James Edgar Johnson, Leading British Ace

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Maestro

Master Sergeant
Greetings ladies and gentlemen,

I found the story of James Edgar "Johnnie" Johnson over the internet. I hope you'll enjoy... ( Thanks to : http://www.wings-fine-arts.com/johnniejohnson.htm )

James Edgar Johnson tried, unsuccessfully, three times to join the R.A.F. in 1938. Eventually Johnnie Johnson began his pilot training in September of 1939 and was posted to 616 Spitfire Squadron during the Battle of Britain. After a few operational sorties, an old shoulder injury causing him considerable pain, threatened to either ground him or send him to Training Command. The choice was clear.

After a stay in hospital Johnnie Johnson was posted to his squadron in the Spring of 1941. When he arrived, he found that the Wing was commanded by the legendary legless ace Douglas Bader. Johnnie was an eager student and endeavored to learn as much as possible from this inspiring leader. "He taught us the true meaning of courage, spirit and determination" Johnnie explains after Douglas had become a POW. It was now our task to follow his signposts which pointed the way ahead".

Johnnie Johnson was given his first command, No. 610 Squadron, in July 1942. During the Dieppe raid, he flew four sorties, got one enemy fighter and shared another. This sortie almost proved to be his last as he was set upon by a FW 190 with Italian markings. Forbidden to fly below 2,000 feet (ships had been ordered to fire upon anything below this altitude) Johnnie dove and pulled out just above the ships masts. Anti-aircraft fire was intense but he pulled out unscathed. How the Italian FW 190 fared he never knew.

In March of 1943, Johnnie Johnson was given command of the Kenley Spitfire Wing (Mk. 9's) which included two Canadian Squadrons. By September of 1943, his tally was 25 and the Canadian Kenley Wing accounted for 60 more victories.

After a six month rest, he was eager to get back on 'ops' and in March of 1944 he was given command of another Canadian Wing, No. 144 Wing, No. 83 Group of the 2nd Tactical Air Force which became No. 144 RCAF (Fighter) Wing, a fighter/bomber unit comprised of 441, 442 and 443 Squadrons. This Canadian Wing was the first unit to be based in Europe and to operate from France after D-Day.

By late June 1944 he surpassed the record 32 victories of "Sailor" Malan which was highly publicized by the press. Johnnie emphasized that "it was the duty of any leader to have their pilots destroy as many enemy aircraft as possible, not gain personal victories". "Teamwork was essential to ensure a maximum offensive and defensive effectiveness, flushing out and stalking the enemy to bring as many guns to bear as possible".

In early July the three Canadian Spitfire Wings, 126, 127 and 144 were formed into two Wings, Nos. 126 and 127 with Johnnie Johnson commanding 127 Wing comprised of 404, 441 and 442 Squadrons of the RCAF.

On August 23rd, Johnnie Johnson shot down two FW190s and his aircraft was hit for the first time by enemy fire. After the combat, he found himself separated from the Wing (a most dangerous situation) and he proceeded to join a formation of six aircraft after a friendly wing waggle from its leader. He discovered too late that he had inadvertently joined up with a formation of Me109s! Miraculously he escaped by pulling up and climbing into the sun at full power. When the supercharger kicked in he got the extra boost of speed that he needed and he escaped safely but not without taking a cannon shell in his wing root. Upon returning to base he obtained another Spitfire and again went right back into combat.

On the 27th of September 1944, Johnnie dove out of the sun to claim his 38th and final aerial victory. Through 515 operational sorties he was fortunate enough to only be holed once.

In March of 1945, Johnnie Johnson was promoted to Group Captain and given command of No. 125 Wing (in an administrative role) but he often led the Wing or a Squadron. The Wing was equipped with the Spitfire Mk. XIV powered by the 2.050 hp Rolls Royce Griffon engine. This version, however, did not feel at all like a Spitfire with its propeller rotating in the opposite direction "it was both fast and powerful but it's not a Spitfire anymore" states Johnson.

In April 1945, Johnnie led the Wing over Berlin to only encounter Russian aircraft. A few days later the War in Europe ended.

What is truly amazing about 'Johnnie' Johnson's 'score' is that ALL 38 victories were against single engined fighters ranking him as the top-scoring Allied Ace of World War II. Johnson was one of the highest decorated pilots to emerge from the War and remained in the Air Force until his retirement in 1964 as A.O.C. Middle East Forces.

Author of several books on air-fighting Johnnie Johnson is today acknowledged as the leading expert on Air Power during World War II.
 

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"What is truly amazing about 'Johnnie' Johnson's 'score' is that ALL 38 victories were against single engined fighters ranking him as the top-scoring Allied Ace of World War II. "

There is new information , well maybe not new, but unread about, concerning the Leading Allied Ace...

Ivan Nikitovich Kozhedub had 62 victories (+ 2 USAAF P-51's) , and several other Soviets had over 50...

Alexandre Ivanovich Pokryshkin
59 (+ 16 prob 6 sh)

Nikolai Dimitrievich Gulayev
57 (+ 4 shared)

Grigori Andreevich Rechkalov 56 (+ 6 sh)

Kirill Alexeevich Yevstigneyev
53 (+ 3 sh)

Arsenii Vasilyevich Vorozheykin
(6 in Winter War w/Finns)
52 (+14 sh)

Dmitri Borisovich Glinka
50


Marmaduke Thomas St. John Pattle of South Africa is credited with over 50 victories, making him the Highest Ace in the RAF... He scored his victories in less than nine months of active warfare, and for about half of them he was flying an obsolete biplane - the Gloster Gladiator.

Pattle initial claims against the Luftwaffe were documented, but increasingly, loss of records for April 1941 has forced reliance upon diaries and memoirs - particularly the diary maintained by his fitter, W. J. Ringrose. Whilst many of the April claims did not receive official confirmation or recognition, it does appear that by 20th his score had reached at least 50, making him the RAF's top-scoring pilot of the war.

Quote from The South African Military History Society, Military History Journal - Vol 1 No 5 SOUTH AFRICAN AIR ACES OF WORLD WAR II
by Squadron Leader D.P. Tidy

"I am enclosing a few notes which you might find interesting. The first is a copy of the diary of W.J. Ringrose, who was Pattle's fitter in Greece. It has arrived since the publication of "Pattle", and seems to confirm that Pat's score could have been nearer to 60 than 40.

Claims:
Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
1940
1 04/08/40 17:15-19:15 1 Ba.65 (a) Destroyed Gladiator I K7910 Bir Taieb el Esem 80 Squadron
2 04/08/40 17:15-19:15 1 CR.42 (a) Destroyed Gladiator I K7910 E Bir Taieb el Esem 80 Squadron
3 08/08/40 18:00- 1 CR.42 (b) Destroyed Gladiator I K7971 El Gobi 80 Squadron
4 08/08/40 18:00- 1 CR.42 (b) Destroyed Gladiator I K7971 El Gobi 80 Squadron
15/09/40 1 S.79 Damaged Gladiator I Sidi Barrani 80 Squadron
5 19/11/40 a.m. 1 CR.42 (c) Destroyed Gladiator II Koritza area 80 Squadron
6 19/11/40 a.m. 1 CR.42 (c) Destroyed Gladiator II Koritza area 80 Squadron
29/11/40 ½ S.79 (d) Shared damaged Gladiator II Tepelene area 80 Squadron
29/11/40 ½ S.79 (d) Shared damaged Gladiator II Tepelene area 80 Squadron
7 02/12/40 11:00- 1 Ro.37 (e) Destroyed Gladiator II N5832 8 km S Argyrokastron 80 Squadron
8 02/12/40 14:30- 1 Ro.37 (f) Destroyed Gladiator II N5832 near Premet 80 Squadron
9 04/12/40 1 CR.42 (g) Destroyed Gladiator II N Delvinakion 80 Squadron
10 04/12/40 1 CR.42 (g) Destroyed Gladiator II Tepelene area 80 Squadron
11 04/12/40 1 CR.42 (g) Destroyed Gladiator II Tepelene area 80 Squadron
04/12/40 1 CR.42 (g) Probable Gladiator II Tepelene area 80 Squadron
04/12/40 1 CR.32 (g) Probable Gladiator II Tepelene area 80 Squadron
12 20/12/40 10:40 1 S.79 (h) Destroyed Gladiator II 5m SE Tepelene 80 Squadron
13 20/12/40 10:40 1 S.81 (i) Destroyed Gladiator II 15m N Kelcyre 80 Squadron
21/12/40 10:30- 1 BR.20 (j) Probable Gladiator II near Argyrokastron 80 Squadron
14 21/12/40 10:30- 1 CR.42 (k) Destroyed Gladiator II near Argyrokastron 80 Squadron
1941
28/01/41 14:20 1/3 Z.1007 (l) Shared destroyed Gladiator II Kelcyre-Premet 80 Squadron
28/01/41 14:20 ½ BR.20 (l) Shared Probable Gladiator II Kelcyre-Premet 80 Squadron
15 09/02/41 10:30- 1 CR.42 (m) Destroyed Gladiator II outskirts of Tepelene 80 Squadron
10/02/41 mid morning 1 Z.1007 (n) Damaged Gladiator II N5832 Yanina area 80 Squadron
10/02/41 p.m. 1 BR.20 (n) Damaged Gladiator II N5832 Yanina area 80 Squadron
16 20/02/41 14:45- 1 G.50 (o) Destroyed Hurricane I V7724 Berat 80 Squadron
17 27/02/41 16:00 1 CR.42 (p) Destroyed Hurricane I V7724 Valona 80 Squadron
18 28/02/41 15:30-16:30 1 BR.20 (q) Destroyed Hurricane I V7589 Tepelene-Coast 80 Squadron
19 28/02/41 15:30-16:30 1 BR.20 (q) Destroyed Hurricane I V7589 Tepelene-Coast 80 Squadron
20 28/02/41 p.m. 1 CR.42 (q) Destroyed Hurricane I V7724 Tepelene-Coast 80 Squadron
21 28/02/41 p.m. 1 CR.42 (q) Destroyed Hurricane I V7724 Tepelene-Coast 80 Squadron
28/02/41 p.m. 1 CR.42 (q) Probable Hurricane I V7724 Tepelene-Coast 80 Squadron
22 04/03/41 15:00 1 G.50 (r) Destroyed Hurricane I N Himare 80 Squadron
23 04/03/41 15:00 1 G.50 (r) Destroyed Hurricane I SW Valona 80 Squadron
24 04/03/41 15:00 1 G.50 (r) Destroyed Hurricane I W Valona 80 Squadron
04/03/41 15:00 1 CR.42 (r) Probable Hurricane I Valona Harbour 80 Squadron
25 23/03/41 1 G.50 (s) Destroyed Hurricane I V Berat near Fier a/f 33 Squadron
23/03/41 1 G.50 (s) Probable Hurricane I Fier airfield 33 Squadron
23/03/41 1 G.50 (t) Destroyed on the ground Hurricane I Fier airfield 33 Squadron
23/03/41 1 G.50 (t) Destroyed on the ground Hurricane I Fier airfield 33 Squadron
23/03/41 1 G.50 (t) Destroyed on the ground Hurricane I Fier airfield 33 Squadron
26 06/04/41 p.m. 1 Bf109 (u) Destroyed Hurricane I Rupel Pass, Bulgaria 33 Squadron
27 06/04/41 p.m. 1 Bf109 (u) Destroyed Hurricane I Rupel Pass, Bulgaria 33 Squadron
28 07/04/41 p.m. 1 Do17 (v) Destroyed Hurricane I E Strumica 33 Squadron
08/04/41 1 Enemy aircraft (w) Destroyed on the ground Hurricane I Petrich airfield 33 Squadron
08/04/41 1 Enemy aircraft (w) Destroyed on the ground Hurricane I Petrich airfield 33 Squadron
29 09/04/41 a.m. 1 Do17 (x) Destroyed Hurricane I Larissa 33 Squadron
30 10/04/41 p.m. 1 Bf110 (y) Destroyed Hurricane I Bitolj area 33 Squadron
31 10/04/41 p.m. 1 Bf109 (y) Destroyed Hurricane I Bitolj area 33 Squadron
32 11/04/41 morning 1 Ju88 (z) Destroyed Hurricane I off Velos 33 Squadron
33 11/04/41 morning 1 He111 (z) Destroyed Hurricane I off Velos 33 Squadron
34 12/04/41 p.m. 1 Do17 (aa) Destroyed Hurricane I E Salonica 33 Squadron
35 12/04/41 p.m. 1 S.79 (aa) Destroyed Hurricane I Larissa area 33 Squadron
12/04/41 p.m. 1 Bf109 (aa) Damaged Hurricane I Larissa area 33 Squadron
36 14/04/41 07:10 1 Bf109 (bb) Destroyed Hurricane I 33 Squadron
37 14/04/41 08:43 1 Ju88 (cc) Destroyed Hurricane I 33 Squadron
38 14/04/41 10:04 1 Bf110 (bb) Destroyed Hurricane I 33 Squadron
39 14/04/41 13:08 1 S.79 (dd) Destroyed Hurricane I 33 Squadron
40 14/04/41 17:40 1 Ju88 (bb) Destroyed Hurricane I 33 Squadron
41 19/04/41 06:35 1 Ju88 (ee) Destroyed Hurricane I Athens area 33 Squadron
42 19/04/41 06:35 1 Ju88 (ee) Destroyed Hurricane I Athens area 33 Squadron
19/04/41 06:35 1 Ju88 (ee) Probable Hurricane I Athens area 33 Squadron
19/04/41 09:20 – 1/3 Hs126 (ff) Shared destroyed Hurricane I S Lamia 33 Squadron
43 19/04/41 09:20 – 1 Bf109 (gg) Destroyed Hurricane I Lamia area 33 Squadron
44 19/04/41 09:20 – 1 Bf109 (gg) Destroyed Hurricane I Lamia area 33 Squadron
45 19/04/41 14:50 – 1 Ju88 (hh) Destroyed Hurricane I N Khalkis 33 Squadron
46 19/04/41 18:20 1 Bf109 (ii) Destroyed Hurricane I 33 Squadron
19/04/41 18:20 1 Bf109 (ii) Probable Hurricane I 33 Squadron
47 20/04/41 14:00 1 Bf109 (jj) Destroyed Hurricane I Eleusis-Tanagra a/f 33 Squadron
48 20/04/41 14:00 1 Bf109 (jj) Destroyed Hurricane I Eleusis-Tanagra a/f 33 Squadron
49 20/04/41 15:41 1 Ju88 Destroyed Hurricane I Athens area 33 Squadron
50 20/04/41 p.m. 1 Bf110 (kk) Destroyed Hurricane I AS988 Piraeus 33 Squadron

The above extract is exactly as it appears in the diary of Ringrose. Discrepancies in dates are due to the fact that Ringrose did not have a current 1941 diary at the time. He says that he must have used the days rather than the dates. He further says that he completed his diary, which he carried with him the whole of the time, as soon as Pattle returned from a mission. If in fact the above is a true record, then Pattle's final score would be:

With 80 Squadron:
25 destroyed, plus shares in the destruction of 3 more.
4 probably destroyed.
5 damaged.
3 destroyed on the ground.

With 33 Squadron:
27 destroyed.
3 probably destroyed.

Total:
52 destroyed, plus shares in the destruction of 3 more.
7 probably destroyed.
5 damaged.
3 destroyed on the ground.
 
All informations I have about him describe him as a British pilot.

Here is some personnal informations about him I found over the internet.

James Edgar Johnson, known as Johnnie, was born on March 9, 1915 at Melton Mowbray. He moved to Barrow upon Soar, and went to Loughborough Grammar School. He then went on to Nottingham University, where he read engineering. He was Britain's most famous WWII fighter pilot and brought notched up the record score of RAF combat victories in North West Europe. The highest scoring RAF fighter pilot to survive the war, he shot down 38 enemy aircraft in the skies over Western Europe between June 1941 and September 1944. This tally is remarkable because Johnson began his operational career after the end of the Battle of Britain, which provided such a rich harvest of combat victories for many of his peers as the Luftwaffe's air fleets attacked virtually day after day. It was much harder to shoot down enemy planes over enemy territory, operations for which the Spitfire was much less suited than it had been to the role of air defence in the summer of 1940. He died on January 30, 2001 aged 85. People in Loughborough, including the Grammar School, as well as in Barrow upon Soar and Nottingham, held services in his memory.

So he was a RAF pilot.
 
lesofprimus said:
Dude, he was joking about the whole "not bein british" thing...

Johnson was a hell of a pilot... Paddy Finacune woulda surpassed him if he hadnt nosed into the Channel.... Paddy shot down Adolf Galland BTW...

Ha... Right.

Concerning Galland, did you know that he got shot down four times (two of them on the same day) ?
 

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