There was no campaign longer, more intense and bloodier than that fought in night skies over Germany and Europe between the crews of the RAF and Luftwaffe. Unlike the RAF AND USAF the Luftwaffe’s leadership made every effort to avoid night raids.
During the Second World War the German Luftwaffe was the main support weapon of the German Army. It fought and supported the Wehrmacht’s war effort throughout the six years of conflict and contributed to much of National Socialist Germany’s early successes in 1939-1942. After the turn in Germany’s fortunes, it continued to support the German ground forces until the German surrender on the 8 May 1945.
A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down five or more enemy aircraft during aerial combat. German day and night fighter pilots claimed roughly 70,000 aerial victories during World War II, 25,000 over British or American and 45,000 over Russian flown aircraft.
103 German fighter pilots shot down more than 100 enemy aircraft for a total of roughly 15,400 aerial victories. Roughly a further 360 pilots claimed between 40 and 100 aerial victories for round about 21,000 victories. Another 500 fighter pilots claimed between 20 and 40 victories for a total of 15,000 victories. It is relatively certain that 2,500 German fighter pilots attained ace status, having achieved at least 5 aerial victories. These achievements were honored with 453 German day and night fighter pilots having received the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross. 85 night fighter pilots, including 14 crew members, were awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross.