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Encyclopedia > Flying ace
The "Red Baron", Manfred von Richthofen, perhaps the most famous ace of all
The "first ace", Adolphe Pegoud being awarded the Croix de Guerre
The "first ace", Adolphe Pegoud being awarded the Croix de Guerre

A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down five or more enemy aircraft during aerial combat. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1795x2597, 267 KB) Photograph of Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1795x2597, 267 KB) Photograph of Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron. ... Red Baron redirects here. ... Image File history File links Pegoud_croix_de_guerre. ... Image File history File links Pegoud_croix_de_guerre. ... Adolphe Celestin Pegoud (1889-1915) was a well known French aviator who became the first fighter ace. ... The Croix de guerre is a military decoration of both Belgium and France which was first created in 1915. ... It has been suggested that Aerial warfare be merged into this article or section. ... Flying machine redirects here. ...

Contents

History

World War I

See also: List of World War I air aces

Use of the term ace in military aviation circles began in World War I (1914–18), when French newspapers described Adolphe Pegoud, as l’as (French for "ace") after he became the first pilot to down five German aircraft. The term had been popularized in prewar French newspapers when referring to sports stars such as football (soccer) players and bicyclists. This is the reason why "ace" is also used to refer to non-aviators who have distinguished themselves by sinking ships and destroying tanks (see, for example, Aces of the Deep). The following is a list of the flying aces of World War I. Of the thirty-three aces, eighteen died during the conflict. ... “The Great War ” redirects here. ... Adolphe Celestin Pegoud (1889-1915) was a well known French aviator who became the first fighter ace. ... For other uses, see Aviator (disambiguation). ... A player (wearing the red kit) has penetrated the defence (in the white kit) and is taking a shot at goal. ... For the Queen song, see Bicycle Race. ... For online phenomenon of shipping, see Shipping (fandom). ... The Aces of the Deep were the ten German U-Boat commanders during World War II who sunk the most enemy merchant ships during their naval services, ranked according to the total tonnage of the ships they sunk. ...


The German Empire instituted the practice of awarding the Pour le Mérite ("Der blaue Max"/"The blue Max"), its highest award for gallantry, to aviators who had destroyed eight Allied aircraft.[1] In addition, German pilots who had achieved 10 kills were publicised. Qualification for the Pour le Mérite was later raised to 16 kills.[2] For German colonial territories, see German Colonial Empire. ... The Order Pour le Mérite, known informally as the Blue Max (German: Blauer Max), was Prussias highest military order until the end of World War I. The award was a blue-enameled Maltese Cross with eagles between the arms, the Prussian royal cypher, and the French legend Pour... This article is about the independent states that comprised the Allies. ...


In 1914–16, the British Empire did not have a centralised system of recording aerial victories, and did not publish official statistics on the successes of its pilots, although some pilots did become famous through press coverage.[3] However, after 1916, an automatic award of a Military Cross was made to a pilot with five official victories although the term ace was never used officially by the British. The British Empire in 1897, marked in pink, the traditional colour for Imperial British dominions on maps. ... The Military Cross (MC) is the third level military decoration awarded to officers and (since 1993) other ranks of the British Army and formerly also to officers of other Commonwealth countries. ...


In 1914–18, different air services also had different methods of assigning credit for kills. The German Luftstreitkräfte credited only one pilot for each victory, and only for enemy planes assessed as destroyed or captured after examining the enemy aircraft on the ground; most aerial fighting was over German lines and so this was impractical for the allied air forces. Most other nations adopted the French Armee de l'Air system of granting full credit to every pilot or aerial gunner participating in a victory, which could sometimes be six or seven individuals. The British did not, crediting fractions of a kill to airmen if multiple aeroplanes shot down an enemy. But the British credited "moral victories", when enemy planes were seen to be "driven down", "forced to land", and "out of control". The United States Army Air Service followed a similar practice. For example, Eddie Rickenbacker's 26 victories included ten planes "out of control", several "dived east", and two observation balloons. None of those would have been credited in later wars. By contrast, a two-member British bomber crew, who performed remarkable feats of flying and aerial gunnery, when they attacked 30 German Fokker D.VIIs on 23 August 1918, are not regarded as aces. The Bermudian pilot, Lt Arthur Spurling destroyed three D.VIIs with his DH-9's fixed, forward-firing machine guns, and gunner Sgt Frank Bell downed two with his rear gun. Spurling was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross as a result of his actions. The Luftstreitkräfte or Imperial German Army Air Service (Die Fliegertruppen des deutschen Kaiserreiches), was the over-land air arm of the German military during World War I (1914–1918). ... The French Air Force is the air force branch of the French Armed Forces. ... The United States Army Air Service was a forerunner of the United States Air Force. ... Eddie Rickenbacker (October 8, 1890 – July 27, 1973) was best known as a World War I fighter ace and Medal of Honor recipient. ... Observation balloons originated in the American Civil War (1861-65) and continued in the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71. ... For other uses, see Bomber (disambiguation). ... Fokker D.VII Fokker D.VII Fokker D.VII preserved in the Deutsches Museum The Fokker D.VII was a late World War I fighter aircraft designed by Reinhold Platz at the Fokker company. ... is the 235th day of the year (236th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1918 (MCMXVIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. ... Three DH.9A in formation. ... The Distinguished Flying Cross is a military decoration awarded to personnel of the United Kingdoms Royal Air Force and other services, and formerly to officers of other Commonwealth countries, for an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying in active operations against the enemy...


World War II

See also: List of World War II air aces

In World War II, many air forces credited fractional shares of aerial victories, resulting in fractions or decimal scores, such as 11½ or 26.83. Some U.S. commands also credited aircraft destroyed on the ground as equal to aerial victories. The Soviets distinguished between solo and group kills, as did the Japanese, though the IJN stopped crediting individual victories in 1943. The German Luftwaffe continued the tradition of "one pilot, one kill." This is a list of the top World War II aces. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... For Combined Fleet, please see that article. ... The Deutsche Luftwaffe or   (German: air force, literally Air Weapon, pronounced lufft-va-fa, IPA: ) is the commonly used term for the German air force. ...

Erich Hartmann, the highest-scoring ace in history, with 352 kills claimed
Erich Hartmann, the highest-scoring ace in history, with 352 kills claimed
Ilmari Juutilainen, the highest-scoring non-German ace in history, with 94 kills claimed

The Soviet Air Force had the world's only female aces. During World War II, Katya Budanova achieved 11 and Lydia Litvyak scored 12 victories. Image File history File links Erich_Hartmann. ... Image File history File links Erich_Hartmann. ... Erich Alfred Bubi Hartmann (April 19, 1922 - September 20, 1993), also nicknamed The Blond Knight Of Germany by friends and The Black Devil by his enemies, is the most successful fighter ace in the history of aerial combat. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Ilmari Juutilainen (February 21, 1914 - February 21, 1999) was a Finnish Air Force fighter pilot during Winter War (1939-1940) and Continuation War (1941-1944). ... The Soviet Air Force, also known under the abbreviation VVS, transliterated from Russian: ВВС, Военно-воздушные силы (Voenno-Vozdushnye Sily), formed the official designation of the air force of the Soviet Union. ... Yekaterina Budanova Yekaterina Vasylievna Budanova, also known as Katya Budanova (Екатерина Васильевна Буданова, December 7, 1916 - July 19, 1943), was a woman fighter pilot in the Soviet Air Force during the Second World War. ... Lydia Litvyak Lydia Vladimirovna Litvyak, (Лидия Владимировна Литвяк, August 18, 1921 – August 1, 1943), also known as Lydia Litvak or Lily Litvak, was a female fighter pilot in the Soviet Air Force during Second World War. ...


The huge tallies of many German World War II aces are partly explained by the obsolescent aircraft and poorly-trained pilots often fielded by the Allies, especially the Soviets. In addition, Luftwaffe pilots generally flew many more sorties than their Allied counterparts. Additionally, national policies differed; Axis pilots tended to return to the cockpit over and over again until killed, while very successful Allied pilots were either progressively promoted to ranks and positions that involved less and less combat flying, or routinely rotated back to training bases to educate cadet flyers, in hopes that the younger pilots would absorb enough knowledge from the experienced aces to survive battle and improve the overall fighting ability of the aerial force. Sortie is a term for deployment of one military aircraft or a ship for the purposes of a specific mission, whether alone, or with other aircraft or vessels. ...


Vietnam War

See also: List of Vietnam War flying aces

Despite official figures, very few recognized aces actually shot down as many aircraft as credited to them. The primary reason for inaccurate victory claims is the inherent confusion of three-dimensional, high speed combat, but competitiveness and the desire for recognition also figure in. Consequently, errors of 50 to 100% and more are common in air combat. In World War II, the aircraft gun camera came into general usage, partly in hope of alleviating the inaccurate victory claims. In the Korean War, both the U.S. and Communist air arms claimed a 10 to 1 victory-loss ratio. Vietnam produced the last U.S. aces of the 20th century: Lieutenant Randall H. "Duke" Cunningham (aircraft commander), Lieutenant Richard C Behlmer Sr. (aircraft commander) and Lt (j.g.) William P. Driscoll (RIO), of the U.S. Navy; and Captains Richard S. Ritchie (aircraft commander) and Charles B. DeBellevue (WSO), U.S. Air Force. The following is a list of flying aces of the Vietnam War. ... Gun cameras are cameras used in military vehicles to help measure tactical effectiveness. ... Combatants United Nations:  Republic of Korea,  Australia,  Belgium,  Luxembourg,  Canada,  Colombia,  Ethiopia,  France,  Greece,  Luxembourg,  Netherlands,  New Zealand,  Philippines,  South Africa,  Thailand,  Turkey,  United Kingdom,  United States Medical staff:  Denmark,  Australia,  Italy,  Norway,  Sweden Communist states:  Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,  Peoples Republic of China,  Soviet Union Commanders... Lieutenant is a military, naval, paramilitary, fire service or police officer rank. ... Randall Harold Cunningham (born December 8, 1941), usually known as Randy or Duke, was a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from Californias 50th Congressional District from 1991 to 2005. ... LTJG insignia. ... William Irish Driscoll served as a Navy Radar Intercept Officer who together with pilot Randall Duke Cunningham, were the US Navys only two aces during the Vietnam War flying F-4 Phantom II jets off the USS Constellation in Squadron VF-96, The Fighting Falcons. ... lguy657v ... Captain is a rank or title with various meanings. ... Brigadier General Richard S. Steve Ritchie was born in Reidsville, North Carolina. ... Colonel Charles Barbin “Chuck” DeBellevue (born August 15, 1945) is a former officer in the United States Air Force. ... The Weapon Systems Officer (WSO, pronounced wizzo) is an air navigator directly involved in all air operations and weapon systems of the aircraft (fighter or bomber). ...


Accuracy

The most accurate figures usually belong to the air arm fighting over its own territory, where wrecks can be counted. It is for this reason that at least 76 of the 80 planes credited to Manfred von Richthofen can be tied to known British losses — the German Jagdstaffeln deliberately flew on their own side of the lines — at least in part to maximise the number of claims they could officially claim under the rather strict claims regime of their service. Red Baron redirects here. ...


Ace in a day

The term "ace in a day" is used to designate a fighter pilot who has shot down five or more airplanes in a single day. The most notable is Hans-Joachim Marseille of Germany, who was credited with downing 17 Allied fighters in just three sorties over North Africa on September 1, 1942, during World War II. The highest number aerial victories for a single day was claimed by Emil Lang, who claimed 18 Soviet fighters on November 3, 1943. Erich Rudorffer is credited with the destruction of 13 aircraft in a single mission on October 11, 1943. Numerous other Luftwaffe pilots also claimed the title during World War II. Hans-Joachim Marseille (13 December 1919 - 30 September 1942) was a Luftwaffe pilot and flying ace during World War II. He was nicknamed the Star of Africa. Marseille scored all but seven of his 158 victories against the British Commonwealths Desert Air Force over North Africa. ...  Northern Africa (UN subregion)  geographic, including above North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, separated by the Sahara from Sub-Saharan Africa. ... is the 244th day of the year (245th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1942 (MCMXLII) was a common year starting on Thursday (the link will display the full 1942 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Emil Bully Lang (January 14, 1909 - September 3, 1944) was one of the most respected Luftwaffe Experten during World War II. He was credited with 173 aerial victories (144 on the Eastern Front, 29 on the Western Front) in over 400 sorties, before his death in combat over Belgium. ... is the 307th day of the year (308th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1943 (MCMXLIII) was a common year starting on Friday (the link will display full 1943 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Erich Rudorffer (born 1 November 1917 in Zwochau, Sachsen) is a German former Luftwaffe fighter ace, one of a handful who served with the Luftwaffe through the whole of World War II. He had a total of 222 victories, fighting in all the major German theaters of war, including ETO... is the 284th day of the year (285th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1943 (MCMXLIII) was a common year starting on Friday (the link will display full 1943 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...


On December 5, 1941, the leading Australian ace of World War II, Clive Caldwell, destroyed five German aircraft in the space of a few minutes, also in North Africa. He received two Distinguished Flying Crosses for the feat. is the 339th day of the year (340th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see 1941 (disambiguation). ... Clive Robertson Caldwell, DSO, DFC and bar, Polish Cross of Valour (b July 28, 1910 in Sydney, d August 5, 1994), Australian fighter ace of World War II. Caldwell is officially credited with 28. ... The Distinguished Flying Cross is a military decoration awarded to personnel of the United Kingdoms Royal Air Force and other services, and formerly to officers of other Commonwealth countries, for an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying in active operations against the enemy...


During World War II, 68 US pilots — 43 US Army Air Forces, 18 US Navy, and seven US Marine Corps — were credited the feat, including David McCampbell, who claimed seven Japanese planes shot down on June 19, 1944 (during the "Marianas Turkey Shoot"), and nine in a single mission on October 24, 1944. Others included Joe Foss, Chuck Yeager and Oscar Francis Perdomo, the last US "ace in a day".[citation needed] The United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) was a part of the U.S. Army during World War II. The direct precursor to the U.S. Air Force, the USAAF formally existed between 1941 and 1947. ... The United States Navy (USN) is the branch of the United States armed forces responsible for naval operations. ... United States Marine Corps Emblem The United States Marine Corps (USMC) is the second smallest of the five branches of the United States armed forces, with 170,000 active and 40,000 reserve Marines as of 2002. ... Captain David McCampbell (January 16, 1910 - June 30, 1996) was an American aviator, who became the US Navy’s all-time leading ace with 34 aerial victories during World War II. McCambell was born in Bessemer, Alabama, and raised in West Palm Beach, Florida. ... is the 170th day of the year (171st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Battle of the Philippine Sea Conflict World War II, Pacific Theater of Operations Date 19–20 June 1944 Place The Philippine Sea Result Decisive American victory The Battle of the Philippine Sea was an air-sea battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II fought between the US... is the 297th day of the year (298th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Joseph Jacob Joe Foss (April 17, 1915 – January 1, 2003) was an American politician, an ace fighter pilot, and a recipient of the Medal of Honor in 1943. ... Charles Elwood Chuck Yeager (born February 13, 1923) is a retired Brigadier General in the United States Air Force and a noted test pilot. ... Major Oscar Francis Perdomo (July 14, 1919–March 2, 1976), a recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross, was a United States Air Force officer who was the last “Ace in a day” for the United States in World War II. // Perdomo, a Mexican American, was one of five siblings born...


Other pilots to have claimed "ace in a day" status during World War II include Antoni Glowacki of Poland, during the Battle of Britain, and Jorma Sarvanto of Finland, during the Winter War. Captain Hans Wind of HLeLv 24, Finnish Air Force, scored five kills in in a day five times during the Soviet Summer Offensive 1944. He scored a total of 30 kills in 12 days, of his 75 total. Combatants United Kingdom Including combatants from:[1] Poland New Zealand Canada Czechoslovakia Belgium Australia South Africa France Ireland United States Jamaica Palestine Rhodesia Germany Including combatants from Italy Commanders Hugh Dowding Hermann Göring Strength 754 single-seat fighters 149 two-seat fighters 560 bombers 500 coastal 1,963 total... Jorma Kalevi Sarvanto (February 22, 1912 – October 16, 1963) was a Finnish Air Force pilot and the foremost Finnish fighter ace of the Winter War. ... Combatants Finland Soviet Union Commanders Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim Kliment Voroshilov, later Semyon Timoshenko Strength 250,000 men 30 tanks 130 aircraft[1][2] 1,000,000 men 6,541 tanks [3] 3,800 aircraft[4][5] Casualties 26,662 dead 39,886 wounded 1,000 captured[6] 126,875... Hans Henrik Hasse Wind (July 30, 1919, Tammisaari - July 24, 1995, Tampere) was a Finnish fighter pilot and flying ace in World War 2 with 75 official victories. ... The Finnish Air Force (FAF) (Finnish: Ilmavoimat) is one of the branches of the Finnish Defence Forces. ...

Flying Ace: Sqn. Ldr. M M Alam

The last pilot credited with the feat was Pakistani F-86 pilot Squadron Leader Muhammad Mahmood Alam, during the 1965 war with India. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... The first proposals for the North American Aviation F-86 Sabre were made in 1944, but construction was not begun until after World War II. Many elements of German jet design were implemented in the Sabre, after the American liberation troops captured a number of working Messerschmitt Me 262 experimental... Pakistans Squadron Leader Muhammad Mahmood Alam, a retired pilot of the Pakistan Air Force was born July 6, 1935, in Calcutta, West Bengal. ...


Double and Triple Aces

A Double ace is someone who is credited with shooting down ten or more enemy aircraft during aerial combat. Flying machine redirects here. ...



A Triple ace is someone who is credited with shooting down 15 or more enemy aircraft during aerial combat. Flying machine redirects here. ...


See also

This is a list of fighter aces in World War II, ordered by national origin. ... The following is a list of flying aces of the Korean War. ... The following is a list of flying aces of the Vietnam War. ... The following is a list of flying aces in Arab-Israeli Wars. ...

References

  1. ^ [http://web.westernfrontassociation.com/thegreatwar/articles/individuals/mannock.htm Dr David Payne (no date), "Major 'Mick' Mannock, VC: Top Scoring British Flying Ace in the Great War". (Western Front Association website.)
  2. ^ Payne, ibid.
  3. ^ Payne, ibid.
  • Hobson, Chris. Vietnam Air Losses, USAF, USN, USMC, Fixed-Wing Aircraft Losses in Southeast Asia 1961–1973. North Branch, Minnesota: Specialty Press, 2001. ISBN 1-85780-1156.
  • Stenman, Kari and Keskinen, Kalevi. Finnish Aces of World War 2, Osprey Aircraft of the Aces, number 23. London: Osprey Publishing. 1998. ISBN 952-5186-24-5.
  • Toliver & Constable. Horrido!: Fighter Aces of the Luftwaffe (Aero 1968)
  • Toperczer, Istvan: MIG-17 And MIG-19 Units of the Vietnam War, Osprey Combat Aircraft, number 25. (2001).
  • Toperczer, Istvan: MIG-21 Units of the Vietnam War, Osprey Combat Aircraft, number 29. (2001).

External links

  • Fighter ace list (10,000+ names)

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