Aces 2 (Aircraft Specials 6084)
By W. Wayne. Patton
Publisher: Squadron/Signal Publications 2001 64 Pages
PDF 20 MB
The Aces series is about aces, their machines, and their tactics. The emphasis in this book is placed on air aces; however, other aces such as lank and submarine commanders are profiled to provide contrast with the air aces.
What is an acc? Air aces are fighter pilots with five or more aerial victories over enemy aircraft. Tank aces must destroy five or more enemy tanks, while submarine commanders must sink 50.000 tons of shipping or five ships to reach ace status. Targets must be seen by witnesses to catch fire, explode, be deserted by their crews, sink, or crash. Enemy machines must contain people to be counted as 'kills.' Barrage balloons and World War II 'Buzz Bombs' did not count toward ace status because there were no people on board. Photographs, gun camera film or radar signatures can also be used to confirm victories. In the 1991 Gulf War and other recent conflicts, missile kills were made over the horizon and consequently could not be seen by the pilot. In these cases, radar can show an aircraft breaking up or crashing and is used to confirm 'kills.'
Fighter aircraft have evolved to the extent that the shock wave produced by a supersonic Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor could crush a World War I Nieuport 17 biplane scout! Early World War I fighters had one rifle-caliber machine gun. initially firing outside the propeller arc. Early air aces like Jean Navarre (15 victories) and such innovative pilots as Roland Garros (three) began attaching deflectors to the propellers of their Morane Type N scouts so they could more-or-less fire through the propeller arc. For the first time the fighter pilot could aim with the aircraft, setting the stage for future aerial conflict. Finally, Roland Garros was forced to land after nearly shooting his own propeller off and the Germans captured his deflector mechanism. Aircraft designer Anthony Fokker was asked to develop a similar mechanism for the Germans, but he immediately recognized the French deflectors' serious shortcomings.