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Allied and Soviet Air Forces Please use this forum to discuss the Air Forces of the Western Allies and the Soviet Union.

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Old 19th May 2020, 21:33
Leendert Leendert is offline
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Aces versus non-aces

Not to start a lengthy discussion, but some fact finding.

The fighter aces and/or their claims hold a special interest for several of our distinguished forumnites. True that aces achieved a number of 'kills' to reach such status.
On the other hand, there were hundreds of other fighter pilots, 'non-aces' so to speak, who had air victories, be it even just one.

My questions are twofold:

1. Can it be calculated what the percentage was of aces versus non-aces in the number of pilots who are attributed air victories, including just one?
Here I mean air combat, not ground strafing or the like.

2. Of the total of air victories, how many by the aces percentage wise?

Since this is a subject not at all in my regular field of interest, I hope that other board members more familiar with lists of claims and/or aces can share their thoughts.

Thanks for help.

Regards,

Leendert
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Old 20th May 2020, 10:18
Smithy Smithy is offline
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Re: Aces versus non-aces

Hi Leendert,

Mike Spick looked into this in "The Ace Factor" stating that in nearly all aerial conflicts 5% of pilots were responsible for 40% of the "kills". Whether that figure is absolutely watertight I can't say but I'd imagine that it's in the right kind of ballpark. If you look at any fighter unit there's always a small cadre of pilots who are responsible for most of the victories or killing. How effective they were at "killing" was based in no small part on how cohesive that cadre could operate, and that came down to tactics and the ability of other pilots in their unit. A fighter formation is the same as any other military formation in combat, unit cohesion determines how effectively it can operate. And with a fighter unit or formation good unit cohesion gives more opportunity and support for that core cadre of "scoring" pilots to make kills.

Cheers,

Tim
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Old 21st May 2020, 00:32
JACK COOK JACK COOK is offline
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Re: Aces versus non-aces

My dear friend and P-40 ace Cy Gladen shared with me his throughts on the subject. He considered the 'hype' over the ace tag has overdone and annoying. Speaking for himself he said ''I was just an average pilot and gunner. There were many truly great pilots in the 44th FS and some scored many kills, some a few and others none. I knew guys who flew a complete tour and never saw a airborne Japanese aircraft. So it all boils down to opportunity and being in a position to capitalize on that oppturnity. Plus luck....I was lucky to have survived!"
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Old 21st May 2020, 10:24
Leendert Leendert is offline
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Re: Aces versus non-aces

Thanks for info. The 'ace' concept has been puzzling me indeed.
I think every pilot and crew member was valuable in his or her line of duty.

Regards,
Leendert
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