How to Decipher the Ace Listings

The following examples present a guide for deciphering the ace list accompanying the squadron entries. For the sake of brevity, the key elements of an ace’s career have been condensed into a one to three line synopsis. The lists, while brief, are meant to highlight the contributions of these men to their respective units. Not only do they humanize these blandly-numbered units, but they also showcase the valuable contributions of the "ace" to a combat squadron. The old air force maxim that sixty percent of all air combat kills are scored by thirty percent of an air force’s pilots is verified as being true to a degree. That having said, however, I do not mean to, by any stretch of insinuation, suggest that the non-aces of a unit were inferior. Air combat was and will always remain a tenuous form of warfare. Life and death in air combat is decided by ability and skill, but there is also timing, mastery of environment and sheer luck. Many men simply had no chance in the last three departments, and some barely any in the first two. This did not mean that that they were not courageous. Indeed, it was very humbling to complete the lists below, noting just how many pilots ultimately ended their own war, through capture, cripplement and death.

 

Keeping the above listed abbreviations and keys in mind, two examples have been provided below to present an explanation of an ace’s history within a unit.

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