Frank, Rudolf

Date of birth:
August 19th, 1920 (Karlsruhe/Baden, Germany)
Date of death:
April 27th, 1944 (near Heeze, the Netherlands)
Buried on:
German War Cemetery Ysselsteyn
Plot: Z. Row: 6. Grave: 149.
Nationality:
German (1933-1945, German Reich)

Biography

Promotions:
1941: Gefreiter
1942: Obergefreiter
1943: Unteroffizier
1944: Feldwebel
1944: Oberfeldwebel
1944: Leutnant posthumously

Career:
1939: entered the Luftwaffe - FFS Zeltweg
10.1940: Zerstörerschule Schleissheim
01.1941: NJ-Schule 1 in Stuttgart-Echterdingen
01.02.1941: 1. Erg.St./NJG 3
07.1941: Gefr. in I./NJG 3
06.1942: with 1./NJG 3
03.03.1943: Uffz., 1./NJG 3
06.-10.1943: with 2./NJG 3
18.11.1943: Fw., with 6./NJG 3
24.12.1943: his Ju 88 C-6 (D5+HP) shot down in the Berlin area, bailed out
15.02.1944: Fw., 3./NJG 3
22.03.1944: Ofw., 3./NJG 3
26/27.04.44: Ofw., 3./NJG 3 KIA – Bf 110 G-4 (D5+CL) lost in collision with a shot down RAF bomber over the Eindhoven area in Holland, crashing vic Heeze SE of Eindhoven.
For further reading see: Schumann, Ralf. Ritterkreuzträger Rudolf Frank Profile 13

Pilot credited with 45 aerial victories claimed in 183 combat missions.
From 1926 to 1930 Frank was educated at the Volksschule in Grünwinkel. After that he went to the realgymnasium, a secondary school. As a boy Frank wanted to become a pilot and he volunteered for military service in the Luftwaffe when war broke out in September 1939. He took flying instruction at the pilot school in Zeltweg and was transferred to Nachtjagdschule 1 (1st Night Fighter School) in October 1940.
On 5 February 1941 Frank was posted to the 1. Ergänzungsstaffel (1st Supplemental Training Squadron) of Nachtjagdgeschwader 3 (3rd Night Fighter Wing). This unit was stationed near Stuttgart. He later was transferred to 1. Staffel of Nachtjagdgeschwader 3, stationed at Vechta. This unit was equipped with the C-variant of the Messerschmitt Bf 110 heavy fighter. On 9 May 1941 he flew his first mission.
During the night of 3/4 July 1941 Frank and his radio operator Hans-Georg Schierholz claimed their first victory. They intercepted a Royal Air Force Vickers Wellington, which crashed north of Grafeld/Oldenburg, Germany. For this achievement, Frank and Schierholz were awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class.
On 1 april 1943 Frank and Schierholz were transferred to the 2. Staffel of NJG 3, which was located at Wittmundhafen. Here they underwent conversion training to the Junkers JU 88 C-6.
On the night of 17 June 1943 Frank shot down three Lancaster bombers and on the night of 19/20 february he shot down 5 Lancasters between 01.53hrs and 05.04hrs.
On 6 april 1944 Frank was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.
On the night of 26/27 april 1944 Frank and his crew, radio operator Schierholz and air mechanic Schneider took off in a Messerschmitt Bf 110 from Vechta. They spotted and attacked an Avro Lancaster bomber over the vicinity of Eindhoven in The Netherlands. The bomber, severely hit by cannon fire, exploded and became Frank's 45th and last aerial victory. Debris from the Lancaster tore off the Messerschmitt's right wing and Frank lost control of the aircraft. He gave the order to bail out, Schierholz and Schneider parachuted to safety but Frank failed to get out in time. He was killed when the Bf 110 crashed at Heeze, 9 kilometers southeast of Eindhoven.
Frank was buried in the German War Cemetery Ysselsteyn. His funeral was attended by his parents, Schierholz and Schneider and some high ranking officers of the Luftwaffe.

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Unteroffizier
Unit:
Flugzeugführer
Awarded on:
August 9th, 1943
Date according to the Ehrenpokal, published in the Ehrenliste der Deutschen Luftwaffe on August 9th, 1943.
Luftwaffe Ehrenpokale für besondere Leistungen im Luftkrieg
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Unteroffizier
Unit:
2. Staffel, I. Gruppe, Nachtjagdgeschwader 3, Luftwaffe
Awarded on:
October 17th, 1943
Deutsches Kreuz in Gold
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Oberfeldwebel (Flight Sergeant)
Unit:
6. / Nachtjagdgeschwader 3
Awarded on:
January 14th, 1944
Frontflugspange für Nah-Nachtjäger in Gold
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Feldwebel (Sergeant)
Unit:
Flugzeugführer, 2. Staffel, I. Gruppe, Nachtjagdgeschwader 3, Luftwaffe
Awarded on:
April 6th, 1944
Awarded after 42 aerial victories. One of his notable successes was on the 19./20.02.1944, when he destroyed 5 enemy aircraft in a single night.
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Oberfeldwebel (Flight Sergeant)
Unit:
Flugzeugführer, 2. Staffel, I. Gruppe, Nachtjagdgeschwader 3, Luftwaffe
Awarded on:
July 20th, 1944
Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub
531st Award.
Awarded posthumously.
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
April 15th, 1942
Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
July 4th, 1941
Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
June 18th, 1942
Frontflugspange für Nah-Nachtjäger in Silber
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
1942
Medaille
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
August 13th, 1941

Sources