Erich Hartmann Highest Scoring Ace in History.
According to the traditional definition, an “ace” is a fighter pilot who has attained five confirmed kills of enemy aircraft. Though not technically an ace by this standard, World War I French pilot Roland Garros began the tradition of aerial combat with a clever ploy. He devised a means to shield his wooden propeller with metal so a machine gun could shoot through the arc (bullets that hit the blades would ricochet off). In a mere 18 days in early 1915, he shot down three German aircraft and claimed two others. Press reports of his exploits were the first to use the French slang “ace” to mean at least five enemy aircraft downed-although the term soon came to require five or more confirmed aircraft shot down. The German word was kanone, indicating a star turn; 10 victories were required for that designation.
The French definition of five confirmed became accepted during World War I and reappeared in later wars. The idea of achieving ace status quickly became popular among fliers and the general public. As World War I degenerated into static trench warfare with horrific losses and virtually no glory, the contests among pilots to raise scores achieved considerable public following. The pilots became the heroes whom people needed in a protracted and bitter war. And they were heroes in later wars as well.
All over the world, scholars are busy reviewing claims, all of which are subject to argument over time. For the most part, the claims were made in good faith, most were confirmed, but in the confusion of battle mistakes were no doubt made.