The Germans and Aerial Combat in WWI and WWII?
1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC
The Germans and Aerial Combat in WWI and WWII?
Eleven answers:
Its not me Its u
2007-05-21 21:04:42 UTC
People had it right above. The Germans had a 'fly till you die policy' while the Americans rotated their airmen out after 25 missions....
2007-05-21 17:56:34 UTC
As far as WWII, one of the most overlooked factors was the constant combat the Germans saw. Even those who started later (like Hartmann) were in combat every day, week in and week out. Those that survived, got very good at what they did.

The training was good, the planes were too, but not that much better than their foes. Also, for at least the first two years of the war against the USSR, the Germans were fighting a poorly equipped and poorly trained enemy.
2007-05-21 17:04:01 UTC
l believe it was due to their training and the planes they flew.German planes are all within the top 15 of the worlds best planes.
2007-05-21 17:03:13 UTC
good question. between the two factors that you picked, it would be impossible to decide. however, i do not feel that overall, the germans had better pilots or airplanes.

the thing is, when you are in a dogfight, you are scared to death. the only thing that will keep you alive is your discipline and your attitude. if you are aggressive, which i feel many american forces probably were, you might only take out a handful of planes before you are shot down. if you are calm and collected, you might live a bit longer, just as the red baron had.

the germans were calmer because they had a bit of breathing room. when the damage they were doing to Europe is speculated, it is obvious that they were on the offensive. the allies, on the other hand, did not have this advantage. the british, the russians, and (probably later!) the americans, were on the defensive. when you are forced to defend your homeland, and your family, your actions in the air would be different. you might have anger, vengeance, or fear clouding your mind, leading you to make rash decisions.
2007-05-21 16:57:28 UTC
In WWI the Germans had an early advantage because they discovered how to get a machine gun to fire directly forward through the propeller. They also developed plans and flew in formations that gave them an advantage in combat.

In WW ll they had been training for years, against the restrictions imposed at the end of WWI. So they were much better at the beginning of the war in both skill, experience, and equipment. Hartmann was a very good pilot, but many of his kills were against bombers and not fighters. That is not to say he was not a tremendous pilot. I have read his autobiography and he says being on the Russian front gave him an advantage over the pilots on the western front.
2007-05-21 16:56:26 UTC
My opinion on the superiority of the German aviators was due to the aircraft technology of the German aviation manufacturers. The reason the allies ultimately defeated the luftwaffe was due our mass production of bombers and fighter planes that overwhelmed them as the war progressed. Coupled with the fact that eventually the allies were able to cripple their production by destroying their factories and support systems.
2016-04-01 05:20:06 UTC
That is a big question, in fact three big questions. I will give you my interesting people of World war I and II, vietnam is very different, hard to point to individuals because of the mass negativity of journalism during and after. WWI The American soldiers of the 77th Infantry , otherwise known as the "Lost Battalion". this is where legends are born, It's a fascinating story of ordinary men, who rise to the occasion, in extraordinary circumstances. Admiral Beatty: Royal Nay, great Britain during the battle of Jutland, fascinating reading. Sgt Alvin C York, US Army. captured 153 Germans single handed, not bad for a Conscientious objector. Nurse Cavell killed by the Germans, she in her captivity and death rallied more support than any other single death. WWII General George S Patton, no stuff shirt here, arrogant yes, but he backed up his bravado with action and victories. Sgt Audie Murphy- most decorated American soldier of WWII, this pint sized Texan, with a baby face, had more grit than 3 stout marines. Where do these guys come from? simply amazing character. Hollywood movie stars, who put on a uniform, and fought with the regular GI's never asking favors, and having no special perks or privileges (Clark Gable, Jimmie Stewart etc) Winston Churchill, a true politician, master at sacrifice for the cause of the nation. lie , cheat, steal, wax poetic and never back down or blink. The Bulldog, who knows the total of what length he would go to secure Britains existence in those dark days, no one else could do it, a man for his place and time 100%, weather you like him or not. anyone who gave aid or helped, or even resisted the Nazi treatment of the Jewish people. the Naval armed guard, nearly forgot sub branch of the US Navy that protected the merchant ships, many losses, only recently even recognized. There are dozens more for sure, or equal status, but these are ones I enjoy learning about.
2007-05-21 17:27:41 UTC
Many of the leading German aces began their combat career in 1939-1940 which means that alot of their victories were against smaller aif forces which had very obscolete aircraft. The aircraft of nations such France, Poland, and even early Russian aircraft were no match for the Bf-109's. Also, as one of the previous persons answered, the German pilots flew basically till they were killed, injured to where they could never fly, or the war ended. (Erich Hartmann was an exception for he did not fly as long as the other top aces. Also, he was never even shot down, as many top aces were several times.) The top American ace of WWII was Richard Bong, who had 40 kills. After reaching this number, he was sent to the states where he toured as a hero (which he was), selling war bonds. The great American aces really began flying in steady combat about late 1943. But the German aces definitely did exhibit top skills and bravery in the skies over Europe during both wars.
2007-05-21 17:03:28 UTC
Interesting question, I'm thinking that the time and research the Germans were able to put into their aircraft prior to each war probably played at least some part in the disparity. In both wars it was the Germans that initiated the conflict and the allies started out playing catch up technologically. I've heard it said that there were more parts in the fuel injection on an ME109 than in the entire engine in a P51 Mustang.

One thing that might be telling is when in each conflict the majority of the German "kills" were recorded. I'm going to guess that in each case it was early on.
Joe Schmo from Kokomo
2007-05-21 16:58:45 UTC
I believe it has more to do with the fact that they were fighting to preserve their 'Fatherland'. The German pilots were never rotated out of service they flew until the end of the war in death or otherwise.

[Wow, the only 'thumbs down'; must be an admirer.]

"A special Luftwaffe formation, the Condor Legion was sent to support General Franco's nationalist forces during the Spanish Civil War. This battle experience, fighting against the most modern Soviet fighters crewed by experienced pilots, allowed the Luftwaffe to develop a sound doctrine covering almost all aspects of air combat operations in the combined arms battle. Around 20,000 members of the Luftwaffe gained direct combat experience in Spain, giving the Luftwaffe a crucial advantage over its enemies during the first part of World War II.

"Until the development of allied long-range fighters the Luftwaffe remained relatively capable and kept the capability to inflict serious losses by the day fighters and night fighters.

"As modern as these aircraft were, they could not prevent Germany's total defeat in the air. In the end, the Luftwaffe lacked fuel, trained pilots, organisational unity and "safe" airfields.

"German superiority was especially felt during the first two years on the Eastern Front, given that the Luftwaffe enjoyed an advanced technical standard compared to the Russian A/F. Another factor was that it was employing highly trained and experienced pilots.

"From 1943 onwards however Luftwaffe superiority slipped away, as the Russian A/F recovered from its devastating initial losses, and Soviet factories provided planes to the frontline that could compete with their German counterparts. At the same time, the air battle over the Reich drained the resources of the Luftwaffe."

"Following the Battle of Britain, however, the Luftwaffe went into a steady, gradual decline that saw it both outclassed and outgunned by the sheer number of Allied aircraft being deployed against it. Towards the end of the war, the Luftwaffe was no longer a major factor, and despite fielding advanced aircraft like the Messerschmitt Me 262 and Me 163, was crippled by fuel shortages, insufficient production capacity, and a lack of trained pilots."

It looks as though the Germans had a little more practice before the major combat of WWII thanks to the Spanish Civil War. They also had a distinct advantage in equipment at the start of the War due to their unannounced 'prior intention' of general warfare.

Both the Germans and Japanese suffered due to the losses of experienced pilots at the end of the War; Due in part to the fact that they never were able to be rotated off the battle front. Americans used experienced pilots as trainers, at least for a part of their tour of duty. J/S

2007-05-21 17:16:03 UTC
Hartman's kills came mainly on the Russian Front as the Soviets were poorly lead, most of the Officer Corp had suffered by Stalin's purges.

Their aircraft were superior to the Soviets early in the war, but as they geared up their fighter production and development they were able to beat back the German's by sheer weight of numbers.

This content was originally posted on Y! Answers, a Q&A website that shut down in 2021.