Aces (Aircraft Specials series 6077)
By W. Wayne Patton
Publisher: Squadron/Signal Publications 1998 64 Pages
PDF 21 MB
The Aces series is about air aces, their aircraft, and their tactics. Aces from various nations and wars are profiled. Their aircraft are described with an emphasis on their performance, how they were flown, and how the combination of pilot and aircraft stood up to the opposition.
The series will feature color profiles and paintings of documented aircraft flown by each ace. The color schemes are as accurate as possible and are mainly documented with photographs. In some cases, the color schemes are documented using pilot diaries or by direct communication with the ace. The author wishes to hear from readers with information about aircraft colors and/or markings which could result in more accurate illustrations. Notes are included to cross-reference the colors to Federal Standard (FS) color numbers to aid military and aviation history enthusiasts.
What is an ace? The question is both simple and complicated. Many countries have publicized 'tank aces' and 'flak aces' and have allowed fighter pilots to get credit for ground kills. Bomber gunners and back seat radar operators are not considered aces. The aces addressed in this book are fighter pilots with five or more air-to-air victories over enemy aircraft.
One of the first aces to be acclaimed as such was the World War One French fighter pilot Jean Navarre (12 victories). The French newspapers made a hero out of Navarre and started the 'ace' or 'top card' concept. At the time Navarre had five aerial victories to his credit. That number became the official mark at which point a fighter pilot could be designated an ace.
The first German ace was the great teacher and tactician Max Immelmann (15 victories). The Germans called their aces "experten (experts) and a score of ten victories, rather than five, was required to achieve the title. The first British ace was Lanoe Hawker (9 victories), a great tactician and inventor who ultimately met his end at the hands of Manfred von Richthofen — the Red Baron. The first American ace was Raoul Lufbery (17 victories) who scored most of his victories while flying for the French.