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Who had the greatest influence on air fighting?


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#1 Beitou

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 07:25 PM

Who in your opinion had the greatest influence on air to air fighting. As this was a new field and everything had to be learned there were opportunities for innovative thinkers to put their ideas in to use. Immelman springs to mind with his roll,or maybe Boelkeor Richtofen or was it one of the British or French figures? Perhaps not even a flier maybe someone with a theoretical approach that was taken up by others? My choice would be Immelman or Boelke.

#2 oldbutnotwise

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 07:02 AM

Rolland Garros, led the way in nose mounted machine guns in tractor aircraft changing the way air combat occured forever

#3 Flo

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 03:12 PM

Hi Beitou, welcome to the forum!

In terms of individual effort, I'd go with Boelcke's “Dicta”. It was all common sense stuff, but formalised and noted down it offered a basis for tactical training. Aces don't win wars, that falls on the other guys and Boelcke offered German aircrew a decent primer for aerial combat.

However, the Allies air war was more about large formations and co-operative tactics than individual effort. In that respect there was a good deal more emphasis on training individual flights and eventually whole squadrons than on developing individual skills or innovative manoeuvres. It's harder to pin down individuals when their success depended on the entire force's efforts.
A sporting analogy might be to imagine the central powers favouring star players, with the Allies pushing team tactics and having better managers. Men like Mannock, McCudden and Bishop were leaders, taking care to foster their subordinates abilities over increasing their tally. (Or in Mannock's case, body count...:()

I think what I'm getting at is modern air warfare has come from the melding together of the very individual fighting style of the early German aces with the co-operative tactics preferred by their opponents. I don't think any one individual stands out on the Allied side, but the heavy emphasis placed on training by their successors suggests that collectively, they had a similar mindset.
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#4 Armand

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 12:51 PM

Could be hard to answer in fairness!
I might be for Roland Garros!
But as with the worlds first powered flight with an apparatus heavier than air, by the Wright brothers (wich in fact was by Orville Wright), the record don't mention the ones who didn't survive, but surely flew in a widely capable plane!
Many pioneers might have flewn powered flights before Orville, but not surviving to tell about it, and thats the difference wich also is actual among dogfight-pioneers - For instance, Immelmann might have got his inspiration from a buddy who didn't survive to fully develop his trick, and wouldn't Garros' ideas have come through later If He had died before bringing them to live :-/

#5 Edgar Brooks

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 02:42 PM

Keith Park


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#6 CORSNING

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 03:42 PM

Who had the greatest influence on air fighting? (Under the WW1 heading).

 

I am going to have to agree with Flo and go with Oswald Boelcke. He stressed cooperation and coordination as a team being much more formidable than an individual.

 

Quoting Oswald, "Everything depends on sticking together when the Staffel goes into battle. It does not matter who actually scores the victory as long as the Staffel wins."

 

Jeff



#7 Ricky

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 08:16 AM

Capt. W. E. Johns :P

 

Sorry, I had nothing really to add and couldn't resist.


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#8 CORSNING

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 01:19 PM

Captain William Earl Johns!!!??? Come on Ricky. Were you Kicked in the head by a butterfly when you were baby? :D



#9 chiglet

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 05:02 PM

Anthony Fokker... with his "interrupter gear" allowing [at first, one, then] two machine guns to shoot through the propeller, at the target the pilot was aiming at. [allowing for deflection and windage and bullet drop etc. ] :rolleyes: 



#10 CORSNING

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 01:13 PM

I may not say this like I want it to be said, so bear with me here. Anthony Fokker and Roland Garros along with many others invented or solved mechanical problems dealing with air to air combat. Things like the interrupter gear, better motors and better aircraft were mechanical achievements. The Immelman  Turn, Split-ess and Thatch Weave were mechanics of aerial combat that could be used by generations long after all the Fokkers, Messershmitts and Merlin driven aircraft have been retired. 

 

Cooperation of ground to air, air to air and ship to air are still going strong.

 

Jeff






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