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"Starlings" from the Flock of "Dragon"

(Crimean Spring of 1944)

Vladislav Antipov, Igor Utkin

Yak-9D in flight

On the eve of Victory Day, a holy holiday for all of us, I would like to return to the events of the spring of 1944, scorched by the war, when on May 9, exactly one year before the Victory, the hero city of Sevastopol was liberated. In the battle for the Crimea, the most active part was taken by the "air workers' wars" - the aviators of the 8th VA, in whose honor a monument was erected on Malakhov Hill. Among the air formations of this army, the 3rd IAK of General E.Ya. played an important role. Savitsky (personal call sign - "Dragon"), whose fighters were in the air almost daily. The air corps included two divisions of three regiments: the 265th IAD and the 278th IAD, which were armed with several types of Yakov. After the war, the memoirs of E.Ya. Savitsky, book by B.A. Gubin and V.D. Kiselev "Eighth Air", which have become genuine monuments to pilots-warriors. However, with regret, we are forced to state that in these books, as in earlier studies, there are some inaccuracies or unfortunate errors, and sometimes even diplomatic silence. Without setting ourselves the goal of looking for motes in someone else's eye, we nevertheless considered it necessary to return once again to the events of that spring. On the basis of materials from the TsAMO RF funds, we will only give a chronicle of 30-odd days of combat work in the Crimea of ​​one of the regiments of the 265th Melitopol IAD - the 812th IAP, and take the liberty of sharing some of our own conclusions and assessments. The air unit we chose was one of the ten most productive fighter regiments during the Great Patriotic War. The pilots of the 812th IAP used the radio call sign "Starling".

Before the beginning of the actual narrative, it is necessary to say a few words about the enemy. In the Crimea, the 8th VA was opposed by the Luftwaffe air unit from the 1st Air Corps (I. Fliegerkorps), commanded by General Paul Deichmann. A large proportion of the losses of German aircraft in the events described are accounted for by the FW 190 fighter-bombers, which, together with the Ju 87, were actively used by the II. / SG 2 group, which was part of the famous Schlachtgeschwader 2 Immelmann squadron. The enemy recorded a smaller number of destroyed FW 190s than the pilots of the 8th VA, and in particular the 3rd IAK, said. However, we note that there are no complete and reliable data on the losses of this group in the Crimea, but they can be approximately judged by the loss of aircraft. So, II./SG 2 in April 1944 wrote off 24 FW 190 modifications A and G, and in May - another 16 FW 190 modifications F and G. JG 52 also operated in this direction, which Savitsky's headquarters described at the end of March 1944 g. as follows: “52 IE is considered one of the best fighter squadrons of the German Air Force. The squadron commander in February 1943 was Major Khrabak, the squadron has three combat and one reserve groups armed with Me-109G-2 aircraft. The flight personnel are distinguished by good combat training and have extensive combat experience. The average flight time of each pilot is up to 100 or more sorties. On the personal account of the squadron over 500 downed aircraft (French, English, Russian). JG 52 included the Croatian staffel 15, (kroat.) / JG 52, in addition, the air units of the Royal Romanian Air Force (FARR - Fortele Aeriane Regale ale Romana), armed with Ju 87 dive bombers, took part in the defense of the Crimea. Heavy fighters were intended to escort ships Bf 110G and Ju 88C, with which 5./NJG 200 was armed. It is possible that Bf 110G from II./ZG 1 also covered the evacuated troops. Transport aircraft were widely used to remove troops from the peninsula.

The first April victory of the 812th IAP was a Bf 109, destroyed by Lieutenant Petr Peskarev on the 7th at 10.27, after which an entry appeared in his flight book about the seventh enemy aircraft personally shot down. In the afternoon, the 265th IAD launched an assault strike on the Ichki airfield (now the Sovetskoye regional center), the base of the aircraft of Lieutenant Hans Karl Stepp (Hans-Karl Stepp), commander of the SG 2 "Immelmann" squadron. The approach to the target took place over the sea at low level along the Arabat Spit, and it was possible to achieve complete surprise - the enemy anti-aircraft guns at first did not have time, and then simply could not open fire. As a result of the raid, four Ju 87s were burned on the ground and five FW 190s were "broken". The following distinguished themselves in the attack: the commander of the 812th regiment, Mr. Peskarev, Y. Kureev, I. Stryuk, A. Kuznetsov.

On the evening of April 8, a group of 12 aircraft of the 812th IAP under the command of Mr. I.F. Popov and 14 aircraft of the 402nd IAP under the command of Mr. A.E. Rubakhina struck again at the Ichki airfield. This time, 12 Ju 87s were destroyed on the ground, and in the air battle that ensued, I.V. Fedorov shot down one FW 190. But the war is not without losses, and the next day the flight commander Lt. Fedor Mikhailovich Tikhomirov, piloting the Yak-9T (No. 1052), was killed in an air battle. During his service in the 812th regiment, this pilot managed to make 144 sorties, in 37 air battles he destroyed 8 enemy aircraft and 2 more on the ground. “Pair of Lieutenant Tikhomirov and Jr. Lieutenant Serezhenko in the period 17.25-18.00 conducted a free hunt for enemy aircraft in the Karanka area. There were three more pairs of our hunter fighters in the area. At 17.42, at an altitude of 1500 meters, Lieutenant Tikhomirov noticed up to 7 Ju-87s, which were heading for the crossing. Being 400 meters higher, I decided to use the advantage in height and attack Ju-87. During the attack, he was suddenly attacked from the "window" of broken clouds by a pair of Me-109s. From the first attack, the plane caught fire and crashed into the ground in the Karanka area, burning. The enemy used cloud cover, attacked suddenly at speed with the exit from the attack into cloud cover, ”the report of the commander of the 812th IAP noted. On the same Sunday, in the Tomashevka area, Ivan Popov shot down a Ju 87, and a little further south, Pyotr Peskarev destroyed a Messer. The documents of JG 52 that day recorded the loss of one Bf 109G-6 from the 4th Staffel.

From the report for Monday April 10: “At 16:09 8 Yak-9 and 2 Yak-1, the group commander, Major Popov, took off to attack the Reisendorf airfield. When approaching the airfield at an altitude of 3000 meters, Popov's group met 6 Ju-87s under the cover of FV-190 and entered into battle with them. After several attacks carried out by Popov's group, the bombers dropped their bombs on the route before reaching the target, and hastily began to retreat to their own territory. As a result of the battle, Popov's group shot down 3 FV-190s and 1 Ju-87. There are no losses." In that battle, the commander of the 812th IAP himself distinguished himself - at 16.40 he shot down an FW 190 (10th personal victory). At about 6 pm, Popov again led his fighters to the Reisendorf area (now Krasnogvardeiskoye). This sortie also involved 12 Yak-9s from the fraternal 291st IAP, led by Mr. Peter Ovchinnikov, who blocked the enemy airfield. Covering colleagues, Popov's group did not allow the Focke-Wulfs to prevent the pilots of the 291st regiment from attacking the Ju 87 and shooting down 4 dive bombers. One "lappet" was able to destroy Popov. On the way back, our pilots repulsed two attacks by enemy fighters, which were in wait for Soviet bombers and attack aircraft returning to their airfields. On that day, the pilots of the 812th regiment, Mr. P.T. Tarasov, ml. Dr Yu.M. Kureev and Dr. A.T. Tishchenko was shot down by one FW 190.

On April 11, in the morning, regiment commander I.F. Popov "cut off" west of Dzhankoy "Focke-Wulf". At noon ml. Lieutenant Semyon Belkin and Mr. Yegor Ankudinov destroyed one Bf 109 each in an air battle near the Sivash crossing. 6th Staffel JG 52 Theodor Mohr. Another Bf 109G-6a from the same unit had an oil tank punctured. and piloted by Lt. Helmut Lipfert (Helmut Lipfert) had to make an emergency landing. In Soviet reports for April 11, successful actions were noted as the leader of fighter groups during the attack of the commander of the 812th IAP, the future Hero of the Soviet Union Alexander Tishchenko. “At 14.30-15.30, 6 Yak-9 812 IAP and 4 Yak-9 291 IAP together with 4 Yak-9 278 NAD, the group commander - the commander of the AE from 812 IAP Captain Tishchenko, stormed the Sarabuz enemy airfield. They made one attack on aircraft that were in the parking lots. As a result, the pilots of the 291st IAP burned 2 Yu-52s and the pilots of the 812th IAP burned 3 Yu-52s. In total, 5 Yu-52s were burned during the assault raid. “At 17.37-18.50 4 Yak-9 812 IAP, 4 Yak-9 291 IAP and 4 Yak-9 278 NAD, the group commander - AE commander from 812 IAP Captain Tishchenko, stormed the Sarabuz enemy airfield. The group made two attacks on aircraft in parking lots. As a result, the pilots of 291 IAP burned 3 He-111. Pilots of the 812 IAP, being in the cover group, ensured the assault operations of the strike groups and photographed the results of the assault sortie. The group had no losses."

On April 12, the regiments of the 265th division moved to the Reisendorf airfield. On that Wednesday, in an air battle, the regiment lost two aircraft and two pilots: the flight commander, Lieutenant Pyotr Peskarev, on the Yak-9T and ml. Lieutenant Yuri Kureev on the Yak-1. During his service in the regiment, Yuri Mikhailovich Kureev completed 44 sorties and conducted 12 air battles, in which he personally shot down 1 aircraft and destroyed 2 more on the ground, he died at the age of 22. Just a year older than him was a graduate of the Novosibirsk pilot school, Pyotr Georgievich Peskarev, who during his stay in the regiment made 128 sorties and conducted 27 air battles, personally shot down 8 enemy aircraft and destroyed 2 on the ground. The fate of this pilot was not quite usual, because he came to the regiment as a U-2 pilot, but dreamed of flying Yaks. His dream came true - Peter retrained as a fighter and in the fall of 1943 began to fly in the 1st squadron of Alexei Mashenkin. At the end of the day, the regimental headquarters reported: “Four fighters, leading Major Tarasov, covered the ground troops in the Biyuk Onlar area. At 17.50, at an altitude of 4200 meters, Lieutenant Peskarev, the closing slave link, was suddenly attacked from the sun by a pair of Me-109s. The pilot was wounded in the first attack. The plane is damaged. The pilot jumped out with a parachute. The dome got tangled in the lines. The pilot died. The plane burned down near Tashly Konrat. Entering into an air battle, the link crumbled, and on the second attack 2 Me-109 wounded the pilot and knocked out the jet jr. Lieutenant Kureev. The pilot with planning began to leave the pursuit. At the height, he took the hill sharply. Damaged rudder control cables broke. The plane crashed near Tashly Konrat and burned down. The pilot was seriously injured, died two hours later and was buried in Tashly Konrat. Soviet pilots in the Crimea were opposed by the strongest aces of the enemy: on that day, Lieutenant Walter Wolfrum from 5./JG 52 won his 65th and 66th victories. The Germans identified the planes he shot down as Yak-7.

Only one day - April 13 - Popov's regiment had a chance to be based at the newly liberated Sarabuz airfield (now Gvardeiskoye). The next day, the entire 265th IAD was relocated to the Sevastopol region. The division headquarters and the 812th IAP were located at the Adzhi-Bulat (now Uglovoe) airfield, the 402nd IAP occupied the famous Kacha airfield, and the 291st IAP flew to Alma-Tamak (now Peschanoe).

By that time, the position of the German group in the Crimea had become very difficult, and only a few airfields remained at the disposal of the Luftwaffe on the peninsula. The main forces, incl. attack aircraft were concentrated at the airbase located on Cape Khersones, which on April 15 was attacked by the 265th IAD with the forces of two regiments. The divisional commander, colonel A.A., led the fighters into battle. Koryagin. The 812th IAP was the first to take off around 7 am. A few minutes later, the 402nd regiment rose, whose planes took their place in the column, adjusting to the 2nd squadron of the 812th. The flight took place over the sea along the coast with complete radio silence. Leaving Sevastopol on the left, the column turned, swept between the city and Kamysheva Bay and left perpendicular to the parking of enemy aircraft. In accordance with the plan of the operation, the 2nd squadron of the 812th IAP, led by Mr. I. Fedorov, attacked the air defense positions: the pairs dispersed in a “fan” and quickly silenced the anti-aircraft guns. All the crews of both regiments returned home. Immediately after noon, eight Yak-9s from the 291st IAP (leading Mr. P.K. Ovchinnikov) and four Yak-9s from the 812th IAP (leading senior lieutenant Mashenkin) struck again at Chersonese. In Soviet documents, as a result of two attacks, 15 enemy aircraft of various types appear burned and "broken" on the ground. On the same day, General Savitsky announced gratitude to all the flight personnel who took part in these raids. According to German data, two Bf 109G-6s from II./JG 52 and one FW 190F from 5./SG 2 were “destroyed” in Khersones. battle: at 13.40 Alexei Mashenkin shot down an FW 190, and after 2 hours Mr. Pavel Tarasov and Jr. Lieutenant Ivan Stryuk, who destroyed one Messerschmitt and one Focke-Wulf, respectively. A day later, on April 17 at 17.10 in the area of ​​the "6th verst" Mr. Popov shot a twin-engine Bf 110 from the 37-mm cannon of his "Yak".

On Wednesday, April 19, a spectacular air battle broke out over Cape Fiolent. The guardsmen of the 6th Tank Brigade watched with admiration as at 16.35 the burning Messer, shot down by Mr. Popov, foamed the sea, and after 5 minutes the unguided FW 190 fell, which became the victim of Lieutenant Sergei Vasilevsky. In the evening (18.30-19.30) "Yaks" of the 812th attacked the airfield "6th verst" (the settlement "6th verst" was located 2 km north-west of Cape Fiolent). The result of the attack was 5 torches from burning enemy aircraft, destroyed by Ivan Fedorov (2 Ju 87), as well as Ivan Popov, Pavel Tarasov and Ivan Strkzh (one Ju 52 each). On April 20, in response to attacks on their airfields, the Germans carried out assaults on the fighter bases of the 265th IAD. In Popov's regiment, the losses were minimal, but they were perceived by the personnel with particular pain. During the explosion of a bomb dropped from the FW 190 into the parking lot of fighters, the universal favorite of the son of the regiment, 12-year-old Vasya Ivush-kin, and his mentor minder Art. Sergeant Ivan Grebnev.

Despite the significant advantage of Soviet aviation, the German pilots were not going to give up. They stepped up their patrols over the two airfields they had left, continued with unflagging stubbornness to hold back the advancing Red Army units, conduct air battles and storm the airfields of the 3rd IAK. Although the Crimean grouping of the Luftwaffe was getting smaller, however, these forces also managed to keep the entire fighter aircraft of the 8th Air Army in suspense. But no matter how difficult the air battles, ground troops constantly saw and felt air cover. The commander of the 30th Guards Mortar Brigade, Colonel Chernyak, wrote in his review: “Fighter pilots of the 812th Fighter Aviation Regiment, covering our firing positions, showed courage, courage and skill in air battles with enemy aircraft. They fought boldly, willingly engaging in air battles, even in the presence of air superiority of enemy aircraft. We consider the pilots of the 812th Fighter Aviation Regiment to be the full masters of the Crimean sky, providing our work against enemy troops from the air.

On April 21, the 812th IAP exchanged blows with the enemy. A German fighter patrol shot down a Yak-9 ml. Lieutenant Ivan Stryuk. At about 3 p.m., Mr. Popov, in front of the infantrymen of the 14th Anti-Tank Fighter Regiment, destroyed an FW 190 east of Chersonese, which became his 15th personal victory. Simultaneously and in the same place distinguished ml. Lieutenant Nikolai Sukhorukov, who sent another Fokhe-Wulf to the ground. A few minutes later, a third such aircraft added to Mr. Tarasov's combat account, becoming his 29th personal victory.

On April 22 at 10.30 Mr. Egor Ankudinov won his 10th victory by shooting down a Focke-Wulf over Sevastopol, and an eloquent entry appeared in I. Fedorov's flight book: “I completed the task. I drove 1 FV-190 into the sea. The aircraft and crew were killed." Komesk Aleksey Mashenkin also continued to "get in shape" - at 19:30 in the Chersonese region, an FW 190 fell from his cannon burst. Another Focke-Wulf managed to knock out Mr. Tishchenko. The next morning turned out to be bleak for the enemy, who occupied the 6th verst airfield. At 7 o'clock, the pilots of the 812th visited there with a "friendly visit". As a result of the attack, 4 Ju 52s were burned, distinguished: I. Fedorov, N. Sukhorukov, A. Mashenkin, L. Sivko.

It's Monday 24th April. This time the fighters of the 402nd and 812th regiments, under the general command of Colonel Koryagin, set out to attack the Chersonese airfield. In the target area, Mr. Popov gave the command to Mashenkin's group to attack the southern parking lot, Tishchenko - to the western one, and he himself led his wingmen to the northern one. Eights of fighters rushed down, dropping bombs. Fires broke out at the airport. The commander of the 812th showed by his example how to beat the enemy: on that day, Popov shot down a four-engine FW 200 Condor * transporter at the airfield and shot down two FW 190s in front of the infantrymen of the 30th Guards. mortar regiment. On the same Monday, other pilots also made significant progress. Mr. Tarasov shot down a Bf 109 in an air battle in the Novye Shuli area and was the first among the pilots of the 3rd IAK to bring the score of personal victories to 30. Mr. Tishchenko overcame the bar of 10 shot down, who in the morning, and then at 18.15 destroyed the Messerschmitt ". The navigator of the 812th regiment, Mr. Ankudinov, did not lag behind his comrade-in-arms - in the evening, the next "Messer" became his 11th personal victory.

The next day, accompanied by an Il-2 spotter, a Yak-9ml was shot down in a dogfight with a group of two Bf 109s and four FW 190s. Lieutenant Konstantin Veselov. During an emergency landing at its airfield, the plane rolled over and caught fire. The pilot received burns, was sent to the hospital, but died of his wounds on May 7.

At noon on May 5, near Cape Khersones, Mr. Popov won his 18th victory, destroying a Bf 109. The air battle was observed from the ground by the 168th Guards. light artillery regiment. From the operational report: “At 12.28 at an altitude of 3200 meters on the return route, two nines of B-3** tried to attack 2 FW-190s and Me-109s. Repelling the attack of enemy fighters on a turn, Major Popov shot down 1 Me-109, the enemy aircraft with its landing gear down fell off the coast in the Chersonese region. At 12:32, 2 FW-190s attacked B-3s from a long distance. The FW-190 attack was repulsed by Fedorov and Major Popov. FW-190 and Me-109 repeatedly tried to attack, but all attacks were repulsed in a timely manner. After 4 hours, Mr. Egor Ankudinov and Jr. Lieutenant Semyon Belkin, who shot down one FW 190 each. The next day, in an air battle near the forge of Soviet aces in the village of Kacha, piloting a Yak-9, I. Fedorov shot a Bf 109G, which exploded in the air. The Germans noted the loss of one Bf 109G-6 from 7./JG 52 and the death of its pilot.

Meanwhile, on the ground, the struggle for Sevastopol entered its final phase. On May 7, after an hour and a half of artillery preparation, the assault on the fortified area began, and by the end of the day, units of the 51st Army drove the Germans from Sapun Mountain. A day later, on Tuesday, May 9, after a fierce assault, the city was liberated. The remnants of the Nazi troops retreated and concentrated on a small piece of land - Cape Chersonese. The only airfield from which the evacuation was carried out remained in the hands of the German troops. According to the reports of Soviet air intelligence, various planes constantly took off from there, heading towards Romania. The pilots of the 812th IAP did not keep themselves waiting long and on the same day carried out an attack on the airfield. Having passed cannon fire through the aircraft stands and not meeting much resistance, they returned to their base without loss. As a result of this raid, Mr. Popov's combat account was replenished with one Ju 52 and another FW 200, burned on the ground. Nikolai Sukhorukoye and Aleksey Mashenkin each destroyed one FW 190 in this sortie. Another Focke-Wulf from 6./SG 2 tried to take off, but drove into a bomb crater at full speed and stood on its nose.

On May 11, the pilots of the 812th regiment carried out the last attack on this airfield. Eight Ju 52s blazed that Thursday. Aleksey Mashenkin, Vladimir Kablukov, Yegor Ankudinov, Nikolai Sukhorukoye, Semyon Belkin and Morozov distinguished themselves. On May 12, Soviet troops reached the seashore, having cleared Cape Khersones from the Nazis.

IAP - Istrebitel'nyy aviatsionnyy polk - Fighter Aviation Regiment

GIAP - Gvardeyskiy istrebitel'nyy aviatsionnyy polk - Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment

IAD - Itsrebitel'naya aviatsionnaya diviziya - Fighter Aviation Division

IAK - Istrebitel'nyy aviatsionnyy korpus - Fighter Aviation Corps

VA - Vozdushnaya armiya - Air Army

On May 15, a petition was prepared and sent on command to award the 265th IAD the title of "Guards". We present this eloquent document.

To the Commander of the 4th Ukrainian Front

Army General comrade. Tolbukhin

Copy: Commander of the 8th Air Armed Forces Colonel-General of Aviation Comrade. Khryukin

265 Melitopol Fighter Aviation Division (division commander - Colonel Koryagin A. A.), interacting with the troops of the 51st army, with reliable air cover contributed to the success of the troops in breaking through the German defenses on the river. Dairy and the liberation of the city of Melitopol, and then in pursuit of the enemy to Perekop. With the entry of the troops of the 51st army to the Sivash, the pilots of the division ensured the crossing of the Sivash and the capture of the bridgehead by the army troops in the northern part of the Crimean peninsula. Despite the fierce counterattacks of the enemy, supported by massive bomber strikes, the troops that crossed the Sivash firmly held the positions captured from the enemy, and the fighter pilots of 265 IAMD maintained complete air supremacy.

During the period of concentration of our troops in the Sivash area and preparing them for decisive offensive operations to liberate the Crimea from the German invaders, 265 AIMD conducted continuous combat work both day and night, reliably covering the crossings over the Sivash and the location of our troops, destroying enemy aircraft in air battles and systematic assault strikes on its airfields.

During the assault on the enemy's defensive structures in the Sivash area by the troops of the 51st Army and the introduction of the 19th TC into the gap, as well as during the period of the rapid advance of the army deep into the territory of Crimea, the 265th IAMD actively supported ground units from the air contributed to the development of success in defeating its defensive nodes, simultaneously destroying enemy aircraft, reliably holding air supremacy.

During the period of offensive battles from 08.04. until 20.04.44 - the city of Simferopol and further to the defensive line of Sevastopol, for which she was twice noted in the orders of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief Marshal of the Soviet Union comrade. Stalin.

During the preparation and conduct of the operation to eliminate the Sevastopol bridgehead and the final liberation of the Crimea from the German invaders, 265 IAMD, based on the most advanced airfields: Kacha and Adzhi-Bulat, which were under the systematic influence of enemy aircraft and artillery, conducted continuous intense combat work on ensuring combat operations of the 51st army, destroying enemy aircraft both in air battles over the battlefield and on its airfields: Cape Khersones, 6th Verst and the Central airfield in the Sevastopol region, while simultaneously storming enemy troops on the battlefield and watercraft, preventing the evacuation of troops from Crimea.

For all downed and destroyed aircraft, there are confirmations of ground troops, photographs or plates of downed aircraft.

For the excellent performance of combat missions for the destruction of enemy aviation during the liberation of Crimea, the courage of the flight personnel of the air division, courage and selfless devotion to our Motherland, as well as excellent support for the combat operations of the 51A troops, I APPLY TO YOU TO REPRESENT THE 265th FIGHTER AVIATION DIVISION OF THE MELITOPOLSKY FOR ASSIGNMENT OF THE RANK "GUARDS".

Troop Commander 51st Hero of the Soviet Union

Guard Lieutenant General (Kreizer)

Member of the Military Council Major General


However, for unknown reasons, the division never became a Guards division.

For the period from January 1 to May 12, 1944, the 812th IAP made 1710 sorties. The pilots of the regiment conducted 92 air battles, in which they shot down 76 enemy aircraft, they burned 54 more and 10 were "smashed" on the ground. Their losses amounted to 16 pilots and 18 aircraft. For participation in the liberation of Crimea, the 265th IAD was awarded the Order of the Red Banner, and the 402nd IAP and 812th IAP received the honorary titles of "Sevastopol". Many aviators of the 812th regiment received government awards. On April 24, Mr. Popov signed and sent on command a submission to the title of Hero of the Soviet Union Art. Lieutenant Ivan Vasilyevich Fedorov, born in 1920. In the submission, it was noted that the commander Fedorov personally shot down 24 enemy aircraft in air battles (the "Hero standard" then was 15 personally shot down). The highest government award was presented to the pilot on November 17, 1944, when he already exceeded the "standard" twice Hero, but Fedorov did not receive the second Gold Star.

On May 12, 1944, the commander of the 265th IAD, colonel A.A. Koryagin signed the submission to the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, Mr. Ivan Feoktistovich Popov, born in 1911. The presentation said: “For the courage and heroism shown in battles with the German invaders, for personally shooting down 19 enemy aircraft and 7 burned on the ground, for the skillful leadership of the regiment and the successes achieved by the regiment, he is worthy of the highest government award - the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.” Already on May 15, the commander of the 3rd IAK, Lieutenant General E.Ya., put his resolution on this document. Savitsky: "Worthy of the highest government award - the title of Hero of the Soviet Union." The next in the submission was to appear the conclusion of the Military Council of the 8th VA signed by the commander of the army, Colonel General T.T. Khryukin. However, instead of this, only a pencil note is on the document: “Father. War I Art. - without any signature at all. As a result, the Star of the Hero I.F. Popova was then “replaced” in May 1944 with the Order of the Patriotic War, 1st degree.

The 265th Melitopol Fighter Aviation Division will now never become a Guards division. It has been disbanded for a long time. There are no living and combat pilots-aces I.V. Fedorov and I.F. Popov. Ivan Vasilievich was lucky enough to live to see the Victory, and Major General Fedorov made his last flight as a military pilot in March 1969. Ivan Feoktistovich died in December 1944, and the commander of the 812th IAP, Lieutenant Colonel Popov, never left with a parachute "Yak". He crashed in a plane crash, performing a solo flight in the most difficult weather conditions over Poland.

* The documents of the regiments and divisions of the 8th Air Force stored in TsAMO indicate the use by the Germans in the Crimea of ​​the FW200 and the loss of these aircraft, but the data of the Luftwaffe known to us does not allow us to unequivocally state this. But it is known for sure that heavy Me 323 transporters, as well as Italian-made vehicles were used in the evacuation from the Crimea: four-engine Piaggio Р.108В from the Transportfliegerstaffel 5 and three-engine SM.82 Сanguro. For example, on April 17, the pilot R. 108 (board J4 + AH), Chief Sergeant Major Helm, reported on his departure: “On the way back from Sevastopol, we were heading to Galati (Galati) with 85 seriously wounded soldiers.” It is likely that the pilots of the 812th IAP attacked one of these Italian aircraft in Chersonese.

** In Soviet documents, this was the name given to the A-20 "Boston" lend-lease bomber.


  • Aviation and Time No. 2 2005 /Vladislav Antipov, Igor Utkin/