Very impressive, and entered at 15 years of age also.
I can't recall the exact number, didn't Luftwaffe ace Erich Hartmann have somewhere around 350 confirmed kills? Mostly completely overmatched Soviet planes.
352 kills to be exact, but his opponents weren't completely helpless. Had to bail out 16 times, due to mechanical problems, and enemy intervention. In fact a lot of German pilots regularly racked up kills in the 3-digits, as opposed to the Allies like Maj. Richard Bong, the hightest scoring American pilot, who brought down 40.
Originally Posted by Niklas
The reason for this is the Allied aces were sent back to train other pilots, whereas the German aces flew until they died or the war ended.
So, you are saying that the German pilot recruits trained themselves ? Most pilots on both sides tried to avoid becoming instructors because they wanted to stay with their comrades and unit, plus training fresh pilots, many who had never ridden in an airplane before, could be quite hazardous to one's health and safety. But you are correct in the fact that Allied pilots usually had more oportunites to get away from the front, whereas the Germans would basically say "Danke for your efforts, now get back to work!"
Originally Posted by Fenna
Have you ever heard the saying "the Iron Cross or the Wooden Cross"?
The allied pilots just flew tours, then went back home.
On the French side :
During WW2 about 150 French pilots became aces (at least 5 air victories). 30 of them were KIA and 17 of them became later generals. On 3rd September 1939, 34% of these aces were NCOs, 63% officers and 3% cadets.
The more famous for the 1939/1940 period is Edmond MARIN LA MESLΙE with 16 air victories in May/June 1940 (plus 4 probable ones) on his Curtiss H-75A.
Confirmed victories in air combat : 16
5 Heinkel 111
1 Junkers 88
1 Dornier 17
1 Dornier 215
3 Junkers 87
4 Henschel 126
1 Messerschmitt 109
He was born on 5th February 1912 in Valenciennes. First civilian pilot he joins the Air Force in 1931. In 1936 he enters in the Air military school and in 1937 he is officer and joins the GC 1/5 based at Reims. He won all his 16 air victories against the Luftwaffe in the combat of May/June 1940. Then he is transferred to North Africa where he saw no combat. In 1943 his fighter group joins the allied side and is equipped with P39, P40 and later P47 aircrafts. His group is dedicated to CAS and ground attacks. In January 1944 he is commander of the fighter group. On 4th February 1945 Marin La Meslιe is KIA in his P47 by the Flak during an attack mission on a bridge in Neuf-Brisach. He was his by a shrapnel in the head.
1) Pierre CLOSTERMANN is the highest scoring French ace of WW2 : 33 air victories
Clostermann was born on 28th February 1921 in Brazil where is father was a French diplomat. He got his pilot licence in 1937. In 1941 Clostermann joined the Free French Forces Squadron 341 "Alsace". The following year he was transferred to RAF and Squadron 602 on Spitfire. On 4th March 1945 he joined Squadron 274 on Tempest. He becomes Flight Commander of Squadron 56 in March. Finally he is transferred to Squadron 3. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO), Distinguished Flying Cross DFC) and received and extra "bar" to his DFC in addition to French, Belgian and US awards.
Number of completed missions :
293 offensive missions
97 attack missions against ground targets
42 defensive/protection missions
Confirmed victories in air combat :
19 Focke-Wulf 190
7 Messerschmitt 109
2 Dornier 24
1 Fieseler 156
1 Junkers 252
1 Junkers 88
1 Junkers 290
1 Heinkel 111
Aircrafts destroyed or disabled during cannon raids on airbases :
7 Junkers 88 or 188
6 Dornier 18
4 Heinkel 177
3 Arado 232
2 Focke-Wulf 190
1 Junkers 252
1 Blohm & Voss 138
Aircrafts severely damaged or probably destroyed during air combat
6 Focke-Wulf 190
6 Messerschmitt 109
Various confirmed ground and sea targets :
72 engines and a hundred trains attacked
225 trucks and other road vehicles, among them some 30 fuel trucks
2 torpedo boats
1 submarine of 500t in cooperation with other pilots
2) The 2nd highest scoring French ace of WW2 is Marcel ALBERT : 23 air victories
Confirmed victories in air combat :
10 Focke-Wulf 190
2 Messerschmitt 109
2 Junkers 88
1 Dornier 17
1 Focke-Wulf 189
3 Junkers 87
2 Henschel 129
1 Messerchmitt 110
1 Henschel 126
He was born on 25th November 1917 in Paris. Enlisted in the French Air Force in December 1938 he is instructor in 1939-1940. In February, he has the rank of sergeant and he is affected to GC 1/3. In October 1941 he is transferred to North Africa with his fighter group. He escapes with 2 other pilots on their Dewoitine D520 to join the Free French air force. In 1942 he is transferred to Squadron 340. In July 1942 he is transferred to the fighter group "Normandie" and in December he arrives is USSR where he is quickly promoted lieutenant. In November 1944 he is granted the title of "hero of the Soviet Union" and awarded the Lenin order with golden star. He flew on D520, Yak1, Yak3 and Yak9. He returns to France on 20th June 1945 with his Yak, personal gift from Stalin himself. He leaves the French Air Force in 1948 with the rank of "commandant".
3) The 3rd highest scoring French ace of WW2 is Jean DEMOZAY : 21 air victories
Confirmed victories in air combat : 21
3 Focke-Wulf 190
16 Messerschmitt 109
1 Junkers 88
1 Heinkel 111
He was born on 21st March 1915 in Nantes. Reformed from the military service in 1938 due to physical problems. At the beginning of WW2 he enlists by cheating on his personal details. He becomes translator in the RAF where he began to fly aircrafts. In September 1940 he joins the Free French Air Force. In October he is affected to Squadron 1 on Hurricane at first and Squadron 242 in June 1941 on Spitfire. In July he is transferred to Squadron 91 were he is commander of Flight A. He is promoted Squadron Leader on July 1942 and is awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO). In December he is promoted Wing Commander and joins the staff of RAF Group 11. In April 1943 he is attached to the Air ministry in London and in 1944 he creates the groupment "Patrie" to help the French resistance in France.
4) The 4th highest scoring French ace of WW2 is Pierre LE GLOAN : 18 air victories
Confirmed victories in aerial battle : 21
2 Dornier 17
2 Heinkel 111
3 Fiat BR20
4 Fiat CR42
6 Hurricane (Syria 1941)
1 Gladiator (Syria 1941)
He was born on 6th January 1913 in Kergrist-Moλlou. In December 1931 he joins the Air Force as a worker and he becomes pilot on August 1932. In May 1939 he is in the GC 3/6. At the armistice of June 1940 he has scored 11 victories including 5 in one single sortie against Italian aircrafts. The 4 German bombers were destroyed with a Morane-Saulnier MS406 and he win all his other combats on Dewoitine D520. He remained in the Vichy Air Force and fought against the allies in Syria in 1941 where he shot down 7 aircrafts. In 1943 he is in North Africa and his group joins the allies. He is flying a P39 and on 11th September he is forced to crash his aircraft after an engine failure. The aircraft still equipped with an external fuel tank explodes and he died in his plane.
Ace of Aces ...
Finnish side :
Finnish Ace Eino "Illu" Juutilainen scored 94 1/6 kills against the Russians, making him the top scoring Finnish Ace of WW2. He became one of only two Finnish aviators to be decorated with the Mannerheim Cross twice. During his 437 combat missions, Juutilainen scored victories against 22 different types of Soviet, British, and American built aircraft flown by the Russians; more remarkably, his aircraft was never hit by enemy fire. During World War 2, Finnish pilots destroyed 1,808 Russian aircraft in aerial combat and achieved an overall 7.5:1 "kill" ratio, all while never operating more than 150 fighters at one time.
Born on the 21 February 1914 at Lieksa, Finland, Eino "Illu" Juutilainen read the book by Manfred von Richthofen, "The Red Fighter Pilot" which made him dream about becoming a pilot. Juutilainen did his military service in Signal Corpsduring 1932-1933 and was trained as a telegraphist. After having fulfilled his compulsory service Juutilainen acquired a private pilote's licence from the Karhumaki Brothers' Flying School. Then, in 1935, he became an enlisted NCO in the Armed Forces. Finally, in 1936 he applied for an Air Force NCO pilot course. He was accepted and due to his pilot's licence and telegraphist's skill he was made the elder of the course. Juutilainen did very well, but he spent a lot of time in custody - 27 days in a four-month course. The reason was that as the elder he was responsible for the misdeeds of his course - mostly excessive drinking. Personally he earned only one week for flying too low. After the course was completed, "Illu" had to sit in the "jug" for another week to serve the custody ordered to him.
Juutilainen started his career as a NCO pilot in a Reconnaisance Squadron in Suur-Merijoki in May 1937. He was considered a good and reliable pilot, much liked by the officer-observers. He was married in the same year with Miss Anni Nurmi, and their first son was born in 1938. Sgt. Juutilainen was transferred to Sqn.24 to fly the Fokker D XXI's in March 1939. In a few weeks he became a good fighter pilot: his shooting skill was excellent. No wonder, hunting with dog and shotgun was his favourite hobby when the season was in. Juutilainen was fit as a professional athlete, he was also a teetotaller and non-smoker, staying like that during the whole of the war and also afterwards.
In the Winter War he flew as the wingman of the 3rd flight commander, Lt. Eino Luukkanen. He scored two proven victories. However, he fired his first angry shots with a pole-mounted Lewis gun from the ground against SB-2 bombers attacking the Immola Air Base on the 1st of December 1939. The 3rd Flight was commanded to defend the area NE of the lake Ladoga. There, at the front section Kollaa, was fighting Illu's brother, Lt. Aarne Juutilainen - a distinguished infantry company commander( a.k.a the "Terror of Morocco" because he had served in the French Foreign Legion in N. Africa).
The Fokker squadron carried out ground strafing raids on the ice covering the Bay of Viipuri against the Red Army columns the 1. to 12. March 1940. Those missions were hard for the Finnish fighter pilots because they really saw the lethal effect of their bullets. The enemy columns were initially without white camouflage clothing, and always marching in tight file formations. Shooting at aircraft was in a sense symbolic, a fighter pilot mostly did not see what happens to the crew of the victim aircraft. Illu did not feel good to see in his sighting scope how defenseless Red Army infantrymen flopped in the snow upon impact of his bullets. But he had to do his duty, the pilots knew that every enemy soldier left on the ice as casualty would relieve the pressure of the Finnish infantrymen defending the coastline. He flew eleven ground attack sorties. In the Winter War Juutilainen scored two confirmed victories. When the war against Soviet Union started again on 25 June 1941, Juutilainen was flying a Brewster in the 3st flight of LeLv 24(Sqn.24). The 3rd Flight became later known as the "Knight Flight" because of the three holders of the Mannerheim Cross serving in it.
In 1941 he scored 13 confirmed victories and in 1942 next 21 victories. In March 1943 Juutilainen was transferred to a new unit, Fighter Squadron 34, which was equipped with new Messerschmitt 109 G2 fighters. The Me with its 20 mm gun became his efficient tool and now he really began to excel. Less experienced or careless Soviet pilots had little chance when engaged by "Illu". Finally in 1943 he scored 'only' 19 victories, but the 1944 was most successful recording additional 40 kills! Illu shared von Richthofen's view: the task of a fighter pilot is to take his guns to an advantageous position in relation to the enemy and shoot him down. For Illu a fighter plane was a flying gun platform, nothing else. If Hasse Wind could be compared with Rιnι Fonck, so Illu Juutilainen was Georges Guynemer - the calculating tactician. A good example of this is what happened on early March 1944 . He attacked alone four La-5 led by Soviet Hero Medvetyev above Suulajarvi AB, despite low fuel.
He always looked back before opening fire, and if the enemy was approaching, he abandoned the target and prepared to meet the new challenge. Never was Juutilainen's fighter hit by enemy fighter fire during his 437 missions(Once, flying a crucially important reconnaisance mission in June 1944, he was very nearly shot down as the oil tank of his Me was holed by the enemy AA). Yet he was an aggressive pilot, but never foolhardy. He had good luck, too. In his memoirs he conveys the impression that he really enjoyed aerial dogfights when flying a BW or a MT, sometimes he even was dissatisfied as an unskillful enemy succumbed too easily. Illu Juutilainen had a matter-of-factly and professional attitude to war and fighting. He did not hate the enemy. For example on 14th March 1942 he shot up the engine of a MiG-3 at Karkijarvi, Eastern Carelia. The enemy pilot belly-landed on a bush-covered marsh. Juutilainen flew over to check, and saw the Soviet pilot standing at his MiG, waving his hand. The Finnish pilot made another pass and rocked his wings in salute before retreating.
Another time, on 23 September 1943 there was a hard battle over the Sepeleva Lighthouse, 10 Me's against a number of Yak-1, LaGG-3 and La-5. Juutilainen had shot down one of each kind and his 20mm ammo was spent as he was attacked by another La-5 at a low altitude. The Finnish pilot did his standard trick: he pulled his fighter into a tight climbing turn, and kept climbing and waiting until the over-eager enemy pilot would stall his fighter in an futile attept to pull the correct deflection. When the La-5 had stalled and dived to recover manouverability, Juutilainen was already 20 m behind his tail. Both fighters recovered from the dive at wavetops. Juutilainen fired at the enemy, saw holes appear in the fuselage of the La-5 but the 7.9 mm bullets had no other effect. Suddenly the La-5 pulled up, the Me followed but the pilot blacked out. As he recovered, he found himself wingtip to wingtip with the enemy. The two pilots looked each other in the eye. Juutilainen found the situation amusing, he smiled and waved his hand. The Soviet pilot responded and rocked his wings as a sign of truce. The Finnish pilot responed. Again the Soviet pilot waved his hand and flew his fighter below the Me toward Kronstadt. Juutilainen also turned toward Suulajarvi.
In July 1941 he saw his house in the Soviet-occupied town of Sortavala from the air, but as the Finnish troops took the town 24 hours later the retreating Soviets had burnt the house down, among many others. But Illu was not bitter. He told, chuckling, in an televised interview in 1997 : "It is war: if the enemy burns your house down, you go and burn one of the enemy's houses!" He did not burn down any houses, but shot down enemy aircraft. His official score is 94 confirmed victories, but he believes he shot down a total of 120 enemies.
He was decorated with the Mannerheim Cross twice, on 26 April 1942 and on 28 June 1944. He is one of the two pilots thus honoured(Hans Wind was the other one). Citation in 1942: "Flight Master Juutilainen has displayed exemplary bravery and indomitable battle spirit with excellent skill and resourcefulness in several air battles." In 1944 the citation was " Flight Master Juutilainen's offensive spirit and skill has earned him 73 victories, 15 of which during the present enemy offensive. This is in our circumstances a brilliant military achievement, taking into account that most of the victories have been gained in battle against numerically great enemy superiority".
Juutilainen was promoted as Sr. Sgt. on 31 December 1939 and less than one month later to the rank of Sergeant-Major. He reached the top of his military career on the 1 March 1941, as he became Flight Master(the rank is also known as Air Master Sergeant or Warrant Officer). Juutilainen concentrated on flying instead of career. He was offered a chance to study in the Cadet School and become a commissioned officer, but he declined, explaining that during the year spent in studies he would lose his touch in flying. Then any enemy could shoot him down before he would have relearned his skill.
Juutilainen loved flying and air battles, and being a husband and father of three sons did not slow him down the least. He was also an outdoorsman, his favourite hobbies were hunting and fishing. His character was extroverted and he was popular with the other pilots due to his witty humour and willingness to give advice. He was radiating vitality and self-confidence, which also rubbed on other pilots thus improving the general feeling in the unit. When "Illu" was asked after the war whether he ever feared, he said that he never felt fear, just urge for action.
What kind of a man becomes a good fighter pilot? "Eikka" Luukkanen has listed some characteristics:
- Physical: good eyesight, good physical condition, rapid reactions.
- Mental: excellent situational awareness, adventurousness.
He may have had his top ace Illu Juutilainen in mind when making that list. A good fighter pilot never really grows up, Luukkanen wrote. Illu was one of these happy men. Juutilainen scored the last kill of the Continuation War on 3.9.1944 when he shot down a Li-2 over the Karelian Isthmus.
After the war, In late September 1944 a rare visitor, Soviet Air Force Col.Lt. V.F. Golubev, the commander of 4.GIAP(Guards' Fighter Regiment) came to see the pilots of the Squadron 34 at Utti Air Base. According to the conditions of the ceasefire treaty Golubev's unit had been stationed for a while at Malmi, the airport of Helsinki. He decided to make use of the opportunity and meet the men he had fought against - with a risk to himself. When Illu Juutilainen was introduced to Golubev, the Soviet officer said nothing, just shook his hand longer than anybody elses. 60 years later "Illu" said in an interview that the greatest decoration a soldier can get is an acknowlegment given by his enemy.
In May 1947 Juutilainen resigned from the FAF service and bought an old DH Moth from the Air Force surplus stock. Then he had the plane repaired and entered in civilian register. Finally he hired a mechanic and became a self-employed pilot. He toured with his Moth and mechanic around Finland, offering ten-minute flights at rural fairs and small towns. There always were people who wanted to be flown around by the famous ex-fighter pilot, a double holder of the Mannerheim Cross, providing Illu and his family with income.
In February 1999, "Illu" Juutilainen 'took off for his last flight' without return... He was buried on the 13th March 1999. It's strange, but it's the anniversary of the day the Winter War ended in 1940...
calling a pilot with 25 kills for "one of the highest scoring fighter pilots of ww2" is wrong, should change it to "one of the highest scoring allied fighter pilots of ww2"
Its' just a suggestion, there are some people here who won't suggest as nicely as i do, but REALLY give you hell and beat you over the head with a history book
And the russian planes weren't outmatched at all, many of them had better speed, armor, armament and manouvrability than german planes.
Yeah, I was thinking that too. Under 100 kills should be an "honorable mention." But history is written from the point of view of the winner, so thats how people with 25, 30 or 40 kills become "one of the highest scoring pilots of WWII." A lot of German pilots racked up that much in a few weeks.
Originally Posted by wiking
And you're right, the Yak models as well as the Mig-3 and Lagg's could go toe to toe with the Bf-109 and FW-190 any day.
Not to mention the IL-2. Sweet airplane that.
Originally Posted by el borracho
I can't remember wich, but the Russian had one plane with a 37mm gun mounted on it. That is WAY larger than anything else, except the rockets and those were for ground attack, ever used on a WW2 Fighter plane. (if i'm not to much of, there's probably ppl with more knowledge in this are than me so please correct me if i'm wrong)
Yeah, the stormovik was pretty good. As for the 37mm equipped plane, all that I can think of is the P-39 which was given to the Soviets in the Lend-Lease deal. I think that the cannon was only 30mm though. Maybe the Russians modified it, or maybe I an thinking of the wrong plane.
Originally Posted by wiking
I think you are right. The very high scores of the German aces actually reflected a bad system. They are basically flown till exhaustion or death.
Originally Posted by Fenna
We shouldn't underestimate the importance of combat experienced pilots. I've read quite a few oral history accounts from American pilots saying that they remembered what their combat experienced pilots told them about combat and how it saved their lives in a fight.
A good example would be the hard earned lessons that the 1942 batch of naval pilots brought to the naval pilots of 1944, who would tear through the Imperial Japanese Navy's air force.
And combat experienced instructors using enemy combat tactics in aerial combat lessons would be the next best thing to actually having the enemy shooting at you.
Constantly rotating pilots also saved a core of experienced combat leaders - again something that is very important.
While German recruits do not train themselves, it was an indisputable fact that by 1944/5, there remained only a tiny core of super-aces amongst German pilots, with the remaining being under-trained cannon fodder. And even that tiny core was dying off as they were flown again and again. The inevitable attrition from accidents and combat slowly wipe out the aces.
Originally Posted by el borracho
In the end, despite the high score, it was a stupid system that glorified the glamour of the "Experten" to the detriment of the whole air force, while the less spectacular and business like American air force went on to blanket Germany's skies with well trained and well led pilots.
Il-2 Shturmoviks during the various phases of its development were armed with either 23mm or 37mm automatic cannons as well as a 12,7 rear gunner position.
Originally Posted by wiking
As for arming planes with unguided air to ground rockets, the Russians were, bar use of unguided rockets agains observation balloons during WW-1, "the pioneers" in the field. Originaly intending to use the rockets against other aircraft the Russians commenced shooting tests from aircraft with rocket of 75 and 82 mm calibre, next year a model of 132 mm calibre was produced. Followed later during the WW-2 period with improved models in 82, 132 and 150 mm calibre.
The Shturmoviks could carry eight such rockets or up to 200 2,5 kg HEAT charge boms.
As for Soviet fighter aircraft of the WW-2 period most where hampered by engines loosing power rapidly with height. Thus Germans would often enjoy the advantage of superior height. But on the other hand most Soviet fighters were very manouverable at low level (under 12-15.000 ft or thereabout). Thus any german figther conducting a Swoop on a Soviet formation could find himself in quite a bit of trouble with later model Yaks and LaGG fighters if unwise enough to stay low rather than climb immediately for a new pass.