RF wrote:I would think the consideration on this is of whether the target is armed and offers any threat to the firer. An unarmed pilot having baled out isn't, a paratrooper is.
The original Geneva and Hague Convention protocols pre-date the widespread use of airpower.
Dave Saxton wrote: Adolf Galland spoke to this as not being considered as chiverous during the Battle of Britain by both sides, although it happened a few times by both sides. Late war, it became common practice to shoot at German pilots who had bailed out. It became an unspoken policy among American fighter pilots to kill any German pilot in or out of the aircraft. The problem was that the German pilots bailed out over their own territory and would just get in another plane the next day. The Americans were trying to destroy the Jadgewaffe but the production of German fighters had actually increased despite the bombings. There were far more new aircraft available than there were fighter pilots. As long as the experienced core pilots remained alive they were not really destroying the Luftwaffe's fighter command. It was a brutal unofficial policy, but a necessary policy to win and shorten the war.
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