Talk:Lists of World War I flying aces

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Restoring Jewish Aces[edit]

One of the Nazis' many offenses against the Jews was a concerted attempt to deny that German Jews served honorably and often bravely in the military of the German Empire in World War I. The names of German Jewish heroes were purged from official records. For an insight into this, you might read http://people.sinclair.edu/thomasmartin/knights/index2.htm.

One specific example I would like to cite is Fritz Beckhardt. He is listed in the Jewish knights website above, and mentioned in the forum of www.http://theaerodrome.com. I have him listed with a provisional victory total of 17, and am still researching him.

In the interests of NPOV, completeness, fairness, and accuracy, I feel it is incumbent upon us to restore these names to their rightful place in this history project. If anyone has any useful references, information, thoughts, tips, or hints, please post them here.

Georgejdorner (talk) 23:23, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Splitting up the World War I Aces list[edit]

(Being an attempt to have our cake, eat it also, and maybe get a little extra icing.)

Site at present is 644 names loading as 96 kilobytes, with the present cutoff point being 10 or more victories (with a few listings for lower scores). This is approximately a third of the total 1861 World War I aces. It becomes apparent that Trevor MacInnis’s concept of listing all the aces in a single table is impossible, as site size will burgeon to about 250 KB. I have halted expansion of the list and previously discussed this with him, and he suggested breaking out the list by nationalities, or by listing them alphabetically by last name. (Details on my talk page.)

I believe the list as constituted has a very real value. Scanning it gives an idea of the contribution of each nation’s fighter pilots. It also gives an idea of the relative strengths or weaknesses of the air services of the various nations. Other concepts, such as the contributions of the Commonwealth to Britain’s cause, also become apparent.

I believe some version of the present list should be preserved, even if it is presently large enough to be slow loading on dialup connections and on older servers. However, I do think the list could be trimmed to a shorter, quicker loading version than the present one without damaging its value. I also believe the complete listing envisioned by Trevor is of historic value. We are on the brink of becoming the most complete archive extant on this subject; www.theaerodrome.com is presently pre-eminent, in my estimation.

I have been mulling this over for some time (obviously), and fiddling with figures. Here is what I have come up with thus far.

If the cutoff point is 20 victories or more, and the list is truncated, then the various nationalities of aces are represented thus:

Nationality Aces listed/total aces

Australia 8 aces out of 75 total

Austria-Hungary 4/49

Belgium 1/6

Canada 24/192

England 34/595

France 14/182

Germany 74/393

Ireland 2/33

Italy 5/45

New Zealand 2/13

Russia 1/15

Scotland 6/67

South Africa 7/46

USA 2/123

Wales 3/23

It can be seen that all the nationalities that had fighter aces are represented. Most list between 10% and 20% of their aces as scoring 20 or more victories. Those that don’t show the weakness of their air effort—the Russian and Austro-Hungarian air forces were mal-organized and the Americans were latecomers. The other exception, the English, still have a large listing.

At any rate, the 187 aces that scored 20 or more victories would thus comprise a list of about 28 KB.

If the entire list of 1861 aces was also broken down into separate national lists by the above nationalities, they would also be small, easily loadable pages with two possible exceptions: England and Germany.

England, with 595 aces, comprises a complete list near the size of the one we now have. However, without the Country column with its graphics, I intuit the site size would be tolerable. (Your opinion on this would be most welcome; you are probably more knowledgeable than I on this.)

Germany is a lesser version of the same problem, with 393 aces.

Georgejdorner (talk) 04:18, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

I think it is worth a try George creating the national index and changing this to a 20 or more it would not cause any problems (although I still have an issue with splitting out England/Wales/Scotland/Ireland when they are really one country!) . MilborneOne (talk) 12:25, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
I would urge you not to change the cutoff to 20 victories. Yes the page is big but not intolerably so, even on a dialup. Besides, what list titled "List of World War I Flying Aces" would leave out Luke, Immelmann and Lufbery? :) Nibios (talk) 01:14, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
When I listed out the nationalities list above, I did not realize it would be taken as an attempt to break up the United Kingdom list. The purpose of the list was to insure that persons of certain ethnic backgrounds (Scots, Irish, Welsh, Canadian, South African, New Zealanders) could see that representation was still maintained even though the list was bobbed. I made nice, and it has backfired slightly.
And I am not breaking the list up. Even if I had the technical skill, I would still be here asking for suggestions. Seems to me Wikipedia works by the principle that a roomful of ordinary folks are collectively smarter than Einstein. I am honoring that principle. (And I do believe that Wikipedians are actually above ordinary.)
Let me see if I can clarify my proposed solution to this oversized list:
1) Keep the present list down to the 20 victory mark. Retitle it to reflect its new reality.
2) Have links on that retitled list to complete lists of aces of the various flying services: British, German, Austro-Hungarian, Australian Flying Corps, Italian, Belgian, French, and American.
3) We already have some national lists, such as the Canadian list, so any nationalities not yet covered should be split out for equity's sake. And I am not suggesting splitting out the Prussians or the Austrians or the Irish, for cripes sake. And again, links from the retitled root article to the national lists.
And, I am realizing in this process of thinking out loud, that the present list might have to be filled out and promptly split. However, some more technically advanced person probably has a better perspective on that than I.

Georgejdorner (talk) 05:37, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

Dont have a problem with your proposal of a 20 limit and I think that lists by the flying services is good idea. MilborneOne (talk) 17:13, 22 November 2008 (UTC)

Merged[edit]

Two lists have been merged here, with categories, and links, and sortable table.

70.55.85.177 (talk) 07:48, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

I have been using a website called www.theaerodrome.com to expand this list. This list is on the verge of becoming unwieldy. For instance, there were 597 UK aces alone, and 393 German ones. When compiled, this list will comprise about 1,862 names. I would suggest that someone with technical skills break the list down. I would suggest a list of 30 victories and up, another of 20 to 29 victories, a third list of 10 to 19 victories, etc. At some point, there may have to be lists for a single value, such as 5 victories. In the meantime, I am slogging away. ````George J. Dorner, July 31, 2008, who is unable to log into his user account for unknown reasons```` —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.103.186.114 (talk) 04:19, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

I have been expanding the list down to the 10 victory level. At the bottom of the 10 victory level listings, I have noted additional aces of each nationality that have scored from 5 to 9 victories. So far, I have covered the aces of Austria-Hungary, England, Ireland, Scotland, South Africa, and Wales down to the 10 victory level. ````George J. Dorner, August 2, 2008, who is unable to log into his user account for unknown reasons```` —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.103.186.114 (talk) 06:00, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

To my knowledge, this list is complete down to the 10 victory level. This list is perhaps 20 percent complete overall, and I would question utility of extending the list below the 10 victory level. Alphabetic sort is ragged in places, mostly due to my lack of tech skills. The same lack kept me from adding my reference to the reference list. I used www.theaerodrome.com. Anyone interested in researching aces with fewer than 10 victories could use that website. It has exhaustive (and exhausting) lists of every ace in World War I. ````George J. Dorner, August 6, 2008, who has given up on the concept of ever being able to log into his account.````

Reference for Victoria Cross list is http://usfighter.tripod.com/frames2.htm. ````George J. Dorner, August 13, 2008```` —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.103.186.114 (talk) 20:53, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

Have begun adding Royal Air Force to service branch listing for those UK pilots serving after 1 April 1918, when RAF was founded via merger of RFC and RNAS. ````George J. Dorner, 30 August 2008```` —Preceding unsigned comment added by Georgejdorner (talkcontribs) 09:51, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

Caution must be taken in determining branch of service for UK pilots on www.theaerodrome.com. It is inaccurate in attributing service in RFC and RAF in upper listing. Cross check with bio blurb and victory listing to determine true dates of service. ````George J. Dorner, 31 August 2008, 0208 PST```` —Preceding unsigned comment added by Georgejdorner (talkcontribs) 09:09, 31 August 2008 (UTC)

My plan is to eventually list the premier awards for all countries under notes. So far, I have completed Austria-Hungarian and Belgian awards. I have begun listing French Legion d'Honneur awards under notes. I plan to initially fill in the award for all aces with 10 or more victories. ````Georgejdorner, 21 September 2008, 0228 hours PST```` —Preceding unsigned comment added by Georgejdorner (talkcontribs) 09:29, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

English aces[edit]

Anybody know why the some of the home country aces (Scotland, Ireland and Welsh) are all mentioned but not the English? Or why if they are UK citizens flying for the UK does it need a further discriminator? None of the other countries are divided (no Bavarian aces?) MilborneOne (talk) 11:22, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

Situation Rectified[edit]

Discriminatory listings carried over from www.theaerodrome.com have been corrected. Irish, Welsh, and Scots pilots are now NOT singled out via a note on this table. Individual bios that are reached via linkage may note more concise origins: Prussian, Irish, Bavarian, Scots, etc. as part of bio.

Georgejdorner (talk) 07:21, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

Just to say thanks to Georgejdorner for some good work on the article. MilborneOne (talk) 11:23, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

Work in Progress[edit]

Some fine work indeed by George. I'm just wondering about the 'catch-all' numbers of Aces by Nationality towards the bottom of the list. There wouldn't, for example, ever be a WP article on '502 more Aces' for the UK; but that is what is suggested by the Wiki-link at present, unless I'm getting this wrong. I do understand that this is part of a mammoth job being undertaken, principally by George, although I'd hope to contribute a bit more myself in due course. Just wondering if there's another way, so that we're not showing our workings too much in the List itself. Any suggestions? Scoop100 (talk) 20:52, 26 October 2008 (UTC)

Catchall is temporary solution[edit]

I never envisioned the catchalls as anything but a stopgap until the list can be split.

Georgejdorner (talk) 05:18, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

List now in editable sections[edit]

Some editors are unable to edit sections larger than 32K. I saw hints in the markup that someone hopes for users too reorder the list according to various columns (which would presumably require that if be in a single section), but WP is not a general-purpose database manager. The barrier to universal editing posed by the gigundo 300 kB section makes it unacceptable. WP is not paper, either, so tables in different orders can be implemented each on their own pages, if they are really worth having.
(I noted explicitly the entries that i noticed, with 6 wins but scattered among the 5-ers; of course i have no objection to moving their entries into the 6s, or changing their counts back to 5 (if this is just about someone fixing, or arguing a minority view, of who got their sixth), but the task of editing all those oversized pieces has satisfied my interest for now.
--Jerzyt 06:20, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

An elegantly simple solution from Jerzy--all praise be unto him. And I intend to QC my own work when I recover from the burnout of adding 1,000 or so names. Though I sure would not object to help with that (he hints not too subtly).
Georgejdorner (talk) 20:22, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

The six victory aces have all been tucked into their rightful slots. Georgejdorner (talk) 19:39, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

Splitting by Country[edit]

To make my suggestion as brief as possible, I think it is required for us to split this article up into completely seperate articles for aces by country name. Have one article titled British Aces of WWI, French Aces of WWI, etc. Then we could have a topic box at the bottom of each article that would provide links to the other corresponding pages. This page is too long in my opinion. --Tymun (talk) 12:45, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

There has been a great deal of previous discussion about this very subject. It resulted in Jerzy's edit into the present sublists, which are loadable on dialup connections.
I do not see why we should eliminate the overall list that compares the aces of various nations, especially when the loading problem has finally been solved. Eliminating the overall list we now have destroys a valuable resource, and would make it difficult to compare the feats of the aces of various nations. For instance, the simple questions of, Who was the highest scoring ace of World War I? or, How many aces scored more than 40 victories? would become a search from screen to screen, through all the air services of World War I. Even then, for a complete search, the searcher would have to know all the flying services of World War I. I doubt the average searcher would know that Austro-Hungary had an air service, nor would they be likely to know of the existence of the Australian Flying Corps. In summary, the elimination of the overall list would be a huge step backwards.
However, the additional division of the list into national lists is presently underway, though incomplete. I believe the completion of these lists would help flesh out Wikipedia. How about it, Tymun? Are you up for that?

Georgejdorner (talk) 19:48, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

Have to agree with Georgejdorner, he has done a lot of work to make this article more userable, if it was split up we would loose the ability to make comparisons. MilborneOne (talk) 20:29, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for all your contributions to the list. It has grown a lot since I last visited the page. I agree splitting in nationalities has advantages but more disadvantages. Anyhow we have to find solutions to downsize the list some more. It takes a big loading time on my computer.--Panth (talk) 17:37, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
I had thought the current divisions solved the loading problem. If not, then I would suggest breaking out sections 5 through 15 into successive "pages". A reader could then read the introductory material and the table of aces scoring 27 or more victories. At the bottom of that "page", reader could click on a successive "page" of their choice to summon up whatever portion of the list they wished to view next.
I might add that the list is essentially complete. Unless more honors are found for the Notes section, I don't foresee further major inputs of data.
Georgejdorner (talk) 18:59, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
Oppose the suggestion to split by country, a sortable table could solve that, if you make the entire list a single table, though that would reintroduce the loading problems. Or you could build a set of subsidiary lists by country, but the complete list should remain. 70.29.213.241 (talk) 12:28, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

Sortable list example[edit]

I haven't taken the time to check things like how much detail there is above on sortable lists and whether i mentioned them here bcz someone else already had. But at the time, i didn't have an example at hand. I ran across one with over 800 entries: List of Democratic Party (United States) superdelegates, 2008#Details.
--Jerzyt 21:46 & 22:57, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

Improving the list[edit]

List of RAF aircrew in the Battle of Britain has a few things I think would improve this list. The "Abbreviations" section could be used here, reducing the amount of duplicate links and text. If this is fine it can easily be done with one edit from WP:AWB. - Trevor MacInnis (Contribs) 05:45, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

Running the bot to abbreviate the names of the air services and the names of the decorations awarded would condense the list somewhat. The problem of excessive length would remain.

I have struggled with the dilemma of fractionating the list without curbing its usefulness for a year now. There have been several suggestions that would have reduced the list to easily loadable sections but compromised its utility.

Consider reconstituting the list as follows:

1) A master page containing the text, along with a directory at the bottom linking the reader to other pages containing portions of the list. This would have the effect of offloading the actual lists into separate, easily loadable sections. (Adding some graphics to this master page would make it more appealing.)

2) The portions could be interlinked with one another so the reader could easily switch from page to page. These portions could be the present sections on the list.

Jerzy has already sized the sections. Georgejdorner (talk) 17:14, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

I think it's a good idea to have both separate sub-lists and the full main list. George, you've made a good start splitting off the 5 victories list, but I'd like to make a few changes before we go and split up the whole list. I think we should follow the example of Airline codes-All. If you look at that page it is a very long list of airlines, but if you try to edit it you will see it is actually just a bunch of sublists on separate pages put together. My proposal is to have the main page List of World War I flying aces, and then many subpages :List of World War I flying aces credited with 5 victories (A-F) List of World War I flying aces credited with 5 victories (G-Q), List of World War I flying aces credited with 5 victories (R-Z), etc. (I chose those names based on other list series, and so that they will be able to stand as lists on their own.) Each list will then need some extra coding, which I can do. And we'd have to create Template:List of World War I flying aces/Page top and Template:List of World War I flying aces/Page bottom (easily already done). What do you think? - Trevor MacInnis (Contribs) 21:53, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

Early RAF service records now online[edit]

Its a pay access database, but I suppose its better than going to the archives in person.

culture24.org.uk announcement (archive copy).

National Archives database homepage

Regards. MickMacNee (talk) 19:48, 12 November 2009 (UTC)

Luftstreitkräfte links[edit]

I was wondering why, in the "List of World War I aces by number of victories" articles (e.g. List of World War I aces credited with more than 20 victories), the text "Luftstreitkräfte" is linked to Luftwaffe rather than (the dedicated article) Luftstreitkräfte. Thanks. DH85868993 (talk) 04:40, 20 November 2009 (UTC)


Remedied within a day by Trevor McInnis.Georgejdorner (talk) 21:55, 22 April 2011 (UTC)

Poor old Brits[edit]

The section of British confirmation methods is (even after some quiet changes):

1. FAR longer than for other nationalities. 2. Very repetitous. 3. Contains a number of generalisations that are quite questionable. 4. A lot of the "references" seem to be forum posts (!!!)

If nobody objects, I will shorten this section to a sensible summary - cut repetitous matter, qualify (further) some of the current generalisations, and weed unacceptable references. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 19:10, 21 April 2011 (UTC)


I've had a stab at being bold on it. It could probably still stand some more clean up and tightening; I was a bit verbose when I wrote this section.

Georgejdorner (talk) 21:59, 22 April 2011 (UTC)

My reasoning concerning lists of Austro-Hungarian aces[edit]

I had two considerations when I established the lists in question.

First, the effect of ethnic identity upon Austro-Hungarian aviation–most especially, the effect as seen by the later careers of the aces in their new nations' air forces. More sublists mean increased linkage into the biographies of the Austro-Hungarian aces and into Austro-Hungarian aviation in general.

Second, the aviation history canon provides ample history that eventually the list of United Kingdom aces will be sublisted into Irish, Scots, Welch, and British aces. It's a fixture in aviation history encyclopedias. And if its fair for the UK, why not for everyone else? In fact, I foresee that every possible ethnic sublisting is going to happen because, whether NPOV be deemed lacking or damned as dumb, national, regional, and ethnic pride is going to kick in.

We just happen to be first on the scene.

Georgejdorner (talk) 21:56, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

Five victories defines an ace?[edit]

"Eventually" that did indeed become the "common" (=universal?) understanding. The idea that five victories made an ace was actually a French one - this was spread by vigorous postwar (i.e. 1920s and 30s) American ballyhoo and has now become pretty much the standard. But during WW1 the Germans considered an "ace" ("big gun") needed 10 victories. The British (as always in this context) were at bit vague on this question during the war itself and seem to have been inconsistent about the fifth victory marking the boundary between an ace and a non-ace. In fact Lee remarked he was "a long way short of being an ace" when he seems to have had at least 5 "solo" vitories out of a total of 11 (which included shares). This is presumeably how the system worked in at least one RFC squadron (No.46). The British, in fact, hardly used the word "ace" anyway - preferring to call their top fighter pilots "star turns".

Anyway - I have cut the sentence implying that everyone counted 5 as the measure of an ace during WW1 since this is disproved by the German example alone. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 08:06, 31 August 2011 (UTC)


Somewhere in the seemingly endless revisions concerning this subject, I found a source that stated that American journalists promoted the "5 wins for an ace" idea. That would indicate that the term as now known could not have come into general circulation until late in the war, given the U.S.'s late entry. I must admit, I have never heard the term "star turn", but then, I'm not British. Also, I don't know if Lee's reaction was an exception to the general rule, or an expression of it; for that reason, the passage about Lee bothers me.

Now the task...just where did I put that little factoid about denominating aces, anyhow?

Georgejdorner (talk) 15:28, 19 September 2011 (UTC) (previously unsigned somehow) (Never mind Georgie boy, it was obviously you!


All I wanted so say is that at that stage (say pre-1925 or so) the idea of "5 victories or more = ace", while it was around, especially in French and American circles, was by no means "standard", or generally recognised. You'll see "star turn" (taking a theatrical or circus analogy rather than a sporting one) in almost any other contemporary British or Australian source. Star turn status generally seems to have cut in well over five victories - it was often applied to the top scorer of a crack fighter squadron. The (mostly) American pulp writers and cheap magazine journalists of the twenties and thirties seem to have siezed on "wartime aviation" as a genre - distorting facts almost as much as "western" books, comics, films etc. distort the facts of the real "Wild West" - this is the ultimate source of a good deal of the BS that surrounds some aspects of the subject to this day. The Biggles books, believe it or not, were originally written in reaction to this kind of nonsense! (Actually the WWI Biggles books are pretty authentic, as these things go). The mention of Lee's remarks may well need tweaking - reading the original remark in context (and bearing in mind it comes straight from something he wrote at the time rather than remembered "forty years on") the conclusion (FWIIW) is pretty uncontestable, but as it's written it is a little vague. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 00:54, 20 September 2011 (UTC)


There's no need to repeat your facts, my tuneful friend; I do not doubt them. Your comments above show you have read an entire genre I have never touched. In fact, I confessed my ignorance concerning "star turns".

The comment about Lee did not doubt his assertions; however, the methods and terms of scoring seem to have varied between British units, especially in varying theaters (or theatres) of operations.

But at some point, we must nail this jelly to the wall. We owe it to our faithful readers (here we cue the heartrending violins) to come up with SOURCE(S) for the five win standard needed for acehood.

I'm still searching for the factoid I mentioned above. Of course, I will not inflict it upon the world unless I can cite the source. And if you can nail the ace standard down with one of your cites, so much the better. But the article needs that information.

P.S. Biggles? Not Snoopy?

Georgejdorner (talk) 02:07, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

No list of German aces?[edit]

There doesn't seem to be a comprehensive list of German aces in the list--a pretty big omission for one of the war's major combatants! someone needs to get on that ASAP — Preceding unsigned comment added by 130.74.92.208 (talk) 16:19, 25 April 2012 (UTC)


The request for some coding genius to come with a sort program that would produce a list of German (and French and British) aces is now some years old. There has zero response. Having invested quite some time in typing some 1,700 or so entries into the original list(s), I am rather loathe to do it again. Bluntly speaking, I am burnt out.

So, I do agree that this should be done ASAP. Given my prior contribution of effort, I do not feel it is my chore to repeat. If the above editor can find some way to have the list sorted into various components, it would be an enormous service to the cause. An alternative would be for the above editor to volunteer to list the 393 German aces. If they wish to do so, I will supply the template for the list.

Georgejdorner (talk) 21:43, 25 April 2012 (UTC)


India?[edit]

India was a British colony during WW2, so it is not right to say it only India, we need tell it British India or should mention India was a colony of Britain.Ovsek (talk) 14:34, 25 June 2013 (UTC)