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.
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.