List of aces of aces

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Ace of aces is a title accorded to the top active ace within a branch of service in a nation's military in time of war. The title is most closely associated with fighter aces, though there are other types, such as tank aces, and submarine aces.

Fighter Aces[edit]

Ace of aces is a title accorded to the top flying ace/fighter ace of a nation's air force during time of war.

Persons accorded the title Ace of aces
PersonCountry of serviceWarTime
Adolphe PégoudFrance Third Republic (France)World War I28 April 1915 – 31 August 1915The first flying ace in aerial warfare history.[1]
Georges FlachaireFrance Third Republic (France)World War I
Jean NavarreFrance Third Republic (France)World War I– 17 June 1916On 17 June 1916, Navarre is shot down and then grounded for the rest of the war due to injury.[2]
Georges GuynemerFrance Third Republic (France)World War I– 11 September 1917[2][3]
Charles NungesserFrance Third Republic (France)World War I11 September 1917 –Succeeded Guynemer on his death.[3]
René FonckFrance Third Republic (France)World War I– end of World War IAll-time Allied Ace of Aces, with 75 confirmed aerial victories.[4][page needed][5][6][page needed]
Max ImmelmannGerman Empire Imperial GermanyWorld War I– 18 June 1916Before his death, Boelcke and Immelmann swapped the title several times.[7]
Oswald BoelckeGerman Empire Imperial GermanyWorld War I18 June 1916 – 28 October 1916Before the death of Immelmann, Boelcke and Immelmann swapped the title several times. Succeeded Immelmann on his death.[8]
Manfred von RichthofenGerman Empire Imperial GermanyWorld War I– 21 April 1918Known as the Red Baron, his 80 victories made him the highest scoring ace of the First World War.
Erich LoewenhardtGerman Empire Imperial GermanyWorld War I– 10 August 1918[9][page needed]
Ernst UdetGerman Empire Imperial GermanyWorld War I– end of World War I[10][page needed]
Albert BallUnited Kingdom United KingdomWorld War I– 7 May 1917Was also the ace of aces and highest scoring ace for the Western allies.
Keith ParkNew Zealand New Zealand
(United Kingdom No. 48 Squadron RAF)
World War I1917Keith Park's ability as a fighter ace was overshadowed by his later successes as the commander of No. 11 Group RAF during the Battle of Britain and commander of the air defence of Malta. The Luftwaffe nicknamed him the "Defender of London".
Billy BishopCanada Canada
(United Kingdom No. 85 Squadron RAF)
World War I8 April 1917 – 19 June 1918Billy Bishop was officially credited with 72 victories, making him Canada's all time top ace, and according to some sources, the top ace of the British Empire.
Raymond CollishawCanada Canada
(United Kingdom No. 203 Squadron RAF)
World War I1916–1918Raymond Collishaw was the highest scoring Royal Naval Air Service flying ace and the second highest scoring Canadian pilot of the First World War. First pilot of the British Empire to claim six victories in one day (6 July 1917).
Edward MannockUnited Kingdom United KingdomWorld War I12 August 1917 – 26 July 1918Edward Mannock may have been the highest-scoring ace within the British Empire of all time and is regarded as one of the greatest fighter pilots of the war.
Raoul Lufbery United States
(France Escadrille Lafayette)
World War IOctober 1916 – 15 May 1918[11][page needed][12][13][page needed][14]
Paul Frank Baer United States
(France Escadrille Lafayette)
World War I15 May 1918 – 18 May 1918Succeeded Lufbery on his death.[12]
Frank Bayliss United States
(France L'armee de l'air de France)
World War I18 May 1918 – 12 June 1918Succeeded Baer on his death.[12]
David E. Putnam United States
(France Escadrille Lafayette)
World War I12 June 1918 – 12 September 1918Succeeded Bayliss on his capture.[12][15]
Frank Luke United StatesWorld War I– 29 September 1918
Eddie Rickenbacker United StatesWorld War I29 September 1918 – end of World War ISucceeded Luke on his death. Was the US ace of aces for overall aerial victories[12]
Francesco BaraccaKingdom of Italy ItalyWorld War IThe most successful Italian ace of World War I, with 34 confirmed victories; decorated with the Gold Medal of Military Valour.
Ivan Kozhedub Soviet UnionWorld War II26 March 1943 – 16 April 1945Credited with 64 victories, Kozhedub is the top scoring Allied ace of World War II. One of the few pilots to shoot down Messerschmitt Me 262.[16][17]
Alexander Pokryshkin Soviet UnionWorld War II21 June 1941 – 14 January 1945Second top scoring Allied ace of World War II.
Grigoriy Rechkalov Soviet UnionWorld War II21 June 1941 – April 1945Allied ace of World War II.
Edgar James "Cobber" KainNew Zealand New Zealand
(United Kingdom No. 53 Squadron RAF)
World War IIOctober 1939 – May 1940First RAF air ace of World War II during the Battle of France.
Josef FrantisekCzechoslovakia Czechoslovakia
(Poland 303 Squadron)
World War IISeptember 1940;Credited as the top scoring RAF ace during the Battle of Britain. He refused to fly in formation but was allowed to fly as a "guest" of RAF 303 (Polish) squadron. In the air he would break off and patrol areas by himself where he knew enemy aircraft would be.
Eric Lock
(United Kingdom No. 41 Squadron RAF)
World War IISeptember 1940;The top British ace during the Battle of Britain and along with Brian Carbury credited with the highest number of Bf 109 kills during this period.
Brian CarburyNew Zealand New Zealand
(United Kingdom No. 603 Squadron RAF)
World War IISeptember 1940;One of the Ace Of Aces during the Battle of Britain, scored the most kills (along with Eric Lock) against Bf 109s and shot down 5 aircraft in one day to become an Ace in a Day.
Witold UrbanowiczPoland Poland
(Poland No. 303 Squadron RAF)
World War IISeptember 1940;The top Polish ace during the Battle of Britain. 303 (Polish) Sqn entered the Battle of Britain later due to language barriers but went on to become one of the top scoring squadrons due to the Polish pilots' previous experience and determination.
Antoni GlowackiPoland Poland
(United Kingdom No. 501 Squadron RAF)
World War IISeptember 1940;One of only two RAF pilots (along with Brain Carbury) during the Battle of Britain to become an Ace in a Day by shooting down 5 aircraft in one day.
James E. "Johnnie" JohnsonUnited Kingdom United KingdomWorld War IISeptember 1941–1945 –Top RAF ace of World War II.
William R. Dunn United States
(United Kingdom Eagle Squadron)
World War IIAugust 1941 –First American ace, First American to have a shot down another plane.[18][page needed]
Joe Foss United StatesWorld War II1942–1944The U.S. Marine Corps' "other" top ace, credited with 26 confirmed downed Japanese aircraft. Awarded Congressional Medal of Honor.[19]
Gregory Boyington United StatesWorld War IIAug 1942–Jan 1943The U.S. Marine Corps' top ace, credited with 28 Japanese aircraft during combat with the Flying Tigers (P40 Warhawk), and later in command of Marine Squadron VMF-214 (F4U Corsair). Awarded Congressional Medal of Honor.
Richard Bong United StatesWorld War II1942–1944aka "Ace of Aces." U.S. pilot credited with at least 40 confirmed downed Japanese aircraft. Awarded Congressional Medal of Honor.
Lee Archer United StatesWorld War II1944U.S. fighter pilot with the Tuskegee Airmen credited with four confirmed victories was the highest scoring African American pilot.
Hiroyoshi NishizawaEmpire of Japan Imperial JapanWorld War II1942–1944Japan's top navy fighter pilot ace, credited with at approximately 80 downed aircraft in the Pacific war.
Ilmari JuutilainenFinland FinlandWorld War II1939–194494 confirmed aerial combat victories.
Hans WindFinland FinlandWorld War II1939–1944Finnish fighter pilot and flying ace in World War II with 75 confirmed air combat victories.
Helmut WickNazi Germany Third Reich (Germany)World War II28 November 1940Credited with 56 aerial victories. Was the leading German fighter pilot for few hours until he was shot down and went missing in action.
Werner MöldersNazi Germany Third Reich (Germany)World War II– 22 November 1941First pilot to achieve 100 aerial victories on 15 July 1941[20][21]
Gordon GollobNazi Germany Third Reich (Germany)World War IIFirst pilot to achieve 150 aerial victories[21]
Hermann GrafNazi Germany Third Reich (Germany)World War IIFirst pilot to achieve 200 aerial victories[21]
Hans PhilippNazi Germany Third Reich (Germany)World War II17 March 1943With 203 aerial victories surpassed Hermann Graf as the leading German fighter pilot.
Walter NowotnyNazi Germany Third Reich (Germany)World War IIFirst pilot to achieve 250 aerial victories[21] Commanded one of the first Me 262 jet fighter squadrons.
Erich HartmannNazi Germany Third Reich (Germany)World War II– end of World War IIHartmann is the highest scoring Ace, with 352 aerial victories, the first pilot to achieve 300 aerial victories on 24 August 1944 and first to achieve 350 aerial victories on 17 April 1945[21]
Alfred SchreiberNazi Germany Third Reich (Germany)World War II28 October 1944First jet ace in aviation history[22]
Kurt WelterNazi Germany Third Reich (Germany)World War II– end of World War IIHighest scoring jet ace the Second World War
Lydia Litvyak Soviet UnionWorld War IIHighest scoring female ace in aviation history
Marmaduke Pattle South Africa
(United Kingdom No. 80 Squadron RAF)
World War II1914–1941Pattle was a fighter ace with a high score of >50, and is sometimes noted as being the highest-scoring British and Commonwealth pilot of the Second World War.
Franco LucchiniKingdom of Italy ItalyWorld War II1940-1945Lucchini is reputed the highest scoring Italian ace of World War II with 26 confirmed victories and several unconfirmed kills; he served both in the Regia Aeronautica and in the Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana.
James Jabara United StatesKorean War20 May 1951 –First American Jet ace for Jet-vs-Jet combat.[23]
George A. Davis United StatesKorean War– Friday 13 March 1953Was the ace of aces for Jet-vs-Jet combat.[24][25]
Royal N. Baker United StatesKorean WarFriday 13 March 1953 –Was the ace of aces for Jet-vs-Jet combat. Succeeded Davis on his death.[24][26]
Joseph C. McConnell United StatesKorean War– end of Korean WarWas the ace of aces for Jet-vs-Jet combat.[27]
Sergei Kramarenko Soviet Union
( Democratic People's Republic of Korea)
Korean War29 July 1951 –First Jet-vs-Jet ace of the Korean War.
Giora EpsteinIsrael IsraelSix Day War, War of Attrition, Yom Kippur War1956–1998History's highest scoring jet ace, with 17 confirmed kills.
Saiful AzamPakistan PakistanIndo-Pakistani War of 1965, Six-Day War1958–1980Saiful Azam remains the only fighter pilot who has flown for three Air forces (Jordan, Iraq and Pakistan) at war, along with honor of having kills against two different air forces (India and Israel). Minimum 5 claimed aerial victories in two different wars.
M M AlamPakistan PakistanIndo-Pakistani War of 19651960–1982Alam downed 9 Indian aircraft. In one combat he shot down 5 Indian aircraft in less than a minute-the first four within 30 seconds. He is the most successful Pakistani fighter pilot.
Randy H. Duke Cunningham United StatesVietnam War1968 – 1972First American ace of the Vietnam War.[28]
Nguyen Van CocDemocratic Republic of VietnamVietnam War1967-1969A MiG-21 pilot of the North Vietnamese Air Force during the Vietnam War, he was shot down during Operation Bolo, and over the next year shot down 2 F-4's, 4 F-105's and an F-102.[29]


Jalil ZandiIran IranIran-Iraq War1980–1988Iran's most successful fighter pilot ever, with 11 aerial victories (8 confirmed and 3 probable). The most successful F-14 Tomcat pilot.[31][32][33]
Mohommed "Sky Falcon" Rayyan IraqIran-Iraq War1980–1986Iraq's most successful fighter pilot ever, with 10 (5 confirmed kills and 5 claimed kills) aerial victories. The most successful MiG-25 pilot.[34][35]
Indra Lal Roy IndiaWorld War 11917-1918India's most successful fighter pilot, with 12 kills (2 shared). He remains the only Indian fighter ace to this day.[36]
Vinod Kumar Neb IndiaIndo-Pakistani War of 1965, Indo-Pakistani War of 19711963-Most successful Indian fighter pilot after independence. Credited with approximately 2-4 downed Pakistani aircraft during the course of both wars.

Submarine aces[edit]

Ace of the Deep is a title accorded to the top subsea ace/undersea ace/submarine ace of a nation's submarine force during time of war.

Persons accorded the title ace of aces
PersonCountry of serviceWarTime
Lothar von Arnauld de la PeriereGerman Empire Imperial GermanyWorld War I1915–18The commander of U-35, de la Periere sank a total of 194 merchant vessels and gunboats totaling 453,716 gross metric tons.[37][page needed]
Dudley W. Morton United StatesWorld War II– September 1943Died
Dick O'Kane United StatesWorld War II– 25 October 1944Was captured and made Prisoner of war.[38][page needed]
Eugene Fluckey United StatesWorld War II[39]
Malcolm David Wanklyn United KingdomWorld War II– 14 April 1942[39][40][page needed]
Benjamin Bryant United KingdomWorld War II– end of World War II[41][page needed]
Takakazu KinashiJapan Imperial JapanWorld War II
Otto KretschmerNazi Germany Third Reich (Germany)World War II– March 1941Kretschmer was responsible for the sinking of 47 merchant ships totaling 272,043 tons as commander of U-35, U-23 and U-99. He was captured in March 1941 and spent the rest of the war in the Bowmanville POW camp, Canada.
Reinhard SuhrenNazi Germany Third Reich (Germany)World War IIA U-boat ace.[42][page needed]
Gianfranco Gazzana-PriaroggiaKingdom of Italy ItalyWorld War IIThe highest scoring Italian submarine commander, with 11 ships sunk for a total of 90,601 tons.[43]
Carlo Fecia di CossatoKingdom of Italy ItalyWorld War IIWith 16 sinkings, he is credited with the most kills in the Regia Marina, as well as the second most successful Italian submarine commander with 86,545 tons.[43]

Submarine hunters[edit]

Persons accorded the title ace of aces
PersonCountry of serviceWarTime
Otto PollmannNazi Germany Third Reich (Germany)World War IICredited with the sinking of 14 submarines[44]
John WalkerUnited Kingdom United KingdomWorld War IIWalker sank more U-boats (12 Confirmed) during the Battle of the Atlantic than any other British or Allied commander.[45]

Tank aces[edit]

Ace of aces is a title accorded to the top tank ace of a nation's tank corps during time of war. Not all nations recognised the term ‘tank ace’ during World War 2.


  1. ^ Aviation History, "World's First Ace", Jon Guttman, Volume 20, Number 3, January 2010, pp.19
  2. ^ a b New York Times, "Saw 40 Air Foes After Guynemer", Thursday 27 September 1917
  3. ^ a b Wright-Martin Aircraft Corporation, "Hispano-Suiza Aeronautical Engines", Wright-Martin Aircraft Corporation, 1918
  4. ^ Taylor & Francis, "The European Powers in the First World War", Spencer Tucker, Laura Matysek Wood, Justin D. Murphy, ISBN 0-8153-0399-8
  5. ^ The Lowell Sun, "Record by French "Ace Of Aces" Never Equalled", Associated Press, Friday 21 June 1918
  6. ^ Doubleday, "Ace of Aces", René Fonck, 1967
  7. ^ New York Times, "Immelmann Fell 6,000 Feet To Death", 25 June 1916
  8. ^ New York Times, "A Talk With Boelcke On The Day Of His Death", Sunday 28 January 1917
  9. ^ Osprey Publishing, "Richthofen's Circus", Greg VanWyngarden, 2005
  10. ^ University of Nebraska Press, "Impossible missions?: German economic, military, and humanitarian efforts in Africa", Nina Berman, 2004
  11. ^ National Geographic Society, "Volume XXXIII", National Geographic Magazine, 1918
  12. ^ a b c d e Stokes, "Fighting the Flying Circus", Eddie Rickenbacker, 1919, (accessed 18 April 2009)
  13. ^ Osprey Publishing, "American Aces of World War I", Norman Franks, 2001, ISBN 1-84176-375-6
  14. ^ New York Times, "ALLIES ON SOMME TAKE 1,500 GERMANS; French Alone Captured 1,100 in Saturday's Fighting South of the River. BRITISH IMPROVE LINES Continue to Push Forward North of Thiepval and In the Region of Gucudecourt.", 15 October 1916
  15. ^ New York Times, "Putnam, American Ace, Killed Near St. Mihiel", Associated Press, 20 September 1918
  16. ^ Polak, Tomas with Christopher Shores. Stalin’s Falcon – The Aces of the Red Star. Brub Street, London, 1999. ISBN 1-902304-01-2, p.189
  17. ^ Николай Бодрихин. Советские асы. Очерки о советских летчиках
  18. ^ "Fighter Pilot: The First American Ace of World War II", William R. Dunn
  19. ^ The Telegraph (London), "Joe Foss", 2 January 2003, (accessed 17 April 2009)
  20. ^ TIME, No. 1 Ace, 21 December 1942, (accessed 17 April 2009)
  21. ^ a b c d e Toliver & Constable 1998, p. 385.
  22. ^ Foreman & Harvey 1995, p. 81.
  23. ^ National Museum of the USAF, "LT. COL. JAMES JABARA", (accessed 17 April 2009)
  24. ^ a b TIME, "Ace of Aces", Monday 23 March 1953, (accessed 17 April 2009)
  25. ^ TIME, "Fallen Ace", Monday 18 February 1952, (accessed 17 April 2009)
  26. ^ The Canberra Times, "Air Ace Ends Task", 16 March 1953, (accessed 17 April 2009)
  27. ^ TIME, "Ace's End", 6 September 1954, (accessed 17 April 2009)
  28. ^ Texas A&M University Press, "Striving for air superiority: the Tactical Air Command in Vietnam", Craig C. Hannah, 2002, ISBN 978-1-58544-146-4
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^ Iranian F-14 Tomcat Units in Combat by Tom Cooper & Farzad Bishop, 2004, Osprey Publishing, pp. 23–24
  32. ^ Imperial Iranian Air Force: Samurai in the skies
  33. ^ Fire in the Hills: Iranian and Iraqi Battles of Autumn 1982, by Tom Cooper & Farzad Bishop, Sept. 9, 2003
  34. ^
  35. ^ Arab MiG-19 and MiG-21 Units in Combat, by David Nicolle and Tom Cooper, (2004) Osprey Publishing, p.82
  36. ^
  37. ^ Challenge Publications, "The U-Boat ACE of ACES", William H Langenberg, 2004
  38. ^ Sutton Publishing, "The Bravest Man", William Tuohy, 2001
  39. ^ a b The Times (London), "Rear-Admiral Eugene Fluckey", 20 July 2007 (accessed 2009 April 20)
  40. ^ Naval Institute Press, "Soldiers Lost at Sea", James E. Wise, Scott Baron, 2003, ISBN 978-1-59114-966-8
  41. ^ Bantam, "Submarine Commander", Rear Admiral Ben Bryant, 1960
  42. ^ US Naval Institute Press, "Teddy Suhren: Ace of Aces: Memoirs of a U-boat Rebel", Teddy Suhren, ISBN 978-1-59114-851-7
  43. ^ a b Giorgerini, Giorgio (2002). Uomini sul fondo : storia del sommergibilismo italiano dalle origini a oggi. Milano: Mondadori. p. 691. ISBN 8804505370. 
  44. ^ Schaulen 2004, p. 148.
  45. ^
  46. ^ Kurowski, Franz. Feldwebel Kurt Knispel. Flechsig, July 2007. ISBN 3-88189-734-8. Kurowski Pg 125
  47. ^ "S/SGT. LAFAYETTE POOL, U.S. ARMY TANKER LEGEND" (accessed 22 April 2009)


Persons accorded the title ace of aces
PersonCountry of serviceWarTimeKill statistics
Kurt Knispel GermanyWorld War II– 28 April 1945168 tanks[46]The top Panzer ace of the war
Michael Wittmann GermanyWorld War II– 8 August 1944138 Tanks, 132 Anti tank guns, unknown other.
Johannes Bölter GermanyWorld War II28 April 1945 – end of World War II139 tanks
Otto Carius GermanyWorld War II– end of World War II+150 tanks
Dmitriy Lavrinenko Soviet UnionWorld War II– 1941Between 52 and 57 tanks.The top Allied tank ace of the war
Lafayette G. Pool United StatesWorld War II– 19 September 194412 Tanks, 246 AFVs/trucks
Clifford L. Elliott United StatesWorld War II– July, 1944destroyed over 250 pieces of German equipment including other tanks, trucks, artillery pieces and a train. His platoon was credited with capturing more than 1,000 enemy soldiers.[47]
Sydney V. Radley-Walters CanadaWorld War II– end of World War II18 tanksTop aces of the Western Allies
Zvika GreengoldIsrael IsraelYom Kippur War– end of Yom Kippur WarBetween 40 and 60 tanks.Only tank ace to score more than 40 kills in 30 hours.