Sunday, January 6, 2008

More on the Russian P-39

My friend Partha wrote to dispute my comment that Russian pilots did well against the German Luftwaffe. He writes:

Your stories about "the recovery of the ill fated Airacobra from the Russian lake were both interesting to read. Even after so many years, how all the details about the ferrying of this particular aircraft just going by the serial number, could be collected, is very interesting.

Your observation that 'several outstanding Russian pilots flying the P 39 were able to rack up massive kills against the Germans flying superior aircraft' seems to be your imagination. As far as I know, the Germans simply dominated the skies of the East and particularly the Jagdgeschwaders such as Erich Hartmann's were able to wipe out entire Russian air fleets. Compared to these sky knights, only a few, i.e. very few Russians such as Ivan Kozhedub could do some damage to the Luftwaffe. In fact, even on his last combat sortie, Hartmann could claim at least four victories, and some of his victims were flying American birds."
Thanks for the comments, Partha. I have added photos of both Erich Hartmann and Ivan Kashedub to today's post as well.

Hartmann had 356 victories in the war. A good site to read more about Erich Hartmann is: His victories are listed at

Kazhedub had 62 victories in the war, and was the top ace of the Russian Air Force. An excellent biography and victory list for this Russian ace is found at this link:

1 comment:

Steven said...

Hi! I'm sorry but this guy is just plain wrong. There at least 5 Soviet aces with higher scores than Richard Bong while flying P-39s alone. The Germans did not enjoy total air supremacy on the East. The Soviets also enjoyed the only fighter in which the Luftwaffe ordered that combat with it must be avoided. The Yak-3.

A number of German pilots scored very well against Soviet and Polish aircraft on the East Front. But, as Speer mentions himself, Allied strategic bombing of critical fuel depots spelled the end for German air supremacy even before D-Day had occurred.