USA fighter planes clash with soviet planes

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josin
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USA fighter planes clash with soviet planes

Post by josin » 19 Apr 2003 04:02

I am trying to find out if it is true that towards the end of WWII (or perhaps right after it), P-38 Lightning planes had a non-amiable encounter with Soviet planes.
I read about this years ago. I believe it happened over Yugoslavia.
Any related info will be appreciated.
- josin

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megjur
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Post by megjur » 21 Apr 2003 05:38

Yes there was a P-38 vs. Yak 9 clash over Yugolslovia and P-51 yak clash over germany where the Yak was victorious. This occurred because the P-51 mistook the Yak for a German plane and the Russian pilot acted in self defense. I don't currently have the details on the P-38 incident but I'll work on finding out the facts there. After the war, Italian P-38's had clashes with Russian planes over the Balkans too. In the Pacific, Russian pilots shot down a B-29 under suspicious circumstances over Korea when the B-29's were attempting to drop food aid to American POW's in the closing stages of the war.

josin
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Post by josin » 21 Apr 2003 18:57

megjur wrote:After the war, Italian P-38's had clashes with Russian planes over the Balkans too.
hi megjur,
(a bit off topic) Could you please provide some details on that, OR where to look it up ?

thanks - josin

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megjur
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Post by megjur » 22 Apr 2003 23:05

Don't have much info on the Italian P-38s except the dates shot down, one was 10/27/48 and another was shot down over Yugoslovia on 10/13/51.
As to P-38 infor vs. the Russians the last U.S. plane shot down in the Eurpoean theater came after the end of the war. On 5/9/45 an F-5, photo recon version of the P-38 went on a mission to find POW camps in Czechoslovokia. After flying near an airfield in Prague the pilot, Tom Petrus, came under anti aircraft fire. He flew away from the airfield, chalking up the fire to mistaken identity, however a few minutes later he was jumped by several Yaks and shot down. He bailed out, was taken captive by the Russians and held at an airbase, unable to contact the Americans. His wnigman had seen his plane go down , but did not see the parachute so Petrus was deemed MIA. He was held under guard and rudely treated until, with the help of a local Czech he was able to escape and make it back to American lines. What excuse the Russians could have had for mistaking a sky blue painted twin boom aircraft with white stars on it for anything flown by the now surrendered Germans is beyond me.

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Tim Smith
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Post by Tim Smith » 23 Apr 2003 15:04

The P-38, as far as I know, was never supplied to the Soviets via Lend-Lease. Thus presumably the Soviets would not be very familiar with it.

The only twin-boom aircraft most Soviet gunners and pilots had ever seen was the Focke-Wulf Fw189 - a twin-engined recon aircraft which had seen much use over the Eastern Front.

However, so long after the end of the war, the Soviets could not have thought the plane was German. It was foreign and it was flying in their airspace without permission - reason enough to shoot it down as far as they were concerned. It was obviously a 'spy' plane.

The Soviets were extremely suspicious of the Western Allies even in 1945, and did not appreciate Western aircraft flying in their zone.

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megjur
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Post by megjur » 23 Apr 2003 20:06

With allies like that who needs enemies! Thats just one of many "friendly fire" incidents involving our Soviet collegues at the wars end. The B-29 over Korea was another one, this happened in late August of '45.

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Post by Zeydlitz » 28 Apr 2003 16:41

Someone in the RAF said in '41 or '42 (with reference to the "discussion" between the RAF and the USAF wether to bomb Germany in daylight or at night) that "Fighting alone is hard, but having allies is hell!"

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megjur
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Post by megjur » 05 Jun 2003 02:29

I finally found the P-38 vs. Yak battle. In November of 1944, the U.S. 15th Air Force was operating out of Foggia Italy and crossing the Adriatic to support Soviet operations in Yugoslovia. Col. C.T. "Curley" Edwinson led a flight ot strafe German positions as he had done a day earlier. The Russians however, had failed to communicate the fact that they had advanced many miles since the previous day and the P-38's began to strafe Russian positions. In doing so they were immediately set upon by a flight of Yaks which dove down and shot down 2 P-38's. Edwinson ordered his other pilots to cease the ground attack and engage the Yaks. 4 Yaks were quickly shot down and the remainder fled.
You can see in this attack that the Yaks showed up poorly when confronted by the American planes, and that despite the element of suprise and altitude being on the side of the Russians, the P-38's were able to quickly turn the tide of the battle.

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Post by mars » 05 Jun 2003 06:27

Sir: you had a few things got wrong, this air battle which occured on Nov 7 1944. First of all, in the military history, there was always confusion at the boundary of two army, just see how American "friendly" fire killed her own soliders in the Iraq war, you may more understand why these air clashed between Soviet and allied airforce happend.
Second, this airbatttle occured becasue American P-38s of USAAF 82 FG mistakely strafed the Soviet postions, caused heavy causalities, one Soviet Army Corp Commander was killed, and more than 100 men were killed and wounded, these Yak belonged to VVS 866 IAP, and they were Yak-1, vastly outdated in 1944, these Yak-1 only scrambled AFTER the Soviet ground forced were repeatly attacked, the result of this air combat was Soviet lost 3 Yak-1 shot down and 2 pilots killed, Soviet claimed shot down 3 P-38, according to American record, actually they lost 2 P-38 shot down by Fighter and one lost to AA, 2 American pilots were killed and the third was captured. And the result of this air combat was the American P-38s were driven away.

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Juha Hujanen
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Post by Juha Hujanen » 05 Jun 2003 17:31

A bit off-topic but in Raymond Toliver-The Blond Knight of Germany,the story of Erich Hartmann,is few cases of USA&Soviet fighter clashes.

In spring 45 Hartmann intercepts Soviet Boston and PE-2 bombers with some 25 Jak and P-39 escort near Prague.As he and 3 other German pilots are about attack them from below,he sees some USA Mustangs between Germans and Soviets.Germans attacked Mustangs and shot 3 down and dive thru Soviet formation and score hits to bomber.
Germans quickly dive away and notice how Soviet and USA fighters starts to fight.Soviets had most likely supposed that Mustangs had attacked them and in following clash 3 Jak's were shot down and 1 Mustang was escaping with cooling leak.

Another incident in same book was when 8.5.45 when Hartmann saw how Mustangs and Jak's engaged over Brunn.He saw no casualties.

Cheers/Juha

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Post by mars » 05 Jun 2003 19:02

Hartmann's last air combat in the " Blond Knight of Germany" was a very suspicious one, first of all, according to this books, this air combat occured at the Brno area, not Prague, and Hartman shot down a Soviet Yak fighter for his last victory, but according to Soviet VVS record, there was no Soviet fighter loss on that day in the air space of Czech, second, according to " Blond Knight of Germany", when this air combat occured, there were heavy combats in the Brno city, but Red army had already occuried Brno weeks ago, on May 8 Brunn was well behind the front line, and there was no ground combat in this area. Third, there were no any record from either Soviet or American archive which could prove any clash between Soviet and American airforce in Czech airspace at that time.

Please correct me if I am wrong, I believe above at least 99% of these clash between Soviet and alied airforce were caused by mis-identification, for those airmen who were killed by their ally at the end of the war, it was a sad tragic, and I believe neither side who participanted these air combat would feel pride of it.

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