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Old 4th October 2006, 07:26
Rob Romero Rob Romero is offline
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Percentage of Verifiable Victories of Various Aces –Updates & Recommendations

Blenheim, thanks for your throrough and thoughtful response. I welcome –as do many other students of history- any data which helps clarify the past. However, it would be more helpful if those who had made a throrough study of the careers of individual pilots post their conclusions as to the veracity of pilots rather than of the loss records of individual aircraft –eventually as the results of this effort expands, I see the records being broken up into sub categories.

Verifiable Victories of 24 WWI Central Power Aces / 2 WWI Allied Aces / 9 WWII Aces / 1 Korean War Ace

CAVEAT: I’ve started what I think is an interesting and potentially important thread: While I recognize this endeavor will be imperfect (in some cases highly), it may provide a SENSE of the actual success of various aces. Hopefully, it will expand and eventually (perhaps WELL into the future) provide us with a fairly comprehensive and reliable database. I am relying on the contributions of others and cannot vouch for the authenticity of submissions –I am relying on the web community to keep tabs and bring debatable data to light. Perhaps in cases of great controversy, a range could be established (i.e., pilot X claimed 100 aircraft and the documents/records STRONGLY SUGGEST he shot down 40 with another 30 Possible and of these ‘Official’ Victories 10 were really only Damaged etc. and 5 were Phantom (No Historical Basis) Claims).

24 WWI Central Power Aces (Easier to confirm due to more complete records of Allied Losses)
1) 74 of 80 Claims ( 92.5%) Manfred von Richthofen
2) 46 of 48 Claims ( 95.8%) Werner Voss
3) 33 of 33 Claims (100.0%) Kurt Wolff *
4) 33 of 40 Claims ( 82.5%) Lothar von Richthofen
5) 32 of 45 Claims ( 71.1%) Fritz Rumey
6) 30 of 30 Claims (100.0%) Karl Allmenröder *
7) 30 of 62 Claims ( 48.4%) Ernst Udet
8) 27 of 54 Claims ( 50.0%) Erich Lowenhardt
9) 25 of 44 Claims ( 56.8%) Rudolf Berthold
10) 25 of 48 Claims ( 52.0%) Josef Jacobs
11) 24 of 44 Claims ( 54.5%) Bruno Loerzer
12) 22 of 35 Claims ( 62.9%) Goodwin Brumowski positive or possible ID –Top Austrian WWI Ace
13) 28 of 31 Claims ( 90.3%) Paul Billik
14) 26 of 28 Claims ( 92.9%) Friedrich von Roth
15) 26 of 40 Claims ( 65.0%) Franz Büchner (Possibly 34/40 Claims 85%) REQUIRES FURTHER EVALUATION –SEE BELOW
16) 25 of 30 Claims ( 83.3%) Karl-Emil Schäfer
17) 23 of 40 Claims ( 57.5%) Oswald Bölcke (French claims OBSURED by insufficiency of French loss records!)
18) 22 of 43 Claims ( 51.2%) Paul Baumer
19) 17 of 17 Claims (100.0%) Edmund Nathanael (German-Jewish Ace)
20) 15 of 32 Claims ( 46.9%) Julius Arigi (15+ are Verified) Austrian
21) 14 of 15 Claims ( 93.3%) Max Immelmann (2-3 additional Verifed Victories)
22) 11 of 12 Claims ( 91.7%) Sebastien Festner
23) 9 of 22 Claims ( 40.9%) Hermann Göring Possibly 14 of 22 Claims (63.6%) or 15 of 22 Claims (68.2%)
24) 8 of 28 Claims ( 28.6%) Benno Fiala Ritter von Fernbrugg –Austrian


2 WWI ALLIED ACE RECORDS
1) 33 of 34 Claims ( 97.1%) Francesco Baracca - KIA 19 Jun 1918
2) 31 of 46.5 Claims ( 66.7%) James McCudden (46.5 Credited Kills / 57 Official Victories) (Possibly 36 of 46.5 Claims 77.4%)


1 WWI CENTRAL POWER ACE RECORDS REQUIRING FURTHER EVALUATION
Franz Büchner
11 of 40 Claims ( 27.5%) –as per Barrett (source Above The Lines?)
26 of 40 Claims ( 65.0%) –strict accounting as per Rammjaeger (this seems to utilize more up to date info than ATL)
34 of 40 Claims ( 85.0%) –a more liberal accouting by Rammjaeger

5 WWI ALLIED ACE RECORDS REQUIRING FURTHER EVALUATION
CAVEAT: It is difficult to check WWI Allied Claims against the incomplete Central Power Loss Records! Moreover, the actual ‘Official’ credits are being revised to include ‘Kill’ claims only (i.e., including not Out Of Control (OOC) etc.) If the situation is as bad as has been suggested, then perhaps we should limit our evaluation to Central Powers and Italian (?) aces?

Billy Bishop (55 Credited Kills / 72 Official Victories)
20 of 55 Claims ( 36.4%) -more recent evaluation of German Records than at billybishop.net/bishopP.html as per Al Lowe 6 Oct 98
2 of 55 Claims ( 03.6%) -It seems highly unlikely to me that such exaggeration would be tolerated by his squadron

Edward ‘Mick’ Mannock (38.28 Credited Kills / 61 Official Victories)
15 of 38 Claims ( 39.2%) -as per DEM 2 Oct 06

Eddie Rickenbacker (26 Official Victories)
11 of 26 Claims ( 42.3%) including 2 “grounders” –2 Crash Landed?

Lanoe Hawker (3 Credited Kills / 7 Official Victories)
1 of 3 Claims ( 33.3%) -as per DEM 2 Oct 06

Raymond Collishaw (29.2 Credited Kills / 60 Official Victories)
0 of 29 Claims ( 00.0%) - as per DEM 2 Oct 06


9 WWII Aces
1)??? of 101 Claims Josef ‘Pips’ Priller -largely verified by Johnnie Johnson (38)
2)100 of 151 Claims (+66.2%) Hans-Joachim Marseille (158) 151 Afrika + 7 Battle of Britain
3)~80 of 345 Claims (~23.2%) Erich Hartmann (352) -Ace of Aces? –based on claims of Russian Researcher
4) 74 of 121 Claims ( 61.2%) Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer -Top NJG Ace (much higher verification % has been indicated)
5) 25 of 40 Claims ( 62.5%) Richard Bong USAAF PTO Ace of Aces.
6) 21 of 28 Claims ( 75.0%) Francis ‘Gabby’ Gabreski USAAF ETO Ace of Aces
7) 15 of 64 Claims ( 23.4%) Saburo Sakai -top scoring surviving IJNAF ace
8)~9.5 of 26 Claims ( 36.5%) Gregory ‘Pappy’ Boyington - PROPORTIONAL METHOD JoeB
9) 9 of 31 Claims ( 29.0%) Heinz Knocke (–research continuing @ heinzknokewebsite.com)

Korean War
Nikolai Sutyagin
1.46 of 21 Claims (07.0%) PROPORTIONAL METHOD JoeB
5 of 21 Claims (23.8%) PROPORTIONAL METHOD with ‘Benefit of Doubt’ JoeB


Also does anyone have a sense of Walter Schuck (206) Hermann Graf (212) and Alfred Grislawski (133) verifyable victories from Christer Bergström’s recent cross referenced works?


INSTRUCTIONS: TO MAKE THIS PROCESS EASIER, PLEASE COPY THIS CHART AND THEN MAKE YOUR ADDITIONS/CORRECTIONS IN THE FORMAT ALREADY USED. IF YOU STONGLY DISAGREE WITH ANOTHER POSTER, PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE THEIR CALCULATION, BUT RATHER PASTE YOUR REVISED FIGURES BENEATH AS A BASIS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH/DEBATE –THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS!


Laurent Rizzotti’s PROPORTIONAL METHOD:

Claims can also be divided into three categories (this applies mainly to large scale fights in WWII):

1) Verified: the Target is Identified and Went Down, or the Unit is Identified and has as many losses than the claims of its opponent.
2) Uncertain: Target not identified, at least one loss known but more claims than losses.
3) Invalid: the target is identified, or his unit, and wasn't destroyed though perhaps damaged

When you have one side claim 70 victories and shooting down 50 aircraft, you will probably have something like 10 valide claims and 60 Uncertain ones.

A method to try to get closer to the real score of WWII pilots will be to use the US method of using fractions for claims.

For example, in the above case, the 10 pilots having claimed identified targets (location and time corresponding, away from the main battle and so on) will be given full credit (1 claim = 1 victory) and the 60 other claims, corresponding to the remaining 40 losses, will be valued each 40/60 = 0.666 victory... This is as close as you can get in many cases.


THE PROPORTIONAL METHOD MUST REMAIN AS AS SUB-CATEGORY TO VERIFIED CLAIMS UNLESS NO OTHER METHOD OF CALCULATION IS USED –EXAMPLE BELOW

31 of 57 Claims ( 54.4%) Pilot X (PROPORTIONAL METHOD 36 of 57 Claims 63.2%)


Already I think it is safe to say that we can reach a historical conclusion! So far the results reflect exceedingly well on Jasta 11 -it seems the unit maintained an exceptional degree of integrity in making claims –and bestows even further credit on their ‘meister’ Manfred von Richthofen. Perhaps this is consequent to MvR’s mantra to “Bring them down burning!” At 82.5% Lothar comes out as a relative braggart! LOL This contrasts with a liberal outlook on claiming, allegedly taken by some JGs in WWII.
These results will also undoubtedly place an even greater gap between Jasta 11 and any rival unit in terms of its status as an elite unit (is Bölcke already starting to tarnish Jasta 2’s luster? -he was still nevertheless a great combat leader and a father of air combat tactics).

Richthofen’s Jasta 11 ‘Bloody April’ 1917 Gang
33 of 33 Claims (100.0%) Kurt Wolff *
30 of 30 Claims (100.0%) Karl Allmenröder *
74 of 80 Claims ( 92.5%) Manfred von Richthofen
11 of 12 Claims ( 91.7%) Sebastien Festner
25 of 30 Claims ( 83.3%) Karl-Emil Schäfer
33 of 40 Claims ( 82.5%) Lothar von Richthofen
206 of 225 Claims ( 91.6%) Jasta 11 - EXCEPTIONAL CLAIM VERACITY!

I’m a bit perturbed by the low percentages attained by such legendary figures as Udet –any explanations?

“Bring them down burning! Get the plane you are after and make it burn.”

-Manfred von Richthofen
“I hope he roasted all the way down.”
-Edward Mick Mannock upon learning of MvR’s death.
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Old 3rd January 2007, 09:51
Rob Romero Rob Romero is offline
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Re: Percentage of Verifiable Victories of Various Aces –Updates & Recommendations

Addition – 1 WWII Ace Lt. Hans-Leopold Henkemeier (6VV)

Verifiable Victories of 24 WWI Central Power Aces / 2 WWI Allied Aces / 10 WWII Aces / 1 Korean War Ace


CAVEAT: I’ve started what I think is an interesting and potentially important thread: While I recognize this endeavor will be imperfect (in some cases highly), it may provide a SENSE of the actual success of various aces. Hopefully, it will expand and eventually (perhaps WELL into the future) provide us with a fairly comprehensive and reliable database. I am relying on the contributions of others and cannot vouch for the authenticity of submissions –I am relying on the web community to keep tabs and bring debatable data to light. Perhaps in cases of great controversy, a range could be established (i.e., pilot X claimed 100 aircraft and the documents/records STRONGLY SUGGEST he shot down 40 with another 30 Possible and of these ‘Official’ Victories 10 were really only Damaged etc. and 5 were Phantom (No Historical Basis) Claims).

24 WWI Central Power Aces (Records of Some Aces are Easier to confirm due to more complete British Loss Records)
1) 74 of 80 Claims ( 92.5%) Manfred von Richthofen
2) 46 of 48 Claims ( 95.8%) Werner Voss
3) 33 of 33 Claims (100.0%) Kurt Wolff *
4) 33 of 40 Claims ( 82.5%) Lothar von Richthofen
5) 32 of 45 Claims ( 71.1%) Fritz Rumey
6) 30 of 30 Claims (100.0%) Karl Allmenröder *
7) 30 of 62 Claims ( 48.4%) Ernst Udet
8) 28 of 31 Claims ( 90.3%) Paul Billik
9) 27 of 54 Claims ( 50.0%) Erich Lowenhardt
10) 25 of 44 Claims ( 56.8%) Rudolf Berthold
11) 25 of 48 Claims ( 52.0%) Josef Jacobs
12) 26 of 28 Claims ( 92.9%) Friedrich von Roth
13) 26 of 40 Claims ( 65.0%) Franz Büchner (Possibly 34/40 Claims 85%) REQUIRES FURTHER EVALUATION –SEE BELOW
14) 25 of 30 Claims ( 83.3%) Karl-Emil Schäfer
15) 24 of 44 Claims ( 54.5%) Bruno Loerzer
16) 23 of 40 Claims ( 57.5%) Oswald Bölcke (Verifiable Victories (VV) OBSCURED by insufficiency of French loss records!)
17) 22 of 35 Claims ( 62.9%) Goodwin Brumowski positive or possible ID –Top Austrian WWI Ace
18) 22 of 43 Claims ( 51.2%) Paul Baumer
19) 17 of 17 Claims (100.0%) Edmund Nathanael (German-Jewish Ace)
20) 15 of 32 Claims ( 46.9%) Julius Arigi (15+ are Verified) Austrian
21) 14 of 15 Claims ( 93.3%) Max Immelmann (2-3 additional Verifed Victories)
22) 11 of 12 Claims ( 91.7%) Sebastien Festner
23) 9 of 22 Claims ( 40.9%) Hermann Göring Possibly 14 of 22 Claims (63.6%) or 15 of 22 Claims (68.2%)
24) 8 of 28 Claims ( 28.6%) Benno Fiala Ritter von Fernbrugg –Austrian

2 WWI ALLIED ACE RECORDS
1) 33 of 34 Claims ( 97.1%) Francesco Baracca - KIA 19 Jun 1918
2) 31 of 46.5 Claims ( 66.7%) James McCudden (46.5 Credited Kills / 57 Official Victories) (Possibly 36 of 46.5 Claims 77.4%)

1 WWI CENTRAL POWER ACE RECORDS REQUIRING FURTHER EVALUATION
Franz Büchner
11 of 40 Claims ( 27.5%) –as per Barrett (source Above The Lines?)
26 of 40 Claims ( 65.0%) –strict accounting as per Rammjaeger (this seems to utilize more up to date info than ATL)
34 of 40 Claims ( 85.0%) –a more liberal accouting by Rammjaeger

5 WWI ALLIED ACE RECORDS REQUIRING FURTHER EVALUATION
CAVEAT: It is difficult to check WWI Allied Claims against the incomplete Central Power Loss Records! Moreover, the actual ‘Official’ credits are being revised to include ‘Kill’ claims only (i.e., including not Out Of Control (OOC) etc.) If the situation is as bad as has been suggested, then perhaps we should limit our evaluation to Central Powers and Italian (?) aces?

Billy Bishop (55 Credited Kills / 72 Official Victories)
20 of 55 Claims ( 36.4%) -more recent evaluation of German Records than at billybishop.net/bishopP.html as per Al Lowe 6 Oct 98
2 of 55 Claims ( 03.6%) -It seems highly unlikely to me that such exaggeration would be tolerated by his squadron

Edward ‘Mick’ Mannock (38.28 Credited Kills / 61 Official Victories)
15 of 38 Claims ( 39.2%) -as per DEM 2 Oct 06

Eddie Rickenbacker (?? Claimed Kills / 26 Official Victories)
11 of 26 Claims ( 42.3%) including 2 “grounders” –2 Crash Landed?

Lanoe Hawker (3 Credited Kills / 7 Official Victories)
1 of 3 Claims ( 33.3%) -as per DEM 2 Oct 06

Raymond Collishaw (29.2 Credited Kills / 60 Official Victories)
0 of 29 Claims ( 00.0%) - as per DEM 2 Oct 06


10 WWII Aces
1)??? of 101 Claims Josef ‘Pips’ Priller -largely verified by Johnnie Johnson (38)
2)100 of 151 Claims (+66.2%) Hans-Joachim Marseille (158) 151 Afrika + 7 Battle of Britain
3)~80 of 345 Claims (~23.2%) Erich Hartmann (352) -Ace of Aces? –based on claims of Russian Researcher
4) 74 of 121 Claims ( 61.2%) Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer -Top NJG Ace (much higher verification % has been indicated)
5) 25 of 40 Claims ( 62.5%) Richard Bong USAAF PTO Ace of Aces.
6) 21 of 28 Claims ( 75.0%) Francis ‘Gabby’ Gabreski USAAF ETO Ace of Aces
7) 15 of 64 Claims ( 23.4%) Saburo Sakai -top scoring surviving IJNAF ace
8)~9.5 of 26 Claims ( 36.5%) Gregory ‘Pappy’ Boyington - PROPORTIONAL METHOD JoeB
9) 9 of 31 Claims ( 29.0%) Heinz Knocke (–research continuing @ heinzknokewebsite.com)
10) 6+ of 7 Claims ( +85.8%) Lt. Hans-Leopold Henkemeier –Source Andrey Dikov

Korean War
Nikolai Sutyagin
1.46 of 21 Claims (07.0%) PROPORTIONAL METHOD JoeB
5 of 21 Claims (23.8%) PROPORTIONAL METHOD with ‘Benefit of Doubt’ JoeB

Also does anyone have a sense of Walter Schuck (206) Hermann Graf (212) and Alfred Grislawski (133) verifyable victories from Christer Bergström’s recent cross referenced works?


INSTRUCTIONS: TO MAKE THIS PROCESS EASIER, PLEASE COPY THIS CHART AND THEN MAKE YOUR ADDITIONS/CORRECTIONS IN THE FORMAT ALREADY USED. IF YOU STONGLY DISAGREE WITH ANOTHER POSTER, PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE THEIR CALCULATION, BUT RATHER PASTE YOUR REVISED FIGURES BENEATH AS A BASIS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH/DEBATE –THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS!


Laurent Rizzotti’s PROPORTIONAL METHOD:

Claims can also be divided into three categories (this applies mainly to large scale fights in WWII):

1) Verified: the Target is Identified and Went Down, or the Unit is Identified and has as many losses than the claims of its opponent.
2) Uncertain: Target not identified, at least one loss known but more claims than losses.
3) Invalid: the target is identified, or his unit, and wasn't destroyed though perhaps damaged

When you have one side claim 70 victories and shooting down 50 aircraft, you will probably have something like 10 valide claims and 60 Uncertain ones.

A method to try to get closer to the real score of WWII pilots will be to use the US method of using fractions for claims.

For example, in the above case, the 10 pilots having claimed identified targets (location and time corresponding, away from the main battle and so on) will be given full credit (1 claim = 1 victory) and the 60 other claims, corresponding to the remaining 40 losses, will be valued each 40/60 = 0.666 victory... This is as close as you can get in many cases.

THE PROPORTIONAL METHOD MUST REMAIN AS AS SUB-CATEGORY TO VERIFIED CLAIMS UNLESS NO OTHER METHOD OF CALCULATION IS USED –EXAMPLE BELOW

31 of 57 Claims ( 54.4%) Pilot X (PROPORTIONAL METHOD 36 of 57 Claims 63.2%)


Already I think it is safe to say that we can reach a historical conclusion! So far the results reflect exceedingly well on Jasta 11 -it seems the unit maintained an exceptional degree of integrity in making claims –and bestows even further credit on their ‘meister’ Manfred von Richthofen. Perhaps this is consequent to MvR’s mantra to “Bring them down burning!” This contrasts with a liberal outlook on claiming, allegedly taken by some JGs in WWII.
These results will also undoubtedly place an even greater gap between Jasta 11 and any rival unit in terms of its status as an elite unit (is Bölcke’s Jasta 2 luster starting to tarnish? -he was still nevertheless a great combat leader and a father of air combat tactics).

Richthofen’s Jasta 11 ‘Bloody April’ 1917 Gang
33 of 33 Claims (100.0%) Kurt Wolff *
30 of 30 Claims (100.0%) Karl Allmenröder *
74 of 80 Claims ( 92.5%) Manfred von Richthofen
11 of 12 Claims ( 91.7%) Sebastien Festner
25 of 30 Claims ( 83.3%) Karl-Emil Schäfer
33 of 40 Claims ( 82.5%) Lothar von Richthofen
206 of 225 Claims ( 91.6%) Jasta 11 - EXCEPTIONAL CLAIM VERACITY!


“Bring them down burning! Get the plane you are after and make it burn.”
-Manfred von Richthofen
“I hope he roasted all the way down.”
-Edward ‘Mick’ Mannock upon learning of MvR’s death.
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Old 3rd January 2007, 15:01
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SMF144 SMF144 is offline
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Re: Percentage of Verifiable Victories of Various Aces –Updates & Recommendations

Rob,

Excellent work and I think you're onto something rather interesting, but, speaking for the Canadians, where's Barker V.C., D.S.O., M.C., McLeod, D.S.O, D.F.C. or Beurling, D.S.O., D.F.C., D.F.M.?

Stephen
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Old 3rd January 2007, 20:38
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Re: Percentage of Verifiable Victories of Various Aces –Updates & Recommendations

Perhaps another approach would be to add up all the cases where you can establish that the "shot down" aircraft actually survived.
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Old 4th January 2007, 16:34
Dénes Bernád Dénes Bernád is offline
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Re: Percentage of Verifiable Victories of Various Aces –Updates & Recommendations

An interesting point. However, I'd consider an aircraft, which force landed, or returned home with significant damage due to air combat (thus survived) a legitimate proof for an actual 'kill'.
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Old 4th January 2007, 17:12
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Re: Percentage of Verifiable Victories of Various Aces –Updates & Recommendations

I'm inclined to go with Denes. My perspective is that if the a/c was rendered 'unservicable' or required extensive repairs to bring back to service - it fits 'destroyed' category.

In my research on the 355th there are several cases where the pilot escaped the combat (damaged) but was lost later due to running out of fuel, crash landing in England, or just disappeared after a combat and reporting in 'OK". I assign those to Lost in Air Combat.

For those of you researching Luftwaffe Claims (not just awards) for 4 Oct 1943, 29 January 1944, 28 May 1944, 12 September 1944 and 7 April 1945 - contact me and I will give you the encounter times and locations.

I also know the 355th lost one P-51 near Warsaw to Me 109s but find no claims for JG51 on September 18, 1944.

Regards,

Bill Marshall
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Old 4th January 2007, 19:33
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Re: Percentage of Verifiable Victories of Various Aces –Updates & Recommendations

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dénes Bernád View Post
An interesting point. However, I'd consider an aircraft, which force landed, or returned home with significant damage due to air combat (thus survived) a legitimate proof for an actual 'kill'.
I'd agree if the returning aircraft was written off or if the pilot did not return to operations.
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Old 5th January 2007, 16:21
Dénes Bernád Dénes Bernád is offline
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Re: Percentage of Verifiable Victories of Various Aces –Updates & Recommendations

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Beale View Post
I'd agree if (...) the pilot did not return to operations.
My understanding is that the subject of an air combat 'kill' claim was the enemy airplane, not the pilot. Therefore, if the airplane was more or less O.K., i.e. only lightly damaged, but the pilot died or was severely wounded (like the case of Lt. Otto Fönnekold from JG 52, KIA on August 30, 1944, IIRC), I'd say it wasn't proof for an actual 'kill'.
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Old 26th March 2007, 15:28
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Last edited by Rob Romero; 17th April 2007 at 00:50.
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Old 26th March 2007, 16:49
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Re: Percentage of Verifiable Victories of Various Aces –Updates & Recommendations

Hallo,
maybe this can be of interest.
Some years ago I made an analisys of the 1942 claims of the top scorer over Malta, for the LW Oblt Gerhard Michalski and for the RAF P/O Georg Beurling.
Concerning Michalski claims the results were that for 15 claims are corresponding RAF losses as time, location and without other conflicting claims by other axis pilots; for 6 they are RAF losses with same time and location, but other pilots (Italian and or German, above all after the arrival of I/JG77) made similar claims and only for 3 found nothing (20.1.42, 24.01.42 and 17.03.42).
If interested I have details for claims and related RAF losses
Regards
Alessandro
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