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Helmut Ruffler - Pilot Profile - Helmut Ruffler

Helmut Ruffler

Victories : 70
Country : Germany
Fought in : WW2
Fought for : Axis
Died : 21st September 2001

Awarded the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross

Helmut Ruffler joined 9./JG3 in February 1941 and was soon to prove himself a masterful fighter pilot. His scores began to mount quickly and by the end of 1942 his tally had risen to 50 victories. Surviving being shot down in 1943, he was posted as a much needed fighter instructor but was soon back in the fray - joining 4./JG3 in the home defence of the Reich. In March 1945 he was promoted Staffelfuhrer of 9./JG51. Shot down 5 times during the war, Helmut Ruffler fleww over 690 missions and scored 98 victories. He was awarded the Knight's Cross in December 1942.

Click here for artwork signed by this Ace!

Latest Axis Aviation Artwork !
 The Gruppenkommandeur of II./JG 54 Erich Rudorffer is depicted in Fw190A-6 'Black Double Chevron' over the misty forests of Finland in June 1944. Credited with 222 aerial victories, he survived being shot down no less than sixteen times and survived the war until eventually passing away in 2016 aged 98.

Erich Rudorffer by Ivan Berryman.
 With 275 victories credited, Gunther Rall is the third highest scoring Ace in history  He was awarded the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords.

Gunther Rall by Ivan Berryman. (P)
 Walter Wolfrum, a Knight's Cross winning German WW2 Ace with 137 victories, in his Bf109G.

Walter Wolfrum by Ivan Berryman. (P)
 Austrian-born Walter Nowotny was one of Germany's highest scoring aces of WWII with 258 victories to his credit, three of them flying the Messerschmitt Me.262. He is depicted here flying White 8 of Kommando Nowotny based at Achmer, Germany in 1944. He was killed in action later that year following a fraught combat with US fighters during the Defence of the Reich.

White 8 - Walter Nowotny by Ivan Berryman.

Helmut Ruffler

Squadrons for : Helmut Ruffler
A list of all squadrons known to have been served with by Helmut Ruffler. A profile page is available by clicking the squadron name.


Country : Germany
'Ace of Hearts'

Click the name above to see prints featuring aircraft of JG3

Jagdgeschwader 3 (JG 3) Udet was a Luftwaffe fighter-wing of World War II. The Geschwader operated on all the German fronts in the European Theatre of World War II. It was named after Ernst Udet in 1942.

Commanders of IV./JG 3

Major Franz Beyer, 1. June 1943
Hauptmann Heinz Lang , 11 February 1944
Major Friedrich-Karl Mller, 26 February 1944
Hauptmann Heinz Lang , 11 April 1944
Major Wilhelm Moritz, 18 April 1944
Hauptmann Hubert-York Weydenhammer, 5 December 1944
Major Erwin Bacsila, 5 January 1945
Oberleutnant Oskar Romm, 17 February 1945
Hauptmann Gerhard Koall, 25 April 1945
Hauptmann Gnther Schack, 1 Mai 1945


Country : Germany
Founded : August 1939
'Ace of Hearts'

Click the name above to see prints featuring aircraft of JG51

Jagdgeschwader 51 Mlders was a Luftwaffe fighter wing during World War II, named after the fighter ace Werner Mlders in 1942. JG 51's pilots won more Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes than any other Jagdgeschwader, and flew combat from 1939 in all major theatres of war. Flying Bf 109s and then FW 190s, the wing claimed over 8,000 air victories. Experten included 'Toni' Hafner, Heinz Br, Richard Leppla, Karl-Gottfried Nordmann, Gnther Schack and the legendary Mlders.

Formed in August 1939, and commanded by 48-year-old World War I ace Onkel Theo Osterkamp, the early months of the war JG 51 was based in the West, fighting in the French campaign, and in the Battle of Britain. From late June to mid July JG 51 was the only fighter Geschwader engaged against the RAF constantly. During the whole battle JG 51 lost 68 pilots, the highest casualty rate of the Luftwaffe fighter units engaged. JG 51 was one of the two Geschewader that had four Gruppen. The other being JG 1.

Four Bf 109 of JG 51 in France 1940Whilst based out of the Belgian airfield at Mardyik in late 1940, the German ace Josef Pips Priller was a Staffelkapitn with JG 51, flying Bf 109-E Yellow One. Josef Priller went on to score over 100 victories, the third highest scoring Luftwaffe day fighter ace on the Western Front, fighting solely against the Western Allies.

Against the Western Allies JG 51 had claimed 345 aircraft destroyed by May 1941. JG 51 were therefore one of the Jagdwaffe's elite units, with 'top ten' aces at this time including Werner Mlders with 68 claims, Walter Oesau with 34 claims, and Hermann-Friedrich Joppien with 31. Major Werner Mlders became unit Geschwaderkommodore during July 1940 and led the unit into the invasion of Russia in June 1941.

Barbarossa (1941)

Claiming 69 kills on the first day of the offensive, by 30 June 1941 JG 51 became the first fighter Geschwader to claim 1,000 air victories (113 kills in 157 sorties were claimed for the day). On 24 June JG 51 claimed 57 bombers shot down for the day. Mlders became the first fighter pilot to reach 100 claims in August and in the same month JG 51's Oberfeldwebel Heinz Br reached 60 claims and was decorated with the Oak Leaves. A total of 500 Soviet claims was reached on 12 July 1941, although 6 pilots had been lost by JG 51 in the intervening 3 weeks since the offensive had started.

After Mlders' departure in September 1941 (and death later that year) the Geschwader adopted his name as a title of honor in early 1942. Jagdgeschwader 51 Mlders was to remain on the centre sector of the Russian front throughout the rest of 1941. However Oberstleutnant Friedrich Beckh ( one of the few fighter pilots to wear spectacles) proved an uncharismatic commander after Mlders, and it was not until Major Karl-Gottfried Nordmann took over in April 1942 that a worthy successor to Mlders was found. In the period 22 June - 5 December 1941 the unit destroyed 1,881 Soviet aircraft, in return for 84 losses in aerial combat and a single aircraft on the ground.

Air support for the Wehrmacht's Army Group Centre was entrusted to General Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen's VIII. Fliegerkorps. In early January 1942, among the fighter units available to von Richthofen were II, III and IV/ JG 51. With the onset of the sub-zero conditions of the Russian winter, the majority of JG 51's available aircraft became grounded.

The Russian winter counter offensive forced III./ JG 51 into flying numerous fighter-bomber operations in direct support of the infantry, and the gruppe filed few aerial 'kill' claims through January 1942. II./ JG 51 however, accounted for most of VIII. Fliegerkorps's aerial victories during the Soviet offensive. Particularly successful was the duo of Lt. Hans Strelow and Ofw. Wilhelm Mink, both of 5. JG 51. They claimed five MiG-3s of 16 IAP on 4 January (Mink claimed three) and 9 days later Mink claimed a Pe-2 and Strelow destroyed two R-Z biplanes for his 30th and 31st victories. On 4 February, Strelow increased his victories to 36 by shooting down four Russian aircraft. The 19 year-old Strelow claimed his 40th victory on 28 February and claimed 4 victories on both 6 March and 17 March. The next day he was awarded the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes and also shot down seven Soviet aircraft. He was awarded the Eichenlaub on 24 March, his claims total at 66.

Normandy (1944)

7./JG 51, (with Bf 109G-6's) was attached to II./JG 1 in May 1944 from Brest-Litovsk, with pilots arriving at Strmede late in May and hurriedly converting to the FW-190. (It was later renamed 8./JG 1 on 15 August 1944 when the four-Staffeln Gruppe became standard) 7. Staffel was led by Ritterkreuztrger (Knight's Cross winner) Hptm. Karl-Heinz Weber with 136 confirmed kills. Its two other experten were Lt. Friedrich Krakowitzer (23 kills) and Ofhr. Gnther Heckmann with 12 kills.

7./JG 51 joined II. Gruppe with 15 pilots on strength at the end of May, and during the first two months of the Normandy campaign the staffel was decimated, with twelve pilots killed, one POW and one severely wounded.

As the war turned against Germany JG 51 was forced to operate closer and closer to Germany, finally staging out of East Prussia.
Aircraft for : Helmut Ruffler
A list of all aircraft associated with Helmut Ruffler. A profile page including a list of all art prints for the aircraft is available by clicking the aircraft name.


Click the name above to see prints featuring Me109 aircraft.

Manufacturer : Messerschmitt
Production Began : 1937
Retired : 1945
Number Built : 33984


Willy Messerschmitt designed the BF109 during the early 1930s. The Bf109 was one of the first all metal monocoque construction fighters with a closed canopy and retractable undercarriage. The engine of the Me109 was a V12 aero engine which was liquid-cooled. The Bf109 first saw operational service during the Spanish Civil War and flew to the end of World War II, during which time it was the backbone of the Luftwaffe fighter squadrons. During the Battle of Britian the Bf109 was used in the role of an escort fighter, a role for which it was not designed for, and it was also used as a fighter bomber. During the last days of May 1940 Robert Stanford-Tuck, the RAF ace, got the chance to fly an Me109 which they had rebuilt after it had crash landed. Stanford-Tuck found out that the Me109 was a wonderful little plane, it was slightly faster than the Spitfire, but lacked the Spitfire manoeuvrability. By testing the Me109, Tuck could put himself inside the Me109 when fighting them, knowing its weak and strong points. With the introduction of the improved Bf109F in the spring of 1941, the type again proved to be an effective fighter during the invasion of Yugoslavia and during the Battle of Crete and the invasion of Russia and it was used during the Siege of the Mediteranean island of Malta. The Bf109 was the main fighter for the Luftwaffe until 1942 when the Fw190 entered service and shared this position, and was partially replaced in Western Europe, but the Me109 continued to serve on the Eastern Front and during the defence of the Reich against the allied bombers. It was also used to good effect in the Mediterranean and North Africa in support of The Africa Korps. The Me109 was also supplied to several German allies, including Finland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Slovakia. The Bf109 scored more kills than any other fighter of any country during the war and was built in greater numbers with a total of over 31,000 aircraft being built. The Bf109 was flown by the three top German aces of the war war. Erich Hartmann with 352 victories, Gerhard Barkhorn with 301 victories and Gunther Rall with 275 kills. Bf109 pilots were credited with the destruction of 100 or more enemy aircraft. Thirteen Luftwaffe Aces scored more than 200 kills. Altogether this group of pilots were credited with a total of nearly 15,000 kills, of which the Messerschmitt Bf109 was credited with over 10,000 of these victories. The Bf109 was the most produced warplane during World War II, with 30,573 examples built during the war, and the most produced fighter aircraft in history, with a total of 33,984 units produced up to April 1945. Bf109s remained in foreign service for many years after World War II. The Swiss used their Bf109Gs well into the 1950s. The Finnish Air Force did not retire their Bf109Gs until March 1954. Romania used its Bf109s until 1955. The Spanish Hispanos flew even longer. Some were still in service in the late 1960s.

Known Victory Claims - Helmut Ruffler









22/06/1941Uffz. Helmut Ruffler7JG 3I-15-8.1Eastern Front
23/07/1941Uffz. Helmut Rffler7JG 3DB-35km NE Belaja-Zerkow13.42Eastern Front
25/07/1941Uffz. Helmut Rffler7JG 3SB-315km SE Belaja-Zerkow18.55Eastern Front
10/08/1941Uffz. Helmut Rffler7JG 3DB-315km E. Kiew10.47Eastern Front
23/09/1941Uffz. Helmut Rffler7JG 3Il-255km NE Poltawa10.5Eastern Front
04/10/1941Uffz. Helmut Rffler7JG 3SB-310km SE Dmitrowsk16.4Eastern Front
05/10/1941Uffz. Helmut Rffler7JG 3Pe-280km SE Orel15.4Eastern Front
14/10/1941Uffz. Helmut Rffler7JG 3SB-310km NE Orel7.05Eastern Front
29/10/1941Uffz. Helmut Rffler7JG 3R-10-12Eastern Front
04/03/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler7JG 3U-2-9.06Eastern Front
09/03/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler7JG 3P-2-10.55Eastern Front
17/03/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler7JG 3I-61-9.18Eastern Front
28/03/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler7JG 3I-301-13.5Eastern Front
28/03/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler7JG 3I-301-13.53Eastern Front
28/03/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler7JG 3I-61-13.55Eastern Front
29/03/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler7JG 3U-2-7.53Eastern Front
30/03/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler7JG 3I-6110km E. Staraya Russa: 200m16.3Eastern Front
25/07/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler1JG 3MiG-3-7.3Eastern Front
05/08/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler1JG 3LaGG-330 462: tiefflug15.15Eastern Front
23/08/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler1JG 3LaGG-340 769: 300m8.55Eastern Front
27/08/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler1JG 3LaGG-349 271: 1000m16.2Eastern Front
28/08/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler1JG 3R-549 254: tiefflug7.26Eastern Front
27/09/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler1JG 3MiG-149 222: 700m8.5Eastern Front
27/09/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler1JG 3LaGG-350 750: 300m9.15Eastern Front
28/09/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler1JG 3Jak-140 850: tiefflug8.5Eastern Front
28/09/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler1JG 3Jak-140 560: 100m9.05Eastern Front
28/09/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler1JG 3Il-249 260: 300m15.15Eastern Front
30/09/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler1JG 3LaGG-340 590: 200m5.35Eastern Front
01/10/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler1JG 3Jak-450 863: 4000m6.45Eastern Front
02/10/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler1JG 3Il-240 74: 200m12.25Eastern Front
02/10/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler1JG 3Jak-149 123: 300m15.4Eastern Front
02/10/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler1JG 3Il-240 74: 200m12.2Eastern Front
06/10/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler1JG 3Pe-229 473: 7000m11.2Eastern Front
08/10/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler1JG 3LaGG-340 52: 3000m8.2Eastern Front
10/10/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler1JG 3Su-249 43: 5000m7.45Eastern Front
17/10/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler1JG 3Il-249 270: 500m6.02Eastern Front
17/10/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler1JG 3LaGG-349 280: 100m6.04Eastern Front
17/10/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler1JG 3Il-249 410: 800m6.05Eastern Front
24/10/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler1JG 3Il-259 12: 300m13.55Eastern Front
24/10/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler1JG 3LaGG-340 74: 1200m13.45Eastern Front
28/10/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler1JG 3Il-249 122: 300m9.44Eastern Front
28/10/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler1JG 3Il-249 131: 200m9.47Eastern Front
28/10/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler1JG 3Il-240 790: 400m9.49Eastern Front
28/10/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler1JG 3LaGG-340 730: 500m9.5Eastern Front
31/10/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler1JG 3Il-249 441: 2000m13.53Eastern Front
01/11/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler1JG 3LaGG-359 63: 2200m15.12Eastern Front
01/11/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler1JG 3LaGG-369 59: 1500m15Eastern Front
16/11/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler1JG 3LaGG-340 421: 500m10.3Eastern Front
16/11/1942Fw. Helmut Rffler1JG 3LaGG-340 451: 500m10.32Eastern Front
20/10/1943Ofw. Helmut Rffler4JG 3B-17-14.45Western Front
11/12/1943Ofw. Helmut Rffler4JG 3B-17--Western Front
24/02/1944Ofw. Helmut Rffler4JG 3B-24TA-7: 5200m [SW Ansbach]13.42Western Front
08/04/1944Ofw. Helmut Rffler4JG 3B-24--Western Front
18/04/1944Ofw. Helmut Rffler4JG 3B-17--Western Front
19/04/1944Ofw. Helmut Rffler4JG 3B-17--Western Front
19/04/1944Ofw. Helmut Rffler4JG 3B-17--Western Front
08/05/1944Ofw. Helmut Rffler4JG 3B-17--Western Front
30/06/1944Ofw. Helmut Rffler4JG 3P-5105 Ost S/TA: 2300m [Seinemndung]20.5Western Front
16/07/1944Ofw. Helmut Rffler4JG 3SpitfireAT-35: 700-800m [Cond-sur-Noireau]20.17Western Front
18/07/1944Ofw. Helmut Rffler4JG 3P-51AA: 300-500m [Vimoutiers-Gac]9.21Western Front
18/07/1944Ofw. Helmut Rffler4JG 3P-51AA-3: Vimoutiers9.21Western Front

Known Claims : 61

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