Russian Pilots Flying for the North Vietnamese AF

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dillbag

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Unread post14 Mar 2005, 18:33

I have always heard rurmours that Russian pilots flew for the NVAF during the war. I have also heard that they where very good and caused a lot of problems for the Americans. Were we successful in engaging them. Any thoughts from you veterans out there would be great.
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Gums

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Unread post15 Mar 2005, 04:30

Salute!

DON'T GO THERE!!!

out,
Gums
Viper pilot '79
"God in your guts, good men at your back, wings that stay on - and Tally Ho!"
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TC

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Unread post15 Mar 2005, 05:33

I like Gums's reply, and I'll add...

They know that We know that We know that They know, but They aren't talking.

It would be ridiculous for them to make an admission to the effect of "Yeah! We were in the war that we weren't supposed to have been in, and fighting a country we weren't supposed to be fighting."

You can see where this would cause some problems, right? What with the whole UN, foreign relations, U.S. and Russia supposed to be allies thing...

I can't remember if it was Steve Ritchie or Randy Cunningham who publicly stated "I don't believe every pilot we faced in Vietnam had tan skin, slanted brown eyes, and black hair..."

Make of that what you will.

P.S. I always thought that was one of the reasons we gave the Afghani rebels Stinger missiles and M-16s to fight the Soviet troops. Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong...

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!
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KPDiamond17

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Unread post15 Mar 2005, 08:39

My dad wasn't a pilot or anything, but he did two tours as a crew chief under the 13th TFS, 432nd TRW and he was convinced that there were Russians fighting those Phantoms.
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grss1982

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Unread post25 Jun 2005, 05:24

Dillbag: Haven't you read articles about Israeli pilots fighting Soviet pilots that used Egyptian planes? IIRC, it was in one of the many Arab Israeli wars either in '67 or '73.
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skyhigh

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Unread post01 Mar 2009, 05:07

Lt. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (pilot) and Lt. JG. Willie "Irish" Driscoll (RIO) in their F-4J Phantom II "Showtime 100", VF-96 Fighting Falcons, against three VPAF MiG-17F Frescoes.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_EEaw4-UKY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnXbRuoriwU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZiuAxisJZ-0

The third MiG-17F shot down by Cunningham and Driscoll was piloted by "Colonel Toon", who was actually a Soviet instructor pilot.
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TC

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Unread post01 Mar 2009, 05:49

No one really knows who "Colonel Tomb" or "Toon" was. He certainly did not have 13 AA kills as was originally believed. Nguyen Van Coc is the VNAF's highest scoring ace, with 9 claimed, and 7 U.S. confirmed AA victories. Van Coc did survive the war.

Could the man known as "Tomb" been a Soviet? It is very likely. Whomever he really was, he was definitely helped by the immense Vietnamese propaganda machine.
Last edited by TC on 25 Mar 2009, 00:30, edited 1 time in total.
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skyhigh

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Unread post08 Mar 2009, 11:21

TC wrote:No one really knows who "Colonel Tomb" or "Toon" was. He certainly did not have 13 AA kills as was originally believed. Nguyen Van Coc is the VPAF's highest scoring ace, with 9 claimed, and 7 U.S. confirmed AA victories. Van Coc did survive the war.

Could the man known as "Tomb" been a Soviet? It is very likely. Whomever he really was, he was definitely helped by the immense Vietnamese propaganda machine.


Being an Australian of Vietnamese background, I can tell you one obvious thing that neither "Tomb" nor "Toon" does NOT exist in the Vietnamese language. Guaranteed. The closest name that comes close to resemblance is "Tuan" meaning brightness, or intelligence.

Also, there were NO VPAF pilots ranked Colonel in 1972. The Vietnam People's Air Force was small in comparison to the United States Air Force, the American enemy it was actively fighting, therefore the ranks of combat pilots knew each other well from joint service, much like a grade of high school students.

Although I cannot precisely remember the source, a retired VPAF pilot was interviewed and he said he did not remember anyone, any combat pilot with the rank of Colonel in 1972, nor on May 10, the bloodiest day for the VPAF because, like the source I quoted but failed to list, his comrades also never remembered anyone with the rank of Colonel at that time.

So therefore, this would significantly help back up the claim that "Colonel Toon" was a Soviet instructor pilot Cunningham and Driscoll downed.

Another thing: Cunningham also made requests for copies of audio recordings detailing the conversation between the GCI operators and "Colonel Toon" on that day, so he can verify the identity but they were denied to him because they were rendered "too sensitive".
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skyhigh

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Unread post19 Mar 2009, 12:18

F-105 Thud pilot, Jack Broughton, was an author of his book Thud Ridge, where he saw a VPAF F-6 (Chinese MiG-19 Farmer clone) flown by a Soviet pilot. He looked up close and personal with the pilot and saw his blond hair and blue eyes. It was obvious that he was a Soviet.

Also, during the War of Attrition, five Soviet-piloted Egyptian MiG-21s were downed by Israeli Mirage IIIs and F-4 Phantoms.
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ptplauthor

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Unread post24 Mar 2009, 21:40

The USAF and USN were able to listen in on some radio comms during the Korean and Vietnam Wars, some of the pilots the Vietnamese Air Force had were too fluent in Russian or spoke the language without Vietnamese accents or with Moscow or Leningrad accents, big giveaway.

The legend of Col Toon/Tomb may have been a fabrication by North Vietnam, but I can believe that there was someone that good flying for the enemy, maybe with a different name.

From http://www.acepilots.com/vietnam/viet_aces.html:

What about Colonel Toon?
Readers familiar with American military aviation may have heard of the legendary Vietnamese ace, Col. Toon (or Col. Tomb). Why is he not listed here? Because, he was precisely that, "legendary." No Col. Toon ever flew for the VPAF; he was a figment of the American fighter pilots' imagination and ready room chatter. (In fairness to the Americans, "Col. Toon" may have been shorthand for any good Vietnamese pilot, like any solo nighttime nuisance bomber in WW2 was called "Washing Machine Charlie.")


Toon could have been a combination of Nguyen Van Coc and Nguyen Van Bay, as they both had high kill numbers, or possibly, the Vietnamese may have just painted the kills per jet, and so one jet could be used in different sorties and just had the jet's kill count go up with different fliers at the controls.
Last edited by ptplauthor on 24 Mar 2009, 21:46, edited 1 time in total.
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TC

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Unread post24 Mar 2009, 22:49

PT, Much to learn, you have, young Jedi.

First off, only the name Tomb was a fabrication. It was the same man involved in many engagements, but was given the name Tomb as a corruption of a radio callsign U.S. SIGINT troops kept hearing over the radio whenever he would show up.

Van Coc and Van Bay both survived the war, so neither one was Col. Tomb. "Tomb" didn't punch out when Cunningham shot him down.
Last edited by TC on 27 Mar 2009, 23:15, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post24 Mar 2009, 23:07

PT, Much to learn, you have, young Jedi.


Yes sir, Master TC

I didn't know that Tomb rode the jet in--I've never seen video of the engagement. I checked YouTube and there is a vid talking about the shootdown:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZGGbNuXxkI

Haven't watched it yet though, wanted to get the post done first, but it seems documentary-quality, at least it sounds like one of the History Channel's narrators.
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Gums

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Unread post26 Mar 2009, 18:13

Salute

Well, one day we'll know.

Took years for a few Soviet jocks to admit they had flown Korean Migs, but they finally came clean.

I talked with Duke one night and he repeated same story that has been published. I paraphrase:

"Canopy to canopy in a vertical scissors. There he was with his gomer helmet and gomer scarf."

Folks need heroes, and you can see what the Memphis Belle did for the bomber pilots' morale way back then.

And as the Thud jocks used to say, 'There IS a way", after completing their tour.

There were good reasons to have a few Soviets flying in 'nam. They could see up close and personal what our Phantoms could do, our GCI, and other stuff. I personally believe a few were there, and maybe one day one of them will admit it.

I flew with the Vee for two years, and they were damned fine pilots. They didn't need any "help". Funny, but some did not even have a driver's license, which we found out when trying to talk them thru taxi maneuvers, heh heh.

"It's like steering your car, but using the nosewheel steering/rudders".

"Sir, I have never driven a car".

" Ohhhh...."

Gums sends ...
Gums
Viper pilot '79
"God in your guts, good men at your back, wings that stay on - and Tally Ho!"
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Meathook

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Unread post26 Mar 2009, 22:34

Yep, the little gomers did not get all that equipment and learn how to use it over night, some "OJT" might have been applied, but there is no doubt in my mind the "VC" had serious Russian Advisor help (as the term went then) and instruction (as flight leads too).

Crazy times and it really has not stopped, just changed locations over the years....Salute to Gums..Sir!
More than likely have "been there and done that at some point", it sure keeps you young if done correctly
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StolichnayaStrafer

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Unread post27 Mar 2009, 01:54

Main point:

Doesn't matter who's in that seat, what matters is the markings on the bird. It's either your ally or your enemy for that given day.

Unless of course somebody wants to cash in on some "liberated" equipment and retire from their previous country's employment. :wink:
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