Many boys after the end of the Great Patriotic War dreamed of becoming pilots. Nobody really thought how difficult it is to fly in the sky. The guys thought that the pilots - Heroes of the Soviet Union - are romantics who enjoyed the flight.
How did the first Hero Pilots get their titles?
For the first time the title of Hero of the Soviet Union was awarded in 1934, although from the time of the founding of the Soviet state until 1939 there were no wars, that is, the pilots did not carry out combat missions. Let us note that it was the pilots who became the first Heroes of the Soviet Union. These names are not so well known as the names of some aviators of the WWII period. Let's remember with you who these first pilots are - Heroes of the Soviet Union.
As you know, in 1934 an operation was carried out to save the Chelyuskinites. Without the participation of aircraft, it was not possible to save people. At the same time, the technology at that time was still poorly developed, and the rescue mission could only get a positive result thanks to the high professionalism and heroism of the pilots.
First Heroes by Name
Nikolai Kamanin Gold Star of Hero No. 1 received at the age of 25 years. He made 9 sorties over the Arctic, and saved 34 people at that time (on the sunken icebreaker "Chelyuskin" crew consisted of 104 people). In the photo, placed further, Kamanin is depicted on the left.
The complexity of the mission of rescuing sailors was that the terrain was at that time insufficiently studied. Also, the pilots did not have complete confidence in the reliability of the engines, because at such long distances at that time still practically did not fly.
Mikhail Vodopyanov made three difficult flights, during which he was able to save more than 10 people. The uniqueness of this pilot's participation in the rescue operation is that a few months before he had sustained severe injuries and had been treated for a long time. The authorities did not want to admit him to the operation, but he insisted.
Also in this operation took part such pilots - Heroes of the Soviet Union, as Ivan Doronin, Sigismund Levanevsky, Vasily Molokov, Mauritius Slepnev. Each pilot made a huge contribution to the rescue of people in the Arctic Ocean.
War and great pilots
Analyzing the orders for conferring the titles of Heroes of the Soviet Union of the Second World War, we find an interesting trend: more than 50% of the noted legendary soldiers who defended our homeland from the invaders are pilots. Of course, it is also not easy to fight on the ground, but air battles are much more complicated than land battles. The level of courage, endurance of Soviet pilots is simply amazing. The pilots of the Second World War - Heroes of the Soviet Union made a huge contribution to the victory of the USSR over fascist Germany.
In this section it is worth mentioning about Alexei Maresiev and Petr Shemendyuk. These heroes, even in spite of severe physical injuries, continued to serve aviation.
For example, Maresiev is a famous hero of B. Polevoy's work "A Tale of a Real Man".
His plane was shot down over the territory that the Germans were controlling at that time. The pilot could not disable the catapult. Fell to the ground with the car. It so happened that during the impact on the ground he was thrown out of the cab. For 18 days the hero crawled to the front line. Discovered by Soviet children in the Novgorod region. After that, he was treated for some time in a Novgorod village. After a long treatment and amputation of both legs I was able to return to the system and made far more than one sortie.
Fighter pilots - Heroes of the Soviet Union often returned to the front after the wounds. According to proven, but little-known information, about 20 Soviet pilots fought against fascists with amputated legs, hands or other severe limb injuries.
It should be noted that for many pilots the Second World War was not the first combat experience. Everyone knows that many Soviet soldiers took part in the fighting in Spain (civil war). For example, one of the pilot-aces of the 1930s is Sergei Gritsevets. Belarusian by nationality, he was born in 1909 in Grodno province. In aviation came on the Komsomol ticket in 1931. Pilot's official list of official information is 40 shot down aircraft.
The development of military aviation in the USSR
Pilots - Heroes of the Soviet Union showed themselves well during the Second World War. Although initially the technical level of German aircraft surpassed the equipment and quality of Soviet aircraft, but the skill level of the "red" pilots, after some time after the outbreak of war, more than offset all the shortcomings of technology.
Improvement of Soviet combat aviation occurred virtually during the war. The fact is that in the first days of the fighting, most Soviet aircraft were destroyed at the airfields during the Nazi bombings. According to many experts, this is even better. If the wooden planes entered the battle with the Junkers or other fighters, they would not have a chance to win in an air battle. This decisiveness of the fascists saved the lives of many Soviet pilots.
During the war years, according to approximate calculations, the Aces of the USSR Air Force shot down more than 4000 of the best German aircraft. The rating of Soviet aces is determined primarily by the number of downed "Junkers". Let's talk about each of the best separately.
Ivan Kozhedub - the legend of Soviet aviation
The legendary Ivan Kozhedub was born in 1920 in the Shostka district of the modern Sumy region of Ukraine. After graduation in 1934, he enrolled in a chemical engineering college. Occupation of aviation for him for a long time was nothing more than a hobby. The path of Kozhedub in aviation began with military service in 1940. He got to the front in the end of 1942 after working as an instructor at an aviation school. By the way, the first fight in the air for the legendary pilot could be the last, because at first his plane was beaten up by the Germans, and then by "their own". This test Kozhedub withstood and was able to land his car. In the photo below, it is shown on the right.
Such pilots - thrice Heroes of the Soviet Union, like Ivan Kozhedub, become professionals of their business quickly. They do not need a lot of time to prepare. So, some time after this accident Kozhedub did not fly. The star time of the pilot came during the Battle of the Kursk Bulge. During several sorties in July 1943, he managed to shoot down 4 Junkers. Prior to the beginning of 1944, the hero's track record had already scored several dozen victories. Until the end of the war, he was able to shoot down 18 aircraft of this brand.
Semyon Vorozheikin and others twice Heroes of the USSR
This result was not surpassed by anybody, but only Vorozheikin Arseny Alexandrovich could repeat it. This pilot was twice honored Hero of the Stars. The overall combat result of Vorozheikin is 46 enemy planes shot down. Besides him, the pilots - twice Heroes of the Soviet Union - are:
- Alekseenko Vladimir Avramovich;
- Alelyukhin Alexey Vasilyevich;
- Amet-Khan Sultan;
- Andrianov Vasily;
- Begaldinov Talgat Yakubekovich;
- Beda Leonid Ignatievich;
- Georgy Timofeevich Beregovoi ;
- Gulayev Nikolay Dmitrievich;
- Sergey Prokofievich Denisov.
Heroes of the Soviet Union - test pilots
To successfully use aviation equipment, it must undergo flight tests. For this, test pilots also work. Very often they risk their lives, because on the tested model of the aircraft, no one has yet flown by. Many were awarded Stars of the Hero of the USSR. The most outstanding test aircraft of the Soviet period is Valery Chkalov.
Crews under the leadership of Chkalov made two record flights for their time (Moscow-Vancouver via the North Pole and Moscow-Far East). The length of the route to Vancouver was 8504 km.
Among other Soviet test pilots it is worth mentioning Stepan Mikoyan, Vladimir Averyanov, Mikhail Gromov, Ivan Dziub, Nikolai Zamyatin and Mikhail Ivanov. Most of these pilots did not have the first education technical, but the entire aviation elite is united by one feature: they passed theoretical training in the then-developed system of aviation clubs. Such peculiar schools enabled the students to receive theoretical and practical training at a fairly high level.
Assault aviation of the USSR of the Great Patriotic War
Pilots, ground-attack aircraft, Heroes of the Soviet Union of the war years, occupy an honorable place in the lists of people marked by state awards for feats during the air battles of 1941-1945. According to historical data, more than 2,200 pilots received the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. And it is the storm troopers in the list that can be found most (860 names).
Also representatives of this type of aviation are many in the lists of the two Heroes of the Union. As is known, two heroic Golden Stars had 65 pilots in their assets. In this list, stormtroopers also take first place (27 people).
Who was able to obtain the title of Hero thrice?
Alexander Pokryshkin and Ivan Kozhedub - these pilots, thrice Heroes of the Soviet Union, in gold letters inscribed their names in the chronicle of the Second World War.
The matter is that three times the state has noted such a high rank only three people. In addition to two pilots, this is the military Semyon Mikhailovich Budenny, known since the time of the revolution. Pokryshkin received his awards on orders from May 24 and August 24, 1943, and also on August 19, 1944. Ivan Kozhedub was noted by the orders of the Commander-in-Chief from February 4 and August 19, 1944, and after the end of hostilities in August 1945.
The contribution of Soviet pilots to victory over the enemy is simply invaluable!