OVERVIEW

Based on victories reported, below is a top ten list of the United States fighter pilot aces from WWII.  No doubt, they US had a number of excellent fighter pilots.  However, had the outcome of the war been determined on fighter pilot victories alone, the Germans would have taken the war hands down.  Though various circumstances did contribute to their incredibly high numbers, they were far superior in kills than any other country or countries combined.  Their top ace – Erich Hartmann – had more victories than the top ten US pilots combined:  352 vs. 325.

 

Richard Bong

In all, Germany had a total of 195 top flying aces in World War II, compared to the United States 25.  Germany aside, the Japanese are next on the list regarding total victories scored, followed by the British and Commonwealth aces.  However, the United States fighter pilots did tally an impressive number of victories throughout WWII, and no doubt, played a pivotal role in the success of the Allies.

 

THE TOP TEN LIST

The top 10 list below actually lists 11 pilots as the #10 and #11 aces each scored 25 victories.

 

Name                              Branch                     Total Victories             Aircraft

 

Richard Bong             US Army Air Force                 40                      P-38 Lightning

Thomas McGuire       US Army Air Force                 38                     P-38 Lightning (Killed in action)

David McCampbell     US Navy                                  34                      F6F Hellcat

Gregory Boyington     US Marine Corps                   28                      F4U Corsair

Francis Gabreski         US Air Force                           28                      Spitfire / P-47 Thunderbolt

Robert Johnson           US Army Air Force                28                      P-47 Thunderbolt

Charles MacDonald    US Army Air Force                 27                      P-38 Lightning

Joseph Foss                  US Marine Corps                    26                      F4F Wildcat

George Preddy              US Air Force                           26                      P-51 Mustang (Killed in action)

Robert Hanson             US Marine Corps                   25                      F4U Corsair (Killed in action)

Lance Wade                  Royal Air Force*                    25                      Spitfire (Killed in action)

*Note:  Lance Wade is the only American to serve exclusively in any foreign air force.

 

When considering top aces of World War II, victories alone do not always reflect overall performance.  Guidelines throughout the countries varied and a pilot’s word was sometimes the only confirmation.  The list above is strictly based on total victories reported.

 

The United States may have paled in comparison to the Germans overall victory performance in World War II, but they left an impressive mark on American history.  Even though these men are ranked possibly fourth among all the countries for victories in WWII, these fighter pilot aces fought long and hard; and the top ten aces listed here is reflective of the dedication of the American armed forces and their fighter pilots.

 

Comments are closed.