Air Marshal Twice Hero of the Soviet Union Nikolai Mikhailovich Skomorokhov
End of 1944. There is a fierce battle in the sky over Budapest. In mortal combat – two planes. Senior Lieutenant Nikolai Skomorokhov got a serious opponent. The forces are almost equal. But the Russian pilot was stronger. He shot down the Messerschmitt. If not for the case, N. Skomorokhov would never have known who the German ace he shot down was.
Two weeks later, in a series of others – another fight, just as stubborn and hard. Similar handwriting: instant reaction, iron endurance, jewelry skill. But in this battle, Nikolai Skomorokhov emerged victorious. A German pilot jumped out of a burning plane with a parachute, he was taken prisoner. And then it turned out: it turns out that the deputy commander of the “Diamond Squadron” – the pride of the fascist Luftwaffe – was shot down! Pilots from its composition at the beginning of the war considered themselves masters of the air ocean. They flew on modern machines, were fluent in piloting techniques and were a serious danger in the sky.
The German turned out to be an experienced ace, who accounted for 56 downed English, French, Russian aircraft. He considered what had happened just an absurd case. But when he found out that Skomorokhov had shot him down, he wilted and said that two weeks ago the same Skomorokhov shot down the commander of the “Diamond Squadron”, and was annoyed – how could that be?! They weren’t warned! By this time, the fame of the Russian pilot was such that when he took to the air, a formidable warning sounded in the helmets of the German pilots: “Akhtung! Achtung! Buffoon is in the air! And if there was an opportunity, the Germans preferred not to get involved in a deliberately unequal battle4.
In 1975, Vladimir Vysotsky wrote the song “About the Dead Pilot”5 and dedicated it to N.M. Skomorokhov and his deceased friend. Vysotsky did not fight (at the beginning of the war he was only 3 years old). But his father, Semyon Vladimirovich, and his uncle, Alexei Vladimirovich, fought. Both of them were family friends with the Skomorokhovs and often got together, recalled the military military past. At one of these meetings, it was about how the pilots of the “Diamond Squadron” shot down the namesake N.M. Skomorokhov, Captain Nikolai Gorbunov. Impressions from what he heard, pain from the loss of a friend, a sense of guilt that he did not protect that he survived (Skomorokhov himself did not participate in this battle), inspired Vladimir Vysotsky to create a memorable image of a pilot who cannot come to terms with the death of a friend.
February 23, 1945 N.M. Skomorokhov was awarded the highest government award, he was awarded the title “Hero of the Soviet Union”.
From the award list:
“It is presented for a government award – the title of“ Hero of the Soviet Union ”for 25 personally shot down enemy aircraft. All downed aircraft have been confirmed.
He was on the fronts of the Patriotic War from November 29, 1942. During this period, he has on his personal account 483 sorties with a flight time of 467 hours 29 minutes. About 200 sorties were made in adverse weather conditions. He made 104 air battles, in which he personally shot down 25 enemy aircraft, of which: 3 FV-1896, 10 ZhE-1097, 7 FV-1908, 3 Yu-879, 2 Yu-8810. In addition, 8 enemy aircraft were shot down in group battles, destroyed by assault actions: 3 enemy aircraft, 9 vehicles, 13 ammunition carts, 1 fuel depot, 7 railway wagons, destroyed and dispersed up to 150 fascist soldiers and officers.
In air battles he is bold and brave. Excellent shooter – shoots down enemy aircraft from one or two bursts
On December 4, 1943, he performed the task of escorting the IL-211. In the target area, attack aircraft were attacked by 8 enemy aircraft ME-109.
Despite the numerical superiority of the enemy, Captain Skomorokhov boldly entered into battle with them. In this battle, he showed exceptional examples of courage and, with his skill, did not allow enemy fighters to attack our attack aircraft. All attack aircraft returned safely to their airfield. In this air battle Comrade. Skomorokhov shot down 2 enemy planes. Upon arrival at their airfield, the pilots of 951 ShAP12 captain Skomorokhov, for the excellent cover of the attack aircraft and the courage shown in battle, a solemn meeting was arranged “13.
N. Skomorokhov at his La-5. February 1945 HungaryN.M. Skomorokhov felt light and confident in the air, the Lavochkin combat aircraft was obedient in his hands. Unique visual acuity, the ability to instantly and accurately assess the situation of the battle, the amazing ability of spatial orientation, extraordinary composure: the more dangerous the situation, the calmer and more collected he became.