Talk:Ivan Kozhedub

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Old talk[edit]

The story of shooting down 2 P51s strikes me as a load of crap. The range of the lavochkin La5 is 475 miles (remember, this is the ROUND TRIP) range. The range of P51 is, say, 1700 miles with drop tanks. Additionally, the aircraft operated at vastly different altitudes - the La5 was pretty useless at altitude. Basically, the P51 story sounds like complete myth and there are no sources given. Therefore, i have removed it.

86.6.11.56 20:42, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

The source of his story is Kozhedub himself: Кожедуб И. Н. Верность Отчизне. Ищущий боя. — М.: Эксмо, 2006. ISBN 5-699-17415-X. "Additionally, the aircraft operated at vastly different altitudes - the La5 was pretty useless at altitude." Yes, also La5 must be useless against Me-262, but Kozhedub shot down two of them. It's simple if he was an ace, and his opponents were not. 83.220.239.49 (talk) 07:05, 28 November 2014 (UTC)

Ivan Kozhedub said himself: "Yankee are not the cowards, at all! But they like to shot everything they see and then ask what was it. I tried to help protecting their B-17, because the cover was lame. They attaked me - I've shot'em down "k jebeniam" (this is impolite obscene expression which means "completely", "move them to fucking bustards"). What I had to do?"

P-51s[edit]

Our goal is not to put our own opinions here, but rather to compile known facts from published sources. Therefore I'm removing the original research that's been added in place of the Kozhedub vs P-51 story, and leaving only the story, since only the story exists in any credible sources. Kozhedub himself retold it in much detail in his memoirs, and I'm not aware of any serious research done into the subject. If you're going to question the story, please quote from reliable sources, with attribution.

On a bit of my own personal original research, there reasons that have been put in the article by somebody are complete BS, and show woeful lack of understanding of the subject at hand.

First of all, Kozhedub was well within range of USAAF aircraft at several points in the war; for instance in 1944 he was responsible for VVS side of fighter operations during 8th AF's shuttle missions to Soviet airfield at Poltava. By April of 1944 Soviet and US aircraft operated within virtually the same airspace, and encounters were almost daily. On the day in question, there were missions to Magdeburg, 80 km away from Berlin, around the Elbe river, and to various targets in Czechoslovakia and Eastern Germany, all well within range of Soviet fighters. Given the Soviet airbases in April of 1945, La-7's range of 635 km put it within range of Paris, for God's sakes. Airspaces were well defined by both sides strayed into each other's paths, with many documented cases of both Soviet pilots mistaking P-51s for 109s, and US pilots mistaking Lavochkins for FW-190s.

The question of altitudes is also a non-question, since Kozhedub and other Soviet fighters flew at whatever altitudes they were likely to find opposition, and over Western Europe in April of 1945 it was significantly higher than over steppes of Russia two years prior.

Regarding the tactics, Kozhedub states in his memoirs that he didn't see the white stars on the aircraft he shot down until after the fact, so he apparently mistook them for 109s, which is quite understandable as he attacked them after seeing tracers pass over his head. I don't think you'll find many RoEs that call for a target to be visually identified after being attacked by it. And Kozhedub was not of the type to "just dive away" as the anonymous author suggests.

On the matter of the drop tanks, there's three possibilities: wrong footage; mechanical malfunction; or a forgetful pilot. All are within the realm of possibility, and neither can be used to discount the overall fact. On the purported footage, only one of the aircraft has a drop tank showing, and only one drop tank is seen.

There is indeed a 'ZEISS IKON' printed on the bottom of one of the guncamera films, but that's not printed by the camera, honestly, use your head, that's printed on the film at the film factory. I'm not aware of any research on the subject, but it's certainly not impossible that Soviets used captured German film in their gun cameras.

Finally, I'm also not finding any direct confirmation of these P-51s shot down, but there were certainly P-51s lost that day, and much more research needs to be done into the matter. The date needs to be definitely confirmed as April 17th, and the area where the kills were scored needs to be determined, and that needs to be compared to USAAF records. I'm assuming somebody did this at some point in the past, which is why the phrase shows up in every source. Unless somebody can research this again and definitely prove that there are no associated loss records, we need to fall back on all the previously published sources, all uniformly stating such records exist.

Flyboy Will 16:44, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

I strongly disagree. You have not provided any acutal evidence that the event DID happen. Rather, you simply provide potential evidence as to why in some hypothetical universe, it *could have* happened. YOu seem to miss the point of 'burden of proof.' The burden of proof is on the one who says it did happen. Since Kozhedub's story requires numerous stretches of the imagination, and NO real proof of the event has been given, I will replace my edits, though I welcome your "counterarguments" or refinements. however, to simply assume that the event happened because Kozhedub said so, given that no actual evidence has materialized is perverse and absurd.

86.6.11.56 17:20, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

Uh, you not only have a gross misunderstanding of the realities of the war in the air, you also have a gross misunderstanding of what wikipedia is about. I refer you to:
A memoir of the highest-scoring Allied ace of WWII is, by any measure, a reliable source. Your personal opinion on it does not matter. If you have other reliable, published sources that dispute Kozhedub's claims, provide them. Otherwise leave this article in peace.
Flyboy Will 06:09, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

"A memoir of the highest-scoring Allied ace of WWII is, by any measure, a reliable source."

I'm sorry, this just isn't true and you should be embarassed for making such a ludicrous claim. First of all, your claim is circular. You basically state that he is a reliable source because he is the highest scoring allied ace. Then, you claim that his kills are real because he is a reliable source. Stop spouting wikipedia theory to me and concentrate on the reality of the situation. Nishizawa, Sakai, the Flying Tigers, every Soviet Ace that has had their numbers stacked against German loss tables, American Aces, Japanese aces, all overclaimed, and often badly, and the overall claims in some theaters overstate enemy losses *including operational (accident) losses* by 2 or 3 to 1 in some places.. clearly, just because "some ace said so" isn't proof.

Notice that I haven't attacked Kozhedub's overall total cited here (though many would, because it probably wouldn't stand a thorough analysis just like Nishizawa's certainly wouldn't. Rather, I have poked my ire at one of the most obviously suspect parts of the legend - this P51 story, which relies upon multiple high improbabilities to be true AND there is a compelling reason to understand why the myth started (postwar cold-waresque tension) and was promulgated. Whatever you think about aces or kozhedub, the simple fact is that the story of the P51s does not pass the most basic tests of "reasonable doubt." And heck, look at me.. I'm a Ukrainian. I'd love for it to be true to bring more glory to some Ukrainians.

Yes, we are in the classic "memoirs vs historian" argument, but, really.. from your previous messages I thought you were smarter than that. Or do you want me to start making list of WW2 personalities with suspect memoirs? I dont think that wikipedia has enough bits for that.. let's see.. Schilling, Speer, Fuchida, George Gay... If i remember, even "Vasiliy Zaitzev" published a book.

86.6.11.56 17:47, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia is the wrong place for this debate. What you have here is your personal opinion on Kozhedub's memoirs. I'm not saying it's invalid in principle, and I'm not discussing its validity in general. Wikipedia is a collection of information from published sources. There's no published research into Kozhedub's claims that I'm aware of. Thus, until something like that is published and peer-reviewed, neither you nor me nor anyone else has any business putting our personal opinions on the main Kozhedub page. What I meant by "reliable source" is that it's reliable from Wikipedia's point of view, as there is no published source out there that questions its validity.
While in talk we can certainly talk this over to no end, but we can't possibly come to any conclusions. Rampant overclaiming by every air force in general cannot be used as a conclusive proof that any specific kill claim by a specific pilot was not factual. Yes, there are reasons to suspect some claims, and some claims are more suspect than others, but so what? This only matters on the large scale, not on the small scale such as the case here. We wont' be able to reach any conclusion by discussing these larger issues.
The only way to address this issue is to
  • Find more information on Kozhedub's claim: exact time, date, location;
  • Locate and interview any surviving VVS personnel that might have flown with Kozhedub that day, or were aware of squadron goings on the date (since Kozhedub claims no official records were kept);
  • Locate USAAF loss records for the given date;
  • If no exact match is found, rifle through USAAF mission records for the day, and locate any B-17 / P-51 missions to the general area;
  • Search through any encounter reports, and / or interview survivors of those missions, to see if there was at least some truth in the report, such as P-51s attacked by not shot down, or a friendly wing-waggling encounter with VVS, etc.
Personally, I am not entereing this debate with any kind of bias, and I generally don't have a particularly high opinion of Kozhedub. He was a very gifted pilot with exceptional skill in battle, but he wasn't a great human being and had no great skills outside of cockpit. His elevation due to his kill claims put him in a leadership position whereas he wasn't exactly a capable leader, and had a negative effect on the Soviet Air Force. In general it would have fared better without 62 additional Luftwaffe aircraft shot down, and without Kozhedub's input. But I'm not putting any of this on the page because my personal opinion, however educated it may be, does not belong on there. Neither does yours. If you feel strongly about the matter, go to the archives, talk to veterans, do some research, and have it published in one of the many aviation history magazines. It's a very interesting subject and I'm sure most editors will be happy to print it. Otherwise, like I said, our personal opinions simply do not belong. Flyboy Will 19:48, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

I think on most points, i agree with you, which is why, as I said, i have not attacked Kozhedub's highly contentious kills total. However, as it relates to the *specific* episode of the P51s, I am in whole agreement with you. Anything from your list, including most notably locating USAAF records or any reasonable substantiating evidence, woule be sufficient for Wikipedia's purposes. The problem that we have now is that there is a more credible alternative theory (occam's razor) that explains that particular event, which is post-war cold-war one-upmanship. Given the leaps of improbability that you have to make for the event to be considered true, the notion that the story is apocryphal fits the bill most perfectly. I doubt very much that this is a "personal opinion" of mine that i am pushing - it is simply a matter of the facts, as we know them. There is NO credible corroborating evidence to the event (and of course it is not possible for me to prove a negative with 'non events'), and indeed there is a much more plausible scenario that the event did not happen. Therefore, it should be left out. Encyclopedias do not print "John Smith was abucted by aliens because he told his psychiatrist about this because aliens exist." rather, they stick with a plausibility hypothesis, which is that "While scientists hold open the possibility that aliens exist, the prevailing consensus is that reported cases of alien abductions can be traced to childhood trauma, including, often, sexual molestation."

You continue to be wrong wrong wrong about things being a 'personal opinion'. This is simply fitting the best evidence to the facts. Likewise, while you are correct that your opinion that the VVS might have been better without him as a leader does not belong in wikipedia, certainly a consideration that he was a bad leader, if this represents historical consensus, does.

86.6.11.56 08:55, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

Are there any published sources that dispute Kozhedub's claims? No? Then that information does not belong on the page, per wikipedia policies above.

Flyboy Will 16:28, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

I see that some of you, people, are taking this just personaly. If there was some battle, where Kozhedub was shot down two German aircrafts, why you wouldn't start debates here? Wat's so special about two P-51's? As this story should be treated carefuly I would remove from the article such "against statements" as "Lavochkin has shorter range", "He just need to dive" and so on.--Oleg Str 11:28, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

Apart from these 62 victories, Ivan Kozhedub also was forced to shoot down two U.S. P-51 Mustangs that mistakenly attacked his La-7 on one occasion. Both these P-51 losses have been verified by USAAF sources. http://www.flymig.com/pilots/ivan.nikitovich.kozhedub.htm Took me 10 seconds and google to find that these claims are apparently independently verified and its pretty clear by the tone of the person claiming this event didn't happen that they merely have a personal vendetta to get this stricken from the record without any serious reasons as to why. Just my 2cents ... if I had a source that was more credible then flymig.com I'd have put it in the article rather then discussion. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 58.106.231.15 (talk) 06:47, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

Claiming that something has been "independently verified" is different than having actual verification of an event. If the memoir is the original (and only) source of the story, it's not a matter of the story not being "confirmed completely"; it isn't confirmed in the least. 209.244.31.35 (talk) 05:43, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

Request for Comment[edit]

Ivan Kozhedub is the highest scoring allied ace of WWII. 86.6.11.56 feels very strongly about a certain well-known claim made by Kozhedub in his memoirs, and disputes it based on, basically, general principle. All his stated reasons are original research. There's no published source disputing Kozhedub's claims. See the P-51 section above for history of debate. I was unable to explain to 86.6.11.56 that POV original research does not belong in wikipedia. Flyboy Will 16:32, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

It seems to me that the article in general is poorly sourced. Even the claim that you both seem to agree on, that he is the highest scoring allied ace of WWII is not sourced. So to begin with, I would at least add the sources that you agree upon. Next, if Kozhedub is as famous and as good as you both seem to think, I just don't know, then there should be independent sources to back up the claims. I wouldn't think the memoir would be anathema except as a stand alone source for otherwise non-verified claims. Autobiographies are notorious for self-aggrandizement. Are there other sources? Please add them. I travel in Russia and I am well aware of the honor given to their service people. Certainly this one deserves a well researched article. JodyB talk 17:13, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
OK good call, I'll just rewrite the whole thing and source it, but I'm just afraid that right after I'm done the whole original research P-51 thing will crawl in there anyway. Flyboy Will 21:27, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
Well, my point is that its hard to complain about someone else' lack of sources when you have the same issue. Frankly, this is a fascinating article and I'm going to enjoy watching it develop. The two of you are very knowledgeable about the man and I'm sure its goign to come together in a fine way. Let me know if I can help you guys. JodyB talk 00:15, 12 May 2007 (UTC)

P-51 dogfights plausible[edit]

Erich Hartmann, in the Blond Knight of Germany, said that there were at least a couple of instances of them diving through an Allied formation shooting down American P-51's and B-17's, then going through the a layer of Soviet aircraft and shooting some of them down. In the resulting confusion Hartmann's group would break off the attack and he would look back to see US and Soviet aircraft fighting each other, each thinking that the other had attacked them. Hartmann didn't know if Kozhedub was in any of these formations, but his observations lend credibility to Kozhedub's claims. XXVII (talk) 16:45, 29 July 2010 (UTC)

It happened in the Czech Republic in April 1945. Very interesting. Perhaps Hartmann was watching the fight between the Yankees and Kozhedub. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 91.193.164.246 (talk) 14:48, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
Erich Hartmann has never published an article or a book Blond Knight of Germany! — Preceding unsigned comment added by 91.12.99.211 (talk) 16:07, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

Early life[edit]

  • The Ukraine was occupied by Russia during the war - Typical nonsense! Likewise, according to this logic: Vietnam and Cambodia was occupied by China or Russia! Because it was the period of the Communist government in Cambodia and Vietnam, thus Cambodian Khmer Rouge - is Russian or Chinese?! Is this true? However, Сommunism - this is not a synonym for Russia! Because Ukraine had its ukrainian communists (As well as Cambodia and Vietnam). Because, in the period of the USSR: Russia has a наме RSFSR (the Russian Federation), while Ukraine has a name: The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic! The the village of Obrazhiyivka, a settlement in the Sumy region - this is The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic! (Obrazhiyivka - is not the the Russian Federation)--92.112.240.179 (talk) 14:56, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

Need advice on removing part of the P-51 controversy[edit]

Hey. I don't mind original research as long as it makes sense and cites where that information was found. (Against or not against the rules, that's up to you people who make the rules to decide). But one thing that absolutely doesn't make sense in this story are the droptanks and since it is held up as the main argument then the whole story faulters. So here's my question: If the drop tanks were normally removed but we see here that some aircraft is attacking the P-51, then what does it matter? How is it an argument that it can't e a Soviet Aircraft attacking the P-51s because they have droptanks but it is not an argument that it can't be a german (or any other) aircraft attacking them? Clearly an aircraft is attacking them and clearly at least one has droptanks. It's a moot point. 79.136.64.95 (talk) 05:50, 4 April 2014 (UTC)