Alexander Pokryshkin
Three times Hero of the Soviet Union, who personally shot down 59 enemy aircraft and six aircraft in a group. He flew the MiG-3, Yak-1, P-39, Aerocobra. The genius of…

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What were they like, those "old men" who went into battle?
Around every celebrity, especially if she is surrounded by a halo of accomplished feats, a lot of oral rumors inevitably arise, gradually turning into legends. Naturally, such a legendary pilot…

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Alexander Pokryshkin
Three times Hero of the Soviet Union, who personally shot down 59 enemy aircraft and six aircraft in a group. He flew the MiG-3, Yak-1, P-39, Aerocobra. The genius of…

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Koldunov Alexander Ivanovich
From February 1941 in the ranks of the Red Army. In March 1943 he graduated from the Kachinsky military aviation school of pilots. From March to May 1943 he was…


Rechkalov Grigory Andreevich

Born on February 9, 1920 in the village of Khudyakovo, now the village of Zaikovo, Sverdlovsk Region, in a peasant family. He graduated from the 6 classes of an incomplete secondary school and an flying club. Since 1938 he was in the Red Army, in 1939 he graduated from the Perm Military Aviation Pilot School.

Since June 1941, junior lieutenant G. A. Rechkalov in the army. As part of the 55th IAP (16th Guards IAP) he fought on the Southern, North Caucasian, 1st, 2nd and 4th Ukrainian fronts. Since March 1945 – in the Office of the 9th Guards IAD.

By May 1943, the commander of the 16th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment (216th mixed aviation division, 4th Air Army, North Caucasian Front) of the Guard Senior Lieutenant G. A. Rechkalov made 194 sorties, shot down personally 12 enemy aircraft and 2 – as part of a group.

On May 24, 1943, for courage and military prowess shown in battles with enemies, he was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.

By June 1944, the deputy commander of the same regiment (9th Guards Fighter Air Division, 7th Fighter Air Corps, 5th Air Army, 2nd Ukrainian Front) Guard Captain G. A. Rechkalov made 415 sorties, participated in 112 air battles, personally shot down 48 enemy aircraft and 6 in a group.

On July 1, 1944, he was awarded the second Gold Star medal for successful air battles.

In total, he completed more than 450 successful sorties, in 122 air battles he shot down 56 aircraft personally and 6 – as part of a group.

After the war he continued to serve in the Air Force. In 1951 he graduated from the Air Force Academy. Since 1959, the Guards, Major General of Aviation G. A. Rechkalov, has been in reserve. Lived in Moscow. Wrote books about military everyday life – “Visiting youth”, “Smoky sky of war”, “In the sky of Moldova”. Died December 22, 1990.

Awarded with orders: Lenin, Red Banner (four times), Alexander Nevsky, Patriotic War 1st degree, Red Star (twice); medals. A bronze bust was erected in the homeland of the twice Hero.

This brilliant air fighter was distinguished by a very contradictory and uneven character. Showing a model of courage, determination and discipline in one sortie, in the next he could be distracted from the main task and just as resolutely start pursuing a random enemy. His combat fate intertwined with the fate of A. I. Pokryshkin; he flew with him in a group, replaced him as a commander, then as a regiment commander. Alexander Ivanovich himself considered directness and frankness to be the best qualities of Rechkalov.

Grigory Rechkalov was born on February 9, 1920 in the village of Khudyakovo, Irbitsky district, Perm province. He learned to fly at a local flying club. After being drafted into the Red Army, in 1938 he was admitted to the Perm Military Aviation School. The one that 5 years before Rechkalov’s arrival there, his future commander, A. I. Pokryshkin, graduated. True, then the school produced only aviation technicians. Becoming a military pilot in 1939, Rechkalov served in the Air Force of the Red Army of the Odessa Military District.

Despite the fact that the medical board determined he had color blindness, he won the right to continue his service and in 1941 was sent to the 55th Fighter Aviation Regiment with the rank of sergeant. The regiment was stationed in Moldavia and re-equipped with new types of fighters during the summer. However, Rechkalov’s squadron was still armed with obsolete I-153s.

The beginning of the war saved Rechkalov from being written off from flight work: the regiment commander ignored another, disastrous for the pilot, conclusion of doctors.

I-153 G.A. Rechkalova.
Rechkalov made his first sorties, to attack the enemy troops, on the I-153 – a biplane with a blue tail number “13”. During the 1st week of the war, he completed about 30 sorties for ground attack and conducted 10 air battles.

On the same machine, he won his first victory – on June 27, 1941, with a volley of rockets, he shot down one of the Me-109s that attacked him. Like Pokryshkin, he later said that his number 13 was “unlucky for the enemy.” On it, however, he, however, had an accident due to a motor failure: the connecting rod broke, and, having scapotted, Rechkalov almost died.

After the accident, he began to fly already on the I-16.

Soon, Gechkalov shot down first a Polish PZL P-24 fighter (Romanian pilots flew them), and then a German Ju-88 bomber. On July 26, in the Dubossary area, while attacking an enemy column, he was wounded in the head and leg by fire from the ground, brought the car to his airfield and landed in the hospital, underwent 3 operations there – the wound in the leg turned out to be quite severe.

Fighter PZL-24F.
After a relative recovery, the pilot was sent to the reserve regiment, but, having learned that he was equipped only with U-2 aircraft, he decisively turned and went back to the district air force headquarters. There he achieved a meeting with the commander and managed to demand a direction for retraining in a fighter regiment. Only on March 30, 1942, having mastered the Yak-1 and having once again been in the hospital – it was difficult for a fragment to come out, Rechkalov, by hook or by crook, returned to his regiment – the 55th IAP.

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