Flier ASS

flier ASS can be called a pilot, had unusual abilities, or who carried something remarkable out in the eyes of the designator. The term finds mainly on military pilots application, rarely also on art fliers and flight pioneers.

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term explanation

the designation “ASS” for a pilot decreases/goes back on the Frenchman Adolphe Pégoud . This was called of the French press as „ASS “, after he had defeated five German opponents in the aerial combat in the First World War. The term had been applied allegedly before the war to soccer players and wheel sportsmen.

Colloquially the English term was more fighter ace in English-language propaganda since the First World War imported, which translates fighter ASS directly reads, in a general manner in connection with air war however flighter pilot ASS. In the German-language press the term hardly found to use, also it was not relevant in military Rang-und honor system. The propaganda of the German Reich in the First World War stylized its Protagonisten to heroful individuals highly.

In the Second World War Luftwaffe selected the self designation “expert” for its pilots with high firing numbers, whereby the number of confirmed firings into a point system flowed, which was relevant for transports for the award of honors and.

In the English, French and Italian linguistic usage the term held itself more fighter ace (English), as (French) or Asso dell'aviazione (Italian) for hunt pilots, who could book at least five firings , in France also participation in firings. The methods for the acknowledgment of firings were different from country to country. During for Luftwaffe a strict “Pilot-ein firing” - rule applied, could at allied Air Forces also portions of a firing (English: kill) to be awarded. Apart from debriefings, perhaps also the word of honour of the pilot applied for statements of observers, on-board cameras (so-called guncams, English for “cannon camera”, because it was activated by the release button of on-board weapons ).

Japanese air forces did starting from 1943 without individual acknowledgment of firings, Russian air forces distinctive between individual and collective firing successes.

On the individual firing number based a most successful flighter pilot of history was German Erich Hartmann, to which in the Second World War 352 firings were awarded.

for myth of the flighter pilots

since the emergence of the fighter by the use rigidly forward arranged armament stand their pilot in the field of vision of propaganda. The tradition of the romantic hero clarifying of the Middle Ages was partly transferred to the “knights of air”. The first military combat air control units from Kavallerieeinheiten were actually formed and took over their federation designations such as gang, relay and squadron. The assumption knightly virtues into a time of the industrialized war corresponded obviously to the need, the Entmenschlichung of the war to work against. Pretty often aerial engagement was represented as fair duel, with which to the Gegenwehr incapable opponents one pardoniert. Such representations, like for example the aerial combat against George Guynemer, described by Ernst Udet , 1917, did not withstand the historical examination, however by the press and the film industry of intermediate wartime were taken up.

With beginning of the Second World War the reality of the air war departed still more from the romantic picture of the flier hero. By the employment the opportunity of a duel from „man shrank from a large number of fast fighters to man “. The successful co-ordination of all forces and the kind of the employment goal determined the expiration. On victory or defeat in the aerial combat decided rarely only personal achievement of the pilots, but mainly technical or conceptional pro or cons. Nevertheless, and straight therefore, could achieve a large number of pilot up to then unequalled firing numbers.

The publication of the firing numbers of the opponent and the own forces by the press, for example during the air battle around England, was tolerated by air forces, was not specified however.

Becoming known firing numbers of the opponents or the own comrades led every now and then to the view that the pilots denied a sporty match. On individual firing numbers based most successful flighter pilots of the Royal air Force, James Edgar Johnson, “Wing Leader” justifies itself to suspecting, it about those its firing number debited to its unit would too much have worried in its auto+biographic book. By the Heroisieren operated by the press it came at allied air forces teiweise to the Desolidarisierung with other components of the armed forces. Bomber crews felt partly considered in the light of the public too little, it developed the saying: “Fighter pilots make movies, bomber pilots make history.” (German: “Flighter pilots make motion picture films, bomber pilots make history. ”).

A famous French flighter pilot reported shocked on insult by guests of a Paris Cafés after end of war. It would have made itself from the dust and „for the fine gentlemen “would have played, while its compatriots fought and died in the resistance.

The chance for surviving for members of flight crews was not encouraging actually during the Second World War. Over 60% of all crews death, only the crews of German submarines found had a higher loss rate. In order to fight war tiredness and exhaustion, both by the allied ones and by the Axis powers the pilots Amphetamine with the intention of the increase in output were given up to the abuse.

after 1945

in a set from wars to 1945 over five personal firing successes were awarded to several pilots of different countries. The meaning of the term „flier ASS “and thereby the groups myth was weakened appreciably however with introduction by guided weapons. Also it is not in the sense of the armed forces to promote acts of revenge because of war heroes by their namentliche denomination.

Wreath-layings at graves well-known German and Austrian flighter pilot are medium-effectively produced occasionally in connection with remanipulation of neo National Socialist groups.


  • Pierre Clostermann: To The bend show. The Greatest Pilot's story OF World was II. London: Pasture field & Nicolson 2004, ISBN 0297846191 (English)
  • Edgar James Johnson: Wing Leader. Eastbourne: Gardners Books 2000, ISBN 0907579876 (English)
  • Raymond F. Toliver and Trevor J. Constable: That were the German hunt fly race 1939-1945. Stuttgart: Engine book publishing house 1998
  • Edward H. Windshield frame section: Flighter pilot. The large opponents from once. 1939 - 1945. Air Force, RAF and USAAF in the critical comparison. Stuttgart: To engine book publishing house 1979

see also



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