Warbirds and Airshows
By David D Jackson

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World War II US Aircraft Air to Air Victories (Flown by US Pilots) - Rank order by total Victories

Note that contrary to what many sources claim, the P-38 Lightning did not shoot down more Japanese aircraft in WWII than any other American or Allied aircraft.  The numbers do not support that statement. (In red below)  The P-38 with 1,857 victories came in third behind the F6F Hellcat with 5,160, and the F4U Corsair with 2,140. What is correct is that the P-38 did shoot down more Japanese aircraft than any other USAAF plane with 1,857, with the P-40 running a close second at 1,633.5.

Even though the F6F did not start reaching Naval and Marine units in the Pacific until late 1943, when it did it came in prodigious numbers with the Naval carrier forces and Marine land based units concentrating on the destruction of both the Japanese Naval and Army Air Forces in that theater.  In the Battle of the Marianas, on June 11, 1944, Hellcats shot down 70 Japanese aircraft, and 6 days later on the 19th of June, they shot down another 354 enemy planes in "The Great Marianas Turkey Shoot".  In two days the F6F destroyed 23% of what it took the P-38 all of the conflict in the Pacific to do.  The F6F Hellcat has been somewhat forgotten and overlooked considering it was the top US fighter in the Pacific, and second only to the P-51 Mustang for total victories in the war.  The F4U Corsair, another Marine and Navy fighter, and the second place finisher in the destruction of Japanese warplanes in air to air combat, was used more by the US Marines than the Navy and for the most part operated from land bases in the Pacific and did not have the opportunities that the F6F had.

Also note the 138 victories by the Douglas SBD Dauntless.  In reading the 1942 book "Queen of the Flattops" by Stanley Johnston, which is the story of the original USS Lexington on her final cruise into the south Pacific and her eventual loss at the Battle of the Coral Sea, the SBD's on that cruise were very active in engaging enemy aircraft of all types in air-to-air combat during combat and scouting missions, including the Japanese Zero.  In the final air battle defending the ship, SBD's were launched along with the F4F Wildcats to defend the ship as the low altitude air defense screen.  At the end of the battle Ensign John Leppla, a SBD Scout Bomber Pilot, was credited with 7 kills along with his gunner, which was more than any of the fighter pilots had at the time on the USS Lexington. 

Aircraft Type ETO - European Theatre of Operations MTO - Mediterranean Theatre of Operations PTO - Pacific Theatre of Operations CBI - China-Burma-India Total
P-51(Includes F-6 and A-36) 4239 1063 297 345 5954
F6F 8 0 5160 0 5168
P-38 497 1431 1700 157 3785
P-47 2685.5 263 696.67 16 3661
P-40 0 592 660.5 973 2225.5
F4U 0 0 2140 0 2140
F4F 0 26 986 0 1012
FM-2 0 0 422 0 422
Spitfire 15 364 0 0 379
P-39 & P-400 2.5 25 288 5 320.5
SBD 0 0 138   138
P-61 59 0 63.5 5 127.5
TBF/TBM 0 0 98 0 98
Beaufighter 6 25 0 0 31
F2A 0 0 10 0 10
P-43 0 0 3 3 6
P-36 0 0 3 0 3
P-70 0 0 2 0 2
P-26 0 0 2 0 2
P-35 0 0 1 0 1
Mosquito 0 1 0 0 1

 


 
Home  Indiana Museums   The Beginning    Revisions   First Flight of P-38F Glacier Girl  
USS Theodore Roosevelt    WWII Aircraft Manufacturing Sites    Gateguards
 2007 Airshows   2008 Airshows  22009 Airshows   2010 Airshows    2011 Airshows    2012 Airshows   2013 Airshows   2014 Airshows
Aviation Museums of the Pacific Northwest
   Display Helicopter Locations   CAL FIRE   PV-2 Harpoon Photos     F6F Hellcat Photos
   Warbird Sightings   WWII US Air-Air Victories   Guest Photos    Indiana Warbirds   Featured Photos  Other Items   Links

Historic Sites   Historic Forts   Historic Texas Independence Sites   Pre-Historic Sites   Historic Manhattan Project Sites   GM Heritage Center


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