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XyZspineZyX
07-29-2003, 11:13 PM
As i promised, i am going to combine all the parts together and i hope that it will fit in /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

Other thread can go now /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif



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T.S. Lyadsky : From my note book.

Year 1942.

PART 1.

Introduction.

"Germans named our plane " black death ". Us - "pilots - condemned men". To the comrades, alive or dead, who fearlessly fought the enemy in a name of freedom of the native Land, I devote these notes.

General Bajdukov who was in command of our 4-th Guards ground attack aviation regiment ( from the start of the war, including in area of Rzhev and Velikie Luki) on every 100 combat missions 10-12 planes were brought down by Germans. In 92-nd Guards during three years of war 76 pilots were lost. ******Crazy`s note: Complete regiment 40 planes, about 50 pilots*******

In the three years of war I was a part 185 combat missions, 89 of those were in command of group, in total 445 pilots. For IL2 it is a lot of missions. Only in rare occurances Germans did not fire at us, most of the time it was hell of antiaircraft artillery, a small arms of various calibre... You see, during the attack we had to come as low as 5-10 meters of the ground. Fighter Aircraft of the opponent did not bring down any of pilots which I was leading in fight.
The Pilots who fought on IL2`s could be divided on few categories. First of all - brave, fair soldiers. The first brave man in our lines was A. Kuzin. It was possible to relate a technician Yakov Fetisov who was a mechanic of my plane. He even managed to fly on the combat missions! He actually asked regular rear gunners to give up their place for him in the plane. Before the war Yakov was an excellent hunter, a sharpshooter...
But i must admit that there were pilots who were afraid to fly on the missions. Some of them were hiding that fear skillfully. I, as well as the majority of my comrades, was not reckless - fearless, but in complex conditions was able to thing straight nad not lose my head. Not once i resqued my comrads from German fighters. Once after landing on the taxing my plane`s fuselage has fallen off. Good thing it didn`t happen in the air. Near Rzhev i was shot down by Me-109 , just a miracle that i escaped. Landed in a field on a fuselage. At flight in area of Velikie Luki, an item. Other time, near Chernozem, one of the exhaust valves burst out the motor and i was forced to belly land in a field. In that fight two of our planes were shot down.

Great losses between our pilots in many respects spoke as a poor commanding ablities of our senior commanders (from the commander the regiment and higher). They did not fly, but received awards on regular bases. After such a great loses they did not make any analysis of flights, did not analyze the reason of failures. During one combat mission we lost 18 pilots and planes - and no one cared to analize what went wrong. Needless to say that we had pilots who shouldn`t be even close to the plane. We coudn`t realize that right away, but understood it later.

25.05.42.
Relocating again. Our break is over and it is time to get down to business. We are heading to Kuibishev where training for IL2 will take place.
Just arrived to village Kinel'-Cherkassy. A factory in Smishlyaevka a manufacturer of of the IL2. so far behind our front lines that i think even German scouts can`t go this far. While on the Saratov factory which was producing ߪ-1 fighter, some airstrikes did take place.

May, 17 has sent Grunia (wife`s name) some money and little package.

May, 19 got letter from Moscow - the letter from her and from Zizevoi. Today I will have time to write them. So far nothing new and interesting are present. there is nothing to write down . Everything is still ahead. We got here on May 23rd . Small village, provincial life, tons of evacuated. We are living in a barracks near an airfield. From here we can observer test flights of IL- 2.

14.06.42.
Today we received first 3 the first passenger flights on IL - 2.First we had to do some intencive studying of the plane itself.But by July 1st we shouldfinish everything - and head towrds front lines.
Today in the middle of the flight on of the IL2`s cought fire and plunged into the ground. The pilot managed to jumped out, but the parachute did not open.
Still no mail fro Grunia? I wanted to send her some money, but i guess i wont, since i`m not sure it package will reach her.

15.06.42.
It`s been already about 3 months, and still no news from her. I do not know where is she and how is she. Many things changed, but is nothing is forgotten. There is no way to the past. I doubt that i`ll be able to experiance feeling again, to late, there is no time for it. I`m starting to belive that it is possible to experiance a true love only once.
In village Kinel'-Cherkassy sometimes I can drink milk, each evening i`m chuwing on sunflower seeds (those a part of life around here), sometimes I have time to play volleyball, quiet often I get a chance to go to cinema, on concerts. After arrival here i made a quiet a few friends, must say it`s a gret pleasure, friends.

4.07.42.
Kinel-Chercassi`s aviation factory to the north of Kuibyshev maybe in 30 kilometers and we had to move further south to the town named Kryazh. The first stage of training, basic flying, is over. Now we about to start flying in formation, master basic combat maunevers, shooting from on board guns, machine guns, bomb and all other things, that required in combat.
I got use to Kinel-Chercassi`s and it`s not boring anymore. Finally received a letter from Grunia. Very well. Not sure though whether she has received the money. We are not going to be here for long. But rainy weather is not going away... grounded

Germans have begun massive approach on all front lines again, but this time they are not going to achieve such successes as in 1941. Military philosopher Klauzevits said once: " Advancing the first time that did not resulted victory over the enemy, second time will bring defeat, instead of a victory.

13.07.42.
Finally, training is completed. Now it is time to apply everything that we learned in practice. Today we are departing towards front lines, but still, nobody knows where. Probably, under Voronezh or on the Western front. I am going to be fighting our enemy in the best ground attack plane: IL2. At this time IL2 still a single seater. Even that designer Il'jushin planned it as a 2-seater, Supreme Commander (Stalin) has accused him in almost being a coward, accused him in disbelief in strenght of Red Army and ordered to make a single (pilot only) version. The fuselage is covered with 5 mm armor from nose to the back of the cockpit. But tail section is not protected. Pilots who already flew on IL2 were saying that there were cases when five ME109`s would use up all their ammo but could not bring it down (probably, it was at first when they did not know the weak spots of the machine).

Today i`v met some old friends : Manatkin, Zhelagin (They were pilots on Duglas), my friend Solonenko from Engels flight school(already with an award) and others.
Lived in a Kryazhe for 13 days, five times were in Kuibyshev, four times had a chance to drink some beer. Had couple insignificant dates, quite innocent. Even was in dance club and watch movie "Circus".

4.07. Sent Grunia the telegram, but still, no answer. Probably, I will not have time to receive it. Sent my mother 300 roubles.
All the good things remained in the past. Just memoirs.

18.07.42.
Finally we are on the Western front. Yesterday our group landed near village Dyadkovo(next to Dmitrov). Our squadron flew right over the Moscow on the way here. We flew directly above the Red Square at height of 400 meters. Today we changed airfields. For 5 days we will practice, and then - our work, deadly , interesting and dangerous, constant risk and the hope that maybe we will survive.
Many things depend on the skill of the pilot. But success in my plane depending on whether will have fighter cover or not. But where to take fighters? Zhukov was saying , in just one morning of June 22nd in 63 western airfields Germans burned 1500 planes on the ground. The majority of them were new types.

28.07.42.
This is it, the time has come: on 26-th we got unexpected orders for departure in few hours.There was no time at all to say good by to friends and people i knew. On 27-th have took off for Kalinin (airbase Migalovo). There was concentrated great ammount of aircraft. Probably large operation was about to happen. And we are going to be part of it.

From Kalinin we flew over to Torzhok, airbase Mashutino. Here i`v met 1st lieutenant Nikitin, one of the guys from Engels and Kiselev. Now he is the lieutenant colonel, awarded with the Star, serves in 2-nd Guards Fighter Regiment. Right next to us 6th-Guards Ground Attack regiment. Life in Gari (airbase near Dimitrov) was full of events: cinema, entertainment. Now all of this in the past. In few days we will be in action....war. What going to bring me my first mission? What is going to happen?? Interesting and dangerous in the same time. The main thing is to get started, then should be easier.
From Gari i sent Grunia 500 roubles. I still think that is neccessary to sent money.

30.07.42.
Today i took off from airbase Mashutino on my first combat mission. There was nothing extraordinary. The commander of our group captain Stikov has led us under Rzhev , total of 6 planes. We attacked something near villages and along the railway. In the first combat missions you don`t really thing and realize too much. On the approach to the target at height of 700-800 meters Antiaircraft guns opened fire at us. We attacked the germans coming form the clouds. Raining, but not as much. Target was not really visible (i meant ground). In the first approach i was in too much of hurry to dump rockets. Oh well, I do not even remember where they hit.Now, bombs on the railway. Didn`t see explosions either. Fired at Rzhev from cannons and machine guns. Antiaircraft fire was intence. Escpecially in area of airbase on east side of the city. Five meter in the front of my plane i nticed a line of tracer bullets.Basicaly my first mission turned out to be not so successful because of bad weather.

Nobody lead me home, i left by myself and head towards Torzhok. In 5 minutes eneded up above thick layer of clouds and ground was not visible. Following the course i penetrated the clouds and ened up at 200 m off the ground. Somewhere had to be a railroad. I turned 270 ? and in few minutes i found the railroad that was leading to Torzhok. On the way there i spoted water tower which led me to to our aribase. Found airfield and landed successfully.
From our group two planes did not return home. Sgt. Poletaev and commander of the flight Lt. Sutiring. Poletaev landed in some other airfield and came beack the next day, while Sutiring got lost on the way back and died in crashlanding. Not a good pilot.
Weather got really bad....we were resting few days.

2.08.42.
The Second mission of 31.07. was very interesting. We were destroying a cargo train with two flights of 4 planes. Wow, that was work! Saw how tanks with fuel blew up. Unfortunately my rockets didn`t work and cannons failed too at moment of attack. All i could do is shoot only from machine guns. Saw bullets hitting targets, but nothing blew up.

During that mission my plane received only 1 bullet hole.
My third mission took place in the same day. Target - tanks. But we didn`t find them in the specified location. Instead, we attacked a crgo train, but it appeared to be empty because nothing blew up or cought fire.
The Fourth mission was in August. This time shrapnel from the shell has punched a hole in the fuselage. Captain Bochko has received two big holes in a plane. Also one plane of our group got hit the fuselage..shell penetrated it and slammed into armored plate and shreded it. I examined piece of shrapnel, it still smoking. Probably had some flammable stuff in it.

Weather these days was very bad, clouds were low, 150m off the ground, give or take. Rains all the time. We had to proceed to our targets in the thick layer of clouds. In the same time clouds were good for us. Right after hitting a target i could disapear in the clouds, cross the front lines then after restoring of orientation come back to the airbase. Every time - alone.

The Pilots who flew on July 30th and 31st received a "Thank You" notes: first - from the commander of a division, the second one - from the commander of the front. Me included. Even that we hardly mastered the new plane, still managed to carry out fighting tasks in very difficult weather conditions. Good practice. Today i submitted the application for a membership of the Kommunist Party (Someone advised me to do so).

Yesterday, in second half of day and all day we are grounded, due to bad weather. When weather improves i will be going on my 5th mission.
On the 31-st AAA shell hit a bomb with flammable liquid on the plane that belong to out flight commander. Bomb exploaded, but he managed to dump it before whole plane was set on fire.

Fighters of the opponent did not really bother us but antiaircraft fire was rather strong. I was following my leader and saw many antiaircraft shells exploading near his plane and may tracers surrounding it. But bullets fired from a distance of 500-700 meters are not a great danger for IL2, plus it very hard for AA guns to hit our planes weak spots. German planes are not present yet and ours flying in big numbers. This is all good, but there are some bad news. On 31.07 my friend B.Pelevin crashed on ladning. His plane was damaged over the area of attack. More likely flaps were damaged on one of the wings. When he released the flaps on landing approach his plane fliped over and crashed. It was his 3rd combat mission. We buried him on 1.08. It was raining again. His grave is in the woods near the road. I said a little good by speach. And now every day on our way to the airbase we read a little sign on his grave: "The pilot - second lieutenant Pelevin Boris Ivanovich, 1920-1942. Died in combat fighting german facism". Glory to you, our comrade. There will be revenge for your death."

on July 31 was shot down and wounded Dol'nikov, He`s in the hospital.

August 1st second squadron commander 1st lieutenant Brezhnev was shot down over our territory and died in crashlanding. 2nd lieutenant Gorbachenko who was his wingman, did not return home from that mission. His whereabouts are unknown.

.. Have to stop writing, got a call from command station. My 5th mission!

Bombed and fired at the opponent in a young forest near the river. Infantry and artillery. On the first pass dropped the bombs. Saw huge balls of fire. On the second pass fired from all cannons and machine guns. In recovery from last pass felt strong impact from below behind me. The pane suddenly became uncontrolable and started climbing. Speed indicator was broken and some gauges too. I pushed the stick forvard with two hands wo hands and knees and lowered the lever of gas (throttle) to change pressure of the airflow from the engine to the elevator. Kept losing altitude from 600 meters to approximately 200. I tried the throttle, no responce and smell of burning oild started to fill the cockpit. Nothing left to do, going for emergency landing. Without knowing airspeed approaching the ground, some farmers field...but i overshot it due to high speed....and ended up splatting on fuselage missing a coutry house by 20meters. I am ok...no bruises or scratches only my hands and legs are shivering hands from extreame emotional and physical stress. As i found out later, German fighter sneak behind at very close distance and gave me a good burst of led. I didn`t even understand right away what did just happened.

I climbed out of the cockpit and started to examine my plane. All bottom part of was covered in oil. The fascist fired right into the oil radiator. There were quiet a few holes in other places. After examining condition of my IL2 I climbed back into cockpit, pulled out my emergency food pack and began to eat snack. I felt sorry about my plane but was encouraged by the fact that special technical brigades are collecting all crashed planes and restoring them in the repair shops.

I was wondering, what did that nazy pilot thought? Probably did not know, that i managed to belly-land. So, this was the first time when my life was hanging by hair. If german would fire a longer burst or one more....it would be all over for me. While i`m finishing writing this note....U-2 has arrived to pick me up.

5.08.42.
I came back to our airbase. My IL2 still at the place of crashlanding. Next day i took off on U-2 with the commander of our squadron. Our mission is to pick up IL2 after repairs, the one that sgt. Poletaev crashlanded in the field. Something unexpected happened while taxing i broke the propeller on U-2. The captain took off in IL2 and i had to wait for mechanics to get me a new prop. Stuck there for two days , only 20km from front lines. From there i could hear non-stop talk of heavy artillery.

Made friends with gunners, took their horse for a little ride. In the evening same gunners invited me to dinner and treated me with Chicago-made canned food and American tea. At 12 propeller for my U-2 finally arrived and quickly installed. I barerly managed to take off and headed for home. After the arrival i found out that nine went to attack an airfield in the state farm " Dugino" (area of Vyazma). Only 3 planes returned out of all group.

Our regiment of 20 planes started the war at the end of July. Results are rather sad. There are only seven pilots and four planes left for today. Three pilots were lost over our territory. Nobody knows where others are.
What is waiting for me ahead? Only now i am I starting to understand and feel what war really is.

13.08.42.
It Is a pity, that there is no free time at all. I get up at 3-4am and go to sleep at 22-2300. All the time on the airfield. Now i have to take my notebook with me and write here, which is undesirable and risky .
Work load is intence.We fly 2-3 combat missions a day. And Dolnikov even manage to fly 4 missions.

I`m in action for half of month, Already flew 12 combat missions. After being shot down i wasn`t able to fly till Aug 10th, where i got the new plane.

14.08.42.
During 3 missions today got only two small bullet holes.

11.08. - about 20 bullet holes. But they are just bullet holes.

12.08. - 5 bullet holes.

Our flight commander damaged the plane on landing. Damned bullet ripped the hose of chassis release system. One wheel came out, the other did not. He was trying to land on one gear...but it snapped too. To make it breef...plane was heavily damaged.

The the MG bullet like not as dengerous to IL2...armor will hold it! But in the same time it all depence on where it hits. Recently a bullet damaged an elevator control on my plane.... but if it would snap it off - death.

Generally speaking we are flying under heavy fire. Especially when you recover from the attack at low atitude germans are trying to hit the "tail".

Antiaircraft shells are very dangerous: direct hits in the motor, a cockpit, a gas tank, a fuselage. Hits in a wings near the console are not so dangerous. Sometimes we coming back with 1 meter and bigger holes in the wings. Once our flight commander Kuntish came back without a rudder....only few pieces of aluminum were hanging down and some other parts.

There was an interesting case at Mashutino: We saw IL2 flying at low height and whole tail section of the plane is white. We tought it was painted white...but it turned out to be a result of antiaircraft shell exploading near by.

IL - 2 is a good plane, even heavily damaged it flies stadily. Sometimes miracles happen. All crippled, half of the plane is missing, but still ...flying... As long as motor works. Not wonder Germans called our Sturmovik "black death ". They are afraid.

It`s been almost half of month of fighting near Rzhev . Newspapers are not saying anything about it. Germans are diggin into the ground even dipper. Very difficult for our infantry to beat them out of those trenches.
In the beginning of offencive there was no sight of enemy aircraft. But later they showed up. But we had a fighter cover all the time. Guards regiment on ߪ-1, our good friends did a hell of the job. Among them fought my friend from flight schoolNikitin (in the school we use to call him Chapai).

My commnders sent out documents for increasing my rank to the first lieutenant. On August 10th i was accepted as a candidate in members Bolshevist Party.

I`v met couple more of my friends. Finished highschool with one - A.Leonov. The other was my fellow at Novosibirsk flight school. There are not many experianced pilots left "old men". Now the majority of pilots just came from training. Inexperienced. One was trusted with position of flight commander but on the first mission he got lost, crashed the plane and died. War is like natural selection. Fast thinking and smart live longer and bring advantage to our lines. Weak are failing and disappearing. Luck is considered as a big part of survival too. I was lucky so far. Was close to death but survived.

I am already on the third place in our regiment by amount of missions flown.

8.08 Sent Grunia 500 roubles. In total already 2000. I do not even know whether she receives them or not. Sent 300 roubles to her mother as well. My relatives in Donbass are "under the German". No letters are coming from there. Just stay alive my dear people. I am fighting for you. For my father, mom, the sister, the brother, the wife.

Our 687 SAP (assault aviation regiment) was born on 23.11.41 in Molotov-city and formed from graduates of flight schools. First time it entered the war was on January 1942 and was equiped with planes R-5 (Germans called it "rus-plywood"). Really, made out of plywood.

On spring of 1942 our regiment was removed from the action and sent for rearrangements, meaning it was completely destroyed. From original 19 pilots alive were only 7: commander major Kuntysh, commanders of a squadron captain Stikov and Bochkov, second squadron commanders lieutenants Korobejshchikov and Logvinenko and pilots lieutenants Igoshin, Konygin, Ivanov. Total of gunners that still alive...were 5. Others were lost in action.

After rearranging before the first Rzhev operation on June 30 1942 our regiment had a following structure: major Kuntysh - commander , commanders of the squadrons - captains of Stikov and Bochko, second commanders of squadrons - captain Sherbakov, 1st lieutenant Brezhnev and commanders of fighter groups - 1st lieutenants Korobejshchikov, Shuverov, Logvinenko, second lieutenant Sutyrin. Pilots Kornienko, lieutenant Gor'kavyj, Ivanov, Konygin, Igoshin, lieutenant Ljadsky, second lieutenant Pelevin, foreman Dol'nikov, Gorbachenko, sergeants Poletaev, Vladimirs, Shumihin.
In this structure I was the new addition, with this people i entered the war.

17.08.42.
The First round of combat was over for me on August 13 with 13-th mission. It was kind of disturbing because of number 13, but went quiet well. Our task was to find a ferry on the Volga-river between Rzhev and Zubtzov and destroy it. Yak`s from the 1st Guard accompanied us on that mission. But, before Zubtzov our escort disappeared. Probably they worked by a principle " For motherland!!! - and were gone in the clouds". This type of behavior of fighter escort was something that occured not once. We continued our way by ourselfs. We got lucky that ferry was near Zubtzov and our flight completely destroyed it. Needless to say that we were fortunate that no german fighters were around. Almost toching tops of the trees we recovered from the last pass and headed for home.

15.08 Whatever left from our regiment was pulled back for reinforcements- planes and pilots . It is too bad that two our pilots Dolnikov and Radchenko were sent to other regiment. We went by truck from the airbase in Mashutino through Torzhok, Kalinin in Kimri. It was a long painfull way. We spend one and a half day instead of 12 hours to get there. Kimri is a nice small town. In a peacefull times it would be really nice to get settled here and work as any type of salesman or the shoe reprairman, but not the pilot. In this type of town it would be a heaven to have a family. Well, i can only dream about it.

Approximately in two weeks i will go back to front lines for my second tour. I already have some experience, broken in and that means a lot on the war. I am starting to think better.I got lucky in the first tour. But luck - just a small element, i need skills.
Gorbachenko is wounded. Garkaviy Filia is missing in action. Probably dead, he was attacked by german fighters.
Dolnikov is clever pilot, he probably will last a long time.

I haven`t got any letters for a while. Looks like everybody forgot about me. Still waiting.

27.08.42.
It`s been 10 days already and i haven`t done a thing... we got no gasoline... Today radio invformed us that massive offencive on the western and kalininskiy front has began, but it was a month old news. They gave all the details of the fights near, Zubtzov, Pogoreloe, Gorodiche and Rzhev. I only participated in fightsnear Rzhev. Maybe some of my relatices heard this translation and got an idea where i am fighting.

The situtation on the south is extreamly bad. Germans advancing and taking over a territory. The Kavkaz ridge will not be a great barrier for them. If they succeed our oil resources will be minimal. That will make our struggle even more complicated.

War is costing us dearly. We are not going to make it to the end of it.

But for now it`s pretty good to be in Kimri. Lots of girls and only few guys. Those poor girls are bored out of their mind, there is nobody to have a good time with. And they give maximum attention to us, pilots... Quiet often i go to dance club. I must say that i am enjoying it. Probably because i didn`t see anything better in life yet.

There is not enough of vodka here if you spent all day waiting in line you can buy it for 70 rubles for liter, at fleemarket - for 500 roubles. But i have no money.
Finally i received a letter from Grunia. The second one in 5 months! But even that it made me happy....i was sad at the same time. Turned out she had an ulcer and it was serious. Out of 2500 roubles that i sent her, she only received 1000. Besides she was in emotional pain worrying and waiting for me. But how could i help? War destroys everything. It would be better for her to forget about my existence, but is not that type of person.

Had a small romance going, but nothing interesting and serious. For 5 months my depression start getting to me, I feel death lurking near by all the time.
My friend Boris was a good time in Gari , it felt like he knew that will be dead soon.

28.08.42.
My vacation in Gari was unexpectedly interrupted. Today I am going to leave for Dyadkovo (near Dmitrov) for rearrangments. Good bye 687-th Regiment! I got use to it, made many friends, we were family and what is waiting for us is not known. Our true friendship was born on the war. Here all the pilots are equal, except for the superiors. And our destiny is identical: today we are alive and tomorrow... The Captain, the lieutenant, sergeant - were are all like brothers.

I heard that Dolnikov and Radchenko already flew 30 missions.

I was awarded with the Red Banner. Two captains and me. The ceremony took place at the stadium. I`v been asked to say a speach. Well, i`m not a big speachman, but managed to say a few words. After that our friends gave us their regards.

8.09.42.
At the end of August i did not leave for another regiment. My superiors decided to keep me. It and it is for better. We are borded a ship in Kimri and left for Dyadkovo(this is a third time for me here). It was much better in Kimri: There was a place for a walk and vodka was easy to buy. Plus dancing. The dance club was quiet decent, some nice girls - lots of good choices. I really got into dancing there.

Here a lot of girls from Moscow who`s helping to extract peat. They come to our village and organize dancing on the street. I didn`t make any friends yet.
On September 1st 1942 we borded a transport plane LI-2 which in 4 hours delivered us in the Kryazh (a factory near Kuibyshev). Here i looked thru all new mail but there was nothing for me.

Stoped by at Kuibyshev. Vvery boring, all lights are dimmed, city is ready for war. But germans did not bomb it yet.

September 6, we took off from Kryazh on newly received IL2`s and haded towards front lines. I had to fly with unpacked parachute (it opened), but made it. We landed in Arzamas for refuling and spending a night. Landed home on the next day. We had a warm wlemome-home dinner with 200 gr of vodka. Also i received 600 gr of vodka for the future.
Here we are planning to do a little training, rearrange our regiment with new pilots and in few days backt into action.
Lieutenant Radchenko died attacking that damned airbase near state farm "Dugino" next to Vyazma. First time they attacked in group of 6... lost 4 pilots and 6 planes. On August 26th command send another five....and only Dolnikov returned. Attacking the same airbase we lost Filya Gerkaviy...on hist first combat mission. Why are they keep sending people to get slaughtered?

My words come true: Dolnikov will be at this war for a long time. He is clever and cautious. If you take a great risks, you die sooner...if you are cautous, you`ll kill more.
Yeah, Rzhev - tough case, not going to be easy to succeed here. Fights for this town are going on for over a month. Now they pulling air forces together. Looks like we are going to be battling for it for quiet some time.

Our aircraft sustains heavy losses. Why don`t we have a gunner on IL2? The rear sphere is not protected. Fighters have no problem approaching and shooting us down. Hundreds planes are brought down because of that. Some would place a volunteer with a machine gun behind the armor plate. Nazi approaches from the rear knowing that there is no gunner suddenly would meet a good bust of fire.

Fighter escorts are not really helpfull.Quiet often fighter pilots just don`t have enough skills and curage... And Germans become impudent. And we , ground ponders, have not learned how to protect ourselfs ...yet. Many things depend on our flight leaders. Unfortunately, experianced pilots for most part dead, aircraft regiments are filling up with youth, the sergeants who doesn`t have not only military experiance...they don`t even have life one. They are poorly trained, can`t hold the formation, breaking off and getting shot down one by one. Most of decent pilots were lost in the beginning of war due to outdated aircraft... we didn`t have time to get new planes. Were R-5, B-3 and other outdated old stuff.

We know that there will be some major fighting goin on on Volga-river. Many german aces have gathered there, all with crosses, highly regarded. They are dominating in the air.
One of these days i will probably have to go to Moscow to receive my award. Red banner!

Still no letter. Had Grunia receive my money? How`s she doing, how`s her health? Sometimes i see her in my dreams. Usually we are breaking up, and then - getting back together. My dreams still coming to the happy end .
It`s been almost a month since we stoped fighting. There will be only a sergeants in our regiment, jsut like everywhere else.

18.09.42.
Getting colder. I am afraid of winter: not going to be a pleasent. Looks we are going to be in combat in 10 days. But we still don`t know where and how.
There is no enough gasoline. Last two days went to the coutry side, gave our farmers a hand.
Gasoline is still available at the front lines. But away from there not much. Ths is how much Kavkaz means to us. How all this is going to end? Whoever sees the end of this war should consider himself extreamly lucky.

Speech of Churchill and the more so Garriman encurages us that second front will be open soon. But when...
Five days ago, i got even two letters from Grunia!
On September 14th we had to go to Kuibyshev to get more planes, but that didn`t happened. And my trip to Moscow on awards ceremony did not happen either. Eh, i wanted to go. Wanted wanted to see my mother, i miss her so much.
Quiet often good ole times come to my memory... when in a nice sunny day in Kremenchug me in the suit and a hat, her - in my favourite dress taking a long walks down the street or the stadium. Sometimes we would was on the coast of Dnepr. I recollect all that in full detail. Or Aktyubinsk where our school moved from Kremenchug. Water-melons under a bed, flies in the room... I always hurried home. On my way from school i use to count blocks, there were 7 of them to my house.

Our superiors at school did not like me much. Big news. I was that kind of person...just could not stand injustice. I guess I am just different from other people. And on war i am a man of honour. Deserved that with high regard with my actions.

The first people to go on the front lines from flight school were the ones who who was not really loved by school superiors. This is so sad to be alone. Where my parents, my sister and my brother my dear people that i love so much. Sometimes i wonder...will ever get a chance to put on civilan suit again...even without a hat and the watch....
29.09.42.

Today is the nice sunny day, but a little bit windy. We got a day off, that is something that doesn`t happen too often. Our training is over and we are expecting our departure in few days. Two new second flight commander have arrived along with the new commander of our regiment. Old commander, major Kuntysh was taken somewhere else. The commissioner of our regiment went to Moscow, he promised to find out about our awards. It would be nice to receive it before we go into action.

Two pilots, sergeants of my flight are already retrained and ready for military operations. Well, they are pretty good away from action...will see how they do in combat.
In Dyadkovo we stayed for almost a month. We had plenty of rest, did a lot of walking around. I must say that there was not whole alot of entertainment but lots of girls. But no places where the youth could gather together. Everyone has gone their own way. In the beginning we would gathered on the street on dance. But then whole thing stoped. Now on the third site of peateries for last five days they rolling a movies. And we go there to watch and dance after that. Sometimes we dance even before the movie. There are many girls on peat factories, some even from Moscow, but not enough decent ones, and pretty ones just a few. I made a few friends, but only for dancing, not fooling around.

Yesterday we arranged dances in our flight dining room. But it was kind of boring. People hardly danced, it looked more like work then pleasure.

Frequently I recollect Gari. It is only in 12km from where we are right now. There we had some good times well as in Kimra. There we could dance.
Still no letter from Grunia. I don`t write to anyone else. I will wrtie to some people though after my visit to Moscow or before i`ll be sent out to the front lines. There are only 350 rubles left...nothing to sent out because i need some too, to pay for things. Our salary is very little, a lot of deductions...taxes...etc...etc..
Today i received the candidate`s document for members of Communist party.

Still wondering, how did i managed to survive first tour? First, i got lucky. Once the control of the elevator was so heavily damaged that hardly still in one piece. And if it would fell apart? The end! On war it is a lot of instances when bad things happen but people remain alive. And another important part...skills. One of the pilots from our division was wounded in air and lost consciousness, the plane heading towards the ground. But just before the collision he came back to his sences and managed to recover IL2 in horizontal flight. But during the recovery plane plunged into the ground with one of the wings so hard that console was bent upwards. It was a miracle when he made it back home. Everything happened in the split second.
Or this case when plane was set on fire by German fighters. One of them thought that IL2 is a gonner flew over burning plane and ended up in gunsight. The pilot has pressed both triggers on the stick (2 cannons and two machine guns) - and and nazi fell apart. Amazingly an IL2 came back home. There he received 1000 roubles for destroyed fighter and later on..an award.

Five days i was away from my regiment. Had to fly in Mashutkino and Dyadkovo. While i was away group of 9 IL2`s attacked that damned airbase near state farm " Dugino". 4 pilots did not returned. If I wasn`t absent, i would deffintely get in this meat grinder. Damned Dugino already sent away to better places 11 pilots with their planes.
After being shot down i became wiser, not hanging out in target are longer then i should. I don`t anything useless or senseless anymore. Trying to anticipate everything that is depending on me. Don`t do anything stupid! Avoid unnecessary risk! And first of all - be carefull!
War is stretching out...the end of it is not visible. Only miracle can save Stalingrad. Both sides will pay dearly for it.

2.10.42.
Today I will write last time in this note-book. I am going to leave it here, in Luberzi. It belongs to you, my dear Grunia. To tell you the truth, there is nothing special in these records, all i did is described things i saw and gone through. Remember me while you are still alive. I caused many trouble for you. I will try to make it upto you....if i will be alive.

Today i arrived to Moscow for my award. Stopped by for half an hour at your former house. Grunia, i am making my last note this this notebook. Tomorrow i am departing on front lines. Probably you are not going to receive a note-book similar to this one...

I Promise you that i will be careful and i will bring my revenge to nazi monsters.

I was fighting all this time near Rzhev. Now, probably, I will come back there or, maybe under Leningrad.
Just wanted to sum up my way in aviation for today.
August, 1935, city of Engels - military aviation school.
February, 1939, Krasnoyarsk - the instructor in flight school.

May, 1939. My school moves to Novosibirsk (place called Berds)
.
January, 1940 - Balashovskaya flight school.

January, 1941, Kremenchug - bomber school.

August, 1941. School has moved to Aktyubinsk.

November, 1941 - Usatievskaya.

April, 1942 - Vereya (west of Moscow).

May, 24, 1942 - Kinel-Cherkassi ( factory of IL-2`s).

June, 30, Kuibyshev (Kryazh). Training on IL-2.

October 1st, me and two captains were sent to Moscow awards ceremony . Up to Dmitrov we went by a car, further by train. On the train i`v met a little girl that showed me how to get to Luberzi. And here am.

3.10.42.
Reception of the first award was exciting, at 10 minutes to 12 us(about 100 people) have invited in a hall of Sverdlov at the Kremlin. They have announced that awards will be presented by M. I. Kalinin. Exactly at 12 Michael Ivanovich walked into the hall and was met with a storm of applauses. Really dry old man with white beard. However still vigorous. Speaks very silently. On distance of ten meters we could barerly hear him. Procedure of awards has begun. Gorkin was reading our names. Michael Ivanovich was presenting awards with documents then shaking our hands. I was pproximately the seventieth. Before the beginning of procedure we`v been warned not to shake Kalinin`s hand too hard... After ceremony the picture of all of us with Kalinin was taken.

Our group consisted 37 people: pilots and workers of the Ilushin`s design office.
Awards were handed pretty quick. It took approximately half an hour.

When i came back to my regiment they were serving red whine for dinner. I got 200gr as well. After dinner ended we were congradulated by command and our friends.

October 3 rd, i received the Red Star and found a few sentences in newspaper about me. Now all my friends and especially foes will know that i deserved an award.
I gave Zaitzevoi 200 roubles and asked her to send 100 roubles to Grunia. Still, i haven`t received the letter from her.

Tomorrow or day after we are heading out, towards action. I`m trying to get into group of "Hunters". Very interesting work. In group or in pairs they had to fly in the bad weather at low altitudes behind the enemy lines and search for anything that moves, anything that they can get their hands on. Total freedom of actions. Do what you want.

10.10.42.
On October 5th we took off and headed under Rzhev. We going to use our old airbase. Our armies advanced in the wide area kicked Germans on the other side of Volga. Only northern part of Rzhev and few square kilometers of territory near city is still occupied. On the way here we landed in Kalinin at airbase Migalovo. Then we landed in Big Wishenie. Now i am siting here and writing on the airbase. I can hear german plane above the clouds and few minutes later our fighters going up just in case.
Today we are getting familiar with the area of flights. Looks like massive military operation is in works and we are going to start flying on 15th.

I don`t know my address.

Life at the village is very boring.

I`m getting 100 gr of vodka every evening and that makes me feel better.

Dolnikov in the hospital. He was shot down not too long ago, on the landing flipped over and got hurt..
On 6-th i saw Grunia in my dreams but again, something bad...i think we had an argument.She`s far south. Probably in Ysatievskaya. Such a hige distance between us
Rains prevents me wrom writing more.

19.10.42.
Another 13 days has gone by, still no action and i thought that advancing near Rzhev will begin on the 15-th. Aircraft was gathered together in the great numbers it can barerly fit on the local airbases. Currently i am in Kalinin at airbase Migalovo. From here a lot of aircraft will be directed on North-Western front probably to area of Toroptsa or Belogo. It appears that massive advancive is about to happen there and we heard that soviet command is moving there entire air corp...it`s about 3 divisions - near 200 planes. The good news is, we starting to receive a new IL2 with rear gunner. For now each flight (4 planes) will receive on of those. Great protection against enemy fighters!

In Kalinin i`v met Zarev my old fellow from flight school in Engels and Leontiev who i became friends with at Gorochino. Both are second lieutenants who studied with me at Krasnoyarsk school of pilots. Both are serving at DRAP (distant investigation aviation ). Interesting work: flights to Smolensk or even Minsk at altitudes no lower 5000 and up to 8000 meters.

On October 17th i was sent to Kalinin to receive an IL2. Yesterday i was drinking vodka with my good friends after that we went to the dance club. It`s been a long time since i danced last time. Pilots from DRAP have accomodated themselves pretty well so i stuck with them for a while.
Weather is disgusting. Rains all the time. More and more often i am thinking of Grunia, the past and the future. It would be really nice to live without war. But dreaming of quiet and peacefull life are quiet upsetting. People here is are forced to live for society and not for themself . To work for others, to benefit anothers...

On october 10 in 30 kilometers from our airbase, above railway Velikie Luki - Torzhok our infantry brought down German H¥-111. German plane was flying low above the cargo train and dropped the bomb which destroyed 2 cars with infantry, after that plane was brought down by machinegun and rifle fire. From above I saw him landing in the small opening in the woods. The plane burned badly. Later i found out that the pilot, ober-lieutenant, was killed in gunfight and radio operator was taken alive. The navigator and rear gunner were caught on the next day. During last 5 days 5 germans were brought down. Due to bad weather germans had to be at low altitudes and were brought down by soviet infantrymen.

I`v met my schoolfellow Nikitin. He`s at the first Guards fighter regiment but he doesn`t fly. Now their regiment located on the airbase near that damned state farm Dugino. Recently they lost commander of the squadron - he was shot down. There are only few experianced pilots left. Both sides are taking heavy losses but ours are greater. Our industry is producing enough planes....but what can we do about the lack of pilots.

I pulled out of my pocket this note book and remembered you my dear....it`s been 7 months and 5 days since we saw each other. I am proudly wearing my awards...but for some reason they are not giving me any satisfaction or comensation.

20.10.42.
Misha Harin, by comrade, may you rest in peace. I am writing your name in this note book, my dear friend since Engels flight school. I was on your grave but you not going to know about it. You ashes found the rest near Kalinin, not far from Migalovo.

Today i was dreaming of Grunia...horrible dream...her mother informed me that she died. I think i was crying in my sleep. And when i woke up i could not understand... was it in reality or just a dream. Now i have to write her a really nice, warm letter. Already third one in 10 days. Let her read and enjoy it.

27.10.42.
Yesterday has arrived(flied) from Œ¨ â on the air station. Went two times to the dance club. Didn`t get a chance to dance much...there are bunch of men...but only a few girls.

Went to Kalinin, there at the theater " Proletarka " i watched "Guy from our city". That`s where i saw lots of girls!

Desires to dance did not go away, but times when i really enjoyed it are gone forever. In Krasnoyarsk, Novosibirsk and Balashovo i remember big halls with tons of ladies to dance with. Good old times....
Great concentration of airforce in area of Toropets, Beliy and Velikie Luki. Massive offencive is right around the corner. Currently were are grounded until preparations are complete. Our area of actions - Rzhev.

Yesterday i`v received my first salary after promotion - 1301 roubles. Sent E.D.Zajtsevoj 800 roubles and for Grunia - 600. Finally a letter from Grunia. Poor thing in trouble..again... I am wondering if i will ever see her again? The end of this war still not visible...

29.10.42.
Since yesterday we started to fly little by little. At 15:15 we took off from our base and headed to the west of Rzhev for attack of german artillery positions. Germans did not fire a single shot. We made 3 passes but Germans were hidden and did not make any attempts to expose themself. We went in the group of 9 planes. Opened fire and drop the bombs on the villages that were occupied by germans. On the recovery from the attack i saw some cows running towards the village, that`s about it.

During our first operation near Rzhev few months ago all aircraft at once was thrown into action. Nobody cared about experiance of our pilots and how many will be lost in action. Needless to say that weather was terrible. Many were shot down or crashed. But this time it could be different, slowly, not at once we will enter the fight, especially the newbies...until they trained to fight rationally, with the minimal losses.

Yesterday i flew my 14th mission. It`s been 3 months since my 1st mission. Now i am not experiancing as much fear as i use to...

Dolnikov recovered and has left the hospital. He`s been in there twice already. Already flew 29 combat missions. After hospital he returned into one of the regiments of our division and was submitted for the award.
We are based near Rudnikovo (close to Mashutino). I nthe village right next to it our service batallion. Quiet a few girls - soldiers and civilians. We`v organized dance club, arranged concerts. I was there twice or so, even did a little dancing... many people arrived from near by villages.


How are my relatives in Donbass, "under Germans"? They probably think that i am already dead.

2.11.42.
I remember last year, about the same time, i was flying by this area. First time in my life i managed to land at night near Dzhusali. Nobody trained us to do this. Landed with the help of flashlight perfectly! But being so excited about successful landing i totally forgot to close oil cooler. And in the morning when starter kicked in....it bursted. Oil completely froze up!
November 1st we had to go on the mission but weather did not allow us. Today looks pretty good and two groups of six will depart (two flightd from each squadron). Our mission is to attach same artillery positions near Rzhev.

4.11.42.
November 2nd our flight was cancelled again because of weather. Today samer thing, we had to go on the mission but but weather was against us. This time of the year it`s very common around here.

There is less work for us during winter, but still, we have to fly in the pretty bad conditions at low altitudes.
Today received a sad letter from Grunia , she is very tired too and wants to go back to Luberzi to be with her mom, but it looks like something impossible at the moment. What`s gonna happene next? There is no end for this war.

Before holiday we are trying to save some vodka... so we could drink more then 100gr when it comes.
Germans advancing on Kavkaz! But City on Volga is still holding up!!! (He meant Stalingrad)

12.11.42.
The Holiday went almost well. After short holiday meeting we had a dinner where i got drunk after consuming almost 270 gr of vodka. I was drunk like that last time when we stationed at Usatievskaya. We were drunk and having fun...while in only 18 kilometers from us, in Torzhok German bombs were ripping off ground. Poor Torzhok. For the past 10 days weather clears up at night and Germans bomb it with passion. Especially last night. Explosions, fire, glow... We could see all that from our village... ligh bombs are hunging in the air.... antiaircraft shells exploading all over the skies.

It got really boring after holidays...the usual thing. Again I lie down to sleep at 21. We tried to complete a mission few times, but bad weather still did not let us.
Finally weather tuned for better and winter has arrived. No snow yet but temperatures droped to -15 ? C. Looks like next round of offencive is around the corner.

Our mechanics are prerparing aircraft more carefully now, we`v learned our lessons in hard way. New fighter planes arrived... Lagg-5 with very much improved vertical speed.
Yesterday i received my second award. Now in our regiment 12 awards and 2 medals. Pilots own 9 awards and one medal. 3 pilots were awarded twice.

Recently dreamed of Grunia. Long time not a word from her. Last letter was pretty bad. Maybe i offeded her somehow? Maybe we should make a desigion and break up?Chances that we meet after the war are minimal. There is no way to escape reality! War has destroyed everything. Nobody speaks out loud about thier wifes around here. Some bluntly cheating without looking back. Probably wifes are doing the same thing. Maybe for us at war there is some kind of excuse...our life is short and dirty like.....

One year anniversary of our regiment is coming soon. From our old structure only me and commander Shtikov are still around. He is a remarkable person and the soldier survivor of 2 rounds of combat. But i must say that our superiors don`t like him much...very stubborn. But they accepted him the way he is.

Recently our superiors sent out telegram to the highest authority with the list of best people in our regiment: Shtikov, Gurtovenko, me and others. When are going to advance again and how....still unknown. Probably our approach will begin at the same time with the advance of our allies. It`s hard to predict, but will shall see.
Today once again i received a not really pleasent letter from Grunia and sent her a long responce right away

20.11.42.
Here is a little history of our regiment.
It was formed on November 23rd 1941 based on school of the pilots located in the Molotov(nowadays Perm - Author.). Have started the war using planes R-5 near Moscow. Mostly flew at night because of the tramendous losses during a day time. The captain Shtikov was our hero, pilots of our regiment use to call him Batya (Dad - in english) . This nick name was awarded to only favorite commanders. First lieutenant Korobejshchikov (KIA nowadays) Flew over 100 missions. But R-5 was a horrible outdated plane. By May of 1942 from 19 pilots only 7 still alive. Major Kuntysh, captain Stikov, 1st lieutenants Korobejshchikov, Logvinenko , lieutenants Igoshin, Konygin, Ivanov plus 5 gunners. The others were lost. Some after being shot down managed to come back and flew again...sometimes they`v done twice. But eventually they would be dead too..not wonder with a plane like this......

Not once we had to land on the territories behind the enemy and pick up crews that were shot down and bring them back.
I joined this regiment while it was in rearrangements.
In the beginning of May we went to Kuibyshev for retraining program on IL - 2. Finished that program quiet well, must say that before us other regiments were crashing planes with passion. At that point each of us flown for 7-8 hours on IL2 as a pilot. We are continiued our training after we moved to Range. Each of us recevied a plane and we bombed, shot, oriented in the area, flew in formation. In Kinel-Cherkassi on June 14th 1942 right in the front of my eyes an IL2 cought fire in flight. The pilot jumped out but the bottom straps of his parachute were not clipped on and because of that it did not open. This is nonsense. Of course it`s much easier to blame the pilot for everything.
Our training in Kryazh went well too. But once in the flying zone above the city at height of 1500 meters one the tubes in air system blew up. All air was gone from the system. I had to release chassis(gear)by hand with emergency mechanizm.

Not long before our departure on the front lines quiet a few accidents took place. On Shuverov`s IL2 on take off suddenly stopped engine. He crashlanded his plane on the belly right at the end of runway. Sergeant Shumihin broke formation and got lost on the way back, has turned towards Kryazh and somewhere near Volks destroyed plane on landing. Those half educated pilots were sent out in action. If Germans will not kill them... they will kill themselves.
From Kryazh we took off in the beginning of July and landed in Gari (to the north of Dimitrov). There we continued our training and on the twentieth of July we arrived to Mashutino, near front lines.

Before my first round our regiment was in the following structure: the commander - major Kuntysh. 1st squadron: the commander - captain Bochko, second commander Sherbakov. 2nd flight: commander - 1st lieutenant Korobejshchikov, foreman Dol'nikov. 3 rd flight: commander - 1st lieutenant Shuverov, lieutenant Radchenko, sergeant Vladimirs. 2nd squadron: commander - the captain Shtikov, second commander 1st lieutenant Brezhnev, pilot lieutenant Gor'kavyj. 2nd flight: commander - lieutenant Gurtovenko. Pilots: lieutenant Ljadsky, second lieutenant Pelevin. 3 flight: commander - second lieutenant Sutyrin. Pilots: second lieutenant Gorbachenko, sergeant Poletaev. We were short ...2 pilots. From our regiment 11 people already experianced the war. Shtikov, Korobeichikov, Sutirin, Radchenko (on -5 and U-2) and 7 others who flew on U-2 , the communication plane. other 6 never seen the war yet.
I must say that our group was very well train and seem to be strong, but lack of combat experiance was obvious. That`s why beginning of the war for us went rather bad.
Our Commanders were not really ready for military operations. There was nothing to take from them education wise...besides IL - 2 was new to everybody and we learned as we go.

We didn`t know much...didn`t know how to attack different targets, didn`t know how to protect ourselfs from fighters... Much later, when we became an experts we learned in the hard way how to lose a fighter, simply by diving in the clouds. And before war it was not even necessary to fly the clouds at all.

On our way to Mahutino Brezhnev crashed his plane and was grounded for the first few days.

Our commander Major Kuntysh didn`t fly on the missions...but once command of our division forced him to fly on the bombing mission. In that flight an antiaircraft shell has heavily damaged rudder on his plane. There...flew just once and barerly survived...

Captain Bochko had 14 Combat missions.
Our first mission took place on July 29th. Entire squadron went under Rzhev. The first squadron went towards Alexino (German headquaters). First Bochkogot lost eneded up with his squadron over Rzhev, but then he found Alexino. He was the one who led nine IL2`s on German airbase near state farm " Dugino" (railroad Rzhev - Vyazmaright next to Sichevka. 4 pilots were lost right over the target, 2 more got lost on the way home. During emergency landing in a field both planes were destroyed and only one pilot survived by miracle. Two more were shot down over the target area but managed to land on other airbases. Only Bochko landed at home. The reasons all the same: lack of skills. This was the most tragical fight for our regiment. If our pilots had a good experience and did not scatter after first pass ... if they would stay in tight formation the outcome would be different.

Captain Sherbakov in the beginning flew only reconnaissance missions. In the first flight he was wounded in the left hand and did not fly anymore.

Korobeichikov flew fearlesly. Quiet often on reconnaissance missions. He completed about 10 missions and was submitted for the award. If he would hold on till August 13th of 1942, he would have receive it for certain. But that damn Dugino killed him. After the attack they did not keep a formation.So, of course they could not protect each other from enemy fighters and they got shot down one by one.
He was a good soldier, one of the favourites in our regiment....Korobeichikov.
I dearly miss him.

Vladimir Dolnikov had 9 missions completed in our regiment. Once he was shot down and landed on the fuselage. He was a clever pilot. After rearrangements later on him and Radchenko were transferred in another regiment of our division. There he flew another 17 misions. He was one of 5 pilots who survived Dugino that time....others were dead. Clouds saved his life.

Shuverov, Gorkaviy and Korobeichikov were lost in that fight...damn Dugino.

Once we flew a mission with a flgiht of IL2`s from another regiment. Me and Dolnikov left our target together after last pass and Radchenko followed flight from other regiment. For whatever reason he ended up wondering around on the altitude and did not see german fighter sneaking up behind him. Nazi fired at IL2 and knocked out oil radiator...there was nothing left to do but emergency landing. Plane fell on street in the city of Staritsa. Amazing plane turned into puff of smoke but pilot still in one piece. Too bad he died near Dugino.

Also sergeant Vladimirov was lost at the same place. An explanatory guy. Where and how he was shot down...nobody knows. Many were lost attacking Dugino, locals were saying that they found some awards and medals on the ground.
1-st squadron survivors for today: Bochko, Cherbakov, Dolnikov. We lost Shuverov, Korobeichikov, Radchenko, Vladimirov.

Captain Shtikov was the only one who`s left from original command of our regiment. Everyones favourite. He serves his country to the end. Not a buttkisser either. Not really polite with superiors, therefore it`s been a year at front lines for him...but he is still a captain, the commander of the squadron. It appears that on war it is not good enough be the good, fair pilot you have to be hell of the diplomat as well.

Once after tough fight i looked at Stikov and noticed that his hands were shaking while he was lighting up a sigaret. He was extreamly honest. Not tricky and not mean. Sometimes when people were askign for it he could cuss you out without looking at your rank and position in the chain of command. Hates cowards, backstubbers, smartasses.our superiors were afraid of him and quietly hated the guy.
November 23rd...anniversary of our regiment... i am planing to say a speach.

23.11.42.
Superiors tried to keep Gorkaviy as a flight instructor after he completed his training in Kinel-Chercasov but he refused and joined us in the front lines. His wife died not too long ago and he kep all his saving with him(about 10000 roubles). He wrote a note after putting it on savings account but never had time to pass it along to Gorbachenko... Was lost in action... He flew only 3 or 5 combat missions. Once we flew together in the group of nice and bombed that cargo train near Rzhev. He was a good man and a big firend of mine. First his child has died. Then wife and not too long ago his turned arrived...

Lieutenant Gurtovenko was in action for over a year. In the beginning carried he was driving a general in U-2, even received an award Red Star. In our regiment he was a commander of the flight and we became great friends, even lived together in one house. During the first round has flew more missions then anybody else...15. In the attack of Dugino he was shot down but managed to land on other airbase. Second time he was shot down...he came home and landed with only one gear, during landing rest of the gear broke and plane got heavily damaged.

Second lieutenant Pelevin was my friend too. On the third mission he was shot down. He came back home to Mashutino, but on landing after the fourth turn approximately 150 meters off the ground his plane flipped over and crashed into the ground. Impact was terrible, armor was scattered in small particles. Why did that happen? Probably control arm of one of the flaps was shot off. I already heard twice about similar cases from other regiments. Pelevins grave near the road that leads to airbase Mashutino, it was first grave at that airbase.

Second lieutenant Sutyrin. Before he came to our regiment he was flying U-2. When it comes to theory and talking....he was the greatest master, but in practice - very bad pilot, unskilled and stupid. For whatever reason he was promoted to the commander of the flight. It was an act of crime to give him that position. Not once he was getting lost on the way home from training missions. Once they got so lost near Kinel-Chercassov(approximately in 30 kms from Kryazh) that his entire flight had to crashland in the field. He was unable to fly and fight on this war. Everyone was saying that he is gonna get himself killed. It didn`t take long. (What were the superiors thinking?) In his first combat mission near Rzhev he was trying to crashland in the field but missed the mark and while making second attempt cought the trees, fell down and crashed.

Second lieutenant Gorbachenko. My colleague at Kremenchugs flight school. During a combat mission when he was winging with Brezhnev his plane was shot down. Crashlanded near small village on the neutral zone. Started running away from the plane but germans opened fire and Gorbachenko was wounded. He dug himself a hole not far away from the plane and covered himself with grass....he was hiding so perfectly that our infantrymen had a hard time finding him at night, when resque mission for sent out for him. On the same night his plane was dragged over to our territory. Unfortunately few infantry man were killed during the resque. The plane have shipped by train for repairs, but German bombers destroyed the train and IL2 with it at the station Panino. Gorbachenko spend long time at the hospital and w

XyZspineZyX
07-29-2003, 11:13 PM
As i promised, i am going to combine all the parts together and i hope that it will fit in /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

Other thread can go now /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif



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http://www.airwar.ru/history/aces/ace2ww/pilots/foto/lyadsky.jpg



T.S. Lyadsky : From my note book.

Year 1942.

PART 1.

Introduction.

"Germans named our plane " black death ". Us - "pilots - condemned men". To the comrades, alive or dead, who fearlessly fought the enemy in a name of freedom of the native Land, I devote these notes.

General Bajdukov who was in command of our 4-th Guards ground attack aviation regiment ( from the start of the war, including in area of Rzhev and Velikie Luki) on every 100 combat missions 10-12 planes were brought down by Germans. In 92-nd Guards during three years of war 76 pilots were lost. ******Crazy`s note: Complete regiment 40 planes, about 50 pilots*******

In the three years of war I was a part 185 combat missions, 89 of those were in command of group, in total 445 pilots. For IL2 it is a lot of missions. Only in rare occurances Germans did not fire at us, most of the time it was hell of antiaircraft artillery, a small arms of various calibre... You see, during the attack we had to come as low as 5-10 meters of the ground. Fighter Aircraft of the opponent did not bring down any of pilots which I was leading in fight.
The Pilots who fought on IL2`s could be divided on few categories. First of all - brave, fair soldiers. The first brave man in our lines was A. Kuzin. It was possible to relate a technician Yakov Fetisov who was a mechanic of my plane. He even managed to fly on the combat missions! He actually asked regular rear gunners to give up their place for him in the plane. Before the war Yakov was an excellent hunter, a sharpshooter...
But i must admit that there were pilots who were afraid to fly on the missions. Some of them were hiding that fear skillfully. I, as well as the majority of my comrades, was not reckless - fearless, but in complex conditions was able to thing straight nad not lose my head. Not once i resqued my comrads from German fighters. Once after landing on the taxing my plane`s fuselage has fallen off. Good thing it didn`t happen in the air. Near Rzhev i was shot down by Me-109 , just a miracle that i escaped. Landed in a field on a fuselage. At flight in area of Velikie Luki, an item. Other time, near Chernozem, one of the exhaust valves burst out the motor and i was forced to belly land in a field. In that fight two of our planes were shot down.

Great losses between our pilots in many respects spoke as a poor commanding ablities of our senior commanders (from the commander the regiment and higher). They did not fly, but received awards on regular bases. After such a great loses they did not make any analysis of flights, did not analyze the reason of failures. During one combat mission we lost 18 pilots and planes - and no one cared to analize what went wrong. Needless to say that we had pilots who shouldn`t be even close to the plane. We coudn`t realize that right away, but understood it later.

25.05.42.
Relocating again. Our break is over and it is time to get down to business. We are heading to Kuibishev where training for IL2 will take place.
Just arrived to village Kinel'-Cherkassy. A factory in Smishlyaevka a manufacturer of of the IL2. so far behind our front lines that i think even German scouts can`t go this far. While on the Saratov factory which was producing ߪ-1 fighter, some airstrikes did take place.

May, 17 has sent Grunia (wife`s name) some money and little package.

May, 19 got letter from Moscow - the letter from her and from Zizevoi. Today I will have time to write them. So far nothing new and interesting are present. there is nothing to write down . Everything is still ahead. We got here on May 23rd . Small village, provincial life, tons of evacuated. We are living in a barracks near an airfield. From here we can observer test flights of IL- 2.

14.06.42.
Today we received first 3 the first passenger flights on IL - 2.First we had to do some intencive studying of the plane itself.But by July 1st we shouldfinish everything - and head towrds front lines.
Today in the middle of the flight on of the IL2`s cought fire and plunged into the ground. The pilot managed to jumped out, but the parachute did not open.
Still no mail fro Grunia? I wanted to send her some money, but i guess i wont, since i`m not sure it package will reach her.

15.06.42.
It`s been already about 3 months, and still no news from her. I do not know where is she and how is she. Many things changed, but is nothing is forgotten. There is no way to the past. I doubt that i`ll be able to experiance feeling again, to late, there is no time for it. I`m starting to belive that it is possible to experiance a true love only once.
In village Kinel'-Cherkassy sometimes I can drink milk, each evening i`m chuwing on sunflower seeds (those a part of life around here), sometimes I have time to play volleyball, quiet often I get a chance to go to cinema, on concerts. After arrival here i made a quiet a few friends, must say it`s a gret pleasure, friends.

4.07.42.
Kinel-Chercassi`s aviation factory to the north of Kuibyshev maybe in 30 kilometers and we had to move further south to the town named Kryazh. The first stage of training, basic flying, is over. Now we about to start flying in formation, master basic combat maunevers, shooting from on board guns, machine guns, bomb and all other things, that required in combat.
I got use to Kinel-Chercassi`s and it`s not boring anymore. Finally received a letter from Grunia. Very well. Not sure though whether she has received the money. We are not going to be here for long. But rainy weather is not going away... grounded

Germans have begun massive approach on all front lines again, but this time they are not going to achieve such successes as in 1941. Military philosopher Klauzevits said once: " Advancing the first time that did not resulted victory over the enemy, second time will bring defeat, instead of a victory.

13.07.42.
Finally, training is completed. Now it is time to apply everything that we learned in practice. Today we are departing towards front lines, but still, nobody knows where. Probably, under Voronezh or on the Western front. I am going to be fighting our enemy in the best ground attack plane: IL2. At this time IL2 still a single seater. Even that designer Il'jushin planned it as a 2-seater, Supreme Commander (Stalin) has accused him in almost being a coward, accused him in disbelief in strenght of Red Army and ordered to make a single (pilot only) version. The fuselage is covered with 5 mm armor from nose to the back of the cockpit. But tail section is not protected. Pilots who already flew on IL2 were saying that there were cases when five ME109`s would use up all their ammo but could not bring it down (probably, it was at first when they did not know the weak spots of the machine).

Today i`v met some old friends : Manatkin, Zhelagin (They were pilots on Duglas), my friend Solonenko from Engels flight school(already with an award) and others.
Lived in a Kryazhe for 13 days, five times were in Kuibyshev, four times had a chance to drink some beer. Had couple insignificant dates, quite innocent. Even was in dance club and watch movie "Circus".

4.07. Sent Grunia the telegram, but still, no answer. Probably, I will not have time to receive it. Sent my mother 300 roubles.
All the good things remained in the past. Just memoirs.

18.07.42.
Finally we are on the Western front. Yesterday our group landed near village Dyadkovo(next to Dmitrov). Our squadron flew right over the Moscow on the way here. We flew directly above the Red Square at height of 400 meters. Today we changed airfields. For 5 days we will practice, and then - our work, deadly , interesting and dangerous, constant risk and the hope that maybe we will survive.
Many things depend on the skill of the pilot. But success in my plane depending on whether will have fighter cover or not. But where to take fighters? Zhukov was saying , in just one morning of June 22nd in 63 western airfields Germans burned 1500 planes on the ground. The majority of them were new types.

28.07.42.
This is it, the time has come: on 26-th we got unexpected orders for departure in few hours.There was no time at all to say good by to friends and people i knew. On 27-th have took off for Kalinin (airbase Migalovo). There was concentrated great ammount of aircraft. Probably large operation was about to happen. And we are going to be part of it.

From Kalinin we flew over to Torzhok, airbase Mashutino. Here i`v met 1st lieutenant Nikitin, one of the guys from Engels and Kiselev. Now he is the lieutenant colonel, awarded with the Star, serves in 2-nd Guards Fighter Regiment. Right next to us 6th-Guards Ground Attack regiment. Life in Gari (airbase near Dimitrov) was full of events: cinema, entertainment. Now all of this in the past. In few days we will be in action....war. What going to bring me my first mission? What is going to happen?? Interesting and dangerous in the same time. The main thing is to get started, then should be easier.
From Gari i sent Grunia 500 roubles. I still think that is neccessary to sent money.

30.07.42.
Today i took off from airbase Mashutino on my first combat mission. There was nothing extraordinary. The commander of our group captain Stikov has led us under Rzhev , total of 6 planes. We attacked something near villages and along the railway. In the first combat missions you don`t really thing and realize too much. On the approach to the target at height of 700-800 meters Antiaircraft guns opened fire at us. We attacked the germans coming form the clouds. Raining, but not as much. Target was not really visible (i meant ground). In the first approach i was in too much of hurry to dump rockets. Oh well, I do not even remember where they hit.Now, bombs on the railway. Didn`t see explosions either. Fired at Rzhev from cannons and machine guns. Antiaircraft fire was intence. Escpecially in area of airbase on east side of the city. Five meter in the front of my plane i nticed a line of tracer bullets.Basicaly my first mission turned out to be not so successful because of bad weather.

Nobody lead me home, i left by myself and head towards Torzhok. In 5 minutes eneded up above thick layer of clouds and ground was not visible. Following the course i penetrated the clouds and ened up at 200 m off the ground. Somewhere had to be a railroad. I turned 270 ? and in few minutes i found the railroad that was leading to Torzhok. On the way there i spoted water tower which led me to to our aribase. Found airfield and landed successfully.
From our group two planes did not return home. Sgt. Poletaev and commander of the flight Lt. Sutiring. Poletaev landed in some other airfield and came beack the next day, while Sutiring got lost on the way back and died in crashlanding. Not a good pilot.
Weather got really bad....we were resting few days.

2.08.42.
The Second mission of 31.07. was very interesting. We were destroying a cargo train with two flights of 4 planes. Wow, that was work! Saw how tanks with fuel blew up. Unfortunately my rockets didn`t work and cannons failed too at moment of attack. All i could do is shoot only from machine guns. Saw bullets hitting targets, but nothing blew up.

During that mission my plane received only 1 bullet hole.
My third mission took place in the same day. Target - tanks. But we didn`t find them in the specified location. Instead, we attacked a crgo train, but it appeared to be empty because nothing blew up or cought fire.
The Fourth mission was in August. This time shrapnel from the shell has punched a hole in the fuselage. Captain Bochko has received two big holes in a plane. Also one plane of our group got hit the fuselage..shell penetrated it and slammed into armored plate and shreded it. I examined piece of shrapnel, it still smoking. Probably had some flammable stuff in it.

Weather these days was very bad, clouds were low, 150m off the ground, give or take. Rains all the time. We had to proceed to our targets in the thick layer of clouds. In the same time clouds were good for us. Right after hitting a target i could disapear in the clouds, cross the front lines then after restoring of orientation come back to the airbase. Every time - alone.

The Pilots who flew on July 30th and 31st received a "Thank You" notes: first - from the commander of a division, the second one - from the commander of the front. Me included. Even that we hardly mastered the new plane, still managed to carry out fighting tasks in very difficult weather conditions. Good practice. Today i submitted the application for a membership of the Kommunist Party (Someone advised me to do so).

Yesterday, in second half of day and all day we are grounded, due to bad weather. When weather improves i will be going on my 5th mission.
On the 31-st AAA shell hit a bomb with flammable liquid on the plane that belong to out flight commander. Bomb exploaded, but he managed to dump it before whole plane was set on fire.

Fighters of the opponent did not really bother us but antiaircraft fire was rather strong. I was following my leader and saw many antiaircraft shells exploading near his plane and may tracers surrounding it. But bullets fired from a distance of 500-700 meters are not a great danger for IL2, plus it very hard for AA guns to hit our planes weak spots. German planes are not present yet and ours flying in big numbers. This is all good, but there are some bad news. On 31.07 my friend B.Pelevin crashed on ladning. His plane was damaged over the area of attack. More likely flaps were damaged on one of the wings. When he released the flaps on landing approach his plane fliped over and crashed. It was his 3rd combat mission. We buried him on 1.08. It was raining again. His grave is in the woods near the road. I said a little good by speach. And now every day on our way to the airbase we read a little sign on his grave: "The pilot - second lieutenant Pelevin Boris Ivanovich, 1920-1942. Died in combat fighting german facism". Glory to you, our comrade. There will be revenge for your death."

on July 31 was shot down and wounded Dol'nikov, He`s in the hospital.

August 1st second squadron commander 1st lieutenant Brezhnev was shot down over our territory and died in crashlanding. 2nd lieutenant Gorbachenko who was his wingman, did not return home from that mission. His whereabouts are unknown.

.. Have to stop writing, got a call from command station. My 5th mission!

Bombed and fired at the opponent in a young forest near the river. Infantry and artillery. On the first pass dropped the bombs. Saw huge balls of fire. On the second pass fired from all cannons and machine guns. In recovery from last pass felt strong impact from below behind me. The pane suddenly became uncontrolable and started climbing. Speed indicator was broken and some gauges too. I pushed the stick forvard with two hands wo hands and knees and lowered the lever of gas (throttle) to change pressure of the airflow from the engine to the elevator. Kept losing altitude from 600 meters to approximately 200. I tried the throttle, no responce and smell of burning oild started to fill the cockpit. Nothing left to do, going for emergency landing. Without knowing airspeed approaching the ground, some farmers field...but i overshot it due to high speed....and ended up splatting on fuselage missing a coutry house by 20meters. I am ok...no bruises or scratches only my hands and legs are shivering hands from extreame emotional and physical stress. As i found out later, German fighter sneak behind at very close distance and gave me a good burst of led. I didn`t even understand right away what did just happened.

I climbed out of the cockpit and started to examine my plane. All bottom part of was covered in oil. The fascist fired right into the oil radiator. There were quiet a few holes in other places. After examining condition of my IL2 I climbed back into cockpit, pulled out my emergency food pack and began to eat snack. I felt sorry about my plane but was encouraged by the fact that special technical brigades are collecting all crashed planes and restoring them in the repair shops.

I was wondering, what did that nazy pilot thought? Probably did not know, that i managed to belly-land. So, this was the first time when my life was hanging by hair. If german would fire a longer burst or one more....it would be all over for me. While i`m finishing writing this note....U-2 has arrived to pick me up.

5.08.42.
I came back to our airbase. My IL2 still at the place of crashlanding. Next day i took off on U-2 with the commander of our squadron. Our mission is to pick up IL2 after repairs, the one that sgt. Poletaev crashlanded in the field. Something unexpected happened while taxing i broke the propeller on U-2. The captain took off in IL2 and i had to wait for mechanics to get me a new prop. Stuck there for two days , only 20km from front lines. From there i could hear non-stop talk of heavy artillery.

Made friends with gunners, took their horse for a little ride. In the evening same gunners invited me to dinner and treated me with Chicago-made canned food and American tea. At 12 propeller for my U-2 finally arrived and quickly installed. I barerly managed to take off and headed for home. After the arrival i found out that nine went to attack an airfield in the state farm " Dugino" (area of Vyazma). Only 3 planes returned out of all group.

Our regiment of 20 planes started the war at the end of July. Results are rather sad. There are only seven pilots and four planes left for today. Three pilots were lost over our territory. Nobody knows where others are.
What is waiting for me ahead? Only now i am I starting to understand and feel what war really is.

13.08.42.
It Is a pity, that there is no free time at all. I get up at 3-4am and go to sleep at 22-2300. All the time on the airfield. Now i have to take my notebook with me and write here, which is undesirable and risky .
Work load is intence.We fly 2-3 combat missions a day. And Dolnikov even manage to fly 4 missions.

I`m in action for half of month, Already flew 12 combat missions. After being shot down i wasn`t able to fly till Aug 10th, where i got the new plane.

14.08.42.
During 3 missions today got only two small bullet holes.

11.08. - about 20 bullet holes. But they are just bullet holes.

12.08. - 5 bullet holes.

Our flight commander damaged the plane on landing. Damned bullet ripped the hose of chassis release system. One wheel came out, the other did not. He was trying to land on one gear...but it snapped too. To make it breef...plane was heavily damaged.

The the MG bullet like not as dengerous to IL2...armor will hold it! But in the same time it all depence on where it hits. Recently a bullet damaged an elevator control on my plane.... but if it would snap it off - death.

Generally speaking we are flying under heavy fire. Especially when you recover from the attack at low atitude germans are trying to hit the "tail".

Antiaircraft shells are very dangerous: direct hits in the motor, a cockpit, a gas tank, a fuselage. Hits in a wings near the console are not so dangerous. Sometimes we coming back with 1 meter and bigger holes in the wings. Once our flight commander Kuntish came back without a rudder....only few pieces of aluminum were hanging down and some other parts.

There was an interesting case at Mashutino: We saw IL2 flying at low height and whole tail section of the plane is white. We tought it was painted white...but it turned out to be a result of antiaircraft shell exploading near by.

IL - 2 is a good plane, even heavily damaged it flies stadily. Sometimes miracles happen. All crippled, half of the plane is missing, but still ...flying... As long as motor works. Not wonder Germans called our Sturmovik "black death ". They are afraid.

It`s been almost half of month of fighting near Rzhev . Newspapers are not saying anything about it. Germans are diggin into the ground even dipper. Very difficult for our infantry to beat them out of those trenches.
In the beginning of offencive there was no sight of enemy aircraft. But later they showed up. But we had a fighter cover all the time. Guards regiment on ߪ-1, our good friends did a hell of the job. Among them fought my friend from flight schoolNikitin (in the school we use to call him Chapai).

My commnders sent out documents for increasing my rank to the first lieutenant. On August 10th i was accepted as a candidate in members Bolshevist Party.

I`v met couple more of my friends. Finished highschool with one - A.Leonov. The other was my fellow at Novosibirsk flight school. There are not many experianced pilots left "old men". Now the majority of pilots just came from training. Inexperienced. One was trusted with position of flight commander but on the first mission he got lost, crashed the plane and died. War is like natural selection. Fast thinking and smart live longer and bring advantage to our lines. Weak are failing and disappearing. Luck is considered as a big part of survival too. I was lucky so far. Was close to death but survived.

I am already on the third place in our regiment by amount of missions flown.

8.08 Sent Grunia 500 roubles. In total already 2000. I do not even know whether she receives them or not. Sent 300 roubles to her mother as well. My relatives in Donbass are "under the German". No letters are coming from there. Just stay alive my dear people. I am fighting for you. For my father, mom, the sister, the brother, the wife.

Our 687 SAP (assault aviation regiment) was born on 23.11.41 in Molotov-city and formed from graduates of flight schools. First time it entered the war was on January 1942 and was equiped with planes R-5 (Germans called it "rus-plywood"). Really, made out of plywood.

On spring of 1942 our regiment was removed from the action and sent for rearrangements, meaning it was completely destroyed. From original 19 pilots alive were only 7: commander major Kuntysh, commanders of a squadron captain Stikov and Bochkov, second squadron commanders lieutenants Korobejshchikov and Logvinenko and pilots lieutenants Igoshin, Konygin, Ivanov. Total of gunners that still alive...were 5. Others were lost in action.

After rearranging before the first Rzhev operation on June 30 1942 our regiment had a following structure: major Kuntysh - commander , commanders of the squadrons - captains of Stikov and Bochko, second commanders of squadrons - captain Sherbakov, 1st lieutenant Brezhnev and commanders of fighter groups - 1st lieutenants Korobejshchikov, Shuverov, Logvinenko, second lieutenant Sutyrin. Pilots Kornienko, lieutenant Gor'kavyj, Ivanov, Konygin, Igoshin, lieutenant Ljadsky, second lieutenant Pelevin, foreman Dol'nikov, Gorbachenko, sergeants Poletaev, Vladimirs, Shumihin.
In this structure I was the new addition, with this people i entered the war.

17.08.42.
The First round of combat was over for me on August 13 with 13-th mission. It was kind of disturbing because of number 13, but went quiet well. Our task was to find a ferry on the Volga-river between Rzhev and Zubtzov and destroy it. Yak`s from the 1st Guard accompanied us on that mission. But, before Zubtzov our escort disappeared. Probably they worked by a principle " For motherland!!! - and were gone in the clouds". This type of behavior of fighter escort was something that occured not once. We continued our way by ourselfs. We got lucky that ferry was near Zubtzov and our flight completely destroyed it. Needless to say that we were fortunate that no german fighters were around. Almost toching tops of the trees we recovered from the last pass and headed for home.

15.08 Whatever left from our regiment was pulled back for reinforcements- planes and pilots . It is too bad that two our pilots Dolnikov and Radchenko were sent to other regiment. We went by truck from the airbase in Mashutino through Torzhok, Kalinin in Kimri. It was a long painfull way. We spend one and a half day instead of 12 hours to get there. Kimri is a nice small town. In a peacefull times it would be really nice to get settled here and work as any type of salesman or the shoe reprairman, but not the pilot. In this type of town it would be a heaven to have a family. Well, i can only dream about it.

Approximately in two weeks i will go back to front lines for my second tour. I already have some experience, broken in and that means a lot on the war. I am starting to think better.I got lucky in the first tour. But luck - just a small element, i need skills.
Gorbachenko is wounded. Garkaviy Filia is missing in action. Probably dead, he was attacked by german fighters.
Dolnikov is clever pilot, he probably will last a long time.

I haven`t got any letters for a while. Looks like everybody forgot about me. Still waiting.

27.08.42.
It`s been 10 days already and i haven`t done a thing... we got no gasoline... Today radio invformed us that massive offencive on the western and kalininskiy front has began, but it was a month old news. They gave all the details of the fights near, Zubtzov, Pogoreloe, Gorodiche and Rzhev. I only participated in fightsnear Rzhev. Maybe some of my relatices heard this translation and got an idea where i am fighting.

The situtation on the south is extreamly bad. Germans advancing and taking over a territory. The Kavkaz ridge will not be a great barrier for them. If they succeed our oil resources will be minimal. That will make our struggle even more complicated.

War is costing us dearly. We are not going to make it to the end of it.

But for now it`s pretty good to be in Kimri. Lots of girls and only few guys. Those poor girls are bored out of their mind, there is nobody to have a good time with. And they give maximum attention to us, pilots... Quiet often i go to dance club. I must say that i am enjoying it. Probably because i didn`t see anything better in life yet.

There is not enough of vodka here if you spent all day waiting in line you can buy it for 70 rubles for liter, at fleemarket - for 500 roubles. But i have no money.
Finally i received a letter from Grunia. The second one in 5 months! But even that it made me happy....i was sad at the same time. Turned out she had an ulcer and it was serious. Out of 2500 roubles that i sent her, she only received 1000. Besides she was in emotional pain worrying and waiting for me. But how could i help? War destroys everything. It would be better for her to forget about my existence, but is not that type of person.

Had a small romance going, but nothing interesting and serious. For 5 months my depression start getting to me, I feel death lurking near by all the time.
My friend Boris was a good time in Gari , it felt like he knew that will be dead soon.

28.08.42.
My vacation in Gari was unexpectedly interrupted. Today I am going to leave for Dyadkovo (near Dmitrov) for rearrangments. Good bye 687-th Regiment! I got use to it, made many friends, we were family and what is waiting for us is not known. Our true friendship was born on the war. Here all the pilots are equal, except for the superiors. And our destiny is identical: today we are alive and tomorrow... The Captain, the lieutenant, sergeant - were are all like brothers.

I heard that Dolnikov and Radchenko already flew 30 missions.

I was awarded with the Red Banner. Two captains and me. The ceremony took place at the stadium. I`v been asked to say a speach. Well, i`m not a big speachman, but managed to say a few words. After that our friends gave us their regards.

8.09.42.
At the end of August i did not leave for another regiment. My superiors decided to keep me. It and it is for better. We are borded a ship in Kimri and left for Dyadkovo(this is a third time for me here). It was much better in Kimri: There was a place for a walk and vodka was easy to buy. Plus dancing. The dance club was quiet decent, some nice girls - lots of good choices. I really got into dancing there.

Here a lot of girls from Moscow who`s helping to extract peat. They come to our village and organize dancing on the street. I didn`t make any friends yet.
On September 1st 1942 we borded a transport plane LI-2 which in 4 hours delivered us in the Kryazh (a factory near Kuibyshev). Here i looked thru all new mail but there was nothing for me.

Stoped by at Kuibyshev. Vvery boring, all lights are dimmed, city is ready for war. But germans did not bomb it yet.

September 6, we took off from Kryazh on newly received IL2`s and haded towards front lines. I had to fly with unpacked parachute (it opened), but made it. We landed in Arzamas for refuling and spending a night. Landed home on the next day. We had a warm wlemome-home dinner with 200 gr of vodka. Also i received 600 gr of vodka for the future.
Here we are planning to do a little training, rearrange our regiment with new pilots and in few days backt into action.
Lieutenant Radchenko died attacking that damned airbase near state farm "Dugino" next to Vyazma. First time they attacked in group of 6... lost 4 pilots and 6 planes. On August 26th command send another five....and only Dolnikov returned. Attacking the same airbase we lost Filya Gerkaviy...on hist first combat mission. Why are they keep sending people to get slaughtered?

My words come true: Dolnikov will be at this war for a long time. He is clever and cautious. If you take a great risks, you die sooner...if you are cautous, you`ll kill more.
Yeah, Rzhev - tough case, not going to be easy to succeed here. Fights for this town are going on for over a month. Now they pulling air forces together. Looks like we are going to be battling for it for quiet some time.

Our aircraft sustains heavy losses. Why don`t we have a gunner on IL2? The rear sphere is not protected. Fighters have no problem approaching and shooting us down. Hundreds planes are brought down because of that. Some would place a volunteer with a machine gun behind the armor plate. Nazi approaches from the rear knowing that there is no gunner suddenly would meet a good bust of fire.

Fighter escorts are not really helpfull.Quiet often fighter pilots just don`t have enough skills and curage... And Germans become impudent. And we , ground ponders, have not learned how to protect ourselfs ...yet. Many things depend on our flight leaders. Unfortunately, experianced pilots for most part dead, aircraft regiments are filling up with youth, the sergeants who doesn`t have not only military experiance...they don`t even have life one. They are poorly trained, can`t hold the formation, breaking off and getting shot down one by one. Most of decent pilots were lost in the beginning of war due to outdated aircraft... we didn`t have time to get new planes. Were R-5, B-3 and other outdated old stuff.

We know that there will be some major fighting goin on on Volga-river. Many german aces have gathered there, all with crosses, highly regarded. They are dominating in the air.
One of these days i will probably have to go to Moscow to receive my award. Red banner!

Still no letter. Had Grunia receive my money? How`s she doing, how`s her health? Sometimes i see her in my dreams. Usually we are breaking up, and then - getting back together. My dreams still coming to the happy end .
It`s been almost a month since we stoped fighting. There will be only a sergeants in our regiment, jsut like everywhere else.

18.09.42.
Getting colder. I am afraid of winter: not going to be a pleasent. Looks we are going to be in combat in 10 days. But we still don`t know where and how.
There is no enough gasoline. Last two days went to the coutry side, gave our farmers a hand.
Gasoline is still available at the front lines. But away from there not much. Ths is how much Kavkaz means to us. How all this is going to end? Whoever sees the end of this war should consider himself extreamly lucky.

Speech of Churchill and the more so Garriman encurages us that second front will be open soon. But when...
Five days ago, i got even two letters from Grunia!
On September 14th we had to go to Kuibyshev to get more planes, but that didn`t happened. And my trip to Moscow on awards ceremony did not happen either. Eh, i wanted to go. Wanted wanted to see my mother, i miss her so much.
Quiet often good ole times come to my memory... when in a nice sunny day in Kremenchug me in the suit and a hat, her - in my favourite dress taking a long walks down the street or the stadium. Sometimes we would was on the coast of Dnepr. I recollect all that in full detail. Or Aktyubinsk where our school moved from Kremenchug. Water-melons under a bed, flies in the room... I always hurried home. On my way from school i use to count blocks, there were 7 of them to my house.

Our superiors at school did not like me much. Big news. I was that kind of person...just could not stand injustice. I guess I am just different from other people. And on war i am a man of honour. Deserved that with high regard with my actions.

The first people to go on the front lines from flight school were the ones who who was not really loved by school superiors. This is so sad to be alone. Where my parents, my sister and my brother my dear people that i love so much. Sometimes i wonder...will ever get a chance to put on civilan suit again...even without a hat and the watch....
29.09.42.

Today is the nice sunny day, but a little bit windy. We got a day off, that is something that doesn`t happen too often. Our training is over and we are expecting our departure in few days. Two new second flight commander have arrived along with the new commander of our regiment. Old commander, major Kuntysh was taken somewhere else. The commissioner of our regiment went to Moscow, he promised to find out about our awards. It would be nice to receive it before we go into action.

Two pilots, sergeants of my flight are already retrained and ready for military operations. Well, they are pretty good away from action...will see how they do in combat.
In Dyadkovo we stayed for almost a month. We had plenty of rest, did a lot of walking around. I must say that there was not whole alot of entertainment but lots of girls. But no places where the youth could gather together. Everyone has gone their own way. In the beginning we would gathered on the street on dance. But then whole thing stoped. Now on the third site of peateries for last five days they rolling a movies. And we go there to watch and dance after that. Sometimes we dance even before the movie. There are many girls on peat factories, some even from Moscow, but not enough decent ones, and pretty ones just a few. I made a few friends, but only for dancing, not fooling around.

Yesterday we arranged dances in our flight dining room. But it was kind of boring. People hardly danced, it looked more like work then pleasure.

Frequently I recollect Gari. It is only in 12km from where we are right now. There we had some good times well as in Kimra. There we could dance.
Still no letter from Grunia. I don`t write to anyone else. I will wrtie to some people though after my visit to Moscow or before i`ll be sent out to the front lines. There are only 350 rubles left...nothing to sent out because i need some too, to pay for things. Our salary is very little, a lot of deductions...taxes...etc...etc..
Today i received the candidate`s document for members of Communist party.

Still wondering, how did i managed to survive first tour? First, i got lucky. Once the control of the elevator was so heavily damaged that hardly still in one piece. And if it would fell apart? The end! On war it is a lot of instances when bad things happen but people remain alive. And another important part...skills. One of the pilots from our division was wounded in air and lost consciousness, the plane heading towards the ground. But just before the collision he came back to his sences and managed to recover IL2 in horizontal flight. But during the recovery plane plunged into the ground with one of the wings so hard that console was bent upwards. It was a miracle when he made it back home. Everything happened in the split second.
Or this case when plane was set on fire by German fighters. One of them thought that IL2 is a gonner flew over burning plane and ended up in gunsight. The pilot has pressed both triggers on the stick (2 cannons and two machine guns) - and and nazi fell apart. Amazingly an IL2 came back home. There he received 1000 roubles for destroyed fighter and later on..an award.

Five days i was away from my regiment. Had to fly in Mashutkino and Dyadkovo. While i was away group of 9 IL2`s attacked that damned airbase near state farm " Dugino". 4 pilots did not returned. If I wasn`t absent, i would deffintely get in this meat grinder. Damned Dugino already sent away to better places 11 pilots with their planes.
After being shot down i became wiser, not hanging out in target are longer then i should. I don`t anything useless or senseless anymore. Trying to anticipate everything that is depending on me. Don`t do anything stupid! Avoid unnecessary risk! And first of all - be carefull!
War is stretching out...the end of it is not visible. Only miracle can save Stalingrad. Both sides will pay dearly for it.

2.10.42.
Today I will write last time in this note-book. I am going to leave it here, in Luberzi. It belongs to you, my dear Grunia. To tell you the truth, there is nothing special in these records, all i did is described things i saw and gone through. Remember me while you are still alive. I caused many trouble for you. I will try to make it upto you....if i will be alive.

Today i arrived to Moscow for my award. Stopped by for half an hour at your former house. Grunia, i am making my last note this this notebook. Tomorrow i am departing on front lines. Probably you are not going to receive a note-book similar to this one...

I Promise you that i will be careful and i will bring my revenge to nazi monsters.

I was fighting all this time near Rzhev. Now, probably, I will come back there or, maybe under Leningrad.
Just wanted to sum up my way in aviation for today.
August, 1935, city of Engels - military aviation school.
February, 1939, Krasnoyarsk - the instructor in flight school.

May, 1939. My school moves to Novosibirsk (place called Berds)
.
January, 1940 - Balashovskaya flight school.

January, 1941, Kremenchug - bomber school.

August, 1941. School has moved to Aktyubinsk.

November, 1941 - Usatievskaya.

April, 1942 - Vereya (west of Moscow).

May, 24, 1942 - Kinel-Cherkassi ( factory of IL-2`s).

June, 30, Kuibyshev (Kryazh). Training on IL-2.

October 1st, me and two captains were sent to Moscow awards ceremony . Up to Dmitrov we went by a car, further by train. On the train i`v met a little girl that showed me how to get to Luberzi. And here am.

3.10.42.
Reception of the first award was exciting, at 10 minutes to 12 us(about 100 people) have invited in a hall of Sverdlov at the Kremlin. They have announced that awards will be presented by M. I. Kalinin. Exactly at 12 Michael Ivanovich walked into the hall and was met with a storm of applauses. Really dry old man with white beard. However still vigorous. Speaks very silently. On distance of ten meters we could barerly hear him. Procedure of awards has begun. Gorkin was reading our names. Michael Ivanovich was presenting awards with documents then shaking our hands. I was pproximately the seventieth. Before the beginning of procedure we`v been warned not to shake Kalinin`s hand too hard... After ceremony the picture of all of us with Kalinin was taken.

Our group consisted 37 people: pilots and workers of the Ilushin`s design office.
Awards were handed pretty quick. It took approximately half an hour.

When i came back to my regiment they were serving red whine for dinner. I got 200gr as well. After dinner ended we were congradulated by command and our friends.

October 3 rd, i received the Red Star and found a few sentences in newspaper about me. Now all my friends and especially foes will know that i deserved an award.
I gave Zaitzevoi 200 roubles and asked her to send 100 roubles to Grunia. Still, i haven`t received the letter from her.

Tomorrow or day after we are heading out, towards action. I`m trying to get into group of "Hunters". Very interesting work. In group or in pairs they had to fly in the bad weather at low altitudes behind the enemy lines and search for anything that moves, anything that they can get their hands on. Total freedom of actions. Do what you want.

10.10.42.
On October 5th we took off and headed under Rzhev. We going to use our old airbase. Our armies advanced in the wide area kicked Germans on the other side of Volga. Only northern part of Rzhev and few square kilometers of territory near city is still occupied. On the way here we landed in Kalinin at airbase Migalovo. Then we landed in Big Wishenie. Now i am siting here and writing on the airbase. I can hear german plane above the clouds and few minutes later our fighters going up just in case.
Today we are getting familiar with the area of flights. Looks like massive military operation is in works and we are going to start flying on 15th.

I don`t know my address.

Life at the village is very boring.

I`m getting 100 gr of vodka every evening and that makes me feel better.

Dolnikov in the hospital. He was shot down not too long ago, on the landing flipped over and got hurt..
On 6-th i saw Grunia in my dreams but again, something bad...i think we had an argument.She`s far south. Probably in Ysatievskaya. Such a hige distance between us
Rains prevents me wrom writing more.

19.10.42.
Another 13 days has gone by, still no action and i thought that advancing near Rzhev will begin on the 15-th. Aircraft was gathered together in the great numbers it can barerly fit on the local airbases. Currently i am in Kalinin at airbase Migalovo. From here a lot of aircraft will be directed on North-Western front probably to area of Toroptsa or Belogo. It appears that massive advancive is about to happen there and we heard that soviet command is moving there entire air corp...it`s about 3 divisions - near 200 planes. The good news is, we starting to receive a new IL2 with rear gunner. For now each flight (4 planes) will receive on of those. Great protection against enemy fighters!

In Kalinin i`v met Zarev my old fellow from flight school in Engels and Leontiev who i became friends with at Gorochino. Both are second lieutenants who studied with me at Krasnoyarsk school of pilots. Both are serving at DRAP (distant investigation aviation ). Interesting work: flights to Smolensk or even Minsk at altitudes no lower 5000 and up to 8000 meters.

On October 17th i was sent to Kalinin to receive an IL2. Yesterday i was drinking vodka with my good friends after that we went to the dance club. It`s been a long time since i danced last time. Pilots from DRAP have accomodated themselves pretty well so i stuck with them for a while.
Weather is disgusting. Rains all the time. More and more often i am thinking of Grunia, the past and the future. It would be really nice to live without war. But dreaming of quiet and peacefull life are quiet upsetting. People here is are forced to live for society and not for themself . To work for others, to benefit anothers...

On october 10 in 30 kilometers from our airbase, above railway Velikie Luki - Torzhok our infantry brought down German H¥-111. German plane was flying low above the cargo train and dropped the bomb which destroyed 2 cars with infantry, after that plane was brought down by machinegun and rifle fire. From above I saw him landing in the small opening in the woods. The plane burned badly. Later i found out that the pilot, ober-lieutenant, was killed in gunfight and radio operator was taken alive. The navigator and rear gunner were caught on the next day. During last 5 days 5 germans were brought down. Due to bad weather germans had to be at low altitudes and were brought down by soviet infantrymen.

I`v met my schoolfellow Nikitin. He`s at the first Guards fighter regiment but he doesn`t fly. Now their regiment located on the airbase near that damned state farm Dugino. Recently they lost commander of the squadron - he was shot down. There are only few experianced pilots left. Both sides are taking heavy losses but ours are greater. Our industry is producing enough planes....but what can we do about the lack of pilots.

I pulled out of my pocket this note book and remembered you my dear....it`s been 7 months and 5 days since we saw each other. I am proudly wearing my awards...but for some reason they are not giving me any satisfaction or comensation.

20.10.42.
Misha Harin, by comrade, may you rest in peace. I am writing your name in this note book, my dear friend since Engels flight school. I was on your grave but you not going to know about it. You ashes found the rest near Kalinin, not far from Migalovo.

Today i was dreaming of Grunia...horrible dream...her mother informed me that she died. I think i was crying in my sleep. And when i woke up i could not understand... was it in reality or just a dream. Now i have to write her a really nice, warm letter. Already third one in 10 days. Let her read and enjoy it.

27.10.42.
Yesterday has arrived(flied) from Œ¨ â on the air station. Went two times to the dance club. Didn`t get a chance to dance much...there are bunch of men...but only a few girls.

Went to Kalinin, there at the theater " Proletarka " i watched "Guy from our city". That`s where i saw lots of girls!

Desires to dance did not go away, but times when i really enjoyed it are gone forever. In Krasnoyarsk, Novosibirsk and Balashovo i remember big halls with tons of ladies to dance with. Good old times....
Great concentration of airforce in area of Toropets, Beliy and Velikie Luki. Massive offencive is right around the corner. Currently were are grounded until preparations are complete. Our area of actions - Rzhev.

Yesterday i`v received my first salary after promotion - 1301 roubles. Sent E.D.Zajtsevoj 800 roubles and for Grunia - 600. Finally a letter from Grunia. Poor thing in trouble..again... I am wondering if i will ever see her again? The end of this war still not visible...

29.10.42.
Since yesterday we started to fly little by little. At 15:15 we took off from our base and headed to the west of Rzhev for attack of german artillery positions. Germans did not fire a single shot. We made 3 passes but Germans were hidden and did not make any attempts to expose themself. We went in the group of 9 planes. Opened fire and drop the bombs on the villages that were occupied by germans. On the recovery from the attack i saw some cows running towards the village, that`s about it.

During our first operation near Rzhev few months ago all aircraft at once was thrown into action. Nobody cared about experiance of our pilots and how many will be lost in action. Needless to say that weather was terrible. Many were shot down or crashed. But this time it could be different, slowly, not at once we will enter the fight, especially the newbies...until they trained to fight rationally, with the minimal losses.

Yesterday i flew my 14th mission. It`s been 3 months since my 1st mission. Now i am not experiancing as much fear as i use to...

Dolnikov recovered and has left the hospital. He`s been in there twice already. Already flew 29 combat missions. After hospital he returned into one of the regiments of our division and was submitted for the award.
We are based near Rudnikovo (close to Mashutino). I nthe village right next to it our service batallion. Quiet a few girls - soldiers and civilians. We`v organized dance club, arranged concerts. I was there twice or so, even did a little dancing... many people arrived from near by villages.


How are my relatives in Donbass, "under Germans"? They probably think that i am already dead.

2.11.42.
I remember last year, about the same time, i was flying by this area. First time in my life i managed to land at night near Dzhusali. Nobody trained us to do this. Landed with the help of flashlight perfectly! But being so excited about successful landing i totally forgot to close oil cooler. And in the morning when starter kicked in....it bursted. Oil completely froze up!
November 1st we had to go on the mission but weather did not allow us. Today looks pretty good and two groups of six will depart (two flightd from each squadron). Our mission is to attach same artillery positions near Rzhev.

4.11.42.
November 2nd our flight was cancelled again because of weather. Today samer thing, we had to go on the mission but but weather was against us. This time of the year it`s very common around here.

There is less work for us during winter, but still, we have to fly in the pretty bad conditions at low altitudes.
Today received a sad letter from Grunia , she is very tired too and wants to go back to Luberzi to be with her mom, but it looks like something impossible at the moment. What`s gonna happene next? There is no end for this war.

Before holiday we are trying to save some vodka... so we could drink more then 100gr when it comes.
Germans advancing on Kavkaz! But City on Volga is still holding up!!! (He meant Stalingrad)

12.11.42.
The Holiday went almost well. After short holiday meeting we had a dinner where i got drunk after consuming almost 270 gr of vodka. I was drunk like that last time when we stationed at Usatievskaya. We were drunk and having fun...while in only 18 kilometers from us, in Torzhok German bombs were ripping off ground. Poor Torzhok. For the past 10 days weather clears up at night and Germans bomb it with passion. Especially last night. Explosions, fire, glow... We could see all that from our village... ligh bombs are hunging in the air.... antiaircraft shells exploading all over the skies.

It got really boring after holidays...the usual thing. Again I lie down to sleep at 21. We tried to complete a mission few times, but bad weather still did not let us.
Finally weather tuned for better and winter has arrived. No snow yet but temperatures droped to -15 ? C. Looks like next round of offencive is around the corner.

Our mechanics are prerparing aircraft more carefully now, we`v learned our lessons in hard way. New fighter planes arrived... Lagg-5 with very much improved vertical speed.
Yesterday i received my second award. Now in our regiment 12 awards and 2 medals. Pilots own 9 awards and one medal. 3 pilots were awarded twice.

Recently dreamed of Grunia. Long time not a word from her. Last letter was pretty bad. Maybe i offeded her somehow? Maybe we should make a desigion and break up?Chances that we meet after the war are minimal. There is no way to escape reality! War has destroyed everything. Nobody speaks out loud about thier wifes around here. Some bluntly cheating without looking back. Probably wifes are doing the same thing. Maybe for us at war there is some kind of excuse...our life is short and dirty like.....

One year anniversary of our regiment is coming soon. From our old structure only me and commander Shtikov are still around. He is a remarkable person and the soldier survivor of 2 rounds of combat. But i must say that our superiors don`t like him much...very stubborn. But they accepted him the way he is.

Recently our superiors sent out telegram to the highest authority with the list of best people in our regiment: Shtikov, Gurtovenko, me and others. When are going to advance again and how....still unknown. Probably our approach will begin at the same time with the advance of our allies. It`s hard to predict, but will shall see.
Today once again i received a not really pleasent letter from Grunia and sent her a long responce right away

20.11.42.
Here is a little history of our regiment.
It was formed on November 23rd 1941 based on school of the pilots located in the Molotov(nowadays Perm - Author.). Have started the war using planes R-5 near Moscow. Mostly flew at night because of the tramendous losses during a day time. The captain Shtikov was our hero, pilots of our regiment use to call him Batya (Dad - in english) . This nick name was awarded to only favorite commanders. First lieutenant Korobejshchikov (KIA nowadays) Flew over 100 missions. But R-5 was a horrible outdated plane. By May of 1942 from 19 pilots only 7 still alive. Major Kuntysh, captain Stikov, 1st lieutenants Korobejshchikov, Logvinenko , lieutenants Igoshin, Konygin, Ivanov plus 5 gunners. The others were lost. Some after being shot down managed to come back and flew again...sometimes they`v done twice. But eventually they would be dead too..not wonder with a plane like this......

Not once we had to land on the territories behind the enemy and pick up crews that were shot down and bring them back.
I joined this regiment while it was in rearrangements.
In the beginning of May we went to Kuibyshev for retraining program on IL - 2. Finished that program quiet well, must say that before us other regiments were crashing planes with passion. At that point each of us flown for 7-8 hours on IL2 as a pilot. We are continiued our training after we moved to Range. Each of us recevied a plane and we bombed, shot, oriented in the area, flew in formation. In Kinel-Cherkassi on June 14th 1942 right in the front of my eyes an IL2 cought fire in flight. The pilot jumped out but the bottom straps of his parachute were not clipped on and because of that it did not open. This is nonsense. Of course it`s much easier to blame the pilot for everything.
Our training in Kryazh went well too. But once in the flying zone above the city at height of 1500 meters one the tubes in air system blew up. All air was gone from the system. I had to release chassis(gear)by hand with emergency mechanizm.

Not long before our departure on the front lines quiet a few accidents took place. On Shuverov`s IL2 on take off suddenly stopped engine. He crashlanded his plane on the belly right at the end of runway. Sergeant Shumihin broke formation and got lost on the way back, has turned towards Kryazh and somewhere near Volks destroyed plane on landing. Those half educated pilots were sent out in action. If Germans will not kill them... they will kill themselves.
From Kryazh we took off in the beginning of July and landed in Gari (to the north of Dimitrov). There we continued our training and on the twentieth of July we arrived to Mashutino, near front lines.

Before my first round our regiment was in the following structure: the commander - major Kuntysh. 1st squadron: the commander - captain Bochko, second commander Sherbakov. 2nd flight: commander - 1st lieutenant Korobejshchikov, foreman Dol'nikov. 3 rd flight: commander - 1st lieutenant Shuverov, lieutenant Radchenko, sergeant Vladimirs. 2nd squadron: commander - the captain Shtikov, second commander 1st lieutenant Brezhnev, pilot lieutenant Gor'kavyj. 2nd flight: commander - lieutenant Gurtovenko. Pilots: lieutenant Ljadsky, second lieutenant Pelevin. 3 flight: commander - second lieutenant Sutyrin. Pilots: second lieutenant Gorbachenko, sergeant Poletaev. We were short ...2 pilots. From our regiment 11 people already experianced the war. Shtikov, Korobeichikov, Sutirin, Radchenko (on -5 and U-2) and 7 others who flew on U-2 , the communication plane. other 6 never seen the war yet.
I must say that our group was very well train and seem to be strong, but lack of combat experiance was obvious. That`s why beginning of the war for us went rather bad.
Our Commanders were not really ready for military operations. There was nothing to take from them education wise...besides IL - 2 was new to everybody and we learned as we go.

We didn`t know much...didn`t know how to attack different targets, didn`t know how to protect ourselfs from fighters... Much later, when we became an experts we learned in the hard way how to lose a fighter, simply by diving in the clouds. And before war it was not even necessary to fly the clouds at all.

On our way to Mahutino Brezhnev crashed his plane and was grounded for the first few days.

Our commander Major Kuntysh didn`t fly on the missions...but once command of our division forced him to fly on the bombing mission. In that flight an antiaircraft shell has heavily damaged rudder on his plane. There...flew just once and barerly survived...

Captain Bochko had 14 Combat missions.
Our first mission took place on July 29th. Entire squadron went under Rzhev. The first squadron went towards Alexino (German headquaters). First Bochkogot lost eneded up with his squadron over Rzhev, but then he found Alexino. He was the one who led nine IL2`s on German airbase near state farm " Dugino" (railroad Rzhev - Vyazmaright next to Sichevka. 4 pilots were lost right over the target, 2 more got lost on the way home. During emergency landing in a field both planes were destroyed and only one pilot survived by miracle. Two more were shot down over the target area but managed to land on other airbases. Only Bochko landed at home. The reasons all the same: lack of skills. This was the most tragical fight for our regiment. If our pilots had a good experience and did not scatter after first pass ... if they would stay in tight formation the outcome would be different.

Captain Sherbakov in the beginning flew only reconnaissance missions. In the first flight he was wounded in the left hand and did not fly anymore.

Korobeichikov flew fearlesly. Quiet often on reconnaissance missions. He completed about 10 missions and was submitted for the award. If he would hold on till August 13th of 1942, he would have receive it for certain. But that damn Dugino killed him. After the attack they did not keep a formation.So, of course they could not protect each other from enemy fighters and they got shot down one by one.
He was a good soldier, one of the favourites in our regiment....Korobeichikov.
I dearly miss him.

Vladimir Dolnikov had 9 missions completed in our regiment. Once he was shot down and landed on the fuselage. He was a clever pilot. After rearrangements later on him and Radchenko were transferred in another regiment of our division. There he flew another 17 misions. He was one of 5 pilots who survived Dugino that time....others were dead. Clouds saved his life.

Shuverov, Gorkaviy and Korobeichikov were lost in that fight...damn Dugino.

Once we flew a mission with a flgiht of IL2`s from another regiment. Me and Dolnikov left our target together after last pass and Radchenko followed flight from other regiment. For whatever reason he ended up wondering around on the altitude and did not see german fighter sneaking up behind him. Nazi fired at IL2 and knocked out oil radiator...there was nothing left to do but emergency landing. Plane fell on street in the city of Staritsa. Amazing plane turned into puff of smoke but pilot still in one piece. Too bad he died near Dugino.

Also sergeant Vladimirov was lost at the same place. An explanatory guy. Where and how he was shot down...nobody knows. Many were lost attacking Dugino, locals were saying that they found some awards and medals on the ground.
1-st squadron survivors for today: Bochko, Cherbakov, Dolnikov. We lost Shuverov, Korobeichikov, Radchenko, Vladimirov.

Captain Shtikov was the only one who`s left from original command of our regiment. Everyones favourite. He serves his country to the end. Not a buttkisser either. Not really polite with superiors, therefore it`s been a year at front lines for him...but he is still a captain, the commander of the squadron. It appears that on war it is not good enough be the good, fair pilot you have to be hell of the diplomat as well.

Once after tough fight i looked at Stikov and noticed that his hands were shaking while he was lighting up a sigaret. He was extreamly honest. Not tricky and not mean. Sometimes when people were askign for it he could cuss you out without looking at your rank and position in the chain of command. Hates cowards, backstubbers, smartasses.our superiors were afraid of him and quietly hated the guy.
November 23rd...anniversary of our regiment... i am planing to say a speach.

23.11.42.
Superiors tried to keep Gorkaviy as a flight instructor after he completed his training in Kinel-Chercasov but he refused and joined us in the front lines. His wife died not too long ago and he kep all his saving with him(about 10000 roubles). He wrote a note after putting it on savings account but never had time to pass it along to Gorbachenko... Was lost in action... He flew only 3 or 5 combat missions. Once we flew together in the group of nice and bombed that cargo train near Rzhev. He was a good man and a big firend of mine. First his child has died. Then wife and not too long ago his turned arrived...

Lieutenant Gurtovenko was in action for over a year. In the beginning carried he was driving a general in U-2, even received an award Red Star. In our regiment he was a commander of the flight and we became great friends, even lived together in one house. During the first round has flew more missions then anybody else...15. In the attack of Dugino he was shot down but managed to land on other airbase. Second time he was shot down...he came home and landed with only one gear, during landing rest of the gear broke and plane got heavily damaged.

Second lieutenant Pelevin was my friend too. On the third mission he was shot down. He came back home to Mashutino, but on landing after the fourth turn approximately 150 meters off the ground his plane flipped over and crashed into the ground. Impact was terrible, armor was scattered in small particles. Why did that happen? Probably control arm of one of the flaps was shot off. I already heard twice about similar cases from other regiments. Pelevins grave near the road that leads to airbase Mashutino, it was first grave at that airbase.

Second lieutenant Sutyrin. Before he came to our regiment he was flying U-2. When it comes to theory and talking....he was the greatest master, but in practice - very bad pilot, unskilled and stupid. For whatever reason he was promoted to the commander of the flight. It was an act of crime to give him that position. Not once he was getting lost on the way home from training missions. Once they got so lost near Kinel-Chercassov(approximately in 30 kms from Kryazh) that his entire flight had to crashland in the field. He was unable to fly and fight on this war. Everyone was saying that he is gonna get himself killed. It didn`t take long. (What were the superiors thinking?) In his first combat mission near Rzhev he was trying to crashland in the field but missed the mark and while making second attempt cought the trees, fell down and crashed.

Second lieutenant Gorbachenko. My colleague at Kremenchugs flight school. During a combat mission when he was winging with Brezhnev his plane was shot down. Crashlanded near small village on the neutral zone. Started running away from the plane but germans opened fire and Gorbachenko was wounded. He dug himself a hole not far away from the plane and covered himself with grass....he was hiding so perfectly that our infantrymen had a hard time finding him at night, when resque mission for sent out for him. On the same night his plane was dragged over to our territory. Unfortunately few infantry man were killed during the resque. The plane have shipped by train for repairs, but German bombers destroyed the train and IL2 with it at the station Panino. Gorbachenko spend long time at the hospital and w

XyZspineZyX
07-29-2003, 11:28 PM
Thanks Ivan, that was superb.
I'm looking forward to the next chapter.





Some soar like an eagle
Some circle as vultures.
I fly like a tit!

XyZspineZyX
07-29-2003, 11:28 PM
Great stuff! Please don't forget to combine all of them once they are all translated into one big file for download. This stuff is awesome! I'll host it if you'd like.

BV

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XyZspineZyX
07-29-2003, 11:33 PM
Burnin_777_AVG wrote:
- Great stuff! Please don't forget to combine all of
- them once they are all translated into one big file
- for download. This stuff is awesome! I'll host it if
- you'd like.
-

Sure thing Burning, will do that!

V!

Regards,
VFC*Crazyivan
http://www.rmutt.netfirms.com/ivan-reaper.gif

"No matter how good the violin may be, much depends on the violinist. I always felt respect for an enemy pilot whose plane I failed to down." Ivan Kozhedub

XyZspineZyX
07-30-2003, 02:12 AM
Thank you very much for sharing this!

XyZspineZyX
07-30-2003, 05:57 AM
extraordinary stuff

XyZspineZyX
07-30-2003, 06:54 AM
Thanks for sharing! Chuck it into a PDF and upload it somewhere.

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The fighter pilot's emotions are those of a duellist - cool, precise, impersonal. He is priviledged to kill well. For if one must kill or be killed, as now one must, it should, I feel, be done with dignity. Death should be given the setting it deserves; it should never be a pettiness; and for the fighter pilot it never can be.

XyZspineZyX
07-30-2003, 07:14 AM
Great reading again! I'm looking forward to every new chapter!

Thanks crazy!

XyZspineZyX
07-30-2003, 08:19 AM
Ivan,

That is excellent. I'd love to add this stuff to our aviation history archive. Would you drop your email here or contact me at jkauppin@jmp.fi?

VirtuaaliLentoLaivue Icebreakers
http://www.compart.fi/icebreakers/
Finnish Virtual Pilots Association
http://www.virtualpilots.fi/en/

XyZspineZyX
07-30-2003, 09:45 AM
Thanks CrazyI - it's a fascinating read.

McN

XyZspineZyX
07-30-2003, 09:46 AM
Ivan, you 're doing a great job out of those notes!(inogda, pravda, grammatika malen'ko pohramyvaet kapel'ku-bez obid,prosti starogo nesostoyavshegosia filologa,a v obshchem,ty prosto umnitsa-tak derzhat'!!!)

XyZspineZyX
07-30-2003, 01:31 PM
great reading thanks man

<center>

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XyZspineZyX
07-30-2003, 01:44 PM
Really appreciate all your hard work! You are making a real contribution her as very little is available in English on these flyers wartime service.
S!

http://perso.wanadoo.fr/yak11/autresyaks/df002.jpg

"Anytime you have an opportunity to make things better and you don't, then you are wasting your time on this earth." -Roberto Clemente

XyZspineZyX
07-30-2003, 03:50 PM
Thanks A lot- fascinating reading!

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/gingernuts/blitz_anim.gif

XyZspineZyX
07-30-2003, 05:23 PM
Hey, no problem guys.. Glad you are enjoying this. I will start on 1943 when i have time...hopefully tonight.

V!

Regards,
VFC*Crazyivan
http://www.rmutt.netfirms.com/ivan-reaper.gif

"No matter how good the violin may be, much depends on the violinist. I always felt respect for an enemy pilot whose plane I failed to down." Ivan Kozhedub

XyZspineZyX
07-30-2003, 07:31 PM
Ivan, you are a good man! Thanks for sharing!

Regards

Jake

XyZspineZyX
07-31-2003, 03:29 AM
Just a little bump.

V!

Regards,
VFC*Crazyivan
http://www.rmutt.netfirms.com/ivan-reaper.gif

"No matter how good the violin may be, much depends on the violinist. I always felt respect for an enemy pilot whose plane I failed to down." Ivan Kozhedub

XyZspineZyX
07-31-2003, 10:22 AM
Great !

Many thanks !

XyZspineZyX
07-31-2003, 12:13 PM
Great stuff... Thx /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

<center>[i]1mg to me and ur down /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif [i]</center>

<center>-='EverdarK<|>Tracer'=-</center>

XyZspineZyX
07-31-2003, 04:34 PM
Awesome CrazyIvan, thanks! /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

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</center>http://members.fortunecity.com/stg77/stg77banner.jpg
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When a German Infantry unit's advance is halted...who do they call?? The Fighter jocks? Get real!!...They call the STUKA Pilots !!! /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

http://www.stg-77.net

XyZspineZyX
08-07-2003, 06:37 PM
bump for new readers /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

Regards,
VFC*Crazyivan
http://www.rmutt.netfirms.com/ivan-reaper.gif

"No matter how good the violin may be, much depends on the violinist. I always felt respect for an enemy pilot whose plane I failed to down." Ivan Kozhedub

XyZspineZyX
08-07-2003, 07:44 PM
bump... don`t mind me hehe...trying to keep it away from page 20 /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

Regards,
VFC*Crazyivan
http://www.rmutt.netfirms.com/ivan-reaper.gif

"No matter how good the violin may be, much depends on the violinist. I always felt respect for an enemy pilot whose plane I failed to down." Ivan Kozhedub

XyZspineZyX
08-07-2003, 09:52 PM
yEr!

Regards,
VFC*Crazyivan
http://www.rmutt.netfirms.com/ivan-reaper.gif

"No matter how good the violin may be, much depends on the violinist. I always felt respect for an enemy pilot whose plane I failed to down." Ivan Kozhedub

XyZspineZyX
08-07-2003, 10:04 PM
Have to bump it in those times of spam / fneb / fnoobs

Nic

http://nicolas10.freeservers.com/images/et.jpg


OK I -->[]

XyZspineZyX
08-07-2003, 10:11 PM
Yes bumpage for getting this back above the insanity.

Great stuff.

XyZspineZyX
08-07-2003, 10:30 PM
Congrats for your superb hardwork mate.

Ah, and *Bumpsky*

"Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty but the pig enjoys it!"

XyZspineZyX
08-08-2003, 12:45 AM
Thank you


For everything their is a appointed time,and their is a time for every purpose under heaven. A time to be born, and time to die. A time to laugh, and a time to weep. A time for peace, and now it is a time for War.

XyZspineZyX
08-08-2003, 06:30 AM
bump

Regards,
VFC*Crazyivan
http://www.rmutt.netfirms.com/ivan-reaper.gif

"No matter how good the violin may be, much depends on the violinist. I always felt respect for an enemy pilot whose plane I failed to down." Ivan Kozhedub

XyZspineZyX
08-08-2003, 03:38 PM
bumpers

Regards,
VFC*Crazyivan
http://www.rmutt.netfirms.com/ivan-reaper.gif

"No matter how good the violin may be, much depends on the violinist. I always felt respect for an enemy pilot whose plane I failed to down." Ivan Kozhedub