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Lydia Litvyak and Yak-1


Lidia Vladimirovna Litvyak

Lidia Vladimirovna Litvyak - junior lieutenant.

Lydia (Lilya) Litvyak was born on August 18, 1922 in Moscow. In 1937 her father was repressed and shot. Before the war, Litvyak was already a qualified pilot and instructor, she became one of the first women to express a voluntary desire to serve in the Air Force in response to the call of the famous pilot Marina Raskova. She graduated from the Kherson Military Aviation Administration and was appointed a sergeant in the female 586th IAP, which took part in the defense of Saratov. She was described as a petite and feminine blonde; in September, she and several of her friends were transferred to Stalingrad, where a purely female group was formed in the 6th IAD. She flew on a Yak-1 aircraft, achieved the greatest success among female pilots. Subsequently, she fought on the South-Western Front - as part of the 3rd Squadron of the 296th IAP; often flew with Lieutenant Alexei Solomatin. During the battle on March 22, 1943, after shooting down two planes, she was wounded and sent to the hospital. According to her mechanic, she loved Alexei Solomatin and after he died, she used every opportunity to fly. She returned to the regiment in May and was promoted to junior lieutenant. Soon the regiment became the 73rd GvIAP. In July 1943 she fought on the Southern Front.


On July 16, she flew with the Yak-1 six, which was going to intercept 30 Ju 88 and six Bf 109 escorts, again shot down two aircraft, but she had to make an emergency landing, and she was slightly injured. On August 1, 1943, during the third day of departure, she shot down two aircraft (one of them in the group). During the next sortie, she shot down a Bf 109, but was attacked by another messer. One of the pilots noticed her plane disappearing into a cloud. After that, her Yak-1b plane disappeared, and no one else saw her.

Her plane probably crashed, and Litvyak died from her wounds and was buried near the plane by local residents. Its commander has prepared all the documents necessary for the posthumous submission to be awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union; however, as she disappeared and there were rumors that she was being held captive by the Germans, the award was not given.

Litvyak had 168 sorties and scored 16 victories (four in a group); in addition, she shot down a spotter balloon. During her lifetime she was awarded the Order of the Red Star and the Red Banner.

In the summer of 1979, after many years of searching, the remains of Lydia Litvyak were discovered and identified. On May 5, 1990, the President of the USSR signed a decree conferring the title of Hero of the Soviet Union to Lydia Vladimirovna Litvyak.

Confirmed Victories
1942
13 September   Ju 88   Yak-1 6th IAD
-//- in Group     -//- -//-
1943
11 February   Ju 87   Yak-1 6th IAD
-//- in Group FW 190   -//- -//-
22 Marth   JU 88 Rostov-on-Don -//- 296th IAP
-//-   Bf 109   -//- -//-
5 May   Bf 109   -//- -//-
7 May   Bf 109   -//- -//-
31 May   Balloon   -//- 73rd GvIAP
16 July   Ju 88   -//- -//-
-//- in Group Bf 109   -//- -//-
19 July   Bf 109   -//- -//-
21 July   Bf 109   -//- -//-
1 August in Group Bf 109   -//- -//-
-//-   Bf 109   -//- -//-

Bibliography

  • "Aces of Stalin " /Thomas Pollack/