Pilot Aces of World War II

Non-naval discussions about the Second World War. Military leaders, campaigns, weapons, etc.
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Zaku II
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Re: Pilot Aces of World War II

Post by Zaku II » Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:50 am

Yes Karl.

Maybe the US pilots confront to the same odds of German pilots could achieve similar success against his enemis.

But to say that allied pilots could achieve the same scores confronted to the same odds (overwelming numbers or inferior fighter against the american or brtitish fighters) is minimize the spectacular achievments of the German experten, because the allied never achieve the degree of success of German jaggers.

I say maybe could be a Gabreski, Jonhson or an unknown pilot that could achieve more than a hundred vioctories confront to the reality of a German jagger; but the fact remains the same: only German aces achieve more than a hundred victories and the german pilots deserve all the recognation for this feat.

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Re: Pilot Aces of World War II

Post by Byron Angel » Sat Jul 30, 2011 12:56 pm

Taking nothing away from the skills of German fighter pilots or their wartime achievements, the idea that they were somehow uniquely talented in comparison to pilots of other nations is untrue. It is easily demonstrable that their unusually high kill totals derived from the fact that they flew vastly greater numbers of sorties (10x to 20x more) in target rich environments and typically operated over friendly territory. A comparison of ace pilots of all nationalities, in terms of number of sorties per kill, shows clearly that there was no appreciable performance difference from nation to nation.

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Re: Pilot Aces of World War II

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Sat Jul 30, 2011 1:27 pm

I think that the evidence is quite clear. There is no need to prove that the Germans were better in an individual basis or, better said, on a one to one basis. I think that in order to dispell this the opposite must be proven: that the allies in some sort of field of combat role were better than Germans, physical or intelectual. From what I have read the allies only presented one such situation: snipers. Finish and Russian were the best. On the western allied side the only superiority was that of industrial might and numerical superiority, tactical and strategical.
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Re: Pilot Aces of World War II

Post by Byron Angel » Sat Jul 30, 2011 3:01 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:I think that the evidence is quite clear. There is no need to prove that the Germans were better in an individual basis or, better said, on a one to one basis. I think that in order to dispell this the opposite must be proven: that the allies in some sort of field of combat role were better than Germans, physical or intelectual. From what I have read the allies only presented one such situation: snipers. Finish and Russian were the best. On the western allied side the only superiority was that of industrial might and numerical superiority, tactical and strategical.

..... I really do not want to go down this road yet again, but .....

I quite agree that German tactical and operational training and doctrine were second to none. if the evaluations of Dupuy and van Creveld are to be accepted, German ground forces were tactically about 1.5x more effective than their average Western opponents and anywhere from 5x to 2x more effective than their Soviet opponents (depending upon campaign year).

On the other hand, Germany's strategic policy and planning in WW2 was faulty to the point of guaranteeing its ultimate defeat no matter how well its military performed.

Then there is that matter of German communications security laxity. While it is true that German cryptologists did succeed in reading low-level and mid-level Allied mail from time to time. the Western Allies basically had a key to the entire German post office system through their breaking of Enigma, which the Germans had blithely assumed was "unbreakable".


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Re: Pilot Aces of World War II

Post by 19kilo » Sat Jul 30, 2011 6:26 pm

allied field artillary (American) was better than the Germans. The US had a better combat rifle than the Germans for most of the war. Allied radar was better. EVERYONE wanted a jeep. The Germans didnt come up with a little thing called the atomic bomb. Really......this kind of discussion is pointless. Both sides had some things or some kit that was superior to the other sides........but the war ended the way it ended.

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Re: Pilot Aces of World War II

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:50 pm

19kilo:
allied field artillary (American) was better than the Germans. The US had a better combat rifle than the Germans for most of the war. Allied radar was better. EVERYONE wanted a jeep. The Germans didnt come up with a little thing called the atomic bomb. Really......this kind of discussion is pointless. Both sides had some things or some kit that was superior to the other sides........but the war ended the way it ended.
Myths:

Radar. In this very forum this misconception on radar has been addressed at large by members that have done extensive research. Even in that case is more a British achievement than American. The physicists involved were Central Europeans that flee from nazism.

Atomic Bomb. As with rocket development it is not part of American research and technology but a mixture of the knowledge of the Central European scientists, mainly from the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Germany, that flee from nazism, plus Scandinavian, American-Italian and British research. The Manhattan project was started due to the request of Jewish Hungarian Leo Szilard via Jewish German Albert Einstein's letter. The atomic bomb is as American as the Apollo project leaded by not only Germans but former SS nazis as Von Braun or Blumrich.

Jeep. From what I heard the Americans never lost an opportunity to put their hands on a field VW. But I like Jeeps a lot, so let's leave it there.

FIeld Artillery. From what I have read there is not certainty on that. Maybe you can provide some clear text that shows how American field artillery in the 11 months of war in the western front was better than the German or Russian ones with their four years of extreme conflict in the East.

I recomend you to check the lists of air aces, tank aces and sub aces as the troop, armor and aircraft ratios (and kill ratios) of the main combats amongst Germans and the Allies, whichever ally for that matter. I have done that before and am pretty sure what I am talking about.

Byron's references to Dupuy and Van Creveld have also been put in this forum, so they are easy to find.

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Re: Pilot Aces of World War II

Post by Byron Angel » Sat Jul 30, 2011 11:39 pm

19kilo wrote:allied field artillary (American) was better than the Germans. The US had a better combat rifle than the Germans for most of the war. Allied radar was better. EVERYONE wanted a jeep. The Germans didnt come up with a little thing called the atomic bomb. Really......this kind of discussion is pointless. Both sides had some things or some kit that was superior to the other sides........but the war ended the way it ended.

..... I agree with your assessment. Both sides fielded good equipment of particular types and no one had a monopoly on good weapon design.

On the American side of the equation (a non-exclusive list) -
The Garand was a first-class individual infantry weapon out of the gate
Both the Jeep and the 2.5ton truck were first-class
The M3 half-track was an excellent infantry fighting vehicle for its time, with better off-road mobility than its German counterpart.
US artillery was deadly effective, with unmatched response time and flexibility due to excellent organization and communications ( Karl - see Bruce Gudmunsson's "On Artillery" for a good description of US artillery in WW2).
The VT fuze, whose effectiveness was mostly felt in connection with AAA in the Pacific, but which also dramatically improved artillery effectiveness during the last six months of fighting in the ETO.
The bazooka: where imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

On the German side -
The MG34/42 - Germany basically invented the mobile general purpose machine gun.
Self-propelled assault guns - specifically the StG series, which were hard-hitting, mobile, easy to conceal, and usefully armored.
Panzerfaust disposable hand-held AT weapons - a game changer in the infantry versus tank confrontation.
The assault rifle - although too late in the game to really benefit Germany, nevertheless a weapon design concept still with us today.

Strictly my opinion, of course.

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Re: Pilot Aces of World War II

Post by 19kilo » Sun Jul 31, 2011 12:21 am

I would also give the Germans the "potentialy" best U-boats in the type21 and 23. Only potentialy cause they never really had a chance to prove themselves.

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Re: Pilot Aces of World War II

Post by Byron Angel » Sun Jul 31, 2011 12:50 pm

19kilo wrote:I would also give the Germans the "potentialy" best U-boats in the type21 and 23. Only potentialy cause they never really had a chance to prove themselves.

Quite probably so - I was trying to keep the list confined to ground forces. In the case of naval weapon systems, I'd consider nominating German E-boots, but I really don't know a great deal about the coastal war in Europe to make a definitive statement.


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Re: Pilot Aces of World War II

Post by paul.mercer » Mon Aug 01, 2011 8:07 pm

Gentlemen,
There is no doubt that at the beginning of the war the German forces were some of, if not the best in the world on land and in the air and their equipment was second to none. Their Naval capital ships were never going to match the RN and I really don't think Hitler ever really intended to do so, but if it had concentrated on building U boats then they might possibly have starved England into submission. Their main failing as far as the war with Great Britain was concerned was the lack of development of a heavy bomber like the Lancaster or B17.
Going back to the original thread, there were flying aces on all sides, with Germany perhaps having more due to their success against the early British bombers and the not so well equipped countries such as Poland and Russia. However, they did meet their match over England and once they turned against Russia and gave Gt Britain a breathing space and the US entered the war with its overwhelming superiority in aircraft and munitions production the result was inevitable.

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Re: Pilot Aces of World War II

Post by 19kilo » Tue Aug 02, 2011 1:05 am

I'm wondering if a German heavy bomber could have hit Soviet factories in the Urals? Not sure. It seems to me that the He177 was a very promising design. Shame they stuck with those horrible coupled engines...........and stressing it for dive bombing was a ..........mistake.

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Re: Pilot Aces of World War II

Post by lwd » Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:58 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote: ... We know already that the best pilots, best tank aces and sub aces were all German. That's Historical Fact.
For some defintions of "best". In general it's an opinion and not a fact. Now if you had said "highest scoring" then you would have a stronger case.
Karl Heidenreich wrote:.. I think that in order to dispell this the opposite must be proven: that the allies in some sort of field of combat role were better than Germans, physical or intelectual.
Well it's quite clear that US and British artillery doctrine and performance were signfigantly supperior to there German equivalant. I've also seen nothing to indicate that the LW was at all supperior in close air support to the USMC. Nor have I seen anything to indicate that the KM was supperior to the British Navy or the USN. In the latter parts of the war the Soviets showed some distinct superiorities on the operational and strategic levels as well.


As for:
Karl Heidenreich wrote:19kilo:
allied field artillary (American) was better than the Germans. The US had a better combat rifle than the Germans for most of the war. Allied radar was better. EVERYONE wanted a jeep. The Germans didnt come up with a little thing called the atomic bomb. Really......this kind of discussion is pointless. Both sides had some things or some kit that was superior to the other sides........but the war ended the way it ended.
Myths:

Radar. In this very forum this misconception on radar has been addressed at large by members that have done extensive research. Even in that case is more a British achievement than American. The physicists involved were Central Europeans that flee from nazism.
No not a myth. What has been shown here is that in some areas the German radars were on a par with those of the allies. However they were behind in other areas and didn't have a signifcant lead in any of them. Furthermore it was hardly "more" of a British effort nor one composed solely of Central Europeans. Some of the most advanced inital work was due to the British but the synergy of the two nations working together was clearly a huge factor. Home grown physicist from both countries also played important roles.
Atomic Bomb. As with rocket development it is not part of American research and technology but a mixture of the knowledge of the Central European scientists, mainly from the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Germany, that flee from nazism, plus Scandinavian, American-Italian and British research. The Manhattan project was started due to the request of Jewish Hungarian Leo Szilard via Jewish German Albert Einstein's letter. The atomic bomb is as American as the Apollo project leaded by not only Germans but former SS nazis as Von Braun or Blumrich.
Which makes it rather uniquly American. You are also of course ignoring the rather important contributions of American (and for that matter Canadian) researchers and engineers as well.
FIeld Artillery. From what I have read there is not certainty on that. Maybe you can provide some clear text that shows how American field artillery in the 11 months of war in the western front was better than the German or Russian ones with their four years of extreme conflict in the East.
Then you haven't read enough. The flexabilty and responsiveness of British and American artillery compared to those of the axis powers is well noted. Indeed only the Finns came anywhere close and they were for the most part working with preregistered artillery firing from prepared defensive positions.
... Byron's references to Dupuy and Van Creveld have also been put in this forum, so they are easy to find. ...
And they are often taken out of context and misused in other ways.
Byron Angel wrote: ... US artillery was deadly effective, with unmatched response time and flexibility due to excellent organization and communications ( Karl - see Bruce Gudmunsson's "On Artillery" for a good description of US artillery in WW2).
Actually the British system was on a par with that of the US. Some would argue better but from what I've read the two were very close with who was "better" depending to a great extent on the situation being considered.

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Re: Pilot Aces of World War II

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Wed Oct 05, 2011 5:56 pm

This link is quite clear on the issue at hand.

http://www.luftwaffe.cz/usaaf.html

On the same basis of ONLY USAAF pilots vs. Luftwaffe ones the results are very clear using those parameters.
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
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Re: Pilot Aces of World War II

Post by Byron Angel » Wed Oct 05, 2011 11:52 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:This link is quite clear on the issue at hand.

http://www.luftwaffe.cz/usaaf.html

On the same basis of ONLY USAAF pilots vs. Luftwaffe ones the results are very clear using those parameters.

Unaddressed questions -
[ 1 ] How many sorties per kill?
[ 2 ] How often were the cited German aces shot down over friendly territory and therefore able to resume flying?
[ 3 ] How many victories were against unescorted bombers through 1943?
[ 4 ] How is the comparison affected when only victories over opposing fighters are compared?

The comparison is not quite so simple and straightforward as presented.

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Re: Pilot Aces of World War II

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Thu Oct 06, 2011 4:05 pm

Byron:
Unaddressed questions -
[ 1 ] How many sorties per kill?
[ 2 ] How often were the cited German aces shot down over friendly territory and therefore able to resume flying?
[ 3 ] How many victories were against unescorted bombers through 1943?
[ 4 ] How is the comparison affected when only victories over opposing fighters are compared?

The comparison is not quite so simple and straightforward as presented.
That goes both ways. For example: how was the numerical superiority from allied forces in each sortie?
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
Sir Winston Churchill

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