List of German World War II jet aces

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Messerschmitt Me 262A

This list of German World War II jet aces has a sortable table of notable German jet ace pilots during World War II.

Background

A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down five or more enemy aircraft during aerial combat (The Germans traditionally set the threshold at 10 victories.). During World War II, hundreds of German Luftwaffe fighter pilots achieved this feat flying contemporary piston engine fighter aircraft.[1] However, only 28 pilots are credited with shooting down five or more enemy aircraft while flying a jet-powered aircraft.

Jet aircraft first engaged in air combat on 26 July 1944, when Leutnant Alfred Schreiber, flying Messerschmitt Me 262 A-1a W.Nr. 130 017 (German language: Werknummer – factory serial number), attacked an unarmed photo-reconnaissance De Havilland Mosquito PR Mk XVI, of No. 540 Squadron RAF, over the Alps. Some sources refer to this as the first victory in air combat by a pilot of a jet fighter,[2] although the crew of the damaged Mosquito managed to return to an Allied airfield in Italy.

The first confirmed destruction of an enemy aircraft by an Me 262 pilot occurred on 8 August 1944, when Leutnant Joachim Weber shot down another Mosquito PR XVI from No. 540 Squadron, over Ohlstadt, in Bavaria.[3]

On 15 August 1944, Schreiber took off to intercept a Mosquito PR XVI (NS520) of 60 Squadron, South African Air Force crewed by Captain S. Pienaar and Lieutenant A. Lockhart-Ross, who were tasked with photographing airfields in the Black Forest area. Schreiber caused severe damage in his first attack and made more than 10 passes at the Mosquito before low fuel levels cause him to break off. Pienaar and Lockhart-Ross survived a crash landing at San Severo in Italy; their reconnaissance film and debriefing provided the Allies with valuable intelligence on the Me 262.

During 1944–45, the Luftwaffe committed two other jet- or rocket-powered fighters to combat operations. In addition to the Me 262, the Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet and the Heinkel He 162 Volksjäger both become operational. Few claims were made by pilots of the Me 163 and He 162, and none achieved ace status on either of these types.[4]

German jet aces

  This along with the * (asterisk), indicates that the pilot was either killed in action or killed in a flying accident.

The list is initially sorted by the number of jet victories claimed.[5]

Name Rank Victories flying jets Jet fighter unit(s) Total wartime victories Notes
Welter, KurtKurt Welter Oberleutnant 20+[6] [7] Kdo Welter, 10./NJG 11 63 Possible all-time leading jet ace, but he did overclaim up to 10.
Bar, HeinrichHeinrich Bär Oberstleutnant 16 EJG 2, JV 44 220 started jet combat in 1945, flew the only Me262 A-1a/U5 with 6 30mm MK108's
Schall, FranzFranz Schall* Hauptmann 14 Kdo Nowotny, JG 7 137 Killed in flying accident 10 April 1945[5]
Buchner, HermannHermann Buchner Oberfeldwebel 12 Kdo Nowotny
JG 7
58
Eder, Georg-PeterGeorg-Peter Eder Major 12 Kdo Nowotny
JG 7
78 Wounded 16 February 1945[5]
Rudorffer, ErichErich Rudorffer Major 12 JG 7 222
Schnörrer, KarlKarl Schnörrer Leutnant 11 EKdo 262
Kdo Nowotny
JG 7
46 Wounded 30 March 1945[5]
Büttner, ErichErich Büttner* Oberfeldwebel 8 EKdo 262
Kdo Nowotny
JG 7
8 Killed in action 20 March 1945[5]
Lennartz, HelmutHelmut Lennartz Feldwebel 8 EKdo 262
Kdo Nowotny
JG 7
13 First aerial victory over a B-17 Flying Fortress by a jet fighter on 15 August 1944.[8]
Rademacher, RudolfRudolf Rademacher Leutnant 8 JG 7 126
Schuck, WalterWalter Schuck Oberleutnant 8 JG 7 206
Wegmann, GüntherGünther Wegmann Oberleutnant 8 EKdo 262
JG 7
14 Wounded 18 March 1945[5]
Weihs, Hans-DieterHans-Dieter Weihs Leutnant 8 JG 7 8 Midair collision with Hans Waldmann on 18 March 1945, killing Waldmann.[9]
Weissenberger, TheodorTheodor Weissenberger Major 8 JG 7 208
Ambs, AlfredAlfred Ambs Leutnant 7 JG 7 7
Arnold, HeinzHeinz Arnold* Oberfeldwebel 7 JG 7 49 Killed in action 17 April 1945[5]
Arnold's Me 262 A-1a W.Nr.500491 "Yellow 7" of II./JG 7 bearing his personal victory marks is now on display at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., USA.[10]
Becker, Karl-HeinzKarl-Heinz Becker Feldwebel 7 10./NJG 11 7 Suspect, as This unit overclaimed
Galland, AdolfAdolf Galland Generalleutnant 7 JV 44 104 Assigned to create JV44 in March 1945. Wounded 26 April 1945[5]
Köster, FranzFranz Köster Unteroffizier 7 EJG 2
JG 7
JV 44
7
Muller, FritzFritz Müller Leutnant 6 JG 7 22
Steinhoff, JohannesJohannes Steinhoff Oberst 6 JG 7
JV 44
176 Wounded 18 April 1945[5]
Baudach, HelmutHelmut Baudach* Oberfeldwebel 5 Kdo Nowotny
JG 7
20 Killed in action 22 February 1945[5]
Ehrler, HeinrichHeinrich Ehrler* Major 5 JG 7 206 Killed in action 4 April 1945[5]
Grünberg, HansHans Grünberg Oberleutnant 5 JG 7
JV 44
82
Heim, JosephJoseph Heim* Gefreiter 5 JG 7 5 Killed in action 10 April 1945[5]
Neumann, KlausKlaus Neumann Leutnant 5 JG 7
JV 44
37
Schreiber, AlfredAlfred Schreiber* Leutnant 5 Kdo Nowotny
JG 7
5 First jet ace in aviation history[11]
Killed in flying accident 26 November 1944[5]
Späte, WolfgangWolfgang Späte Major 5 (JG 400)
JV 44
99

Footnotes

References

Citations

  1. ^ Spick 1996, pp. 2–3.
  2. ^ Radinger & Schick 1993, p. 51.
  3. ^ Morgan & Weal 1998, pp. 16–17.
  4. ^ Spick 1996, p. 204.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Morgan & Weal 1998, p. 88.
  6. ^ According to Hinchliffe, Kurt Welter is credited in excess of 20 aerial victories while flying the Me 262, but the exact number is disputed.
  7. ^ Hinchliffe 1998, pp. 210, 294.
  8. ^ Morgan & Weal 1998, p. 17.
  9. ^ Weal 2003, p. 92.
  10. ^ Radinger & Schick 1993, p. 60.
  11. ^ Foreman & Harvey 1995, p. 81.

Bibliography

  • Boehme, Manfred (1992). JG 7 The World's First Jet Fighter Unit 1944/1945. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing. ISBN 0-88740-395-6. .
  • Boyne, Walter J. (1980). Messerschmitt Me 262 Arrow to the Future. United States of America: Smithsonian Institution. ISBN 0-87474-275-7. .
  • Foreman, John; Harvey, S.E. (1995), Messerschmitt Combat Diary Me.262, Crecy Publishing Ltd, ISBN 1-871187-30-3 .
  • Hinchliffe, Peter (1998), Luftkrieg bei Nacht 1939–1945 [Air War at Night], Motorbuch Verlag, ISBN 3-613-01861-6 .
  • Morgan, Hugh; Weal, John (1998), German Jet Aces of World War II, London: Orsprey Publishing Limited, ISBN 1-85532-634-5 .
  • Radinger, Willy; Schick, Walther (1993), Messerschmitt Me 262 Development Testing Production, Schiffer Publishing Ltd, ISBN 0-88740-516-9 .
  • Spick, Mike (1996), Luftwaffe Fighter Aces, New York: Ivy Books, ISBN 0-8041-1696-2 .
  • Weal, John (2003), Bf109 Aces of the Russian Front, Oxford: Osprey Publishing Limited, ISBN 1-84176-084-6 .
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