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JimAttrill

When were victory markings first used?

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I do know that the British and the US in WWII put victory markings below the cockpit canopy and the Germans always used the rudder but when did the practice start?   Did any pilot of any side in WWI show victories on their aircraft? 

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It's interesting that they didn't want to show victories on their aircraft in case they were shot down and landed in enemy territory.  The only times I have read of pilots being attacked by infantry are in fiction.   And Frank Luke after being shot down defended himself with his pistol until killed.  If he had surrendered he most likely would not have been killed.   Most of the infantry thought pilots were completely mad to do such a dangerous thing and captured enemy pilots without any bad feeling (so it seems). 

 

So I don't go for that argument at all. 

 

A greater possibility is that pilots didn't always fly the same aircraft in combat although Bill Lambert of 24 sqn always seemed to fly only one aircraft at a time.   Certainly MvR regularly flew about 3 different aircraft. 

 

Of my experience is an RAF squadron of fighters in 1969-73 where each aircraft had a pilots name below the cockpit.  But operational requirements dictated that certain pilots had to fly certain sorties and 'their' aircraft might not be serviceable.  I know that the pilots did try to fly 'their' aircraft but that wasn't always possible.  Especially when his aircraft had become a 'hangar queen' and was being cannibalised of parts to keep the others going.  We tried to avoid this as it doubled the maintenance hours but sometimes..... 

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Well, certainly during the Battle of Britain, it appears that you took whatever Spitfire/Hurricane was available. They certainly had their own, but not always serviceable...and I agree with Jim...there's no reason why an RAF pilot in the Battle of Britain wouldn't mark his kills..as he's unlikely to crash land in enemy territory..but I (believe) few actually did?

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In the "Battle of Britain" I guess they simply didn't have the time or energy left over for such things -

they had to make several sorties most every day.

But here are two pics of British ace Stanford Tuck, commander at Biggin Hill, and his aircraft - he obviously did mark his victories.

 

stanford-tuck-ch_001681.jpg

 

UK, Spitfire Mk Vb, BL336, Robert Stanford-Tuck, Biggin Hill Wing, 28 Jan 1942.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

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It seems the Japanese put the victory markings of the aircraft on the side.  Often Chrysanthemums.   So often the aircraft had more victories than the pilot.  

 

And in the IJN the names below the cockpit were those of the ground crew who looked after the aircraft, not the pilot. 

Edited by JimAttrill

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The first kill markings that come to my mind were on the German aircraft of the Legion Kondor in Spain. At that time and in 1939-40, the Luftwaffe Experten used to mark their few air kills on the vertical stabilizer. When their scores exploded, they used the large rudder instead.

 

post-48840-0-92522100-1446817902.jpg

 

The Soviet aces during WW2 were weird guys. Considering the enemy black crosses to be a profanity soiling their planes, they used instead red, white or golden stars. The only Soviet fighters displaying black crosses were the ones flown by the Free French air regiment Normandie-Niemen, whose pilots had usually flown before in the RAF. Roger Sauvage was the most successful Black ace ever.

 

post-48840-0-44896300-1446817929.jpg post-48840-0-57060100-1446817942.jpg

 

Like the Japanese during WW2, the Israeli fighters display the successes accumulated by the plane rather than the ones of the pilot currently flying it. This Mirage may be the most successful one ever.

 

post-48840-0-25402300-1446817982.jpg

Edited by Capitaine Vengeur

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It seems the Japanese put the victory markings of the aircraft on the side.  Often Chrysanthemums.   So often the aircraft had more victories than the pilot.  

I understand using the Chrysanthemum, it being the Imperial symbol. But I would expect the Japanese would favor the Cherry Blossom which symbolizes the brevity and fragility of life.

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They used the Cherry Blossom, the Chrysanthemum and other flowers, sometimes with petals missing for just a 'damaged'

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They used the Cherry Blossom, the Chrysanthemum and other flowers, sometimes with petals missing for just a 'damaged'

Ahh, clever Japanese.

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Back to topic, here is a form of early killmarkings on the plane (Albatros D.V) of Walter Kypke, of Jasta 41...

 

Albatros%20D.V%20Jasta%2041,%20Walter%20

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Interesting. But were those names of people or places? The last sounds like a place name, and German to boot. And how often could a pilot know exactly who he was facing in combat? In the case of famous aces with very distinctive paint schemes, maybe. But this is a German plane. The Allies did not sport highly distinctive artwork and the names do not seem to be very British, or even French. So...place names?

Edited by Hauksbee

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