Hermann Wilhelm Göring (January 1893 – 15 October 1946) was a German politician, military leader and convicted war criminal. He was also a fighter ace and a recipient of the coveted “Blue Max” during World War 1.

An “ace” is usually taken to mean one who has shot down at least five enemy aircraft. However, the number of aircraft shot down by an individual fighter pilot is often problematic: claims of victory are sometimes based on sketchy evidence; the target may have been damaged but not destroyed; more than one aircraft may have been involved in shooting down the enemy. That is why the evidence is sometimes presented as a range rather than one specific number. German records show that Hermann Göring finished the war with 22 victories; post-war examination of Allied records showed that only two of his awarded victories were doubtful, three were possible and 17 were certain, or highly likely.

On completing a pilot's training course in 1916, Göring was immediately assigned to a fighter squadron. He was soon seriously wounded in the hip, an injury from which it took nearly a year for him to recover; he was then transferred to another squadron in February 1917. On 14 July 1918 he became commander of the prestigious “Jagdgeschwader” 1, the fighter wing formerly led by Manfred von Richthofen, “the Red Baron”.

This record is easily overlooked today, when Hermann Göring's name is immediately associated with his activities in the Second rather than the First World War.

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