Best Luftwaffe Ace

Discussions on all (non-biographical) aspects of the Luftwaffe air units and general discussions on the Luftwaffe.
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Victor
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Post by Victor » 15 Nov 2002 21:29

Korbius wrote:Marseille was the best cuz his kills were on the Western front, compared to the kills that Hartmann had, against soviet pilots which were inexperienced and poorly trained.
Actually Hartmann started flying in 1943, when the VVS was much better than in 1941. Do not be to quick to judge.

Wolffen
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Post by Wolffen » 20 Nov 2002 22:37

Rudel Dah he shoud be up there

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Tanker
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Post by Tanker » 24 Nov 2002 17:15

Compared to the population the Austrian were the best Axis pilots.

Take a look:

http://www.pilotenbunker.de/

Best was Walter Nowotny with 258 victories.

Overall I have to say Hartmann because he had the most victories,so he probably had the best tactics.But you have to say that it's a difference between fighting at Eastern Front than fighting in at Western Front.

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Percy Mandible
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Greatest Luftwaffe ace . . .

Post by Percy Mandible » 24 Nov 2002 23:00

Add my vote to the Hans-Joachim Marsaille admirers. First to reach 150 against the RAF (and most of them fighters!). Time and again he proved a crack shot, was economcal in his use of ammunition and he knew his aircraft thoroughly and pushed it to the limit. Other members of JG27 noted how he would pull turns so tight whisps of vapour would appear at the wingtips of his aircraft. He was deadly and no mistake.

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The Desert Fox
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Post by The Desert Fox » 30 Nov 2002 15:36

I find my vote swayed by the opnion of the highly decorated Adolf Galland who is his biography gave big wraps for Hans-Joachim Marsaille who he described as "The unrivaled virtuoso of fighter pilots". I just finished reading Gallands biography last week.

Pity Marsaille's name was absent in the poll, so gave the vote to the second best in my opnion Hartmann.

regards
The Desert Fox

ISU-152
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Post by ISU-152 » 02 Dec 2002 15:52

Hartmann got his recommendation for shooting 200 planes only. The same recommendation a fighter pilot would get on the westearn front for shooting down just 20 enemy aircrafts. That says that Hartamann's claim's on the East Front are highly exaggerated. The german command recommended its aces in the east accordingly: it was dividing the number of their claims by 6 and so were the awards issued.
Hartmann's 352:6=58 happy planes. This looks like a true number.

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Victor
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Post by Victor » 02 Dec 2002 21:01

ISU-152 wrote:Hartmann got his recommendation for shooting 200 planes only. The same recommendation a fighter pilot would get on the westearn front for shooting down just 20 enemy aircrafts. That says that Hartamann's claim's on the East Front are highly exaggerated. The german command recommended its aces in the east accordingly: it was dividing the number of their claims by 6 and so were the awards issued.
Hartmann's 352:6=58 happy planes. This looks like a true number.
And of course you vcan back up this claim with material from VVS archives which show that 300 of Hartmann's claims were void, can't you? :roll:

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Post by ISU-152 » 03 Dec 2002 10:14

Victor wrote:
ISU-152 wrote:Hartmann got his recommendation for shooting 200 planes only. The same recommendation a fighter pilot would get on the westearn front for shooting down just 20 enemy aircrafts. That says that Hartamann's claim's on the East Front are highly exaggerated. The german command recommended its aces in the east accordingly: it was dividing the number of their claims by 6 and so were the awards issued.
Hartmann's 352:6=58 happy planes. This looks like a true number.
And of course you vcan back up this claim with material from VVS archives which show that 300 of Hartmann's claims were void, can't you? :roll:

This is taken from “Encyclopedia of Aviation”, New York 1977.

In order to get a recommendation for a Knight’s Cross on the Western Front, the German pilot had to have 40 wins in the air. For example, the bearer of all recommendations including diamonds, who fought until his death exclusively on the Western front H. Lent (113 victories) received a Knight’s Cross just after 16 victories (Polish and English planes). G. Yabs (50 victories) received the same recommendation for 19 planes both French and English. G.Gollob (152 victories) – for 42 “victories”. F. Muller, shooting down 30 planes until May 9, 1945 was a awarded a Knight’s Cross in July 1944. At the same time W.Batz (237 victories) received a Knight’s Cross only after 101 filled applications.

The numerical difference is vast for even higher recommendations. H. Lent received Oak Leaves to Knight’s Cross for 60 downed planes, while on the East front E. Hartmann (352 victories) received Oak Leaves for only 200 “downed planes”, W.Novotny (258 victories) – after 190 “victories”, G. Barkhorn (301 victory) – after 175 “victories”.
The diamonds to Knight’s Cross on the Western front are received for 80-100 victories (Moelders, Holland, Lent), on the Eastern front – after 250-300 victories (Novotny, Hartmann).

It seems that the german command should have given awards in the beginning of operation Barbarossa for more shot down planes, at the end for less, because along the course of the war it was getting increasingly difficult to shoot down soviet planes. But it is visa versa! On the east front in the beginning of campaign one would get Oak leaves to a Knight’s Cross for 40 shot down planes, in 1942 – already for 100, in 1943 – for 120, at the end of 1943 – for 190.

Why there is such a great difference between the number of victories on the East and West fronts? The German command allowed their fighters to have write ups to their tally not some 10-20% but as much as several times. And it was recommending Luftwaffe fighter pilots accordingly. It was dividing the score of overall number of claims by number from 3 to 6 thus getting the real result and recommending accordingly. Hartmann’s 352:6=58 which is more or less a real result.

It is interesting to note how many planes did a particular german fighter shot down being on different fronts both East and West. For example, german ace Walter Novotny was considered Luftwaffe’s favorite. Started the war on the east front and by February 1944 filled out the applications on 255 soviet aircrafts. In February was transferred to the West, moreover to the regiment of jet fighters. In 8 months he did not shoot down a single enemy plane! And on November 8, he was shot down forever. It is considered that in that last fight he “presumably” shot down 3 american bombers but it could be just a speculation.


I will get you the archives information as soon as I find them. A piece of it I found though:

In fighting for Kuban region the soviet air force lost 750 planes (of those 296 fighters). While the german aces reported and filled out the forms on as much as 2280(!) soviet airplanes. The soviet air force did not have that many in the entire region.

How do you like that?

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Post by tonyh » 03 Dec 2002 12:38

First of all, its impossible to compare Mölders winning the Knights cross or diamonds to Hartmann winning it. There are years between the events and in completely different theatres and fighting condtions.

40 vics in the West didn't automatically qualify a pilot for the Knights cross throughout the war. The reason for this was that German pilots were gaining 40 vics in a far higher percentage than the RLM had originally anticipated. So while One pilot may get an award at 40 kills another pilot may only get it at 46 or so. Also pilots could recieve the KC for service or leadership as in the case of Theo Weissenberger. But this method died out pretty quickly. The Luftwaffe imposed a limit to the number of awards that a pilot could win. So the numbers needed for a specific award was continually pushed out.

In the East, after the huge number of kills in the first year of Barbarossa the number of kills needed for awards was increased due to the "ease" of the kills. After mid 42 however these "easy" kills were fewer and fewer. However the RLM continued to view the Eastern theatre as an easier one than the West. Quite incorrectly IMPOV. Hence Nowotny only getting his KC after 190 vics.

Why there is such a great difference between the number of victories on the East and West fronts? The German command allowed their fighters to have write ups to their tally not some 10-20% but as much as several times. And it was recommending Luftwaffe fighter pilots accordingly. It was dividing the score of overall number of claims by number from 3 to 6 thus getting the real result and recommending accordingly. Hartmann’s 352:6=58 which is more or less a real result.
I think you need to clarify this statement. I don't believe many people will understand you. Are you trying to say that the Luftwaffe's pilots lied about the number of kills in the East and the RLM adjusted accordingly? If so you are sorely mistaken. If you check the Black cross/Red Star books you will find that the Luftwaffe's kill record corrosponds rather well with Soviet loss records. Also the RLM's criteria for claims was the most rigorous of all the combatant Nations in WWII. Many Luftwaffe pilots had legitimate claims refused and in a lot of cases they did not even bother to file their claim. Mölder's unofficial kills in the Crimea just before his death is a prime example. Hartmann too, had many kills that were just not worth the bother to file, especially in the collapse of 1945.
For example, german ace Walter Novotny was considered Luftwaffe’s favorite. Started the war on the east front and by February 1944 filled out the applications on 255 soviet aircrafts. In February was transferred to the West, moreover to the regiment of jet fighters. In 8 months he did not shoot down a single enemy plane! And on November 8, he was shot down forever. It is considered that in that last fight he “presumably” shot down 3 american bombers but it could be just a speculation.
The reason for Nowotny's "lack of success" in the West was the fact that after his transfer he wasn't flying many operational sorties. He was too involved with the Kommando Nowotny, an experimental operational 262 squadron and the reason for his transfer from the East. He was offically banned from op's in order to get the most from his experience. Also Nowotny was shot down in a landing procedure and with a damaged engine, so Walther Nowotny was hardly "bested" in a true combat sense. His death is more due to the tempermental nature of the 262's engines as to pilot skill. Also Ospey books suggest that this fateful mission was Nowotny's first operational combat sortie in the 262.
In fighting for Kuban region the soviet air force lost 750 planes (of those 296 fighters). While the german aces reported and filled out the forms on as much as 2280(!) soviet airplanes. The soviet air force did not have that many in the entire region.
I would like VERY much to know where you got this from. Over claiming did indeed happen in all airforces, but I've yet to see such a disparity in claims. Another thing, the Luftwaffe in the Kuban may or may not have filed 2000 claims, but its very doubtful that the RLM awarded these claims. They were very strict on their methods.

Tony

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Post by ISU-152 » 03 Dec 2002 13:22

tonyh wrote:
In the East, after the huge number of kills in the first year of Barbarossa the number of kills needed for awards was increased due to the "ease" of the kills.
Who says it is easier? Personal accounts of German pilots would be of some help.
tonyh wrote:
I think you need to clarify this statement. I don't believe many people will understand you. Are you trying to say that the Luftwaffe's pilots lied about the number of kills in the East and the RLM adjusted accordingly?
That's exactly what I am saying. Luftwaffe "victories" figures are extremely exagerrated.
tonyh wrote:
If so you are sorely mistaken. If you check the Black cross/Red Star books you will find that the Luftwaffe's kill record corrosponds rather well with Soviet loss records.
In fact, they don't correspond. Check my statement on Kuban region. It is taken from archive of Soviet VVS.
tonyh wrote:
Also the RLM's criteria for claims was the most rigorous of all the combatant Nations in WWII. Many Luftwaffe pilots had legitimate claims refused and in a lot of cases they did not even bother to file their claim. Mölder's unofficial kills in the Crimea just before his death is a prime example. Hartmann too, had many kills that were just not worth the bother to file, especially in the collapse of 1945.
Legitimate in what respect? Filling an application that one somewhere somehow saw an enemy plane have a smoke and heading for the ground? Don't you think it is a bit dubious procedure?
tonyh wrote:
I would like VERY much to know where you got this from. Over claiming did indeed happen in all airforces, but I've yet to see such a disparity in claims. Another thing, the Luftwaffe in the Kuban may or may not have filed 2000 claims, but its very doubtful that the RLM awarded these claims. They were very strict on their methods.
Apparently they were, thus dividing the claims by 6 and awarding the pilots accordingly. Luftwaffe was eager on paper to eliminate the Soviet VVS, which they failed to do in real air-to-air combat.

Best regards

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Daniel L
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Post by Daniel L » 03 Dec 2002 13:31

How about Hajo Hermann and Joachim Müncheberg, the list definetily needs to be edited.

regards

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Post by ISU-152 » 03 Dec 2002 13:49

tonyh wrote:
In the East, after the huge number of kills in the first year of Barbarossa the number of kills needed for awards was increased due to the "ease" of the kills. After mid 42 however these "easy" kills were fewer and fewer. However the RLM continued to view the Eastern theatre as an easier one than the West. Quite incorrectly IMPOV. Hence Nowotny only getting his KC after 190 vics.
Easy kills, HUH? :roll:

After serious fights near Prut river, a well-known Luftwaffe ace H. Linnert was complaining that he: “has never met with such strong and demanding adversary”.


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Post by tonyh » 03 Dec 2002 15:36

Who says it is easier? Personal accounts of German pilots would be of some help.
Not I. Hence the quotes on "easy" victories.
That's exactly what I am saying. Luftwaffe "victories" figures are extremely exagerrated.
If you think Luftwaffe claims are "extremely exagerrated", I think you are mistaken. While overclaiming did exist without a doubt, the statistics between enemy losses and Luftwaffe claims are quite close (apart from the Battle of Britain for obvious reasons). Closer than any other major combatant Nation, thats for sure. For example from June 22nd 1941 to Dec 1941 the Soviets registered a loss of 21,200 aircraft approx. The Luftwaffe claimed a total of 17,745 victories. Thats an underclaim. From Jan to June 1942 the Luftwaffe claimed 5,199 victories in the air. This was under a 2:1 ration of actual Soviet loss statistics. The Luftwaffe most certainly did NOT "extremely exagerrate" their claims at all. As I said earlier the process for filing a claim to the RLM for a claim was a very rigorous one and many claims were simply just not awarded.
Legitimate in what respect? Filling an application that one somewhere somehow saw an enemy plane have a smoke and heading for the ground? Don't you think it is a bit dubious procedure?
A pilot simply did not just recieve a claim for an aircraft that was going down with smoke trailing. It HAD to be witnessed by at least one other pilot in the Schwarm or staffel, or by a pilot of higher rank. It also had to be varified by ground troops and if applicable by a crash site. The Luftwaffe were meticulous in these regards. All claims were sifted through the Gruppen adjudant and endorsed by the Staffelführer or Gruppenkommandeur, then it was sent on to the RLM in Berlin, where it could get caught up in red tape for a long period. Finally the pilot recieved noticed whether his claim was filed as legitimate or not. It was far from a straight forward procedure.
Apparently they were, thus dividing the claims by 6 and awarding the pilots accordingly. Luftwaffe was eager on paper to eliminate the Soviet VVS, which they failed to do in real air-to-air combat.
It does no military service to deliberately overclaim, in fact it does a dis service. As the records I've quoted above state the Luftwaffe actually underclaimed in the first six months of the war in the East. Your statemnt is simply not backed up by the historical record, certainly not in the first year of the air war in Russia.

Tony

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Post by tonyh » 03 Dec 2002 15:55

Easy kills, HUH?

After serious fights near Prut river, a well-known Luftwaffe ace H. Linnert was complaining that he: “has never met with such strong and demanding adversary”.
As I said above I don't consider the war in the East to be an easy task at all, hence the quotes on "easy". However some certainly do. In fact I consider the air war in Russia to be the longest and most difficult front that the Luftwaffe was stationed on. Others would disagree. After a month of fighteing the Luftwaffe lost about 60% of the numbers originally available to them on the Russian front. I don't consider that easy. However the numbers of Soviet aircraft shot down in the first six months of Barbarossa were considerably higher than the numbers shot down after 1942. So they could be considered comparitivly "easy" kills.

Tony

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Post by ISU-152 » 03 Dec 2002 16:05

tonyh wrote:
A pilot simply did not just recieve a claim for an aircraft that was going down with smoke trailing. It HAD to be witnessed by at least one other pilot in the Schwarm or staffel, or by a pilot of higher rank.
It wouldn't kill you to verify the "victory" of your brother-in-arms would it? Next time he would do the same for you.
tonyh wrote: It also had to be varified by ground troops and if applicable by a crash site. The Luftwaffe were meticulous in these regards.
So were the soviets, if the german plane did not crash into the ground, but only went smoking over the horizon, the victory did not count because it was possible that the pilot could have landed on his own aerodrome.
tonyh wrote: All claims were sifted through the Gruppen adjudant and endorsed by the Staffelführer or Gruppenkommandeur, then it was sent on to the RLM in Berlin, where it could get caught up in red tape for a long period. Finally the pilot recieved noticed whether his claim was filed as legitimate or not. It was far from a straight forward procedure.
:lol: So it was more like New York stock exchange.
tonyh wrote: It does no military service to deliberately overclaim, in fact it does a dis service. As the records I've quoted above state the Luftwaffe actually underclaimed in the first six months of the war in the East. Your statemnt is simply not backed up by the historical record, certainly not in the first year of the air war in Russia. .
Now you are pulling away from the topic (whether intentionally or not I don't know). As far as I remember we were discussing overall performance of German versus Soviet air forces.
You are shifting towards the beginning of the war, why? The soviets did suffer tremendous losses to the air forces in the beginning of operation Barbarossa (most of the planes were bombed on the ground or crushed by tanks). Nobody denies that. That was the toll of a surprise attack. The whole infrastructure of Soviet Air forces in Ukraine and Belorussia was destroyed.
But the losses, no matter how huge they were, appeared to be recoverable, and it was proven by continuous fighting in the air even in the darkest days of the war against Germany.
So giving me 1941 figures is no good. The soviet planes were mostly obsolete. When new planes such as Yak, Tu, Pe and Il appeared the Germans were struggling in the air.

Tony[/quote]

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