Some of you don't remember, and the rest of you don't even know!
European Air War has an entire Flight School as part of the CD package. Contents include:
- Lessons Learned
- Aircraft and Armament
- Air Combat School
- Target Recon Data
- Online References
As a reminder, I have excerpted the contents of one of the three "Lessons Learned" sections for you. Take a read through this section on Luftwaffe data, then check out the rest of the CD. Note: This material reprinted directly by permission of Microprose/Hasbro.
The Luftwaffe amassed the most impressive record of individual pilot accomplishment the world has ever known. In fact, the achievements of their Experten (the German equivalent of Aces) were so far beyond those of any Allied pilots that, after the war, the Allied Command suspected that the pilots' records had been falsified. Regardless, subsequent investigation revealed that, if anything, the Luftwaffe's internal verification procedures prior to crediting an air victory to a pilot were even more stringent than those of the Allies.
All in all, 107 Experten were credited with over 100 air victories each, and hundreds more scored more than 25 air victories apiece. Among the Allies, only a few pilots exceeded the 25-victory mark, and only five victories were sufficient to make a pilot an Ace.
Erich Hartmann, the highest scoring Luftwaffe pilot, is credited with 352 total victories, while the balance of the top five scorers (Gerhard Barkhorn, Gunther Rall, Otto Kittel and Walter Nowotny) account for another 1101 downed aircraft between them. Though some Luftwaffe detractors are quick to point out that these pilots amassed virtually all of their kills on the Eastern Front, where the quality of enemy opposition was lower than in the West, other Luftwaffe pilots outperformed their Allied counterparts considerably in this theater of operations as well.
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Heinz Baer, the eighth highest scoring pilot in history with 220 total victories, scored 124 of them in the West, including 16 while piloting the Me262. Over the course of the war, Baer was shot down eighteen times, bailing out four times and executing a forced landing the remainder of them.
Unlike so many of his comrades, Baer survived the war. But his incredible string of luck ran out in 1957 when he was killed in an aircraft accident. The legacy of all the great Luftwaffe pilots lives on in the history they created. Now, as you seek to join their ranks in EAW, it behooves you to listen to the war stories and advice of the "old heads" which preceded you: the Experten.
"Our mission was to provide close escort, which I loathed. It gave the bomber crews the feeling they were being protected, and it might have deterred some of the enemy pilots. But for us fighter pilots it was very bad. We needed the advantages of altitude and speed so we could engage the enemy on favorable terms. As it was, the British fighters had the initiative on when and how to attack. We needed to maintain speed, otherwise the Bf109 would have taken too long to accelerate to fighting speed if we were bounced by Spitfires."
-Hans Schmoller-Haldy, JG54
"Their element is to attack, to track, to hunt, and to destroy the enemy. Only in this way can the skillful and eager fighter pilot display his ability. Tie him to a narrow and confined task, rob him of his initiative, and you take away from him the best and most valuable qualities he possesses: aggressive spirit, joy of action and the passion of the hunter."
-Adolf Galland, 104 victories.
Lesson Learned: Flying close escort on bombers often requires you to sacrifice the tactical initiative to the enemy. This leaves you reactive instead of proactive, which is the antithesis of what you want to achieve as a fighter. As such, escort missions will be some of the toughest you encounter.
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