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Hi, everyone. This topic is a place, where You can send articles, photos etc. of some less known aces. The idea is to represent "forgotten heroes", which get little or not mentioning in standard books or standard web sources. This is not a place to represent celebrities like Adolf Galland or Saburo Sakai. This is a place to represent less known heroes like Bulgarian or Chinese aces. Also some quite known, but little bit forgotten aces like Hannes Trautloft find their place here. Your ace should be someone, who has been shadowed by the more famous "top guns".

This topic does not cover only WW2, but also the aces of Spanish Civil War (1936 -39) and Sino-Japanese war (1937-1945) or Nomonhan Incident (1939) are welcome here.

I´m waiting with interest Your contribution. As for me, I´m thinking to work either with Josef "Pips" Priller or Hannes Trautloft. One interesting anecdote of them: Priller was probably the shortest Luftwaffe ace, while Hannes Trautlof was the tallest (190 cm) man to be fitted in the smallish cockpit of Bf 109. If there are  any funny or interesting anecdotes on Your ace, don´t forget to add them to Your representation.

Well, maybe Priller or Trautloft are too well-known to be placed here, so I must probably look for another more suitable candidate...


Edited by hanwind

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Kiss József











The first aerial dogfight occurred during the Battle of Cer (15 - 24 August, 1914), when a Serbian aviator encountered an Austro-Hungarian plane while performing a reconnaissance mission over Austro-Hungarian positions. The Austro-Hungarian pilot initially waved while the Serbian pilot reciprocated. The Austro-Hungarian pilot then fired at Serbian aviator Tomić with his revolver. Tomić managed to escape, and, within several weeks, all Serbian and Austro-Hungarian planes were fitted with machine-guns.
Edited by rozsomak
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medal medal medal medal medal medal medal

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Great. George Bush Sr:s possible record of five air victories in WW2  should be confirmed by official statistics. If he indeed was a ace of WW2, it truly is interesting and worth of more detailed representation.

Although WW1 is little bit off the topic, interesting detail above.

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I looked also wikipedia - it states that George Bush Sr. (not to confused with George W. Bush) was not a fighter pilot, but flew with Avenger torpedo bombers. He was indeed a youngest pilot of US Navy Air Force at the time of his entering to the service. Bush served at the Pacific. His plane was hit by enemy flak down during one mission on September 1944, and he was the only man to bail out succesfully from the plane and rescued from the sea. Later he participated in Philippines Campaign. Bush got the fame of awarded war heroe, which must have helped him later in political career. Interesting, but he was not a ace (with at least 5 air victories).

However, it is true that pilots of bomber, reconaissence and transport units deserve more attention. We should not forget their contribution to the war, althoug this topic deals more with the pilots credited with air victories in aereal combats. Edited by hanwind

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Felipe del Río Crespo - the Ace of North in Spanish Civil War

Felipe del Río Crespo was born on 9.9.1912 in Santander at the northern coast of Spain. When he grew up, it was time to choose professional career and he started to study engineering. He was also interested in flying and he got a license of private pilot in October 1933. At that time he was drafted to military service, and as a pilot he made his military service in Spanish Air Force and became reserve military pilot. He showed good skills and was elected to take part in public flying demonstrations like Spanish Air Tour (Vuelta Aérea) and the international airshow in Lisboa.Río Crespo was promoted to reserve sargent in July 1935.

In 1935 Spanish Armed Forces were still loyal to Republican governement, although some notable officers like Francisco Franco were plotting a military coup de etat. They did not like the strong leftist trends, which were becoming dominant in Republican governemt. Some of plotting officers wanted also restore monarchy. Spain had been declared as republic as a consequence of the revolution 1931. The young republic was not stable, as Spain was divided in two political camps. In July 1936 the plotting officers decided that it was to time execute their plan of military coup. It had success in large areas of Spain, but it failed to get hold in Madrid and in many other areas of Spain. Some officers and army units also remained loyal to the government. Many young officers of Spanish Air Force joined the rebels, but most units of Spanish Air Force remained loyal to Spanish Republic.

When military rebellion began, Río Crespo was in Bilbao (Basque province of Vizcaya). Republicans had hold the territories of Basque provinces and Asturias at the northern coast of Spain. The situation there was different than in the in other Republican areas, where leftist militias were the dominant force of Republican army. For this reason Republican Spanish had a fame of being "Reds", but in reality this was a simplified truth. In the Basque Provinces the governing Partido Nacionalista Vasco (PNV) was a catholic conservative party. It supported the Republican cause, because Spanish Republic had granted autonomy for the Basques. For Spanish Nationalists both Basque and Catalan national movements presented separatism, which was even worse than communism. The famous right-wing politician José Calvo Sotelo made a remark: "Mejor una España roja que una España rota" (better Red than Broken Spain). To be a Republican did not mean automatically to be a Red. Many Spanish protestants joined the Republican Army, because Republican governement had garanteed the freedom of religion and they were afraid of extreme catholicism, which had strong influence in the Nationalist camp.

Back to Felipe del Río Crespo. After hearing the break of Civil War, he reported to local Republican authorities in Bilbao, that he was available for the service. As a trained reserve pilot, he was put in the service of Republican air force. Río Crespo´s first missions were to drop leaflets on the rebellious military base in San Sebastian. After this missions Río Crespo was called for re-training at Madrid, where he was flown over Nationalist territory. After short re-training Río Crespo returned to the Northern front. He flew as an air gunner and bombardies in the DH 85 Leopard Moth light aircraft, that had been put into military service. He also flew Breguet XIX light bombers. There was little chance to fly a fighter plane, because the whole Republican fighter force at the Northern front was two Nieuport 52´s.

However, situation improved on late November 1936, when a batch of Polikarpov I-15 biplane fighters arrived with Soviet pilot instructors. Río Crespo and his comrades learned quickly to fly nimble and easy-to-handle I-15 "Chato". On 28.12.1936 Río Crespo had a chance to attack Nationalist DH 89 Dragon Rapida. He claimed to have downed it, but actually his victim managed to limp back to its base with 200 bullet holes and wounded observer. On 3.-4.1937 Crespo took part in the tense air battle over Bilbao. Río Crespo managed to shoot down Ju 52/3m, but his comrade lieutnant Juan Roldán fell victim to He 51`s.

In other air combats over Bilbao on 13. and 18.4.1937 Río Crespo´s I-15 unit was succesful. They claimed to have shot down three Dornier Do 17´s, although only one was confirmed - and it was a victim of Felipe del Río Crespo. Few days later he claimed another Nationalist bomber. For his success Río Crespo was promoted to captain. On 20.4.1937 Río Crespo´s unit was again succesfull downing Nationalist Breguet XIX.

But the situation at the Northern front was becoming more difficult for the Republican pilots. They were already fighting against numerically superior opponent, when Legión Condor introduced its new weapon: Bf 109 B "Messer". It was much faster and technically superior to I-15. On 21.4.1937 Felipe del Río Crespo´s I-15 was attacked by the "Messers" of Legión Condor. Río Crespo was shot down and killed. By his death he was credited with 7 air victories.

A photo of Felipe del Río Crespo: https://familysearch.org/photos/albums/48287

To see, how I-15 looked like: http://img833.imageshack.us/img833/6885/i15chatoca151abatehe51r.jpg Edited by hanwind
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Johannes Trautloft - German biplane fighter ace of the Spanish Civil War

if Spanish Civil War and Legión Condor are new to You, see first: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Civil_War and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Condor_Legion

Johannes, usually known as “Hannes”, Trautloft was born on 3 March 1912 at Gross-Obringen near Weimar in Thüringen. When he grew up, he found that flying was his calling and pilot career would be his aim. On April 1931 he began his pilot training at the Deutsche Verkehrsfliegerschule (German Air Transport School) at Schleißheim. The course he and 29 other trainees attended was called Kameradschaft 31, abbreviated "K 31". Among the members of K 31 were men like Wolfgang Falck and Günther Lützow, both later aces in the WW2 and Lutzow was also a ace in the Spanish Civil War. Trautloft graduated from the Deutsche Verkehrfliegerschule on 19th of February 1932.

From K 31 Trautloft and 9 other German pilots were recommended for Sonderausbildung (special training) at the Lipetsk fighter-pilot school in Soviet Union. During that time there was a secret military co-operation between Soviet Union and Germany, which allowed German pilots get fighter pilot training in Lipetsk. Trautloft spent four months in the Soviet Union, at the secret training facility Lipetsk.

Upon returning to Germany Trautloft was promoted to Lieutnant. When German Air Force was formed again and new Luftwaffe revealed in mid 1930´s, Trautloft was in it´s ranks and became a fighter pilot in I/JG 132. He learned to fly Heinkel 51, which was the main German fighter together with some other biplane types. Later he was transferred to JG 134.

On 27 July of 1936, the pilots of few Luftwaffe's fighter units received an appeal for ‘volunteers’ to join a mysterious expeditionary force destined for an unidentified foreign country. Also Oberleutnant Trautloft became aware of this. He was serving with 9. Staffel of II./JG 134, which had located to Köln-Butzweilerhof following the occupation of the Rhineland in 1935. He recalled:
“On 28 July 1936, whilst serving as an oberleutnant with 9./JG 134 at Köln, I received a telephone call from my Kommandeur, Hauptmann Horst Dinort. His first question was “Are you engaged to be married?” I stated that I was not. He then swore me to secrecy and began to explain to me about the situation in Spain and the need for well-trained pilots in that country. Before he even had the chance to ask me if I would be prepared to go there, I said to him “I volunteer!”
Dinort then told me to get ready to travel to Dortmund within the next two hours, where I would receive orders directly from a Geschwaderkommodore. He also ordered me to maintain absolute discretion about the whole thing, for it would not be easy to explain to my comrades what I was doing when they saw me hurriedly packing my bags!”

First chosen pilots were Oberleutnant Trautloft of 9. Staffel of II./JG 134, Oberleutnant Herwig Knüppel and Leutnant Otto-Heinrich Freiherr von Houwald, both also from III./JG 134, and Oberleutnant Kraft Eberhardt, Leutnant Gerhard Klein and Leutnant Ekkehard Hefter. During a farewell inspection along with the rest of the group by General Erhard Milch and Generalleutnant Wilberg, they were told not to enter combat under any circumstances at their eventual destination - the role of the Heinkel pilots would be purely to protect and defend the Junkers transports that would be ferrying troops between Marocco and Spain.

In Hamburg, the pilots and other personnel of the volunteer group boarded the Woerman Line cargo vessel SS Usaramo, onto which they assisted with the loading of 773 crates of equipment. According to Trautloft, ”I would quickly learn that our aircraft were stowed in disassembled components”. Around midnight on 31 July of 1936, the Usaramo sailed from Hamburg bound for Spain.

SS Usaramo with the first contingent of German volunteers arrived at the roadstead off Cádiz on 6 August before docking the next day. They were sent by train to Seville. Trautloft recalled:
“The next morning we found ourselves at Seville airfield [Tablada], a frequent target for “Red” airmen. On 9 August we started the job of rebuilding our six He 51s - a real piece of teamwork involving pilots and ground personnel. The Spanish personnel were quite surprised to witness us work with such energy, but we really were getting quite impatient and wanted to get our machines into the air as Soon™ as possible.”

Conditions at Tablada were rudimentary. Oberleutnant Herwig Knüppel recorded of this initial period: “Our single-seaters had to be put together rapidly, as we wanted to strike out as Soon™ as possible to the Front. Breaking open crates, raising aircraft fuselages, attaching wings, fixing bracing struts - that was our first occupation. In doing so, we established friendships with Spanish pilots and with the Spanish mechanics.”

On 10 August, the first He 51 was fully assembled and ready for operations.
The German pilots at Tablada were able to put on a display patrol to both test the re-assembled Heinkels and to impress their Spanish comrades with the performance of their aircraft. In accordance with their instructions they were not authorised to enter combat, and so the first few days were spent training five rebel Spaniards selected from the first group of 18 fighter pilots to join the Nationalist side; capitán Luis Rambaud and Joaquín García Morato and teniente Miguel García Pardo, Ramiro Pascual and Julio Salvador.

Eventually, the German pilots requested that they be allowed to engage in combat operations, and this permission was granted by general Alfredo Kindelán y Duany, the commander of what was now viewed as the ’Nationalist’ air forces. Of this time Herwig Knüppel recorded:
“After some seven days of strenuous work, with our toothbrushes and shaving gear stashed in the stowage compartment of our He 51s, we flew via Salamanca and the Sierra de Gredos to our small combat airfield of Escalona del Prado, near Segovia. There, on the northern perimeter of the Guadarrama hills, we were located together with an Escuadrilla de reconocimiento, with whom we Soon™ established a warm friendship. The aircraft stood in the open, replacement parts, ammunition and fuel and oil laying protected from the sun under tarpaulins at the edge of the forest. We ourselves likewise lay to some extent protected from the full glare of the sun and slept when we were not flying, or else had language tuition with the Spanish crews.”

Otto-Heinrich von Houwald also recorded his observations of early conditions in Spain:
“We arrived at Salamanca, the second stopping place on our way to Escalona - a small town close to the Madrid Front. Salamanca was the first combat airfield I saw. We took a big chance in actually finding it because everything, including the aircraft, was very well camouflaged. We refuelled and took off for Escalona, an airfield that we heard was incredibly small and hard to find. It lay so close to the front that it was quite probable that we would engage the enemy. Nevertheless, we found it after half-an-hour and landed. The airfield was so poor that we were worried whether our Spanish comrades would be able to fly our aircraft from there.
Next day I had a most annoying experience. Full of enthusiasm and idealism, five Spaniards proudly climbed into our aircraft. They did not want foreigners to fight for them while they had to stay on the ground with nothing to do. But as they returned, my aircraft crashed on landing. Fortunately, the other Heinkels managed to land safely.”

The Spanish pilots had some problems with the He 51 when bringing the aircraft in to land since the fighter had a tendency to bounce and veer once on the ground. One of the damaged He 51 Bs suffered a broken propeller for which there was no replacement. Later, the resourceful German mechanics repaired the propeller using what was on hand at Tablada, and the aircraft was ready for operations once again. With a sense of increasing frustration, the German contingent demanded of general Alfredo Kindelán y that they, and they only, should be allowed to fly the Heinkels.

On the afternoon on 25 August of 1936, the German fighters made their operational debut in support of the drive on Madrid. A patrol comprising Oberleutnant Kraft Eberhardt (now in nominal command of the German fighter force) , Oberleutnant Trautloft and Oberleutnant Herwig Knüppel took off. The Spanish heat made conditions somewhat unusual for aerial combat, and as Trautloft recorded ’I sat in my aircraft in shorts and a T-shirt - my tennis clothes!’ Knüppel recalled:
“It was once again a sunny day with a clear blue sky. Catalonia lay beneath us, with its superb Guadarrama forested hills, on whose heights battles were being fought on the Puerto de Somosierra, Navicicerada and on the pass road from León. In the northwest, beyond the hills, lay Segovia, and in the southwest, the mighty rectangle of the Escorial, with its imposing walls, domes and towers, while in the south, in the haze of the summer day, Madrid. We were flying on our way to the west. Suddenly, Oberleutnant Eberhardt gave the signal for attack.”

Eberhardt had spotted three Republican light bombers Breguet XIXs about two kilometres away over the outskirts of Madrid, flying towards, and about 500 metres below, the Heinkels. With his hands ’shaking from excitement, Trautloft switched on his gunsight, entered into a dive from the sun, closed to within 30 metres and opened fire with his MG 17s:
“As I approach I see the gunner aiming his gun at me and then the muzzle lights up as he opens fire. It all looks rather harmless. With my first burst, the gunner disappears - his machine gun points vertically towards the sky. The “Red” now pushes over into a steep dive. My second burst is brief, but on target, because all of a sudden the Breguet rears up, rolls over, roars towards the earth in a steep, uncontrolled dive and smashes into the ground north of the village of Comenar.”

Trautloft had claimed what is believed to be the first aerial victory by German forces in Spain.
On 29 August of 1936, Oberleutnant Kraft Eberhardt claimed an unconfirmed Potez 540 over the Sierra Guadarrama. It seems that Oberleutnant Herwig Knüppel and Oberleutnant Trautloft were involved in (inconclusive) combat with Potez 540s over the Sierra Guadarrama during the day and they reported that during their first pass, they had their windscreens smeared with oil from the shot-up Potez, forcing them to break off their attacks. They were also set upon by a Dewoitine D.372 parasol fighter.

Four days later the three He 51Bs flown by Oberleutnants Kraft Eberhardt, Herwig Knüppel and Trautloft chased three Potez 540 deep over enemy territory, Trautloft angrily expended almost all of his ammunition from just 50 metres away and behind. In response, the bomber simply went into a steep glide, again spraying oil all over the German’s windscreen and severely limiting his ability to see anything. Eberhardt and Knüppel were similarly frustrated. Lessons were being learned, for as Trautloft noted: “From this range we can't possibly have missed. We suspect that the pilot’s seat in the Potez bomber is armoured. Therefore in future we shall have to attack from the front.
“I attempt an attack from the front in an effort to knock out the pilot. But he has, meanwhile, got a good lead and my machine just is not fast enough. In addition we are almost out of ammunition, so there is nothing else for it but to break off our attack.” At the end bombers came down, and all three pilots were credited with the destruction of a Potez.

On a later mission the same day (2.9.1936) Oberleutnant Trautloft (again flying in his tennis gear) was bounced by a enemy Dewoitine D.372, which was the best Republican fighter at the time. Dewoitine´s machine gun fire raked the right wing of Trautloft´s Heinkel (2-4), sending it into a spiral dive. With his controls shot away, Trautloft decided to parachute, and opened his parachute at about 8000 ft. Trautloft recalled:
“In spite of these encouraging results against the Potez, it was clear that our aircraft were not superior enough for us to feel completely safe from the enemy. In fact I was shot down and had to bail out. I was lucky that I was not wounded and that I landed behind Nationalist lines. However, Franco’s troops were, of course, not only surprised to see a tennis player landing in their positions by parachute, they were also very suspicious of me. I did not speak Spanish very well and I suppose they thought that I could have been a foreign volunteer for the “Red Army”. I proved to them that this was not the case by showing them my passport. In it was written “Este aparato y su piloto Don. Hannes Trautloft, estan al servicio del Ejercito Nacional del Norte”. After having carefully read these lines, the Spanish officer shook my hand and I was treated in a very friendly fashion.'

It is likely, that Trautloft was shot down by the Republican ace Ramón Puparelli Francia.
Couple of days later, it was Trautloft´s turn and he shot down a Republican Nieuport Ni-H 52 fighter. Nieuport fighter was 1920´s design and by 1936 it was already outdated, but it formed the backbone of Republican Air Force during the early months of Civil War. Nieuport was a easy prey to He 51, which was much faster and could beat Nieuport in all performance. Tougher challenge were the handful of Dewoitine 372 parasol fighters, which Republican Air Force had adquired from France.

On 15 September, the German Heinkels flew, for the first time, a mission in direct support of friendly ground forces advancing along the Tajo valley, when they were called upon to conduct a low-level strafing mission against Republican infantry. For this operation the group was relocated south, to Navalmorales, not far from the walled city of Ávila between the Sierra de Gredos and the Sierra de la Paramera. Oberleutnant Herwig Knüppel recalled:
“We flew daily to-and-fro between Cáceres, Navalmorales and Talavera and accompanied the Spanish columns in the Tajo valley as they advanced on Madrid. It was here that Trautloft and Houwald brought down some enemy light bombers. This was greeted in especially lively fashion by the brave Moroccans of the Spanish Foreign Legion. At Navalmoral forward airfield, the Morros supplied us with tea and mutton when, after our first flight to the front in the Talavera region, we made an interim landing there for breakfast.

Starting from here, we also escorted the first Spanish Ju 52 bombers to the Front. In this way, we took part in the capture of Maquedas. This village, and road nodal point, was especially heavily defended by the enemy. The road from Madrid to Maquedas was choked with trucks and cars, taxis and various other types of vehicles, in which enemy troops had been brought up. Some bombs dropped by our Spanish comrades into these columns caused the enemy to panic so that that village was Soon™ captured and enemy troops hastily driven away to the east.”

Taking off from Ávila on 30 September 1936, Trautloft managed to inflict sufficient damage on a Potez 540 that it crashed into the ground. His comrade Kraft Eberhardt claimed a second Potez.

By the beginning of October 1936 six of the new batch of He 51s had arrived in Spain, together with ten volunteer pilots and more mechanics - ”a necessary and welcome strengthening”, as Oberleutnant Herwig Knüppel described it.. It was now possible to split the German fighter force into two elements – five aircraft under Oberleutnant Trautloft headed north on 5 October to León to escort supply and bombing missions around the Nationalist enclave at Oviedo in Asturias, while the others, under Oberleutnant Kraft Eberhardt, went to Barahona and eventually on to Zaragoza. By the middle of October, more Heinkels had arrived, and the strength of the German fighter force went up to 14 He 51s. Despite these reinforcements, the balance was turning in favour of Republican Air Force.

By the November of 1936 good old Heinkel 51 was becoming outdated, because Republican Air Force received reinforcements from Soviet Union. The biplane fighter I-15 ("Curtiss") was more nimble and faster than Heinkel, although in the hands of skilled pilot Heinkel could deal with it. Even more formidable opponent was a new Soviet monoplane I-16, which Nationalists named as Rata. It was much faster than Heinkel and could attack Heinkel successfully with hit- and run –tactics. Troublesome was also SB-2 bomber (“Martin” to Nationalists) – it was so fast, that Heinkel had little chance to catch it. However, with skill and luck Trautloft managed to bring down one I-16 on 8.12.1936. This was his last air victory in Spain taking his score up to 5 “kills”, all made with Heinkel 51 B.

Trautloft´s mission in Spain was not over yet. In December of 1936, the VJ/88 (Versuchsjagdstaffel - Experimental Fighter Squadron) arrived to Spain. It brought four Bf 109 prototypes: V3, V4,V5,V6. On 5 December, Hauptmann Merhart requested that two German fighter pilots should be selected to make testing the first Messerschmitts, which were expected to be ready within three or four days for local operations over Seville. The pilots selected were Leutnant Hannes Trautloft and Unteroffizier Erwin Kley. On 14 December, Oberleutnant Trautloft test flew Bf 109 (“6-1”) for the first time and applied his personal marking of a large green heart below the cockpit. Some sources claim, that Trautloft achieved three air victories in Spain with Bf 109 prototypes, but this is not confirmed.
On 2 March 1937, the Chief of Staff, Oberstleutnant Dr.-Ing. von Richthofen’s plans for reorganisation and rotation began to start when four of the original pilots, Oberleutnant Trautloft, Leutnant Otto-Heinrich von Houwald, Unteroffizier Erwin Sawallisch and Oberleutnant Alfons Klein, were sent back to Germany. The Spanish mission was over for Hannes Trautloft.

Later on 1937 Hannes Trautloft joined the winning three-aircraft team in the Alpine formation speed competition at the 4th International Flying Meeting held at Zurich-Dübendorf between 23 July and 1 August 1937. Six Bf 109 prototypes were also included in the German team, this being the first time that the aircraft had been shown to the public, apart from a brief prior appearance at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. The Bf 109 proved to be an outstanding success at Zurich, winning four first prizes for climbing and diving, for speed, in an Alpenflug (with the V8 piloted by Major Seidemann, who would also serve with the Legion Condor) and for a team Alpenflug. The competing foreign teams were totally outclassed by the Bf 109, and its performance came opened eyes to both the British and French. It was clear, that both would need Soon™ a modern fighter able to challenge Bf 109. British came up with the Spitfire, French were less successfull (although Dewoitine 520 was a good try).

During the WW2 Trautlof continued to serve in Luftwaffe and he achieved 53 further air victories to add to his previous 5 in Spain. During the war Trautloft became famous as the commander of JG 54, the “Green Hearts” and was decorated with Knights Cross. He was also known as a good flight instructor to younger pilots. After the war Trautloft served in the Bundesluftwaffe of West Germany (Bundesrepublik Deutschland). Trautloft died on 11 January 1995 at Bad Wiessee near München.

A photo image of Hannes Trautloft: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hannes_Trautloft.jpg

Here is a image of Trautloft´s Heinkel 51 B-1, "2-4": http://www.mission4today.com/index.php?name=Downloads3&screen=1907 Edited by hanwind
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Antoni Głowacki, the only one Polish ace in one day. One of three Aces in one day during BoB.


(text is copied from http://www.aviationart.pl/signatures/118.html, you would rather do not read my translation.


Born on 10 February 1910 in Warsaw, where he graduated from National Radio-technical School. In 1928 he joined Warsaw Aero Club. The same year he completed a flying training course as part of his initial military training at Lublinek airfield near Lodz. During 1928-1930 he worked in charfe of a laboratory at the Polish Philips Works. He studied for a while at the Wawelberg and Rotwand Machine Construction and Electronics High School. He joined the Polish Air Force in 1931. He underwent his military training at the 1st Air Regiment in Warsaw and from 1935 he was a career NCO pilot of the 112th Fighter Flight. In 1938 he completed a specialist course at No. 1 Air Force Training Centre at Deblin, where subsequently he was a flying instructor. He has flown a total of approximately 5,000 hours.

In September 1939 he served with Capt. Julian Lagowski's reconnaissance platoon of the Warsaw Armoured-Motorised Brigade. He flew reconnaissance and liaison sorties in battle areas. On 18 September he flew to Uzhorod in Hungary. He then reached France. He went to Britain in January 1940. He received service no. On 780408. On 5 July 1940 he obtained a posting to Old Sarum for conversion training on British aircraft. On 14 July he commenced fighter training at No. 6 Operational Training Unit at Sutton Bridge.

On 5 August was posted to No. 501 Squadron RAF. On 24 August 1940 he was credited with five enemy aircraft destroyed in one day - he is the only Polish pilot to have achieved that. On 31 August 1940 he wasshot down and made a forced landing in damaged Hawker Hurricane V6540SD-P. On 1 March 1941 he was reposted as an instructor to No. 55 Operational Training Unit. On 16 July 1941 he was commissioned for his wartime achievements, receiving an officer's service no. P-1527. On 22 October was posted to No. 611 Squadron RAF, and on 7 November 1941 he was reposted do No. 303 Squadron. On 7 February 1943 he appointed the 'A'Flight commander in No. 308 Squadron. In June 1943 he was transferred for a month to the then forming No.318(Fighter-Reconnaissance) Squadron, and then returned to No. 308 Squadron, remaining at his previous post until 22 February 1944.

On 4 March 1944 he was posted for an exchange tour to the 356th Fighter Squadron 354th Fighter Group USAAF. On 19 May he was appointed flight commander at No. 61 Operational Training Unit. On 9 September 1944 he became the commander of No.309 Squadron. He was the first fighter squadron commander in the Polish Air Force in Britain who had started the war as an NCO. On 16 July 1945 he be came the chief flying instructor at No. 61 Operational Training Unit. At the time he has completed a jet conversion course on Gloster Meteors at Colerne. In September 1945 he was temporarily attached to No. 307 Squadron, where he trained on de Havilland Mosquitoes, and then returned to No. 61 Operational Training Unit. From 1 December 1945 he was the Polish Liaison Officer at the HQ 13 Group RAF at Inverness, Scotland. In May 1946 he was posted to the HQ 84 Group RAF, a part of the BAFO. From August to December 1946 he was acting commander No. 302 Squadron.

Demobilised from the Polish Air Force, on 1 September 1948 he joined the RAF. During 1948-1949 he served with No. 57 (Bomber) Squadron. From July 1949 until March 1951 he served with No. 264 (Night Fighter) Squadron RAF. Subsequently he served with auxiliary units and in 1954 he left the  RAF and joined the RNZAF, where he then remained in active service until 1958. He was (propably) flying at Avengers and Corsairs there. The same year he started working for the New Zealand civil aviation authorities. He was an active pilot until the end of his life: he made last flights as a pilot on 22 March 1980. He died on 27 April 1980.


I know from his relative which stayed in Poland, that his kids live in New Zealand, but that's all.


15.08.1940    501 Sqn Hurricane I  V7234      SD-A     11:40                  1-0-0 Ju 87

15.08.1940    501 Sqn Hurricane I  V7234      SD-A     11:40                  0-0-1 Do 215

24.08.1940    501 Sqn Hurricane I  V7234      SD-A     10:30                  1-0-0 Me 109

24.08.1940    501 Sqn Hurricane I  V7234      SD-A     13:00                  1-0-0 Me 109

24.08.1940    501 Sqn Hurricane I  V7234      SD-A     13:00                  1-0-0 Ju 88

24.08.1940    501 Sqn Hurricane I  V7234      SD-A     15:40                  1-0-0 Me 109

24.08.1940    501 Sqn Hurricane I  V7234      SD-A     15:40                  1-0-0 Ju 88

28.08.1940    501 Sqn Hurricane I  P5193      SD-O     09:35                  1-0-0 Me 109

30.08.1940    501 Sqn Hurricane    V7234      SD-A     11:00                   0-0-1 Me 110

30.08.1940    501 Sqn Hurricane    P3820                   16:50                   0-0-1 He 111

31.08.1940    501 Sqn Hurricane    V6540      SD-P     13:00                   1-0-0 Do 215

18.09.1940    501 Sqn Hurricane I  P5193                  13:15                   0-1-0 Me 109

27.04.1942    Dyon 303 Spitfire VB AA913     RF-P       15:37                   0-1-0 FW 190

19.08.1942    Dyon 303 Spitfire VC AB174     RF-Q      10:35                  0-1-0 FW 190

19.08.1942    Dyon 303 Spitfire VC AB174     RF-Q      16:30               1/3-0-0 He 111

22.09.1943    Dyon 308 Spitfire VB BM416?   ZF-A      16:20                   0-0-1 Me 109


His decorations included

the Silver Cross Virtuti Militari (no. 08814),

the Cross of Valour and three Bars,

the Distinguished Flying Cross .

the Distinguished Flying Meda .



Why I didn't proposed him as a Ace of the Month? Well, is quite obvius, that should be propose with his favourite Hurricane V7234 SD-A  on which he get a tittle, unfortunately I found only one picture of this plane, and no single profile. This is not enough




Maybe in future I propose him on the other plane.


Video, where he is visible

02:32 - Antoni Głowacki reports and shows his victory


Edited by Botan
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What's a less known ace? =)


I wonder if Jorma Sarvanto belongs in this category... He "only" had a total of 17 aerial victories, but as far as I know he holds an unofficial world record for shooting down six enemy combat aircraft as quickly as possible. The downing of six DB-3 bombers on January 6th 1940 took Sarvanto all of four minutes. He was flying Fokker D.XXI number FR-97.




Instead of rewriting the whole thing, I'll just copy-paste the story by Ossi Juntunen:


"...When he was at the same altitude of 3000 m with the bombers, he was about 500m behind them. Sarvanto pursued the enemy at full power. He decided to attack the leftmost wing bomber, although the third from left was closest to him, to avoid getting into cross-fire from the rear gunners. At a distance of 300 m his plane vibrated unpleasantly - he had flown in a bomber gunner MG salvo.


The fighter pilot kept on approaching the bombers. At a distance of 20 (twenty) meters he aimed at the fuselage of his victim, the left wing bomber, and pressed the trigger briefly. The tracers hit the target. Next, he shifted his aim at the rear gunner of the tail bomber, and shot him. Lt. Sarvanto then carefully aimed at the right engine of the first bomber and fired a brief burst. The bomber's engine caught fire. He repeated the same maneuver at the tail bomber with similar result. Two burning DB-3 bombers were leaving the formation.


Jorma Sarvanto cheered aloud and attacked the right wing of the formation while the bomber rear gunners blazed at his Fokker. He fired at each engine of the nearest bomber, making them smoke and forcing the bomber to leave the formation. Then he engaged the other bombers at a very close range. Each victim caught fire after two to three brief bursts of MG fire. Sarvanto glanced back - the smoking bomber was now in flames and diving to the ground.


Now Sarvanto decided to destroy every aircraft of the DB-3 formation. Some burning bombers made a slow half-roll before diving down, another pulled up before diving down. All the time they were flying south, the sun shone red through the haze low in southern horizon unless dimmed by smoke from a burning enemy plane.


Bomber no.6 was much more resistant to his bullets. The Fokker wing guns were out of ammo by now, but finally the DB-3 caught fire, and Finnish pilot could engage the last bomber. He had already eliminated the rear gunner, so he could fly close to the target. He aimed at one engine and pressed the trigger. Not a single shot. Sarvanto pulled the loading lever and retried shooting, but again in vain. He had spent his ammunition. There was nothing to do but leave the bomber alone and return to the base.


Columns of black smoke hung in the air and burning bomber wrecks could be seen on the ground. Sarvanto checked his instruments, there was no damage to vital parts, but his radio was dead and the Fokker's wings resembled Swiss cheese. When preparing for landing he found that the hydraulic pump for the landing flaps did not work, but he landed successfully despite that.


Lt. Sarvanto felt very satisfied as he parked his Fokker, but he did not quite get out of the cockpit before his cheering ground crew grabbed him and threw him in the air. The flight lasted 25 minutes and the actual battle around four minutes, during which he shot down 6 DB-3 bombers belonging to the 6th DBAP of the Soviet Air Force. Two Soviet airmen bailed out and were taken prisoners, but the sources do not mention their names. The mechanics counted 23 hits from the bomber rear gunners in FR-97, some of them near the cockpit, necessitating several weeks' repairs at the State Aircraft Factory."

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The Hero of China

The man and his plane, see: http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234934583-curtiss-hawk-iii-172-mpm-kao-chi-hang/

Kao Chi-Hang was born in 1908 in Tuang Hua in Manchuria. He had a Christian background, because family was Roman Catholic. In very young age he decided, that military career would be his choice for future. At the age of 17 (in 1925) he became a artillery cadet in the Northeastern Army Academy. It became quickly clear that he would be promising choice for the service of Chinese Air Force and in 1926 he travelled to France to receive flight training there. Year later Kao Chi-Hang returned to China in 1927 and was posted to the Flying Eagle Squadron of the Northeast Army. In 1929 he became a flight instructor.

In 1931 Japanese invaded Manchuria, and Chinese could do little to resist the attack. Manchuria was quickly lost to Japanese, who later created there the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo. By 1932 the Japanese consolidated their hold on Manchuria. Occasional encounters between Chinese and Japanese planes took place during this conflict, and at least one Japanese plane was shot down. It is not known, if Kao Chi-Hang flew combat missions in this time. During this conflict (or unofficial war) of 1931-1932
Western media reported on many atrocities of Japanese Armed Forces.  For the Japanese Air Forces (both Army and Naval) it was normal practice to bomb civilians or fire upon shell-shocked survivors (years before the Guernica). This aroused considerable antipathy toward Japan in West, and this sentiment would last until the very end of Second World War

The loss of Manchuria forced Kao Chi-Hang to leave his home, as it was impossible for him to consider life under Japanese occupation. He moved to south and continued the serve Chinese Air Force. He became an instructor in the Central Flying School at Chienchiu near Hangchou. Later he was promoted to major and became the commander of the 4th Fighter Group, and by 1937 he was a colonel. When the new war against Japanese started in July 1937, 4th PG was equipped with Curtiss Hawk IIIs. These were biplane fighters with retractable landing gears. Chinese pilots were not afraid of enemy, although odds were against them. There was no doubt that Japanese had aerial superiority, but Kao Chi-Hang and pilots under his command were ready to challenge Japanese.   
The first month of war was uneventful for Kao and his men. But this was going to change. On 14 August 1937, the Imperial Japanes Navy Air Force unit Kanoya Kokutai dispatched nine Mitsubishi G3M1 “Nelly” long-range bombers to attack the Schien Chiao Airfield near Hangchou and another formation of nine to attack the Kwang-teh Airfield. As the targets were not at the range of Japanese fighters, bombers flew without fighter escort. Japanese were also confident that Chinese fighters would not intercept their bombers in effective way. More than a month of war had passed, and so far Chinese had not been able to shoot down Japanese planes.  
The attackers were quickly spotted by the Chinese ground forces and the Chinese intelligence reported that a number of Japanese bombers had taken-off from an airfield Taiwan, crossed the Formosa Strait and were heading north over Chekiang in the direction of Hangchou. When the report on approaching Japanese bombers,  Hawk IIIs of the 4th PG l were hurriedly re-fuelled but this was far from complete when the air alarm started due to the arrival of Japanese G3M1 formation. Colonel Kao rushed to his aircraft no. IV-1, which had just been landed by Captain Mao Ying-Chu. Ordering Mao to go get another aircraft, Kao jumped into IV-1 and, without waiting to be refueled, took off immediately. He joined up with Lieutenant Tan Won who had just spotted  Japanese bombers.

The Japanese came in at the low altitude of 500m in order to hit their target precisely. But this made it easier for the Chinese to intercept them right after the take-off. The Japanese dropped their bombs on the airfield doing little damage. One of Kao´s subordinate opened fire on the enemy G3M. but more experienced Kao noted that his comrade had opened fire from out of effective range. Kao closed also on the Japanese bomber. He first silenced the two Japanese gunners and then closed in to 20m firing steadily at the left engine of enemy. The wing tanks on the left wing of G3M caught fire, and it crashed burning near the town of Ban Shan near the airfield.

Kao attacked then another bomber, which was already attacked by two other Chinese pilots. Again, Kao came to close range firing at the fuselage and the left wing on the G3M, putting the left engine out of action. Kao’s engine was hit by return fire forcing him to break off the attack. The damaged G3M managed to limp back to it´s base. While Kao was attacking the second Japanese bomber, three other Chinese pilots (Squadron Leader Captain Lee Kuei-Tan, Lieutenant Wang Wen-Hua and Lieutenant Liu Chi-Sheng) caught up with third Japanese bomber. Shooting the G3M repeatedly, the three brought it down near Ban Shan.

The fight of the day was not over yet for the squadrons of 4 PG. The 22nd PS was on the ground, refueling at Schien Chiao when the Japanese bombers dropped their bombs. They had little effect, as Chinese could scramble to catch the Japanese bombers that were flying east. They flew to the mouth of the Chien Tang Chiang (river) amid low cloud and bad weather where they lost sight of the Japanese aircraft and returned to base. 
Cheng Hsiao-YuCheng  managed to get the G3Ms in his sight and he attacked one of them. Cheng reported shooting at and hitting the right wing of his target. A fire broke out but then quickly went out again. Cheng had to break his attack off when his ammo was exhausted. Damaged enemy bomber managed to fly back to it´s base.
Japanese had lost at least two G3M´s with their crews, and others were damaged, although they managed to limp back. One of the damaged G3M´s had been hit so hard, that it was written off.
The Chinese lost one Hawk III which ran out of fuel when it tried to take off as Japanese G3Ms arrived overhead. This unfortunate Hawk III crashed into a tree, mortally injuring its pilot. But there is no doubt, that Chinese pilots had been quite succesfull on 14th of August 1937. It was a first time in the war, when they had managed to bring down Japanese planes. The 14th of August of first Chinese air victories became the celebrated “Air Force Day”. 

During the night of 14 and 15 August of 1937 the pilots of the 4th PG at Schien-Chiao airbase had to prepare their fighters themselves since the ground personnel had left the field to take shelter during the air raid on 14 August and had not returned. The pilots carried cans of fuel on their backs from the storage building to the field, punched holes on the cans and fuelled the aircraft themselves. They had not eaten since noon, and were not able to go to bed until 1:30 a.m. They did not sleep long because alarm sounded less than two hours later. This time alarm was caused by B2M Type 89 light torpedo bombers operating from Japanese aircraft carriers. They were quite slow and vulnerable, although armed with two machine guns.  

In the early morning on 15 August Colonel Kao Chi-Hang led 21 Hawk III's from the 4th PG to intercept a dawn attack on Hangchow by twelve Type 89 torpedo bombers from the Japanese carrier Kaga. In the confused action in and out of clouds, the 4th PG made 17 claims, more than the total number of Japanese planes in the action. The actual Japanes losses were six shot down and two ditched in Hangchow Bay.  Kao shot down one of the Type 89's on the edge of the formation and then attacked another damading it severely.  Then a enemy shot hit Kao in the right arm before passing through the instrument panel and damaging the engine in his Hawk III. He was forced to land at Schien-Chiao and was out of action for 2 months.

After recuperating for 2 months, Colonel Kao Chi-Hang returned to action in October of 1937. By that time, the Chinese pursuit force defending the Chinese capital Nanking was down to roughly a squadron. Unable to replenish its losses and lacking the parts to keep some of the damaged aircraft flying, the Chinese had pooled all the remaining fighters from the 3rd, 4th and 5th PG under one provisional group.

Most of the 4th PG pilots had been sent to the Soviet border to receive I-15bis and I-16s. Facing constant attacks from Japanese A5M fighters (“Claude”), the Chinese pilots had resorted to guerrilla tactics. They avoided combats with Japanese fighters and made hit-and-run attacks on the bombers. Most of the pilots were exhausted and morale was low. Colonel Kao Chi-Hang came back and set to work immediately to shake things up. First, he stripped down the Hawk IIIs to make them lighter and more suited to dogfighting the A5Ms. Off went the bomb racks, the cowling for the belly tank, and even the landing lights. Then Kao handpicked three of the most experienced pilots to go with him on the next intercept in the stripped down Hawk IIIs.

The opportunity came on 12 October of 1937 when Chinese air raid warning net phoned in a report of two floatplanes flying from Shanghai, apparently on a reconnaissance mission. Colonel Kao’s flight met the two Type 95 floatplanes from the seaplane carrier Kamoi over Chiang-yin. The Chinese Hawk IIIs dived into the attack.  Lieutenant Yuan Bao-Kang got a little too aggressive and collided with one of the floatplanes. The Type 95 crashed in flames but Yuan managed to force land in Chang Chow minus his lower left wing and part of his right upper wing. Yuan suffered only a black eye on landing. The other Type 95 was badly shot up by Kao and tried to land on the Yangtse. The other Hawk IIIs strafed it until it sank. Among the Japanese casualties was the squadron leader of the  floatplanes of the carrier Kamoi.

Later the 12th of October the Japanese attacked Nanking with nine G3Ms escorted by eleven A5Ms. Colonel Kao led a mixed Chinese formation of six Hawk IIIs, two Boeing 281´s (export version of  P-26) and one Fiat CR.32 to intercept. Wong Pan-Yang, in Boeing 281 spotted the Japanese planes first.  Wong attacked the A5M plane flown by PO1c Mazazumi Ino and shot it down. Ino was on his first mission and may have mistaken the Boeings for friendly A5Ms, as they had similar profile, both were monoplanes with fixed undercarriage and open cockpit.
The Japanese formation broke down immediately into a melee as the Chinese fighters mixed it up with them for the first time in over a month. So surprised and confused were they that the Japanese later reported that Chinese "Breda 27s" surrounded them when in actual fact there were only two Boeings involved. Actually, Wong dived away right after his successful firing pass. He had pulled up to rejoin the battle when he saw another Japanese plane below. Diving into the attack, his map case broke loose and struck him in the face with such violence that completely disoriented him. Realising that a sky full of angry Japanese fighters was no place to be he dived out of the fight.

Meanwhile, Kao was busy tangling with the A5Ms in order to give his comrades a chance to attack the bombers. However, the A5Ms were able to divert most of the attacks and edowned one of the Hawk III´s killing  it´s pilot Chao Fang-Chen of the 24th PS. Captain Liu Chui-Kang in Hawk III was also hit and lost a bracing wire as he made a pass at the G3Ms. The A5M clung to his tail like a leech. However,
Wong Liu was one of the most experienced Chinese pilot. He led the A5M in a dive towards Nanking and then pulled up in a series of tight loops. On the 3rd loop, the A5M overshot, ending up squarely in Liu’s sights. A quick burst sent the A5M crashing in the southern part of Nanking.

Back at altitude, Kao spotted an A5M closely pursuing Lieutenant Lo Ying-Teh, flight leader in the 24th PS. This was Japanese squadron leader Warrant Officer Torakuma trying to avenge the loss of his wingman. Not spotting Kao in time, Torakuma's A5M was riddled with Kao´s gunfire and had to crash land on the banks of the Yangtse. The pilot survived and was saved by the Japanese Navy.

Kao´s situation became very difficult, because three A5Ms were after him. Handling the Hawk III masterfully, using tight turns and even the outside loop, he was able to keep out of the gun sights of the Japanese pilots. Every so often, Kao was able to get in snap shot at the Japanese planes. Finally, two of the A5Ms broke off, probably for the lack of fuel. One continued to fly in a series of loops, seemingly oblivious to the Chinese plane. Kao finally managed to pull alongside the A5M and look into the cockpit where he saw the Japanese pilot staring straight ahead and clutching the stick to his stomach. His chest had been ripped open by bullets. Somewhere during the dogfight, one of Kao's shots had scored and the A5M was flying with a dead man at the controls. The A5M with it´s dead pilot crash-landed after it ran out of fuel.  Kao went to examine the largely intact A5M and was impressed by its modern design.

The day of Japanese pilots was not successful in the air battle of 12th of October on 1937.  Three Japanese pilots were killed and four A5M´s were lost. It was the first time when A5M´s were trounced so succesfully and all the more remarkable as the Chinese were outnumbered (as usual). The critical factor here was the experience of the Chinese pilots. Kao Chi-Hang was the first Chinese pilot to score a double-kill against the A5M fighters.

During October 1937, Kao was promoted to Commander of Pursuit of the Chinese Air Force, while remaining at the same time as commander of the 4th Group. The number of serviceable Hawk III had gone down due to constant combat against superior enemy. However, the help was on it´s way. Little surprisingly it was coming from Soviet Union in the form of new planes and Soviet pilots. Soviet dictator Stalin had decided, that it was in Soviet intress to halt Japanese aggression politics and he was willing to support the Chinese with military help. By November 1937, Colonel Kao’s 4th PG was re-equipped with the Polikarpov I-16 (Type 5).

However, Kao Chi-Hang got never a chance to fly I-16 in combat. During November 1937 Kao was positioned at Chowkiakou airfield. In one night Japanese G3M bombers managed to do surprise attack on the airfield.  The bombs were falling when Kao ran to his I-16. The engine of the fighter wouldn't start. The bombs were falling closer, and mechanics ran into bomb shelter. Kao went after them and forced them to come back to help him to start the engine of I-16. Then a bomb exploded alongside the aircraft, and Kao died.

By the time of his death Kao Chi-Hang confirmed claims included 4 “kills” and 3 shared air victories. He became the first hero figure of Chinese Air Force in the war against Japanese. He was regarded as a model pilot for the younger pilots.  The 4th PG, which had been under his command, commemorated him by adopting the name “Chi-Hang Group”.

Edited by hanwind
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Nice story


For you I translated what is written next to plane on Britmodeller


Hawk III d.4FG

Kao Chi-Hang 5+1 victories

China, August 1937

Manchuria - 1

China - 15


Anyway, China Aces from early stages of war are pretty well know in comparison to pilots from late WWII or China Civil War after WWII.

Edited by Botan

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The air war between Nationalists and Communists in 1946-1949 is very little known to me. I remember to have read that Communists used mainly captured Japanese planes like Ki-43 and there were even some volunteer or hired Japanese pilots in their ranks! 

When it comes to war against Japanese during 1942 - 1945, I´m pretty sure that there were Chinese pilots with air victories. However, we in the West know mostly Flying Tigers and the American 14th Air Force in China.  

When it comes to 1931 - 1932 Sino-Japanese conflict, this is worth checking: http://www.aviationofjapan.com/2013/06/robert-short-first-flying-tiger.html


Edited by hanwind

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  • 3 weeks later...

Time to jump thread again


Unfortunately  I didn't find plane picture, so I post him here


Only one Iceland ace - Þorsteinn Elton Jónsson (known in English as Tony Jonsson)






Thorsteinn Jonsson. .Icelandic RAF fighter ace who later flew pilgrims to Mecca and food supplies to the starving of Biafra. . . . . .THE only Icelander to become an RAF fighter ace during the Second World War, Thorsteinn (Tony) Jonsson flew Hurricanes, Spitfires and Mustangs on operations ranging from the November 1942 Torch landings in North Africa, to dogfights over the Normandy beachhead. Returning home after the war, he piloted Dakotas on skis in Greenland, jumbo jet freighters in the Far East, and took part in aid flights into Biafra. . .Jonsson’s mother was an English nurse and he was always known to all his British friends as Tony. His Icelandic father had worked as a translator in London during the First World War.

Brought up in Iceland, Jonsson developed a passion for flying while at school, but was mocked for his ambition to join the wartime RAF by classmates who told him he would not live long because the RAF would Soon™™™™™™ be overwhelmed.

Although he was told by the British legation in Iceland that he would not be accepted for the RAF because of his nationality, Jonsson wangled a passage on a trawler from Hafnarfjörur to Fleetwood and got on to the RAF aircrew training scheme. In the first volume of his autobiography, Dancing in the Skies (1994), he records the heady experience of his first solo flight in a Tiger Moth from a field outside Leicester and of the camaraderie of the group which then graduated to Spitfires and Hurricanes.

Perhaps it was his instinct to flout rules which marked him as fighter pilot material. On one occasion, authorised to practise aerobatics at 10,000 feet over Scotland, he returned with branches of pine tree in the engine. As a sergeant pilot Jonsson flew Hurricanes in 17 Squadron at Elgin and was then posted to 111 Squadron at North Weald. Here there was constant action, chasing — and being chased by — Me109s.

In 1942 in Operation Torch, the Anglo-American landings in North Africa, he and his comrades of 111 Squadron flew hastily uncrated Spitfires from Gibraltar to Algiers. In the next few weeks they fought a series of rolling dogfights along the coast as the Allies advanced, and Jonsson was awarded the DFM. He was later commissioned. In 1944, on a second tour, he flew Mustangs over Normandy and he ended the war with an official score of five enemy aircraft destroyed, though the total was probably nearer eight, with several others damaged.

After the war Jonsson returned to Iceland and flew DC3s on the country’s first internal air routes for a company based in a Nissen hut at Reykjavik airport. Resourceful flying with few radio aids and constantly unpredictable weather exactly suited his temperament. He piloted Dakotas and DC4s on international routes for both Icelandair and Loftleiir.

With the dissolution of his marriage to his English wife Marianne, he married Mabba, one of his Dakota stewardesses and the daughter of Ólafur Thors, four times Iceland’s Prime Minister. After his marriage he often took his father-in-law on flights abroad and even taught him to fly straight and level.

Soon™™™™™™ tiring of routine, in the late 1950s Jonsson was attracted by the chance of flying in the Congo for Sabena. He took his new wife and family to Kinshasa and alternated flying Dakotas around jungle airstrips with a contract to deliver pilgrims to Mecca. As the country slid towards chaos, the Prime Minister, Patrice Lumumba, chartered a Dakota to tour election meetings and Jonsson was ordered to be his personal pilot. In his second book, Lucky No 13 (1996), Jonsson recalled having to fly a DC4 to Brazzaville with a desperate overloading of passengers, who had scrambled aboard in panic as gunfire broke out. When flying in the Congo became impossible Jonsson returned to the North and flew ice patrols over the east Greenland coast.

He next flew in aid shipments to the starving people of Biafra in the Nigerian Civil War. Based at São Tome off the West African coast, he co-ordinated flights of DC6s and Lockheed Constellations which delivered food supplies for Nordchurchaid in a series of daring night flights to Uli in Biafra. Jonsson flew 413 of these missions at night, landing on a strip of road with primitive lighting which was only switched on at the last minute of the approach.

Apart from the dangers of such conditions he also had to contend with trigger-happy Biafran troops and a South African mercenary pilot working for the Nigerians, who attempted to bomb the airfield and stop the supplies. In 16 months Jonsson and his colleagues were able to import hundreds of tons of relief food.

Towards the end of his career Jonsson converted to jets and flew jumbos for Cargolux in Luxembourg. When he retired after 47 years as a pilot, having logged 36,000 hours, he was able to devote more time to his third wife Katrin Thordardottir, and to fishing, watercolour painting and writing. Katrin died of cancer in 1994 at the age of 52. Jonsson is survived by six of his seven children.

Thorsteinn (Tony) Jonsson, DFM, fighter pilot and civil airline captain, was born on October 19, 1921. He died on December 30, 2001, aged 80.







His book, I didn't read so I don't know if it is good one, but added to "to do list"


Edited by Botan
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Interesting and truly exotic above (at least to me) - an Icelandic ace. Very probably the smallest nation to have an ace pilot of WWII. I tried to find some Luxembourgian ace pilot through Google, but found no one.


However I found one American ace, who is quite interesting. Charles H. Older was a squadron leader in Flying Tigers and made 18 claims during WW2. His postwar career was interesting - he was graduated law expert and was appointed to the Los Angeles Superior court and handled the famous trial case of Charles Manson and his "Family" . More about that at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Manson (althoug this goes off the topic). Older´s life has enough material for a good movie. (same can be said about many other ace pilots)

Like so many other ace pilots who survived the war, Older had a long life and passed away on 2006 at the age of 88. With time I could write about him, but I´m not sure if Charles Older fits well in the category of "Less Known Aces". At least for me he was unknown and I came up to him, when I adquired the Airfix kit model of Hawk 81-A-2 (a variant of P40B) and it was his plane.

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Interesting and truly exotic above (at least to me) - an Icelandic ace. Very probably the smallest nation to have an ace pilot of WWII. I tried to find some Luxembourgian ace pilot through Google, but found no one.


I haven't thing in that way, but I agree, after checking Safarik Air Aces it looks like Iceland is the smallest nation with Ace from WWII.


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  • 3 weeks later...

Time for Israeli Ace


Rudy Augarten






Plane Type: Avia S-199, Me 109

Flying an Avia S-199 (Czech-built version of the Me-109) for the Israelis 101st Fighter Squadron, American volunteer Rudy Augarten was patrolling between Majdal (near Gaza) and Beersheba on 16 October 1948.

As he cruised just below 10,000 feet, he spotted a pair of Egyptian Spitfires a few thousand feet below, heading in the opposite direction. A quick wingover and shallow dive put him behind the unsuspecting pilot of the rearmost Spitfire. Closing in, he fired short bursts, scoring hits on the Egyptian fighter. Pouring smoke, the Spitfire went down to crash near a coastal sand dune.

Augarten went on to score three more victories in the Arab-Israeli War. Adding the two Me-109s he shot down while flying P-47s with the 376th Fighter Group in World War II, he became one of six Americans to achieve ace status by combining victories from two wars.




Israel was in short supply of almost everything: it had fewer  than ten serviceable fighter planes in the entire country, and only one fighter squadron. Consequently, it didn't have enough planes for the two dozen pilots who were capable of flying them, and there was always competition for each flight.  

On October 16, 1948, one day into the first major Israeli offensive against the Egyptians, called Operation Yoav, Augarten's turn had finally arrived.  Egypt's air base at El Arish had been one of the sites of the previous day's raid by Israel's only fighter squadron, the 101st.  Augarten was on a photo-reconnaissance mission to determine what targets the Air Force had destroyed, and what it still needed to finish off. Although his assignment was not very demanding, he was happy for the chance to fly at all.  Rudy flew southward toward the coast.  Suddenly, in the distance, he spotted two Spitfires flying in formation.  Augarten could tell by their shape that they were not ME-109s, like the plane he was flying.  He was too far away to make out their markings, but that didn't really matter.  Though the Israeli Air Force had several Spitfires in its arsenal, he knew immediately that the two Spits were Egyptian,  because mechanical problems and fuel shortages limited the Israeli Air Force to using only a few planes in the air at any one time. When pilots in the air saw another plane, they could always be confident that it wasn't one of their own.  

Augarten carefully got into position behind the two Egyptians, hoping they wouldn't detect his approach.  Just then, fellow 101 pilot Leon Frankel, who was patrolling in the area, saw Augarten beginning to engage the Spits.  Trying to come to Augarten's aid, Frankel rolled his plane over and dove toward the combatants.  But before he reached the scene, Augarten lined up one of the Spits in his gun sight, and fired a burst from the Me-109's two 7.92 millimeter machine guns.  Pieces of the Spitfire flew off as the bullets pierced its thin aluminum body.  The Egyptian plane plummeted toward Israeli lines, leaving a trail of black smoke.  The other Spit fled the battle scene. With no other enemy planes in sight, Frankel and Augarten fell into formation for the trip back to the base.  A few days later Augarten got a treat that few fighter pilots ever receive.  An army unit took him by jeep to see firsthand the wreckage of the plane he had downed.  Smiling broadly, he posed for a photograph in front of what remained of the Spit.  With that victory, Augarten had experienced the Czech version of the ME-109 at its best.

His victory at the beginning of Operation Yoav was his first as a pilot in the Israeli Air Force, but it would not be his last.  The next day after the capture of Beersheba, Rudy Augarten was again in the air over the Negev.  This time Augarten was in one of the squadron's new Spitfires.  He was not alone on this flight.  Canadian Jack Doyle flew the other Spit at Augarten's side.  As the two patrolled, they spotted four Egyptian Spitfires.  Veteran pilots, Doyle and Augarten turned to come out of the sun at the enemy planes.  They each picked a target, coming in with their guns blazing.  Augarten recorded his second kill of the war, Doyle his first.  The two pilots also damaged the other two Egyptian planes before returning home.

On October 15th Augarten, together with South Africans pilots Syd Cohen and Jack Cohen, had also been involved in the raid on El Arish air base which put the airport and all of its planes out of action,.  When  their three radios failed them, they used visual signals amongst themselves, dropped bombs on the runway, and strafed everything in sight. Hitting the aircraft in the hangars called for some low flying: the three veterans proved  equal to all that was required of them.

On December 22 he climbed into a Spitfire in response to a report of Egyptian planes in the area, and damaged a Macchi that was about to land at the El Arish air-field.  Two days later he flew a P-51 Mustang on a fighter patrol.  Later that same day he was back in the Spitfire for a photo-reconnaissance mission over Egyptian positions.  

During the course of the war, he shot down four Egyptian planes, a total matched only by Jack Doyle.  Augarten,  who had flown a P-47 Thunderbolt during World War II, made his four kills from an Me-109, a P-51 Mustang and twice from Spitfires, in a remarkable display of flying skill.  

Many of the overseas Machalniks stayed on after the war for at least a few months to help train young Israelis to fill the void created by their departure. This was particularly the case in the Air Force.  In Squadron 101, Rudy Augarten and several other pilots remained in Israel to train the first class of Israeli fighter pilots.  Augarten then went back to his studies at Harvard to complete his degree.  After that, he returned  to Israel, where he served for two years as the commander of the air base at Ramat David.  He resigned from the Air Force with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.



Edited by Botan
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  • 5 weeks later...

One of rather forgotten German Aces: http://www.elknet.pl/acestory/gentzen/gentzen.htm

And this Soviet (Ukrainian) ace deserves attention for participating in three wars - Sino-Japanese War, Winter War and WW2: http://surfcity.kund.dalnet.se/soviet_kozachenko.htm

Rather off the topic, but something about the Soviet Volunteer Group in China: http://www.j-aircraft.com/research/George_Mellinger/soviet_fighters_in_the_sky_of_ch.htm and http://www.j-aircraft.com/research/otherres.htm#China

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Sultan Amet Khan



It is often forgotten that Soviet Red Army and Air Forces had in their ranks very many soldiers and pilots with other background than Russian (due to multiethnical character of Soviet state). One of the most known of these men was Sultan Amet Khan, a Crimean Tatar. He was born in Alupka near Yalta on 20.10.1920. At the age of 20 he graduated from the Kaichin Military Aviation School with the rank of junior lieutenant and joined the 4th Fighter Regiment (IAP) which was near Chisinau in Bessarabia (nowadays Moldova).  The unit was equipped with I-153.

On June 22 of 1941 his unit avoided to be destroyed on the ground and during the summer of 1941 Sultan Amet Khan flew several reconnaisence and ground attack sorties against advancing Germans. The flak and enemy fighters caused to 4th IAP heavy losses and by the end of 1941 it was transferred to rear to be reinforced and equipped with Lend-Lease aircraft. During the winter 1941-1942 4th Fighter Regiment was re-equipped with Hawker Hurricanes.

It was the Hurricane with which Sultan Amet-Khan achieved his first air victory near Yaroslavl on 31.5.1942. In an attack against Ju 88´s his ammunition ran out, so he decided to make a daring taran attack against Ju 88. The ramming proved successful, and Ju 88 went down like a rock. Sultan´s Hurricane was destroyed as well, but he managed to bail out and parachuted safely to the ground as well as his German victims.  However, the local villagers were suspicious due to Amet Khan´s accent on Russian and his “foreign-looking” outlook, so they placed him in custody together with the Germans, which he had brought down!  When Red  Army officials came, they quickly clarified that Amet-Khan was indeed a Soviet pilot and he could return to his unit.  After that he claimed in one month seven more air victories.

During the 1942 Soviets began to concentrate best of their fighter pilots in elite units, which were called Guard Fighter Regimenst (GIAP). Sultan Amet Khan was transferred in autumn of 1942 to 9th GIAP equipped with Yak fighter. By the August of 1943 Amet Khan had claimed 19 air victories and several shares.  He was a popular Flight leader in 9th GIAP and was known for his good sense of humour.

Durig the year 1943 Amet Khan´s unit 9 GIAP was equipped with P 39´s and like many Soviet pilots Amet Khan learned to like the American aircraft. At the low level combat (which was common agains Germans) the Airacobra proved to be a match to Bf 109 G and it had comfortable cockpit and first-class radio (the Soviet radio equipment was notorious for its unreliability).  The well working radio equipment made it possible to develop more loose formations and new innovative  tactics based largely on German example.  The Airacobra proved to be effective in the hands of Amet Khan and by the spring 1943 his tally had raised to 25.


By the summer of 1944 Crime was free from Germans, and Ahmet Khan with his family invited the pilots of 9th GIAP to their home in Alupka.  However, the joy was soon spoiled, when Stalin gave an order to transfer all Crimean Tatars to concentration camps in Central Asia due to collaboration of many Tatars with Germans. Almost a third of Crimean Tatars died in concentration camps. Also the family of Amet Khan was facing the grim view of deportation, but general Krjukin (commander of 8th Air Army) intervened and saved nearly all of Amet Khan´s family from the deportation.  

In the July 1944 Amet Khan´s unit was re-equipped with the newest Soviet fighter Lavochkin La-7, which Amet Khan flew until the war´s end.  He achieved his last air victory on 29.4.1945 downing a FW 190 near Berlin. For his achievements Amet-Khan was twice rewarded with the title of Hero of Soviet Union and he ended the war with 30 confirmed air victories (although in one interview he claimed 40).

After the war Amet-Khan faced difficult times. He was discriminated due to his Tatar background and for this reason he could not find work. After two difficult years the veterans of 9th GIAP and general Krjukin managed to find him a suitable job as a test pilot. He distinguished in this job and tested several new jet planes. Sultan Amet Khan died in test flight accident on 1.2.1971 at the age of 50. 

Sources and further information on Sultan Amet-Khan:


Bell P-39 Airacobra Aces of World War 2. George Mellinger & John Stanaway. Osprey 2001.

Russian film on Sultan Amet Khan with English subtitles: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubdfgmfKcqY

Edited by hanwind
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Great story, a new for me. Thank you for such great read and video.


He have a camouflage in game.

So can get Ace profile article :)s



Edited by Botan

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Thanks for comments.


By the way, under this topic it could be interesting to have some Polish ace who had air victories with PZL P 11 and the focus would be in the September 1939. Stanislaw Skalski achieved almost a ace status (4,5 air victories) with PZL P 11 according to this source: http://avstop.com/History/AroundTheWorld/Poland/aces.html

Other interesting topic could be Polish squadrons in French Air Force. I think that the history of these units is less covered and less known than the service of Polish airmen in RAF/USAAF.


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Thanks for comments.


By the way, under this topic it could be interesting to have some Polish ace who had air victories with PZL P 11 and the focus would be in the September 1939. Stanislaw Skalski achieved almost a ace status (4,5 air victories) with PZL P 11 according to this source: http://avstop.com/History/AroundTheWorld/Poland/aces.html

Other interesting topic could be Polish squadrons in French Air Force. I think that the history of these units is less covered and less known than the service of Polish airmen in RAF/USAAF.


I may write about them in future thought.

For many years indeed it was less known story, fortunately quite a lot books about them appeared, even in English.

The most effective polish pilot in France was Eugeniusz Jan Adam Nowakiewicz. He claimed 3 5/6 destroyed and 1/2 damaged, mostly on D.520. Later he claimed 1 destroyed 1 probably destroyed and 1/2 damaged within RAF, so total is   4 5/6 - 1 -1 . Unfortunately in mid 1942 he was shot down and captured in France.



Personally I'm waiting for M.S.406 for propose Ace from France.

Edited by Botan

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