In the battles for Kursk, I was a squadron commander and I must say that all the pilots of the unit fought courageously, staunchly and selflessly. Of course, I was…

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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…

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Efimov Alexander Nikolaevich
Efimov A.N. Born on February 6, 1923 in the village of Kantemirovka, now a village in the Voronezh Region, in the family of a railway worker. In 1940 he graduated…

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Callsign "Maestro"
Vitaly Ivanovich Popkov, the future Maestro and future Twice Hero of the Soviet Union, went to the front in early May 1942 after several reports. From the very beginning, the…


Pilots of the Great Patriotic War. Kirill Alekseevich Evstigneev

The most productive and FURIOUS PILOT of the century: twice a Hero in the sky and Stenka Razin on the ground…
Nikolai Gulaev was born on February 26, 1918 in the village of Aksayskaya, which has now become the city of Aksay, Rostov Region.
Don daring freemen was in the blood and character of Nicholas from the first days to the end of his bright life.
He ended up at the front in August 1942 and immediately demonstrated both the talent of a combat pilot and the wayward, frantic character of a native of the Don steppes.

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The first episode: Gulaev did not have a permit for night flights, and when on August 3, 1942, Nazi planes appeared in the area of ​​​​responsibility of the regiment where the young pilot served, experienced pilots went into the sky.
But then the mechanic urged Nikolai: What are you waiting for? The plane is ready, fly!
The 24-year-old guy, having decided to prove that he was no worse than the “old men”, jumped into the cockpit and took off – in the very first battle, without experience, without the help of searchlights, he destroyed a German bomber!

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When Gulaev returned to the airfield, the general who arrived said: “For the fact that I flew out without permission, I announce a reprimand, but for the fact that I shot down an enemy plane, I increase my rank and present for a reward” – this became the code of our hero’s life.
The second episode, much later: a slap in the face to a Romanian diplomat who dared to insult the hero.
There were many such episodes, and therefore the life path of the frantic pilot was not smooth …

Furious Gulaev. The history of the most effective pilot of the Second World War

One of the best Soviet aces, Nikolai Gulaev, was not afraid of enemies, bosses, or foreign diplomats.
The names of the Soviet aces of the Great Patriotic War Ivan Kozhedub and Alexander Pokryshkin are known to everyone who is at least superficially familiar with Russian history.

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Kozhedub and Pokryshkin are the most productive Soviet fighter pilots. On account of the first 64 enemy aircraft shot down personally, on account of the second – 59 personal victories, and he shot down 6 more aircraft in the group.

The name of the third most successful Soviet pilot is known only to aviation lovers. Nikolai Gulaev during the war years destroyed 57 enemy aircraft personally and 4 in the group.

An interesting detail – Kozhedub needed 330 sorties and 120 air battles to achieve his result, Pokryshkin – 650 sorties and 156 air battles. Gulaev, on the other hand, achieved his result by carrying out 290 sorties and conducting 69 air battles.

Moreover, according to award documents, in his first 42 air battles, he destroyed 42 enemy aircraft, that is, on average, each battle ended for Gulaev with a destroyed enemy machine.

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Fans of military statistics have calculated that the efficiency ratio, that is, the ratio of air battles and victories, Nikolai Gulaev was 0.82. For comparison, Ivan Kozhedub had 0.51, and Hitler’s ace Erich Hartman, who officially shot down the most aircraft during World War II, had 0.4.

At the same time, people who knew Gulaev and fought with him claimed that he generously recorded many of his victories on the followers, helping them receive orders and money – Soviet pilots were paid for each downed enemy aircraft. Some believe that the total number of planes shot down by Gulaev could reach 90, which, however, cannot be confirmed or denied today.
Twice Hero of the Soviet Union pilot Nikolai Dmitrievich Gulaev

Heroes of the Soviet Union pilots Alexander Pokryshkin (second from left), Grigory Rechkalov (center) and Nikolai Gulaev (right) on Red Square

His star shone especially brightly during the battles on the Kursk Bulge. On May 14, 1943, repelling a raid on the Grushka airfield, he single-handedly entered into battle with three Yu-87 bombers, covered by four Me-109s. Having shot down two “Junkers”, Gulaev tried to attack the third, but the cartridges ran out. Without hesitating for a second, the pilot went to ram, shooting down another bomber. Gulaev’s uncontrolled “Yak” went into a tailspin. The pilot managed to level the plane and land it at the front edge, but on its own territory. Arriving at the regiment, Gulaev again flew on a combat mission on another plane.

In early July 1943, Gulaev, as part of four Soviet fighters, using the element of surprise, attacked the German armada of 100 aircraft. Having upset the battle formation, shooting down 4 bombers and 2 fighters, all four returned safely to the airfield. On this day, Gulaev’s link made several sorties and destroyed 16 enemy aircraft.

Nikolai Mikhailovich Skomorokhov
V. Vysotsky dedicated the “Ballad of the Dead Pilot”, the lines from which you read, to the fighter pilot, twice Hero of the Soviet Union - Nikolai Skomorokhov and his…


Ground attack legend
There are no safe jobs in war. Everyone risks. But, in my opinion, there is nothing more terrible than the combat work of an attack pilot. Everything shoots at the…