I also think the Soviet's charged/tried too charge Hartmann with sabotaging the Soviet war effort by destroying 350+ aircraft after he was in their custody.Lord Styphon wrote:
Regarding Hartmann, he was good enough for the Soviets to send to the gulag after the war, and good enough for the Federal Republic of Germany's Luftwaffe to employ when he got back.
I see it like this...
The Soviet government acknoledged and legitimized Hartmans claim by charging him with crimes against the USSR for destroying 350+ aircraft. Surely the Soviet goverment would make up a charge like that out of thin air.
If the Soviet government did make up the charge (sabotage for destorying 350 planes) out of thin air...that really makes the Soviet government appear to have no credibility if Hartman only shot down ~50 planes.
The Russians can't have it both ways. Either Hartman gets credit or the Soviet government has no credibility for making up false charges and encouraging the myth.
I think Hartman made the kills claimed and the Russians know he did, so the Soviets were very pissed German could make them look so incompent. Therefore Hartman had to be imprisoned and punished.
Here's a big part of how Hartman ran the score up.
1. The Hartman wasn't all that great of a marksman, at certainly not at first. He approaches on towed targets were perfect when he was in training but he didn't score a lot of hits. At the front, a vet advised Hartman to get close. This would improve his gunnery skill more than anything else. His secret was HE LISTENED and started getting VERY close - less than 100 meters if possible before firing. Hartman's gunnery improved, but he advised pilots to get close before shooting.
2. Attack with surprise. A dogfighting is a good way to get shot down or killed. Ambush is the best tactic. Hartman tried to attack with surprise and avoid a straight fight as much as possible. SMART!
3. Excellent flying skills as mentioned above.
4. No rotation out. The Germans tended to leave pilots at the front for very long periods of time. This resulted in more time in the seat than most allied pilots had. It helped resulted in Germany not having as good a pilot training program for the green pilots.