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Aces of WWII the plane or the pilot?

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  • Aces of WWII the plane or the pilot?

    With the new BOB movie out now there will be much talk about the aerial dogfights and the planes used by the Germans and the Brits. There have been countless threads and polls here on ACG on "the best plane." While these debates have and still are, raging here on ACG ad nauseum the thing that I see not discussed much, if at all, are the pilots flying the planes.

    It is very obvious that there are 2 types of fighter pilots "aces" and "targets." This was true in all theaters of WWII. Sure if you are flying a plane with better maneuverability and speed an ace vs another ace would have an advantage. That did not always mean he would be returning to his airbase.

    IMHO the pilot is the key to not being killed and not the plane. What are your opinions?
    Our world at Khe Sanh was blood, death, and filth with deafening gunfire and blinding explosions as a constant soundtrack...Barry Fixler
    http://sempercool.com/

  • #2
    Slovak fighter ace Josef Frantisek flew a Hurricane not a Spitfighter, and besides the latter is considered the better aircraft, Frantisek was credited with 17 kills. The Polish squadron 303, I believe, had the highest Allied success rate in the BOB.

    German ace and commander of Jagdgeschwader 2 Helmut Wick was credited with 56 kills in 3 months, flew a BF 109 E-4 easily identified by its yellow nose and tail.
    Our world at Khe Sanh was blood, death, and filth with deafening gunfire and blinding explosions as a constant soundtrack...Barry Fixler
    http://sempercool.com/

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    • #3
      Marmaduke Thomas St John Pattle, DFC & Bar was credited with at least 40 victories. fifteen of these were achieved whilst flying a Gloster Gladiator biplane He faced the Italian Macchi C200 a monoplane that was over 60 mph faster and highly manoeuvrable but he did even better when his Gladiator was replaced with a Hurricane. He was the highest scoring pilot on a Gladiator and the highest scoring pilot on a Hurricane - next question please
      Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
      Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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      • #4
        Originally posted by MarkV View Post
        Marmaduke Thomas St John Pattle, DFC & Bar was credited with at least 40 victories. fifteen of these were achieved whilst flying a Gloster Gladiator biplane He faced the Italian Macchi C200 a monoplane that was over 60 mph faster and highly manoeuvrable but he did even better when his Gladiator was replaced with a Hurricane. He was the highest scoring pilot on a Gladiator and the highest scoring pilot on a Hurricane - next question please
        So we have 2 votes now for the pilot not the plane.

        I read about Pat Pattle briefly (I forget what book now) but was not aware of his accomplishments in WWII. Thanks. I read the wiki page on him- good stuff!

        In addition to just yes or no, pilot or plane, bringing up aces like MarkV would be a much appreciated addition and, definitely, make this thread more interesting.
        Last edited by Kurt Knispel; 15 Sep 18, 13:46.
        Our world at Khe Sanh was blood, death, and filth with deafening gunfire and blinding explosions as a constant soundtrack...Barry Fixler
        http://sempercool.com/

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        • #5
          I wouldn't put it quite that simply. A skilled fighter pilot would do better with a good aircraft and a good aircraft would allow a less skilled pilot to survive long enough to gain the experience to be skilled
          Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
          Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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          • #6
            Both aircraft and pilot skill affect combat. Saburo Sakai told of flying with a pilot that preferred a Zero! I would have asked for at least a Shiden or Raiden.

            Some countries used older aircraft with good results. Finland had a motley collection of aircraft. Some stripped down Brewster Buffaloes seemed to do very well. This could well be bad training in the Red Air Force.

            Pruitt
            Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

            Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

            by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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            • #7
              It's all about the pilot. A great pilot in an inferior plane will beat the snot out of an inexperienced pilot in a great plane. US Navy pilots flying early F4F held their own against the Zero because their pilots had equal flying hours and experience to their opponents (contrary to popular belief). On the other hand, the USAAC / F had more problems as they had mostly low hour pilots early in the war. Their high hour pilots did equally well against both the Germans and Japanese.

              Inexperienced pilots flying good planes simply gives them a better chance of survival, not a better chance of doing useful stuff like shooting down enemy planes.

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