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What German shot down the greatest variety of aircraft?

Originally published under Ask Mr. History. Published Online: February 07, 2013 
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Which WW2 German ace shot down the most diverse types of enemy aircraft and which one shot down the most nationalities?  


M.J. Spencer Jr.

? ? ?

Dear Mr. Spencer,  

The variety record just might go to Herbert Ihlefeld, who scored nine victories in the Spanish Civil War and another 123 during World War II over France, Britain, the Balkans, the Soviet Union and in defense of the Reich. His victims (some figured out from erroneous or pre-production type designations) include:  


Tupolev SB
Polikarpov I-15
Polikarpov I-16  


Morane-Saulnier MS.406
Bristol Blenheim
Supermarine Spitfire (26 of them)
Hawker Hurricane (2 during the Crete campaign)
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-3
Yakovlev Yak-1 (identified as "I-26," its prototype designation)
Yakovlev Yak-4
Lavochkin-Gorbunov-Gudkov LaGG-3 (sometimes identified as "I-301," a prototype designation)
Kharkov R-10
Ilyuishin Il-2
Polikarpov R-5
Lockheed P-38
Boeing B-17
Avro Lancaster
North American P-51

We'll see if anyone beats 18 different types, but it looks like a tough variety to exceed.  



Jon Guttman
Research Director
Weider History Group
More Questions at Ask Mr. History


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