What makes an ace?

Discussion in 'Old Threads' started by dead parrot, Jul 19, 2004.

  1. dead parrot

    dead parrot Member

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    This is something I've been wondering about for a while now, but what do you all think is the key factor that turns a fighter pilot into an ace?

    The vast majority of pilots seemed to have muddled through battles and got somewhere between 0 and 1 or maybe 2 kills, but a precious few acccount for a huge percentage of a fighter force's kills. What do these aces have in common?

    One factor I have frequently come across is that aces already knew how to shoot (rifles etc) before becoming pilots. But I find this kind of strange, because I can't help thinking that shooting a rifle and lining up a plane for a shot are two completly different skill sets...

    Anyways, what do you think?
     
  2. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

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    Hmmm... You're post remembered me a strange story I heard about a Canadian ace of WW II.

    The guy (if I remember well) was from Trois-Rivières and loved duck hunting. When the war started, he went to England and enlisted in the RAF (RCAF didn't wanted him). This guy was so used (as a duck hunter) to listen carefully, that he could hear a enemy plane's engine before it came at sight. So he had the time to jump in a plane and warm-up the engine before Germans could straffle the airstrip.

    The guy was so talented that, a couple of years later, Canada forced him back and gave him a high-ranking spot in the RCAF.

    Is it a true story or only a legend, I'll never know.
     
  3. Lightning Guy

    Lightning Guy Active Member

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    There were several things which contributed to being an Ace. Good gunnery helped, but wasn't required (Dick Bong was an ace several times over before receiving ANY training in air-to-air gunnery). Good eye-sight was important as was aggressiveness. I think one of the keys was a knowledge of your aircraft and that of your enemies. The pilot who can use the strengths of his plane and avoid the strengths of his enemy is bound to have success.
     
  4. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    Or it could just be (in the USAAF) shooting three aircraft on the ground. :lol:
     
  5. dead parrot

    dead parrot Member

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    Dick Ira Bong--what a name... :)

    But, seriously, he is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. He was a farm boy who grew up hunting with guns. So, he was good shot with a rifle and therefore he was a good shot in a plane, even though he had no air-to-air gunnery training...
     
  6. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    It's the same principal, aim and shoot. On top of that, he probably was used to hitting moving targets. So he had a clue about firing in front of the target to bring the target into the bullet.
     
  7. Lightning Guy

    Lightning Guy Active Member

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    Bong was skilled in hunting but was never considered a good air-to-air marksmen. The majority of his kills were scored at dangerously close ranges where the chances of missing were virtually nil. After the war, he admitted that if he had received propery gunnery training before being deployed he could have doubled his score.

    The destruction of aircraft on the ground was only counted in Europe. If you want to get on some one about their kill counts, get on the French or some of the Eastern European countries. They counted shared victories as whole kills and sometimes award multiple victories for dowing 1 plane (ie, 1 pilot might get credit for 2 kills because he shot down a twin-engined airplane).
     
  8. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    I'm not getting at it, I'm just stating a fact. Destroying 3 planes on the ground wasn't as easy as it sounds.
     
  9. Lightning Guy

    Lightning Guy Active Member

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    I don't think 3 planes on the ground was ever considered an ace. 3 on the ground plus 2 in the air might be.
     
  10. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    I saw it on a programme, and even a few Mustang pilots on it said so. I've got an interview with another Mustang pilot in a magazine who had 3 air kills, and he was an ace too. One was a Schwalbe, so I'll let him off. :D

    The Germans weren't impressed if you were still in double figures. :lol:
     
  11. the lancaster kicks ass

    the lancaster kicks ass Active Member

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    well that's more they had in the air late in the war......................
     
  12. Lightning Guy

    Lightning Guy Active Member

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    I haven't seen anybody counting 3 as an Ace unless they had additional ground kills to make it to five. The Germans really looked down on the 5 kill mark. You needed at least 10 for it to mean anything to Luftwaffe. And they had over 100 pilots with 100+ kills.
     
  13. the lancaster kicks ass

    the lancaster kicks ass Active Member

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    yes but allot of them stayed on the ground, which is why i was carefull with my choise of words....................
     
  14. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

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    I have some statistics about WW II Aces. (I appologize for any mistake, I translated it from French.)

    Luftwaffe:

    Colonel Erich "Bubi" Hartmann, best pilot, 352 victories
    Major Erich Rudorffer, 7th best pilot, 222 victories
    Lieutenant-Colonel Dietrich Hrabak, 125 victories

    USAAF:

    Colonel Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, 28 victoires
    Major Robert S. Johnson, 27 victories
    Major John T. Godfrey, 16.33 victories

    RAF:

    Vice Air-Marshall J.E. "Johnnie" Johnson, best RAF pilot in Europe, 38 victories
    Captain Alan C. Deere, 22.5 victories

    Well, that's all I have...
     
  15. dead parrot

    dead parrot Member

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    Hmm, I wonder how many of those were good shots with rifles etc before they ever flew...? Maestro, do you know off-hand?

    Just another example I have seen (from The Most Dangerous Enemy, so a lot of you guys know it, I reckon), is the British ace Robert Doe. He had grown up shooting a rifle a lot when he was a kid, and so in his first ever action managed to shoot down two Me110s, despite the fact that he was an uncomfortable pilot who never did well at all at the acrobatic stuff. He put his success down to being a good shot and having a simple evasive technique that worked for him.
     
  16. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    Hey guys it has been several dyas of R R.

    let's make it perfectly clear for an air ace 5 kills were needed, For an air to ground ace 5 kills were needed. 3 kills does not make you an ace flying in WW 2 with the US of A, so that material is crock ! Fine so he scored 1 Me 262, but that does not elevate the score by 2-3 though. for the US the air to air kills were the most important followe by ground kills. Both air and ground were summed up together as an overall total for US pilots flying in the ETO. Not sure at all about the PTO, my weak point.

    For the Luftwaffe, the air to air kills is the only thing that mattered unless you were of the Schlacht units and then they were counted especially armor kills. Seems that a/c shot up on the ground was not given high priority in the overall count for the pilots and their awards. Hve never heard of 5 kills being looked down upon by the German fighter forces and in fact in 1945 it was actually praised and their was hope for a few newer pilots that were able to score that many against the RAF/US and still live to talk about it. Same goes for the German night fighter forces.

    Incidently Erich Rüdoffer's score could be specualted as there were not witnesse's to all of his kills, sadly Erich will not answer any more mails so this cannot even be attempted.......

    E ~
     
  17. Lightning Guy

    Lightning Guy Active Member

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    Air to ground kills were not counted by US forces in the Pacific war although some people (particularly in the Navy) kept track of them as a separate catergory. The air groups aboard the USS Yorktown CV-10, for example, used the symbol of a duck (as in sitting duck) to signify a strafing kill.
     
  18. dead parrot

    dead parrot Member

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    Plan-D, it's a long shot, but are you talking about Ben Drew, an interview with whom appeared in World War II magazine, March 2004? His 5th and 6th kills were Me-262s, both on the same day. He also help destroy the prototype of the HUGE Bv-238V1, thus putting an end to its development.
     
  19. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    If I can find the magazine I'll tell you, but it's not him. This one got one Me-262 killed and 2 damaged in one day.
     
  20. lesofprimus

    lesofprimus Active Member

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    Here is the list that I have been compiling for quite some time...
    Enjoy...

    USSR

    Ivan Nikitovich Kozhedub 62
    Alexandr Ivanovich Pokryshkin 59
    Grigori A. Rechkalov 58
    Nikolai D. Gulayev 57
    Dimitriy B. Glinka 56
    Kirill A. Yevstigneyev 53
    Nikolai M. Skomorokov 52
    Arsenii V. Vorozheykin 52
    Aleksandr F. Klubov 50
    Ivan M. Pilipenko 48
    Aleksandr I. Koldunov 46
    Pavel M. Kamozin 46
    Vasilii N. Kubarev 46
    Nikolai F. Krasnov 44
    Vladimir I. Bobrov 43
    Sergi Morgunov 43
    Georgi D. Kostilev 43
    Vitalii I. Popkov 40
    Aleksi V. Alelyukin 40
    Lapanskii 40
    Viktor F. Golubev 39
    Vasilii F. Golubev 38
    Mikhail Y. Pivovarov 37
    Sergi D. Luganskii 37
    Anatoli G. Dolgikh 36
    Grigorii K. Gul'tyaev 36
    Nikolai F. Kuznetsov 36
    Ivan I. Babak 35
    Nikolai S. Pavlushkin 35
    Vladmir D. Lavrinenkov 35

    SOUTH AFRICA

    *Marmaduke Thomas St.John Pattle 62
    Adolph Gysbert Malan 35
    Petrus Hendrick Hugo 22
    *Johannes Jacobus Le Roux 18
    Albert Gerald Lewis 18

    USA

    Richard Ira Bong 40
    *Thomas B. McGuire Jr.38
    David McCampbell 34
    Gregory Boyington 28 (6 w/AVG)
    Francis S. Gabreski 28 (+6.5 Korea)
    Robert S. Johnson 28
    Charles H. MacDonald 27
    *George E. Preddy Jr. 26.83
    Joseph Jacob Foss 26
    *Robert Murray Hanson 25
    *Lance C. Wade (RAF) 25
    Cecil E. Harris 24
    John C. Meyer 24 (+2 Korea)
    Eugene A. Valencia 23
    Ray S. Wetmore 23
    David C. Schilling 23
    *Gerald R. Johnson 22
    *Neel E. Kearby 22
    Jay T. Robbins 22
    Fred Joseph Christensen 22
    Dominic S. Gentile 22
    John J. Voll 21
    Kenneth A. Walsh 21
    Walker M. Mahurin 20.75 (+3.5 Korea)
    Donald N. Aldrich 20
    *Thomas J. Lynch 20
    Robert B. Westbrook 20

    BRIT

    James Edgar Johnson 38
    *Brendan Eugene Finucane 32
    William Vale 31
    James H. Lacey 30
    John Braham 29 (19 at night)
    Robert Stanford Tuck 29
    Frank R. Carey 28
    Neville F. Duke 28.8
    * Eric G. Lock 26
    Billy Drake 25
    * Geoffrey Allard 24
    Douglas Bader 23
    Donald E. Kingaby 23
    Robert F. Boyd 23
    Haurice M. Stephen 22.5
    Michael N. Crossley 22
    H. J. L. Hallowes 21.33
    A. A. McKellar 21
    Bransome A. Burbridge 21 (20 at night)
    G. Gilroy 21
    H. J. L. Hallowes 21
    J. E. Rankin 21
    R. A. Harries 20.33
    John Cunningham 20 (19 at night)
    R. H. Harries 20
    W. D. David 20

    CANADA

    George Frederick Beurling 31
    Vernon Crompton Woodward 21
    * Henry Wallace McLeod 19
    *Mark Henry Brown 18
    George Clinton Keefer 17
    *William Thomas Klersy 16.5
    *William Lidstone McKnight 16.5
    Robert wendell McNair 16
    Edward Francis J. Charles 15.5
    James Francis Edwards 15
    Donald Currie Laubman 15


    FRENCH

    Pierre H. Closterman 33
    Marcel Albert 23
    *Jean E. F. Demozay 21
    *Pierre Le Gloan 20
    *Edmond Marin la Meslee 20
    Roland De La Poype 17
    Roger Sauvage 17
    Jacques Andre 16
    Louis Delfino 16
    Michel Dorance 16
    Jean Marie Accart 16
    *Albert Littolff 15

    AUSTRAILIA

    Clive Robertson Caldwell 28.5
    Charles Curnow Scherf 23.5
    *Keith William Truscott 17
    *Leslie Redford Clisby 16.5
    Adrian Philip Goldsmith 16.25
    John Lloyd Waddy 15.5
    *Patrick Clarence Hughes 15.17
    *Richard Nigel Cullen 15

    NEW ZEALAND

    Collin F.Gray 28
    Alan Christopher Deere 22.5
    Evan Dall Mackie 22
    Raymond Brown Hessylyn 22
    William V. Crawford-Compton 22
    John Milne Checketts 22
    Edgar James Kain 17
    Brian John George Carbury 15.5

    CZECH

    Karel Miroslav Kuttelwascher (RAF) 28 (15 at night)
    *Joseph Frantisek (RAF) 28
    *Alois Vasatko 15.33
    Frantisek Perina (RAF) 14

    SPAIN

    Juan Lario Sanchez 27 (USSR)
    *Francisco Merono Pellicer 20 (USSR)
    Vicente Beltran 20 (USSR)

    JAPS

    Tetsuzo Iwamoto 202
    Hiroyoshi Nishizawa 174
    *Shoichi Sugita 120
    *Takeo Okumura 98
    Satoshi Anabuki 96
    *Mitsuyoshi Tarui 76
    Tadashi Nakajima 75
    Isamu Sasaki 75
    Shigeo Fukumoto 72
    *Toshio Ota 68 (Devil of Rabaul)?
    Saburo Sakai 64
    Kazuo Sugino 64
    Yasuhiko Kuroe 60
    *Junichi Sasai 60
    *Hiromishi Shinohara 58
    Sadaaki Akamatsu 54
    *Naoisihi Kanno 53
    *Goro Furugori 50
    Kenji Okabe 50

    FINNISH

    Eino Ilmari Juutilainen 94.17
    Hans (Hasse) Henrik Wind 78
    Eino Antero Luukkanen 56
    Urho Sakari Lehtovaara 44.5
    Oiva Emil K. Tuominen 44
    Risto Olli P. Puhakka 43
    Olavi Kauko Puro 36
    Nils Edvard Katajainen 36
    *Lauri Vilhelm Nissinen 32.33
    Kyosti Keijo E. Karhila 32.25
    Jorma Karhunen 31.5
    Emil Onerva Vesa 29.5
    Turo Tapio 'Tappi' Jarvi 28.5
    Klaus Jalmari Alakoski 26
    Altto Kalevi Tervo 23.25
    Jorma Kalevi Saarinen 23
    Eero Aulis Kinnunen 22.5
    Antti Johannes Tani 21.5
    Urho Paavo Johannes Myllyl 21

    ROMANIA

    Prince Constantine Cantacuzine 60
    *Alexandre Serbanescu 53
    Florian Budu 40
    Ion Milu 32
    Mucenica 24
    T. Greceanu 20
    Vinca 16
    Dan Vizanti 15

    CROATIA

    *Mato Dukovak 40
    *Cvitan Galic 38
    Jan Gerthofer 33
    Isidor Kovaric 28
    Jan Reznak 26
    Mato Culinovic 18
    Dragutin Ivanic 18

    SLOVAK

    Jan Gerthoffer 33
    Jan Reznak 32
    *Izidor Kovarik 29
    Frantisek Cyprich 21
    Rudolf Bozik 19
    Stefan Martis 19

    HUNGARY

    Dezso Szentgyorgyi 34
    Gyorgy Debrody 26
    Lajos Toth 26
    *Laszlo Molnar 25
    Mikos Kenyeres 19

    ITALY

    * Adriano Visconti 26
    * Franco Lucchini 26
    * Teresio Martinoli 23
    * Leonardo Ferrulli 22
    * Mario Visentini 20
    Franco Bordoni-Bisleri 19
    Luigi Gorrini 19
    Furio Lauri 18
    Mario Vientini 17
    Ugo Drago 16
    Mario Bonzano 15
    Duilio Fanali 15

    GERMANY

    Erich Hartmann 352
    Gerhard Barkhorn 301
    Guenther Rall 275
    * Otto Kittel 267
    Theodore Weissenberger 252
    Wilhelm Batz 237
    Erich Rudorffer 222
    Heinrich Bar 221
    * Heinrich Ehrler 220
    Hermann Graf 212
    Johannes Weise 208
    * Hans Philip 206
    Walter Schuck 206
    Anton Hafner 204
    Helmut Lipfert 203
    Walter Krupinski 197
    Anton Hackl 192
    * Maximilian Stotz 189
    Joachim Brendel 189
    * Joachim Kirschner 188
    Kurt Hans Friedrich Brandle 180
    Guenther Josten 178
    Johannes Steinhoff 178-176
    *Albin Wolf 176
    Ernst-Wilhelm Reinert 174
    Gunther Schack 174
    *Emil Lang 173
    *Heinz Johnny Schmidt 173
    *Horst Adameit 166
    *Wolf-Dietrich Wilke 162
    *Hans-Joachim Marseille 158
    *Heinrich Sturm 158
    Gerhard Thyben 157
    *Hans Beiswenger 152
    Peter Duettmann 152
    Gordon Gollob 150
     
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