A gunner ace would be someone who manned an AA gun on a ship, on the ground, or at the back of an aircraft, and got 5 or more kills (of enemy aircraft) over the course of the war.

Were there any such gunner aces in WW2 (did they even record such things so we know which person got a kill from which gun)? If so, did they ever talk about how or why they were so good, like what techniques they used? (other than leading the target).

Not really interested in any particular belligerent. German, Russian, Italian, British, French, Canadian, Japan, America, Dutch, many others too.

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    I would imagine that establishing exactly which gun from a battery hit a given plane would make the process of tracking individual kills difficult for much of the time. For example, when you see flim footage of kamikaze attacks on warships, there are literally dozens of guns being fired against the same target (often from multiple warships), how could you know who to credit with a kill?
    – Steve Bird
    Mar 1, 2018 at 9:30
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    remember that american bomber crews would not fly an unlimited number of missions. After a set number of successful missions (25 to 40 if I remember correctly), they would be sent to the US for a year or so. This was necessary as the loss rate was high, and to have the prospect of hundreds of missions would be equivalent as a death sentence. In the begginig of the bomber campain even surviving 25 missions was not easy.
    – Luiz
    Mar 2, 2018 at 19:37
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    My grandfather had the Kampfabzeichen der Flakartillerie, indicating at least 5 shoot-downs, but I understand that could be awarded both individually or up to the platoon level. He was awarded it during the France campaign in 1940, mostly in Dunkirk, from what little records I've been able to gather.
    – Marakai
    Nov 3, 2018 at 6:12
  • At least in the USAAF, total bomber kill claims were way inflated (kill claims are always inflated, but much more so for bomber crew). Therefore, it's likely that bomber gun crew aces really didn't shoot down five planes (although they may have contributed to downing them). Nov 5, 2018 at 22:32

1 Answer 1


War History Online has a page about air gunner aces. To summarise, they record 17 British or Commonwealth aces, 11 Americans, and one Italian. There was at least one German ace, Erwin Hentschel, long-serving rear gunner to Hans-Ulrich Rudel.

For ground gunners, the heavy weapons are usually operated by teams, so it's hard to credit an individual on anything larger than a 20mm auto-canon. I can't find any land aces, but there was apparently a German naval ace with 12 shoot-downs.

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