Ekaterina Zelenko: the first female pilot in history, committed air RAM

Heroes 14/02/20 Ekaterina Zelenko: the first female pilot in history, committed air RAM

History of the great Patriotic war is replete with the heroic exploits of Soviet pilots who sacrificing their lives went to RAM enemy aircraft, or the echelon. It usually is about the pilots males, while there was a similar case of heroism of Soviet pilots, the first of which was the legendary Catherine Zelenko.

Way to heaven

Born Ekaterina Ivanovna Zelenko in 1916 in Kursk. When she is no different from their peers, in addition to unconditional love to the sky and aircraft. The desire to fly was so strong, that one day little Kate, climbed up on the barn, opened an umbrella and jumped down in the hope that he could fly. Flight did not happen. The girl escaped with bruises, but her desire to fly became only the more stronger. This story could be considered a legend, if subsequently Catherine Zelenko wrote about it to his close friend. After school she graduated from the aviation College. At the same time Catherine joined the flying club, learning to fly. Soon she not only learned a great flyer, but also knew the technical part of the device planes. Not surprisingly, only Aero club in 1933, in the Orenburg military school of pilots, a special Committee selected only two girls. They were Yekaterina Zelenko and her friend Nina Rusakova, who later became known throughout the country as a test pilot. Orenburg military school Ekaterina Zelenko graduated with honors, nothing, not yielding to the cadets of men. Realizing his childhood dream in 1934 at the age of just 18 years, Catherine Zelenko became a full-fledged military pilot.

“Military practice”

Once in the army, Ekaterina Zelenko immediately proved himself an outstanding pilot. The girl, as the crew of a military aircraft, so alone equally well have made sorties at night and in the daytime, not every experienced pilot was on the shoulder. Soon the senior Lieutenant Yekaterina Zelenko was appointed a flight commander. For the first time on the theatre of war, a young pilot was during the Finnish war, being the only woman pilot, who fought on the Karelian isthmus. “Internship” was a success. Catherine for a few sorties managed to bomb an ammunition dump of the enemy and completely destroy the Finnish battery, hindering the advance of the Soviet army. The reward for participation in the winter war was the order of the red banner. And the award to the girl was handed personally by Mikhail Ivanovich Kalinin. The second major task of the pilots on the eve of the great Patriotic war became the test of a new middle bomber su-2. By the summer of 1941, despite his 24-year-old age Yekaterina Zelenko was the distinguished and experienced pilot, which is regularly set an example to the young completion of the flight school.

the Last battle

From the first days of the great Patriotic war, Ekaterina Zelenko actively participated in aerial combat. Her task was like the bombardment of enemy positions, and aerial reconnaissance. Particularly successful according to the memoirs of Lieutenant General aviation Hero of the Soviet Union A. I. Pushkin, Ekaterina Zelenko proved during the heroic defense of Bobruisk. A group of pilots under her command bombed a large convoy of German military vehicles, consisting of several dozen tanks and trucks and then successfully returned to base. Defending the homeland, an experienced pilot wasn’t thinking about himself. It came to the fact that Yekaterina Zelenko, working wear, several times a day flew on combat missions. Unfortunately one of the fights that occurred in the autumn of 1941 was the last. As luck would have it, on 12 September 1941 near the city of Sumy in Ukraine was a thick fog. The flights were banned, which upset Catherine Zelenko. It is not surprising that barely looked out of solnTSE, as the brave pilots instantly took to the sky. That day she made two reconnaissance flight over the territory of the enemy and returned safely to the airfield. More departures are not expected. However, after dinner to the regiment received a message that the German tanks broke through the defense and required in the course of aerial reconnaissance to clarify the number and direction of travel. To fly the SU-2 volunteered Yekaterina Zelenko. The job was completed successfully. The pilot and his companion were returning to their base. At this point, unfortunately for them had come seven “MGM”, attacking Soviet aircraft. Soviet pilots were shot to the last bullet, shooting down a German fighter. At this point it turned out that the co-pilot seriously injured. Ekaterina Zelenko ordered him to leave the plane, so that whatever was to pass intelligence data to the Soviet command. After the pilot bailed out, the fight continued. Given that ammunition from the pilots was no more, and to avoid chasing several enemy aircraft not possible, Ekaterina Zelenko rammed. Local residents, who watched the fight from the ground, saw two aircraft collided at the sky, it plummeted. This episode of the war became the first air RAM, which made the Soviet pilots during the great Patriotic war.

Russian Seven

© Russian Seven

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