Иван Никитович Кожедуб
|Nickname(s)||Батя ("Dad"), Борода ("Beard")|
|Born||8 June 1920|
Obrazhiyevka, Chernigov Governorate, Ukrainian SSR
|Died||8 August 1991 (aged 71)|
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
|Service/||Soviet Air Force|
|Years of service||1940–1985|
|Rank||Marshal of Aviation|
|Battles/wars||World War II Korean War|
|Awards||Hero of the Soviet Union (thrice)|
Ivan Nikitovich Kozhedub (Russian: Иван Hикитович Кожедуб; Ukrainian: Іван Микитович Кожедуб; 8 June 1920 – 8 August 1991) was a Soviet World War II fighter ace. Credited with over 60 solo victories by most historians, he is considered to be the highest scoring Soviet fighter pilot of World War II. He is one of the few pilots to have shot down a Messerschmitt Me 262 jet. He was made a Hero of the Soviet Union on three occasions (4 February 1944, 19 August 1944, and 18 August 1945). After the war he remained in the military and commanded the 324th Fighter Air Division during Soviet operations in the Korean War.
Kozhedub was born in the village of Obrazhiyevka, a settlement in the Chernigov Governorate (now Sumy Oblast, Ukraine), during the Russian Civil War. He was the youngest of five children in a Ukrainian family. For two years he attended a school for young workers, and in early 1940 graduated from the Shostka chemical technical school. Kozhedub learned to fly aircraft in the Shostkinsk aeroclub and joined the Soviet army in 1940. He graduated from the Chuguev Military Air School in 1941 at the start of the German invasion of the Soviet Union, but he was retained as an instructor. Kozhedub remained at the school for two years where he trained many young Soviet pilots.
Feeling his talents would be better used in combat, he requested a transfer to an operational unit and in March 1943 was posted, as a Senior Sergeant, to 240th Fighter Aviation Regiment, one of the first units to receive the new Lavochkin La-5.
His first combat mission was on 26 March 1943. He operated on the Voronezh Front and, in July over the Kursk battlefields. His first kill was a Junkers Ju 87 Stuka, shot down during the Battle of Kursk on 6 July 1943. By 16 August he had claimed eight air victories. He was promoted to Junior Lieutenant. Then his unit moved towards Kharkiv. At this time he usually flew escort for Petlyakov Pe-2 twin-engine bombers. He served as a fighter pilot in several areas (Steppe Front, 2nd Ukrainian Front, 1st Belorussian Front) and at different ranks, starting from senior airman up to deputy commander of his air regiment. He claimed his 61st and 62nd victories – his final claims of the War– over Berlin on 16 April 1945.
Kozhedub was attributed with the highest number of air combat victories of any Soviet pilot during World War II. He is regarded as the best Soviet flying ace of the war, and is associated with flying the Lavochkin La-7. He was reputed to have a natural gift for deflection shooting, i.e. aiming ahead of a moving target at the time of firing so that the projectile and target will collide.
Kozhedub's World War II record consisted of:
- 330 combat missions
- 120 aerial engagements
- 62 enemy aircraft shot down, including one Me 262 jet fighter (possibly Uffz Kurt Lange of 1./KG(J)54.)
Post war era
In 1949 Kozhedub graduated from the Air Force Academy.
In April 1951, promoted to Polkovnik (colonel), he commanded the 324th IAD (Fighter Air Division) and dispatched to Antung airfield on the China-North Korea border to fly the MiG 15 during the Korean War supporting the North Korean forces. He was not given permission to participate in combat missions. Under his leadership the 324th IAD claimed 239 victories, including 12 Boeing B-29 Superfortresses for the loss of 27 MiG-15s in combat and 9 pilots.
In 1956 he graduated from the High Command Academy, after which he was promoted to General. From 1971 he served in the Central Office of the Soviet Air Force and from 1978 in the general inspection group of the Ministry of Defense of the USSR. He was made an Aviation Marshal in 1985.
Kozhedub was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union three times (1944, 1944, 1945), seven Orders of the Red Banner, two Order of Alexander Nevsky, two Orders of the Red Star, Order of the Patriotic War First Class, and numerous medals. He was promoted to his final rank of Marshal shortly before retirement.
List of aerial victories
According to Soviet aces 1941—1945. The victories of Stalin's Falcons (Russian: Советские асы 1941—1945. Победы сталинских соколов) by Mikhail Bykov.
|1||06.07.1943||Ju 87||west of Zavidovka|
|2||07.07.1943||Ju 87||Gostishchevo station|
|3||09.07.1943||Bf 109||Krasnaya Polyana|
|4||09.07.1943||Bf 109||east of Pokrovka|
|10||09.09.1943||Bf 109||north of Iskrovka|
|11||30.09.1943||Ju 87||south-west of Borodayevka|
|12||01.10.1943||Ju 87||west of Borodayevka|
|13||01.10.1943||Ju 87||west of Borodayevka|
|16||02.10.1943||Ju 87||south-west of Andreyevka|
|17||02.10.1943||Ju 87||south-west of Andreyevka|
|18||04.10.1943||Bf 109||north-west of Borodayevka|
|19||05.10.1943||Bf 109||south-west of Krasny Kut|
|20||05.10.1943||Bf 109||west of Kutsevalovka|
|23||12.10.1943||Ju 87||north of Ploskoye|
|24||12.10.1943||Bf 109||south of Petrovka|
|25||12.10.1943||Ju 87||south of Domotkan|
|26||29.10.1943||Ju 87||Kryvyi Rih|
|27||29.10.1943||He 111||west of Budovka|
|29||30.01.1944||Bf 109||east of Nechayevka|
|30||30.01.1944||Ju 87||west of Lipovka|
|32||21.03.1944||Ju 87||Lebedyn — Shpola|
|34||19.04.1944||He 111||north of Iaşi|
|35||28.04.1944||Ju 87||south-east of Vulturu|
|38||03.05.1944||Ju 87||Târgu Frumos — Dumbrăviţa|
|39||31.05.1944||Fw 190||east of Vulturu|
|40||01.06.1944||Ju 87||Cuza Vodă|
|41||02.06.1944||Hs 129||west of Stânca|
|42||03.06.1944||Fw 190||Rediu Ului — Tătăr|
|43||03.06.1944||Fw 190||Rediu Ului — Tătăr|
|44||03.06.1944||Fw 190||north-west of Iaşi|
|47||22.09.1944||Fw 190||north-west of Strenči|
|48||22.09.1944||Fw 190||south-west of Ramnieki — Daksty|
|49||25.09.1944||Fw 190||north-west of Valmiera|
|50||16.01.1945||Fw 190||south of Studziana|
|51||10.02.1945||Fw 190||north-west of Mohrin airfield|
|52||12.02.1945||Fw 190||west of Kinitz|
|53||12.02.1945||Fw 190||west of Kinitz|
|54||12.02.1945||Fw 190||Kietzer See Lake|
|55||17.02.1945||Me 262||east of Alt Friedland|
|56||19.02.1945||Bf 109||north of Fürstenfelde|
|57||11.03.1945||Fw 190||north of Brünchen|
|58||18.03.1945||Fw 190||north of Küstrin|
|59||18.03.1945||Fw 190||north-west of Küstrin|
|60||22.03.1945||Fw 190||north of Zeelow|
|61||22.03.1945||Fw 190||east of Gusow|
|62||23.03.1945||Fw 190||Werbig station|
Alleged shooting down of two USAAF P-51 fighters
Kozhedub allegedly shot down two USAAF P-51 Mustang fighters in a friendly fire incident April 17, 1945. He encountered a group of American B-17 Flying Fortresses under attack by Luftwaffe aircraft. His aircraft was apparently mistaken by American escort fighters for the enemy and attacked. Kozhedub, having no other option, defended himself by shooting down two of the P-51s. So far, this story is not confirmed completely. Film footage exists that had been touted as Kozhedub's actual gun camera film from the event; however, the footage was shot using Zeiss equipment, which was used primarily by the Luftwaffe.
Honours and awards
- Thrice Hero of the Soviet Union (4 February 1944, 19 August 1944 and 18 August 1945)
- Two Order of Lenin (4 February 1944 and 21 February 1978)
- Seven Order of the Red Banner (22 July 1943, 30 September 1943, 29 March 1945, 29 June 1945, 2 June 1951, 22 February 1958, and 26 June 1970)
- Order of Alexander Nevsky (31 July 1945)
- Order of the Patriotic War 1st class (11 March 1985)
- Two Order of the Red Star (4 June 1955 and 20 October 1955)
- campaign and jubilee medals
- Nazarian, E. A. Маршал авиации Иван Никитович Кожедуб [Air Marshal Ivan Nikitovich Kozhedub]. Encyclopaedia of the Russian Ministry of Defence (in Russian). Retrieved 22 March 2016.
- Bourne, Merfyn (2013). The Second World War in the Air: The story of air combat in every theatre of World War Two. Troubador Publishing Limited. p. 263. ISBN 978-1-78088-677-0. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
- Shkadov, Ivan (1987). Герои Советского Союза: краткий биографический словарь I, Абаев - Любичев [Heroes of the Soviet Union: A Brief Biographical Dictionary, Abaev – Lyubichev]. Moscow: Voenizdat. p. 681. OCLC 313747315.
- Polak 1999, p. 178
- Polak 1999, p. 179
- Наш славетний земляк – Іван Кожедуб [Our glorious countryman – Ivan Kozhedub] (in Ukrainian). College library – SNAU. 2008. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
- Simonov & Bodrikhin 2017, p. 16-17.
- Bykov, Mikhail (2017). Все асы Сталина 1936–1953 гг (in Russian). Moscow: Litres. ISBN 9785457567221.
- Polak, Tomas; with Shores, Christopher (1999). Stalin's Falcons – The Aces of the Red Star. Grub Street. ISBN 978-1-902304-01-4.
- Simonov, Andrey; Bodrikhin, Nikolai (2017). Боевые лётчики — дважды и трижды Герои Советского Союза. Moscow: Фонд «Русские Витязи», Музей техники Вадима Задорожного. ISBN 9785990960510. OCLC 1005741956.