View Full Version : The Great Winners: The Extent of German Influence

Saturday, June 4th, 2011, 12:40 AM
The other day, I realized something that was surprising to me. Amidst all of the tragedies and negativity that exists, both present and past, there emerges a great winner. The population stock for multiple nations, monarchs of some of the greatest empires of all time, leaders in industry, science, and the arts. Their modern core population exists as a rival to the peripheral groups, who have risen to become world leaders in themselves.

The extent of German influence is greater than any other European people (one could argue of all peoples, but that is not what I wish to do.) Before some Scandinavian supremacist (:D) insists that all proto-Germanics come from Scandinavia, thus all these Germans are Scandinavians in disguise, the proto-Germanics are just that, proto-Germanics. They were not a recognizable and coherent tribe such as the various tribes within Germany from which we can pinpoint the origins of modern Germans.

Starting in the 5th century, the Angles and Saxons came to Britain. There is conflicting evidence on how many came to Britain, but they left a strong cultural impact and became the elite and ruling classes, setting up the foundation for modern England. Although it should be mentioned that the Danish Jutes settled alongside the Saxons in small numbers, and that the Danelaw had its origins in the 9th century. In the early 11th century, the Danes gained control of a unified England. In 1066, England fell to the Normans.

English rule once again came into (non-native-Anglo-Saxon) German hands when George I became king in 1714. In 1917, due to anti-German sentiments, the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha changed its name to the House of Windsor, which rules to this day.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/02/King_George_I_by_Sir_Godfrey_Kneller%2C_ Bt_(3).jpg
George I

After taking control of German colonial territories after WWI, the British Empire reached its peak size. It was the largest empire in history.

In 1762, Catherine II (Catherine the Great) became the Empress of the Russian Empire after her husband, Peter III, who was born in Kiel, was assassinated. During her reign, she added 200,000 miles² to the Russian Empire, annexing the Baltic states, Ukraine, and White Russia. Early in her reign, she invited Europeans to settle on the Russian frontier. Those who came were mainly Germans, forming what was to become the Volga Germans.
Catherine the Great

Although their colonial holdings were small, and the German population in them even smaller, Germans have not failed to extensively colonize non-European lands.

In Australia they are 4.09% of the population, with 811,540 souls.

In Canada, they number 3,179,425, or 10.2% of the population.

Today in the United States, they make up the largest reported ancestry with 15.2% of the population, or 42,841,569 souls. Mainly concentrated in the Midwest, North Dakota has the highest percentage of them, at 46.9%.

There are also numerous German settlements throughout South America (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_diaspora#Latin_America), constituting 10% and 8% of the Brazilian and Argentinian populations, respectively. In the southern states of Brazil, they can represent as much as 35% of the population.

Germany is and has been one of the leading economic powers. The British Merchandise Marks Act 1887 was made to encourage buyers to buy British goods, but this soon backfired when people could now easily identify and purchase German goods, which were well known for their quality. Even WWI did not hurt sales of German goods.

After WWI, the industrial region of the Saarland was turned into a protectorate under military government by Britain and France. It was reunited with Germany in 1935. Again, after WWII, this territory became a mandate of the victorious powers. This time it was controlled by France, who had control of production in the area. In 1948, it entered a customs union with France and the inhabitants lost their German nationality. In 1955, a referendum was held that found 67.7% rejected to become an independent state (a puppet state of France), and it was reunified with Germany in 1957, although France, under treaty, operated coal mines there until 1981. A similar case is that of the Ruhr, but Allied occupation there ended earlier. The rich coal deposits in Silesia were also highly desired by the eastern Allies.
Resources in Germany

Today, Germany is the 3rd largest importer and 2nd largest exporter (USA is 3rd). It is well known for its technical know-how, which includes things such as German cars like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and Volkswagen, among others. The Swiss are well known for their very high quality work on rather intricate items, such as Rolex watches and the Swiss Army knife. Yes, even after a century of attempts to destroy its power, including annexation of its lands, being divided into 2 occupation states, and forced to be the backbone of pan-Europeanism, Germany retains its economic power.

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011, 05:45 PM
Originally, I was going to mention historically significant people (e.g. Beethoven, Bach, etc.), but I found this unnecessary, as most European nations produced great men similar to these, and one could easily retort that they are not what make Germany the 'winner' over others.

I still wish to mention very significant German historical figures to which no other nation can claim one of similar magnitude. I am thinking of writing another post about significant Germans from the German diaspora.

The following are significant Germans and German contributions to the field of aviation and flight.


Wernher von Braun was born in Wirsitz, West Prussia, in 1912. He was a member of the National Socialist party and a member of the paramilitary SS. Under the Germans, he developed the V-2, the world's first ballistic missile. Brought to America during Operation Paperclip, he was eventually placed into NASA. During his work with NASA, he developed the Saturn V rocket, which was responsible for bringing Apollo 11 to the moon. He continued his advocacy for space exploration until his death in 1977

The Apollo 11 Saturn V.

Reimar and Walter Horten were responsible for creating the world's first jet-powered flying wing aircraft. They started designing flying wing gliders in the early 30's, as a way to reduce the drag that occurs due to the large surface area of non-flying wings. Only three prototypes were built by the time the war ended.

Walter (left) and Reimar Horten.

Drawing of the Ho 229.

The Arado Ar 234 was the world's first operational jet-powered bomber. The Silesian WWI Ace and Professor Walter Blume led the team which first produced this bomber. Used mainly as a reconnaissance plane due to its speed (it was nearly impossible to catch), its most famous usage was bombing a vital bridge at Remagen which would allow the Allies access into Germany. Problematic design features and its introduction late in the war prevented it from any major usage.

Ar 234 with disposable rockets attached to the wings. These shortened the distance needed for take-off.

The Messerschmitt Me 262 was the world's first jet fighter. Introduced in 1944, they shot down over 500 Allied aircraft. One famous operator of Me 262s was the elite squadron JV 44. Members of this squadron included ace and General Adolf Galland, as well as Heinz Bär, the 3rd highest scoring Me 262 ace with 16 kills. Another famous pilot who flew the Me 262 was Walter Nowotny. After being late to a battle due to engine troubles, he attacked a bomber formation and shot down multiple fighters on his own (as his squadron members had run out of fuel and landed by the time he arrived.) After losing speed when one of his engines died, he was attacked by American fighters. More likely due to engine problems than battle damage, his plane caught fire and crashed, resulting in his death. He was only 23. He was buried in Vienna in a grave of honor; the honor status was removed in 2003 in a resolution supported by Social Democrats and Greens.

Adolf Galland, Heinz Bär, and Walter Nowotny.

Captured Me 262 undergoing post-war evaluations by the United States. Note the unpainted metallic surface, sealed gun ports, and German markings.

The Messerschmitt Me 163 was a rocket interceptor designed by Alexander Lippisch, who also made advancements in the flying wing design. In 1941, the prototype set a new world speed record, at 1,004.5 km/h (624.2 mph). This would not be broken until 1947. It was ineffective as a fighter, only shooting down around 10 aircraft, and the highly volatile rocket fuel sometimes proved deadly. However, it was an important piece in the advancement of aviation. The Bell X-1, the first aircraft to break the sound barrier, was powered by rockets. The Me 163 was the only rocket-powered combat aircraft in history.

Me 163 on display at the National Museum of the USAF.

"Fritz X" was the common name of one of the world's first guided missiles. It achieved success in the Mediterranean theater, sinking multiple ships. The Henschel Hs 293 completed the first successful guided missile attack in 1943, slightly damaging a British ship, as the charge failed to explode. The Fritz X achieved its first victory a few months later. Dozens of ships were sunk throughout the Western front because of these missiles.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/3b/Fritz_X_side.jpg/300px-Fritz_X_side.jpghttp://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/db/Deutsches_Technikmuseum_Berlin_February_ 2008_0096.JPG/300px-Deutsches_Technikmuseum_Berlin_February_ 2008_0096.JPG
Fritz X and Hs 293

Primarily used for reconnaissance, the Flettner Fl 282 was the world's first series production helicopter, being drawn up in 1940, and then introduced to the Luftwaffe in 1942. It was an updated version of the Flettner Fl 265, which was first flown in 1939. The Fl 265 is one of the first examples of a synchropter. The Focke-Wulf Fw 61 was the first functional helicopter, first flown in 1936. Although it should be mentioned that the French made Gyroplane Laboratoire was the world's first practical helicopter, the Fw 61 was superior in altitude, speed, and flight duration, and flown only a year later.

FI 282, model of a FI 256, and the FW 61.

Finally, we have the Heinkel He 178. It was the world's first jet plane, being flown in 1939.

He 178.

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011, 10:13 PM
Watching these photos makes me feel proud to be German but sad at the same time because the glorious times have passed. :( Look in which condition our country is now.

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011, 06:14 AM
What about Erich Hartmann? He is the greatest fighter ace in history with over 352 victories.

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011, 07:26 AM
Watching these photos makes me feel proud to be German but sad at the same time because the glorious times have passed. :( Look in which condition our country is now.

Don't worry, Germany has risen time and time again. We just need to incite the will of the people to bring about another round of greatness.

What about Erich Hartmann? He is the greatest fighter ace in history with over 352 victories.

I only mentioned the pilots to further the story of the Me 262, as it saw extensive combat, unlike the other planes.

Since the Germans have a monopoly on the 100 highest aerial victories (no exaggeration), I'll start writing another post including some of the most notable ones.

Thursday, June 16th, 2011, 12:16 AM
German WWI Aces.


The highest scoring pilot of WWI with 80 kills, Manfred von Richthofen is arguably the most famous aviator to this day. Born near Breslau, he held a title of nobility equivalent to Baron. Originally a cavalryman, he transfered to the Luftstreitkräfte when cavalry became obsolete due to machine guns and barbed wire. Von Richthofen had been mentored by Oswald Boelcke, who is considered to be the "Father of Air Tactics." A renowned tactician adding to Boelcke's works, he first flew his famous red Fokker Dr.I triplane in 1917. In July 1917, he suffered a serious head wound after attacking a squadron of bombers, even though this caused him partial blindness and other ills, he returned to flying. In 1918, he was shot through the lungs and chest, but managed to make a crash landing in a field in northern France, where he died almost immediately after. Before his death, he wrote an autobiography (http://www.archive.org/details/redbattleflyer00richiala), although it was heavily edited and censored, and he himself said the tone was too arrogant. His brother Lothar was also an ace, socring 40 kills.

Note how he is wearing the Blauer Max medal under his Knight's Cross.

Ernst Udet was the 5th highest scoring WWI ace, and 2nd highest scoring German ace, with 62 kills. Born in Frankfurt am Main, he joined the airforce in 1915. His first time in combat nearly proved deadly, he lacked the will to pull the trigger and was subsequently attacked, a bullet grazing his cheek. After this incident, he became more aggressive, scoring a number of kills. He was soon invited by von Richthofen to his Flying Circus squadron. During the inter-war period, he flew stunts in airshows and appeared with Leni Riefenstahl in three films. He joined the National Socialist Party in 1933 and was a strong proponent of the dive bomber. His bad relationship with Hermann Göring and other personal issues led to his suicide in 1941.


Erich Löwenhardt, the third highest scoring German ace, or 9th highest ace from WWI, was born in Breslau. Having first served in the Army, he joined the airforce in early 1917. A very aggressive pilot, he scored 53 kills before being being forced to bail out in 1918 after a collision with a friendly aircraft. His parachute never opened. He was only 21.


Josef Jacobs is tied for 4th highest German ace with 48 kills, this would make him the 13th highest scoring ace of WWI. Born in the Rhineland, he was fascinated with planes since he was a boy, learning to fly in 1912. He was the highest scoring Fokker Dr.I pilot, shooting down over 30 planes in his distinctive black aircraft.


Although Werner Voß was tied with Josef Jacobs, he has been described by some historians as being the only pilot to rival von Richthofen, of whom he was a good friend. He joined the Hussars in 1914, but he soon transfered to the Luftstreitkräfte after his unit was disbanded. He painted a heart and a swastika on his plane for good luck, as it was common to personalize one's plane. He also painted eyes and a mustache on the nose of his Fokker Dr.I. In 1917 he was in a dogfight against 9 enemy aces of an elite squadron, holding out for over 10 minutes and damaging every single one, some severely. Eventually, one of his opponents was able to attack him head on, finally defeating the ace. The English squadron expressed much regret at his death, with the man who shot him down saying "If I could only have brought him down alive."

Other German WWI pilots


Fritz Otto Bernert was born in Ratibor, Silesia, and joined the army in 1914. He received a bayonet wound that damaged a major nerve in his left arm, rendering it useless. No longer being able to serve with the infantry, he applied to become an aerial observer. Hiding his disability, he applied for pilot's training and was accepted. He shot down 27 enemy aircraft, including a record-setting 5 within 20 minutes. After receiving serious wounds, he no longer flew, but instead helped train and give tactical advice. He died of the Spanish flu in his home town in 1918.


Before becoming commander of the Luftwaffe and Reichsmarschall in WWII, Hermann Göring was a WWI ace, scoring 22 kills. While hospitalized for ailments he contracted from trench warfare, his friend convinced him to join the airforce. After a lengthy dogfight, resulting in his victory, he met the captured pilot (http://video.theaustralian.com.au/1889005686/What-if-my-Dad-shot-down-Goering), having a conversation with him and gave him his Iron Cross. At the death of von Richthofen, he was made commander of the Flying Circus. Because of his arrogance, he was not well liked by his squadron members, and he was not invited to post-war reunions.


WWII Pilots.

Since the list of German WWII aces is much larger than WWI, and since I'm not going to list every single one, but only the most important ones, I am going to list the 'other pilots' first this time.


Born in Konradswaldau, Silesia, Hans-Ulrich Rudel was the highest decorated German serviceman of the war. He was the only person to receive the Knight's Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds. Rudel flew 2,530 combat missions claiming a total of 2,000 targets destroyed; including 800 vehicles, 519 tanks, 150 artillery pieces, a destroyer, two cruisers, the Soviet battleship Marat, 70 landing craft, 4 armored trains, several bridges and nine aircraft which he shot down. On 10 February 1943, he became the first pilot in history to fly 1,000 sorties. In late 1944, his leg was wounded and he subsequently flew with a plaster cast. In early 1945, his lower leg was hit with a 40mm shell, but he managed to crash land his plane inside German lines. He was saved by his gunner Ernst Gadermann, who pulled him out of the plane and applied first aid. His leg had to be amputated below the knee, but he continued to fly, destroying 26 more tanks. Determined not to fall into Soviet hands, he led three Ju 87s and four FW 190s westward from Bohemia in a 2-hour flight and surrendered to U.S. forces on 8 May 1945.

On one occasion, after trying a landing to rescue two downed novice Stuka crewmen and then not being able to take off again due to the muddy conditions, he and his three companions, while being chased for 6 km by Soviet soldiers, made their way down a steep cliff by sliding down trees, then swam 600 meters across the icy Dniester river, during which his rear gunner, Knight's Cross holder Hentschel, succumbed to the cold water and drowned. Several miles further towards the German lines, the three survivors were then captured by Soviets, but the irrepressible Rudel again made a run for it, and despite being barefoot and in soaking clothes, getting shot in his shoulder, and being hunted by several hundred pursuers with dog packs, jogged his way back to his own side over semi-frozen earth during the following days. In total, he was wounded five times and rescued six stranded aircrew from enemy territory, although the two mentioned above were recaptured.

Rudel returned to West Germany (from South America) in 1953 and became a leading member of the nationalist political party, the German Reich Party (Deutsche Reichspartei). Before his return to Germany, he published a war diary entitled Trotzdem. he later revised this and called it Stuka Pilot (http://www.amazon.com/Stuka-Pilot-Hans-Ulrich-Rudel/dp/0553244876). Rudel was also a proponent of the claim that the German invasion of the USSR was a preemptive attack, as they were preparing to invade Germany.


Werner Baumbach was the most successful bomber pilot of WWII, destroying over 300,000 gross register tons of Allied shipping. Born in Lower Saxony, he was one of the first pilots to fly the Ju 88 bomber. In 1944, he was placed in command of the newly-formed KG 200 and was in charge of all Luftwaffe special missions. Baumbach released his memoirs, Zu spät: Aufstieg und Untergang der deutschen Luftwaffe (English title: Broken Swastika (http://www.amazon.com/Broken-Swastika-Luftwaffe-Werner-Baumbach/dp/0880298243)), in the late 1940s. The book demonstrates that even after Germany's defeat, Baumbach still believed to a very large extent in the National Socialist ideology. The fact that Baumbach's time as commander of KG 200 is not mentioned with a single word highlights the extreme secrecy of Germany's special missions program.


Hanna Reitsch was the one of only two women awarded the Iron Cross First Class and the only awarded the Combined Pilots-Observation Badge. Reitsch was the first woman to fly a helicopter (Fw 61), a rocket plane (Me 163), and a jet fighter. She set over forty aviation altitude and endurance records during her career, both before and after World War II, and several of her international gliding records are still standing to this day. Born in Hirschberg im Riesengebirge, Silesia, she willing appeared in many things used for propaganda purposes and was an admirer of Hitler and National Socialism. When asked in an interview after the war (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanna_Reitsch#Postwar_controversy), she said she still proudly wore her Iron Cross, and expressed dislike towards the current situation. She is well known in popular culture for being able to successfully land a manned version of the V-1, while few others were able to accomplish such a feat.

After Göring's dismissal, Reitsch flew Robert Ritter von Greim into Berlin to receive his promotion as new head of the Luftwaffe. As she and von Greim flew out of Berlin, they were shot by Soviet troops believing she was flying Hitler out of Berlin. Soon after, she was captured by the Allies and interrogated for 18 months. Von Greim commited suicide a few weeks after the war ended, and her father killed her family before eventually killing himself, rather than facing expulsion from their Silesian city.

She was also the most beautiful (http://greyfalcon.us/picturest/ahr4.jpg) German pilot. ;) Additionally, she published multiple books (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanna_Reitsch#Books_by_Hanna_Reitsch), including an autobiography.


Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer was born in Calw, Württemberg. He was the highest scoring night fighter ace of all time. All of his 121 kills took place at night. His greatest success was when he shot down 9 bombers in one day, 7 of these occurring within 19 minutes. 114 of his kills were heavy bombers, and he achieved the third highest kill total of planes on the Western Front.


Fighting mostly at night, Kurt Welter is possibly the highest scoring jet ace of all time, with 20 kills. Born in Köln, he showed strong natural ability as a pilot. He scored 63 total victories, although there is much controversy of whether he over-claimed or not (this would greatly effect his Me 262 kill total.) He was killed in 1949 when an improperly secured load of logs from a train crushed his car.

The following are some of the more famous aces, in order of kills.


Born in Württemberg, Erich Hartmann was the highest scoring ace in history, shooting down 352 enemy aircraft. During the course of his career, Hartmann was forced to crash-land his damaged fighter 14 times. This was due to damage received from parts of enemy aircraft he had just shot down or mechanical failure. Hartmann was never shot down or forced to land due to fire from enemy aircraft. Hartmann's youthful appearance earned him the nickname "Bubi."

By late August 1943, Hartmann had 90 aerial victories. On 19 August, in combat with Il-2s, his aircraft was damaged by debris, and he was forced to land behind Soviet lines. Hartmann's Geschwaderkommodore, Dietrich Hrabak, had given orders to Hartmann's unit to support the dive bombers of Sturzkampfgeschwader 2, led by the famous Stuka pilot Hans-Ulrich Rudel in a counterattack. The situation had changed, and the flight of eight German fighters engaged a mass of Russian Yakovlev Yak-9 and Lavochkin La-5 fighter aircraft that were protecting Il-2 Sturmoviks on a ground-attack mission. Hartmann shot down two enemy aircraft before his fighter was hit by debris and he was forced to make an emergency landing. He then, in accordance with Luftwaffe regulations, attempted to recover the precision board clock. As he was doing so, Soviet ground troops approached. Realising that capture was unavoidable, he faked internal injuries. Hartmann's acting so convinced the Soviets that they put him on a stretcher and placed him on a truck. When Hartmann's Crew Chief, Heinz "Bimmel" Mertens, heard what had happened, he took a rifle and went to search for Hartmann.

Hartmann patiently waited for the right moment to escape, then, using the distraction of the Stukas attack, he attacked the single guard. Hartmann jumped out of the back of the truck and ran into a large field of giant sunflowers. Evading the pursuing soldiers, Hartmann hid and waited for nightfall. In the dark, Hartmann followed a Russian patrol heading west to the front. As he approached the German position, he was challenged by a sentry who fired a shot which passed through his trousers.

Hartmann painted a "black tulip" paint scheme on the nose of his plane, earning him the nickname "Black Devil" by the Soviets. Due to his reputation, many Soviet pilots refused to fight him once they noticed his plane's distinctive marking. He eventually removed this and he once again shot down massive numbers of planes. Hartmann favored getting extremely close to the enemy before firing, which increased accuracy and prevented the enemy from maneuvering, but increased the risk of flying through a debris field.

In order to avoid capture by the Soviets, he flew with his squadron westward, surrendering to the Americans. However, he was soon transfered into Soviet hands. He was asked to spy on fellow officers and become a stukatch, or "stool pigeon". He refused and was given 10 days' solitary confinement in a four-by-nine-by-six-foot chamber. He slept on a concrete floor and was given only bread and water.

He was falsely charged with war crimes, specifically the deliberate shooting of 780 Soviet civilians in the village of Briansk, attacking a "bread factory" on 23 May 1943, and destroying 345 "expensive" Soviet aircraft. He refused to confess to these charges and conducted his own defence, which was a waste of time, according to the judge. Sentenced to 25 years of hard labour, Hartmann refused to work. He was eventually put into solitary confinement, which enraged his fellow prisoners. They began a revolt, overpowered the guards, and freed him. Hartmann made a complaint to the Kommandant's office, asking for a representative from Moscow and an international inspection, as well as a tribunal, to acquit him of his unlawful conviction. This was refused, and he was transferred to a camp in Novocherkassk, where he spent five more months in solitary confinement. Eventually, Hartmann was granted a tribunal, but it upheld his original sentence. He was subsequently sent to another camp, this time at Diaterka in the Ural Mountains.

In 1955, Hartmann's mother wrote to the new West German Chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, to whom she appealed to secure his freedom. A trade agreement between West Germany and the Soviet Union was reached, and Hartmann was released along with 16,000 German military personnel. After spending ten and a half years in Soviet POW camps, he was among the last batch of prisoners to be turned over. Returning to West Germany, he was reunited with his wife Ursula, to whom he had written every day of the war. In January 1997, the Russian government, as a legal successor to the Soviet Union, exonerated Hartmann by admitting that his conviction for war crimes was unlawful.

When he was returned to Germany, he joined the Bundesluftwaffe. He was forced into early retirement when he argued against introducing an unsafe and ineffective aircraft, his opinion being contrary to his superiors. After this, he served as a flight instructor and also flew aerobatics with Adolf Galland.


Gerhard Barkhorn was born in Königsberg. In one battle against the Soviets, he shot down 6 enemy aircraft in one sortie. After engaging a group of bombers, he failed to notice that there were escorting fighters, which heavily wounded him and forced him to crash land his plane. After recovering he had intense fear while in the cockpit, although he soon overcame this, scoring dozens of kills in only a few weeks time. He scored 301 victories in total. After the war, he joined the Bundesluftwaffe in 1956. He was killed in a car accident in 1983, during a bad winter storm.


Günther Rall was born in Gaggenau, Baden. Getting his first kill in 1940, he was shot down in 1941, breaking his back in three places. Doctors told him he would never be able to walk again, but he proved them wrong, and was back in combat in under a year. In October 1943 alone, he shot down 40 aircraft. He became the 2nd pilot to achieve 250 kills, and he would later be the first to reach 275. In the late war, he was wounded and spent time test flying captured Allied planes and teaching tactics. He rejoined the military in 1956, serving until 1975. A frequent lecturer at airshows and similar events, he published his autobiography My Logbook (http://www.amazon.com/MY-LOG-BOOK-Reminiscences-1938-2006/dp/3980793583) in 2004. He died in 2009, at the age of 91.


Born in Kronsdorf, in the Sudetenland, in what was still a part of Austria-Hungary, Otto Kittel was the 4th highest scoring ace with a total of 267 victories. He was fascinated with flight from an early age and respected by his comrades and superiors for his calm and unshakable nature. Fighting in the invasion of Yugoslavia, he eventually made his way to Leningrad, where he would be based for 2 years. In 1943, his Fw 190's engine died while he was 50 miles behind Soviet lines. After crash landing, he ran into a nearby forest, but he forgot to bring his food rations with him. He looked in several abandoned houses for food, but only found clothing. With this Russian clothing and his basic knowledge of Russian, he was able to beg for food. He returned to German lines 3 days after crashing. In 1945, he was incapacitated by an enemy Il 2 Sturmovik rear gunner, and his plane, on fire, crashed to the ground.


Walter Nowotny was born in Gmünd, Austria. With 258 kills, he scored most of them in an Fw 190. Early in his career, he was shot down in a battle against 2 Soviet aces. For three days he was in a dinghy in the Gulf of Riga, nearly being attacked by a Soviet destroyer, before finally being washed ashore. Becoming superstitous, he always wore the same trousers as he had worn during those 3 days whenever he flew, with one exception, his final sortie which resulted in his death. He had an unprecedented kill rate in his Fw 190, averaging 2 planes a day. Nowotny, along with his wingmen Anton Döbele and Rudolf Rademacher were known as the "chain of devils," with the three having a combined total of 524 kills, the most successful team in the Luftwaffe. He was the first pilot to reach 250 kills. Taken out of active duty in late 1943, he went on a propaganda tour of various cities and manufactories.

In late 1944, he was made commander of a special jet fighter unit. After being late to a battle due to engine troubles, he attacked a bomber formation and shot down multiple fighters on his own (as his squadron members had run out of fuel and landed by the time he arrived.) After losing speed when one of his engines died, he was attacked by American fighters. More likely due to engine problems than battle damage, his plane caught fire and crashed, resulting in his death. He was only 23. He was buried in Vienna in a grave of honor; the honor status was removed in 2003 in a resolution supported by Social Democrats and Greens.


Born in Saxony, Erich Rudorffer is the 7th highest scoring ace, with 222 kills, including 12 jet kills (tied for 4th place) (I skipped the less notable ace Wilhelm Batz, who is #6 with 237.) Still living to this day, Rudorffer served with the Luftwaffe for the entire duration of the war. He flew on the Western Front, Eastern Front, and North Africa.


Also from Saxony, Heinz Bär scored 220 kills, including 16 while flying the Me 262, making him the 2nd highest scoring ace on the Western Front. Bär's achievements would have earned him the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds, if not for Göring's personal dislike of him and his insubordinate character. He quickly gained 17 kills during the Phoney War and Battle of Britain. In 1945, he was transfered to the elite squadron JV 44, later taking command of it. During the end of the war, Adolf Galland attempted to surrender his squadron (JV 44, which Bär had taken command) to the Americans from his hospital bed. High command ordered the squadron to rebase to Prague and continue fighting, but Bär remained loyal to Galland and got into a heated argument with several other Luftwaffe officers over the rebase order. He continued to fly until an accident in 1957 ended his life.

These next 3 pilots are further down the kills list, but are very significant.


Hans-Joachim Marseille was of Huguenot ancestry and born in Berlin. Flying mainly in North Africa, he shot down 158 enemies, earning him the nickname "Star of Africa." His father, Generalmajor Siegfried Marseille was killed by partisans while serving on the Eastern Front in 1944. A troublemaker who was reprimanded several times, his promotion to officer was delayed nearly a year. After getting his plane shot down many times, he was pressured into self-training by his squadron commander. These training sessions improved his skills tremendously (namely marksmanship), and he had attained 25 victories in a few months time. He developed unique tactics which enabled him to score many kills, including 17 within one day, a feat outdone only by Emil Lang. Being extremely outnumbered at this point in North Africa, the strain of combat lead to Marseille being physically exhausted. After being equipped with a new version of the Bf 109 (one which was noted for high rate of engine failures) his cockpit started to fill with smoke while in mid-flight. For over 10 minutes, he flew back into friendly lines, with his wingmen guiding him. Once there, he decided to bail out. He turned the plane upside down (as was proper procedure), but due to the smoke he did not notice that his plane had gone into a dive. Going at a very high rate of speed, Marseille's body struck the vertical stabilizer, killing him instantly. He was only 22.


Born in Gelsenkirchen, Westphalia, Werner Mölders was the first pilot in history to reach 100 kills. He shot down 15 planes during the Spanish Civil War, and 53 more during the Battle of Britain. After getting his 115th kill on the Eastern Front, he was prevented from flying further combat missions for propaganda reasons, at the age of 28 Mölders was promoted to Oberst, and appointed Inspector General of Fighters. Mölders helped create the "finger four" formation, as well as other tactical innovations. He was the first of only 27 to receive the Knight's Cross Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds. In 1941, he was killed when a plane carrying him to the funeral of Ernst Udet crashed.

Mölders was well known for his strength of character. His men nicknamed him "Vati" (Daddy), in recognition of his paternal attitude toward them, and the care he took of their well-being. He was a devoutly religious individual who demanded that all Allied aviators captured by those under his command be treated civilly, and often would invite captured pilots to dine with him.

In 1998, on the occasion of the 61st anniversary of the bombing of the Spanish town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War, the German Parliament decided that members of the Condor Legion, such as Mölders, should "no longer be honoured". In 2005, the German Ministry of Defence (Bundesministerium der Verteidigung) decided to remove the name "Mölders" from the JG 74.


Adolf Galland was born in Westerholt, Lower Saxony, and of partial Huguenot ancestry. Being interested in flight as a young boy, he became an outstanding glider pilot. He totaled 104 aerial victories, all of them being on the Western Front. Having suffered wounds from multiple training accidents, his eyesight was effected, although he memorized the eye-charts in order to be able to fly again. In the Spanish Civil War, Galland was reported to have flown several missions while in his swim trunks and smoking a cigar, he also painted an image of Mickey Mouse on his plane. After flying nearly 360 missions in two wars and averaging two missions per day, on 13 September 1939, Galland was awarded the Iron Cross Second Class. Galland participated in the Spanish Civil War, Battle of France, Battle of Britain, and the Invasion of Poland, scoring 57 kills by the end of 1940. In early 1942, he planned and commanded Operation Cerberus, which proved to be a success. His two younger brothers were also fighter aces, although neither survived the war.

During the invasion of the Low Countries, Galland shot down a French aircraft. During the flight he ran out of fuel and landed at the base of a hill. Enlisting the help of a soldiers from a German Flak battery, they pushed the Bf 109 up a hill and he then half-flew, and half-glided down into the valley to the airfield. In mid-1941, Göring requested that Galland send fighters from his squadron to intercept Rudolf Heß's Bf 110. Heß was too far away and Galland's pilots were not used to night fighting, so Heß was able to make it to Scotland. In a later battle, while attacking a squadron of bombers, Galland was wounded in the head from a 20mm cannon, an armor plate installed only days before saved his life. He managed to fly his plane back to German lines and land safely.

Galland's relationship with Göring degraded as the war went on and Göring refused to listen to Galland's advice. Later, he was transfered to JV 44, where be became commander. He test flew one of the early Me 262 prototypes, quickly taking a liking to the plane. In January 1945 he was relieved of his command after again disagreeing with Göring. Only a few days after, many pilots came to Galland's aid, challenging Görings decision, although to no avail. Hitler, after being informed by Galland's friend Albert Speer of what was going on, ordered that this bad treatment of Galland was to stop. His memoir, The First and the Last (http://www.amazon.com/First-Last-Adolf-Galland/dp/0899667287) sold over 3 million copies. He died in 1996, aged 83.

Other notable German aces were (including, but not limited to): Gordon Gollob, Hermann Graf, Anton Hackl, Walter Krupinski, Emil Lang. I am sure I missed a few, my sincere apologies in this case.

Thursday, June 16th, 2011, 02:15 AM
Since the topic has shifted to German pilots and aerial combat (dogfighting - of which I am a devoted history buff), mention should surely be made of the significant contributions made by the early German fliers in WW I - especially Oswald Boelke, who developed air to air dogfighting tactics (commonly referred to as "Dicta Boelke") that are still taught and employed by fighter pilots around the world to this day.

German pilot Max Immelmann, the first German WWI flying ace, is perhaps best known for developing a maneuver (later modified) that every pilot around the world is familiar with - the Immelmann Turn.

Thursday, June 16th, 2011, 02:23 AM
Forgot to attach an image of just what an Immelmann Turn is...

Thursday, June 16th, 2011, 06:34 AM
Since the topic has shifted to German pilots and aerial combat

It hasn't shifted, it's just expanding on how German pilots are great winners in their field. ;)

Thanks for mentioning Immelmann, I can't believe I forgot about him.

Friday, June 17th, 2011, 07:08 PM
It hasn't shifted, it's just expanding on how German pilots are great winners in their field. ;)

Thanks for mentioning Immelmann, I can't believe I forgot about him.

No charge my Germanic brother Hilderinc.

One cannot engage in a complete and thorough discussion on the topic of aerial dogfighting history, techniques and tactics without mentioning Immelmann, who, incidentally is directly responsible for the success of one well-known, WWI German pilot ace - Rittmeister Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen - the deadly "Red Baron", who was a devoted friend and student of Immelmann.

Friday, June 17th, 2011, 07:13 PM
It hasn't shifted, it's just expanding on how German pilots are great winners in their field. ;)

Thanks for mentioning Immelmann, I can't believe I forgot about him.

No charge my Germanic brother Hilderinc.

One cannot discuss the topic of aerial dogfighting history, techniques and tactics without mentioning Immelmann, who, incidentally is directly responsible for the success of one well-known, WWI German pilot ace - Rittmeister Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen - the deadly "Red Baron", who was a devoted student of Immelmann and employed his tactics regularly accounting for his 80 confirmed "kills."

Friday, June 17th, 2011, 09:39 PM
I'm confused by the emphasis on Nazi pilots in relation to the greatness of the German people. Surely when I think of greatness, Physics and other sciences come to my mind before anything related to the Nazi party.

Friday, June 17th, 2011, 09:57 PM
I'm confused by the emphasis on Nazi pilots in relation to the greatness of the German people. Surely when I think of greatness, Physics and other sciences come to my mind before anything related to the Nazi party.

The pilots I mentioned were not Nazis, Hagalaz.

At the time these men were making history, Hitler was a lowly corporal serving as a messenger in the Imperial German army.

Friday, June 17th, 2011, 10:02 PM
I'm confused by the emphasis on Nazi pilots in relation to the greatness of the German people. Surely when I think of greatness, Physics and other sciences come to my mind before anything related to the Nazi party.

Germany was/is a pioneer in aviation. The top 100 aces are ≈99% German. I guess I kind of went off on a slight tangent when I got deeply involved in flight-related things.

You are correct that one may not immediately think of WWII or aviation when one thinks of Germany or their greatness, but Germans are certainly 'great winners' in that field. Other nations have also produced great physicists, scientists, mathematicians, etc. (although the number of them Germany produced is superior to the others), but no other nation holds such a position in aviation as does that of Germany.

Nothing I mentioned so far is has an emphasis on National Socialism, by the way.

Bodice Ritter
Tuesday, August 16th, 2011, 06:52 AM
Apropos German aviation, no other country contributed as much to the development of dirigibles. And while we are discussing types of combat in which Germany excelled beyond what has been achieved by other nations, I think we should also give a quick nod to submarine warfare.