Air Gunner Aces

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Nov 15, 2010
Brisbane QLD Australia
There are various lists of pilot aces , books written about them and general hero worship but what about the gunners is there a definitive list of Air Gunner Aces? Why don't they get more recognition? I have found some but there must be more.

Rank- Name- Kills- Unit- Airforce- Aircraft- Gun position


Frederick Barker- 13- 264- RAF- Defiant
Albert Lippett- 12- 264- RAF- Defiant
John Roberts- 12- 108- RAF- Blenheim
S. B. Johnson- 11- 264- RAF- Defiant
Frederick King- 10- 264- RAF- Defiant
Norman Williams- 8- 10/35 - RAAF - Halifax (Tail Turret)
Henry Jacobs- 8- 219/600- RAF- Blenheim
P. Lillie- 8- 264- RAF- Defiant
Wallace McIntosh- 8 - 207- RAF- Lancaster
L. H. Hayden- 7- 264- RAF- Defiant
C. Sutherland- 7- 207- RAF- Lancaster
?. Bradford- 6- 57- RAF-Lancaster
Peter Engbrecht- 6- 424- RCAF- Halifax(Top Turret)
Robert Turner- 6- 264- RAF- Defiant
Fred Gash- 5- 264- RAF- Defiant
?. Martain- 5- 264- RAF- Defiant
F.W. Wake- 5- 264- RAF- Defiant
J.E.M. Williams- 5- 264- RAF- Defiant


S/SGT Michael Arooth- 17- 527 BS 379 BG 8 AF- USAAF- B-17(Tail Gunner)
S/SGT Arthur J. Benko -16- 374 BS 308 BG 14AF- USAAF- B-24(Top Turret)
S/SGT Donald Crossley-12- 95 BG 8 AF- USAAF-B-17 (Tail Gunner)
S/SGT Benjamin F Warner- 9 - 99 BG 12 AF-USAAF- B-17 (Waist Gunner)
S/SGT John B Quinlan -8- 324 BS 91 BG 8 AF/20 AF-USAAF- B-17(5),B-29(3)(Tail Gunner)(Gunner on Memphis Belle)
T/SGT Thomas Dye -8- 51 BS 351 BG 8 AF -USAAF-B-17(Ball Turret)
S/SGT John D. Foley-7+8 prob- 22ND BG 5 AF- USAAF-B-26(Top Turret)
S/SGT John A. Murphy-6- 500 BS 345 BG 5 AF- USAAF- B-25(Top Turret)(all Zero's)
T/SGT Weston (Wes) Loegering-5 -574 BS 391 BG 9 AF -USAAF-B-26 (Top Turret)
SFC Richard H Thomas-5- VPD 117- US Navy-PB4Y (B-24)(Front Turret)
ARM2 Paul Ganshirt-5- VD 3-US Navy-PB4Y(B-24)(Top Turret)

Italian Airforce:

A di B (WOFF1) Pietro Bonannini-8+2 prob- Cant Z 506B Fiat RS14 (Top Turret)(4xSpitfire,3xBlenheim,1xHurricane)

got this from the Air Aces Home page and a couple of US Sqn history pages and various other sources
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Just about all the Defiant kills were in daylight in early ops before the Germans discovered it had no front guns.

am also finding more Gunner Aces will add to the list soon, couple more Commonwealth gunners and about 8 more American.
The fundamental problem with air gunner aces is confirming kills. The problem is an order of magnitude greater than that of fighters, which is already enough to make aviation historians tear their hair out.

Fighter kills to claims range from at worst around 10:1 – Soviets over Kursk, Japanese over Guadalcanal – to 3:1 – Germany in the Battle of Britain, RAF in the lean into France in 1941 – through to about 5:4 at best – the RAF/USAAF in late 1944/early 1945.

Post war studies of RAF fighter command estimate that just under two out of every three "confirmed" kills actually resulted in an enemy shoot down. This is measured across the 1939-1945 period and more than 11,000 daylight claims. This is with the benefit of gun cameras and wingmen observing kills.

Bomber gunner claims are much harder to confirm and verify than fighter claims.

Part of this is purely the situation; large bomber formations with large amounts of gunners create a situation where if an enemy is hit, multiple gunners will claim a hit/kill. In a bomber box of 20 aircraft, as many as 10-15 gunners could all claim the perceived kill.

Add to this aircraft already damaged/trailing smoke coming through a formation, the tendency of aircraft engines to emit smoke when pushed to full throttle, the habit of pilots to dive away from defensive fire, the general impossibility of bomber gunners witnessing a chute/ground impact, no gun cameras on bomber defensive guns and you can see the problem with confirming the number of aerial gunner claims.

The RAF estimated USAAF bomber gunners in Europe overclaimed at a minimum of 6:1 in 1963. There are multiple instances of unescorted/minimally escorted USAAF bomber missions into France/Low Countries/Germany where claims are upwards of 15 times actual German losses.

I agree with your stated sentiments. Also, the fact that gunners in general heavily over claimed, does not reflect on any single individual's claims. I'm sure that some gunners deserve all or most of their credits.
I would be very surprised if all those Defiant kills actually took place. My guess is that less than 50% is more likely. The gunners and the pilots should have gotten medals for actually going into combat in the Defiant.
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among the Luftwaffe, there were 15 Stuka Bordfunkers that recieved the Ritterkreuz. How many kills among them I couldn't find. Here is a partial list....

Ofw. Erwin Hentschel Rudel's rear gunner
Ofw. Ernst Filius - Alwin Boerst's rear-seater I./StG-2
Ofw. Hans Krohn 6./SG 2
Ofw. Walter Linke 3./SG 2
Ofw. Willibald Zipfel 3./SG 2
Ofw. Leonhard Burr 7./StG 77
Ofw. Alois Berndl, III./SG 1 rear gunner
Ofw. Ernst Gadermann, Rudel's rear gunner
Fahnenj.Feldw Gerhard Rothe III./SG 1
Ofw. Franz Hettinger StabsStfl./SG 77
Ofw. Werner Stein I./StG-2

Thank you for that list. It never occurred to me to check lists of medal recipients for possible claimers. I'm sure that many claims on the eastern front are unfortunately difficult or impossible to confirm.
I don't know if this counts, but there were several gunners on Luftwaffe nightfighters who won the Ritterkreuz, if I recall correctly. One that comes to mind is Wilhelm Gansler (sp?), who flew with Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer through most of Schnaufer's career, although I am not sure if he was the Bordfunker (BF) or gunner. The 3rd person in Schnaufer's crew, Rumpler (his first name escapes me), also won the RK, again not certain if he was the BF or gunner. Manfred Meurer's Bordfunker also won the RK, but I am admittedly not certain if he also served as gunner and how many, if any, kills he registered. Finally I recall late in the war that one prominent Luftwaffe nightfighter ace shot down 9 bombers on one sortie and that his gunner was responsible for 3 of them--'Tino' Becker comes to mind as the ace in question, but I am not certain.

dual roles actually Rumpel was Schnafers B/F and not gunner everyone on his crew of course due to the actions of Schnauf received the RK.

Mauer's crewman as a B/F as well as well as Tino's B/F but he also shot down 3 BC heavies, one of them a B-17 which I have a many page account from both from H-G. Johannsen and the BC bomber crew. H-G. also receved the RK very late war.
According to Shores and Cornwell, a gunner on a Do 17 of 1.(f)/22 shot down three attacking Belgian Hurricanes one after another on March 2, 1940. One was destroyed and the pilot KIA while the others crash landed and were repairable. The Belgian pilots are identified in these sources but not the German crew of the Do 17. Shores mentions that the Do 17 suffered 5% damage. Cromwell states that one crewman was wounded.
Have now found 18 British/Commonwealth Gunner aces and 15 US Gunner Aces and 1 Italian Gunner Ace , there must be some other Axis or Russian Gunners with 5 or more kills to add to the list, would like to add some of the Germans but want a kill total, not medal total( they obviously deserve there medals but I would like a list of Gunner aces), I have some more to add the the list in post 1 and will expand the info on each gunner as I find it.

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