Erich Alfred Hartmann (1922-1993) was a distinguished German fighter pilot during World War II, with an unrivaled record of 352 Allied aircraft downed.
Hartmann flew 1,404 combat missions and engaged in aerial combat 825 times.
Remarkably, despite multiple forced crash-landings due to mechanical issues or damage from enemy aircraft debris, he was never downed by enemy action.
Hartmann joined the Luftwaffe in 1940 completing his fighter pilot training in 1942.
He improved his fighting tactics under the Luftwaffe’s most seasoned fighter pilots and gained an impressive array of accolades including Germany’s highest military decoration, the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds.
After Germany’s surrender in the war, Erich Hartmann was taken prisoner by the Red Army and was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment on war crimes charges, serving 10 years before his release in 1955.
The charges were posthumously dropped by the Russian Federation in 1997. Hartmann later joined the West German Air Force and became a civilian flight instructor after retirement.
He passed away in 1993, leaving behind a legacy as the most successful fighter ace in aerial warfare history.
Below are some of the top quotes by Erich Hartmann.
Best Erich Hartmann Quotes
The weapon where the man is sitting in is always superior against the other. ~ Erich Hartmann.
See, decide, attack, reverse. ~ Erich Hartmann.
Of all my accomplishments I may have achieved during the war, I am proudest of the fact that I never lost a wingman. ~ Erich Hartmann.
In combat flying, fancy precision aerobatic work is really not of much use. Instead, it is the rough maneuver which succeeds. ~ Erich Hartmann.
If he is superior then I would go home, for another day that is better. ~ Erich Hartmann.
War is a place where the young kill one another without knowing or hating each other, because of the decision of old people who know and hate each other, without killing each other. ~ Erich Hartmann.
I opened fire when the whole windshield was black with the enemy . . . at minimum range . . . it doesn’t matter what your angle is to him or whether you are in a turn or any other maneuver. ~ Erich Hartmann.
It was my view that no kill was worth the life of a wingman. . . . Pilots in my unit who lost wingmen on this basis were prohibited from leading a [section]. The were made to fly as wingman, instead. ~ Erich Hartmann.
Every day kill just one, rather than today five, tomorrow ten . . . that is enough for you. Then your nerves are calm and you can sleep good, you have your drink in the evening and the next morning you are fit again. ~ Erich Hartmann.
Top Erich Hartmann Quotes
You can have computer sights of anything you like, but I think you have to go to the enemy on the shortest distance and knock him down from point-blank range. You’ll get him from in close. At long distance, it’s questionable. ~ Erich Hartmann.
One thing I’ve learned is this: Never allow yourself to hate a people because of the actions of a few. Hatred and bigotry destroyed my nation, and millions died. I would hope that most people did not hate Germans because of the Nazis, or Americans because of slaves. Never hate, it only eats you alive. Keep an open mind and always look for the good in people. You may be surprised at what you find. ~ Erich Hartmann.
Once committed to an attack, fly in at full speed. After scoring crippling or disabling hits, I would clear myself and then repeat the process. I never pursued the enemy once they had eluded me. Better to break off and set up again for a new assault. I always began my attacks from full strength, if possible, my ideal flying height being 22,000 ft because at that altitude I could best utilize the performance of my aircraft. Combat flying is based on the slashing attack and rough maneuvering. ~ Erich Hartmann.
So these were the 12 top Erich Hartmann quotes and sayings.