17 January 1918|
26 April 2001 83) (aged|
|Years of service||1936–45|
|Unit||JG 77, JG 52|
|Commands held||2./JG 52|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross|
Rudolf Trenkel (17 January 1918 – 26 April 2001) was a German World War II Luftwaffe 138 victories Flying ace and recipient of the coveted Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.
Rudolf Trenkel served in Jagdgeschwader 52 (JG 52) during the Battle of Britain. From February to June 1942 he was assigned to Jagdgeschwader 77 (JG 77) only to be transferred back to JG 52, taking command of the 2nd Staffel. In 1944 he was forced to bail out five times within ten days. On 14 July 1944, Trenkel was credited with his 100th aerial victory. He was the 83rd Luftwaffe pilot to achieve the century mark. After the capitulation he was taken prisoner of war by US forces only to be turned over to the Red Army.
- Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe (11 December 1942)
- German Cross in Gold on 15 January 1943 as Feldwebel in the 2./JG 52
- Iron Cross (1939)
- 2nd Class (12 September 1940)
- 1st Class (18 October 1940)
- Wound Badge (1939)
- in Black
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 19 August 1943 as Oberfeldwebel and pilot in the 2./JG 52
- Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) . Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches] (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6.
- Obermaier, Ernst (1989). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Luftwaffe Jagdflieger 1939 – 1945 [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the Luftwaffe Fighter Force 1939 – 1945] (in German). Mainz, Germany: Verlag Dieter Hoffmann. ISBN 978-3-87341-065-7.
- Patzwall, Klaus D.; Scherzer, Veit (2001). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II [The German Cross 1941 – 1945 History and Recipients Volume 2] (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8.
- Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Militaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
- "Aces of the Luftwaffe". Rudolf Trenkel. Retrieved 5 September 2008.
- "Traditionsgemeinschaft Jagdgeschwader 52 & Luftwaffen - JG 52 - Museum e.V.". Rudolf Trenkel. Retrieved 5 September 2008.