Pilot Aces of World War II

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yellowtail3
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Pilot Aces of World War II

Postby yellowtail3 » Fri Dec 11, 2009 5:09 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_World_War_II_air_aces

Being the first top ace Erick Hartmann, as everybody knows, with 352 kills. Then all the aces are ALL German from 1 to 108 until we got Ilmari Juutilainen (Finland) with 94 kills. Many of them scored a great deal of kills with their Me 262.

Best regards,


Wow - why did the Germans have aces with such high scores, compared to the Allied forces' fighter pilots?
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Re: Pilot Aces of World War II

Postby Bgile » Fri Dec 11, 2009 5:21 pm

yellowtail3 wrote:Wow - why did the Germans have aces with such high scores, compared to the Allied forces' fighter pilots?

Because the Germain Aces fought for the entire war, and the Allied aces were withdrawn from combat after a certain number of missions. The few German aces who survived naturally were the best and the luckiest and had the most time to accumulate high kill totals. They were also operating in a target rich environment, where they had lots of opportunity to attack enemy aircraft, where an allied pilot was lucky to even see a Germain aircraft late in the war. Hartman's last kill was against a Russian who was doing a victory loop, clearly not paying attention because he thought the war was about over. Clearly for him, it was over.

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Re: Pilot Aces of World War II

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Fri Dec 11, 2009 6:31 pm

Bgile:

Because the Germain Aces fought for the entire war, and the Allied aces were withdrawn from combat after a certain number of missions. The few German aces who survived naturally were the best and the luckiest and had the most time to accumulate high kill totals. They were also operating in a target rich environment, where they had lots of opportunity to attack enemy aircraft, where an allied pilot was lucky to even see a Germain aircraft late in the war. Hartman's last kill was against a Russian who was doing a victory loop, clearly not paying attention because he thought the war was about over. Clearly for him, it was over.


Of course that can be an explanation. Another explanation, which do not exclude Bgile´s one, is that the Germans had some very good, outstanding pilots, which is very hard for some to acknowledge. Let´s remember that since WWI the Germans always presented some of the highest scoring pilots.

Of course, in the rate of attrition that the Germans were subjected after six year of global war the survivors of the Luftwaffe were few in comparison with the western allied air forces that had plenty of planes, plenty of young recruits trained in places like Pennsacola, far away from hostilies, and with the cycling of 25 missions (for bombing) and 50 mission (I do believe for fighters). We must remember that such a policy and doctrine was abandoned by the US after the war when jet fighters appeared and training a pilot become more expensive and difficult.

But we have the British, for example, that started fighting since 1939, as did French and Polish aces (and many American volunteers) and were part of the awfull shortage of planes and pilots of the early dark years of WWII and the Blitz and none of them present those scores.

My father, who was part of the Norwegian Air Force some five years after WWII ended and that knew guys that really fought against enemies like Hartmann or Galland, and that in fact faced the Me-262 (and he really saw a dismantled one) always regarded the Luftwaffe as the best fighter force of the war and their aces as legitimate proficient guys that confronted (as the Bismarck) impossible odds. And that´s saying too much from him that, on ideological and nationalistic basis, really hated the nazis and the invasion of his country. You may imagine his dissapointment when his son became a German fan...

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Re: Pilot Aces of World War II

Postby RF » Fri Dec 11, 2009 6:56 pm

Karl, your comment about the Luftwaffe having the best fighter force of WW2 calls forth an obvious rejoinder. How come it failed in the Battle of Britain, when they had the adnantages of superrior numbers.......
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Re: Pilot Aces of World War II

Postby yellowtail3 » Fri Dec 11, 2009 7:37 pm

RF wrote:Karl, your comment about the Luftwaffe having the best fighter force of WW2 calls forth an obvious rejoinder. How come it failed in the Battle of Britain, when they had the adnantages of superrior numbers.......

Oh, oh - I know the answer to that one!

They were out-fought by the RAF, that's why.
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Re: Pilot Aces of World War II

Postby lwd » Fri Dec 11, 2009 8:07 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote: .... Another explanation, which do not exclude Bgile´s one, is that the Germans had some very good, outstanding pilots, which is very hard for some to acknowledge. ...,

I don't think anyone here has failed to acknoweledge that. Indeed I would expect any decent airforce to have some very good, outstanding pilots.

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Re: Pilot Aces of World War II

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Fri Dec 11, 2009 8:15 pm

Oh, oh - I know the answer to that one!

They were out-fought by the RAF, that's why.


The RAF had some tactical advantages, which included the radar capability as early warning, and allowing the British to concentrate their defenses where they were really needed and achieving temporary and local superiority. Also we must acknowledge two other things:

1. Supermarine Spitfire. Superb plane.
2. RAF pilots, which were very good

Also, when you are defending your country against anihilation there must be an aditional motivation.

So, during the Battle of Britain the defenders achieve a stunning and brilliant victory, something that will be remembered for long... if nowaday socialists don´t let it fade because was a "hideous warmongering activity...".

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Re: Pilot Aces of World War II

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Fri Dec 11, 2009 8:18 pm

lwd:

Indeed I would expect any decent airforce to have some very good, outstanding pilots.


That´s not the case. The US had a pretty decent air force. The Luftwaffe and the RAF were more than decent, they were outstanding with an incredible combat record. Remember that the Germans had the experience of fighting, also, in the East against the Russians which can gather incredible sums of resources and waste them in such a way no one had (and has) never done in History.
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Re: Pilot Aces of World War II

Postby lwd » Fri Dec 11, 2009 8:35 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:lwd:
Indeed I would expect any decent airforce to have some very good, outstanding pilots.

That´s not the case.

I know that's your opinion. I just don't see that there is much substantiation of it.
The US had a pretty decent air force. The Luftwaffe and the RAF were more than decent, they were outstanding with an incredible combat record.

And the US doesn't?
Remember that the Germans had the experience of fighting, also, in the East against the Russians which can gather incredible sums of resources and waste them in such a way no one had (and has) never done in History.

The Soviets also had one of the poor records in air to air combat in WWII. The Germans did loose a lot of planes in the East but their fighter losses were heavier in the west.

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Re: Pilot Aces of World War II

Postby Bgile » Fri Dec 11, 2009 9:13 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:We must remember that such a policy and doctrine was abandoned by the US after the war when jet fighters appeared and training a pilot become more expensive and difficult.


Hi Karl,

That's not true. The US has never left pilots in combat zones indefinitely. There was a mission limit in Korea, and in lower intensity conflicts there are deployment time limits.

Can you explain how it would be possible for Eric Hartman to get 352 kills flying for the USAAF? Or get shot down a number of times over the Pacific Ocean and survive them all?

I bet if we looked at number of kills in the first 50 missions, US and German numbers would be very close. For one thing, the US numbers wouldn't change much.

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Re: Pilot Aces of World War II

Postby yellowtail3 » Fri Dec 11, 2009 9:52 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:lwd:

Indeed I would expect any decent airforce to have some very good, outstanding pilots.


That´s not the case. The US had a pretty decent air force. The Luftwaffe and the RAF were more than decent...

thanks for the info. It leaves one wondering, though: just how did the USAAF managed to shoot down all those MEs and FWs over Germany, flown by purported 'experten' (heh heh heh) and establish air superiority over Germany, when they were only... 'decent'?

Better aircraft, perhaps? Better training, perhaps (clobber colleges!) - maybe better tactical doctrine, along with numbers to support their successful campaign against the Luftwaffe's finest over Germany?
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Re: Pilot Aces of World War II

Postby Kyler » Fri Dec 11, 2009 11:16 pm

As with any conflict, as the war progresses for the loser it becomes more difficult for them to keep putting quality pilots in the cockpit. Both Germany and Japan suffered from this problem as the war progressed further to its end. Each nation at the end of the war still had great pilots but many had died continually fighting. Many of the younger less well trained pilots put into action by both nation stood little chance against the more well trained and experienced Allied pilots.

At the beginning of the war Germany had many more experienced air force pilots and Japan more superior naval pilots than every other nation maybe with the exception of the UK. Luftwaffe pilots were able to put up remarkable kill scores especially on the Eastern Front because of the poor quality of aircraft and pilots put up by the USSR. Luftwaffe’s pilots switched to the Western front did not fair as well against the British & American pilots. Though this doesn't make their accomplishments on the eastern front any less impressive. Pilots like Hartmann & Rall had to be fantastic pilots to put up the kind of numbers they did. Rall was shot down 5 times! Many of them would probably have still put up good numbers on the Western front had towards the end of the war they had been flying Me-109's and Fw-190s instead of Me262s. The Luftwaffe aces were having to develop new tactics and mature a completely new technology at the same defending their borders from strategic bombing which was seriously damaging Germany's ability to produce good airplanes late in the war. Had Hitler not insisted on initially developing the Me262 into a fighter bomber many of the tactics and shorting comings of the Me262 force would have been ironed out when eastern aces started flying them. Probably delaying the war's conclusion by a few months.
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Re: Pilot Aces of World War II

Postby Kyler » Fri Dec 11, 2009 11:24 pm

Here's a link I found on the USAF Air University's website.

I think the numbers speak for themselves about the quality of German pilots during World War 2

http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/aces/aces.htm#wwii
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Re: Pilot Aces of World War II

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Sat Dec 12, 2009 1:10 am

Try to address issues as they came:

lwd:
I know that's your opinion. I just don't see that there is much substantiation of it.


In your case I could bring you Curtis Le May and he told you that and because do not suit your predisposition of thinking that only the US did achieve some level of proficiency in everything you will never be satisfied: but it´s your problem, not one of History. Just look at the record not of one, nor two, nor three, nor twelve nor fifty nor eighty but of hundreds of Germans pilots and tell me there is not a least a hint that they were, at the very least, an extraordinary cadre of pilots.


And the US doesn't?


Show me where Mj. Bong or Boyington are in the list.


The Soviets also had one of the poor records in air to air combat in WWII. The Germans did loose a lot of planes in the East but their fighter losses were heavier in the west.


Of course not in the same degree but the Soviets depended in numerical superiority to overwhelm the enemy. In cases they deployed three or four times the number of Germans planes in an area. Even with mediocre pilots that is an incredible threat that, the US, never had because always operated in a numerical superiority basis.


Bgile:

That's not true. The US has never left pilots in combat zones indefinitely. There was a mission limit in Korea, and in lower intensity conflicts there are deployment time limits.

Can you explain how it would be possible for Eric Hartman to get 352 kills flying for the USAAF? Or get shot down a number of times over the Pacific Ocean and survive them all?

I bet if we looked at number of kills in the first 50 missions, US and German numbers would be very close. For one thing, the US numbers wouldn't change much.


I never say the USAAF have pilots in combat zones indefinitely. But the rules changed a lot, in Korea and then in Vietnam. Red Flag and Top Gun trainnees were already veterans. The USAAF changed a lot from WWII (where it depended in numerical superiorirty) to the Cold War scenario where it tended to a more Luftwaffe approach on quality and proficiency. It is a matter of logic: you must recover from such an investement of a pilot who is an officer (education and training) and is not flying a fifty thousand plane but a forty million dollar one.


yellowtail3:

thanks for the info. It leaves one wondering, though: just how did the USAAF managed to shoot down all those MEs and FWs over Germany, flown by purported 'experten' (heh heh heh) and establish air superiority over Germany, when they were only... 'decent'?

Better aircraft, perhaps? Better training, perhaps (clobber colleges!) - maybe better tactical doctrine, along with numbers to support their successful campaign against the Luftwaffe's finest over Germany?


The P 38, P 40 and the P51 where amongst the greatest, if not the greatest, propeller driven fighters of the war. At least the P 51 was THE fighter. I do believe that the FW 190 was a match but I´m not ready to bet on that. Still: the P 51 was the greatest.

The US winning card was doctrine, I have always granted also that. And as Kyler mentions the weaker side only can get weaker and things get more difficult for them. Manufacturing planes, traininig pilots, attrition, fuel shortages, etc. etc. have their tally and finally destroyed the Luftwaffe. When a German plane was shot down it was very difficult to replace it. The US plants made them in excess to supply US needs and those of their allies. Also with the pilots. Pilots trained out of danger, giving enough instruction and deployed with upmost eficiency in great planes. All that cost the air war to the Germans.

Now, there is a misconception around there: as far as I know the Russian sturmovik was quite a good plane.

Best regards,
Last edited by Karl Heidenreich on Sat Dec 12, 2009 1:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pilot Aces of World War II

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Sat Dec 12, 2009 1:15 am

Also there is something that everybody is missing:

When the US deployed their Air Forces in Europe the Germans and British had already more than two years fighting and getting experience, tactics and skills. That was a two edge weapon: the europeans were more skilled on one hand but the americans came without atrition and from a place that was not being under attack on a daily basis.
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