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Old 4th June 2014, 07:49
Smithy Smithy is offline
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MiG-15 with dragon motif

Apparently the dragon artwork on Lt James Thompson's Sabre "The Huff" was inspired by a similar motif on an expertly flown enemy MiG-15.

I was wondering whether the identity of this MiG and her pilot has ever been ascertained. Does anyone know?

Thanks,

Tim
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Old 11th July 2014, 12:20
bearoutwest bearoutwest is offline
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Re: MiG-15 with dragon motif

http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showth...t=21472&page=2

Hi Tim,
Have you read this earlier thread on the subject? No conclusion three years ago, I wonder if any new info is available?

Regards, ...geoff
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Old 25th July 2014, 07:31
Smithy Smithy is offline
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Re: MiG-15 with dragon motif

Quote:
Originally Posted by bearoutwest View Post
http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showth...t=21472&page=2

Hi Tim,
Have you read this earlier thread on the subject? No conclusion three years ago, I wonder if any new info is available?

Regards, ...geoff
Thanks for that Geoff and sorry for my slow reply. I had missed that thread. I suppose this is a very tricky question. I am wondering whether this MiG, which was apparently the inspiration for The Huff, was possibly a PLAAF ship what with the importance of the dragon to Chinese culture.

Would be wonderful if the information eventually came to light.

Best,

Tim
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Old 26th July 2014, 06:24
bearoutwest bearoutwest is offline
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Re: MiG-15 with dragon motif

Hi Tim.
No problems with late reply - that's the wonderful thing about forums.

I just tend to wonder how much detail you'd actually see in a relatively high-speed, turning dogfight. Especially when the Sabres tended to be outnumbered, and effective gun ranges are at about 400m. Did Thompson see this during a lower speed pass near a shot down opponent when he had more time to "take in the view" without concern of other attackers? Or was it a glimpse of the side of a MiG-15 while it flashed past?

A big red buzz number on a fast moving silver MiG, does a 2582- look like a dragon?
2582
_


I agree that it's more likely to be a Chinese (or Korean) aircraft.....but in an oriental culture(s) which appreciate dragons, I think something that "cool" would be the subject of a lot of interest.....propaganda photos, profiles, noted in aviation texts, etc! Imagine the headlines..."Eastern Dragon Flyer smites Yankee Imperialists!". Of course it would have to be a four-toe dragon (of the common folk), not a five-toe Imperial dragon!

Have a look at the ACIG Journal site for some typical Russian, Chinese and PR Korean MiG-15 profiles and markings:
http://www.acig.org/artman/publish/article_317.shtml

Regards,...geoff
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Last edited by bearoutwest; 26th July 2014 at 06:41. Reason: Added comment
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Old 26th July 2014, 20:09
Smithy Smithy is offline
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Re: MiG-15 with dragon motif

Quote:
Originally Posted by bearoutwest View Post
Hi Tim.
No problems with late reply - that's the wonderful thing about forums.

I just tend to wonder how much detail you'd actually see in a relatively high-speed, turning dogfight. Especially when the Sabres tended to be outnumbered, and effective gun ranges are at about 400m. Did Thompson see this during a lower speed pass near a shot down opponent when he had more time to "take in the view" without concern of other attackers? Or was it a glimpse of the side of a MiG-15 while it flashed past?

A big red buzz number on a fast moving silver MiG, does a 2582- look like a dragon?
2582
_


I agree that it's more likely to be a Chinese (or Korean) aircraft.....but in an oriental culture(s) which appreciate dragons, I think something that "cool" would be the subject of a lot of interest.....propaganda photos, profiles, noted in aviation texts, etc! Imagine the headlines..."Eastern Dragon Flyer smites Yankee Imperialists!". Of course it would have to be a four-toe dragon (of the common folk), not a five-toe Imperial dragon!

Have a look at the ACIG Journal site for some typical Russian, Chinese and PR Korean MiG-15 profiles and markings:
http://www.acig.org/artman/publish/article_317.shtml

Regards,...geoff
Hi Geoff,

I don't know the specifics of Thompson's view of this supposedly dragon painted MiG, only some mentions in a couple of books by Dorr, Thompson, etc. The reason why it intrigued me is that nose art seems to have been exceedingly rare, almost non-existent on MiGs. Krylov and Tepsurkaev's book contains virtually no nose art, and although not exhaustive it seems that such artwork on Soviet MiGs in the theatre was possibly even unheard of. Which I suppose leaves Chinese and Korean MiGs and obviously here there is even less information, photos available and henceforth less research undertaken.

Maybe it was a case of a serial number (or even a PLAAF ship with a Chinese character phrase) being mistaken for such artwork but then it could be argued that there would probably have been more misidentifications of such things as nose art over the three years of engagements.

Perhaps it really was a PLAAF or Korean honcho and photos/information regarding him and his MiG are still buried in obscurity within the relative drought of info which exists on the other side of the conflict.

I suppose this is one of the intriguing (and infuriating) parts of studying the Korean air war, so much is unknown and yet to be, possibly, discovered.

Cheers,

Tim
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Old 9th May 2015, 22:29
Smithy Smithy is offline
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Re: MiG-15 with dragon motif

Sorry to bring this old chestnut up again but I was just reading Thompson's "MiG Alley" and 2Lt Jim Thompson's account of the dogfight with the "Dragon MiG". Very interestingly this dragon motif was confirmed via Thompson's gun camera footage. It was not a case of chinese lettering or numbering being mistaken but rather "a very elaborately painted dragon on the left side of the fuselage".

I was hoping that someone with access to the PLAAF or Soviet records could perhaps add something here (there is a member here, "RCheung", who in the thread regarding the downing of Sqn Ldr Hulse with the 336th FIS seemed to have a lot of this sort of information). We know that the action took place on the 18th May 1953 and the pilot of the Dragon MiG appeared to have made a successful ejection - Thompson noted that the chute had fully deployed and that as he passed the falling MiG that the aircraft was pilot-less.

If there is the remotest chance that in the Soviet or Chinese records (I hold out no hope for the NK records at this stage) list information regarding ejections on this date then we might be able to at least narrow the field as to whom this pilot might have been.

Thompson's account demonstrates that this pilot was not some run of the mill pilot but highly skilled and supremely aggressive. It would be wonderful to find out who this fellow was.
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Old 10th May 2015, 12:59
Graham Boak Graham Boak is offline
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Re: MiG-15 with dragon motif

I'd like to know a little more about the "confirmed via Thompson's gun camera footage". I'm surprised such a spectacular picture has not been published in the past 60 years. I do note that the majority of even published gun camera film was
1. taken from a fair distance
2. not of brilliantly clear quality
3. viewed from the rear.

To get a photo good enough to picture a marking on the side of the fuselage as "very elaborately painted" would seem to require something very different. It is indeed something that a pilot might briefly notice as he passed, but a gun camera?
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Old 10th May 2015, 17:26
Smithy Smithy is offline
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Re: MiG-15 with dragon motif

Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham Boak View Post
I'd like to know a little more about the "confirmed via Thompson's gun camera footage". I'm surprised such a spectacular picture has not been published in the past 60 years. I do note that the majority of even published gun camera film was
1. taken from a fair distance
2. not of brilliantly clear quality
3. viewed from the rear.

To get a photo good enough to picture a marking on the side of the fuselage as "very elaborately painted" would seem to require something very different. It is indeed something that a pilot might briefly notice as he passed, but a gun camera?
The film was taken at very close range, with the MiG passing right in front of Thompson from right to left according to his account. Also according to him the dragon was apparent in his film when processed.

Whilst much dogfight footage is unclear there are examples from the Korean War which have remarkable clarity, the famous film of a stricken MiG running for the Yalu which is frozen in winter is one that immediately comes to mind.

After his Korean tour he states that his reel had been edited and cut and the dogfight footage with the dragon MiG was gone. The possible reason he gives for this is: "It wasn't uncommon for some people to cut a few frames for souvenirs." I'd imagine that if you were in the 51st FIW, and had access to gun footage and you wanted to take a memento home of Korea, then probably Thompson's footage would have been highly desirable.
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Old 21st May 2015, 22:28
RCheung RCheung is offline
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Re: MiG-15 with dragon motif

According to FEAF GO 296 Thompson was credited with a confirmed victory at 1425H near Imsan-dong. The location is close to the Suphun Reservoir where the Soviets 518th IAP (Fighter Regiment) lost two MiG-15's - both from the 2nd Eskardilya.

One of the Soviet pilots, Senior Lieutenant Alexey Rybakov, Chief Pilot of the regiment, was killed. The other, Captain E. I. Stadnik ejected and survived. Stadnik was the wingman of WWII ace Maj. Vasily Kazakov, Deputy Commander of the 2nd Eskadrilya of the 518th IAP. The MiG-15bis of the 518th IAP were camouflaged with green and tan stripes and the bort numbers were red.

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Old 21st May 2015, 23:07
Smithy Smithy is offline
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Re: MiG-15 with dragon motif

Many thanks RCheung (I take it you are Raymond Cheung the researcher and writer?).

Is there then the possibility that Stadnik was the pilot of the "dragon MiG"? I know that it was virtually unheard of for Soviet MiGs to carry art but Thompson is adamant in his account that the MiG he downed was adorned with a dragon down the entire port side of the fuselage, and went on to say that this was subsequently confirmed in his gun camera footage which suggests that it wasn't merely a trick of the eye occurring during high speed combat.

Another quick question: were there any PLAAF units operating at this time and general area?

It's great to see you back here as you are a wealth of information concerning specifics regarding MiG units and timings. I'd really like to ask you about Risner's opponent on the 4th December 1952 but I'll start another thread regarding that.

Once again, many thanks,

Tim
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