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Rudolf Frank
File:File:Rudolf Frank.jpg
Born (1920-08-19)August 19, 1920
Died 27 April 1944(1944-04-27) (aged 23)
Place of birth Karlsruhe
Place of death near Eindhoven, Netherlands
Buried at Ysselsteyn, Netherlands
(Block Z-row 6-grave 149)
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Luftwaffe
Years of service 1941–1944
Rank Leutnant (Posthumously)
Unit NJG 3

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves

Rudolf Frank (19 August 1920 – 27 April 1944) was a German Luftwaffe night fighter ace and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves during World War II. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. Frank claimed 45 aerial victories, all of them at night.[Notes 1]


Rudolf Frank was born on 19 August 1920 in Karlsruhe-Grünwinkel. After pilot training he was assigned to 2. /NJG 3 as a Gefreiter in early 1941. During the night of 3/4 July he claimed his first aerial victory. By the end of 1942 he had seven confirmed victories.

On the night of 16/17 June 1943 he claimed three bombers. Eighteen bombers were claimed during 1943, and on 6 April 1944 Frank was awarded the Knight's Cross.

On 27 April 1944, his aircraft (a Messerschmitt Bf 110G-4 W.Nr 720074) was hit from debris from a damaged Lancaster that he had attacked. His crew members were able to bale out and both Oberfeldwebel Schierholz and Oberfeldwebel Schneider survived, but Frank died in the crash near Eindhoven, the Netherlands. He was posthumously promoted to Leutnant and awarded the Oak Leaves to his Knight's Cross on 20 July 1944.

Frank had flown 183 combat missions and shot down 45 enemy aircraft, all at night.

Awards and decorations


  1. For a list of Luftwaffe night fighter aces see List of German World War II night fighter aces.


  1. Patzwall and Scherzer 2001, p. 119.
  2. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 154.
  3. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 72.
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) (in German). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 – Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtsteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches]. Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. 
  • Obermaier, Ernst (1989) (in German). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Luftwaffe Jagdflieger 1939 – 1945 [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the Luftwaffe Fighter Force 1941 – 1945]. Mainz, Germany: Verlag Dieter Hoffmann. ISBN 978-3-87341-065-7. 
  • Patzwall, Klaus D.; Scherzer, Veit (2001) (in German). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II [The German Cross 1941 – 1945 History and Recipients Volume 2]. Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8. 
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007) (in German). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives]. Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. 

External links

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