Aviation of World War II
People of War. Military Notes
In these entries, the exceptional attention to ordinary people of war, to their seemingly ordinary, "everyday" affairs, to their everyday life, to their appearance, to their simple, uncomplicated speech, is striking. This is where the writer saw with his own eyes how the Patriotic War raised to the crest all the truly beautiful that was brought up in the Soviet people.
Today, we publish new materials from his notebooks. They refer to the time of his stay at the front. These notes and sketches, of course, were not intended for printing. But they are of great interest, allowing one more glimpse into the creative laboratory of the remarkable Soviet writer.
S. Preobrazhensky, December 1961
August 1943. To the long-range aviation regiment
Ischenko Nikolay Alexandrovich
Hero of the Soviet Union, 34 years old, originally from the Maikop region, from a farm. He studied in Maykop. He got into the aviation on a surplus in 1931. He flew on the line of the Civil Air Fleet Moscow - Irkutsk. In military aviation since 1941, since the beginning of the war.
Burned over the Bobruisk ferry. The face was burned, a splinter shattered the heel bone. 3 1/2 months in the hospital. Everything healed. He flew to bomb Königsberg, Tilsit, Insterburg. Flights over the Eagle.
A tall, calm, brown-eyed, youthful guy with Ukrainian, slightly softened in the manner of pronouncing and courageous in timbre, with curly dark hair. Nice smile that comes up easily and willingly. Modest to the point of shyness (with new people), speaks slowly, words cannot be pulled out with ticks. He has one of the best crews in the regiment. Ship commander and squadron commander.
In the past, a teacher. Taught Russian language and literature in the seven-year school. From the city of Klintsy, Oryol province. He flew to bomb his native Eagle when the Germans were sitting there. Klintsy were burned by our aviation.
From the first days of the war (the first combat sortie on the night of June 30, 1941) on heavy, four-engine bombers, he began with the bombing of a concentration of German troops at the Dvina crossing. In November 1941 he was transferred to Leningrad. He delivered food to the besieged city, took out women and children. Once, in a snowfall, crossing the front line at an altitude of 50 meters, he was subjected to brutal shelling by enemy anti-aircraft guns. Four shells hit the ship, the navigator was mortally wounded, the shooter was wounded, and three depth rudder control cables were broken. Sugak, without a navigator, brought the heavily damaged ship to the target, handed over the cargo and, since the airfield was fired by long-range artillery, took off on the same day and returned to his base.
Served Belov's cavalry behind enemy lines.
In the Oryol operations, the crew was recognized as the best.
Sugak has three sorties to Konigsberg, two to Danzig ... A total of 150 sorties for long-range and short-range targets.
Slim, strong, slightly stooped figure, intelligent, Russian, open face. Tells well. An excellent educator.
His navigator Vasilchenko is a chubby, blond, desperate guy from Ukraine.
Conversation with the crew about the flight to Eagle. 19.VIII.
The task is to bomb a military town. Its location could be determined by orienting itself along the bend of the river, gleaming in the night, and along the highway.
Approaching the target, we saw the planes moving ahead in the beams of the searchlights. Explosions of anti-aircraft shells around them, glowing trails of bullets from enemy fighters (not visible in the dark) and response from our ships. Our two ships caught fire.
"Let's go, as if in a bayonet attack" (Sugak). First I took one beam, then one by one - 18 beams.
Shooter-navigator: "I see how they beat the front ones."
Vasilchenko: "To go to the target - to go straight into the fire of the enemy, but we must - we go." "It was cold, but it got hot over the target."
Major Nikolaev, deputy regiment commander for political affairs, went as a second pilot. Gave advice to take more altitude (we walked 6,000 meters).
Sugak: “I decided to go at the height that was determined by the order (that is, 6,000). There, unless you explain what reasons forced to change the height - they will not interpret that way yet! "
About 25 medium and heavy anti-aircraft guns opened fire. Bursts of shots deep in the ground. The explosions are so close that their sounds are heard in the roar of the motors. Explosions from other shells in the form of black clouds of smoke, and others in the form of fiery flashes.
Vasilchenko pressed the button above the target. Strong bursting flash. There were 5 hotbeds of fire, large ones gradually merged into one. The explosions continued for about 15 - 20 minutes.
The source of the fire made it easier to find targets and bombard other aircraft.
My question to Sugaku is, "How did you leave?"
Sugak (with an open, intelligent smile): “And then it remains to run away.” - Everyone laughs. - “I was given a turn to the left. But the anti-aircraft guns were so beaten on the left that I turned to the right, went down and fled. "
Eleven crew members - eleven hearts. And - the only will.
Ivan Timofeevich Lisachev
A prospector in the distant mines of the Kolyma scribbled on the lid of a gold watch: "To the best bomber pilot" - and sent it to the People's Commissariat of Defense. This watch went to Lisachev. And for what kind of operation: a combat sortie on the railway. the station where enemy echelons have accumulated. Terrible cloudiness - no window, no skylight.
With insane audacity, Lisachev, breaking through the clouds, descended on his heavy bomber to a height of 350 meters. I got caught in the beams of searchlights, anti-aircraft guns opened fire, the entire space around the ship was pierced with fiery tracks of anti-aircraft guns and machine guns. The plane's arrows opened fire, and navigator Tomkevich placed forty hundred-kilogram bombs with exceptional precision. Exceptional success - smashed the station, trains, train. D. bridge.
Lisachev's story about how he was shot down over Smolensk
Bombed the airfield under anti-aircraft artillery fire. The plane caught fire, scorched its face - it jumped out on a parachute and landed unnoticed near the airfield. He crawled away at night, and during the day he sat in a pit overgrown with grass, 50 kilometers from the highway, where enemy vehicles were moving. He left in the forests to the north, guided by the stars, knowing that it was easier to cross the front there. Meeting with the gunner of his crew. Conversations with old people, women, teenagers. They stole young potatoes from a peasant woman, stuffed them into their pockets and bosoms, like stolen apples in childhood. (And before that I ate wild raspberries, just to fill my stomach.) I ended up in a partisan land ...
Lisachev is a mighty, tall, broad-faced, genuine Russian hero.
Former polar pilot. To the regiment - from its base. Educator of many pilots ("We are Asyamov's students"). Killed on a flight to England. The hero of the USSR.
Commander of another regiment, but left this regiment.
Hero of the Soviet Union ... Former polar explorer. Outstanding pilot. Flights to cities in Germany. In one month (August 1942) he bombed Konigsberg, Danzig seven times ... And other objects fourteen times. A master of “blind” flights, maneuvers perfectly under fire, in snowy and formidable clouds. He is whitish, small in stature, stocky, light-eyed, and a very good smile on his wonderful face.
* Note admin - Endel Karlovich Puusepp (he himself preferred the spelling of his surname "Pusep" (this is how his surname is spelled in our literature), Est. Endel Puusepp.
Shtepenko Alexander Pavlovich
Hero of the Soviet Union, navigator. Was navigator at Pusep ... Twice he drove the ship Moscow - England, Moscow - England - USA. He burned several times, escaped by parachute. He participated many times in the bombing of Berlin, Konigsberg, Danzig ...
Dodonov Alexander Sergeevich
The first in the unit made 100 successful sorties in a heavy bomber. Bombed Konigsberg six times, Danzig twice, Tilsit, Insterburg ...
He became famous for saving the crew and the plane, when, during takeoff with a load of bombs, at an altitude of 50 meters, the motors failed. - he made a brilliant landing. Former Ivanovo weaver ...
Glossary | Sources | People and Aircraft People of War | Chkalov & I-180 | Devyatayev & He-111 | Golodnikov & P-39 | Klubov & P-39 | Kovachevich & P-39 | Dudnik & LaGG-3 | Alekseev & La-5 | Gorelov & La-5 | Shvaryov & La-5 | Kozhedub & La-7 | Bystrykh & Pe-2 | Litvyak & Yak-1 | Eremin & Yak-3 | Mikoyan & Yak-1 | Klimenko & Yak-7 | Safonov & I-16 | Skachkov & Yak-7 | Suzi & I-180 | Sinaisky |
A good navigator and at the same time "talker" and "boozer". In his free time, always in panties, smooth, well-fed, in the manner of moving, speaking a little softened there is something childish. At the regiment commander's meeting, he interrupted the chief of staff: "You got it wrong here." He calls me all the time: "Let's fly with us." He wrote me in the inventory of the tenants of the room on the door - on duty. In the morning he picks mushrooms in the forest, string them on a bundle and - out the window, into the sun. He accurately maps all the messages of the Sovinformburo. They swam in the river - he stole their dresses from the girls, tried them on. I look through the album of the part's heroes and asks: “Is Sharaev not there? I got into trouble with them, I'm not filming. "
Andreev (son of A.A. Andreev)
Engineer Captain. He explained to me the structure of the plane. A thin, somewhat haggard, young intelligent face. Blue eyes with long dark eyelashes and dark eyebrows. He is a squadron engineer. Graduated from the academy. The voice has a good baritone. Feels like he's smart.
Swimming on the Moskva River
Healthy, cheerful young people. They "chopped banks" to each other. Even the senior in rank and age, Medyntsev, was "hacked" - one "officer". - “Polite, polite! Get him to his feet - you need order. "
There are a lot of girls on the river. The humor around the girls is rude, but friendly, cheerful, the girls are not offended.
One of the criminals is the same Vasilchenko. Cheerful and desperate guy, gull, mischievous.
Another zakoperschik is the navigator of the regiment (temporary) Ikonnikov (he was the navigator at Sugaka), a tanned, smartly and well-built dark-haired guy, a sportsman. And Sharaev, of course, is right there. When they are all together, naked, one does not feel any ranks, they even mock the ranks ("Who will" cut the banks "- senior in rank?") - a cheerful, rude, male friendship, like in no other army in the world.
Regiment Commander Lieutenant Colonel Abramov
A big-nosed, elderly lieutenant colonel, an old pilot, looks like a kind, slightly flabby Indian warrior. The face looks fierce until it gives a wide grin, showing large horse teeth.
Major Nikolaev Vladimir Vasilievich
A typical intelligent political worker in appearance, delicate facial features, a very friendly guy - "Volodya". He is, however, an experienced pilot with experience. Bogged down by work so much that he forgets the names. They seem to love him, he is attentive to people, a hard-working, competent guy, with humor.
Division Commander Colonel Lebedev Viktorin Ivanovich
The actual organizer of the regiment. A smart Russian face, curly dark hair, a wide smile, large teeth, very lively, intelligent, dark brown eyes that light up with joy, wide quivering nostrils, full lips. The face of an active, mischievous, intelligent, life-loving Russian person. Loves jokes, folk sayings. Charming man.
Hero of the Soviet Union Alekseev
In the past, a polar pilot, already elderly, in a shabby navy uniform, wears the Gold Star, but in principle does not wear orders ...
The units are rightfully proud of the fact that these powerful machines with all their sophisticated, delicate and perfect equipment are made at domestic factories to the last screw.
A majestic picture of the takeoff of vehicles on a combat mission.
Pilot Makarenko's car went to East Prussia first. It rose before dark. Warm, stuffy, almost windless August evening. The pale crescent of the month was already in the sky.
Powerful pockmarked cars, having accepted the bomb load, lined up at the airfield before flying to MGU. Cloudy dust over the airfield. The red, dull sun sets in an indefinite dark gray mess on the horizon, the crescent of the moon is more clearly indicated. Crews in picturesque groups on the grass in front of the aircraft. Others have already half-put on warm flight overalls. It gets darker and darker. Dressing on the go, take up seats on planes. The motors are turned on - dusty whirlwinds across the field. Gleaming headlights in the night, they taxied to the start - one after another, powerfully and heavily. "Counter the crutch!" The shot is a red rocket. Cars, speeding up, rush along the asphalt road and, having heavily separated from it, go low and low to the west, immediately getting lost in the night murk. The moon shines brightly in the sky. Airplanes roar, smells of dust. Swirls of dust rush across the field. Powerful birds, black in the night, go into the distance at night on wide, motionless wings - Sugak, Kaminsky, Zelensky, Simonov. Pointing the way to the cars, somewhere at the other end of the airfield or behind it, a thin beam of a lighthouse rises or disappears towards the sky.
Shtepenko about the flight to Konigsberg
We walked between two layers of clouds. The tiers converged. Overcast. The plane began to freeze over. They gave an anti-icer to the screws. It didn't help - the antenna thickened and vibrated. Decreased by 2,800, thawed out. He began to chatter a lot. Soon there were flashes of fire from below: anti-aircraft guns or artillery? The plane began to shake, obviously, anti-aircraft guns ... Suddenly, thunder and the noise of a large hail falling on the plane and the fuselage, drowning out the roar of the engine. A thunderstorm is more terrible than any barrage of fire. The electrified plane began to glow. Tongues of fire ran across windows and antennas. Lightning blinded, on the plane - streams of water. Throws so that you can sit still, clutching something with your hands. They dropped to a thousand meters. Bluish meandering of the Western Dvina. We passed the thunderstorm, went to climb, having identified by the Polar Star.
Cloudy again. In the gap between the clouds we saw a hilly stormy sea. Let's go to the Koenigsberg radio station. The phones are getting louder than radio music. Again - in a thunderstorm. Tongues of fire ran across the planes again. Hail hit. The radio compass went out, and lights were also running on its control panels. The ends of all four screws in a ring of fire. From the ends of the planes, cosmes of flame are torn off. The antenna was glowing. All metal parts are electrified. You cannot take up arms with your hands. We descended, went out into a clear sky, again measured the height of the North Star, determined ourselves, and went to Konigsberg. We made a circle. The lights began to go out in the city. Anti-aircraft guns hit. At first, they could not drop the bombs, because the water froze in the bomb bays. The bomb releasers did not work. The ice was removed with a hammer and chisel.
A huge explosion lit up an entire area of the city. The ship was led by Pusep.
Pusep about the flight to Berlin
The front line was recognized by the pink shade of the clouds - anti-aircraft guns were beating. They bombed from a great height, the city was not visible. Danzig was caught shining with lights and bombed very well.
Sometimes you forget that you are flying on a combat mission when you see a majestic panorama of heaped clouds, painted with the purple of the setting sun. It gets dark. The dawn went out. Only in the north is the horizon strip glowing. In the west, in a gray haze, sometimes a subtle light flashes. This is a thunderstorm. There are extraneous sounds and cod in the radio. The haze is getting closer, more and more flashes. The plane begins to shake - it looks like a nervous tremor, a flutter of metal. Dry snow breaks through the cracks in the pilot's lantern and settles inside, like frost or like powder, on the cockpit windows, on the details of mechanisms, on the eyelashes of the pilots. A bluish light streams from the propellers, from the antenna, from the machine guns, from the ends of the planes. The cockpit is as bright as day. This is static electricity. The plane is loaded like a Leyden jar. A bolt of lightning is blinding. We "jump over" the thunderstorm, gaining a height of 7,500 meters.
Churilin over Konigsberg
This is a mighty, tall man, with fused black eyebrows and black eyes, a long, pointed aquiline nose. His name is Arsen, like a Georgian, although he is a thoroughbred Russian - Arsentiy. Over Konigsberg. Lays down on a combat course. Navigator Vladimirov drops bombs. Suddenly the ship shook violently. A shell exploded from below and shrapnel pierced the oil line of the third engine. All the oil was immediately thrown out of the tank. The motor shook and caught fire, tongues of flame appeared on the plane. The cockpits and fuselage were filled with acrid smoke.
The assistant flight engineer quickly climbed into the plane. At an altitude of 6,400 meters without an oxygen device, he extinguished the fire with a fire extinguisher. The third motor got stuck with a punctured crankcase and was out of order.
On the fourth engine, also damaged by a shell fragment, the water temperature began to rise sharply. The same Frost pumped water from the third engine. So we got out of trouble ...