- Rudolf Frank was born on 18 August 1920 in
Karlsruhe-Grünwinkel. His father was a shoemaker. 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
- 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
- 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.
- On 20 July 1944 Frank was posthumously awarded
the Knight's Cros of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves. He was also
promoted to Leutnant, backdated to 1 April 1944.