A Brief History
On January 3, 1944, America’s leading fighter Ace of that time, Marine Major Pappy Boyington, was shot down and taken captive by the Japanese. Today, we take a look at some of the leading fighter pilot aces of World War II by their country.
Top Aces of World War II:
Johnnie Johnson, Britain, 38 kills
Mato Dukovac, Croatia, 44 kills
Ilmari Juutilainen, Finland, 94 kills
Pierre Clostermann, France, 33 kills
Erich Hartmann, Germany, 352 kills
György Debrődy and Lajos Tóth, Hungary, 26 kills
Teresio Martinoli, Italy, 22 + 14 shared kills
Tetsuzō Iwamoto, Japan, 80 kills
Raymond Brown Hesselyn, New Zealand, 21.5 kills
Stanisław Skalski, Poland, 22 kills
Constantin Cantacuzino, Romania, 69 kills
Ján Režňák, Slovakia, 32 kills
Richard Bong, USA, 40 kills
Ivan Kozhedub, USSR, 66 kills
Lydia Litvyak, USSR, 5 to 12 kills, top female ace of all time
Top Aces of World War I:
Baron Manfred von Richthofen, Germany, 80 kills
René Fonck, France, 75 kills
Billy Bishop, British Commonwealth, 72 kills
Willy Coppens, Belgium, 37 Kills
Godwin von Brumowski, Austro-Hungary (Poland), 35 kills
Francesco Baracca, Italy, 34 kills
Eddie Rickenbacker, USA, 26 Kills
Question for students (and subscribers): Who do you believe is the best fighter pilot of all time? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please see…
Hammel, Eric. Aces at War. Pacifica Press, 1997.
Sims, Edward. American Aces. Ballantine, 1963.
The featured image in this article, a U.S. Department of Defense photograph of Major Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, commander of Marine Corp fighter squadron VMF-214 (“Black Sheep”) in the cockpit of his aircraft, is a work of a United States Marine or employee, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, it is in the public domain.
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