I read this "flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants" combat memoir as a teenager and was thrilled by it. Rudel joined the Luftwaffe in 1936 and underwent flight training as an officer cadet, But, as he had difficulties in perfecting his flying skill, Rudel was transferred to a reconnaissance flight school. He saw limited action early in the war with a reconnaissance unit in the Polish Campaign and was regarded as a pilot with marginal skill. Back for additional training he went, as a dive bomber pilot. He went on to serve in the campaign against Crete in May 1941 with a dive bomber unit, albeit in a non-combat role.
It wasn't until the Russian Campaign that Rudel came into his own as a pilot and established an outstanding combat record. The way he writes about his experiences in Russia is so vivid and intense. the reader will feel him/herself in Rudel's Stuka, caught amid screaming, explosive flak bursts and attacking enemy planes.