and then to Feldwebel. Then came the wicked war.

In the Polish campaign, I was active as a courier pilot with the Fliegerkorps. Due to a falling out with my commander, I came to the Stuka and was trained as a dive-bomber pilot. In the month of April 1940 I was assigned to the 2. Staffel of Stukageschwader 77. In may 1940, operations in France began for us. On the 14th May 1940 we lost our Kommodore at Sedan (Oberst Schwarzkopf), 64 years old. Many operations each day and then the withdrawal of the British Expeditionary Force (Dunkirk/Calais and Dover). Finally, transfer to the Belgian border, St Omer. English airmen of the R.A.F. had been on the landing ground previously. The field was called Norentwo, later transferred to Maltot/Argentan near Caen. Some operations against radar stations on the English south coast. Then came 18th August 1940. We flew with 92 machines against a big airfield south of London.

Oberst Galland's Jagdgeschwader was supposed to be flying escort for us, which didn't come off so that after dropping our bombs we became fair game for the English Spitfires and Hurricanes. My Staffel lost six machines and crews, our Staffelkapitaen Oberleutnant Seiler along with them.

The third Kette, led by Oberleutnant Brinkmann, got back to base unscathed. An Unteroffizier of the 1. Staffel wrote about this mission in a daily paper after the war, with the headline "When the Stukas died". For us Stuka pilots operations were provisionally at an end. Only in February 1941 did we get the task of escorting German warships from the Spanish coast to Brest.

At the end of 1941, we were transferred to Romania. Then on the 6th April 1941 the Balkan war began in the then Yugoslavia and ended on Crete. At the beginning of July 1941, transfer to Sprottau, Silesia, Breslau. Later to the Russian border, Bialabotlaska. Then began the war against the then Soviet Union. It was obvious to me straight away that we could not win the war. The advance to Minsk, back again to Poland and then the central sector, the Kiev area. Targets primarily bridges and railway lines. August 1941 back to Breslau, Rosenborn, to fetch new machines. These were only ready at the beginning of September, so we got a three week leave pass. 26th September, take off again in the direction of Russia, Kharkov. Start of the October offensive as far as Tula, via Orel and then back again to the south, on the Black Sea, Nikolaiev; as far as the Crimea, Simferopol, the Sea of Azov, Mariupol and Taganok.

31st December 1941, Russian amphibious offensive on the Kertsch Peninsula. Many missions almost day and night. Middle of January 1942, transferred back north, Kharkov. Missions almost as far as Smolensk. On the 5th February 1942, I received a direct hit from flak in my engine, so that I had to make a crash landing without a propeller. This occured on German territory, came away with only slight injuries. After a short stay in hospital, back on ops until 31st August 1943. Three weeks home leave, then back to France, Re-establishment with new machines, training with the Focke Wulf Fw 190, then ops, Invasion. Transfer to Belfort, Lisieux. U.S Fighter-bombers came to Lisieux and damaged and destroyed all our machines, so we were no longer capable to carry out operations. Was swiftly transferred to Goslar, to be 

trained on the twin jet Messerschmitt Me 262. I no longer got completely operational. I became a Fighter Direction Officer, to direct the still available fighters from the ground during night flights. On 1st May 1945 I went into French captivity. Was released to go home on the 30th April 1947.

My decorations are:

The German Cross in Gold, 
Iron Cross First Class
Golden Mission Clasp with the 500 war flights pendant
Gold Airman's Cross of Mihai.

In total, I flew 966 missions during the entire war. Before my service I'd learned cabinet-making, did my masters exam and was able to take up a managerial position in a furniture factory. 

I worked until I was 65 years of age. My current hobbies are bee-keeping, hunting and fishing.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember them. - Laurence Binyon

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Last Modified: 30 April 2014, 13:24