SHARKHUNTERS Salutes Veterans
Generalleutnant GÜNTHER RALL (2810-1993)
Luftwaffe, 3rd Most Successful Fighter Pilot in History! Knights Cross with Oak Leaf and Crossed Swords
This photo was shot as GÜNTHER RALL returned to base after his 250th aerial victory. His final count was 275 confirmed aerial victories – the third highest ever in the history of aerial combat.
Photo shot after receipt of the Oak Leaf to his Knights Cross.
Here GÜNTHER sports the addition of the Crossed Swords at his throat.
Sharkhunters President HARRY COOPER(1-LIFE-1983)visited GÜNTHER RALL in 1997 when RALL hand signed 500 of our print AI “ALMOST HOME” and the General’s humor became obvious. Click on this photo of our print AI (below) for more information.
|This is the most beautiful print we offer, and it is hand signed by 14 veterans including:|
During their day of conversation, RALL showed COOPER his hand with no thumb. He said that some of “Hub” Zemke’s fighter pilots had shot off his thumb and saved his life. Perplexed, COOPER asked what the General meant by that. RALL replied:
“I was diving on two of his squadron’s Thunderbolts and was shooting them down but two more of his Thunderbolts were diving on me and shooting. They set my airplane on fire and shot off my thumb – and they saved my life.”
Understandably puzzled, COOPER asked what he meant. With a twinkle in his eye, RALL explained;
“My airplane was on fire, so I jumped out and came to the ground in my schirm (parachute). If I still had my thumb, the Luftwaffe would give me another airplane and tell me to go up again and die!”
He laughed loudly on telling that story, then he and COOPER went to lunch in a little German Gastube.
On return to his house, RALL was ready to sign all 500 of these prints. He asked what was the fastest time anyone before him had finished signing their name and COOPER told him that one of the U-Boat Skippers had hand signed all 500 prints in just 55 minutes. He smiled and said: “I am a fighter pilot! Watch this.”
Sparks fairly flew and we could almost see the smoke as RALL signed print after print after print as COOPER frantically moved the prints in front of him for signature. When the General finished the last print, they looked at the clock – forty-five minutes flat! RALL never lost that fighter pilot instinct. He was a fine man, spoke flawless English, had a great sense of humor – and was one hall of a fighter pilot!