History 28/01/20 17 April 1943: the terrible error of Soviet pilots in the great Patriotic
the 3rd fighter air corps was formed at the end of December 1942. Such formations in the red Army were created in that period specially for the conquest of the air. A large number of fighters (in their case it was a couple of hundred) put together, provided a significant numerical superiority in aircraft on the front.
the building was equipped with new Yak-9 and Yak-1B. Pilots wore the rank of senior NCOs, as prepared for the accelerated course, almost the entire aircrew was directly from schools. The command structure was mostly of pilots from the Far East, some have begun to fly even before the war, but the battles have not participated.
the spring air corps was relocated under Voronezh, where he was to begin military work. But this was prevented by the situation on the southern front. After the Germans retreated from the Caucasus, their 17th army retained a foothold on the Taman Peninsula. Attempts to dislodge the enemy did not succeed. Supplied the 17th army by sea, via the Kerch Strait and from air transport aircraft. To support the ground forces command of the Luftwaffe had used considerable force: airfields of the Crimea and Taman partially focused 1st air corps support was also provided by the bombers, located in the Donbass.
the Soviet command made the decision to suppress the German air force, and this led to one of the most famous air battles of the Second world war. Power was going everywhere, 3rd corps, which was based nearby, it was decided to transfer to the district of Rostov-on-don. Two hundred fighters were very helpful, especially because it created a decisive advantage in the air.
Time to study the route of fighter pilots was not, and each squadron just had to follow the plane-leader the Navigator who should have been familiar with the route. As leaders spoke PE-2 bombers of the 1st bomber air corps. Unfortunately, training of navigators of this case left much to be desired. Already there were cases when the aircraft of the corps were returning, not finding goals, not bombed, or out at the wrong target and even bombed their troops. And although the command of the corps promised to provide the best crews, but really sent those who were the least needed in combat operations. Among the dedicated navigators were even interns.
April 17, on the second day of the flight, tragedy struck. Three groups of fighters instead of Rostov arrived in Sochi, not much short of the airfield at Millerovo, which was the purpose of the flight. Another squadron came in veshenskaia that a completely different side. One squadron made it to Rostov-on-don, but only thanks to the skill of the fighter pilots, as the crew pointing the way the PE-2 was lost, and brought the whole group to the territory occupied by the Germans.
When planting was damaged by a few fighters and one PE-2, but it was not so scary. There were no casualties and later aircraft were still able to get to the airport.
the Squadron, commanded by captain Egorov, followed their leader. The weather that day was good visibility in the normal range. But the crew of the pawns managed to get the whole group to Taganrog. How to assure the pilots to confuse the Taganrog and Rostov with air impossible. However, the squadron was landing at Taganrog airfield. German aircraft at the time it was not. The Germans themselves did not expect such and first lost. But after German anti-aircraft gunners opened fire and knocked down three fighters. Soviet pilots realized that they were wrong and started to leave. As a result, the leader of the PE-2 and four Yak-1B was able to return to their territory and landed safely. But three Soviet fighter aircraft led by squadron commander managed to land.
After the Soviet samolthe Yeti stopped, they rushed to the German soldiers. The squadron commander, captain Yegorov, got out and began to shoot from a pistol, but was killed. Another pilot, Deputy squadron commander senior Lieutenant Edigarov, died in the plane that the Germans began to shell and set on fire. Sergeant Gorbachev was taken prisoner. He entered the service of the Germans and served in the so-called aviation of the Russian Liberation Army (banned in Russia) Vlasov. Died in a plane crash.
the prisoner was then another Soviet pilot, Sergeant Dobychei. His plane was shot down over the airfield, but he was able to jump out with a parachute. Day was hiding from the Germans, and was captured. In 1945 liberated from a concentration camp.
the Pilots of the two other fighters that were shot down by German flak, senior NCOs Bogatyrev and Grabelnikov was burnt to death along with their vehicles. As it turned out, was another victim. The plane Grabelnikova in the rear compartment during the flight was a mechanic, a technician-Lieutenant Kondrakhin.
the Germans got healthy the newest Soviet fighter Yak-1B. When this became known, were sent four of the Airacobra under the command of A. I. Pokryshkin, with orders to find and destroy the plane. But to detect the captured Yak failed. The pilot and Navigator of the PE-2, which led to the tragedy, was given to the Tribunal.
the Germans appreciated the courage of Soviet pilots and was buried captain Alexei Egorov, and senior Lieutenant Ivan Edigarov at the city cemetery with full military honors. Their grave can still be found in the old cemetery of Taganrog.
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