Jwenting From Netherlands, joined Apr 2001, 10213 posts, RR: 17
Reply 8, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 4285 times:
Per aircraft in service the German Luftwaffe certainly holds the record (mainly poorly trained Soviet pilots in the early days of Barbarossa and US bombers of the heartland where they were pretty defenseless before P.51s and P.47s became available in numbers).
Overall it's probable the USAF or the RAF, but those are both larger and have been at it more often
LMP737 From United States of America, joined May 2002, 4757 posts, RR: 22
Reply 9, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 5 days ago) and read 4261 times:
It was interesting that Erich Hartman served eleven years for "war crimes". The only crime he was guilty of was using the Soviet Air Force for target practice.
What's interesting is the reason why the Luftwaffe had the highest scoring aces of the war. Unlike the RAF and USAAF the Luftwaffe did not rotate their pilots out of combat. They were there for the duration. Which meant a lot them racked up impressive scores. The downside was that a lot of them did not survive the war.
Spacepope From Vatican City, joined Dec 1999, 3153 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 4268 times:
For the U.S. Army, it was Dick Bong who scored 40 kills in the pacific theatre in his P-38. Greg "pappy" Boyngton was the leader for the USMC, I'm not sure who the Navy's leading ace was. Interestign note, though a leatecomer to the was (entering service in late 1943) the F6F hellcat scored over 5000 victories for the Navy and Marines.
Bobrayner From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2003, 2227 posts, RR: 6
Reply 14, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 4167 times:
Overall, I think the biggest total has to go to the USAF.
They are involved in many more wars than other air forces
If you're thinking of a limited period of time, or individual pilots or aircraft (or types) then I agree it would be the Luftwaffe.
Some of their stats are even more impressive if you broaden the definition from "dogfighting" to "aircraft A destroyed aircraft B". Huge numbers of PVO aircraft were destroyed on the ground in the first few hours of Barbarossa, having been neatly lined up on about 66 frontier airbases, without camouflage (the only significant dispersal and preparation was around Odessa), exactly where the Luftwaffe expected.
GDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13423 posts, RR: 77
Reply 15, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 3 days ago) and read 4211 times:
Depends how far you want to go back, the USAF dates from 1946? Before it was part of the Army, then you have the Navy and Marines.
The RAF was formed in April 1918, before it was the Royal Flying Corps, then there was the Royal Naval Air Service, but they were under RAF control (and suffered neglect) between I think 1918-37.
The disadvantage the UK services have is that between Suez in 1956 and the Falklands, despite being 'busy' for virtually all of the time, they did no air to air until the 1982 war, and have not since.