For his magnificent efforts, James H. Howard became the only pilot in the European Theater of War to receive the Medal of Honor. Not just highly decorated with British awards, however, he also earned the Croix de Guerre from France for his action in the Battle of France. Highly motivated. After his service in WWII Richard Bong became a test pilot for the for Lockheed. The intense fighting of World War II produced many missions. Johnny Johnson joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) when he was 20 years old. The front end of the aircraft exploded and killed everyone else aboard. He served as a rear gunner in both Wellington and Halifax bombers. During his time in service he never bragged about being the youngest pilot. “Johnnie” Johnson spent several years trying and failing to join the RAF due to a collarbone injury from his rugby days as a teenager. He would travel to the United States to meet with pilots he had engaged in dogfights, including Harry Jones the pilot who blinded his eye. Born to Jewish parents in Catford, Southeast London, Tuck was serving as an acting pilot officer when war broke out. On the day he died, he was running a fever and flew against orders. He never had a dull moment as a pilot, risking his own life time and time again. Born the son of a French diplomat in Brazil, this Frenchman was refused the opportunity to serve in France when war broke out and he was still a teenager. LeVier flight-tested the P-38 Lightning to the ragged edges of its envelope and was sent to England to teach Eighth Air Force pilots how to get the most out of it. Photo: Larry Lamb / CC BY-SA 2.0. Once, his plane was shot down near El Alamein. Read another story from us: B-24 “Hot Stuff” – The Forgotten Bomber That Broke the Memphis Belle’s Record First. After his service, retiring with the rank of group captain, Malan became a fierce anti-fascist and anti-apartheid activist back home on South Africa. It had never gone on a publicity tour after completing 25 missions, so it is far less known than most. During the Battle of Britain, his plane of choice was the Hawker Hurricane a big step up from Bk-534 biplane he flew in the 40th fighter squadron at Prague. Was A German Invasion Of Great Britain Actually Possible? Before crashing into the Mediterranean in April 1941, in just nine months of fighting in North Africa and Greece Pattle became the top RAF ace of WWII and was never bettered. Bong joined the Army Air Corp in 1941 studying under Captain Barry Goldwater (future Arizona Senator and Presidential Nominee). MiG 29K Fighter Jet Crashes Soon After Take-Off, NASA: First All-Female Spacewalk To Occur In Next 48 Hours, Recent B-17 Crash Raises Questions About Vintage Aircraft…, Woman Opens Stuffy Plane’s Emergency Door For…. The following list contains some of the most notable planes or pilots. Many pilots received a break after 25 missions, but others pilots flew more. Those who fought will be remembered, but there are legends who stand above the others. His nickname “Bubi” means “little boy” – and it’s easy to find out why he was called like that. With 29 confirmed kills, Tuck comes in at 6 on the ace list. On one harrowing flight, in a 60-degree dive at over 500 mph initiated at 35,000 feet, the airplane started to nose over; LeVier hauled back on the stick, trying to maintain dive angle. Movie Material: Tommy Prince Was so Effective, Germans Believed he Was an Evil Spirit, “Holy Grail” Was Discovered in 2015 with $17 Billion Cargo, The Effects of the Lonely Queen Still Seen Among the Trees of Norway, Best Warriors in the World – 5 of the Top Special Forces Units, “Closing down for ever, all the best, goodbye.” Last WW2 Germany Message Revealed, The Des Moines Class Cruiser – The Greatest Heavy Cruiser, USS Orleck: The WW2 Ship Has to Move But Who Wants Her. Hartmann learned not to fear Russian pilots but had a greater respect for Americans due to their superior technology. In the end, he suffered only one bullet hole in his P-51. Canadian Forces Snowbirds Plane Crashes in Kamloops, B.C. The Germans were so impressed, they congratulated him heartily before shipping him off to a POW camp. For his heroics, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal but sadly he wouldn’t live long after he died in a crash while performing aerobatic stunts for his girlfriend. But before it was scrapped for good, the crew upgraded the caliber of its machine guns and increased them from 10 to 19. The world mourned his loss and was prominently featured in newspapers alongside stories of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima occurred on the same day. The “Idiotic” WWI Aerial Formation The Allies Used In The Second World War, And How It Dealt Them Huge Fighter Losses, Here’s The Latest Video Update Of That Bf 109 Restoration We’re All Waiting For. His 74 Squadron became one of the top British fighter squadrons of the war. He was finally accepted in August 1939 at the age of 24, but the problems caused by the old injury were evident in training and he missed the first part of the war while recovering from the surgery to resent his collarbone. They used all of those 19 guns on their Medal of Honor mapping mission when they were swarmed by Japanese fighter planes. Though much lower than the top German aces of WWII, this is a noteworthy achievement for less than one year of service. Which 3 Of These 7 Top WWII Fighter Planes Would You Put On Your Team? This sometimes led to confusion in which the records of individual pilots and crews were mistaken for that of the … At the Battle of Dunkirk on June 28th, 1940, Malan racked up 5 kills and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC). Hartmann flew a Messerschmitt Bf 109. In defending the island against Italy and Germany, he earned the nicknames The Falcon of Malta and the Knight of Malta along with the DFC, DSO and Distinguished Flying Medal with one bar. The B-24 bomber Hot Stuff is a victim of the confusion surrounding the planes that flew missions and the crew that was on them. On August 6th, 1945 while testing the P-80 Shooting Star the jet malfunctioned and crashed into a field killing Bong upon impact. The average gunner had a life expectancy of 6 weeks, but Johnson survived 5 years and 92 missions. He is easily the most famous of all Japanese fighter pilots for his skill and devotion to aerial combat. It gained its nickname because it always seemed to return from its missions full of holes. German fighter pilots in WW II shot down more enemies when they were jealous of their colleagues . On January 11th, 1944 Howard flew in a P-51 as a lone escort to a group of B-17s over Europe. With a staggering 352 aerial victories, Erich Hartmann is the top ace of Word War II. Top Bombers & Pilots of WW2. The bomber and its missions are less well known to the public, but it served faithfully and defied the odds to rack up more missions than many other bombers put together. Erich Hartmann was the top scorer. Serving with 74 Squadron, Malan he was promoted to flight lieutenant six months before the start of the war. Joining the Japanese Navy at age 16 he was one of 70 students accepted into flight training of out 1,500 applicants. This was because he had fired so many rounds. He shot down two more planes the next day and his success only continued. James Howell Howard only had eight aerial victories but one them became the most legendary aerial battle of WWII. Many pilots received a break after 25 missions, but others pilots flew more. German pilots did not have the luxury of sitting out fights over their homeland Hartmann flew over 1,400 combat missions. He also survived later crashes in the rough terrain of Burma, including one that badly damaged his leg. He once flew a mission over Iwo Jima against 28 F6F Hellcats for a period of 20 minutes and returned to base without taking a single bullet. In his first combat patrol, flying over Dunkirk on May 23rd, 1940, he shot down three German fighters. Bestowed the title of The Black Devil by the Russians and decorated as Germany’s top fighter pilot, he earned Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords as well as Diamonds presented to him by Adolf Hitler. Outdoing planes such as the Hot Stuff and Memphis Belle, the B-24 Eager Beaver completed an astounding 77 combat missions in the Pacific. Noted for his valor, Vale received the DFC. Hot Stuff tragically crashed in inclement weather while trying to land and refuel in Iceland. Sakai was descended from a Samurai and has a deep respect for fellow soldiers and even Americans. “Pat” Pattle was born in South Africa, rejected by the South African Air Force at the age of 18, he later journeyed to England to join the RAF in 1936 at the age of 20. We started from our list of our list of 30 amazing pilots in U.S. military history, then factored in pilots with confirmed air-to-air kills. A short time later the cockpit received a direct hit from a 20mm cannon but the injured pilot flew it home despite having his control panel destroyed. He had to get a waiver to receive his diploma in absence. An incredible fighter in the hands of an amazing pilot performing a miracle of aerial combat to save his escort. Facing near impossible odds Howard jumps into the battle to defend bombers, shooting down five Bf 109s. Three times, Pattle claimed five or more enemy craft destroyed in one day. And they did it months before the more famous Memphis Belle. Originally part of the Czechoslovak Air Force he transitioned the Royal Air Force as the Germany began their bombing raids. James Howell Howard Home of Heroes. Pat Pattle was a heroic South African pilot back in WWII, with little prominence in history. Within a month’s time, he had earned the DFC, which was presented to him by King George VI himself on June 23rd. Defending his homeland during The Blitz, he received the DFC at the age of 20. Flak Bait sits in a museum today with over one thousand patched holes to testify to its durability. The B-26 Marauder nicknamed Flak Bait served an astounding 207 missions. He finished flight school at the age of 18 in 1944. He continued campaigns against the Japanese throughout the Philippines racking up 40 victories.
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