Fighter Aces of the Great War


History has recorded that the first-ever powered flight took place at Kitty Hawk in America, on 17 December 1903 and was carried out by the Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, who were aircraft designers and manufacturers. By the time of the outbreak of the First World War, aviation was only eleven years old. The daddy of battlefield warfare until that point in time had been the cavalry, a position it maintained even as war was declared on the Western Front.

Aircraft were not initially seen as an offensive weapon and were instead used by both sides as observation platforms, or to take aerial photographs from. Even when they were eventually used in an offensive capacity, they did not have machine guns attached to them; if the crew wanted to open fire then they had to use a pistol or rifle.

As the war progressed so the use of aircraft changed from being an observational tool to that of a fighter and bomber aircraft - something that had never been foreseen at the outbreak of the war. The book then looks at the fighter aces from all sides. These were pilots who had been credited with shooting or forcing down a minimum of five enemy aircraft, of which their were hundreds. While some of these aces survived, many of them were killed. The most famous fighter ace of all is, without doubt, the German pilot known as the Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen.


A book filled with descriptions of the men who became fighter Aces during World War One. You start off with the men from the British, but that just means they fought for them. Men came from Canada, Ireland, Scotland. Each one of these countries had one or more men who became Aces. Of course, England as well. Besides getting a bio of each one you also have a photo of the person along with how they got into flying. You have some men who were mechanics and a few that were foot soldiers and then became flyers. You also have a man who flailed three times before he became a pilot. Then later an ace.
You get a really good look into Manfred Von Richthofen, better known as the Red Barron, which some said was shot down from another plane while others say ground troops shot him. The author will give you the outcome. One thing for certain though he was still given an honorable memorial for being shot down behind enemy territory. This shows you just how much he was respected by everyone. Even though I have read some of this about him before I still liked reading about him again. What was really interesting was that he started out in the Calvary first. He still was only 25 when he died.
You get a look at the different aircraft and the designs also a man by the name of Garros French who came up with the design to fire the machine gun through the propellers. He would shoot down 5 planes while flying for France before being captured by the Germans. This chapter about the different planes and how the designs of them changed was good. It shows you how the Germans were improving their planes forcing others to do the same by racking up victories in the air.
You also get a short overview of America’s most famous Ace Eddie Rickenbacker. I don’t know how many people know about him but he was a race car driver, he had 26 confirmed kills. He would later start an airline, purchase the Indianapolis speedway which he would sell in the ’40s, he also visited troops during WWII for a morale booster, survived with some other after crashing in the pacific for 24 days in life rafts until being rescued. He did much, much more. A really fascinating man.
This book is a real good look into the air of World War One. The young men who would go on to fight and fly when just 11 years before the Wright Brothers had flown for the first time. Now you get a look at the young men from all countries that wanted to fly and would become aces. The back of the book the author lists all of the aces from every country and I do mean every country. Just looking at the list you see that it was truly a World War. A very good book. I received this book from I gave it 5 stars. Follow us at

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