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Aces and Aviators International Database WW1


Data derived from many sources. Corrections/Additions requested through Helpdesk

As Defence Journal describes it, at the outbreak of the First World War (WW1) in 1914, military aviation consisted of light wooden bi/tri planes with maximum speeds of under 100 mph and very limited load carrying capacity.

Their roles were initially restricted to reconnaissance and artillery observations.

While there may not have been any air power doctrine on the eve of WW1, there was no shortage of alarming speculations about strikes from the sky, thanks to pre-war novels from H.G Wells and others.

Within seven weeks of WW1 beginning, Sopwith Tabloids of Britain's Royal Naval Air Service conducted an air raid on the Zeppelin (airship) sheds in Germany. A year later Germany retaliated when Zeppelins in turn bombed English cities.

The actual damage in all these raids may have been minimal but the psychological impact on civilians and populations was profound.

With both sides using increasing numbers of aircraft for reconnaissance, artillery observations and occasional bombing raids, the inevitable happened and aircraft started to shoot at each other to prevent the adversary from taking military advantage of the new medium. This marked the birth of fighter aircraft whose numbers proliferated whilst their performance took a quantum leap. The battle for control of the air had truly begun. The writing was clearly on the wall for military tactics and precepts that had stood for hundreds of years as the full flower of air power's potential to change the course of events and even win wars had to be acknowledged.

The Air War assumed a giant scale on both sides. By way of example, the British had upwards of 2,000 planes active by war end. And the war saw many tactics and strategies develop that were further developed in the Second World War.

Recovering names and details from over 100 years ago is a big task. If you have additions or corrections, or know of places we can contact to request their data, please let us know via the Helpdesk.

Searching here is powerful. Check the Search Tips first. You can search on single items (a surname for example, or a country) and you can search on combinations: thus a search on 'Australia and Camel' will find all records where BOTH Australia and Camel are mentioned.

You can search on 2 characters or more

Searching is possible on French squadrons, but with some care. The French named their squadrons for the plane each flew, thus N95 was a squadron flying Nieuport, SPA 150 flew the SPAD. To search for squadron N95 search for 'Nieuport N95'. Squadrons flying the Caudron were designated C50 for example, so in this case search for 'Caudron C50'.

Be aware we have used dozens of different sources. Some use special characters (such as umluats on German), others use Anglicized versions of the word. Thus some use Göring, and some use Goering. Try different approaches.

Countries/Nationalities Included: Agentina, Australia, Austro-Hungarian Empire, Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, Bulgaria, Canada, Canada Newfoundland, Canada French Canada, Chile, China, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Germany Bavaria, Germany Sudetenland, Great Britain (Wales, Scotland, Ireland separately listed), Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Mauritius, Mexico, Netherlands, Slovakia, Hungary, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Swaziland, Switzerland, Turkey Ottoman Empire, USA, Venezuela, Vietnam.

The reader is referred to a site of great scholarship on WWl aviation. airhistory.org is comprehensive and valuable.

Refer to Paul McGuiness RAAF Archive WW1
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You searched for: “fonck

#Name* (↑)First NamesRankAwardsCountry (↑)AllianceRoleVictoriesDetailsUnitsAir ServiceDeathNotes/AircraftSourcesLinksPhoto
1 FonckRéne PaulLt
Commandeur - Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur

Military Medal (France)

Croix de Guerre

Belgian Croix de Guerre

Military Cross

Military Medal
FranceAlliesPilot75[72+3] (+ 31 unoff.)SPAD SPA 95Aviation Militaire Française18/06/1953 Top Allied ace. Colonel René Paul Fonck (27 March 1894 – 18 June 1953) was a French aviator who ended the First World War as the top Allied fighter ace, and when all succeeding aerial conflicts of the 20th and 21st centuries are also considered, Fonck still holds the title of "all-time Allied Ace of Aces". He received confirmation for 75 victories (72 solo and three shared) out of 142 claims. Taking into account his probable claims, Fonck's final tally could conceivably be nearer 100 or above.

Archive Report
Citation: Médaille Militaire 1916: "A pilot of remarkable bravery and skill, having already engaged in a great number of aerial combats. On 6 August 1916, he resolutely attacked two strongly armed enemy planes, took on one in pursuit, and by a series of bold and skillful maneuvers, forced it to land uninjured within our lines. He has been cited in orders twice."
Citation Legion d-honneur 1917: "A fighting pilot of great value, combining outstanding bravery and exceptional qualities of skill and sang-froid. He came to pursuit aviation after 500 hours of flight on army corps aircraft and became, in a short time, one of the best French combat pilots. On 19, 20 and 21 August 1917, he shot down his 8th, 9th and 10th enemy aircraft. He has already been cited seven times in orders, and has received the Médaille militaire for feats of war."
Citation: Officier de Legioin d'honneur 1918: Officier de la Légion d'honneur "Remarkable officer from every point of view; of admirable fighting ardor. Pilot of the highest order, for reconnaissance missions and artillery range intelligence, as well as for surveillance service that he completed many times despite very unfavorable atmospheric conditions. He demonstrated, during the course of an uninterrupted series of aerial combats, an exceptional strength and will to win, which sets an example for the French chasse pilots of today. Has downed thirty six enemy planes. Seventeen citations, Médaille militaire and Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur for feats of war."
Citation: Certificate of Resistance 1948. "Mr. Fonck, René, a member of the fighting French forces without uniform, took part, in territory occupied by the enemy, to glorious fights for the liberation of the nation".
Bailey & Cony

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