"The Warrior and the Wolfpack" by John Shaw
The Highest Scoring Fighter Pilots Of All Time
Alfred "Bubi" Hartmann aka "Karaya One") - 352
, The Ace of Aces
flew "...around 1,456
(missions) I think, but I am not sure of the exact number." He
engaged in air combat approximately 850 times, was never shot down by
an enemy plane and never lost a wingman (Gunther Capito was shot down
but survived). He surrendered to the Americans on May 8th 1945 and was
subsequently turned over to the Russians. He was 'tried' for 'war crimes'
& sentenced to 25 years hard labor. He then spent the next 10
and a half years in Russian Gulags. After his release (obtained through
pressure by the West German government), he returned to West Germany,
was reunited with his wife Usch (Ursula), and served in the Bundesluftwaffe. He "joined old friends" on
19 Sept. 1993.
Eric Hartmann & Gerd Barkhorn, the only members of the 300 Club |
Erich Gerhard "Gerd" Barkhorn - 301, Flew 1104 missions. He was badly hurt in an Me262 crash on April 17th 1945. He surrendered to the
Americans at the end of the war but, surprisingly, he was not turned
over to the Russians. Instead, the American and British authorities
released him in September 1945. He retired as a Major General from the
Bundesluftwaffe (postwar German Air Force).
During a winter storm on January 6th 1983, Barkhorn
and his wife were involved in a car accident. She died at the scene
and Gerd died 2 days later.
Hartmann had this to say about his friend - "Gerd Barkhorn could really enjoy
it if someone else was successful. Few men were like
this. When I overtook him, he congratulated me with
all his heart. He was a man and a leader who really
could take his men into hell itself. Everybody would
be proud to [die] for this leader. He was
the fighter commander of whom every fighter pilot
dreams - leader, friend, comrade, father - the best
I ever met"
The 200 Club
Rall - 275
, Flew 621 missions. Shot down 8 times. Badly wounded
including the loss of his left thumb during a wild combat session with
P-47's of "Zemke's Wolfpack" (see top painting). 'Captured'
by the British. Joined Bundesluftwaffe. Retired in 1975. On 4 Oct. 2009, the General was off to re-unite with old friends.
Otto "Bruno" Kittel - 267
, Flew 583 combat missions.
Shot down twice and survived before being KIA February 14th 1945. At
the time he was flying a FW190A-8 ("Black 1" #960282) as Staffelkapitan
of 2./JG 54.
Walter "Nowi" Nowotny - 258
, 1st to 250 kills and
in only 442 missions! Ouch. Austrian, KIA
November 8th 1944 (by Edward R. Haydon) while flying an Me262 against
B-17s. "Nowi", finding himself burning alive, nose dived into
the ground. He was 23.
"Willi" Batz - 237
, Evaded Soviet capture at war's
end. Joined and retired from the Bundesluftwaffe. Died September 11th
"Rudy" Rudorffer - 224
, (12 with a jet) Holds Luftwaffe record of
most kills in a single mission with 13. Was shot down 16 times. Bailed
out 9 times. Survived the war and served in the Bundesluftwaffe. He
retired as a commercial pilot. Was still alive as of 2000 but does not
discuss the war years.
| Oskar-Heinz "Pritzl" Bar - 220
, (16 with a jet). Disliked by Hermann Göring and denied "Diamonds", Pritzl flew over 1000 missions and survived the
war. Unfortunately, he was killed in a civilian plane crash, 28 April 1957, near Braunschweig.
Graf - 212
, (1st to 200, and in only 13 months!) Survived the war. Surrendered
to the Americans with Hartmann and was turned over to the Russians.
Released in 1950. Died 4 November 1988.
Heinrich Ehrler - 209
, KIA April 4th 1945. After shooting down
two B-17's and running out of ammo, Ehrler is reported to have said,
" Theo! (Weissenberger) I have run out of ammunition! I am going
to ram this one! Auf Wiedersehen! I'll see you in Valhalla!" and
then he ramed a third B-17. His body was found the next day.
| Theodore "Theo" Weissenberger
, Survived the war and was killed in a car racing accident
at Nurburgring, June 10th 1950.
Hans "Fips" Philipp - 206
, KIA October 8th 1943 while flying a FW 190.
This kill was claimed by Robert S. Johnson but Luftwaffe eye witnesses
say it was the gunners in the B-17's they were attacking that got him.
Schuck - 206
, Flew only 109s and 262s. He survived the war
and was still around and signing autographs as of 1999.
Anton "Toni" Hafner - 204
, KIA October 17th 1944 when he lost situational
awareness in a low-level dogfight with Yaks (big mistake) and his 109
hit a tree.
Lipfert - 203
, Was shot down 15 times. Survived the war. Surrendered
but was not turned over to the Russians and subsequently became a school
teacher. Died in 1990.
an asterisk [*] before an Ace's name indicates the pilot was killed
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