Aces with 200+ victories: how do they stack up in 2012?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by tomo pauk, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Many of the German aces were credited with great a number of kills. I wonder how well the number they are credited with stands the test of time? Is there any significant number of the kills that are not corroborated with Allied losses?

    The thread should be a politics-free zone, thanks :)
     
  2. cimmex

    cimmex Member

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    What do you expect beside a flame?
    cimmex
     
  3. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    #3 Jenisch, Apr 16, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2012
    Don%u00252527t%2BCry%2BBaby%2B%25286%2529.jpg

    Now for the subject: think I already read somewhere that only 60% of the German claims against the Soviets were true. I also read it was a little common the Germans bring down an IL-2 - and consequentely marked it as victory - only to the Russians recuperate it and bring it back to work. Other consideration is for those aircraft which were so heavily damaged in the mission that need to be write-off.
     
  4. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    Almost all of the big scores was racked up against the Russians, and a lot of that during the chaotic early years. Just how good a records did the Soviets keep in the early war, and then how much of that survived Stalinist revisions ?

    Stalin needed the truth told to him to successfully carry on the war, but after the purges of the late 30's, how many of his subordinates had the courage to tell him the whole, unvarnished truth?

    For that reason I would suspect ANY Russian WW2 records.
     
  5. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    Yeah. In fact, Stalin ordered "improved historiography" after the war. :lol:
     
  6. PJay

    PJay Member

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    Would have been fascinating to ask this in (say) 1950.
    Pity about the Internet being too late.
     
  7. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Hello Tomo
    at least Barkhorn, Rall and Lipfert of those claiming 200+ seemed to have been reliable claimers.

    Juha
     
  8. Denniss

    Denniss Active Member

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    I don't think the claims from Hartmann are far aways from his real victories (unless someone inflated them for political reasons). From his tactics, finish them from very close range, there shouldn't be a lot of error margin.
     
  9. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Hello Denniss
    in fact some Russian researchers seem to think that maybe just because of his tactic Hartmann overclaimed. While the tactic, fast attack from above and immediate disengagement, was very effective it easily produced overclaims, because some of the targets were shot down, some were hit but only damaged and some were miss altogether. AVG used same kind of tactic effectively against JAAF but overclaimed badly. Of course situation was different, AVG was a voluntary group, pilots of which got bounty if they got confirmed kill but still.

    Juha
     
  10. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Hartmann's wingman stated categorically several times after the war that Hartmann did not overclaim. Some Luftwaffe pilots also doubted him and at least one, if not more, was temporarily assigned to Hartmann as wingmen for several mission and witnessed his claims. They also stated taht they were sorry for doubting Hartmann.

    I'll stick with 352 for Erich Hartmann unless verifiable facts can be made to say otherwise.
     
  11. Denniss

    Denniss Active Member

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    This research by at least one russian "researcher" has been widely dismissed as history revisionism.
    BTW he preferred to attack from below as attacking Il-2 from above was really dangerous.
     
  12. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    #12 Juha, Apr 17, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2012
    Now I didn't mean Khazanov but other Russians. And under 10% of his kills were Il-2s. He clearly concentrated on fighters. And Khazanovs main error was that he used T's&C's Blond Knight as his source for Hartmann's claims.

    Juha
     
  13. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Now the main point is that there simply are too little Soviet losses in several cases when Hartmann made multiple claims. But anyway Hartmann shot down many Soviet planes, how many who knows. I wonder where the 352 confirmed kills originated, it seems that there are documentary evedence only for 324, of which 3 are probably duplicated or 337 in RLM docus depending the source. But there was a chaos in Germany during the last months of the war, so those figures were probably too low.

    Juha
     
  14. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    and some people still aren't satisfied with 324 or 337.
     
  15. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    I have never understood why people get so stressed by numbers, or why they take it so personally if there favourite pilots numbers are questioned. Its numbers and numbers never lie but neither do they tell the truth. It seems to me from my reading of various airwar books that all claims are on average 25% out but I very much doubt if many pilots deliberately overclaimed.

    I remember watching a documentary where a Soviet pilot very dryly said "The fascists shot down every aircraft we had in the first 2 months of the Patriotic War...(pause for effect)...twice" then he laughed before admitting that the LW very nearly did wipe out the VVS in the first 2 months of Barbarossa.

    Revisionist History seems to be a dirty word in some quarters but history is always being revised and rewritten. If we simply say that the first person to write the history is always right then new knowledge will never come to light. A true historian never claims his/her take on things is the right and final word, new information will always surface often just before a new history book is published. History is always out of date from the moment the ink is dry or the electron is well whatever electrons do.
     
  16. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    Whichever way you do the numbers it doesnt take away from the fact that he was amongst a small handfull of the greatest.
     
  17. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    suggest reading the Black Cross books by Christer Bergstrom. obvious that no wingman of any pilot no matter who it is can sit on his leaders tail 24 x 7. chaos occurs in a heavy air-gun battle, we do not have gun cam footage from many of the German aces the cameras arrived to late in the war and were not given to everyone. so we have to take an eyewitness account which was not always accurate nor up to date. this is not revisionist thinking at all but truth that is starting to come about because of the high tech age we live in the past 15 years, archiv's are being accessed not by just the privileged well known author anymore. whether you can trust Soviet archiv's that is your decision the point in fact is they are opening up slowly and must be used to cross-examine LW fighter ops on the Ost front.
     
  18. jim

    jim Banned

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    Soviet archives...
    I like reading not just aviation history, but general history of all ages. Its the duty of any serius history fan to try and read the point of view of both parties ( in fact that s why i am on this forum with the ... supersonic P- 51s!) . I posses books about ww2 written by soviets. I am sorry but they are so biased that cannot be considered reliable historical sources.
    Do you know whats the official position of the soviets about the Ordennes offensive ? Hudrends of thousands of americans throwing their weapons and running towards the sea, and the offensive stopped only because soviets attacks forced the germans to transfer their forces to the east ! This is the normal scale of history falsification on every book from the stalinist period that i posses. And not about ww2. From 1921 to 1953 there was a massive control of historiography. Actually most communist parties like such methods. ( to be fair dictatorships too)
    We also know that there were political commisaries in all soviets units, and also commanders heads were in danger in case of heavy casualties. Do all these helps on reliable reports?
    You read Lipferts memoirs , or Clausterman nmemoirs, or Johnson ( the englishman) memories and all have something good to say about enemy s abilities , bravery , equipment, and hard fighting. You read soviets books and all that you read is about soviets triumphs, massively superior soviet equipment, superior soviets bravery and skills , huge enemy losses and minimum soviets losses.
    How can anyone take soviets archives seriously is a mystery to me
    Barckhorn and Rall are considered reliable claimers. Yet Hartmann spent most of its carreer under their command , how they allowed him to cheat?They even flew together!Lipfert also flew with him late in 44 in Hungaryand considered him excellent . You can cheat the superiors but not your comrades!
    Some people are ready to believe a writer that use Stalin s archives and not a man who ignored orders to avoid captivity and proved his word for ten years of especially great suffering in Soviet prison camps . ( Even if some of its victims did manage to return to base or repaired after belly landing what does that mean?)
     
  19. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    Jim some the LW pilots cheated out the system as well as their fellow staffel Komeraden. this is a proven fact. the claims system was not without fault and for one we do not have the truth about so many 1945 claims from the LW fighter groups, the info is lost, the losses are not.
     
  20. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Hello Jim
    I have also read the books of Progress Publishing and know the stories on "burgeois history falsifiers" but we are not talking about books published in 60s and 70s but modern Russian books and researchers. And because SU was very centralized state it needed massive amount of documents to function. And because they believed that their system was superior they didn't think that it would fall, so they archieved massive amount of docus, also very sensitive, for ex info on the secret annex to Molotov-Ribbentrop Treaty. So in Russian archives there are vast amount of info, still partly secret and some others difficult to access by foreigners.

    And think yourself as CO of aviation regiment, which had just lost 8 a/c, shot down by Germans. So you needed 8 replacement a/c. How you think you can get them without informing your superiors that you have lost 8? One could make a small "adjustments", that kind of things happened also for ex. in LW, but not much, because if you claimed that most of them were lost because of technical failures or because of pilot errors, you will also be in deep trouble, because those kind of losses meant that you was failed as CO. Only ways were to tell the thruth, maybe inflating number of German opponents, tactical difficulties etc, maybe also taking a very positive look on your pilots claims and so to show that even if your regiment took losses it also achieved results. While Soviet system of claim confirmation was very strcit indeed in theory, thos above you knew the tight spot you were in and also knew that their achievements looked better if they did not look too closely the claims. So if they thought that you was a decent guy with some ability, or at least with better ability than your possible successor and that you was capable to learn on your mistakes, you would have good chances to survive at least a while. Of course if you has a string of failures, you probably got sacked. And of course if you altered reality too much you might well be caught and then you would be in really deep trouble.

    Juha
     
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