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The Billy Bishop credability debate

Discussion in 'Non-World War 2 History' started by Siberian Black, Nov 8, 2006.

  1. Siberian Black

    Siberian Black New Member

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    Basically, Billy Bishop is credited with a record 72 kills while flying which AFAIK makes him also the highest scoring pilot of WW1. The debate is wheather he actually made the kills or exagerated them.

    On a side note, he also claimed to have duelled the famed Baron von Richthofen....and tied.

    Here's the link to that site: http://www.acepilots.com/wwi/can_bishop.html

    I have other references to the combat report on at the top, so that at least, might not be as exagerated as they imply.
     
  2. smeghead phpbb3

    smeghead phpbb3 New Member

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    I dont see why he should be less creidble than the Baron... most of those kills were probably 'easy pickings' reconissance aircraft and the like(which were usually unarmed) the same applied to the red Baron, fighters accounted for the minority of his tally...

    Also on a side note, Manfred Von Richtofen is credited with 80 kills, and the second highest scoring ace of the war is Frenchman Rene Fonck with 75 kills... Bishop was not No.1
     
  3. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    Billy Bishop is the highest-scoring 'Britain & Commonwealth' ace, rather than the highest-scoring WW1 ace.
     
  4. Siberian Black

    Siberian Black New Member

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    Silly me, forgetting that.....
     
  5. smeghead phpbb3

    smeghead phpbb3 New Member

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    Sorry, you're forgetting about Edward Mannock who IIRC had 73 kills to his name... Bishop still isnt tops :wink: even when you restrict the number to commonwealth aces

    I believe we have just cycled through the top four aces of WWI. Richtofen 80, Fonck 75, Mannock 73, Bishop 72... Interesting that three of them should be allied given that the typical German Fighter Pilot was vastly more skilled than the typical Allied pilot... WW1 air losses reflected this, During WW1

    26,637 German aircraft
    52,640 French aircraft
    and
    35,973 Commonwealth aircraft
    were lost to all causes...

    This is not speaking of Austro-Hungarian, Italian or American losses, which were negligable in comparison...
     
  6. Canadian_Super_Patriot

    Canadian_Super_Patriot recruit

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    The french seem to take the heaviest loses in just about everything.
     
  7. majorwoody10

    majorwoody10 New Member

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    the french are brave enough as soldiers ..they always seem to draw inept leadership somehow....haveing the royal navy on one border and the german army on the other wasent the best luck in geography either...the poor french infantry entered ww1 wearing red pants and sky blue coats...almost as if the uniform was ordered by the gunnery instructors of the german army...one fench officer was so disgusted by the military fiasco of the franco prussian war that he switched sides and emigrated to germany ...his son became the greatest u boat ace of all time...it seems to me the french have been without a great commander ever since the small corsican died of strichnine poisoning on elba...
     
  8. Castelot

    Castelot New Member

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    What do you mean by always.
    For example in 1806, the french army defeated the prussian army in only 2 days, and Napoleon conquered Prussia in a few weeks.Does that lead you to say that somehow the prussian/german army always draws inept leadership....??







    They did however not stop France from expending it's borders continously for 1000 years....
    "The most militarily sucessfull nation, the French...."(Sir Basil Lidell Hart, british military historian)
    Ever wondered why all western armies still today use rank insigna and terminology inspired by french.(Sergeant, Colonel, Lieutenant, Brigade, Division, Combat, Marines.....)

    Ever wondered why for centuries, most of Europe formed huge coalitions against France?




    Well,in the century following Napoléon France defeated 3 european great powers.

    -Russia during the crimean war.(Technically it was an alliance that defeated the russians, but historians agree that the french army played the most important role on the allied side)

    -Austria in the war of italian independence of 1859.

    -Germany in WW1.(Again as part of an alliance, but again french forces were the most important in the alliance at least as far as figthing on land is concerned.)

    I seriously doubt this could have been achieved without some great commanders....
     
  9. Siberian Black

    Siberian Black New Member

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    Are Edward Mannock's kills accepted? wouldn't make sense if they were and Bishop's aren't. Canadians took the 'impossible' Vimy ridge remember.

    Random guy: Vimy got taken
    French guy: C'est imposible (That's imposible)
    Random guy: the Canucks did it
    French guy: Les Canadiens? C'est possible! (The Canadians? It is possible!)

    Some goofy French soldier actually said that (his lines not random guy's)
     
  10. Gunter_Viezenz

    Gunter_Viezenz New Member

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    Loss of aircraft is neither a death or pilot or kill by enemy planes. COuld be killed by infantry, accidental, or collision among others.
     
  11. Siberian Black

    Siberian Black New Member

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    And yet we have Richtofen with 80, Fonck with 75, Mannock with 73.... All those kills are granted without any complaining about it 80-some years later. Then we have Bishop with his 4th place score of 72 and we have peopl around the globe going "Absolutely not, buddy. There's no way you could have gotten that many"

    Doesn't add up does it?
     
  12. majorwoody10

    majorwoody10 New Member

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    ive heard bishops claims questioned quite a bit ...mostley based on opinions of his comrads...there must be something to it.....castlelot , aside from the corsican artillery expert , who were these great french feild commanders ...bleedin france white against the barbed wire and spadaus of the germans is imo great military genious...
     
  13. majorwoody10

    majorwoody10 New Member

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    oops sry ..i ment NOT great military genious
     
  14. Castelot

    Castelot New Member

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    [/quote]


    Please tell me where I said that french military leaders in WW1 were geniouses??But then who were the geniouses in the german, the british, the russian armies in that period?
    Too bad the allies chose one of those inept french as supreme commander of the allied forces in 1918....

    You are claiming that the french always since Napoléon had inept military leadership.
    I gave you examples of three wars where the french military defeated 3 major military great powers after 1815.
    And you haven't answered my question.Do you really believe that could have been achieved with inept military leadership??
     
  15. smeghead phpbb3

    smeghead phpbb3 New Member

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    The French were no less militarily inept than any other nation in WW1... each side had their fair share of infantry charges, and all nations' leaders were suffering from an Operation-Gericht-complex... Operation-Gericht being the offensive launched by the Germans with the objective of "killing more than one loses" - this should give you an idea about how commanders thought in those days. Indeed I would say that it was France who played the largest role in defeating Germany and Austro-Hungary, thought doubtless they could not have done it without Britain, given their early-war performance in which Paris was almost taken...

    Do not let the air losses of French and Commonwealth aicraft decieve you, this disparity in losses did not reflect the situation on the ground... Overwhelming losses in favour of Germany were not suffered in the trenches, indeed it was about 1:1... The only reason that the Germans remained so successful in the air was due to their own Operation-Gericht-complex, and ultimately it lost them the air war... I would argue that despte France's losses in the air, it was them and not Britain who won air superiory through their superior aircraft doctrine.

    The problem with the German air doctrine was numbers. German Staffels could never have hoped to match the allies for numbers in the air, France's production of aircraft was simply enormous in contrast to Germany's, and Britain was not far behind her... Thus the Germany approach to aviation was similar to that of General von Falkenhayn's in Gericht... The German's organised all aircraft into Jagdgeschwader; huge concentrations of 50 or more aircraft which would sweep the skies of any allied aircraft... The most famous of these was Jagdgeschwader Nr1, "Richtofen's Flying Circus"... The effect of organising flights into large Jagdgeschwader was that wherever the Germans were in the air, they were likely to win... the downfall of the Jagdgeschwader was that having units with so many planes meant that there were simply not enough units to cover the entire front, so Naturally the French threw up their aircraft everywhere they could in smaller less numerous units; the Jagdgeschwader could not be everywhere at once, but everywhere they were, they won... France however had aircraft everywhere, and as long as the Jagdgeschwader were few in number, most of their aircraft were safe, and France had complete air superiority everywhere except where German staffels were operating, and it was this which eventually won them the air war.

    By spreading her air forces thin, and taking enormous losses to the Germans, the French and British were able to attain complete-air-superiority in all places expect the few where Jagdgeschwader were actually operating... Eventually, due to the huge advantage in production, the French and British, through sheer numbers, wore away the Jagdgeschwader, whose industry was incapable of replacing their losses, unlike France's... I would say that despite the fact that the French took such huge losses, their air doctrine superior to that of the Germans... Again, the Germans were, too tactically minded and only had the goal of killing enemy fighters... The French however had the conpcet of coverage and air superiority in mind... Except for the few places where German Jagdgeschwader were operating, the French had complete air superiority, and were more or less free to send up observation aircraft and bombers without losses... German observation aircraft were shot down on sight by one or two French fighters unless there was a Staffel operating in the immediate area to protect them... The Germans were at a severe observational disadvantage wherever the Allies had air superiorty, which was most of the Front...

    I am not saying the French Escadrilles never defeated a German Staffel or anything :wink: this is just a rather broad overview of how air tactics differed between the two countries... IMHO the French approah was better from a logistical and a strategic point of view, and (as ever) the German strength was in tactics
     
  16. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    And, if Biggles books have not lied to me, German fighters tended not to operate over enemy country, while British & French regularly patroled out over no-man's land and over the German trenches.
     
  17. Canadian_Super_Patriot

    Canadian_Super_Patriot recruit

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    They took the brunt of casualties, but the other nations in the alliance made more progress.They did, however, hold up german forces on their frontiers. That austrian war of 1859 was in favour of france because 1.their napoleanic era tactics still had some weight and 2.austria was just as badly led as the french.As for the conquered nations bit, well, these were pigmys and arabs with spears and arrows or marauding parties which were no match for France's firepower.

    Lost wars and very significant defeats of the frenc army: 7 year war, franco-prussian war , battle of France(1940), Dien Ben Phu(argubaly, the place was isolated and the french were outnumbered), most battles in ww1(they only survived due to british commonwealth and Russia), Trafalgar, italian wars , napoleonic wars(even though they achieved a huge amount of success in it's first few years) to name a some.
     
  18. Castelot

    Castelot New Member

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    Any source for that claim?What allied army actually was more sucessfull than the french one?



    Again, do you have any sources that say that french leadres in 1859 were bad, but won because the austrians were even worse....
    As I see it, those french leaders defeated a numerically superior force fielded by a european great power in just a few weeks.



    Which did not stop France from being victorious in 1945 and to occupy a large chunck of Germany.

    True, but others (US + China) weren't more sucessfull when they tried to defeat the vietnamese.


    Same for the russian and british armies who could never hope to defeat the germans without the french.


    You can take any random country, list it's defeats any make it look bad.
    Just take 3 other european continental great powers, comparable to France and look at their wars after 1850



    Austria:

    1859 against France :defeat
    1866 against Prussia : defeat
    1914-18 against allies : defeat


    Russia:

    1855 against allies: defeat
    1905 against Japan: defeat
    1914-17 against Germany+Austria :defeat
    1945 against Germany: victory
    1979-89 against Mujahedeen: defeat

    Germany:

    1870-71 against France: victory
    1914-18 against allies :defeat
    1939-45 against allies:defeat


    Does the fact that both Russia and Germany lost almost all the wars they fought lead you to say that their militaries were necessarily ineffective?
    Why that fixation with France?Maybe some Carillon or Fort Duquesne complex that haunts canadians....? :wink:


    Also, here's a list of battles fought by the french vs british in the 18-19th centuries, and it doesn't really support your point either:

    http://napoleonistyka.atspace.com/bayonet_battles.htm
     
  19. Canadian_Super_Patriot

    Canadian_Super_Patriot recruit

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    In ww1 , Russia started a second front with the germans thus re routing material and soldiers.

    In ww1 , France would have lost if it wasnt for the intervention of the allies.In ww2, France did relatively little against the germans in comparison to other countries.They simply rode in the tide of victory.

    As for germany , they were facing The soviet union , The united states, Britian and the commonwealth, The balkan states , and in the latter half of the war Italy.They had allies, but all they did was backtrack them.

    The anpoleonic wars should be left out because France was tactically brilliant but bit off more than they could chew.

    I'm looking deeper into the austro-sardinian war just to consolidate evidence in my favour.Expect a reply in regard to that soon.

    But theres no denying the french have been quite poorly led in the past.More so then other nations.


    Also, Im not referring to every war the french have fought in. they do have a history of quite poor leadership that seems to persist with them more than say Germany, Britian and her allies.
     
  20. FNG phpbb3

    FNG phpbb3 New Member

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    I know the Barons kills have been very carefully anaylised.

    I read a book detailing all his kills looking at his version of the events, the location of the kill and type of plane shot down and then cross referencing it directly with the allies records for pilots lost in that area and time and the allies accounts how they were lost.

    From that I recall the german records were actually fairly accurate and often a specific pilots name could be attached to each kill.

    However I also recall reading somewhere that the allies records were not quite as thorough during ww1 and as such don't stand well to such comparison often over rating the pilots.

    I think the germans needed each kill to be corroborated to count but the allies often accepted the individual word of the pilot. Though how this worked when the baron and other germans pilot did their lone patrols I don't know, though I assume by then these pilots were both trusted and had little to gain by lying being highly respected on both sides.

    FNG
     

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