Aviation of World War II
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Su-2. Combat Use.
Su-2 from 211 gbap in the parking lot
By June 22, 1941, the vast majority of Su-2 bombers were concentrated in the western military districts.
ZOVO - 100 (as of June 1 - 89, received 11); 43rd bbap - 25, 97th bbap - 50, 209th bbap - 25
KOVO - 116 (as of June 1 - 99, received 17); 226th bbap - 55, 227th bbap - 61
OdVO - 25 (as of June 1 - 21, received 4); 210th bbap - 3, 211th bbap - 22
HVO - 123 (as of June 1); 103rd bbap, 135th bbap.
Most likely, by the beginning of the war, the regiments had a regular number of aircraft - 64 Su-2 in each. However, by the time the regiments were relocated to the Novozybkov airfield on June 28, 1941, there were only 38 Su-2s in the 103rd, and 43 in the 135th.
In total, there were about 365 - 370 aircraft in combat units. In addition, another 7 aircraft were in the training center, and about 80 finished machines were at the factories waiting to be sent to the troops (as of July 1, 90 such aircraft had accumulated in Kharkov).
According to reports, by the end of 1941, the army was to receive more than 700 aircraft. The training of pilots and navigators proceeded at an accelerated pace. Su-2 was used not only as a close bomber, but also as an attack aircraft. However, it is precisely the inability of the aircraft to attack that explains the fact of extremely high losses in the first months of the war.
Having made about 5,000 sorties on the Su-2 in 1941, the Soviet Air Force lost only 222 of these aircraft in combat and went missing, that is, one loss accounted for 22.5 sorties. At the same time, the average combat irretrievable losses of Soviet bombers in 1941 amounted to 1 aircraft per 14 sorties, that is, they were 1.61 times more.
In units that were armed with Pe-2 and Su-2 at the same time, significantly lower losses of the latter were also noted, despite the formally better performance characteristics of Petlyakov’s machines: in the final report of the 66th Air Division for 1941, combat losses of Pe-2 are determined in 1 loss for 32 sorties, while the Su-2 had 71 sorties for 1 loss.
By June 22, 1941, only one 135th BBAP was fully equipped with these aircraft in the Red Army Air Force, and seven more air regiments received several Su-2s.
It was the Su-2 from the 211 BBAP that turned out to be the first aircraft that shot down (by mistake) on the very first day of the war, June 22, 1941, the future Soviet ace and air marshal Alexander Pokryshkin. Pokryshkin, later justifying himself, noted that he did not know the silhouette of the Su-2., since it was a new and secret aircraft of the USSR Air Force. The downing was observed by Ivan Pstygo, who was flying in the same Su-2 group (also a future air marshal, and after the war, Pokryshkin's classmate while studying at the Higher Officer Courses of the Air Force in Lipetsk).
The only known case of an aerial ramming committed by a woman was committed on the Su-2 - on September 12, 1941, the pilot, senior lieutenant Yekaterina Zelenko, on her Su-2, shot down a German Me-109 fighter with a ram, cutting off the wing of the aircraft with her propeller, after which the second Me-109 shot down her plane, which she tried to land after ramming, the pilot died. The navigator-side gunner, on the orders of the commander, had previously left the plane with a parachute - he remained alive, reporting the results of a reconnaissance flight.
Soviet aviation regiments, especially bomber regiments, suffered exceptionally high losses on the Western Front. Although in the next sorties the Soviet crews raised the flight altitude to 1000 - 1500 m, the number of personnel and materiel was rapidly decreasing. The 97th bap was no exception: the unit lost its combat capability by the end of June 1941, having completed 146 sorties. On July 7, the remaining pilots, navigators, mechanics, gunsmiths, minders and the regimental headquarters were taken to the rear for reorganization. The report of the headquarters of the 97th bap reports on the enormous damage inflicted on a friend, and, among other things, 14 Messerschmitts shot down in battle.
On the same day, July 7, the remnants of the 43rd BAP, which fought on the Western Front, were brought to the Kharkov region for new Su-2s. The aviators of the unit did not report downed enemy aircraft, but noted the destruction of 118 (!) Tanks, 1086 vehicles, 22 bridges, 86 guns, and other equipment. The regiment did not have time to complete rearmament before the war and began fighting with 20 Su-2s and 30 R-Zets. The crews were able to carry out 296 sorties (170 on Sukhoi bombers) against formations of the 3rd Panzer Group. Losses amounted to 33 aviators; the participants in the battles in Finland, captains M.S. Kabantsev, P.P. Dusov and A.N. Avdeev. The latter directed the burning aircraft to the enemy motor vehicles with infantry approaching the Bolshie Sitzy airfield.
The 226th and 227th bap fighting on the Southwestern Front were also subjected to fierce attacks by German aircraft on the ground, but suffered the main losses during air battles, attacking the advancing motorized troops of the 1st enemy tank group. So, the subordinates of Colonel G.P. Turykin had to endure a serious test during the first battle on June 29. Then 12 Su-2s of the 227th bap were attacked by eight Bf.109s from the III/JG3 air group. The navigators met the Messerschmitts with dense defensive fire, and at first the German fighters could not succeed. They were forced to temporarily withdraw from the battle, but after disrupting the formation of Soviet vehicles by anti-aircraft artillery fire, they continued to “hunt”. Aces of the 3rd Fighter Squadron, upon their return, reported seven victories, of which Lieutenant V. Bauer scored three at his own expense. The Soviet side acknowledged the loss of six vehicles; among those who did not return was the crew of the squadron commander, Major Kolokolnikov.
Su-2 aircraft of both regiments were part of the 62nd bomber air division of Colonel V.V. Smirnov, who fought in the Kiev direction, supporting the troops of the 5th Army from the air. Despite some successful sorties by the crews of the 226th and 227th bap, Lieutenant General F.A. Astakhov believed that they had not sufficiently mastered the material part and were poorly prepared for battles. In addition, almost all sorties were carried out without cover by their own fighters. The headquarters of the Air Force failed to ensure the interaction of aviation with ground forces, which affected the results of counterattacks by five Soviet mechanized corps against the enemy in the Lutsk-Dubno-Rivne region. The oncoming tank battle ended unsuccessfully.
Still, in late June - early July 1941, constant raids by Soviet Su-2, DB-3F and SB bombers forced the tank divisions of the 3rd German motorized corps to clear the Zhytomyr - Kiev road and abandon plans to break in on the move to the capital of Ukraine. As the West German historian Münzel wrote, due to counterattacks by Soviet troops and aviation, units of the 13th Panzer Division were forced to temporarily go on the defensive along the banks of the Irpen River, near the borders of the Kiev fortified area. The damage to the enemy could be more significant, but Soviet aviators did not bomb the railway junctions occupied by the enemy and practically did not disturb enemy aircraft at airfields. Insufficient attention was paid to aviation reconnaissance. The chief of staff of the 26th Army, Colonel Varenikov, stated with regret: the passivity of our aviation "did not allow the ground command to" look "into the operational-tactical rear of the enemy, to understand his plans".
According to Soviet data, the Air Force of the Odessa Military District, commanded by Major General F.G. Michugin, met the war in the most organized way. Indeed, thanks to skillful camouflage and the dispersal of Soviet aircraft at airfields, the enemy managed to destroy no more than 3% of the aircraft of the district's Air Force on the first day. Until the end of June, not a single Su-2 was lost on the ground. At the same time, in this direction, there were temporary losses of communications and control of air units by higher headquarters.
The documents recorded: on the evening of June 22, 1941, the first (possibly on the entire front) sortie of eight Su-2s from the 211th bap made to attack the crossings over the Prut in the area of Lipkany, Dumeni, and then within two days Su -2 eights bombed enemy concentrations in the Skuleni area. The unit suffered its first losses on the 24th, when one bomber was knocked out by anti-aircraft guns, and another crashed while landing. On June 23, for the first time on the Soviet-German front, Su-2 bombers were covered by MiGs from the 4th IAP.
Analyzing the work of the 210th and 211th bap at the beginning of the war, we can conclude that the Su-2 aircraft operated with a significantly lower load than the SB and Pe-2, not to mention the I-16 or MiG-3 . Apparently, the flight crew did not have time to fully master the machine. On June 25, the commander of the 20th Air Division, Major General A.S. Osipenko watched the combat work of the six Su-2s bombing the crossings: all the bombs fell with a large flight and did not harm the enemy. The general was also dissatisfied with the fact that the loading of each aircraft did not exceed 240 kg, while the Su-2 could well carry out tasks carrying 400-500 kg of deadly cargo on board. Only in mid-July 1941 did the intensity of the combat work of the above-mentioned regiments increase, and the accuracy of bombing increased.
Intense fighting broke out on the southern flank after July 20, when the German-Romanian troops reached the Dniester between the towns of Yampol and Soroca. On the night of July 21, the headquarters of the 211th bap received an order to destroy the enemy crossing with two nines. By this time, the regiment had relocated to the Southwestern Front and used the jump airfield to increase the combat load. According to the testimony of Lieutenant I.I. Pstygo, who was carrying out an important task, and later an air marshal, 16 aircraft did not return on the 21st: “We bombed the crossing with hurricane anti-aircraft fire. The whole sky from the breaks was in shapeless ink blots. I don't know how many planes were shot down over the target. Maybe half. When we became inaccessible to anti-aircraft artillery, Messerschmitts appeared, furiously attacking our slow-moving vehicles. I see one Su-2 is on fire, the second ... After such losses, the group, of course, broke up. I drive the car as carefully as possible - I was left completely alone. ”
The combat log and operational reports of the regiment recorded that eight crews did not return from the tragic sortie on July 22, and six more a day later. In addition, one navigator was killed, and two planes landed with 40 to 50 holes. But the enemy managed to inflict significant damage. According to the command of the 48th Rifle Corps, the pilots were able to achieve direct hits on the crossing and accumulations of enemy vehicles with artillery. The raid on the enemy airfield Balta (northeast of Kotovsk) was successful. A captured Romanian soldier said: “Never before has Russian aviation carried out such an intense bombardment!”
It is curious to note that the German fighter pilots of the 4th Air Corps (neither from the JG77 squadron, nor from the I / LG2 air group) did not declare victories won in the Yampol, Yaruga area from 22 to 24 July. Their aces on these days claimed to destroy nine Soviet fighters, accompanied by dive bombers from StG77. It would not be a mistake to assert that the opponents of the crews of the 211th bap were Romanian fighters. As you know, the Romanian aviation in 1941 also had Messerschmitts.
On July 29, in the 211th bap, which was relocated to the town of Taranditsy near Kiev, there were 18 Su-2s left, of which 7 were operational. In addition to them, the Air Force of the South-Western Front had 21 machines of this type (including 16 serviceable ones) as part of the 226th and 227th bap. Both regiments were based at the Pevtsy airfield near Chernigov. It is not superfluous to point out that in total there were then 139 bombers of all types in the Air Force of the front.
In the last days of July 1941, the order of the Military Council of the 18th Army noted "the high skill, courage and heroism of the pilots of the 210th Bomber Aviation Regiment (commander - Lieutenant Colonel A.V. Kozhemyakin)". In the area of Golovanevsk, they helped our infantry of the 17th Rifle Corps to get out from under the blow of superior enemy forces, managed to suppress the fire of his artillery and blow up the ammunition depot.
It seems interesting to follow the fate of the 135th bap, which most fully mastered the Su-2 aircraft before the war. On June 28, 1941, the commander of the regiment, Colonel B.V. Jansen, together with the commander of the 103rd BAP, Lieutenant Colonel P.I. Mironenko received an order to relocate from Kharkov to the Novozybkov area, to the Western Front, where both became part of the Air Force of the 21st Army. They were supposed to support the ground forces during a hastily prepared counter-offensive, called the Zhlobin operation.
The command of the Red Army had the hope that the aviation operations would be more successful than before. One of the most capable commanders was Major General G.A. Vorozheykin - Commander of the Air Force of the 21st Army. Many of the units subordinate to him had thorough training. Combat experience was possessed not only by the commander of the 135th bap, but also by his deputy major A.I. Pushkin. The regiment had a well-knit headquarters, and squadron commanders Major P.O. Peydus, captains V.V. Lebedev, P.B. Ignatenko, P.V. Kostin, Senior Lieutenant D.F. Stepanov flew 200 - 400 hours each. But the hopes were not justified: the actions of the pilots again turned out to be poorly linked to the operations of the ground troops. The main reasons for the failures and heavy losses at the beginning of hostilities should be sought in the poor preparation for modern warfare of the senior command staff of the Red Army, their inability to competently use aviation.
The intensive work of the 135th bap in early July 1941 led to a reduction in the number of serviceable vehicles to 65%. The "black" day in the history of the regiment was July 7, when, after an attack on the crossings on the Dnieper, eight crews did not immediately return from a sortie. Another misfortune lay in wait for the aviators of the 135th over the Novozybkov airfield: the transport PS-84, which was transporting a brigade of technical staff, was mistakenly shot down by its own. 19 people died and 7 were seriously injured. As the investigation showed, unexpected "aggressiveness" was shown by the Su-2 pilots of the neighboring 103rd bap, captains V.S. Volodin and M.A. Yakovenko, who mistook the transport aircraft for the enemy. Military merits saved the aviators from severe punishment. Both commanders distinguished themselves during the retraining of the unit on the Su-2 and during the Finnish war.
Of course, you can give examples of successful "dry" sorties. On June 29, the crew, consisting of pilot Lieutenant T.K. Maslov and navigator Senior Lieutenant G.F. Novikov from the 103rd bap mistook the Messerschmitt for their fighter and took no action. The German was also confused - he attacked the Su-2 uncertainly, apparently not being fully convinced that he was facing a Soviet aircraft. First, the Bf109 hid behind the bomber's tail, and then suddenly found itself right under the navigator's machine gun at a distance of only 30 m. Novikov's fire turned out to be accurate. It may have been the first enemy fighter shot down by a Su-2 crew on the Western Front. The chief of intelligence of the Air Force of the 21st Army flew to the place where the Messer fell on a U-2, confirming the victory.
Careful reconnaissance "on oneself" made it possible to determine the concentration of many enemy fighters at the Bobruisk airfield, to assess the organization of the enemy's air defense. The commander of the 103rd bap ordered on the evening of July 8 to attack the enemy base with all 19 serviceable short-range bombers. The MiG-3 fighters provided reliable cover, but the strike did not take place, since not a single non-friendly aircraft could be caught on the ground. Subsequently, it turned out that German radio intelligence was able to find the direction of the negotiations of the Soviet crews, and the Messerschmitts urgently flew to other airfields.
As it often happened, the air regiments suffered the heaviest losses in the first days of their stay at the front. The 135th bap arrived in the Novozybkov area with 43, and the 103rd - 38 Su-2. On July 10, 1941, 57 vehicles remained in both of their regiments, and in practice they were seriously battered in battle. 27 pilots and navigators died or did not return from the flight. Miraculously, Lieutenant V.P. survived. Plotnikov and the 103rd bap - when a burning Su-2 fell with a powerful explosion of bombs, it was thrown out of the cockpit and thrown onto the crown of a tall tree.
The best crews quickly absorbed combat experience. In the early morning of July 13, nine of the 103rd bap, led by Lieutenant Colonel Mironenko, attacked the German airfield Stary Bykhov. A carefully planned flight route and strict radio silence in the air made it possible to ensure surprise. According to Soviet data, 27 enemy fighters burned down in the fire. Documents of JG51 - it was this formation that was based here - do not confirm such high losses. According to German sources, the Messerschmitts were well dispersed along the edge of the forest, and mainly field repair shops suffered from fire. In addition, several cars exploded at the airport.
On July 16, Major Peidus's squadron from the 135th bap conducted a dramatic battle. After the attack of enemy tanks, the bombers at an altitude of 1600 m were attacked by a pair of Bf109. Successfully interacting with other navigators, Lieutenant M.A. Lashin shot down one fighter with well-aimed fire. Then the presenter made a mistake - he increased the speed, and Lieutenant Polyakov's car, equipped with a less powerful M-87B engine, began to lag behind. The Bf110, which emerged from behind the clouds, ignited the gas tank in the left plane, the engine stopped ... Nevertheless, the pilot managed to pull over the Sozh River during gliding and make an emergency landing south of Propoisk at the location of his troops. Even after that, the "one hundred and tenth" did not stop the attack and set fire to the Su-2 on the ground; Polyakov was seriously wounded and Lashin was lightly wounded. From the fire of anti-aircraft guns and fighters, there was literally no “living place” left on the car of Senior Lieutenant N.I. Staroruzsky. The navigator's cabin was especially hard hit, but Lieutenant Komarov, despite 20 wounds, survived.
The number of aircraft in the regiments was rapidly falling. In mid-July, a group of pilots of the 103rd and 135th BAP left for the plant in Kharkov to get new machines. At the same time, the engineering and technical staff, headed by military engineers of the 3rd rank A.V. Telegin and N.D. Romankov undertook heroic efforts to repair faulty dryers. By July 24, it was possible to return 21 Su-2s to service after restoration and 14 after field repairs.
In the role of attack aircraft, they used two to four machine guns in the wing and small 10 kg bombs to defeat the German ground forces, which did not cause significant damage even to light tanks (these data do not correspond to Soviet estimates, since our experts believed that in the first period of the war the standard load of the Su-2 consisted of FAB-100 bombs). Almost all German commanders noted that “in the role of an attack aircraft, the Il-2 turned out to be a much more useful aircraft; it is not surprising that the Russians made extensive use of the latter until the end of the war.
In the role of Su-2 bombers, they acted in a dense formation "wedge" at altitudes of 1500 - 2500 m (according to our data - even lower - approx. Authors). They were rarely covered by fighters, which affected combat losses. According to the navigator of the short-range reconnaissance group, Captain von Reschke, who observed several raids by Soviet single-engine bombers on bridges across the Dnieper, the effectiveness of their actions was low and the bridges were not damaged. In a word, at the first stage of the war, Sukhoi's machines did not impress the enemy. Until the end of July 1941, judging by German reports, most of the two-seat single-engine Russian aircraft - five each - were shot down by the commander of the III / JG3 air group, Captain W. Eizau (W. Oesau) and the pilot from IV / JG51, Lieutenant G. Zeelman (G. Seelmann).
In early August 1941, the flight and combat properties of the Su-2 were analyzed at a conference on the exchange of combat experience, held at the Red Army Air Force Research Institute. One of the leading specialists of the institute, military engineer of the 2nd rank V.Ya. Magon noted with regret that P.O. Sukhoi’s plane turned out to be worse than other machines prepared for combat operations. Indeed, before the war with the Su-2, they removed two wing-mounted machine guns and a hatch installation for firing down and back. The TSS-1 upper firing mount (installed instead of the MV-5), according to the institute's specialists, "compromised itself": it did not provide the necessary firing angles, did not protect the navigator from blowing out, and had mediocre aerodynamics.
In the first battles, the Su-2s repulsed the attacks of enemy fighters with the concentrated fire of navigators-shooters. In the absence of fighter cover and during sorties by small units, Sukhoi bombers sometimes had to conduct a maneuverable battle with the Messers. It turned out that the machines controlled by well-trained pilots could stand up for themselves. So, energetically maneuvering in battle on August 26, junior lieutenant A.A. Beznosov from the 211th bap accurately fired at the Messerschmitt from wing machine guns. The next day, German soldiers found near Berislav, next to the fallen Bf109E No. 2786, the body of Lieutenant II / JG77 W. Himmelmann.
The Sovinformburo reported on the combat operations of the Su-2 group from the 227th bap on the morning of September 7: to take off Ju88 and Bf.109. Without letting the fascist aircraft take off, our pilots destroyed more than 30 enemy aircraft at the airfield. On the way back, four Messerschmitts attacked a unit of Soviet bombers. In the battle, our gunners-radio operators shot down two enemy vehicles...”.
The raid and the events preceding it are covered in detail in German documents. According to them, on August 28, air groups I and III / JG3 received an order to relocate from Belaya Tserkov to Uman in order to ensure the safety of Hitler and Mussolini, who decided to visit the advancing victorious troops of Army Group South. The Fuhrer and Duce did not stay long in Uman, quickly leaving the Eastern Front. On the evening of August 29, the fighters of the two air groups returned to Belaya Tserkov, preparing to fight in the Kiev area. The next morning, Su-2 bombers appeared over the airfield. From the report of the Quartermaster General of the Luftwaffe, it followed that several bombs destroyed the repair base along with the vehicles located there. 10 Bf109Fs were destroyed at the airfield. “The weak composition of our fighters has decreased even more”, the German command noted with regret.
The Germans do not recognize the fact of a successful air battle for the Su-2, since for several days they practically did not have serviceable Messerschmitts on this sector of the front. Although there is no data on the number of fighters damaged as a result of the raid, it is known that in the III / JG3 air group for three days only one Bf109 was considered combat ready. On September 2, the air group left Belaya Tserkov and flew to Alexandria, southwest of Kremenchug, with 10 Messerschmitts in its composition.
As of November 25, 93 Su-2 remained in the Air Force of the Southwestern Front, although the number of serviceable aircraft decreased from 77 to 37 compared to the beginning of October. With relatively low combat losses (the activity of German fighter aviation has now become insignificant) , the shelves were in dire need of spare parts, units and new engines. In addition, the stationary and field repair network of the Air Force of the front was far from their bases, which complicated the restoration of aircraft. The maintenance of different types of aircraft, such as the Pe-2 and Su-2, or the Il-2 and Su-2, by one BAO reduced the number of sorties for a serviceable aircraft.
Until the end of 1941, more than 400 Su-2s had to be written off, of which 222 died from airfield bombing, were shot down by enemy fighters or anti-aircraft guns, and did not return from combat missions (Soviet documents recorded about 5,000 sorties in the first six months of the war Su-2). The Su-2 regiments suffered the greatest damage in the first month - one and a half from the beginning of the enemy invasion. In this, the fate of Sukhoi aircraft turned out to be similar to the Tupolev SB and Ilyushin DB-3F.
Interesting statistics are given at the end of 1941 in the final summary of the 66th air division. Although the command of the formation had many claims against the leadership of the 288th bap for the poor organization of combat work, poor training of pilots and navigators (in one of the first sorties, due to a piloting error, the crew of Lieutenant Khil went into a tailspin and crashed), the regiment suffered relatively lower losses than the units on the Pe-2 and SB that were part of the division. The commander of the 288th bap, Major Artamonov, noted that some Su-2s returned to their airfield with up to a hundred holes.
BBAP - Blizhne bombardirovochnyy aviatsionnyy polk - Close Bomber Aviation Regiment
PVO Protivovozdushnaya oborona - Air Defense
FAB - Fugasnyye aviabomby - High Explosive Air Bombs
BAO - Batal'on aerodromnogo obsluzhivaniya - Airfield Maintenance Battalion
KOVO - Kiyevskiy Osobyy Voyennyy Okrug - Kiev Special Military District
ZOVO -Zapadnyy Osobyy Voyennyy Okrug - Western Special Military District
OdVO - Odesskiy Voyennyy Okrug - Odessa Military District
HVO - Kharkov Military District - Khar'kovskiy Voyennyy Okrug
VVS RKKA Voyenno-Vozdushnyye Sily Raboche-Krest'yanskoy Krasnoy Armii - Air Force of the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army
NII VVS - NII VVS - Nauchno Issledovatel'skiy institut Voyenno-Vozdushnykh Sil - Scientific Research Institute of the Air Force
It must be noted that the crews of the 288th bap worked most intensely in October (during this month, the nine serviceable Su-2s available in the unit, on average, completed 308 sorties). In autumn, German fighter aviation was much weaker on the Southwestern Front than in summer, when the Pe-2 and SB regiments took the fight and suffered the greatest losses. In addition, four more Su-2s accounted for non-combat losses - they had to be written off as a result of accidents and disasters.
Deserved recognition for the aircraft and the chief designer was brought by the successes of the aviators of the 43rd bap. According to official data, by March 1942, the pilots made 2377 sorties (including senior lieutenant N.P. Zinoviev - 95 sorties, lieutenant I.P. Tripuzov - 89, junior lieutenant V.A. Sulev, later awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union - 83), the navigators dropped 379,850 kg of bombs on the enemy's heads, scattered more than 2 million leaflets. , disabled 10,600 enemy soldiers and officers. In accordance with the order of the People's Commissar of Defense Stalin No. 70 dated March 7, 1942, the regiment was transformed into the 13th Guards.
The successes of the 135th bap, commanded by Major G.M. Korzinnikov. Only from September 25 to November 1, 1941, the aviators made 630 sorties, destroyed, according to the headquarters of the 16th air division, 217 tanks (in the reports, German tanks did not spare!), 400 vehicles with infantry, other equipment, while their losses did not have. In February 1942, the regiment was presented for the award of the Order of Lenin and the assignment of the name of Stalin, which was especially honorable in those years.
Two nine Su-2s of the 97th bap, led by Captain Postai, on November 7, 1941, participated in an air parade in Kuibyshev dedicated to the anniversary of the revolution. Having flawlessly withstood the formation over the city and improvised stands with the leadership of the country (Stalin remained in Moscow, but the branch of the Council of People's Commissars and most of the people's commissariats were relocated to Kuibyshev), the aviators earned the gratitude of Marshal K.E. Voroshilov.
On February 10, 1942, the commander of the 76th Air Division, Colonel V.G. Ryazanov introduced the 52nd bap to the rank of guards. “The regiment gained a lot of combat experience, acting skillfully and confidently, but without arrogance and hatred, which is the merit, first of all, of its commander, Major A.I. Pushkin", - it was said in this document, which was also signed by the commander of the Air Force of the 37th Army, Major General V.I. Shevchenko. But the positive decision of the commander of the Southwestern Front, Marshal S.K. Tymoshenko was not received.
The operational report of the division for November 17, 1941 reflects the feat of the navigator of the 52nd bap senior sergeant A.A. Ivanova. Mortally wounded in the 17th sortie, he continued to fight until his last breath and accurately drop bombs. When the plane landed, the senior sergeant had already died. The regiment commander and the division commander presented the navigator to the Order of the Red Banner, but on December 6, 1941, Timoshenko wrote a resolution: “Worthy of the title of Hero of the Soviet Union”. A.A. Ivanov became the first aviator to be awarded the Gold Star (posthumously) for his feat on the Su-2 aircraft.