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 flying received a baptism of fire in the first days of the war. Then he was the deputy squadron commander of the 55th air regiment. There was a misunderstanding: on June 22, 1941, Pokryshkin shot down a Soviet Su-2 short-range bomber. The plane landed on the fuselage in a field, the pilot survived, but the navigator died. Pokryshkin later admitted that he simply did not recognize the plane: “Dry” appeared in military units right before the war.
But the very next day, the pilot distinguished himself: during a reconnaissance flight, he shot down a Messerschmitt Bf.109 fighter. This was Pokryshkin’s first combat victory. And on July 3, he was shot down by anti-aircraft artillery over the Prut. By that time, the pilot had won at least five victories.
While in the hospital, Pokryshkin began to take notes in a notebook, which he entitled “Fighter tactics in battle.” It was in it that his science of winning was described. Many of Pokryshkin’s combat and reconnaissance sorties were unique. So, in November 1941, in conditions of limited visibility (the edge of the clouds dropped to 30 meters), he obtained information about tank divisions in the Rostov region. On the eve of the 1942 offensive, the pilot was awarded the Order of Lenin. Then he had already been shot down twice and had 190 sorties.
In the air battle in the Kuban in the spring of 1943, Pokryshkin for the first time widely used the Kuban bookcase battle formation, which was later distributed to all fighter air units. The pilot had many original tactics to win the battle. For example, he came up with a way out from under the blow of the enemy on a downward “barrel” turn, with a loss of speed. The enemy was then on target.
By the end of the war, Pokryshkin was the most famous pilot on the fronts. Then the phrase was spread: “Akhtung! Akhtung! Pokryshkin is in the air!”. The Germans actually warned the pilots about the flights of the Russian ace, warning them to be careful, to gain altitude so as not to risk it. Until the end of the war, the famous pilot was the only hero of the Soviet Union three times: he was awarded the third Golden Star on August 19, 1944, after 550 sorties and 53 official victories. Georgy Zhukov became a hero three times on June 1, and Ivan Kozhedub on August 18, 1945.
By the end of the war, Pokryshkin made more than 650 sorties and took part in 156 air battles. According to unofficial data, the ace had more victories – up to a hundred.