With a staggering 352 aerial victories, Erich Hartmann is the top ace of Word War II. Flying in his Messerschmitt Bf 109, few enemies could provide a challenge the to the legendary pilot. Bestowed the title of The Black Devil by the Russians and decorated as Germany’s top fighter pilot, he earned Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords as well as Diamonds presented to him by Adolf Hitler.
German pilots did not have the luxury of sitting out fights over their homeland Hartmann flew over 1,400 combat missions. Hartmann learned not to fear Russian pilots but had a greater respect for Americans due to their superior technology.
His technique brought him into the fray against other pilots and wouldn’t fire until he was so close that he nearly crashed into them. A simple yet very effective technique allowed Hartmann to conserve ammunition and acquire a larger target area against enemies. Even claiming his final aerial victory against enemy fighters as Russia overtook Berlin he fought to the bitter end. Erich Hartmann was untouchable as a pilot and he has gone down in time as the greatest pilot of World War II.