Skip to comments.Iconic Photos:Amazing Imagery,History:The U-2 Incident
Posted on 07/28/2010 3:45:02 PM PDT by lbryce
On May Day, 1960, Francis Gary Powers left the US base in Peshawar on a mission to photograph ICBM sites inside the Soviet Union. It would be the twenty-fourth U-2 spy mission over Soviet territory. Although it was a Soviet holiday, all units of the Soviet Air Defence Forces were on red alert as they suspected a U-2 flight and Powers was subsequently shot down.
The United States used NASA to issue a statement saying the plane was a research vessel, but soon Moscow was full of rumors of a downed American spy plane. THe American story was made up using the assumptions that the plane was fully destroyed and that Powers was dead. However, Nikita Khrushchev gave a detailed account of the American version of the U-2s flight and then disproved it point by point to the Supreme Soviet. It was an international humiliation for Eisenhower administration.
On May 11, the Soviet government suddenly convened journalists and diplomats to the Chess Pavilion in Gorky Park. Khrushchev surveyed the big room filled with aircraft debris. LIFE photographer Carl Mydans was among those invited over, and he began taking photos as much as he could. After some time, two Soviet officers hustled me out the door for the Soviets suspected that he was a spy for he was taking pictures too systematically. However, they did not confiscate his film. Although Mydans was not employed by the U.S. government, it didnt stop the Pentagon from perusing his photos. The designers of U-2 spy plane was able to learn what happened and what sort of missile hit the plane based on their analysis of Mydans photographs of the wreckage.
(Excerpt) Read more at iconicphotos.wordpress.com ...
The U-2 was amazing for many things, the most stunning was its unprecedented capability to gather military intelligence, photos infiltrating deep into Soviet territory with impunity by virtue of flying beyond that which Soviet missiles were capable. Until, shot down as reviewed here with incredible images, history
Amazing we could [produce such planes in the ‘50’s
My dad was part of the design team at Lockheed and Vought from ‘39 to ‘82. Amazing what you can do with a slide rule and good math skills.
It’s a jet-powered glider! ;)
//Amazing what you can do with a slide rule and good math skills.//
Yep, just like the A-12/SR-71
And it helps having a chief designer able to “see air”, as Kelly Johnson was once credited with!
And I will bet that he could, conceptually. But his concepts were visionary.
Interesting to read some of the article comments from idiots espousing moral equivalency between Soviet Union and USA and how evil we were to use the A-bomb.
Kelly Johnson and the late Dale Earnhardt. Both could see air!
This may be of interest: http://www.hmhfp.info/SG_09E.html
I think it is about 12 minutes or so.
Turns out they shot down one of their own in addition to Powers:
The marshal was debating whether to go home to change his clothes or go straight to Red Square when another call came from Sverdlovsk on the special phone. The general haltingly reported that the second parachutist had been found and that unfortunately he was one of ours, Senior Lieutenant Safronov.
What do you mean, one of ours? The marshal barely kept from shouting. How many planes did you shoot down? Cant you tell the difference between ours and theirs?
His transponder wasnt working, lied the general. That lie was repeated many times later, until Igor Mentyukov cleared up the matter: The transponders were operating, but on the code for April, not May. In the preholiday flurry of activities, service personnel had not yet changed it. So not surprisingly, the radars perceived friendly as foe.
How many missiles did you fire? asked Biryuzov, gradually calming down.
One, three, and then two more. The general in Sverdlovsk began counting. Fourteen in all, he said, sounding depressed.
And which one brought down the plane?
Interesting story and photos, but not all the links on there are safe, so be careful...