Best pilots

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by renrich, Dec 8, 2007.

  1. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Since there are many people on this forum with experience, how would you grade the fighter pilots of the USN, US Marines, AAF and later the US Air Force as far as their capabilities during WW2, Korea and Viet Nam. I would start the thread with a story I read somewhere told by a F9F-9 pilot. "One night in a bar a group of Sabre and Cougar drivers decided to settle an argument by meeting for a mock dogfight. It was decided to meet at 30,000 ft at a certain time and place off the Florida coast each with a section of AC. The Navy pilot stated that the lousy, cheating, low down Air force guys showed up at the proper time and place but at 35,000 ft and the Navy would have been in real trouble if they had not been at 40,000 ft."
     
  2. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    How do you compare the pilots? USN and USMC flew basically the same equipment but their eqipment different than AAF and USAF.

    The USN/USMC never really flew (after North Africa) against the Axis and certainly not over Germany. USAAF flew in PTO but more against Army that IJN aircraft and pilots - and in totally different equipment.

    The USN/USMC combined had more aces in a day in WWII, had only a couple of aces in Korea.. same for both in Viet Nam.

    The best gunfighter in Viet Nam was the Crusader but the F-105 had more kills (and way more losses). F4 was a great all around airplane but had to stay out of horizontal manuevering with MiG 21 in most cases. Too bad the F4E wasn't there from beginning.

    I give the USN guys a thumbs up for night carrier landings on a pitching deck in a storm.. buts supect that all the US pilots with training would do as well.

    Then there are thr RAF and RN and Luftwaffe and Israeli pilots - all exceptional. I think ours are as good and we have a lot more of them. I don't have any benchmark for Russian pilots but would not sell them short.

    As an air force brat I engaged in some pretty heated discussions with navy and marine brat friends over this same topic - I was real sure then, today I have no clue how to judge.. but will leave you with this thought.

    John Boyd (40 second man) whipped every USAF, USN and USMC pilot that ever came through Nellis when he was running the Fighter school and beginning his theories of ACM.. except one. He tied with one USMC pilot in the context that he lost his 40 second bet and neither could get on the other's six. He was a legendary pilot, the pioneer in forcing the USAF into looking at loss of air superiority due to multiple mission requirements, developing the theory of Energy Manuever within USAF, and mostly a pariah at the Pentagon. The F-15 and F-16 are direct results of his 'winning the war'

    For Boyd's theories of mobile warfare (applied in Iraqi Freedom) and the tactical doctrines the USMC adopted, developed later as consultant post retirement, his staue (bust?) is the only one of any Air Force officer at the Marine HQ museum (can't recall exact location). Tommy Franks studied his theories when he ran DARPA back in the 80's(?).

    Sorry about the divergence - I was looking for an example, however statistically unsound, reagrding how to tell. I think combining Red Flag with Top Gun is the right way to make some assessment in doctrine but not sure of skill contrast.
     
  3. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    I think the era would make a difference whether the 30's 40's 50's etc
     
  4. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    In one of Lundstrom's books he seemed to indicate that the Navy pilots in 1942 were better trained in deflection shooting than any other pilots in the world.
     
  5. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    The tow streamer was SOP for both USN and USAAF before the war, the USAAF developed frangible bullets later with mixed results to get some real manuevering training.

    I have no idea why one group's training was better unless maybe a higher passing grade?
     
  6. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Bill, From Lundstrom, "The First Team," pg 460, "Man for man, the Navy's prewar pilots had far more practical shooting practise than the pilots of other air forces." Same book, Pg 467, "The pilots of the U S Navy and Marine Corps were virtually the only fighter pilots trained from the beginning to utilize and regularly succeed in deflection shooting. With the partial exception of the IJN, no other air forces during WW2 taught their pilots how to make full deflection shots."
     
  7. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    " For the US AAF, the RAF, the LW, the Red AF, and all the rest, stern and head on approaches with their minimal deflection angles comprised the primary attacks. Only a tiny minority of their pilots realized the potential of deflection shooting and taught themselves the techniques, usually after extensive combat experience."
     
  8. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    I think that could be said of all pilots of all nations some pilots had the knack for deflection shooting and most didn't .All the training in the world could give you the theory but the ability to put it into practice was a skill acquired by very few. There was a gunnery camp in the UK in 43? and all the top shots from all the western allies including the PTO partook I'd like to find out where it was and who was there
     
  9. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    His impression is not correct relative to USAAF, at least during the war, which perfromed the classic Pursuit Curve in Advanced Fighter Training and included 90 degree deflections shots at the towed banner. I do not know howerever when that practice started... so can't comment on pre-war.

    Does he cite references? It would be interesting to find out when Air Force started the 90 degree deflection shot with tow targets. I do know it was before April 44.

    I have a pic of dad's P-40 that ate the banner on a 70 degree shot as he closed in on it... and was too close to avoid it. Caught part of sleeve and cable outboard of wing root.

    He never considered himself a good shot but all of his combat film has the target effectively 'unmoving' even in deflection - although nothing more than 30 degrees.

    I have a couple of Henry Brown's 80-90 degree deflection shots but Henry considered top gunner in Group. One was with K-14 the other the N-9 gunsights.

    I am not saying Navy Gunnery training not better but don't know what supports the statements?

    Even aerial gunners were shooting 90 degree deflection shots in Gunnery school early (pre WWII ??)

    Skeet for fighter pilots was mandatory before WWII, and I realize that ain't the same as stick and rudder on a tow target.
     
  10. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    I know when dove hunting a head on or going away shot id easier than a deflection shot. I will check for his references. They are great books. Because I am a poor typist I am not going to copy all of his remarks but he says that part of the problem for other AFs was poor visibility over the nose in contrast to the F4F. Don't know how that translates to the F4U.
     
  11. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    The passages I have quoted are from appendix 2, Fundamentals of Aerial Fixed Gunnery and there are numerous document sources but no remarks are specifically footnoted so it seems that much of this information is his conclusion.
     
  12. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    Buerling was probably the best deflection shot amongst the allies and he flew a Spit which has a long nose . He actually made a claim in which he said he fired 5 rounds into the cocpit and his ammo left and the wreck confirmed it
     
  13. Soundbreaker Welch?

    Soundbreaker Welch? Active Member

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    He killed a plane with 5 rounds? That's lucky. What did he hit I wonder?
     
  14. Soren

    Soren Banned

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    Before you go bashing the shooting skills of LW pilots I suggest you consider that the top aces of all time are nearly all LW pilots. The WW2 LW contains more high scoring aces than any other, hundreds having shot down 50 or more enemy a/c. And then before you start to doubt their kills I'd like to remind you that the LW had the most strict thurough confirmation system in the world.

    The USAAF, USN, RN RAF contained as well trained pilots as the LW, however not as many combat experienced pilots.
     
  15. AL Schlageter

    AL Schlageter Banned

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    What is with this bashing comment? Did you get up on the wrong side of the bed Soren?

    Late war the LW system broke down.

    Since you brought the LW system up, and please note the dates:

    About so-called 'shared victories'. For example, three pilots of JG 5 shot down 3 enemy aircrafts and claimed 8 victories. In this case we can't surely say who exactly shot down the aircrafts and these actual victories we must call a 'shared victories'.

    1 12.9.1941 - I-16 I-16 of 72 SAP, damaged (mladshiy leitenant Plotnikov)
    2 17.9.1941 - DB-3 overclaim
    3 17.9.1941 - I-153 overclaim
    4 27.9.1941 - Hurricane overclaim
    5 28.9.1941 - SB-2 SB-2 of 118 RAE
    6 2.11.1941 - SB-2 SB-2 of 137 KSBP
    7 2.11.1941 - SB-2 SB-2 of 137 KSBP
    8 4.11.1941 - I-16 overclaim
    9 1.2.1942 - Hudson overclaim
    10 16.2.1942 - Hudson Hudson of 48 SQN (FTR)
    11 23.4.1942 - Hurricane Hurricane of 20 GIAP
    12 23.4.1942 - Hurricane Hurricane of 20 GIAP (shared victory)
    13 23.4.1942 - SB-2 SB-2 of 137 KSBP
    14 23.4.1942 - Hurricane Hurricane of 768 IAP (serzhant Kolentsov, killed)
    15 23.4.1942 - Hurricane overclaim
    16 24.4.1942 - Hurricane overclaim
    17 26.4.1942 - Hurricane overclaim
    18 26.4.1942 - Pe-2 Pe-3 of 95 IAP
    -----------------------------------------------
    Day losses: 5 Pe-3 (twin-engine fighters) - 5 Pe-2 claimed by Mueller, Carganico, Pfranger, Tetzner and Dahn. Additionally Mueller, Carganico and Pfrenger claimed 3 Hurricanes - very strange because Pe-3s operated without any cover.
    -----------------------------------------------
    19 28.4.1942 - Hurricane Hurricane of 2 GKAP (leitenant Godelevich, killed)
    20 28.4.1942 - Hurricane Hurricane of 2 GKAP (shared victory)
    21 28.4.1942 - Hurricane Hurricane of 2 GKAP (shared victory)
    22 28.4.1942 - Hurricane Hurricane of 2 GKAP (shared victory)
    -----------------------------------------------
    Day losses: 4 Hurricanes lost (starshiy leitenant Obuvalov, serzhant Ivanov, serzhant Leshchenko, leitenant Godelevich), 2 Hurricanes damaged. Mueller, Pfranger, Carganico, Tetzner, Schumacher claimed 12 victories (all Hurricanes).
    -----------------------------------------------
    23 29.4.1942 - I-153 I-153 of 27 IAP (shared victory)
    24 29.4.1942 - Hurricane Hurricane of 78 IAP, damaged (starshiy leitenant Nikolaev, wounded)
    25 29.4.1942 - Hurricane overclaim
    26 18.5.1942 - Hurricane Hurricane of 197 IAP (shared victory)
    27 18.5.1942 - Hurricane Hurricane of 197 IAP (shared victory)
    28 18.5.1942 - Hurricane overclaim
    -----------------------------------------------
    Day losses: 1 P-40, 2 Hurricanes lost (starshiy politruk Seleznyov, starshiy leitenant Yarkin, starshiy leitenant Levchuk). Mueller, Schumacher, Scholz, Doebrich, Stratmann, Klante, and Kirchmayr claimed 11 victories (10 Hurricanes and 1 P-40).
    -----------------------------------------------
    29 19.5.1942 - Hurricane overclaim
    30 19.5.1942 - Hurricane overclaim
    31 19.5.1942 - Hurricane overclaim
    32 25.5.1942 - Hurricane overclaim
    33 26.5.1942 - Hurricane Hurricane of VVS 14 Army
    34 26.5.1942 - Hurricane Hurricane of VVS 14 Army
    35 26.5.1942 - Hurricane Hurricane of VVS 14 Army
    36 28.5.1942 - Hurricane P-39 of 19 GIAP (kapitan Kutachov) (shared victory)
    37 28.5.1942 - P-40 overclaim
    38 30.5.1942 - Hurricane Hurricane of 2 GIAP, damaged
    39 2.6.1942 - Hurricane Hurricane of 768 IAP or 2 GKAP (shared victory)
    40 2.6.1942 - Hurricane Hurricane of 768 IAP or 2 GKAP (shared victory)
    41 13.6.1942 - Hurricane Hurricane of 78 IAP (shared victory)
    42 13.6.1942 - Hurricane overclaim
    43 13.6.1942 - Hurricane overclaim
    -----------------------------------------------
    Day losses: 1 Hurricane lost (starshiy leitenant Shalayev, belly-landing). Mueller, Ehrler, Doebrich, Todt claimed 6 Hurricanes.
    -----------------------------------------------
    44 17.6.1942 - I-180 overclaim
    45 17.6.1942 - Hurricane Hurricane of 769 GIAP (shared victory)
    46 17.6.1942 - Hurricane Hurricane of 769 GIAP (shared victory)
    -----------------------------------------------
    Day losses: 3 Hurricanes lost (mladshiy leitenant Kotov, starshiy serzhant Bogush, serzhant Olin). The pilots of 5, 6, 8./JG 5 claimed 13 victories.
    -----------------------------------------------
    47 23.6.1942 - I-16 I-16 of 27 SAP (starshiy serzhant Mal'chenko, killed)
    48 4.8.1942 - I-16 overclaim
    49 4.8.1942 - Hurricane overclaim
    50 4.8.1942 - Hurricane overclaim
    -----------------------------------------------
    Day losses: no losses
    -----------------------------------------------
    51 13.8.1942 - I-153 I-15bis of 27 IAP, damaged (serzhant Laptev)
    52 13.8.1942 - I-16 I-16 of 27 IAP (serzhant Lebedev, baled out)
    53 13.8.1942 - MiG-3 overclaim
    -----------------------------------------------
    Day losses: 1 I-16 lost, 1 I-15bis damaged. Mueller, Ehrler, Bartels, Kaiser, Dylewski and other pilots claimed 15 (!!!) victories.
    -----------------------------------------------
    54 21.8.1942 - Yak-1 overclaim
    55 21.8.1942 - I-180 overclaim
    56 21.8.1942 - Yak-1 overclaim
    -----------------------------------------------
    Day losses: 2 LaGG-3 lost (mladshiy leitenant Samarkov, mladshiy leitenant Bagrayev), 2 I-16 damaged. Mueller, Ehrler and other pilots claimed 14 victories.
    -----------------------------------------------
    57 22.8.1942 - Fighter overclaim
    58 22.8.1942 - Fighter overclaim
    59 22.8.1942 - Fighter overclaim
    -----------------------------------------------
    Day losses: no losses
    -----------------------------------------------
    60 25.8.1942 - Yak-1 Yak-1 of 20 IAP (serzhant Sulimov, killed) (shared victory)
    61 25.8.1942 - Yak-1 overclaim
    -----------------------------------------------
    Day losses: 1 Yak-1 lost. Mueller and other pilots claimed 5 victories (3 Yak-1, 1 MiG-3, 1 P-40).
    -----------------------------------------------
    62 29.8.1942 - E/a overclaim
    63 29.8.1942 - E/a overclaim
    -----------------------------------------------
    Day losses: no losses, no combats (!). So how the hell Mueller could claim his victories???
    -----------------------------------------------
    64 2.9.1942 - Fighter Fighter of 27 IAP or VVS 14 Army (shared victory)
    -----------------------------------------------
    Day losses: 1 P-40, 1 I-16 lost (serzhant Silayev, serzhant Yemelyanov), 2 P-40, 1 I-16 damaged. Mueller, Doebrich, Stolz, Bartels, Kaiser, Herzog, Norz, Kunz and other pilots claimed 17 (!) victories.
    -----------------------------------------------
    65 4.9.1942 - E/a shared victory
    66 8.9.1942 - Fighter Hurricane of VVS 14 Army (shared victory)
    67 9.9.1942 - Hurricane Hurricane of 837 IAP (shared victory)
    68 9.9.1942 - Hurricane overclaim
    69 9.9.1942 - Hurricane overclaim
    70 9.9.1942 - Hurricane overclaim
    -----------------------------------------------
    Day losses: 1 Hurricane, 1 P-39 (kapitan Kuligin - belly-landing, mladshiy leitenant Krivosheev - killed while ramming enemy fighter). Mueller, Ehrler, Doebrich, Scharff, Bock, Herzog, Bartels claimed 13 victories (11 Hurricanes, 1 P-40, 1 P-39).
    -----------------------------------------------
    71 15.9.1942 - Hurricane Hurricane of 837 IAP (shared victory)
    72 15.9.1942 - Hurricane Hurricane of 837 IAP (shared victory)
    73 15.9.1942 - Hurricane Hurricane of 837 IAP (shared victory)
    74 15.9.1942 - Hurricane Hurricane of 837 IAP (shared victory)
    -----------------------------------------------
    Day losses: 5 Hurricanes lost. Mueller, Doebrich, Weissenberger and other pilots claimed 17 victories (12 Hurricanes, 5 P-40)
    -----------------------------------------------
    75 27.9.1942 - Fighter shared victory
    76 27.9.1942 - Fighter shared victory
    77 27.9.1942 - Fighter shared victory
    78 27.9.1942 - Fighter shared victory
    79 27.9.1942 - Fighter shared victory
    80 27.9.1942 - Fighter shared victory
    81 27.9.1942 - Fighter shared victory
    -----------------------------------------------
    Day losses: 4 P-40, 2 Hurricanes, 2 LaGG-3, 1 Yak-1 lost. Mueller and other pilots claimed 20 victories.
    -----------------------------------------------
    82 8.2.1943 - E/a overclaim
    83 8.2.1943 - E/a overclaim
    -----------------------------------------------
    Day losses: no losses
    -----------------------------------------------
    84 17.2.1943 - Hurricane Hurricane of 966 IAP
    85 II.1943 - E/a -
    86 II.1943 - E/a -
    87 21.2.1943 - P-39 Hurricane of 760 IAP
    88 1943 - E/a -
    89 1943 - E/a -
    90 1943 - E/a -
    91 1943 - E/a -
    92 13.3.1943 - P-39 500th victory of 6./JG 5; overclaim
    -----------------------------------------------
    Day losses: no losses. Mueller, Fahldick and Weissenberger claimed 4 victories (2 P-40, 2 P-39).
    -----------------------------------------------
    In total: 17 actual 'kills' + 3 damaged + 29 'shared victories' + 37 overclaims
     
  16. Soren

    Soren Banned

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    And what exactly is the source for your claim that late war the LW system brok down ??

    And exactly how many of those claims you listed were confirmed AL ??
     
  17. Soren

    Soren Banned

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    Without atleast one extra witness to the shoot down of each of those a/c they weren't going to be confimed by the OKL, so those figures are all after action claims and unconfirmed.

    Oh and as to the LW confirmation system, it was still enforcing the very same set of rules right up to 1945 as they had been doing since the start of the war. So I really don't know where you got the idea that it had broken down late in the war...
     
  18. AL Schlageter

    AL Schlageter Banned

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    Aces of the Luftwaffe - Rudolf Müller

    Now compare to the list I posted for Rudolf "Rudi" Müller.

    DerAdlerIstGelandet:
    Do you need to be reminded Soren that during BoB, so many RAF fighters had been cliamed shot down by the LW that only about 50 were left to contest the LW incursions into British airspace.
     
  19. Soren

    Soren Banned

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    As I suspected you don't know the difference between claims and confirmed victories.

    You have no other source than Adler's comment.

    PS: Did you know that according to the claims made by the RAF the LW was nearly extinct by 1941 ?
     
  20. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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