Who are the most decorated pilots of World War 2?

There were innumerable aerial engagements over the Pacific and in Europe during World War II. In the six years of the conflict, it is believed that nearly 40,000 pilots died in aerial combat. Though many who fought will be remembered, some legends stand out above the others.

There were innumerable aerial engagements over the Pacific and in Europe during World War II. In the six years of the conflict, it is believed that nearly 40,000 pilots died in aerial combat. Though many who fought will be remembered, some legends stand out above the others.

The Axis nations’ pilot supply had nearly run out by the time the war was over, making it harder for the replacements to amass the necessary expertise to succeed. National policy varied as well; pilots from Germany, Italy, and Japan frequently returned to the cockpit until they perished.

Erich Hartmann

Eirich Hartmann

Erich Hartmann, who flew his Messerschmitt Bf 109 and amassed an astounding 352 aerial kills during World War II, is considered to be the best ace of the conflict. He was given the Russian moniker “The Black Devil” and recognized as Germany’s best fighter pilot, receiving the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds from Adolf Hitler.

German pilots were unable to avoid battles over their native country; Hartmann flew more than 1,400 combat sorties. Hartmann came to appreciate Americans more than Russian pilots because of their better technology.

Hartmann belonged to the first group of German pilots who underwent extensive training prior to being deployed to the Front. Although they couldn’t maintain it throughout the war, the Germans needed it in the beginning. He was an expert in his aircraft, his objective, and his strategy. In an air combat, pilot training nearly always has the most significant impact.

Additionally, he had a dogfighting plan that was ideal for his predicament on the Eastern Front. Actually, it was more of an anti-dogfighting tactic. Hartmann was constantly looking for rapid, unexpected assaults and shunned maneuvering battles that would have exposed him. Since he often had free-hunt missions, a choice of targets, and the luxury of choosing when and if to engage, this is precisely how it should have been.

His strategy thrust him into the fight with other pilots and prevented him from firing until he was so close that he almost collided with them. Hartmann was able to save ammo and achieve a bigger target area against adversaries by using a straightforward but very efficient strategy. He battled till the very end, even claiming his final aerial victory over German fighters as Russia occupied Berlin. As a pilot, Erich Hartmann was unbeatable, and history will remember him as the best of World War II.

James Howell Howard

James Howell Howard

James Howard Howell was the sole fighter pilot in the European Theater of Operations of World War II to receive the Medal of Honor, the highest decoration awarded by the American armed forces, a general in the United States Air Force. During World War II, Howard was an ace in two operational areas, scoring six victories with the Flying Tigers of the American Volunteer Group (AVG) in the Pacific and six victories with the US Air Force over Europe.

Despite only having eight aviation wins, one of them became the most storied aerial conflict of the war. On January 11th, 1944, Howard flew across Europe alone in a P-51 to accompany a squadron of B-17s. A squadron of 30 German fighters suddenly appeared on the horizon to engage the bombers. Howard enters the fight to save bombers despite the near impossibility of doing so and manages to fire down five Bf 109s. He started dive bombing the enemy fighters until he eventually ran out of ammunition until he succeeded in driving them away. In the end, his P-51 only had one bullet hole.

A miraculous feat of aerial battle is performed by a fantastic fighter in the hands of an exceptional pilot to save his escort. James H. Howard was the only pilot in the European Theater of War to be awarded the Medal of Honor for his outstanding accomplishments.

Howard’s heroics were dubbed “the greatest fighter pilot story of World War II” by CBS commentator Andy Rooney, who was at the time a combat correspondent for Stars and Stripes. Howard later achieved success as a writer, businessman, and airport director.

Saburo Sakai

Saburo Sakai

He is deserving of the moniker “Samurai of the Sky” after 64 triumphs. He is perhaps the most well-known Japanese fighter pilot due to his prowess and dedication to the art of flight. Out of 1,500 applications, he was one of 70 pupils allowed into flight school when he joined the Japanese Navy at the age of 16. Having fallen in love with the Mitsubishi A6M Zero while attending flying school, he graduated at the top of his class.

He frequently put his own life in danger when flying, thus there was never a dull moment for him. He once engaged 28 F6F Hellcats in a 20-minute aerial battle over Iwo Jima and returned to base without suffering a single hit. On his most illustrious mission, he was hit by bullets, which caused his right eye to go blind and his left side to become paralyzed. Despite his grave injuries, he flew more than 600 kilometers back to the Japanese base. He even defied medical attention until reporting to his senior commander.

As a member of the Tainan Air Group, Sakai took part in the attack on the Philippines when Japan invaded the Western Allies in 1941. Sakai piloted one of the 45 Zeros[8] from the Tainan Kktai, an air group that on December 8th, 1941, attacked Clark Air Base in the Philippines. He shot down a Curtiss P-40 Warhawk in his first battle with Americans and strafe-flew two B-17 Flying Fortresses to destruction. The next day, Sakai flew missions despite bad weather.

Sakai claimed to have shot down a B-17 being piloted by Captain Colin P. Kelly on the third day of the war. Although Sakai and his two wingmen don’t seem to have received official credit for the victory,[9] he was a Shotai captain involved in this battle with the bomber. Sakai has frequently been credited with the victory.

After World War II was over, Sakai converted to Buddhism and vowed never to harm another living thing. Sakai has a great deal of respect for his fellow troops and even Americans because he is a descendant of a samurai. To meet with the pilots he had participated in dogfights with, notably Harry Jones, the one who had blinded his sight, he would come to the United States.

Josef Frantisek

Although Josef Frantisek may not be well-known, his achievements as a fighter pilot are legendary. He joined the Royal Air Force after serving in the Czechoslovak Air Force before Germany started its bombing missions. His preferred aircraft during the Battle of Britain was the Hawker Hurricane, which was a significant improvement over the Bk-534 biplane he had flown at Prague’s 40th Fighter Squadron.

A large number of Czechoslovak airmen sneakily crossed the border into Poland. On June 13, a group of four people, including Frantisek, crossed the border illegally by rail at Umbark. The party checked in at the Czechoslovak Consulate in Krakow and was given housing in a former Austro-Hungarian Army camp that had been turned into a Czechoslovak transit camp in Bronowice Mae.

A group of Czechoslovak flyers, including Frantisek and another future RAF ace, Karel Kuttelwascher, traveled to the Port of Gdynia in July 1939 in order to board a ship bound for France. They were preparing to board the Swedish freight vessel Kastelholm on July 29 when a delegation of Polish authorities tried to convince them to stay. Kuttelwascher was one of several Czechoslovaks who turned down the Polish offer. Frantiek, though, was part of a group of pals who decided by tossing a coin. They stayed and joined the Polish Air Force because it landed “tails”.

Frantiek disliked following instructions, therefore he frequently left squadrons to battle alone. Although superior officers disapproved of his tactics, he managed to achieve 17 victories, making him the Battle of Britain’s top ace. He received the Distinguished Flying Medal in recognition of his bravery, but unhappily he would not live for very long since he was killed in a crash while doing aerobatic tricks for his lover.

Richard Bong

Richard Bong was America’s “Ace of Aces” during WWII more than any other US pilot with 40 aerial victories. In 1941, Bong enlisted in the Army Air Corps and began training under Captain Barry Goldwater, a future senator from Arizona and presidential candidate.

Richard Ira Bong’s poor origins laid the groundwork for most of the success he would experience in his brief life. Richard (commonly known by his nickname “Dick”) Bong was born on September 24, 1920, in the small Wisconsinn hamlet of Poplar, and his early years reflected the typical American upbringing. Dora, Bong’s mother, was born in Wisconsin, and Carl, Bong’s father, came to this country from Sweden as a young child.

As a young kid, Bong had an interest in airplanes that persisted until adulthood. He joined the Civilian Aeronautics Authority while still in college to get the training and experience he needed. Bong improved his flying skills and obtained his pilot’s license as a result of this training course. Following a satisfactory test of his abilities in the Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet Program in February 1941, Bong officially enlisted in the Army Air Corps in May 1941.

In flights over the Pacific while piloting a P-38 Lightning, he downed an A6M Zero and a Nakajima Ki-43 close to Papua New Guinea, earning the Silver Star. He carried on fighting the Japanese all throughout the Philippines, earning 40 wins. General Douglas MacArthur presented Bong with the Medal of Honor in December 1944 in recognition of his achievements in the Pacific Theater of War.

Richard Bong started working for Lockheed as a test pilot after serving in WWII. On August 6th, 1945, a P-80 Shooting Star that was being tested had a problem and crashed into a field, killing Bong instantly. His death was much lamented, and news of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima that day also featured prominently in newspapers.