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]

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.[4]

Henry Woollett shot down and destroyed six German airplanes on 12 April 1918, setting two afire.[5]

René Fonck scored six in a day on two occasions, 9 May and 26 September 1918.[6]

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.

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.[7]

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:[8]

  • Emil Lang shot down 18 Soviet fighters on 3 November 1943.[9]
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille was credited with downing 17 Allied fighters in just three sorties over North Africa on 1 September 1942.[10] 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.[11]
  • 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 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 11 December 1940, Flying Officer Charles Dyson of No 33 Squadron destroyed six Italian Cr42s in a single sortie within 6 minutes
  • 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.[12]
  • On 15 June 1940 the French pilot Pierre Le Gloan destroyed 5 Italian aircraft in one flight.[13]
  • 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.[citation needed]
  • On 12 June 1943 American navy pilot Vern Earl Graham shot down five Japanese Zeroes on one mission in the defense of Guadalcanal.[14]
  • Hans Wind of HLeLv 24, Finnish Air Force, scored five kills in a day five separate times during the Soviet Summer Offensive 1944, a total of 30 kills in 12 days, of his final tally of 75.[15]
Clive Caldwell.
  • Finnish top scoring fighter ace, Warrant Officer Ilmari Juutilainen, shot down six Soviet planes on 30 June 1944. His final score was 94.
  • Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer, night-fighter pilot, was credited with five victories on 25 May 1944 and nine on 21 February 1945.
  • The last fighter ace in WWII, Lt. Oscar Perdomo, scored all of his five victories over the Japanese in a P-47N Thunderbolt on 9 August 1945.

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 shot down five Indian Air Force Hawker Hunter Mk.56 fighters in less than a minute, four being in first 30 seconds. He was awarded the Sitara-e-Jurat ("The star of courage") and bar for his actions.[18][19][20]



  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. ^ Above the Trenches: A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the British Empire Air Forces 1915-1920, p. 368.
  5. ^ Above the Trenches: A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the British Empire Air Forces 1915-1920, p. 390.
  6. ^ Over the Front: A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the United States and French Air Services, 1914-1918, p. 161.
  7. ^ http://www.theaerodrome.com/aces/england/spurling.php
  8. ^ http://aces.safarikovi.org/victories/germany-top1.html
  9. ^ Weal, John (1995). Focke-Wulf Fw 190 Aces of the Russian Front. Osprey. p. 72. ISBN 978-1-85532-518-0. 
  10. ^ 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 
  11. ^ Williamson, Gordon (2005). Knight's Cross, Oak-Leaves and Swords Recipients_1941-45. Osprey. p. 46. ISBN 978-1-84176-643-0. 
  12. ^ Sarvanto, Jorma: Stridsflygare under Karelens himmel, p. 202
  13. ^ Ketley, Barry (1999). French Aces of World War 2. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. p. 76. ISBN 1-85532-898-4. 
  14. ^ http://www.zoominfo.com/p/Vern-Graham/54188298
  15. ^ Stenman, Kari (2001). Lentolaivue 24. Osprey. p. 123. ISBN 978-1-84176-262-3. 
  16. ^ Holmes, Tony (2002). Tomahawk and Kittyhawk aces of the RAF and Commonwealth. Osprey. p. 107. ISBN 978-1-84176-083-4. 
  17. ^ Bracke 1997, p. 224.
  18. ^ Air Cdre M Kaiser Tufail. "Alam’s Speed-shooting Classic". Defencejournal.com. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  19. ^ 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. 
  20. ^ 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."