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Thread: Which US WWII fighter shot down the most enemy aircraft?

  1. #16
    Senior Member davparlr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by R Leonard View Post

    The number 5,168 is somewhat of a moving target, I'd admit. US Naval Aviation combat aviation statistics compiled in 1947 or so mark the F6F total credits as 5163 fighters and bomber types only. If you look a little deeper into the report you can also find just for the period 1 Sep 44 to 15 Aug 45 a total of 3,518 credits to F6Fs, this includes 2,278 single engine fighters, 36 land based single engine reconnaissance, 515 bombers/torpedo bombers, 89 floatplanes, 530 twin engine combat types, 17 flying boats, 36 transports, and 17 trainers. Were one to add just the land based single engine reconnaissance, floatplanes, flying boats, transports and trainers from this last year of the war to the gross 5163 reported fighter and bomber credits, the F6F total rises to 5,358, higher than that which you protest and still does not count any of these types credited to F6Fs from their introduction to combat through 31 August 1944. And to forestall the question, these numbers do not include any destroyed on the ground.
    What I would like to know is how many of these were clay pigeons, I mean, kamakazes?


  2. #17
    Senior Member R Leonard's Avatar
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    A reconciliation of the data reported in various, and often conflicting, Japanese and US sources is found in “An Analytical History of Kamikaze Attacks against Ships of the United States Navy during World War II” produced by the Center for Naval Analyses (Study No 741 by Nicolai Timenes, Jr.) in 1970. This synthesis notes:

    Most kamikazes were lost to interceptors. As defense became more important, and bombing strikes were replaced by fighter sweeps, aircraft carrier complements changed to include more and more fighters, some of which (such as the Hellcat (F6F) and Corsair (F4U)) could also serve to attack . . . The rise in fighters was constant, and by the end of the war fleet carriers embarked 70 to 90 fighter types. Escort carrier complements also changed, from 16 fighters and 12 torpedo planes to 24 fighters and 9 torpedo planes.

    As a result, hundreds of fighters were available for intercept roles . . . As the Okinawa campaign progressed fewer carriers were usually available, but those present carried a higher proportion of fighters and employed them as CAP. In preparation for the kikusui attacks on 1 I April 1945, for example, the bombers and torpedo planes of Task Force 58 were emptied of gas and ordnance and parked on the hangar deck. The force was able to maintain 12 CAP over the pickets and 24 over each of 2 task groups - - a total of 60 CAP airborne and ready. Additional aircraft were launched as required.8 Three escort carriers with the replenishment groups (oilers, ammunition ships, etc.) carried replacement planes and pilots to replace losses. During the period 19 February to I March 1945, the escorts delivered 254 aircraft and 66 pilots and aircrew to fleet, light, and escort carriers.

    The superiority of American aircraft and pilots has been discussed. Control of the CAP by the fighter-director team on the pickets and ships of the main force was good throughout. The CAP defenses were weakest at dusk, since kamikaze pilots were too poorly trained to fly even from land bases at night, and night takeoffs and landings were still hazardous and little practiced by carrier aviators.


    Referring to the Kamikaze threat in the Philippines campaign and the Okinawa campaign, the study provides the following conclusion data:

    Philippines:
    Kamikaze Sorties = 650*
    Returned to base = 65 (10%)
    Net attacks = 585
    Splashed by CAP = 263 (45%)
    Appearing over force = 322
    Splashed by AA = 148 (46%)
    Hits plus damaging near misses = 174*

    Okinawa:
    Kamikaze Sorties = 1900*
    Returned to base = 190 (10%)
    Net attacks = 1710
    Splashed by CAP = 855 (50%)
    Appearing over force = 855
    Splashed by AA = 576 (68%)
    Hits plus damaging near misses = 279*

    *from USSBS Japanese Air Power

    If this analysis is in the ball park, then it would appear that somewhere in the neighborhood of at least 1,118 Japanese aircraft, IJN and IJA combined, were shot down by CAP aircraft in the course of Kamikaze sorties. The report notes:

    . . . It has been noted that most of the kamikazes and conventional aircraft which attacked the task force were shot down by airborne interceptors combat air patrol (CAP) and deck-launched interceptors (DLI). Attrition of conventional attacks by CAP had risen to over 60 percent by mid-1944, and given the similarity of kamikaze airframes and tactics to the conventional strikes (at least outside the immediate vicinity of the task force), CAP effectiveness against kamikazes must have been similar, i.e., in the range of 50 to 70 percent, leaving 30 percent to 50 percent (176 to 292 in the Philippines, 513 to 855 at Okinawa).

    These numbers seem low when compared with the numbers of aircraft which arrived over the force. Assuming 45 percent CAP attrition would appear to produce good agreement with estimates of kamikazes over the force (322 versus 320 or 364) in the Philippines. Improvements in CAP procedures off Okinawa may have increased the CAP attrition rate to about 50 percent, which produces fairly good agreement with estimates of the number of aircraft reaching the force there.

    Another comment on the nature of CAP defense suggests that data from the Philippines campaign are not representative of the ability to defend a force at sea:
    “Apparently fighter defense of task forces out at sea is much more effective than are patrols near shore. At least 60 percent of the attacking enemy force has been consistently shot down by the CAP of fast carrier task forces before the enemy reached our ships. However, the Army Air Forces report that - - - 771 enemy aircraft were encountered and 230 destroyed in their defensive missions from the Philippines. Thus it appears that in the case of task forces in harbor or near shore, only about 30 percent of the enemy attackers are downed by fighter defense before they get to the ships.” (Anti Aircraft Operations Research Group Study 4, Feb 1945 page 3)

    At Okinawa, although some units were attacked in the harbor, the enemy had to approach over water and past defensive picket forces; as a result, the defensive posture was much like what would be expected of a fast carrier force. Thus the estimate of 50 percent attrition by CAP is not inconsistent with these observations.

    Further indication of the effectiveness of CAP may be gained by examining the results of kamikaze escort missions - -which would not have been subjected to anti-aircraft guns and which would not have deliberately expended themselves. In the Philippines, Inoguchi notes that, of 239 escort sorties, 102 (43 percent) were expended. Since the escorts were none too aggressive in their defense of the kamikazes, and since some of them, at least, were also responsible for returning to report results of the kamikaze attacks, they may have allowed similar attrition of the kamikazes. Attrition of kamikazes is not likely to have been much larger than that of the escorts, however, so the estimates of 45 percent in the Philippines and 50 percent at Okinawa seem reasonable.


    An interesting report if you can get your hands on one.
    hmmm ... I wonder what this switch does ...

  3. #18
    Banned Ratsel's Avatar
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    see post below. thanks.
    Last edited by Ratsel; 09-30-2011 at 09:55 PM.

  4. #19
    Senior Member R Leonard's Avatar
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    P-40s, operated by American pilots including the AVG, was, world-wide, the 6th most prolific producer of credits. The only theater where P-40s with US drivers finished at the top was the CBI.

    Credited claims for aircraft flown by US pilots by theater for aircraft being operated as day or night fighters or variants:

    Pacific Theater (includes Aleutians, Central Pacific, South Pacific and Southwest Pacific operating areas):

    F6F = 5,221
    F4U/FG = 2,155
    P-38 = 1,700
    F4F/FM-1/FM-2 = 1,408
    P-47 = 697
    P-40 = 661
    P-51/A-36/F-6 = 297
    P-39/P-400 = 288
    P-61 = 64
    PV = 20
    F2A = 10
    P-36 = 3
    P-70 = 2
    P-26 = 2
    P-35 = 1

    European Theater:

    P-51/A-36/F-6 = 4,239
    P-47 = 2,686
    P-38 = 497
    P-61 = 59
    Spitfire = 15
    F6F = 8
    Beaufighter = 6
    P-39/P-400 = 3
    F4F = 2

    Mediterranean Theater:

    P-38 = 1,431
    P-51/A-36/F-6 = 1,063
    P-40 = 592
    Spitfire = 364
    P-47 = 263 = Fifth Place
    F4F = 26
    Beaufighter = 25
    P-39/P-400 = 25
    Mosquito = 1

    China-Burma-India Theater, including the AVG:

    P-40 = 741
    P-51/A-36/F-6 = 345
    P-38 = 157
    P-47 = 16
    P-39/P-400 = 5
    P-61 = 5
    P-43 = 3

    Overall against European opponents

    P-51/A-36/F-6 = 5,302
    P-47 = 2,949
    P-38 = 1,928
    P-40 = 592
    Spitfire = 379
    P-61 = 59
    Beaufighter = 31
    P-39/P-400 = 28
    F4F/FM-2 = 28
    F6F = 8
    Mosquito = 1

    Overall against the Japanese

    F6F = 5,221
    F4U = 2,155
    P-38 = 1,857
    F4F/FM-2 = 1,408
    P-40 = 1,402
    P-47 = 713
    P-51/A-36/F-6 = 642
    P-39/P-400 = 293
    P-61 = 69
    PV = 11
    F2A = 10
    P-43 = 6
    P-36 = 3
    P-26 = 2
    P-70 = 2
    P-35 = 1

    Add them all together:

    P-51/A-36/F-6 = 5,944 = 1st Place
    F6F = 5,229 = 2nd Place
    P-38 = 3,785 = 3rd Place
    P-47 = 3,662 = 4th Place
    F4U = 2,155 = 5th Place
    P-40 = 1,994 = 6th Place
    F4F/FM-2 = 1,436 = 7th Place
    Spitfire = 379 = 8th Place
    P-39/P-400 = 321 = 9th Place
    P-61 = 128 = 10th Place
    Beaufighter = 31 = 11th Place
    PV = 20 = 12th Place
    F2A = 10 = 13th Place
    P-43 = 6 = 14th Place
    P-36 = 3 = 15th Place
    P-26 = 2 = 16th Place tied
    P-70 = 2 = 16th Place tied
    P-35 = 1 = 17th Place tied
    Mosquito = 1 = 17th Place tied

    Regards
    hmmm ... I wonder what this switch does ...

  5. #20
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    From a 1946 US Navy report I have 5165 kills in the Pacific and 8 kills in the ETO for 5168. This is from the US Navy, not made up by me. It might have been revies downward to 5163 ... but the number is quite valid.

    You can check it out yourself online anytime. 19 to 1 kills ratio for teh Hellcat; nothing else came close. Next closest in US service was about 13 : 1, and that isn't even close.

  6. #21
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    R Leonard,

    what is the source of your numbers? Is the data in a form where you can see the pilot, the type of the victor, the type of the victim, etc?

  7. #22
    Senior Member R Leonard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregP View Post
    From a 1946 US Navy report I have 5165 kills in the Pacific and 8 kills in the ETO for 5168. This is from the US Navy, not made up by me. It might have been revies downward to 5163 ... but the number is quite valid.

    You can check it out yourself online anytime. 19 to 1 kills ratio for teh Hellcat; nothing else came close. Next closest in US service was about 13 : 1, and that isn't even close.
    You might want to read my post above re F6F scores. I am well aware of the source for your numbers and even mention it in my post, indeed the Naval Aviation Combat Statistics - World War II produced by a team led by CDR Stuart Barber USNR for OpNav is one of the first places I go for data. You might note in my post on the F6F, above, I am careful there to point out the 5163 that jumps out at one from that report for an F6F total is only the credits for, as is generically noted "Fighters" (3,718) and "Bombers" (1,445) and does not count the Japanese equivalents of VOS/VCS, VP, VN, VR, or VJ types which appear much later in the report. If you want a full count for F6Fs you have to figure those in. Go look at the tables again and, indeed, the entire report; they were very careful about how they phrased things and specified categories. If you don't pay attention to the nuances, it is very easy to make a mis-count. Also, look at Table 1 again. It does not say anything about Pacific only; the title is "Consolidated Summary of Navy and Marine Carrier and Land‑Based Air Operations and Results For Entire War," that means the 8 F6F credits for VF-74 and VOF-1 in Operation Dragoon are included, you are counting them twice.

    Olynyk, on the other hand, author of Stars and Bars - A Tribute to the American Fighter Ace, 1920-1973 and the recognized historian for the American Fighter Aces Association, went back through the combat reports and connected the dots with a pilot name to each credit, probable, or damaged, and the enemy type cited in the report, something not found in Barber's team's Naval Aviation Combat Statistics. You might want to try to avail yourself of a copy, USN Credits for the Destruction of Enemy Aircraft in Air-to-Air Combat - World War II, and give it some study before jumping. Of course, it is not easy to get. There is a companion volume on USMC credits around which I’d like to get my hands as well as volumes on the USAAF in the ETO, MTO, CBI, and POA. I’ve the USAAF CBI and POA, but not ETO or MTO - since I’ve little interest in that part of the world, ‘tis no great loss.

    I'd also point out that unless you have carefully gone through the Barber report and put it all in nice new spread sheets with nice new formulas you may find yourself zeroing in on some typos . . . that is, the numbers in calculation fields are not always typed in correctly, certainly not often, not even in every table, but enough for someone with a background in operational statistics to spot just eye-balling it. Another quaint oddity, with which I happen to agree, in the Barber report is that it follows the convention of the practitioners of period in tracking FM scores separate from F4F scores - now if you want to see an interesting credit to loss ratio, look at the Eastern FM-2.

    So, using the 5163 figure or even 5165 as the total for F6F credits is pretty close, but not entirely accurate, the number is higher. On the other hand, I doubt we’ll ever have a 100% accurate accounting.
    Last edited by R Leonard; 10-01-2011 at 12:14 AM. Reason: disable smilies in text
    hmmm ... I wonder what this switch does ...

  8. #23
    Senior Member R Leonard's Avatar
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    [
    Quote Originally Posted by GregP View Post
    R Leonard,

    what is the source of your numbers? Is the data in a form where you can see the pilot, the type of the victor, the type of the victim, etc?
    See Posts 15 and 22. Other data comes probably from the same official reports you've seen. Another good source is the research of Ray Wagner.

    The trick is compiling the information correctly and in a usable format so that you can sift through the data. That's what computers are for and where training in operational analysis and statistics comes in handy. For cross checking, a library of some 175 specifically related WWII naval aviation titles does not hurt - out of some 600 naval and military volumes; not to mention a couple-three of file cabinets full of reports, periodicals, and individual articles (and an accurate catalog of all so I can find things and, more importantly, avoid the purchase of duplicates); and, literally, about 2000 digital pdfs gleaned from the net on WWII aviation, easily half of which are directly USN related.

    In all this, I am a collector of names, names of WWII period US naval aviators, USN, USMC, USCG and even a few who when over to the AAF (though that's where I stop tracking those individuals). Don't have all that many individuals, but it keeps me amused. Estimate about 70,000 active duty naval aviators December 1941 to September 1945. My list has over 33,300 entries for information on about 19,500 individuals, from LCDR Philip V Aaronson 2d CO of VPB-145 in FAW-11 out of NAF San Julian Cuba on 1 Mar 45 to ENS Herman L Zwick who on 4 Sep 44 was assigned to VPB-128 in FAW-5 out of NAS Norfolk.
    hmmm ... I wonder what this switch does ...

  9. #24
    Senior Member gjs238's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by R Leonard View Post
    now if you want to see an interesting credit to loss ratio, look at the Eastern FM-2.
    Can you elaborate? You've aroused my curiosity.

  10. #25
    Senior Member R Leonard's Avatar
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    gjs238
    Can you elaborate? You've aroused my curiosity.
    According to the Naval Aviation Combat Statistics - World War II OpNav report, for the entire war, the FM-2 was credited with destroying 422 aircraft in air-to-air combat in the Pacific for the loss of 13, a ratio 32.46 to 1. This includes a 235-12 (a 19.58 to 1 ratio) record in 1944, and an incredible 187-1 record in 1945. Oh, and before anyone jumps and says the OpNav report does not say FM-2, it only says FM, I'd suggest that with some diligent researching one might be able to determine that there were no FM-1 credits, QED, FM credits = FM-2 credits. As with the F6F accounting, the OpNav FM-2 basic totals is only for, generically, "fighters" and "bombers."

    Comparing this result with Frank Olynyk's USN credits research one finds that he turns up 428 FM-2 credits, a 1.4% difference. Olynyk further identifies 39 probables and 32 damaged which do not appear in the OpNav report.

    So, one could pick their choose, 422:13 (32.5:1) or 428:13 (32.9:1).

    Regards
    hmmm ... I wonder what this switch does ...

  11. #26
    Senior Member drgondog's Avatar
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    Everybody has ignored the purpose of this thread -namel:

    "This popped into my head over my lunch hour today. Which US aircraft piloted by American pillots is credited with shooting down the most enemy aircraft? I'm not talking which model aircraft, but which specific airframe/serial number is credited with the most kills during the Second World War.

    Everybody has been deep diving Airframe TYPE.. look to Boyington, McCambell, Foss, Bong and McGuire for usual suspects as the airframe changes did not occur so fast in pacific as in Europe, Then I might take a quick look at Hofer and Gentile - as most of teir scores were in the same P-51B airframe/serial number from March through May/June 1944.
    "The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits." - Albert Einstein

  12. #27
    Senior Member MikeGazdik's Avatar
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    Yes, thats they way I read it as well. I have been trying to dig on this since I posted before. I'm not sure of where exactly to go to find more info yet. I have hit some other "ACE" websites, and refered to a few of my books. It looks like Bud Anderson has between 9 to 12 claims in one of his P-51B Old Crow Mustangs, then that plane was turned over to another pilot. I'm researching now names like McQuire, Kepford, Lynch, Preddy, Foss.

    According to his bio, Dominic "Don" Gentile, 4th FG, downed 15 between March 3rd and April 8th 1944. These were in his famous "Sangri La" P-51B. Which he crashed at his airfield showing off. (stuff of which movies are made ! )
    Last edited by MikeGazdik; 10-01-2011 at 09:44 PM. Reason: punctuation

  13. #28
    Senior Member MikeGazdik's Avatar
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    In researching this, I found the above conversation on "history.net" I cut a paste the information: ANDY SNELL says:
    9/21/2008 at 11:33 pm
    You left out,in my opinion, a very important part ot the George Preddy story. CRIPES A MIGHTY #3, Georges Last P-51-D @ the 487fs, survived WW11 & was assigned to Capt. Stewart when george went state side. there were 4 or 5 others pilots that flew C.A.M.#3 in-cluding the CO., Col. John Meyer, who got 4 kills in it.
    CRIPES A MIGHTY #3 went on to make history as having highest,confirmed, no. of KILLS,(27.5). Higher, than any aircraft in WW-11. 18.5 in air combat & 9 ground kills. CRIPES A MIGHTY #3 did make History for George. Art Snyder was the crew chief. Andy Snell/487fs

  14. #29
    Senior Member MikeGazdik's Avatar
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    I found this on "history.net" ANDY SNELL says:
    9/21/2008 at 11:33 pm
    You left out,in my opinion, a very important part ot the George Preddy story. CRIPES A MIGHTY #3, Georges Last P-51-D @ the 487fs, survived WW11 & was assigned to Capt. Stewart when george went state side. there were 4 or 5 others pilots that flew C.A.M.#3 in-cluding the CO., Col. John Meyer, who got 4 kills in it.
    CRIPES A MIGHTY #3 went on to make history as having highest,confirmed, no. of KILLS,(27.5). Higher, than any aircraft in WW-11. 18.5 in air combat & 9 ground kills. CRIPES A MIGHTY #3 did make History for George. Art Snyder was the crew chief. Andy Snell/487fs


    And this: When Preddy completed his tour and rotated back to the States for a well earned rest 44-13321 continued in service with the 352nd FG under the guise of other names; "The Margarets" of Capt. H.M. Stewart and "Sexshunate" (pronounced "Section 8") of Capt. Marion J. Nutter. Lt. Ray Littge and Lt. Warren Padden also flew the aircraft. 44-13321's last mission was on 16th April 1945 when it was lost with Lt. Padden (killed in action).

    A total of 18.5 aerial and 9 ground victories were tallied in 44-13321, including 4 by Col. John Meyer on 10 September 1944. More aerial victories were scored by pilots flying this aircraft than in any other Mustang serving in WWII.


    I will dig into to this to see if it is accurate.
    Last edited by MikeGazdik; 10-04-2011 at 09:56 PM. Reason: additional info

  15. #30
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    An FM-2 is simply a Wildcat with 150 more horespower. Sorry, but is gets lumped into the F4F kills, as it should.

    Nobody tries to separate Fw 190A kills from Fw 190F kills, and they shouldn't for Wildcat kills, either. A Wildcat is a Wildcat. All fighter get improvements, if they see mllitary service.

    The Hellcat reigns supreme in US air-to-air kills unless you are a statistician who is attempting to slice and dice the kills. If you are, then you are not slicing all the OTHER fighter variants for reference and, thus, your compariosn is not factual except for the FM-2. If you're gonna' slice and dice Wildcat kills, then do it for ALL fighter variants or quit posting one-sided claims.

    Sorry guys, but a Spitfire I kill is counted with ehe Spitfire XIV kills. Let it ride for Wildcats which, in the grand scheme, are also-rans in the kills category.

    They held the line until the Hellcats and Corsairs could join, and then were obsolescent, FM-2 or F4F notwithstanding. They deserve the credit, but not undue credit.

    FM-2 equals a Wildcat airframe in my book, and should unless you are willing to slice and dice all types, including Allied and Axis, not just Wildcats.

    Jsu my opinion ... I realize yours may vary ... but, if so, please justify whhy you break out the FM-2 and not the F4U-4, the Spitfire XIV, etc.

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