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Soviet "Lone-wolf" fighter ops

Discussion in 'Eastern Europe' started by Heartland, Mar 25, 2003.

  1. Heartland

    Heartland Member

    Oct 7, 2002
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    Ivan Kozhedub:

    "I was upset by my new appointment but only until I found out that I could fly with aces who went on lone-wolf operations. Day in and day out, we would fly in the morning and analyze our sorties back at the squadrons at noon. At 9 p.m., we used to gather in the canteen, where the commander gave an account of the results of the day. In this regiment, I also began to team up with Dmitry Titarenko. The 176th Guards Fighter Regiment carried out 9,450 combat missions, of which 4,016 were lone-wolf operations; it conducted 750 air battles, in which 389 enemy aircraft were shot down.[...]

    On February 19, 1945, 1 was on a lone-wolf operation together with Dmitry Titorenko to the north of Frankfurt. I noticed a plane at an altitude of 350 meters (2,170 feet). It was flying along the Oder at a speed that was marginal for my plane. I made a quick about-face and started pursuing it at full throttle, coming down so as to approach it from under the "belly." My wingman opened fire, and the Me-262 (which was a jet, as I had already realized) began turning left, over to my side, losing speed in the process. That was the end of it. I would never have overtaken it if it had flown in a straight line. The main thing was to attack enemy planes during turns, ascents or descents, and not to lose precious seconds. [...]

    On the evening of April 17, we went on a lone-wolf operation over the suburbs of Berlin. All of a sudden we saw a group of 40 Fw-190s with bomb loads, flying at an altitude of 3,500 meters in our direction. We climbed to the left and flew behind them under the cover of clouds. The odds were obviously not in our favor, but we still decided to attack since the enemy aircraft were heading for our troops. At maximum speed, we approached the tail of the formation, out of the sun. I opened fire almost point-blank at the wingman of the last pair of aircraft. The first Fw-190 fell into the suburbs of the city. Several planes turned to the west, while others continued their flight.

    We decided to drive a wedge into the combat formation and break it up. Making a steep dive, we swept past enemy planes. As often happened in such cases, the Nazis thought that there were a lot of us. Confused, they started jettisoning bombs. Then they formed a defensive circle--each fighter covering the tail of the one in front of him--and began to attack us. Titorenko skillfully downed the plane that followed me. At that point, we saw our fighters and we turned for home. But suddenly, we saw yet another Fw-190 with a bomb. Apparently, the pilot had received a warning, for he made a quick dive and jettisoned his bomb over the suburbs of Berlin. But I still reached him on the recovery from his dive. The plane literally burst in the air. We made a good landing but our fuel tanks were completely empty. After that battle, I brought my personal score of downed Nazi planes to a total of 62."

    Quite interesting tales to me. Does anyone know any good sources on Soviet lone-wolf operations? I suspect the later volumes of the Black Cross/Red Star series will detail them when they come out, but until then...?


    Feb 2, 2003
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    Looks cool man!

    I never heard of lone wolf, but it sure sounds interesting.
  3. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

    May 13, 2001
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    Ivan was a very skilled and excellent pilot.

    suggest viewing: The painting of his a/c and the downing of the Me 262 by Jerry Crandall

    Jerry interviewed Ivan at length for this.


    not sure just where under paintings but it is there, have a look !


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