Rudolf “Rudi” Rademacher was born on 19 July 1913 at Lüneburg. Unteroffizier Rademacher served with 3./JG 54 on the Eastern front from 1 December 1941. He achieved his first victory on 9 January 1942 on his fifth combat mission. He was awarded the Ehrenpokal on 19 October 1942. By the end of 1942 he had claimed 22 victories. In March 1943, he was transferred to 1./JG 54, the famous “Nowotny Schwarm” led by Walter Nowotny. He claimed seven enemy aircraft shot down in one day on 5 July 1943 to record his victories 39 through 45. Rademacher was promoted Oberfeldwebel whilst serving with 1./JG 54. On 30 April 1943 he was awarded the Deutsches Kreuz. On 30 August 1944 he was transferred to 1./Jagdgruppe Nord, redesignated Ergänzungs-Jagdgeschwader 1 on 4 November 1944, based at Sagan, to undertake instructing duties. Despite his training duties Rademacher was able to engage in aerial combat and claimed five enemy aircraft shot down, including four four-engined bombers and P-47, during his stay with the unit. On 18 September 1944, during an attack on a formation of USAAF bombers, he was badly wounded when he was shot down. On 30 September 1944, he was awarded the Ritterkreuz for 81 victories.In January 1945, Leutnant Rademacher transferred to 11./JG 7 where he undertook conversion training on to the Me 262 jet fighter. The training consisted of six flights totalling 150 minutes before he was declared operational. On 1 February 1945, he gained his first victory flying the jet, an RAF Spitfire over Braunschweig.
Rademacher was to be credited with at least 16 victories while flying the Me 262, although sources do differ over his final tally crediting him with scores as low as eight and as high as 24. “Rudi” Rademacher survived the war only to be killed in a glider crash at Lüneburg on 13 June 1953. Rudolf Rademacher’s final score is a matter of some conjecture. Sources claim his total to be 97, 102 and 126 in more than 500 missions. Some claim he had an additional 23 unconfirmed victories. It is thought he gained 76 victories over the Eastern front with JG 54, including 21 Il-2 Stormoviks and 7 Pe-2, and a further five whilst with JGr. Nord. To this can be added his jet victories, at least 16, including 11 four-engined bombers.