Erich von Selle
German flying ace
Died when: 67 years 198 days (810 months)
Star Sign: Leo
This is a list of fighter aces in World War II from Germany. A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down five or more enemy aircraft during aerial combat. It is relatively certain that 2,500 German fighter pilots attained ace status, having achieved at least 5 aerial victories. This article lists 890 (updated as of October 2017) of these aces. German day and night fighter pilots claimed roughly 70,000 aerial victories during World War II, over 25,000 British or American and over 45,000 Russian-flown aircraft. 103 German fighter pilots shot down 100 or more enemy aircraft, for a total of approximately 15,400 victories. Approximately 360 German fighter pilots shot down from 40 to 99 enemy aircraft for a total of approximately 21,000 victories. Approximately 500 German fighter pilots shot down from 20 to 39 enemy aircraft for a total of approximately 15,000 victories. These achievements were honored with 453 German day fighter pilots and Zerstörer (destroyer) fighter pilots and 85 German night fighter pilots (including 14 crew members), for a total of 538 German fighter pilots, receiving the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. German losses, on the other hand, were very high as well. Roughly 12,000 German day fighter pilots were killed or are still missing in action, with a further 6,000 being wounded. The Zerstörer (destroyer) pilots suffered about 2,800 casualties, either killed or missing in action, plus another 900 wounded in action. German night fighter losses were also high, in the magnitude of 3,800 pilots or crew members killed or missing and 1,400 wounded. Hans-Ulrich Rudel was the most decorated flying ace in the Luftwaffe, primarily as a ground-attack bomber pilot with over 800 vehicles destroyed in addition to his victories over opposing aircraft.