List of German World War II jet aces
A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down five or more enemy aircraft during aerial combat (The Germans traditionally set the threshold at 10 victories.). During World War II, hundreds of German Luftwaffe fighter pilots achieved this feat flying contemporary piston engine fighter aircraft. However, only 28 pilots are credited with shooting down five or more enemy aircraft while flying a jet-powered aircraft.
Jet aircraft first engaged in air combat on 26 July 1944, when Leutnant Alfred Schreiber, flying Messerschmitt Me 262 A-1a W.Nr. 130 017 (German language: Werknummer – factory serial number), attacked an unarmed photo-reconnaissance De Havilland Mosquito PR Mk XVI, of No. 540 Squadron RAF, over the Alps. Some sources refer to this as the first victory in air combat by a pilot of a jet fighter, although the crew of the damaged Mosquito managed to return to an Allied airfield in Italy.
The first confirmed destruction of an enemy aircraft by an Me 262 pilot occurred on 8 August 1944, when Leutnant Joachim Weber shot down another Mosquito PR XVI from No. 540 Squadron, over Ohlstadt, in Bavaria.
On 15 August 1944, Schreiber took off to intercept a Mosquito PR XVI (NS520) of 60 Squadron, South African Air Force crewed by Captain S. Pienaar and Lieutenant A. Lockhart-Ross, who were tasked with photographing airfields in the Black Forest area. Schreiber caused severe damage in his first attack and made more than 10 passes at the Mosquito before low fuel levels cause him to break off. Pienaar and Lockhart-Ross survived a crash landing at San Severo in Italy; their reconnaissance film and debriefing provided the Allies with valuable intelligence on the Me 262.
During 1944–45, the Luftwaffe committed two other jet- or rocket-powered fighters to combat operations. In addition to the Me 262, the Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet and the Heinkel He 162 Volksjäger both become operational. Few claims were made by pilots of the Me 163 and He 162, and none achieved ace status on either of these types.
German jet aces
killed in action or killed in a flying accident. This along with the * (asterisk), indicates that the pilot was either
The list is initially sorted by the number of jet victories claimed.
- Spick 1996, pp. 2–3.
- Radinger & Schick 1993, p. 51.
- Morgan & Weal 1998, pp. 16–17.
- Spick 1996, p. 204.
- Morgan & Weal 1998, p. 88.
- According to Hinchliffe, Kurt Welter is credited in excess of 20 aerial victories while flying the Me 262, but the exact number is disputed.
- Hinchliffe 1998, pp. 210, 294.
- Morgan & Weal 1998, p. 17.
- Weal 2003, p. 92.
- Radinger & Schick 1993, p. 60.
- Foreman & Harvey 1995, p. 81.
- Boehme, Manfred (1992). JG 7 The World's First Jet Fighter Unit 1944/1945. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing. ISBN 0-88740-395-6..
- Boyne, Walter J. (1980). Messerschmitt Me 262 Arrow to the Future. United States of America: Smithsonian Institution. ISBN 0-87474-275-7..
- Foreman, John; Harvey, S.E. (1995), Messerschmitt Combat Diary Me.262, Crecy Publishing Ltd, ISBN 1-871187-30-3.
- Hinchliffe, Peter (1998), Luftkrieg bei Nacht 1939–1945 [Air War at Night], Motorbuch Verlag, ISBN 3-613-01861-6.
- Morgan, Hugh; Weal, John (1998), German Jet Aces of World War II, London: Orsprey Publishing Limited, ISBN 1-85532-634-5.
- Radinger, Willy; Schick, Walther (1993), Messerschmitt Me 262 Development Testing Production, Schiffer Publishing Ltd, ISBN 0-88740-516-9.
- Spick, Mike (1996), Luftwaffe Fighter Aces, New York: Ivy Books, ISBN 0-8041-1696-2.
- Weal, John (2003), Bf109 Aces of the Russian Front, Oxford: Osprey Publishing Limited, ISBN 1-84176-084-6.