Günther Rall was a young pilot with III./JG52 at the outbreak of war, and quickly demonstrated his natural ability and leadership qualities. He scored his first victory early in the Battle of France, and by July 1940 was leading 8./JG52. After transferring to the Eastern Front his victories soon mounted but he was hospitalized following a crash. Returning to combat as Kommandeur of III./JG52, he gained the Wing's 500th victory, before being posted Kommandeur of II./JG11 on the Western Front, flying high altitude intercepts in Me109Gs. He was later Kommandeur of JG300, and finished the war as the 3rd highest Ace in history with 275 victories. He was awarded the Knight ’s Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords.