Purple fang wrote:There is a book about WW1 aces, same author wrote a Red baron book. See if I can find it. Anyway, the research shwoed Goerings kills were the most difficult to verify. In fact they were unable often to do so.
I don't claim expert knowledge, but those who do will state that German records are the MOST accurate.
Verifiable only (wreckage, witnesses etc)
Kills only (no "went down out of control until I lost sight of it in cloud...")
1 Man, 1 kill.
As far as I know most, if not all of Goerings kills are essentially as valid as Boelcke's 40 or the Baron's 80. It is harder to verify some of them 90 years later than for some other aces, but this is because more of his claims were against the French - generally they have proved harder to cross-reference than British victims, which has been fertile ground for recent research. The identity of at least 10 of his victims is certain, so even if the total wasn't as high as 22, he was beyond doubt a genuine kanone.
Cross-referencing kills is tricky, and better than 50% is pretty good for any but the most prominent aces, whose every action was pored over and documented to death. Take Eschwege - "The Eagle of the Aegean". I think 4 of his 20 kills have been identified without doubt. Or Udet - 6 confirmed ID's out of 62 credits. No one is questioning their merits...
There has long been a sniff of "generous" confirmations for Goering, but it is very hard to tell how much of that is informed by later events. He was intimate with many of the major figures in German aviation, and he may have pulled some strings to get confirmations that would have otherwise been turned down. He may also have claimed victims that his flight shot down, but not him personally. He would not be alone on that score. But while he was respected as a leader within the Luftstreitkrafte, he was one of a couple of dozen of similar leaders - Udet (of course), Sachsenberg, Berthold, and so on. The calibre of leadership at the head of the Jastas in the last year of the war was phenomenal. I don't see why HG would have stood out so much at the time that he warranted special treatment.
Seems to me that if there is a link here, it is not that we can see the future in his actions in WWI. It is that his WWI service led to his morphine addiction, which might be accounted as a "diminished responsibility" factor in viewing later judgements. Not excusing his later actions in the least, just thinking there might have been some impairment. (although I note Bob's reference to his addiction starting after the war. Don't know so much about HG myself, so this comes as news to me).
I suggest anyone with an interest here should consult the Aerodrome (http://www.theaerodrome.com
) which covers the aces individual records and has some interesting articles on claims documentation and validity. If you can be bothered trolling through it all, many, MANY individual dicussion threads deal with this and related topics.
It's a shame we have to do a Snidely Whiplash and put all our villains in top hats, opera capes and big fake moustaches (for twirling), just so we can tell them from the good guys...
Next we'll hear that Adolf didn't really get the Eisernes Kreuz or get gassed at Wervicq...