We are from the Soviet Union
Nikolai Dmitrievich Gulaev, a famous fighter pilot, twice Hero of the Soviet Union, the third of the Soviet aces in terms of the number of personally shot down aircraft during the Great Patriotic War. On his account there were 55, according to other sources, 57 personal victories, and 5 more victories in the group. It so happened that today they know much less about Gulaev than about two other famous Soviet fighter pilots: Ivan Kozhedub and Alexander Pokryshkin (pictured below). Nikolai Gulaev. The forgotten ASI, if in terms of the number of personally shot down aircraft Nikolai Gulaev was inferior to some Soviet aces, then in terms of his effectiveness – the ratio of the number of enemy aircraft shot down to the number of air battles conducted – he was the best fighter pilot of World War II among all warring countries. According to researchers, Ivan Kozhedub had this efficiency indicator of 0.5, the famous German ace Eric Hartmann had 0.4, while Gulaev had 0.8. Almost each of his air battles ended with a downed enemy aircraft. Nikolai Gulaev was a super-successful Soviet ace. Three times in one day he managed to shoot down 4 enemy aircraft at once, twice – 3 aircraft each, and 7 times – two enemy aircraft per day.
Nikolay Gulaev. Forgotten aceThe future ace pilot Nikolai Gulaev was born on February 26, 1918 in the village of Aksaiskaya (today it is the city of Aksai in the Rostov region) in a family of ordinary workers, Russian by nationality. After graduating from 7 classes of an incomplete secondary school and a FZU school (factory apprenticeship), Gulaev worked for some time as a mechanic at a factory in Rostov. At the same time, like many Soviet youths, Nikolai Gulaev fell in love with the sky, during the day he worked at the enterprise, and in the evenings he attended classes at the flying club. In many ways, these studies predetermined his future fate. Nikolai Gulaev. Forgotten AS In 1938, Gulaev was drafted into the Red Army, while classes at the flying club helped him in the army. He was sent for further training at the Stalingrad Aviation School, from which he successfully graduated in 1940. The future ace pilot met the Great Patriotic War as part of the air defense aviation. The regiment in which Gulaev served provided protection for an industrial facility located far from the front line, so his combat debut was delayed until August 1942.
The first star on board the Gulaev fighter appeared on August 3, 1942. He shot down his first plane in the sky near Stalingrad. Already his first sortie was unusual. The pilot, who at that time did not have permission to fly at night, arbitrarily took his fighter into the night sky, where he shot down a German Heinkel-111 bomber. In the first battle, in non-standard conditions for himself and without the help of searchlights, he shot down an enemy aircraft. For an unauthorized flight, the young officer was “rewarded” with a reprimand, but also presented for an award, and then promoted.
Fighter pilot Nikolai Gulaev especially distinguished himself during the fighting in the Kursk Bulge near Belgorod. Here there were several super-successful fights with his participation. In the first battle in this direction on May 14, 1943, repelling an enemy raid on the Grushka airfield, Gulaev single-handedly entered into battle with three Ju-87 dive bombers, which were covered by 4 Me-109 fighters. The Soviet ace approached the lead bomber at low altitude and shot him down with the first burst, the gunner of the second bomber managed to open fire, but Gulaev shot him down as well. After that, he tried to attack the third Junkers, but he ran out of ammunition, so he decided to ram the enemy. With the left wing of his Yak-1 fighter, Gulaev hit the right plane of the Ju-87, after which it fell apart. From the impact of the Yak-1 went into a tailspin, the pilot managed to regain control of the car near the ground and land the plane near the front edge at the location of our rifle division. Arriving at the regiment from a flight in which three bombers were shot down, Nikolai Gulaev again flew out on a combat mission, but on a different plane. For this feat, he was awarded the Order of the Red Banner. Nikolai Gulaev. Forgotten aceNikolai Gulaev in January 1944 in his Aerocobra
At the beginning of July 1943, the four fighters, led by Nikolai Gulaev, carried out a sudden and very bold attack on a large group of enemy aircraft, in which there were up to 100 vehicles. Having upset the enemy’s battle formations, the fighter pilots were able to shoot down 4 bombers and 2 fighters, after which all four returned safely to their airfield. On the same day, Gulaev’s link made several more sorties, shooting down a total of 16 enemy aircraft.
Already on July 9, 1943, Nikolai Gulaev makes his second air ram in the Belgorod region. After that, he had to leave his plane by parachute. July 1943 turned out to be extremely productive for Gulaev. The following information was recorded in his flight book for this month: July 5 – 6 sorties, 4 victories, July 6 – Focke-Wulf 190 was shot down, July 7 – 3 enemy aircraft were shot down as part of the group, July 8 – Me -109″