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Old 10-17-2001, 01:05 PM   #1
 
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Default Ace Pilots

I was just looking through fighter ace statistics, and as always it is incredible to look at the scores achieved by German aces compared to pilots of other nations. No allied pilot broke through 50 kills as far as I know, yet look at the number who broke through 100, 200 and Hartman's score is just phenomenol. The thing that is even more surprising is the score for Finnish pilots, people have forgotten about Finland, but when you look at their ace list they must have produced some brilliant fighter pilots.
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Old 10-17-2001, 03:33 PM   #2
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Default Re: Ace Pilots

Quote:
Originally posted by justin
I was just looking through fighter ace statistics, and as always it is incredible to look at the scores achieved by German aces compared to pilots of other nations. No allied pilot broke through 50 kills as far as I know, yet look at the number who broke through 100, 200 and Hartman's score is just phenomenol. The thing that is even more surprising is the score for Finnish pilots, people have forgotten about Finland, but when you look at their ace list they must have produced some brilliant fighter pilots.
And what many people don't know is that WWII Luftwaffe scoring systems were extremely strict. All kill claims had to be verified by another pilot or on the ground by German troops. There were no fractional kill claims awarded.

Hartmann's (and other pilots) early victories came because of a relatively 'target-rich' environment - the Eastern Front. And, it was a policy of the Luftwaffe that you flew until you were killed or gravely wounded; many Allied aces were rotated out of combat to become training instructors and 'pitchmen' for war-bonds drives back home. This is why the highest-scoring US ace, Richard (the communist auto censor doesn't like D i c k)Bong only was credited with 40 kills. Hartmann was turned over to the Russians after the war and suffered 10 years in a Russian POW camp before being liberated.

Recommend reading "The Blond Knight of Germany", by Toliver and Constable - an outstanding biography of Hartmann.
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Old 10-17-2001, 03:43 PM   #3
 
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Hi Chuck, that's certainly true about Allied pilots rotating out of front line duty, and the Eastern Turkey shoot boosting many German kill figures in 1941. The German's produced some incredible pilots, even the legendary Rudel, not a fighter ace maybe but his exploits in a Stuka surely merit a claim to greatness as a pilot. Even in the battle of Britain, where the Luftwaffe went against trained and well equipped RAF and Allied fighter units the Luftwaffe aces shone, and right to the end of the war when they were hopelessly outnumbered, short of fuel and relying on pilots with little real training for the bulk of their pilots, some of the Luftwaffe's aces were still deadly fighters. I think they deserve recognition, maybe the cause they were fighting for was very wrong, but their skill and courage were outstanding.

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Old 12-03-2001, 11:05 PM   #4
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Wink Re: fighter aces

Here's a breakdown of Aces by country

USAAF/USN/USMC

Maj Richard Bong-top scoring USAAF ace in Pacific theater, 40 kills

Maj Greg "Pappy" Boyington- top scoring USMC ace in Pacific theater, 28 kills, all japanese

Francis "Gabby" Gabreski- top scoring USAAF ace in European theater, 28 kills, and 6 kills and one shared in the Korean war

David McCampell- top scoring USN ace in Pacific, 34 kills, KIA

Edward "Butch" O'Hare- First USN ace, Became an Ace in one day 12 kills,KIA. Chicago's O'Hare Int'l Airport named after him.

Lt Robin Olds- 12 kills, 20 years later, Col Olds added 4 more as commander of the 8th TFW in Vietnam. 16 kills total.


RAF/RN

Douglas Bader- Both legs amputated before the war, 20 kills, 4 shared, 18 probables. Shot down and taken POW 1941

James Edgar "Johnnie" Johnson-top scoring British ace with 34 kills and 7 shared

Bob Stamford Tuck- 27 kills, and many probables



LUFTWAFFE

Erich Hartmann- top scoring Luftwaffe ace with 352 kills. Hartmann survived WW2 without a scratch, although shot down several times. Eventually taken prisoner by the russians for 11 years.

Heintz Bar- 220 kills, 16 of those while he flew the ME-262,top scoring jet ace of WW2. Killed in air crash 1957

Adolf Galland- 104 kills, all against western allied aircraft

Werner Molders- 101 kills in WW2, 14 in the spanish civil war. Killed in a flying accident in 1941

Hermann Wilhelm Goering- head of Luftwaffe in WW2, 22 kills in WW1.



JAPAN

Tetsuzo Iwamato- top scoring japanese ace with 94 kills although many were either shared or probables

Saburo Sakai- 64 kills, Sakai was shot in the face by a 20mm round, although blinded in one eye he still fought on until the end of the war, and in 2000 his sight was surgically restored 100%
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Old 12-12-2001, 07:12 PM   #5
 
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Hey DM, didn't Olds fly in Korea, too?

Your response brought up a very interesting point -- I've never read much if anything about the Japanese flyers during the War. I realize most of them didn't survive, but there must be more information about their escapades. They sure put up one hell of a fight.
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Old 01-01-2002, 08:50 AM   #6
 
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The Japanese had some brilliant pilots in WW2, it's sad they are not recognised outside of Japan the way the great German and allied aces are remembered. Pilots like Hiroyoshi Nishizawa, Saburo Sakai, Hiromichi Shinohara, Yasuhiko Kuroe and Toshio Sakagawa were amongst the all time great fighter pilots. The IJ army and navy air forces performed superbly in the first couple of years of the Pacific war and fought bravely to the end, the fact we may not like their cause shouldn't obscure their skill and achievement. The Pearl Harbour attack has gone down in history as a dastardly act, but despite it's sneakiness it remains a brilliantly planned and executed attack, to bring 6 fleet carriers within 200 miles of the home of the Pacific fleet, launch and recover their air groups and escape with virtually no loss was a real feat.

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Old 01-01-2002, 01:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by justin
...The Pearl Harbour attack has gone down in history as a dastardly act, but despite it's sneakiness it remains a brilliantly planned and executed attack, to bring 6 fleet carriers within 200 miles of the home of the Pacific fleet, launch and recover their air groups and escape with virtually no loss was a real feat.
Quite true, and over time a lot of 'what ifs' from analyzing the attack have surfaced.

The Japanese were expecting to catch both the fleet carriers and the battlewagons at anchorage; had they been both in the harbor at the time of the attack would have essentially ended the US naval presence in the Pacific.

The Japanese completely overlooked attacking the fuel storage depots and dry docks; had they done so, it would have also destroyed or severely crippled the US Pacific Fleet's ability to repair or refuel.
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Old 01-01-2002, 02:11 PM   #8
 
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I think the "what iff" factor is one of the reasons that the Pearl Harbour attack is still so widely studied and still causes so many arguments. What iff;
The Japanese had hit the oil storage farms and repair facilities
Nagumo had ordered a second strike
The strike force had commenced a search for the carriers after hitting Pearl
The strike force had been spotted prior to the attack
If USN subs or carriers had managed to put in a counter attack
All fascinating things to think about. For me one of the great unanswered questions is the role of Russia, the strike force passed a Russian merchant man, did they report the sighting to Moscow? Did Moscow do anything with such a report?
Sadly it is also a magnet for conspiracy theories, I personally think the one about the President ignoring intel to engineer America's entry into the war particularly absurd, if you want to have a war you don't start it by getting the enemy to destroy your main weapon!!!
I've always thought the USN hhas been harshly judged. Both America and the British were expecting war with Japan, but both expected an attack either against Malaya/Singapore, or the Dutch East Indies or the Phillippines, they grossy under estimated Japan's ability to launch an attack against all three objectives simultaneously as well as neutralise the USN in the Pacific. However given that both military staffs expected an attack into SE Asia in some form and had based their preparations on this assumption the failure of Percival in Singapore and MaCarthur in the Phillippines seems much greater than the failings of the USN in Pearl as no US intel agency seriously predicted that strike. Percival and MaCarthur had been provided with forces that for all their failings should have put up a much more effective resistance if they'd been well prepared and led. Just my 2 cents,

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Old 01-02-2002, 08:35 PM   #9
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Lets say the Japanese caught both US carriers in port and they did destroy the fleet oil storage tanks and repair facilities at Pearl Harbor - would it have made much of a difference? Nope. Maybe a six to twelve month extension on the war but the end result would have been the same.

Here's my data source: http://www.combinedfleet.com/economic.htm
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Old 01-03-2002, 07:56 PM   #10
 
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I think everybody would agree that Japan would never win a war of attrition against the USA, especially when their army was heavily committed to a quagmire in China and fighting British Commonwealth forces whilst having to station many of their best troops in Manchuria as a safeguard against the USSR. Japan was grossly over extended. So yes, if they'd hit the carriers, oil farms and drydocks in Pearl American strengh would still have recovered but the war would have been extended, and Japan could have established a much stronger defensive position. Even if the war was only extended by a year, that is a hell of a lot of dead bodies...... The attack on Pearl was essentially a defensive manouvre to screen Japan's real offensive moves in SE Asia, the speed of the American recovery and the defence of Midway seriously unhinged Japan's entire strategy for war. Take care,

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Old 01-03-2002, 08:50 PM   #11
 
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Default Re: Re: fighter aces

Quote:
Originally posted by DavidMich
Here's a breakdown of Aces by country

USAAF/USN/USMC

Maj Richard Bong-top scoring USAAF ace in Pacific theater, 40 kills

Maj Greg "Pappy" Boyington- top scoring USMC ace in Pacific theater, 28 kills, all japanese

Francis "Gabby" Gabreski- top scoring USAAF ace in European theater, 28 kills, and 6 kills and one shared in the Korean war

David McCampell- top scoring USN ace in Pacific, 34 kills, KIA

Edward "Butch" O'Hare- First USN ace, Became an Ace in one day 12 kills,KIA. Chicago's O'Hare Int'l Airport named after him.

Lt Robin Olds- 12 kills, 20 years later, Col Olds added 4 more as commander of the 8th TFW in Vietnam. 16 kills total.


RAF/RN

Douglas Bader- Both legs amputated before the war, 20 kills, 4 shared, 18 probables. Shot down and taken POW 1941

James Edgar "Johnnie" Johnson-top scoring British ace with 34 kills and 7 shared

Bob Stamford Tuck- 27 kills, and many probables



LUFTWAFFE

Erich Hartmann- top scoring Luftwaffe ace with 352 kills. Hartmann survived WW2 without a scratch, although shot down several times. Eventually taken prisoner by the russians for 11 years.

Heintz Bar- 220 kills, 16 of those while he flew the ME-262,top scoring jet ace of WW2. Killed in air crash 1957

Adolf Galland- 104 kills, all against western allied aircraft

Werner Molders- 101 kills in WW2, 14 in the spanish civil war. Killed in a flying accident in 1941

Hermann Wilhelm Goering- head of Luftwaffe in WW2, 22 kills in WW1.



JAPAN

Tetsuzo Iwamato- top scoring japanese ace with 94 kills although many were either shared or probables

Saburo Sakai- 64 kills, Sakai was shot in the face by a 20mm round, although blinded in one eye he still fought on until the end of the war, and in 2000 his sight was surgically restored 100%
[SIZE=4]Dont forgetTHE RED BARON!
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Old 01-04-2002, 01:05 AM   #12
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Default Re: Re: Re: fighter aces

Quote:
Originally posted by hernan
Don't forgetTHE RED BARON!
That would be correct for World War I, though. Rittmeister (Cavalry Captain) Manfred Freiherr (Baron) von Richthofen was credited with 80 kills in the Great War. All of his kills were documented and none were shared (it was the custom of the Imperial German Air Service -- and later the Luftwaffe -- that only one pilot would be given credit for a kill); whenever possible he would cut out a piece of fabric containing the downed aircraft's serial number and display it either in the study of his family home or in the officer's club of his squadron.
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Old 01-04-2002, 02:45 PM   #13
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I was exclusivley listing WW2 aces only,

Please don't jump up my a$$ about WW1, or korean war aces
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Old 01-04-2002, 06:04 PM   #14
 
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It's interesting how we as arm chair aviators have the luxury of looking back and going through the "What if" scenarios that follow every battle. One of things that I think is often forgotten is that prior to WWII the airplane wasn't considered a major weapon in warfare. Pearl Harbour was the first battle in which military aircraft made a major attack on a naval fleet with minimal losses. Prior to this the naval doctrine of the strength of a nation lay behind the strength of her battleships dominated. Even after Pearl Harbor, the issue of dominance of the air seems to have been lost as both Percival and Mac Arthur were hindered in their efforts of the defence of Malaya/Singapore in the former and the Phillipines in the latter due to inadequate control of the air and thus the battlefields despite better equipped armies.

Secondly, perhaps the reason why the Pacific is often overlooked relative to the Atlantic is that the main emphasis and thus higher priority during WWII was focussed in Europe which is perhaps one of the reasons England was more willing to give up HK and its SE Asian possessions. A not unreasonable focus given the fact that they had lost much of their vehicles and weaponry at Dunkirk and were threatened by invasion.

Third, racial prejudice led many strategists in the US and Europe to underestimate the resourcefulness and skills of the Japanese during WWII. It's no secret that the pervailing opinion of the British were that the Japanese were short, weak, near sighted individuals who lacked the skill and discipline to wage a successful battle. The Japanese victories in Manchuria and China were attributed to one asian fighting another and the success against the Russian fleet were luck on the Japanese parts. If anything, the war in the Pacific reiterated the old adage of never to underestimate your enemy.

Perhaps one reason Japanese aces aren't so familiar to us is that most people like to have heroes in which we can identify some quality admirable to us. Since most of the books we read are in English much has been written about the war in Europe which directly touched the lives of many with roots and cultural ties to that continent. Japan however is a totally different culture that is very foreign to most English speaking peoples. There are comparably fewer books available in English regarding that war and thus we have a harder time understanding and identifying with them. Thus the relative lack of familiarity with Japanese Aces or for that matter any view of WWII from the Japanese perspective.
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Old 01-04-2002, 07:05 PM   #15
 
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I think that racism played a huge part in the early failures of the British Commonwealth and US forces at the hands of Japan. British pilots were told the Japanese couldn't fly properly as they'd been carried on their mothers backs as children and that the shape of their eyes meant they couldn't aim properly. In Singapore Australian's were boasting they'd spear two Japanese on their bayonets at once. These things induced an atmoshere of gross negligence as the Japanese were fatally under estimated. Just a few weeks prior to was MaCarthur was informing his superiors in Washington that he couldn't wait for war and how he's dispatch the japs in short order, oh dear.... One of the most fundamental problems at Pearl was that the USN command just didn't credit the IJN with the skill or capability to launch so ambitious an attack so didn't consider any real counter as they didn't consider a real threat to counter, the same negligence that led the RN to committ two battleships into battle off Malaya with no air cover. One of the problems is that Japan was a particularly brutal regime with dreadful war crimes to their account. In the West very few people know of events in China, what happened in China was truly barbaric, and even makes the treatment of allied PoW's pale in comparison. Hence, the Asian war has tended to be portrayed in rather simplistic terms with no real attempt to examine the Japanese perspective. The fact they were a violent, ruthless, barbaric regime doesn't alter the fact that there was a Japanese view that is very different from our own and worthy of consideration, after all history doesn't happen in a vaccum. Take care,

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Old 02-04-2008, 11:42 PM   #16
 
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Originally Posted by Tony Sepanski View Post
Hey DM, didn't Olds fly in Korea, too?

Your response brought up a very interesting point -- I've never read much if anything about the Japanese flyers during the War. I realize most of them didn't survive, but there must be more information about their escapades. They sure put up one hell of a fight.
Robin Olds was relegated to an Air Force Station in Pennsylvania during the Korean Conflict. He was considered a rebel by his superiors and to punish him, they didn't let him go to Korea. Too bad, for he would have, (in my humble opinion) shot down 15-20 MIG 15 aircraft. He was a warrior, pure an simple, and I will carry to the end of my days the honor of serving under his command in Thailand in 1967 and the honor of drinking until dawn with him in Colorado Springs in 2000.
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Old 02-15-2008, 06:50 PM   #17
 
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Great Article in Flight Journal Mag last year about Russian Women WWII aces.
Their numbers kicked some serious butt. Big Kill Stats, Bring this up at the VFW or the "O" Club and see what happens!!
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Old 02-15-2008, 07:48 PM   #18
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One very good reason the Japanese fielded some excellent fighter aces was the fact they had a far superior aircraft to work with: the Mitsubishi A6M Zero. This aircraft ruled the Pacific skies until the introduction of the Hellcat, the Lightning, Mustang and F4U. The Japanese underwent a serious training program for their pilots, and they had been at war with China since 1937. American pilots didn't have the training, we were new to war on this scale, and too many rookies were accepted as pilots who should never have gotten into a cockpit. It wasn't until 1943 that we got our act together and started producing our own aces.
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Old 02-15-2008, 07:55 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by strikeforce View Post
Great Article in Flight Journal Mag last year about Russian Women WWII aces.
Their numbers kicked some serious butt. Big Kill Stats, Bring this up at the VFW or the "O" Club and see what happens!!
And the amazing part of that is that many of the women pilots were relegated to second-line aircraft, like Polikarpovs, since they were viewed even by the "enlightened" Soviet Man as still a bit inferior. When they let a few get into MiG-3s or Laggs, they were as amazed as the German pilots who faced those woman warriors (of course, the Germans didn't know they were facing women during combat).
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Old 02-16-2008, 07:06 PM   #20
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David McCampell- top scoring USN ace in Pacific, 34 kills, KIA

Palm beach Intl airport is named after this guy, they have pics of in his 80's, not KIA....
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Old 02-16-2008, 07:08 PM   #21
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Adolf Galland- 104 kills, all against western allied aircraft

Dont forget to mention, Adolf galland was shot down 18 times during the war, last time in an ME-262 about 2 months before war ended....
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