10 Greatest Flying Aces in History

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Image: Bzuk

9. Air Vice Marshal James Edgar ‘Johnnie’ Johnson – British ace pilot

The top scoring WWII Allied Ace, “Johnnie” Johnson flew with Douglas Bader and later led the 610 Squadron. By the end of WWII Johnson had flown in over 1,000 combat missions, holding the remarkable record of never having been shot down, and on only one occasion was his Spitfire damaged by the enemy. Johnson has been credited with 38 kills – officially the highest total of any RAF pilot. Johnson was awarded the DSO and two bars, the DFC and bar, the Legion d’Honneur, and the Croix de Guerre, making him among the most decorated British pilots of all time. He stayed in the RAF after the war, and served with the US Air Force in the Korean War, where he was awarded the American DFC.


Image: NJR ZA

8. Kurt Welter – WWII German ace pilot

Kurt Welter was the German ace jet pilot of WWII. Germany was the first country to introduce a jet fighter, the Messerschmitt 262, and the Allied forces could not cope with it because it was so much faster than any of their own planes. Welter scored a total of 63 kills in only 93 combat missions. Of these, 56 victories were recorded at night, including those against 33 Mosquito aircraft, and he scored more aerial victories from a jet fighter than anyone else in WWII. To the present day he holds the record for enemy aircraft shot down by a jet fighter.

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Image: Gsl

7. Captain Albert Ball – British ace pilot

Captain Albert Ball was Britain’s highest scoring ace fighter pilot during WWI. Seconded to the Royal Flying Corps in 1916, he quickly established himself as an ace of great daring, shooting down 43 enemy planes and one balloon. One evening in 1917, his and 10 other British aircraft from 56 Squadron encountered German aircraft. Both Ball and Lothar von Richthofen, the bother of the Red Baron, crashed. Ball died, but Lothar survived. The 20-year-old British ace was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.

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