List of aviators who became ace in a day

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This article is about Aviators who became ace in a day. For flying aces in general, see Flying Ace.

The term "ace in a day" is used to designate a pilot who has shot down five or more airplanes in a single day,[1] based on usual definition of an "ace" as one with five or more aerial victories.

World War I[edit]

The first aviators to achieve this were pilot Julius Arigi and observer/gunner Johann Lasi of the Austro-Hungarian air force, on 22 August 1916, when they downed five Italian planes.[2]

World War I flying ace Fritz Otto Bernert scored five victories within 20 minutes on April 24, 1917, even though he wore glasses and was effectively one-armed.[3]

A Bristol F2B crew- Canadian pilot Captain Alfred Atkey and English observer Lieutenant Charles Gass- shot down five German planes in a single sortie over Arras on 7th May 1918. Two days later, they were credited with another five enemy machines in the course of two sorties on 9th May. Atkey survived the Great War credited with a total of 38 victories, making him the most successful two-seater pilot of the conflict. [4]

South African pilot Andrew Beauchamp-Proctor of the Royal Air Force flew SE5a fighters with No 84 Squadron and among his 54 victories were five German aircraft shot down on 19 May 1918.[5]

Raymond Collishaw of the British Royal Naval Air Service, piloting a Sopwith Triplane, scored six Albatros D.V fighters near Menen, 6 July 1917.

John Lightfoot Trollope of the Royal Air Force shot down and destroyed seven German planes on 24 March 1918.[6]

Henry Woollett shot down and destroyed six German airplanes on 12 April 1918, setting two afire.[7]

John Inglis Gilmour of the Royal Air Force successfully brought down five German aircraft in a single day on 1 July 1918. He achieved this whilst piloting a Sopwith Camel fighter. [8]

René Fonck scored six in a day on two occasions, 9 May and 26 September 1918.[9]

Billy Bishop, piloting an S.E.5, scored four Pfalz D.III fighters and a LVG C two-seat reconnaissance aircraft near Ploegsteert, 19 June 1918.

Heinrich Gontermann achieved five aerial victories on 19 August 1918 when, flying a Fokker D.VII, he shot down a SPAD fighter in the morning and destroyed four Allied observation balloons in the afternoon.[10]

Arthur Rowe Spurling, a Bermudian pilot of 49 Squadron of the Royal Air Force, with his observer, Sergeant Frank Bell, On 23 August 1918, flying a DH.9 bomber, single-handedly attacked thirty Fokker D.VII fighters, downing five of them (three by Spurling, two by Bell). Two days later Spurling shot down another D.VII over Mont Notre Dame. The two crewmen shared each other's victories, each attaining ace status in a single mission.[11]

Frank Luke of the US Army Air Service, at the controls of a SPAD XIII fighter, achieved five victories on 18 September 1918, destroying two Fokker D.VII fighters, two observation balloons and an LVG reconnaissance plane. Luke was killed in action 11 days afterwards. [12]

World War II[edit]

Triple-Ace in a Day[edit]

To achieve this a pilot must have destroyed 15 enemy aircraft in a single day. This has been achieved by only four pilots, all from the Luftwaffe:[13]

  • Emil Lang shot down 18 Soviet fighters on 3 November 1943.[14]
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille was credited with downing 17 Allied fighters in just three sorties over North Africa on 1 September 1942.[15] 10 of those claims have been connected to actual Allied losses that day.
  • August Lambert shot down 17 Soviet aircraft on a single day in 1944.
  • Hubert Strassl shot down 15 Soviet aircraft on 5 July 1943 near Orel.

Double-Ace in a Day[edit]

To achieve this a pilot must have destroyed 10 enemy aircraft in a single day.

  • Erich Rudorffer is credited with the destruction of the most aircraft ever in a single mission when he shot down 13 Soviet aircraft on 11 October 1943.[16]
  • Erich Hartmann, the highest-scoring fighter ace in history, downed 11 planes on 24 August 1944, in two consecutive missions. In the process, he became the first 300-kill ace in history, and as a result of this, gained the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub, Schwertern und Brillanten (Knight's Cross of The Iron Cross with Swords, Oak Leaves, and Diamonds), by then Germany's highest military award for standard servicemen.

Ace in a day[edit]

  • On 6 January 1940 the Finnish pilot, Lieutenant Jorma Sarvanto destroyed six Soviet DB-3 bombers in four minutes on one flight. Sarvanto was the top scoring pilot in the Winter War with 12.83 kills. The wrecks of the bombers were found near Kuopio.[17]
  • On 17 May 1940, Oberleutnant Max Buscholz of 1./JG 3 shot down four RAF Bristol Blenheims and 2 French Curtis Hawk 75A. These were his first victories.
  • On 29 May 1940 Corporal Albert Lippett and his pilot, Flight Lieutenant Nicholas Gresham Cooke, claimed five Junkers Ju 87 bombers in their Boulton Paul Defiant during their second mission that day Dunkirk evacuation. During their earlier mission that same afternoon they had shot down two Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters and a Messerschmitt Bf 110 fighter and that same day also contributed to the destruction of two Junkers Ju 88 bombers over the Dunkirk beaches.[18]
  • On 15 June 1940 the French pilot Pierre Le Gloan destroyed 5 Italian aircraft in one flight.[19]
  • On 24 August 1940 Polish pilot Antoni Głowacki shot down three Bf 109s and two Junkers Ju 88 bombers over Ramsgate, to become the first "One-day Ace" of the Battle of Britain.[20]
  • Flying Officer Brian Carbury of New Zealand claimed three Bf 109s and two He 113s (presumably Bf 109s) in two sorties on 31 August 1940.
  • On 27 September South African Pilot Officer Albert Gerald Lewis claimed six German aircraft (three Bf 109s, two Bf 110s and one Ju 88) destroyed, along with two probables and one damaged.
  • British ace Archie McKellar shot down five Messerschmitt Bf 109s in one day on 7 October 1940 during the Battle of Britain.
  • On 11 December 1940, Flying Officer Charles Dyson of No 33 Squadron destroyed six Italian Cr42s in a single sortie within 6 minutes.[21]
Clive Caldwell.

Post World War II[edit]

Air Commodore Muhammad Mahmood Alam "Little Dragon". Ace in a Day of the Pakistan Air Force

On 7 September 1965, in air-to-air combat during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, Muhammad Mahmood Alam of the Pakistan Air Force claimed to have shot down five Indian Air Force Hawker Hunter fighters in less than a minute, with four being claimed to have been downed in 30 seconds. His claim, though, is disputed strongly by the Indian Air Force. He was awarded the Sitara-e-Jurat ("The star of courage") and bar for his actions.[27][28][29][30]


  • Above the Lines: The Aces and Fighter Units of the German Air Service, Naval Air Service and Flanders Marine Corps, 1914-1918. Norman Franks, Frank W. Bailey, Russell Guest. Grub Street, 1993. ISBN 0-948817-73-9, ISBN 978-0-948817-73-1.
  • Above the Trenches: A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the British Empire Air Forces 1915-1920. Christopher F. Shores, Norman L. R. Franks, Russell Guest. Grub Street, 1990. ISBN 0-948817-19-4, ISBN 978-0-948817-19-9.
  • Air Aces of the Austro-Hungarian Empire 1914 - 1918. Martin O'Connor. Flying Machines Press, 1994. ISBN 0-9637110-1-6, ISBN 978-0-9637110-1-4.
  • Battle for Pakistan: The Air War of 1965. John Fricker. I Allan, 1979. ISBN 0-7110-0929-5, ISBN 978-0-7110-0929-5.
  • French Aces of World War 2: Volume 28 of Osprey Aircraft of the Aces. Barry Ketley. Osprey Publishing, 1999. ISBN 1-85532-898-4, ISBN 978-1-85532-898-3.
  • Over the Front: A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the United States and French Air Services, 1914-1918. Norman L. R. Franks, Frank W. Bailey. Grub Street, 1992. ISBN 0-948817-54-2, ISBN 978-0-948817-54-0.
  • Bracke, Gerhard (1997). Gegen vielfache Übermacht—Mit dem Jagdflieger und Ritterkreuzträger Hans Waldmann an der Ostfront, an der Invasionsfront und in der Reichsverteidigung (in German). Zweibrücken, Germany: VDM Heinz Nickel. ISBN 3-925-480-23-4.
  • Aces High: A tribute to the most notable fighter pilots of the British and Commonwealth Forces in WWII. Christopher Shores. Grubb Street, 1994. ISBN 1-898697-00-0


  1. ^ Geissinger, Steve (October 15, 1997). "Manmade Thunder". The Argus-Press. Retrieved July 17, 2011. 
  2. ^ Air Aces of the Austro-Hungarian Empire 1914 - 1918, pp. 190-191, 272, 324.
  3. ^ Above the Lines: The Aces and Fighter Units of the German Air Service, Naval Air Service and Flanders Marine Corps, 1914-1918, p. 70.
  4. ^ Guttman, Jon. Bristol F2 Fighter Aces of World War 1. Osprey Books, 2007. p30-32.
  5. ^ Shores, Christopher. British and Empire Aces of World War 1. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2012. p63-65.
  6. ^ Above the Trenches: A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the British Empire Air Forces 1915-1920, p. 368.
  7. ^ Above the Trenches: A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the British Empire Air Forces 1915-1920, p. 390.
  8. ^ Franks, Norman. Sopwith Camel Aces of World War 1. Osprey Books. 2003. p61-63.
  9. ^ Over the Front: A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the United States and French Air Services, 1914-1918, p. 161.
  10. ^ Franks, Norman. Fokker Dr.1 Aces of World War 1. Osprey Books, 2001. p20-22.
  11. ^
  12. ^ Franks, Norman. SPAD XII/XIII Aces of World War 1. Osprey Books, 2002. p74-76.
  13. ^
  14. ^ Weal, John (1995). Focke-Wulf Fw 190 Aces of the Russian Front. Osprey. p. 72. ISBN 978-1-85532-518-0. 
  15. ^ Caldwell, Donald (2002). Walter J. Boyne, ed. Air Warfare: an International Encyclopedia: M-Z. ABC-CLIO. p. 395. ISBN 978-1-57607-345-2. He once shot down 8 RAF fighters in 10 minutes, a day when he claimed 17 victories in three combat sorties 
  16. ^ Williamson, Gordon (2005). Knight's Cross, Oak-Leaves and Swords Recipients_1941-45. Osprey. p. 46. ISBN 978-1-84176-643-0. 
  17. ^ Sarvanto, Jorma: Stridsflygare under Karelens himmel, p. 202
  18. ^ Shores (1994), p.190
  19. ^ Ketley, Barry (1999). French Aces of World War 2. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. p. 76. ISBN 1-85532-898-4. 
  20. ^ Shores (1994), p.287-288
  21. ^ Shores (1994), p.244
  22. ^ Holmes, Tony (2002). Tomahawk and Kittyhawk aces of the RAF and Commonwealth. Osprey. p. 107. ISBN 978-1-84176-083-4. 
  23. ^ Shores (1994), p.191
  24. ^
  25. ^ Bracke 1997, p. 224.
  26. ^ Stenman, Kari (2001). Lentolaivue 24. Osprey. p. 123. ISBN 978-1-84176-262-3. 
  27. ^ Air Cdre M Kaiser Tufail. "Alam's Speed-shooting Classic". Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  28. ^ Fricker, John. Battle for Pakistan: the air war of 1965. pp. 15–17. before we had completed more than of about 270 degree of the turn, at around 12 degree per second, all four hunters had been shot down." -- "My fifth victim of this sortie started spewing smoke and then rolled on to his back at about 1000 feet. 
  29. ^ Polmar, Norman; Dana Bell (2003). One hundred years of world military aircraft. Naval Institute Press. p. 354. ISBN 978-1-59114-686-5. Mohammed Mahmood Alam claimed five victories against Indian Air Force Hawker Hunters, four of them in less than one minute! Alam, who ended the conflict with 1 1 kills, became history's only jet "ace-in-a-day." 
  30. ^ Werrell, Kenneth (2013). Sabres Over MiG Alley: The F-86 and the Battle for Air Superiority in Korea. Naval Institute Press. p. 188. ISBN 9781612513447.