Aviation of World War II

Aviation of World War II

Home  Russian

Aces. Figures and Facts.

Yu.I. Mukhin

The Germans are considered the best aces pilots of the Second World War, and it is those of the German pilots who fought with us on the Eastern Front and shot down our planes. And the numbers are mind-boggling. If 15 of our best aces shot down from 41 to 62 German aircraft during the war, then 15 German aces - from 203 to 352 Soviet aircraft. I must say that Soviet historians have always had doubts about these figures ...

I recently bought a book, "Encyclopedia of military art. Military pilots. Aces of the Second World War"... it was published in Minsk.

Soviet historians have long written that our planes "shot down" by German aces are actually planes that the Germans just fired at. They were photographed at the time of the shooting. And the frames of the photo-movie gun mounted on the German fighters recorded the fact of firing, and not the actual destruction.

Without a doubt, that is why, in the "Encyclopedia ..." the idea is especially diligently suggested that the Germans could not lie on this issue. It turns out that for each "downed" plane, the Germans, in addition to photographs taken by a photo machine gun, had to submit a questionnaire of 21 points. And paragraph 9 required confirmation by witnesses that the plane had been shot down. Well, can the Germans lie under such conditions?

And here's the thing. The Americans and the British had an enemy plane shot down in a group battle, most likely divided, because their aces have fractional results, say - 6.5 victories.

With us, such an aircraft was recorded separately for all participants in the battle and was not included in the list of personal victories.

And among the Germans, he was always given to one of the participants in the battle. The German fighters flew in pairs, and, of course, it was already in their mentality that today I confirm the downed plane to you, and tomorrow you to me. That is, the Germans should not have had problems with witnesses. The only obstacle against postscripts was to be the laziness of the pilot to fill out 21 points of the questionnaire. But they were not lazy. Questionnaires for the downing of Soviet pilots were written mercilessly.

For an example of German industriousness, I will quote from the "Encyclopedia ..." to show at the same time its level:

  "On November 6, 1943, during a 17-minute battle over Lake Ladoga, Rudorffer announced that he had shot down 13 Soviet aircraft. This was, of course, one of the biggest successes in fighter aviation and at the same time one of the most controversial battles. Apologists (critics? - Yu.M.) Rudorffer point to the fact that today there are no documents confirming this success. On the other hand, it is not known how Rudorffer had enough ammunition and how these successes are confirmed. Ultimately, this case can only be confirmed by ground documents about the losses of Soviet aviation units" (if they actually exist. Yu.M.).

Meanwhile, for this feat, the hard worker Rudorffer, who filled the calluses from a fountain pen, got into the Guinness Book of Records, although another pilot should have rightfully been listed there.

On July 6, 1943, Senior Lieutenant A.K. Gorovets, having single-handedly attacked the guarded formation of German Ju-87 dive bombers, shot down 9 pieces. He did not fill out questionnaires for them, when he ran out of ammunition, he was shot by six Messerschmites covering the bombers. And 9 fallen "Junkers" were confirmed by ground troops. ...


...Rewards may be different, but they must have a common goal - they should stimulate feats. Without this purpose, they are just trinkets and there is no point in establishing them. To achieve the goal of awards, their main principle must be implemented - for an equal feat. Destroy this principle when rewarding, and the reward will be worthless.

For example, in the USSR, the Order of Lenin was considered the highest award. But since it was given to both the milkmaid who deserved it and the secretary of the regional committee on his birthday, the army preferred not to have it and sought to receive, it would seem, a lower award - the Order of the Red Banner of War.

The Germans of those years were born military. It can be said that they loved the war and, accordingly, they very accurately understood what a reward was and why it was. Their main military award was the Iron Cross of various ranks. First, the Cross of the second degree was given, then the first, after which the Knight's Cross was hung around the neck. Then Oak Leaves were added to it, then Swords and finally Diamonds. And, of course, based on the principle of equality of deeds for rewarding, Crosses were given for approximately equal merits.

But as for fighter pilots, these equal merits were numerically very different from the front on which the pilot fought. There were three fronts. The first is the territory of Germany itself, the occupied countries surrounding it and England, over which air battles were also fought. (Western Front). The second is the south of Italy, Greece and North Africa (Southern Front). The third is the USSR (Eastern Front).

Interesting Features

In order to earn the Knight's Cross on the Western Front, a German pilot had to win about 40 victories in the air. For example, the holder of all awards, including Diamonds, who fought until his death exclusively on the Western Front, H. Lent (113 victories in total) received the Knight's Cross for 16 downed aircraft (Polish and English). G. Yabs (50 victories) received the same award for 19 downed French and British aircraft. G. Gollob (152 victories) - for 42 "victories". F. Müller, who shot down 30 aircraft before May 9, 1945, was awarded the Knight's Cross in July 1944. At the same time, on the Eastern Front, W. Batz (237 victories) received the Knight's Cross for 101 completed questionnaires.

No less striking is the numerical difference for higher awards. On the Western Front, H. Lent receives Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross for 60 victories, G. Jabs, who shot down 50 aircraft throughout the war, receives Oak Leaves already in March 1944. And on the Eastern Front, E. Hartmann (352 victories) receives Oak Leaves only after 200 "downed" aircraft, V. Novotny (258 victories) - after 190, G. Barkhorn (301 victories) - after 175.

Diamonds to the Knight's Cross on the Western Front are received after 80-100 victories (W. Melders, A. Galland, H. Lent), and on the Eastern - after 250-300 victories (V. Novotny, E. Hartmann).

Those Bad Soviet Pilots

Democrats explain this wild and obvious inconsistency elegantly - they say, Soviet pilots were so much worse than English ones, and their planes are so imperfect that shooting them down was rated low. But this idea, so understandable to the democrats, should be confirmed by facts. However, no one does this, since the facts speak completely differently.

English and French pilots fought one and a half times longer than the Soviet ones. In addition, until the end of 1941, our pilots did not conduct individual calculations, and the planes shot down in the dump of group battles were not recorded on anyone's personal account. Therefore, if the British and French pilots were not only better, but at least not much worse than the Soviet ones, then their best fighter pilots would have had many more victories on their personal account than the best Soviet pilots. But in reality it looks like this.

The best English ace - Colonel D. Johnson - made 515 sorties during the war, but shot down only 38 German aircraft. The best French ace - lieutenant (lieutenant colonel in the British Air Force) P. Klosterman - made 432 sorties during the war and shot down only 33 German aircraft. And Ivan Nikitich Kozhedub, flying exclusively on Soviet aircraft, having made only 330 sorties since 1943, shot down 62 German aircraft. In the Royal Air Force of Great Britain, only 3 pilots shot down 32 aircraft or more. And in the Soviet Air Force there are 39 of them. Yes, and where to put, say, A.F. Klubov, who personally shot down 31 aircraft, but another 19 in group battles? Or L.L. Shestakova, who has "only" 29 German aircraft on his personal account, but in group battles - 45? Even if only a third of these 45 were shot down by him personally, even then L.L. Shestakov, who occupies the 52nd place in the list of Soviet aces, as a fighter pilot surpasses the best English ace.

And Who Beat Them?

The publishing house "Eastern Front" published the collection "Soviet Aces" by an anonymous author ... But he, through his teeth, is still forced to write, for example, the following: "The battle with the jet Me-262 was not the most difficult battle of his career Kozhedub. Most of all, he had to sweat at the end of the summer of 1944, when a volunteer group of Luftwaffe aces under the command of Major Wilch (130 downed aircraft) suddenly appeared on the sector of the 3rd Baltic Front. This group managed to annoy the enemy so much that in order to neutralize it in the composition The 14th Air Army brought in a squadron from the 176th GvIAP under the command of Kozhedub.The arriving pilots quickly dealt with the Germans and shot down 12 enemy planes at the cost of two La-7s in several days of fighting.Kozhedub, as reported, personally shot down Vilkh, although who in reality became the prey of the Soviet ace is not exactly known.

The British and Americans mercilessly bombed Germany, the Germans constantly maneuvered aircraft, trying to cover their cities. According to them, they sometimes left no more than 400 fighters on the Eastern Front. Nevertheless, in the first half of the war they lost a third of their aviation on the Western and Southern fronts, and two-thirds on the Eastern. Is this because our pilots and planes were worse than the British?

The stupidity of such statements is also confirmed by this fact. At the beginning of the war, the Germans were opposed by the already obsolete TB-3 and SB bombers, the R-Zet attack aircraft and reconnaissance aircraft, converted from an all-wood passenger aircraft, I-16 and I-153 fighters, and most importantly, inexperienced pilots. A year later, the Germans were already met by quite modern fighters Yak, La, LaGG, MiG. They were bombed by a Pe-2 high-speed dive bomber and an Il-2 attack aircraft. (The German fighter pilots said about the latter that it was the same to shoot him down as if to bite a hedgehog in the ass. It was the IL-2 that calmed the German ace O. Kittel (267 victories) forever).

And the Il-2 attack aircraft and its modification Il-10 by the end of the war became not only the most common bombers of the Soviet Air Force, but also the most massive aircraft of the war. In theory, the IL-2 was the main target of German fighters. However, out of every three attack aircraft lost, two were shot down by German anti-aircraft artillery fire and only one fell to the German aces. And those of our attack pilots who made more than 75 attack sorties (for which the title of Hero was supposed) and did not die, as a rule, have up to 6 downed German fighters on their account.

It would seem that for this reason, it was at the beginning of the war that the German command should have given awards for a larger number of downed Soviet aircraft, and towards the end - for less, since with the course of the war it became more difficult to shoot down Soviet aircraft. But in fact, the opposite is true! On the Eastern Front, it was at the beginning of the war that the Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross were given to the pilot for 40 downed aircraft, but already in 1942 - for 100, in 1943 - for 120, and by the end of 1943 - for 190. How to understand this?

Bermuda Triangle

It is also interesting to see how many planes were shot down by the same German pilot, but on different fronts.

Here is the German ace Walter Novotny, who was considered a favorite in the Luftwaffe ... He began to fight on the Eastern Front and by February 1944 filled out questionnaires for 255 downed Soviet aircraft. In February, he was transferred to the Western Front, and even to the regiment of jet fighters. For 8 months, he did not shoot down a single enemy aircraft! And on November 8, they shot him down forever. True, it is believed that in this last battle he "hit" 3 American bombers. But from this "struck" breathes something "posthumous".

Herman Graf has been in the Luftwaffe since 1938, but before the start of the war with the USSR, he did not shoot down a single Polish or British aircraft. He was transferred to the Eastern Front in August 1941 and then, until the end of 1942, he "knocked down" our planes in batches, filling out questionnaires for 202 pieces (for 17 months). Since January 1943 - in France, and here until the end of the war, for 29 months, he shoots down only 10 aircraft. Feel the difference between East and West: we shot down more than 10 planes a month, and in the West - 10 planes in 29 months!

Gunther Rall. He began fighting in May 1940 in France and shot down 4 aircraft on the Western Front by the end of 1941. From the end of 1941 until April 1944 (in 28 months) he "shoots down" 275 aircraft on the Eastern Front. From April 1944 to May 1945, only 2 aircraft were shot down on the Western Front.

It seems that for the aces of the Eastern Front, the Western Front was something like the Bermuda Triangle. Easily shooting down planes in the USSR, they were unable to protect the sky of their native Germany, fighting with seemingly weaker Allied pilots. What's the matter here?

I Write Five, One in my Mind.

I think the answer is clear. The thing is that for the purpose of propaganda, on the Eastern Front, German pilots were allowed registrations. And not by some 10-20%, but several times. And so that their Oak Leaves with Swords would not be called Salad with a Spoon and Fork in the West, the number of "downed" aircraft required for a reward in the East increased all the time, both in relation to the downed aircraft in the West, and simply as the command assessed the magnitude postscripts. The attribution rate can be estimated. In the middle of the war, in the battles in the Kuban, our aviation lost 750 aircraft (including 296 fighters) in air battles, from ground enemy fire and for other reasons. And the German aces at that time filled out acts on 2280 of our aircraft shot down by them in the Kuban. Therefore, we will not be mistaken if we divide the numbers of "brilliant" victories of German pilots on the Eastern Front by numbers from three to six - after all, this is what the German command did when they were awarded.

And in the West, things were not easy with postscripts. Imagine that the aforementioned Rudorffer would announce that he shot down 13 British aircraft over Berlin in 17 minutes, and Goebbels would announce this on the radio. He would have been ridiculed by both the Germans and the British in radio broadcasts to Germany. In the West, it was impossible to attribute directly. They acted differently there.

Shoot Down or Win?

The popular publishing house "Vostochny Front" published another brochure, judging by the style, by the same author - "Aces of the Luftwaffe". In it, accordingly, the invincible German pilots are touchingly praised.

But here the eye clings to the phrase: "Unlike the RAF (Royal Air Force), the Germans said that they did not shoot down planes, but gained victories." Stop, I say to myself. And why did the Germans need it? Why did they replace (if they did) the concept of "shoot down" with the concept of "win"? Further, the anonymous author tries to suggest that these two concepts are identical: "In order to win, it was not enough just to shoot down the plane, it was necessary to provide eyewitness confirmation ...", etc. What is stupidity? Why confuse the very fact of the destruction of the aircraft with the procedure for establishing this fact? In fact, if this author had not focused on this issue, then I would be naive and believe that "shoot down" is "win". But since he really wants me to think so, it means that this is not the case. I begin to sort through other sources and ... once again I admire the Germans' ability for military organization, their love for military affairs.

Not only did they understand before our marshals that modern warfare would be very mobile, but at the same time, the main thing in future mobile armies will not be what immediately catches the eye - not tanks, planes, etc., - and connection, connection and once again connection.

Not only did they abandon the conspicuous idea that the ground forces should be saturated with aviation. They created aviation separately from the ground forces and saturate with it only that part of the ground forces that fought and really needed aviation. And thanks to this, they managed with a relatively smaller number of aircraft.

Not only did they understand that aviation is not airplanes, but pilots and their aviation began to build not from combat, but from training aircraft. In 1934, they began the construction of their air force with the fact that by the end of 1935 they planned to have 1863 combat aircraft with 1760 training (for initial training) aircraft. And by March 1935 they had 584 combat and 1304 training. As a result, their pilots went into battle with hundreds of hours of training flight. Their ace W. Batz (237 victories) entered the battle with 5240 hours of training flight time. And our ace G.U. Dolnikov (15 + 1) flew 34.5 hours at the flight school, of which 11 hours on his own and as many as 5 hours in a combat vehicle.

But the Germans very accurately stimulated the pilots who flew on the Western Front, which was very difficult for them in terms of aviation danger.

What is there to understand. Here, in the USSR and Russia, in the civilian environment (and possibly in the military) the accents of honor are incorrectly placed. Exorbitantly large chunks of glory fall off fighter pilots. Meanwhile, the main force of aviation, its main force, is bombers. For the sake of bombers, aviation exists. And, by the way, it is the bomber pilots who require the greatest courage in battle. During the Great Patriotic War, the average survivability of a fighter pilot was 64 sorties, a bomber - 48, an attack aircraft - 11 and a torpedo bomber pilot - 3.8. Rising into the air to escort the Il-2 attack aircraft, the fighter pilot had 6 times more chances to return from battle than the attack pilot accompanied by him, and there is no need to talk about torpedo bombers.

An eyewitness once told me that out of 200 people graduating from one of the airborne gunnery schools who flew bombers, only one shooter returned from the war, and that one without legs. Even in the opinion of the pilots, the profession of an airborne gunner was the most dangerous profession in the war.

And we all know about fighter pilots, only among them there are Thrice Heroes of the Soviet Union. The Germans were the opposite. The most honored pilot of Nazi Germany was the pilot of the Ju-87 dive bomber Hans Rudel. 9 months after he was given all the awards of the Reich, for him personally, all these awards were executed in the gold version. No one else had such an award.

The Germans understood very precisely that the main task of fighters was not to shoot down aircraft as such. Their main task is to allow their bombers to bomb accurately and prevent enemy bombers from accurately bombing their targets.

Yes, of course, if a fighter shot down an enemy bomber on the way to the target, then he completed the task very cleanly. But if he simply didn’t let the bombers accurately drop bombs on the target and didn’t shoot down a single one at the same time, then he also completed the task.

But if he chased an escort fighter and shot him down, and the bombers at that time, having just bombed, destroyed a gasoline production plant, a railway station clogged with troops, etc., then the fighter did not fulfill its task, even writing it down on a personal account for another downed aircraft.

Thus, the personal account of downed aircraft only partially stimulates the fulfillment of the main task of fighter aviation, and sometimes simply hinders its fulfillment. Indeed, even in the memoirs of our pilots, cases are described when a fighter, having abandoned attacking bombing German aircraft, was chasing easy prey - a wrecked aircraft, in order to write it down on his account.

And the Germans, having simplified the calculation of the merits of pilots on the Eastern Front with a personal account, on the Western Front conducted a complex calculation of the differences of a fighter pilot to present him for an award.

To receive the Knight's Cross, for example, the pilot had to not shoot down 40 aircraft, but to win 40 "victories", and in fact - to score 40 points.

And these points were awarded as follows: for the downing of a single-engine aircraft - 1 point; twin-engine - 2; four-engine - 3 points. As you can see, the Germans stimulated the destruction primarily of bombers. But ...

In the formation of English or American bombers, consisting of hundreds of machines, it was possible, of course, to shoot down a few extreme ones. But the rest would still definitely drop bombs on the target. And it was possible to break into the system and, without bothering with a reliable defeat, set fire to at least one motor in as many machines as possible. These planes will begin to lag behind, begin to drop bombs, making themselves easier, the formation will fall apart and accurate bombing will not work.

Therefore, a German fighter pilot was entitled to 1 point for a shot down twin-engine aircraft, and 2 points for a four-engine aircraft. By the way, only 1 point was given for the destruction of an already damaged four-engine aircraft, that is, half as much as for its damage. In total - 3 points, as it should be for this type of aircraft, the downed aircraft itself was recorded on the personal account of someone alone.

This system, it must be said, really stimulated the German fighter pilots not to shoot down aircraft, but to prevent the bombers from making accurate bombing of German cities and factories. In 1942, the British took 48,000 tons of bombs to Germany with their bombers, the Germans that year produced 36,804 units of heavy guns, tanks, and aircraft. In 1943, the British and Americans already removed 207,600 tons of bombs, while the Germans produced 71,693 heavy weapons. In 1944, the Allies removed 915,000 tons of bombs, while the Germans produced 105,258 heavy weapons. The production of weapons by the Germans, the bombing of the allies did not make much of an impression.

But we should understand that the number of "aircraft shot down" by the German aces of the western front is the number of points scored by them. The actual number of actually shot down aircraft is much lower. Which, however, hardly humiliates the merits of the pilots. And the very transformation of these points into downed planes is a perversion of propaganda, and even today. During the war, the Germans on the Western Front did not fool anyone, they did not write that they "shot down", they wrote that they "won".


In order to understand the truth (if possible) from propaganda materials, one must not only be able to compare facts, but also be able to read what is not written in the text. That is, what an objective author could not help but write about.

We know that on the Western Front, German pilots were awarded not for downed aircraft, but for the points scored. And an objective author, giving biographical information on the aces of the Western Front, would simply have to indicate how many planes they shot down and how many points they scored. But in the mentioned "Encyclopedia ...", and in "Aces ...", as well as in other similar literature, all Luftwaffe fans are silent about points. This silence directly screams that points are "victories", and they are also "downed planes".

Considering the biographies of fighter pilots of the Western Front, one can estimate the number of downed aircraft in the number of "victories".

I already wrote that 40 "victories" were required to be awarded the Knight's Cross. And the pilots of the Western Front, H. Lent and G. Jabs, whom I mentioned above, received these Crosses by shooting down 16 and 19 aircraft. These are really aircraft, not points, since their marks are given in the biographies. Let's say H. Lent from September 2 to the award of the Knight's Cross shot down 2 Polish aircraft (a PZPP.11 fighter and a Los bomber), then 2 English Wellingtons, 2 Norwegian Gloster Gladiator fighters, a Sunderland flying boat, two " Gladiators", then 2 more Wellingtons and 5 more aircraft of which it is known that 2 were four-engine Stirling bombers. That is, 40 points or 40 "victories" really meant 16-19 downed aircraft. Hence, in order to find out how many planes the German aces actually shot down on the Western Front, you need to divide the number of their "victories" by 2-2.5.

But Lent received Diamonds to the Knight's Cross for 100 "victories", and the best ace "of all times and peoples", E. Hartmann, who fought on the Eastern Front - for 300 completed questionnaires. Between these figures, the coefficient is 3. Therefore, in order to estimate the real number of aircraft shot down by E. Hartmann, his 352 questionnaires should be divided by 3 and by 2-2.5, that is, by 6-7.5. Since, nevertheless, our overwhelming majority of bombers were not four-engine, but two-engine, we will stop at a factor of 6. It turns out that E. Hartmann actually shot down about 60 of our aircraft. Although this is a lot, but ... let's try to find another confirmation for her.

E. Hartmann (352 "victories"), G. Barkhorn (301), G. Rall (275), G. Graf (212), H. Linfert (203) served in the same air squadron JG 52, in which each the state had about 100 aircraft.

In the battle over the Prut, this squadron inflicted losses on our air formations, and then the 9th Guards Air Division of A.I. Pokryshkin (also about 100 aircraft) was deployed to pacify it. After these battles, H. Linnert complained "that he had never before encountered such a strong and demanding enemy." The second ace of this squadron, G. Barkhorn, was shot down (301 victories).

Above, I already quoted how the squadron I.N. Kozheduba dealt with a squadron of German aces with a loss ratio of 6:1 in our favor.

So that's typical. The Germans knew about the regiments and formations of our aces, but never sent their aces to "deal" with ours. Moreover, the German signal "Attention! Pokryshkin is in the air" is widely known, warning its pilots about the appearance of a fighter with the number "100" on board in the air and about the need to quickly get out of the area. Yes, the German aces beat our newcomers willingly, but they were in no hurry to engage in battle with our aces. But Pokryshkin has "only" 59 ​​downed aircraft on his list, and not 352, like Hartmann's.

Speaking of crashes. Pokryshkin was shot down only 2 times at the very beginning of the war. Kozhedub was knocked out in the first battles. And that's all. And Hartmann was shot down 4 times, and even taken prisoner, but he, a sly one, pretending to be wounded, fled. Barkhorn - 9 times, G. Burr (221 wins) - 18 times, Rudorffer from the Guinness Book of Records - 18 times. (I no longer remember where I read it, but one of the last two had the nickname "parachutist" in the Luftwaffe). We can say that the Germans were shot down more because they fought more battles. Does not look like it. Barkhorn has one in about 123 fights, Rudorffer has one in 17 fights. And Kozhedub has not a single one in all his 120 fights. Hartmann has one parachute jump for 200 fights, but still - how can it be compared with Kozhedub's lack of jumps?

In addition, our pilots were mostly hard workers - they defended their bombers and shot down German ones. And all the best German aces on the Eastern Front were mainly hunters - they attacked our planes when there was hope for success.

These circumstances - the fact that the German aces did not seek battles with our aces and the fact that even having the initiative in battle with our ordinary pilots, they were mercilessly beaten - are indirect confirmation that their declared victories should be reduced to 6-7 times to get the number of planes they actually shot down.

As you can see, in the statistics of German "victories" there are a lot of propaganda "linden" and it is most reasonable to put an end to it. Knightly. With Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds.


I may be asked - why do you believe our statistics? Maybe it should be reduced by 6? I will answer - there is nowhere to reduce it. Reduced without us. For example, Pokryshkin believed that he shot down 70 planes, but he is considered only 59. This is not what the Germans have. We did not have the habit of posthumously attributing to someone the top three "affected" aircraft.

But it's not about customs. The USSR was an extremely bureaucratic country, and the bureaucratic system has its own peculiarities. In principle, it is possible, and sometimes required, to deceive as you like and anyone, but not the authorities. In the papers, at meetings, lie as much as you like. But if you deceived the authorities and, especially, for the purpose of personal benefits (for example, to keep your chair, receive a bonus, etc.), then you should be glad if you are simply removed from your post. Since in the Criminal Code of the USSR until the last days there was an article on postscripts, and under Stalin it also acted in combination with treason.

Air Chief Marshal, Twice Hero of the Soviet Union A.A. Novikov, to help his relative, People's Commissar of the USSR Aviation Industry, Colonel General, Hero of Socialist Labor A.I. Shakhurin to cope with the implementation of monthly plans for the construction of combat aircraft, forced aviation military representatives during the war to accept unusable aircraft, i.e. they attributed the unusable aircraft to the suitable ones. Neither the war nor the Victory wrote off this. In 1946, everything was revealed and both sat down for it. Neither titles nor stars helped. Twice the Hero served his 6 years "from start to finish". And he's still lucky.

Because the secretary of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks, the hero of the defense of Leningrad A.A. Kuznetsov and Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, Chairman of the State Planning Committee of the USSR N.A. Voznesensky was not at all lucky - they were shot for postscripts.

You will say - well, they attributed a dubious victory to the pilot - where is the selfish interest here? The fact is that 1,000 rubles were paid for a downed single-engine aircraft, and 2,000 for a twin-engine aircraft. And as if in the name of glory and propaganda, one would not want to add a couple of downed aircraft to the lists, but neither regimental commanders, nor chief finance officers, nor auditors take risks they would not dare to do their jobs. Who was hunting with a rifle at the ready and shouting "Hurrah" to take skyscrapers in a penal battalion?

In the border battles of 1941, the 8th mechanized corps lost all its equipment. The remnants of the corps were supposed to go along the German rear to their own 650 km on foot. Taking into account the wounded, weapons and ammunition, they could not take anything extra with them. His commissar N.K., who commanded the remains of the corps at that time. Popel buried all the staff and party documents, but took out a bag of money from the corps cash desk to his own. Popel understood that it would be easier for him to explain the loss of secret documents than where he put the money.

Fighter pilot Vasily Stalin for the war from a senior lieutenant became a lieutenant general, but he had only 3 downed aircraft. They could do everything for him, they could please everyone, except for this. You yourself understand that if there were registrations of downed aircraft in the USSR Air Force (not in the Sovinformburo - they were mercilessly attributed there), then Vasily was credited with them at least in order to make him an ace (at the beginning of the war 5, and then 10 shot down aircraft).

Printed with abbreviations.