Interview with Colonel (Retired), Hero of the Soviet
conducted by Oleg Korytov and Konstantin Chirkin © in
St. Petersburg, Russia
English translation by James F. Gebhardt ©
Translation edited by Ilya Grinberg ©
Photo: Grigoriy Petrovich Evdokimov in 2006
Grigoriy Petrovich Yevdokimov was born on 2 September
1919 in the village Ozhga, Udmurtiya ASSR. He entered
military service in the Soviet Army in 1938, at the age
of 19, and in 1940 graduated from Chelyabinsk
Pilot-Observer Aviation Academy. In August 1941,
Yevdokimov was serving in the 449th Bomber Aviation
Regiment (244th Bomber Aviation Division, 17th Air Army,
3rd Ukrainian Front), and for much of the war served as
navigator for his squadron. He became a member of the
Communist Party in 1943. By April 1945, he had flown 270
combat sorties in reconnaissance and bombardment of
strategic enemy targets. He was awarded the rank Hero of
the Soviet Union on 18 August 1945. After the war,
Yevdokimov continued to serve in the Soviet Air Force
until his retirement at the rank of colonel in 1966. His
memoir, 300 Vyletov za liniyu fronta (300 sorties behind
the front line, Izhevsk: Udmurtiya) was published in
This interview was conducted by Oleg Korytov and
Konstantin Chirkin in St. Petersburg [Leningrad], and
transcribed for translation and publication by Igor
G.Ye.: I was born at noon on 2 September 1919, out in a
field. They carried me home and tended to me. This was
in Udmurtiya, in a small forest village in the Ural
O.K., K.Ch.: Who were your parents?
G.Ye.: Initially they were farmers, and later
kolkhozniks. My father was educated as a veterinary
assistant. He attended some courses. Mother worked in a
kolkhoz her entire life, to her last days. My father
died at the age of 80 and mama at the age of 89. They
lived in the same village their whole lives. I went to
school through third grade in the village and to fourth
grade in a neighboring village. I completed seventh
grade in a larger village. That school was called a
“School for Kolkhoz Youth.”
O.K., K.Ch.: This “School for Kolkhoz Youth,” what was
your impression of it? Many have bad memories of this
experience, that they went hungry, it was cold, and so
G.Ye.: No, they fed us normally, and it was a dormitory,
nine kilometers from the village. On days off, my sister
and I “ran” home. It was not quite a boarding school, of
course. In the teachers’ college I attended after the
“School for Kolkhoz Youth,” I studied alone, without my
sister. One time a week I walked home, 35 kilometers.
After that — Chelyabinsk Military School. At that time
Chelyabinsk Navigator School was called the Chelyabinsk
O.K., K.Ch.: How did you get in there?
G.Ye.: At the end of the school year, in the last
course, perhaps, a pilot officer came to our classroom.
The uniform was quite attractive then, a dark blue suit
with a service jacket, white shirt, service emblem, and
a “bird” [wings] on the sleeve. In those years, our
aviation was glamorous: Chkalov, Gromov, the Kokkinakki
brothers.i All six male students in our class (the rest
were females) applied for aviation school. I was the
only one who passed the physical examination. All the
remainder, except one, went to military schools — one to
armor, another to naval. All six fought in the war. Of
these six men, I am the only one to survive the war.
O.K., K.Ch.: Were you disappointed that you became a
navigator rather than a pilot?
G.Ye.: Of course not. It’s true that “pilot” has a good
ring to it. But as far as the duties are concerned, in
bombers the principal load falls on the navigator. We
used to say, “The pilot is a taxi driver who drives the
navigator to work.” The pilot flies the aircraft, but
without the navigator, he can do nothing as a bomber
pilot. But the pilot stood higher in the pecking order
and the navigator was subordinated to him. I flew
primarily as the lead navigator of the squadron. This
was a heavy responsibility — there were eight crews
behind us. I had to hit the target, and this involved
large and complicated calculations. I had to execute
them with precision.
O.K., K.Ch.: We have talked with navigator Grigoriy
Tarkhanovich Avanesov. He explained how he became a
navigator: a selection occurred based on the results of
examinations; those with lower scores became pilots.
G.Ye.: It was something like that. Because they selected
for navigator people who were “friendly” to mathematics.
Frankly speaking, navigators are “aerial accountants.”
Photo: ChVVAULN (acronym for Chelyabinsk Navigator
K.Ch.: Which planes did you fly in the navigator’s
G.Ye.: U-2, later the R-5, R-Z — this was a
reconnaissance aircraft. They trained us to be scouts.
Later the TB-1, TB-3 — these were heavies at that time.
O.K., K.Ch.: On the TB-1 and TB-3 — you also flew these
G.Ye.: Yes, both of these aircraft.
O.K., K.Ch.: In addition to navigator training, did you
receive any pilot training, any at all?
G.Ye.: Yes, but not very much. Purely navigational. We
also studied bomb dropping, maintaining radio
communications, and photography.
O.K., K.Ch.: How was navigational training carried out?
G.Ye.: Well, at first, of course, simple flights — all
within the limits of visibility of the airfield. After
that we followed routes, then closed routes, then in
complex conditions, and at night, in clouds, and above
the clouds, and so on. I completed the school with top
scores and became a lieutenant (generally the school
graduated junior lieutenants) and ended up in the Far
East. They sent three of us to a reserve regiment there,
and until the war we trained on the SB as crew
O.K., K.Ch.: Did Timoshenko issue a prewar order that
required pilots to live in the barracks?ii
G.Ye.: There was such an order. We were getting ready
for graduation. We were preparing our uniforms —
commander’s uniforms, handsome. They released all the
graduates to get apartments. Then the order came down —
“Everyone will be placed in the dormitories, get
haircuts, and so on.” Of course, this was a heavy blow.
Even lieutenants lived on two bunk beds, in the
barracks. It was a good thing that we didn’t have
O.K., K.Ch.: After the navigator school, how did they
assign you out to units?
G.Ye.: Do you think they announced it to us? I don’t
know. They distributed us in accordance with an order of
the commander in chief. Of course, depending on the
requirements of the regiments. Theoretically, they gave
top graduates the possibility of choosing [their
assignments]. But this was not a factor during the war.
In fact, during the war, pilots arrived with very low
O.K., K.Ch.: What level of qualification did pilots have
before the war?
G.Ye.: Before the war, qualifications were very good. On
Sunday, 22 June 1941, we were competing at Spassk, where
the regiment headquarters was located. We were playing
soccer, when at 1500 a runner arrived and announced:
For the time being we went to our airfield (the village
was 15 km from Spassk). Our maintenance personnel were
preparing the aircraft: they had dispersed them and
removed the camouflage, just as had been foreseen in our
plan. They gave us a target — a Japanese railroad
station. Now I don’t recall its name, but I wrote it
down in my book. They did not release us from the
O.K., K.Ch.: Were your aircraft camouflaged or
silver-colored? How were the numbers of the aircraft
G.Ye.: The aircraft were silver-colored. When the war
broke out, we began to repaint them. In the summer, the
upper portion was green and the lower portion was blue.
There were two numbers — on the fuselage and on the
vertical stabilizer. So we sat on our airfield. They
brought us food, and later an order came down: “Remove
the bombs! You have two hours to get ready to leave!”
They briefed us and we flew here, to the west. This was
on 5 July 1941.
My pilot was Sergeant Ivan Romakhin. It was a bit
awkward, a lieutenant subordinated to a sergeant! Recall
that the pilots were the crew commanders, although we
were responsible for all the navigation. It got even
sillier — the chief navigator by rank was a general, but
if he was flying with a junior lieutenant, then he was
subordinated to that lieutenant in the air... Our first
misfortune occurred over Lake Baykal. Our airplane —
“Blue 7” — had just come out of repair. We had not even
had time to test fly it. We lost an engine to fire and
were forced to land in the taiga. The pilot recommended
— because as a sergeant he could not order an officer to
do anything — that we bail out of the aircraft. We did
not bail out, and went down with him. We were really
banged up, especially me, because the cabin was in front
and I was sitting in it. It turned out that some
lumberjacks were not far away. They cut into the cabin
and took me to a hospital in Achinsk, where I lay for 20
days. I took a heavy blow, twisted my kneecap, and
injured my spinal column. I made it to my regiment on
O.K., K.Ch.: Can you more specifically identify your
G.Ye.: 55th Aviation Regiment, bomber. It was a
five-squadron regiment. (The regiments were larger in
the Far East.) We were able to flee the hospital thanks
to our gunner. During the accident he was not injured —
the rear portion of the aircraft fell off, and the
gunner was untouched. He became acquainted with a nurse,
and asked her to give us our clothing, and we fled. In
fur-lined boots and leather coats it was hot in July.
The four of us (a mechanic also flew with us in the
airplane) made it to Moscow.
We arrived at the main headquarters at about the same
time as Konstantin Stepanovich Dubinkin, the former
deputy commander of 55th Regiment, and now the commander
of the a second regiment that had been extracted from
the 55th. It turned out that while I was recuperating,
the regiment had been divided into two. The 55th
Regiment main body, with Nikiforov in charge, had left
here for the north, around Leningrad, and the second —
“55-A” — was reformed in Tambov and filled with young
aviators. Dubinkin assigned me to that group. We reached
Tambov, and then flew to Poltava. The regiment was
there. We arrived on 5 August. Our first combat sortie
was on the 7th — the entire regiment. We bombed a tank
column at Belaya Tserkov. On the training range it was
still possible to make a second run with impunity; but
in combat — this was unusual. The SB airplane was not
armored, and burned quite easily. At the beginning of
the war, the fuel tanks also were not protected. They
began to protect them in the second half of 1941.
O.K., K.Ch.: Which SBs were these — with the M-100 or
G.Ye.: The 105... I’m stretching the truth a bit. We
mainly had M-100s. But our leadership had 105s, the
regiment and squadron commanders.
O.K., K.Ch.: And the Ar-2 aircraft?iv
G.Ye.: They were stationed together with us at Poltava,
but they did not belong to us. We fought for only 29
days on the SB, and neither a single aircraft nor a full
crew remained. I have in mind an “intact crew.” Here
there was a pilot, there was another crew member. Some
bailed out and some made forced landings...
Photo: Pilots of 449th Bomber Aviation Regiment, 1941
From left to right, first row (sitting): Chemeris
(deputy commander 3rd Squadron), Tyushevskiy (commander,
2nd Squadron), Orlov (deputy regiment commander),
Dubinkin (regiment commander), Panov (deputy regiment
commander), Nikishin (commander, 3rd Squadron), Andreev
(commander, 1st Squadron)
Second row (kneeling): Tkachev (pilot), (unidentified),
Dokukin (pilot), (unidentified), Khakhel (pilot),
Asalkhanov (pilot), Tokarev (pilot), Krivosheev (flight
commander), Borovkov (flight commander) Kudryavtsev
Standing: Tsiplenkov (pilot), Romakhin (pilot),
Posdnyakov, Stefanenko, Linkov, Nikishin, Yenanchuk,
Kozlov (deputy squadron commander), Bulyshev, Kubko,
K.Ch.: What did bombing by an entire regiment look like
in real life?
G.Ye.: As a rule, we flew unescorted, because our
fighters had a somewhat smaller range. We assembled the
regiment over the airfield and flew along the route,
depending on the target.
O.K., K.Ch.: What formation? Did you form up in a wedge,
a wedge of squadrons?
G.Ye.: The regiment on the whole flew in a wedge of
flights, and a wedge or column of squadrons.
O.K., K.Ch.: How did the SBs cover one another?
G.Ye.: We had aerial gunners with a turret-mounted
machine gun. We used staggered altitude, both in flights
and in squadrons, 100–200 meters difference in altitude,
in order not to interfere with one another.
O.K., K.Ch.: Did you drop bombs “on the leader” or did
each bomber take aim individually?
G.Ye.: “On the leader,” always on the leader. Well, when
we went out on free hunt, then of course we aimed for
O.K., K.Ch.: Which caused you greater losses — fighters
or antiaircraft fire?
G.Ye.: More from fighters, primarily from fighters in
1941. Because we had very few fighters for cover. There
were I-16s in Poltava. But by the time we arrived, their
number had already been halved and the remaining were in
poor condition. And, as a rule, they gave one or two
aircraft to the squadron, and frequently none at all. We
flew in flights at that time — three aircraft in a
flight. Pairs were implemented at the end of 1943.
Before that we mostly flew in flight formation, which
was very unfavorable for the fighters.
By the way, on one occasion an I-16 fighter defending us
executed a ram. We were bombing a German crossing site
between Dnepropetrovsk and Dneprodzerzhinsk. When we
turned around to head back to our own territory, a shell
fragment struck the bomb bay. Thank God we had already
released our bombs. It broke the tie rod, and we were
unable to close the bomb bay doors. We were losing speed
and fell behind. A flight of four I-16 fighters was
escorting us. I do not remember the regiment number, but
they were stationed at Poltava. Three of them departed
with our group, and one remained to escort us. We were
already 10–15 km within our territory when some Bf-109
attacked us. I do not know how many there were. I saw in
my astrohatch how our I-16 collided wings head-on with
the German fighter. We landed and reported. Our squadron
commander took a Po-2 and flew to the scene. The German,
an oberleutnant with Iron Cross, was killed, and our
pilot lived through it (he parachuted to safety). I
don’t remember the exact date, 10 or 12 August. That is
what happened... (for the present, none of the
researchers has confirmed this incident; it should be
noted that the scene was chaotic, which explains the
lack of documentation).
O.K., K.Ch.: Where did they send you after all the
aircraft were used up?
G.Ye.: They sent the regiment to Salsk to be re-trained
on the Pe-2. I was wounded and was laying in the
hospital at Poltava; I made it to Salsk in September, 11
September 1941... They wounded me on 14 August 1941. We
were flying reconnaissance along the Dnieper from
Dnepropetrovsk to Kremenchug to photograph crossing
sites. At that time the Germans were building crossings
and crossing to the right bank of the Dnieper. I managed
to photograph the first crossing site [downstream] from
Dnepropetrovsk. Then the antiaircraft fire was such that
we had to depart in a dive. Around Kremenchug the gunner
announced: “Looks like a MiG is following us!” But he
was wrong. I thought to myself, “Why would he be coming
up on our tail?”
There was a second crossing site beyond Kremenchug, and
the Germans were moving on wagons and motorcycles. No
one was disturbed and no one was firing at us. They
looked up at us like we were one of their aircraft. We
began to photograph and the fighter made its first pass.
I looked out — the right wing showed damage immediately,
then the engine. The pilot lost the bearing and the
photograph was spoiled. The gunner-radioman reported the
situation to the ground, and they ordered us to return
to base immediately. When we were crossing the front
line, a shell fragment struck me — a round had exploded
in the cabin. My parachute had taken the bulk of the
fragments, but many small pieces struck me in the
stomach, back, and legs. I began to lose blood, and
asked the pilot to report and land as quickly as
possible. After landing they quickly transported me to
O.K., K.Ch.: From what altitude was photography
G.Ye.: From various altitudes. It depended on the
target. On the whole, we took pictures of crossing sites
from low altitudes. The most uncomfortable altitude was
between 1,000 and 1,500 meters. This was the most
accurate range for all forms of weapons.
O.K., K.Ch.: We have been able to talk to a Baltic
veteran — regiment reconnaissance pilot. He said that on
his particular aircraft, the camera was set up for
taking photographs at from 3,000 to 5,000 meters. He did
not fly below that...
G.Ye.: We did not have “forward-looking” cameras in
1941. They appeared later. Let me return to Poltava. I
spent 21 days in a hospital bed, and then traveled to
Salsk by train on crutches. They bombed us on the road
Photo: Pe-2 bombing
K.Ch.: Was the SB more comfortable than the Pe-2?
G.Ye.: It was more comfortable; the cabin had more room,
and it was more convenient for the navigator. The
visibility was very good. On the “Peshkas” the navigator
was also the gunner, responsible for the rear hemisphere
of the aircraft along with the gunner/radio operator.
O.K., K.Ch.: What machine gun did the navigator have
when you trained on the Pe-2?
G.Ye.: The Berezin [12.7mm] already at that time. The
ShKAS [7.62mm] was only on the SB, a pair of ShKASs.
O.K., K.Ch.: Tell us, please, about the sighting
equipment. Where was it more suitable and more accurate?
G.Ye.: The sighting equipment, of course, was more
suitable on the SB. We had an optical sight and a
collimator sight. On the “Peshkas,” the pilot basically
laid the sight, and the navigator gave him the command
to dive. The pilot took aim during the dive. For
horizontal bombing on the Pe-2, the navigator had an
optical sight; it was the OPB-1.
O.K., K.Ch.: We have conversed with navigator Mikhail
Andreevich Sukhanov, also Hero of the Soviet Union.
G.Ye.: I knew him well. He has already passed away.
O.K., K.Ch.: You knew Mikhail Andreevich? We talked with
him for a long time. We even took a picture of us
together. He said the following: “When I take aim in a
dive, I capture the target in the sight. The pilot is
sitting slightly in front of me and I tap him on the
shoulder: ‘Now!’ And he puts the aircraft in a dive.”
G.Ye.: This is absolutely correct. That is how it was
done. But he does the pullout himself. Well, sometimes
you tell him, of course.
O.K., K.Ch.: On the DB-3, the navigator was capable of
steering the aircraft, just in case. He had a stick,
minimal instruments, and a throttle. Did you have this
capability in the SB or the Pe-2?
G.Ye.: No, we did not. But it did happen that the
navigator of a killed pilot moved [into the pilot’s
seat] and steered the aircraft. There were also such
cases in the Pe-2, when the navigator brought the plane
home and landed it. On the SB this was not possible, nor
on the Boston.
O.K., K.Ch.: So if the pilot was killed, it was over?
G.Ye.: Yes, there was no one else.
O.K., K.Ch.: Did you train long on the “Peshka?”
G.Ye.: I think it was from September until November.
This was in Salsk. Later they sent us to Kirovobad to
retrain on the Boston. This was in November 1941. The
technical name of the Boston was “A20B.”
O.K., K.Ch.: Did you encounter the name B-3 or B-4
G.Ye.: No. I do not recognize those aircraft. We trained
until the end of 1942; we trained to fly at night. The
sights and machine gun mounts were removed from the
Bostons being delivered to us. They ferried them to us
with only the collimator sight. Sometime in early 1943,
we flew to Moscow to be refitted.
O.K., K.Ch.: Did they have radio equipment and
G.Ye.: Yes, they did.
O.K., K.Ch.: After the SB and the “Peshka,” how did you
find the Boston?
G.Ye.: Very good. The cabin was roomier than on the SB,
more comfortable. It had very good air-cooled engines,
Wright Cyclones. If the engines on our Peshkas and SB
had a service life of 90–100 hours in combat, then these
engines were good for approximately 500 hours, if they
were not damaged, of course. And the crew was not three,
but four men — pilot, navigator, gunner-radioman, and
gunner. The lower hemisphere was given a gunner, since
most of the defeats by fighters occurred in the
lower-rear hemisphere, where the dead space was located.
If we went out singly during the day, we could not see
below and behind. We were essentially blind. Therefore,
attacks also principally were conducted from that
aspect. There were already gunners on the Bostons, armed
with Berezin machine guns.
O.K., K.Ch.: They had removed the American M-2 [Browning
.50 caliber] machine guns, right?
G.Ye.: Generally speaking, they did not send aircraft to
us with these machine guns. We were refitted in Moscow.
They renamed the regiment to the 449th Bomber Aviation
Regiment. The 55th remained under its title, and they
gave us the number 449. We began to fight at Stalingrad
in February 1943.
O.K., K.Ch.: Did you fight on the Bostons long?
G.Ye.: I flew it until the end of the war.
O.K., K.Ch.: Are you familiar with the A20G?
G.Ye.: What is that?
O.K., K.Ch.: In the nose portion, in place of the
navigator, were either four cannons or eight machine
G.Ye.: I’ve never even heard of it.
O.K., K.Ch.: At Stalingrad, you supported the offensive
of our forces?
G.Ye.: Yes, but in 1943.
O.K., K.Ch.: What missions did they assign to you?
G.Ye.: Well, we very rarely bombed front-line positions;
as an exception. We bombed the enemy in the deep rear;
we primarily bombed his reserves. And when we did work
the front line, it was the most difficult target. It was
simpler for the shturmoviks — they were guided in. They
had their own forward observers at the front line, and
they still dropped bombs on our own troops. We had to
aim by ourselves.
O.K., K.Ch.: Did they tell you from the headquarters
what to bomb? Or did you have your own reconnaissance?
Who did the photographs?
G.Ye.: It depended on what the target was. If the target
was stationary, they gave us some kind of data: the
cover and a description of the target characteristics.
When the target was moving, then normally reconnaissance
aircraft flew out from our squadron.
O.K., K.Ch.: How many cameras did a reconnaissance
aircraft have? One, two, three?
G.Ye.: We had one. In the hatches — vertical shot. I
can’t recall its name — it is already gone from my
O.K., K.Ch.: In Zholudev’s book, it is written: “...“The
Polbintsy went up in Bostons and attempted to dive
them.v The aircraft was very difficult to handle in a
dive...” And I have read Yermakov. He writes: “…It was a
pleasure to see how straight and true the Boston goes in
a dive…” Were there any problems? Or did you never
attempt do conduct dive-bombing?
G.Ye.: We tried, of course. The longerons bent — we flew
home with bent longerons. We were forced to dive. In
March 1945 at Sekeshfekervar [Hungary], they shot us up,
and we, along with the squadron commander, had to break
off by diving. We pulled out near the ground and landed
at the nearest airfield. It turned out that our
longerons were bent. We experienced a very great [wing]
load during the pullout.
Photo: A-20B from 449 BAP during summer-autumn of 1944.
Zhukov, Rudenko, Yegorkin, and Smetanin.
Unidentified person in the cabin. Note repaired damage
at the side of the navigator’s cabin.
K.Ch.: Where were the bombs in the Boston? Where were
G.Ye.: Both under the wings and in the bomb bay. We had
standard bomb hangers, just like on the Peshkas, also in
the bomb bay and under the wings.
O.K., K.Ch.: Did our bombs fit? Or was some type of
G.Ye.: The hangers had to be modified; they were
installed at the airfield. We dropped 100-kg bombs for
the most part—FAB-100 [high-explosive (general purpose)
aerial bomb, 100-kg]. We did not have hangers for 250-
and 500-kg bombs. We hung German 70-kg bombs on some
aircraft. We had English Bostons and the American A-20s.
The engines on these two variants burned different fuels
and had different bomb hangers. It would happen that
there were German bombs on an American A-20, but no
fuel, and a British Boston was ready to fly, but they
could not hang the bombs. So we sat around doing
nothing. We sometimes used small fragmentation bombs in
containers. Two hundred bomblets...
O.K., K.Ch.: This was the AO-25, AO-16?
O.K., K.Ch.: What about the RRABs — rotating-dispersing
aviation bomb? It was stuffed with small bomblets...
G.Ye.: No. We didn’t have any of those. The Germans
sorely tormented us with these small cassette bombs.
They threw them out over our airfield, especially at
night. This meant we had to draw straws to determine who
among us would go out first... One person goes ahead,
and everyone else walks in the same tracks. If you trip
on one of these, it springs up to approximately chest
level and detonates in small fragments. This was
absolutely frightening, especially at night. And you
could not spot them on the ground.
O.K., K.Ch.: What about the defensive armaments on the
Boston? Did the navigator have a machine gun?
G.Ye.: No, not on the Boston. The pilot had two
[forward-firing] machine guns, on the flanks of the
O.K., K.Ch.: The forward-firing machine guns were
12.7mm? Were they used for strafing?
G.Ye.: Yes, the 12.7. We did close air support only near
the front line. In the rear areas we flew higher.
O.K., K.Ch.: Of the aircraft you flew during the war,
which one would you choose?
G.Ye.: The Boston, of course. It was reliable, very
reliable. It flew with a bomb load even on one engine,
in horizontal flight.
Photo: Left to right (in military uniform): Squadron
commander, Komissar Panov, Komsorg Emelyanov, regiment
chief of personnel and supply records department
Medvedev, Partorg Artamoshin, squadron signals officer
Karnashin. May 1944,Tuzly Airfield.
K.Ch.: In the guidance for use of the Boston, it says:
“...In the event of engine disablement, shut it down,
feather the propeller, and continue to execute combat
G.Ye.: Yes, that’s true. And on our aircraft, on the
Pe-2 or the SB, this was impossible. Our engines did not
have this kind of power.
O.K., K.Ch.: Do you think the Boston influenced our
G.Ye.: By all means. We acquired Bostons earlier, but we
were also familiar with Liberators and B-17s.
O.K., K.Ch.: According to American sources, they did not
supply us with the B-17.
G.Ye.: They did not send them to us. But there were
aircraft that had landed on our territory — if it lost
an engine or some kind of critical instrument, as a rule
they did not take any chances. They landed on our
territory and called for a new aircraft. We ferried four
of these abandoned aircraft, from Pech airfield in
O.K., K.Ch.: What did you ferry?
G.Ye.: B-24, B-17. Then some inspectors arrived from
Photo: Left to right: (unidentified), Technical
Lieutenant Lebedev, deputy regiment commander Major
Nikolay Vasilyevich Kozlov, (unidentified), chemical
chief Pismennyy, regiment senior engineer Kuzmin,
regiment commander V. F. Tyushevskiy, regiment chief of
staff Major Ugolnikov, chief of operations section
Captain Neymark, regiment chief of intelligence G. P.
Golovanenko. B-17 of 449th BAP
K.Ch.: What was the Liberator?
G.Ye.: This was an “intermediate” between the medium
bomber and the Fortress. Somewhere I had pictures of
these aircraft. I will look; perhaps a photograph
remains... [Translator’s note: The B-24 Liberator was
not an “intermediate” bomber — in fact, it carried a
heavier bomb load (8,800 lb.) [3,991 kg] than even the
B-17F and G models (7,983 lb.) [3,621 kg].
Photo: 449th BAP: Kozlov, Kuzmin, Ugolnikov,
Golovanenko. Note American elements of rapid recognition
on B-24: checkers on the tail, shark mouth, and remains
of the inscription on the nose. Most likely this B-24
belonged to 459th BG.
K.Ch.: Do you have many photographs from the war? How
did you manage to take pictures, “on the sly,” or
G.Ye.: It was permitted to photograph personnel, but of
course not equipment. So any aircraft photos I have are
“clandestine.” The photography of equipment was
On one occasion, the commander of 17th Air Army, Sudets,
assembled the leadership: regiment commanders and their
deputies. We had Kozlov, the deputy regiment commander
(later, in peacetime, he became an air army commander.
He died not long ago, here in Leningrad). And Sudets
says: “Here’s the news: The Americans have left us
damaged aircraft. We repaired them. Who among you is
able to ferry them to our airfields?” Well, the fighter
pilots and shturmoviki, of course, refused immediately.
“Well, what about you, Kozlov? You fly the Bostons?
These have the same engines, except that there are four
instead of two. Why don’t you ferry them?” Kozlov
responds, “Fine, comrade commander, we will try it.”
He took me and a mechanic, and the three of us went out.
It seemed like an enormous aircraft to us, of course. We
walked around it, and everything seemed to be in its
place. We taxied around the airfield two times and
everything seemed normal. We were to take off from Pech
airfield and, I clearly remember, land in Sambor. We
went to take off, but it did not make it. Damn it! The
end of the runway was coming up and it had not lifted
off! We aborted the takeoff and tried again. Finally, on
the third try, we got it off the ground. It barely
cleared the trees. We were flying. Kozlov says to the
engineer: “What’s wrong! There’s no power. Four engines,
and it has less power than our two-engined aircraft?”
Well, it had superchargers. We had never used them on
the Bostons. He forgot to turn them on. More to the
point, he did not know how to turn them on. This is how
we flew it.
O.K., K.Ch.: Tell us, please, you ferried a B-17, yes?
But did you execute combat missions on it?
G.Ye.: Only reconnaissance. We never dropped bombs. They
forbade us to fly combat missions on the B-29, as we
called it. Only reconnaissance.
O.K., K.Ch.: Where did you fly it?
G.Ye.: We flew it over several countries.
O.K., K.Ch.: This was during the war, or afterwards?
G.Ye.: During the war, of course. Around March – April
1945. We did not take pictures. We simply did not have a
chance to mount cameras. This continued, perhaps, for
two or three weeks. Then the aircraft were ferried to
O.K., K.Ch.: Each B-17 had, how many, six firing
positions, I think? Where did you find crewmen?
G.Ye.: We used our crews. We combined crews — two
pilots, one navigator, and we added in the gunners.
O.K., K.Ch.: Where did you sit?
G.Ye.: In the forward cabin.
O.K., K.Ch.: Not behind the pilots? There was a
navigator’s position there — a table with charts.
G.Ye.: Of course not. The compartment for flights was
forward, and in the middle position was the
navigator-operator, that is, the navigator. The
Americans had a navigator-operator [bombardier], and a
navigator. We combined these positions into one.
[Translator’s note: The navigator’s table and equipment
was in an intermediate compartment below and in front of
the flight deck (pilot/co-pilot positions). The
bombardier position was farther forward in the nose of
O.K., K.Ch.: Did you fly with parachutes on all the
G.Ye.: Yes, all the time. Our own [Soviet] parachutes,
O.K., K.Ch.: Tell us, please, for you as the navigator,
particularly for the navigator, what were the most
G.Ye.: The most difficult were the crossing sites. The
target was narrow. We had to bomb them from low
altitude, and this was dangerous. In order to hit the
target, we flew at altitudes from 600–800 meters, no
greater. From high altitude it was possible [to hit
these targets] only with the Pe-2 in a dive. As a rule,
you could not hit them [from high altitude] in
horizontal flight. Or we had to send a large armada of
aircraft to amplify the bomb density.
O.K., K.Ch.: Tell us, in your unit did you employ
special “bridge bombs”?
G.Ye.: No, we did not use them. We used 100- and 250-kg
O.K., K.Ch.: A “bridge bomb” — this was the same as a
conventional bomb, but it was suspended from a
parachute, on straps, onto which the hooks (the hooks
would catch on the bridge elements and the bomb would
stay on the bridge) were sewn.
G.Ye.: I have heard of them. But we never had such
bombs. We never used them.
O.K., K.Ch.: How developed was the antiaircraft coverage
of your normal targets?
G.Ye.: The covered targets were primarily those with
strategic significance, for example: crossing sites,
airfields, and ports. The coverage was significant. And
troop columns were almost the same as ours, only rifled
weapons, dual-mounted machine guns, and small-caliber
O.K., K.Ch.: And that kind of target was, let’s say,
more “suitable” for you?
G.Ye.: Yes, of course. Already the probability of hit on
us was small at an altitude of 1,500 meters.
O.K., K.Ch.: How often did you have to bomb airfields?
G.Ye.: Rarely. We flew against Stalingrad airfield,
later to Stalino, as it was previously called — now
Donetsk; it was a heavily used airfield. Later we flew
against Kramatorskiy airfield. All in Ukraine. These
missions were prepared ahead of time. In order to reduce
our losses, we flew at dusk. The day had already ended
and it was not yet night. We dropped our bombs and then
it was dark. They could not send their fighters up, as
the number of night fighters was limited on both sides.
Initially an experienced crew flew to the airfield and
marked the target. If there were fighters, it dropped
small fragmentation bombs on the landing field to
prevent the fighters from taking off. This is the type
of preparation I referred to. But an airfield — this
meant not only fighters but also antiaircraft systems —
very dense fire. We had losses even during the night
bombing of airfields.
O.K., K.Ch.: Everyone — the Americans, Germans, and
British — all strove to conduct strikes against
airfields, to destroy as many aircraft as possible on
their stands. It turned out that the effectiveness of
these strikes was not high. That opinion is out there,
and it was voiced after the war. Statistical studies
have been done of the effectiveness of airfield strikes.
G.Ye.: Yes, the effectiveness was very low. Only
shturmoviks could bomb from low altitude. Shturmoviks
could not reach distant airfields, nor could fighters.
In order for bombers to be most effective against
airfields, they needed to drop from 1,500–2,000 meters.
But losses were very high and could not be justified.
Therefore we had to go up to high altitude — 3,000–4,000
meters, and the dispersion was great and the
effectiveness not so good at those altitudes.
O.K., K.Ch.: Did you bomb Stalino airfield to get the
transport aircraft or the fighters?
G.Ye.: The purpose was to destroy the bombers.
O.K., K.Ch.: How did you determine the destruction of an
aircraft from the air?
G.Ye.: If the bomb fell on an aircraft, nothing remained
of it but pieces. If the aircraft continued to stand —
upon observation its configuration was preserved — then
the aircraft was not considered to be destroyed. If the
wing remained, the cabin, hull, the large components of
the aircraft, it meant that the aircraft would be
counted as damaged. Not destroyed, but damaged.
O.K., K.Ch.: And if aerial photography showed an
aircraft had burned where it was parked after a strike?
G.Ye.: This was damage — that is, it was not destroyed.
O.K., K.Ch.: Here in your recommendation for the rank
Hero of the Soviet Union, it is written “15 enemy
aircraft were destroyed.” What should we take this to
G.Ye.: It is written incorrectly, of course. The
squadron destroyed 15 aircraft. But I was acting in the
capacity as lead [navigator]. They were destroyed on an
O.K., K.Ch.: Talk about strategic targets — area
targets. Did you bomb these? Like plants, ports, oil
G.Ye.: Yes, but only in Romania.
O.K., K.Ch.: And were you to bomb the territory of the
port, or specifically, some type of targets in the port?
G.Ye.: The port. It was very heavily protected. We could
not do anything at low altitude against a port, nor at
Photo: Acknowledgment to crew for successful strike on
the enemy in the town Mor.
K.Ch.: From what typical altitudes did you bomb a port?
G.Ye.: From 3,000–4,000 meters. As a rule, at those
altitudes small-caliber antiaircraft guns and machine
guns could not reach us. We flew reconnaissance at an
altitude of 6,000–7,000 meters. But bombing at those
altitudes was ineffective.
O.K., K.Ch.: Tell us, at these altitudes, 6,000–7,000
meters, did you use oxygen equipment?
G.Ye.: Yes, of course. We began to use it at 4,000
meters. It was standard procedure.
O.K., K.Ch.: Were there “heroes,” who said, “Well, why
should I use oxygen?”
G.Ye.: Quite a few, really. Especially the fighter
pilots; they were not in love with their masks. You see,
when this thing is hanging on your nose, it interferes.
O.K., K.Ch.: By the way, did you have masks, or
G.Ye.: Masks, of course. I don’t remember what we had on
the SB. We never flew the SB at high altitude.
O.K., K.Ch.: Did you ever see mouthpieces?
G.Ye.: No. I had a smoking tube — to show off.
O.K., K.Ch.: Were masks of one type, or were there
G.Ye.: I can’t say — I don’t remember.
O.K., K.Ch.: How do you explain the reams of orders
regarding the “wandering” of aircraft, including
G.Ye.: Are you speaking about loss of orientation? These
orders were very strict, naturally. They mentioned
disciplinary responsibility, and so on. Many crews lost
orientation — more often in combat, especially with
O.K., K.Ch.: There was an occasion, during an overflight
on the front, when a leading Pe-2 led some Yaks of 3d
Fighter Corps to the Germans at Taganrog.
G.Ye.: I know about this. It happened in 1943. The crew
was inadvertently appointed as leader, in an unfamiliar
front-line situation, and got confused about the
O.K., K.Ch.: Can you tell us what happened with that
G.Ye.: The order, of course, was very strict — a death
sentence. I don’t know if it was carried out. More
likely they were sent to a punishment unit.
O.K., K.Ch.: Speaking of shtrafniki [soldiers sent to
punishment units], do you know in general if punishment
[air] squadrons existed?
G.Ye.: No. I have heard of punishment units, but only in
the ground forces.
O.K., K.Ch.: Did shtrafniki fly as gunners on
shturmoviks? Did you ever hear of this?
G.Ye.: I have heard of this. There were shtrafniki
gunners, but they were the exception.
O.K., K.Ch.: This was an exception, and not the rule?
G.Ye.: It was the exception, of course.
O.K., K.Ch.: Do you know of any examples?
G.Ye.: Well, at the front you heard stories, rumors.
O.K., K.Ch.: Are you able to provide the last name
patronymic, and first name of a commander, commissar,
and engineer, if you remember? Whom can you recall?
G.Ye.: They changed. Our regiment, which was 55A, became
449. The regiment commander initially was Major
Konstantin Stepanovich Dubinkin. He led us until the end
of 1942. When we were relocated, there were several
accidents at night and they relieved him of command for
this. They sent in Lieutenant Colonel Ivan Ivanovich
Malov. He came “from the rear,” but he had combat
experience. He even had been shot down. He led us until
the end of 1944. He was killed.
O.K., K.Ch.: How did this happen?
G.Ye.: In September 1944, they were intending to
transfer him to deputy division commander. They had
already cut the order. He went out “for the last time”
to supervise flight operations. A German reconnaissance
aircraft dropped some bombs and one fell directly at the
point from which he was controlling flight operations.
After him came Major Viktor Frolovich Tyushevskiy, and
he stayed to the end of the war. We had one commissar —
completely worthless. He was a pilot, but a frightened
coward. He made two combat sorties, rushed about in
flight, broke up the formation, and looked for where the
antiaircraft fire was the weakest. The regiment
commander took away his aircraft and he never flew
again. He busied himself, like any normal commissar, in
O.K., K.Ch.: Did you believe that commissars were
needed? What was your personal opinion?
G.Ye.: They were needed at the beginning of the war,
because we had many young and inexperienced commanders.
They made mistakes not only of a military but also of a
political nature. It’s possible they were needed in the
first days, but later they were absolutely unnecessary.
O.K., K.Ch.: I have a very negative attitude toward
G.Ye.: Well, my attitude is worse. When we went abroad
[left the borders of the Soviet Unioin], they busied
themselves with plundering. The chief of the division
political department and the commissars of all the
O.K., K.Ch.: Did you have commissars in the squadrons?
G.Ye.: No. We had zampolits, and they all flew. They
were good pilots. I have nothing bad to say about any of
O.K., K.Ch.: The zampolits — were they selected from
among the pilots, or sent to you?
G.Ye.: It happened, but it was rare that they were sent
to us. They were our own, with the agreement of the
O.K., K.Ch.: Theoretically, what was included in the
work of the political worker?
G.Ye.: Naturally, and first of all, the high moral
spirit of the personnel, especially the flight crews.
The pilot should believe in victory. He should not have
a nervous breakdown. And he should monitor thoughts and
verbal expressions. You understand, well, for example,
one of our comrades would be shot down, and our hands
would shake. Especially of the younger men. The zampolit
should monitor these things. He should report this so
that crewmen in this condition are not released for
O.K., K.Ch.: Was there a sufficient basis for a pilot
himself to report to the regiment commander that he was
not in a condition to fly because of his morale
G.Ye.: We never had such a case, not once. It happened
in the movies — “Only the old men go into battle.”
Remember that one? One hero succumbed, began to be
O.K., K.Ch.: Just the same, would this be the basis for
removing someone from the flight schedule?
G.Ye.: It would, absolutely. No one could be forced to
fly. It would have been pointless to force someone, and
would bring nothing but harm.
O.K., K.Ch.: What about SMERSh, the Osobisti.vi In your
opinion, were they needed?
G.Ye.: My opinion is absolutely negative, but they were
needed. In the beginning of the war they were needed
because the situation was very critical and completely
incomprehensible. There were many Germans wearing our
uniforms, both soldiers and officers. Someone was
required to be specially engaged in establishing
identity. This was their primary work. Later, when we
had gained the upper hand in 1943, their missions
changed. In 1941 there were a great number of POWs, more
than two million. They all had to be evaluated — who
gave themselves up voluntarily, who was forced into
captivity, that is, who was caught in circumstances over
which he had no control. This work was necessary. But
they stuck their noses in places where it was not
needed, for any reason. Let’s say a pilot, as a joke,
expressed himself improperly. They might hold him
responsible in accordance with the “last paragraph of
O.K., K.Ch.: In your book, you wrote in complimentary
tones about your osobist?
G.Ye.: Yes, ours was a very good person. After the war
our families were very close for a long time. But this
was an exception.
O.K., K.Ch.: Now let’s turn to the engineers and
G.Ye.: This was the gold fund; these were the toilers,
O.K., K.Ch.: We have already heard the pilots say,
several times, “A monument must be established for the
mechanics!” What is your opinion?
G.Ye.: Absolutely correct. They were exceptionally
modest, exceptionally conscientious, and exceptionally
responsible. They labored much more than the pilots. A
pilot flew a mission and then he had a break, a rest
period. They did not rest. They did not leave airbases
for days; they ate and returned to the airplanes. Their
schedule was tough. And such feats they accomplished,
that even now I am amazed. They replaced an engine
overnight. Completely changed out an engine! I have my
technical personnel listed in my book.
O.K., K.Ch.: Do you recall the names of any of these
men, can you list your engineers?
Of course. Regiment engineer Kuzmin was an outstanding
specialist; he practically never left the airfield.
Yerdyakov was the engineer for 1st Squadron. Now the
names are floating around in my head. I would have to
look in my book — I have them there.
O.K., K.Ch.: How was the system for servicing the
Boston, in your opinion, in comparison with our aircraft
— with the Pe-2 and SB?
G.Ye.: Well, in comparison with the Pe-2, at first, of
course, it was much more complicated, because the
equipment was new. And all in English.
O.K., K.Ch.: Could you say that work with the Lend-lease
aircraft positively influenced the raising of the
technical culture of our engineer and technical
G.Ye.: Of course. A high technical culture could not but
impact on the readiness of our technical personnel.
O.K., K.Ch.: By the way, were your instruments
calibrated in meters or…?
G.Ye.: In feet, everything in feet.
O.K., K.Ch.: How did you do the conversion from feet
back to meters?
G.Ye.: It’s not complicated. You need two or three
numbers [conversion factors]. We quickly mastered that.
Now the technical servicing — that’s an entirely
different matter. The mechanics went through special
training. And not all the bombs fit our airplane. We had
to make transition rings in order to use the locks.
O.K., K.Ch.: Was that installed in the units or at the
factory in Moscow?
G.Ye.: This all was done in the units.
O.K., K.Ch.: Do you remember the gunner’s compartment?
Did you have our ball-shaped or the purely American with
the sliding canopy?
G.Ye.: It was the ball-shaped, from the very beginning.
It was later, sometime in 1942, when they began to
release the modification with the two-machine gun
turret. The Americans began to listen to our
O.K., K.Ch.: Do you recall any memorable moments
associated with the Boston? Something that immediately
comes to mind?
G.Ye.: Well, when we successfully bombed in the Boston,
the American press attributed it to the Americans.
Especially on strategic targets, the “Americans achieved
such-and-such results.” They did not give us any credit.
But in addition to successes, we had this as well. In
1944, in Romania, I was acting as lead. They gave us the
time and a target — a crossing site. I forget now what
its name was; I would have to look in my book. We were
trying to bottle up the [enemy] forces that remained on
our side of this river. We very successfully covered the
crossing site in three places. And we did it at the
appointed time. It was absolutely on time, because we
fixed the time in our photography. But it was our troops
on the crossing site at that exact moment! They had
formed up ahead of the appointed time, and no one
redirected us in the air. When we landed with the
commander, they immediately took all the camera film and
us in a “paddy wagon” to division headquarters.vii They
began to clear up the situation, and of course they
figured it out. Then some generals were punished.
O.K., K.Ch.: So then, for you this incident had no
G.Ye.: Absolutely, it passed.
O.K., K.Ch.: In a similar situation, the commander of a
shturmovik squadron endured a long investigation and
numerous tribunal hearings. In the end, it was revealed
that he was not guilty. But he was not restored to his
position, and had to fly as an ordinary pilot at the
rank of major. Here is another example: They sentenced
two shturmovik pilots with around 100 combat sorties
against naval targets to fly as gunners. They did
several sorties as gunners. Of course, despite their
sortie numbers, they were not made heroes.viii You were
G.Ye.: We had everything precisely documented: time and
place. I can’t tell you exactly, but I won’t lie to you.
Another situation was described in the press —
shturmoviki bombed their own airfield. In bad visibility
they could not find their target; they arrived at their
own airfield and bombed it. The punishment was very
severe. I don’t know what it was, but it was very
O.K., K.Ch.: Tell us, you were the lead navigator, you
are going to the target, leading the group, and you bear
complete responsibility for that which...
G.Ye.: Although I led the regiment often, I was the
squadron navigator. Yes, I answered for the results and
all the actions.
O.K., K.Ch.: Naturally, a question immediately comes to
mind. If, let’s say, something were to happen to you, to
your crew... Frequently you hear, “They got the leader,
and disorder ensued.” Did this happen?
G.Ye.: The hunt for the leader was everywhere, in all
armies. If they shot him down — the deputy took over.
Everyone plotted the course and prepared for individual
bombing. The lead navigator was responsible for this,
and the second degree of responsibility was assigned to
be the deputy. We had an official deputy who, the same
as the lead navigator, prepared himself, and occupied
his place immediately. We never experienced this
“disorder.” For some reason, this often occurred with
the Germans. Their leader got shot down and they fell
into disarray. They mixed up their formation and dropped
the bombs off target. This I saw. What happened,
O.K., K.Ch.: Tell us, did you ever cross paths with
G.Ye.: Not often, but we did cross paths, of course.
Especially with large groups. It was like following the
protocol: we passed them on the right side. The next
thing would be to waggle our wings and salute them,
which we did not do, of course.
O.K., K.Ch.: Did your fighter cover ever engage each
G.Ye.: No. Because this was a situation when all the
fighters had the same mission — not to lose their
O.K., K.Ch.: Was the desire there to engage them in
G.Ye.: How could it not be? This was a natural desire,
especially for fighter pilots.
O.K., K.Ch.: You had machine guns in the SB and Pe-2,
but when you transitioned to the Boston, you did not
have machine guns. Did you take this as some sort of
insult, or was something missing; did you have that
G.Ye.: For a long time we had a feeling of vulnerability
— you sit there and you can do nothing. The compartment
is open, it’s large, and you sit... You want to shoot
back. We had flares, true, but they weren’t afraid of
O.K., K.Ch.: Did you have the AG system?
G.Ye.: What’s that? This is the first time I’ve heard of
O.K., K.Ch.: Aviatsionnaya granata [aviation grenade].
It was dropped on a parachute, right behind the
airplane, and it drove the Germans away from their
G.Ye.: I’ve heard of that, but we never had it. In my
time we took regular grenades and the gunner-radio
operator simply threw them to the earth. But we never
had the AG, and I don’t know why. I can’t say.
O.K., K.Ch.: Did you ever encounter our Allies in the
G.Ye.: Yes, and if our courses coincided, we even got
“under their wing.”
O.K., K.Ch.: Were your stars already red, or were they
G.Ye.: Our technicians painted them over.
O.K., K.Ch.: Did your stars always have white edging or
G.Ye.: Always with edging. But in the winter the edging
O.K., K.Ch.: Yellow serial numbers were on the vertical
tail fin. Did you keep them or paint them over?
G.Ye.: We painted them over, of course.
O.K., K.Ch.: Where were the aircraft numbers placed on
the Bostons? They are not visible in photographs.
G.Ye.: On the fin and on the fuselage.
O.K., K.Ch.: Do you recall tactical numbers of your
G.Ye.: Whew. I flew many aircraft — I can’t remember the
O.K., K.Ch.: Do you remember the numbering system for
aircraft — by squadrons?
G.Ye.: No, I can’t tell you the system; we did not have
a system. My impression is that it was random.
O.K., K.Ch.: How were your aircraft painted?
G.Ye.: The Bostons? In the summer, the upper portion was
green and the lower was blue. But I would not say that
it was pure green. It was a mixture, so that it would
not be visible against the ground. I can’t say now what
kind of coloration. Brown-green, something like that.
O.K., K.Ch.: Did you have elements of rapid recognition
on the airplanes, that is, were certain structural
G.Ye.: No. In 1944, when we were already sitting in
Sofia, and the airfield was exposed, they began to paint
them. Because at that airfield, when we came in on
approach to land, we lost several aircraft in the air.
Therefore each day we painted rapid recognition
elements. This was sometime at the end of
September–early October 1944. This was not a systematic
O.K., K.Ch.: Where there any paintings on the aircraft,
emblems, slogans, for example, “For the Motherland!”,
G.Ye.: This was a feature of fighters. We did not have
it in our regiment. It was forbidden. The Germans had a
lot of this, it was very popular there.
O.K., K.Ch.: The reason I am asking is that I have
discussed this with pilot Pirogov. About inscriptions he
told us that he asked the commissar: I want to inscribe
‘Za Stalina!’ [for Stalin].” The commissar responded,
“No Comrade Pirogov, you are not yet a communist, you
are only a candidate for membership. Therefore you
cannot use ‘Za Stalina.’ Then he painted ‘Za Rodinu’
[for the motherland].
G.Ye.: Well, there were all kinds of deviations. It was
different for us. A typical story: “At 3:00, everyone
come to a party meeting.” The commissar goes out on the
pad, and the mechanics are working. “Why are you not at
the meeting? Why didn’t you complete your work?” Then
the pilot intervenes: “It’s good to have a job like
yours: when you close your mouth the job is finished and
the working place (or equipment) is in order.” [This is
a sarcastic comment made by the pilot to point out that
they have a job to do, while the commissar talks and
interferes with others’ business – I.G.]
O.K., K.Ch.: ‘The equipment is in order.’
G.Ye.: Yes, ‘the equipment.’ What can you say? In
general we did not pay any attention to this commissar.
He was busy with his own affairs: newsletters,
brochures, banners, and wall postings. He was involved
in the party organization, documents, and so on.
O.K., K.Ch.: How was your daily existence organized?
G.Ye.: It varied. In Poltava, when we began to fight,
everyone lived in one place — a school; later they
recognized this error. Because a bomb fell on the
school, and fortunately we were all out at the airfield.
When it was possible, they placed flight crews in
apartments.ix I don’t remember if the maintenance
personnel were distributed in apartments. They were
always at the airfields, in dugouts. Very often the
local village was far away, and it was difficult to
transport the flight crews. It took time, so everyone
lived in dugouts on the airfield. We were in dugouts
until the end of the war. And when the war ended, we
still lived in dugouts.
O.K., K.Ch.: Tell us, please, did you have a problem
with lice? With parasites?
G.Ye.: No, not to that degree. More precisely, there
were cases, but they were rare. Because we were not at
the front line. We landed, and we had time for a bath or
shower. Not always, but as a rule.
O.K., K.Ch.: I showed you a book. In it the fighter
pilot writes that there where cases when they settled
into dugouts and were infested with lice.
G.Ye.: I have already told you that it happened. But was
it a big problem — no, it was not.
O.K., K.Ch.: What did you do in your free time? If the
weather was bad, for example, and you weren’t flying.
G.Ye.: People did different things. Some wrote letters,
others played chess. The majority drank vodka.
O.K., K.Ch.: What did you do, personally?
G.Ye.: I drank vodka.
O.K., K.Ch.: You do not look like you drank a lot of
G.Ye.: Do not look like? Even at the Victory Parade
[July 1945 on Red Square] I recall, we each drank 700
grams that evening. A bottle cost 800 rubles.
O.K., K.Ch.: Did any concert groups visit you at your
G.Ye.: They came, of course. But not famous ones.
O.K., K.Ch.: How many different airplanes did you fly
during the war?
G.Ye.: Oh my. That’s a difficult question. Mainly
because of damage. We were not shot down, not once.
Well, four or five times severely damaged, perhaps. Not
more. One SB, we did not have any replacements there,
and our first combat tour ended in 29 days.
Approximately four or five Bostons.
O.K., K.Ch.: Tell us, please, many believe that the SB
burned like, well, like a match. It burned much better
than other aircraft.
G.Ye.: This is absolutely correct. Because the fuel
tanks were not protected. This airplane was our first
all-metal bomber. It was not developed with fires in
mind. They did burn like matches. But the Bostons were
protected from the very beginning.
O.K., K.Ch.: Here is a question about awards and
incentives. When, for example, and what did you receive?
I can see your awards: Order of Lenin with gold star
(HSU), two Combat Red Banners, two Orders of the Red
G.Ye.: And in addition, two Orders of the Patriotic War,
and two medals Za Boyevyye Zaslugi [for combat merit].
O.K., K.Ch.: Za Boyevyye Zaslug — how did you receive
these, as an officer and as a pilot? [This medal was
usually given to soldiers, not officers – IG]
G.Ye.: They awarded these medals to pilots in the first
years of the war. I received one at the very beginning
of the war. After my 13th sortie I was wounded, and
didn’t fly for a while. I received it some time after my
10th sortie, perhaps. And the second, in 1943, when we
had already begun to fly Bostons. I wore them with
satisfaction. I considered them to carry more weight
than this Red Star. Now they are not considered to be
valuable. But then they were deserved. O-o-oh how the
kids ran after us in 1941 and looked at the award
Boyevyye Zaslugi. But now no one pays it any attention.
O.K., K.Ch.: Did you receive any payment for the Hero
G.Ye. After the war we did, and for orders as well.x But
Khrushchev withdrew these payments, ostensibly on
request of the veterans. We did not receive it any
O.K., K.Ch.: How many Heroes of the Soviet Union did you
have in your regiment?
G.Ye.: There were two pilots, in addition to me. They
did not exactly shower us with awards. As a matter of
fact, when we switched over to night actions, it was
practically impossible to confirm the destruction of
O.K., K.Ch.: Did you fly night photo-reconnaissance
missions or not? What did you use? FOTABs, or something
else?xi What was used for illumination?
G.Ye.: We used SAB, of course, primarily 50- and
100-kg.xii The 100-kg burned for five minutes, and the
50 — I don’t precisely recall, perhaps four minutes. We
also had FOTABs. Well, when the target was a port, we
dropped one SAB. If it did not provide sufficient
illumination, we dropped a second. We could carry
several. If we were unable to photograph using SABs —
they would die out or the enemy shot them down — then we
might make a pass with a FOTAB in order to see the
target. By then we knew the configuration of the target,
and we could determine the type of pass and then use
FOTABs. The enemy expended a great deal of ammunition in
order to down an illumination bomb. But he rarely hit
O.K., K.Ch.: Did you ever encounter German night
G.Ye.: It happened only one time; he passed by close to
O.K., K.Ch.: What about day fighters?
G.Ye.: O-o-oh. Almost every time we went out. The
majority of our losses were to fighters, approximately
80 percent. And in 1941, I would say almost all — 90
O.K., K.Ch.: How would you characterize the German
pilot? How did he appear to you?
G.Ye.: In the early years of the war, he was highly
effective, very well trained. Beginning in 1943, we saw
pilots who were well qualified, the same as ours at the
beginning of the war. In the tactical sense, naturally,
they sharply differed from pilots of the initial years
of the war. Our attitude toward them from 1943 on became
O.K., K.Ch.: Scornful?
G.Ye.: Well, of course. These were young pilots, and if
they did not have double superiority, as in two-on-one
or three-on-one, not less — they did not engage. They
O.K., K.Ch.: So, they “blew it off,” enemy bombers might
bomb or they might not bomb, just leave?
G.Ye.: Absolutely correct. I am not lying. Not once did
we break off of our drop heading. No matter what our
losses were — three, even four aircraft — on the bomb
run. The Germans did not have such fortitude.
O.K., K.Ch.: To what degree, in your opinion, was this
in fact necessary? Perhaps it would have been possible
just the same to come back later?
G.Ye.: Of course it was better this way. We had limited
time. We did not have time to go around — the result
would have been quite different. Ask anyone. And then,
we hardly had armored aircraft. As a rule, we could not
afford a second pass during the day. A shturmovik might
be able to make a second pass.
O.K., K.Ch.: Tell us, please, how much time was taken in
the bomb run?
G.Ye.: It depended on the training of the crew, on the
leader. From one to three minutes. Well, if you managed
to pop out, perhaps 30 seconds; it might happen. But
that was an exception — if you had a good reference
point, you picked a good start point. And the resistance
was not great. Up to three minutes, not more.
O.K., K.Ch.: Some are of the opinion, and I don’t know
if it’s justified, that German fighters often knew where
the zone of antiaircraft fires was. And if they were
engaging bombers that were approaching the boundaries of
this zone, they diverted to the flank — they did not fly
into their own antiaircraft fires. Is this true?
G.Ye.: Of course that happened.
O.K., K.Ch.: Was it a case where the antiaircraft crews
were relying on the fighters, and the fighter pilots
were relying on the antiaircraft gunners, and you at
this moment would strike them?
G.Ye.: Yes, it was. And not once, not twice, and not
O.K., K.Ch.: If a crew perished. A crew — that was said
too strongly; there was always a chance for someone to
survive. Would this be observed by the crews of other
aircraft? And did the Germans have a practice of
shooting crews? Parachutists?
G.Ye.: O.K., K.Ch.: Yes, all the time...
O.K., K.Ch.: Shot them?
G.Ye.: Yes, hunted them. They hit them or they didn’t
hit them, but absolutely they hunted them. Our pilots
did not engage in this conduct.
O.K., K.Ch.: Well, perhaps they did not do this in front
of you, but in general did they?
G.Ye.: Well, in any case, not every time; but the
Germans would never pass up an opportunity.
O.K., K.Ch.: Even if the parachutist was landing on
G.Ye.: Yes, even then, even then.
O.K., K.Ch.: The navigator in fact was not locked into a
specific crew, right?
G.Ye.: Why? My primary pilot was Kozlov — the deputy
squadron commander. As the squadron navigator, most of
the time I flew with him. But I flew with others as
well. If he was sick or something else happened, then [I
flew] with his deputy. I also flew with young pilots,
when I inspected them, many times. I flew on their
O.K., K.Ch.: It’s possible this next question might seem
a bit naive to you. Were “hero stars” [Hero of the
Soviet Union] awarded not for sorties, but for some
G.Ye.: Of course, of course. If you bombed a German
headquarters, for example, and important general
officers were there — naturally, they decorated you. But
we had only three people who achieved this rank.
O.K., K.Ch.: How was confirmation of the results of a
strike conducted? Let’s say you took photographs and
there was a fire on the target. Smoke and dust, and the
features of the target were not discernible.
G.Ye.: Yes, sometimes a combat sortie was considered as
fulfilled and the result was not indicated. It might
happen that the target was in the enemy’s rear area —
reconnaissance reports the result. But in most cases, of
course during daylight, photographs were taken.
Naturally, dead soldiers were not visible. At night, if
it was possible, they also photographed for control.
O.K., K.Ch.: I read this in memoirs; it was specifically
addressed. That all pilots during a sortie reported on
the number of explosions and fires on the target.
G.Ye.: Yes. But this is not the result. It is simply a
O.K., K.Ch.: The photographs — how much time elapsed
before someone photographed the results of a bombing
raid? To whom was this photography entrusted? The most
experienced, or just anyone?
G.Ye.: In the first place, the lead pilots themselves
took pictures, before the bombing. And after the bomb
drop we did not turn the camera off. Our task was to
determine the condition of the target before bombing.
After the strike, we personally could do little about
it. A special, experienced crew was sent out for this.
It came along in the column behind us, as a rule, at a
short distance. This gave the possibility of comparing
the results using the “before” and “after” photographs.
O.K., K.Ch.: Did you fly over the sea? What was your
G.Ye.: We flew on Bostons over the Black Sea and after
that over the Aegean. In Greece, so that they did not
shoot us down, we went around across the Aegean Sea. We
came in from the sea at low altitude, and before the
release point climbed to an altitude safe for bomb
release and then dropped our payload. It was then that a
round struck my compartment. I wasn’t real comfortable
when we flew over deep water. It was bleak.
O.K., K.Ch.: Pilots say that when you go out over the
water, the sound of an engine immediately changes.
G.Ye.: This is a psychological thing, really. Because
you are afraid that if they shoot you down, then...
O.K., K.Ch.: A naval pilot said, “We landed one time in
Prussia. We were all decorated with orders and with
medals. The Army pilots spotted us, and said, ‘You
picked up a few [decorations].’ Well, we suggested to
them, ‘Guys, why don’t you accompany us?’ They flew with
us one time and we came under antiaircraft fire from
some vessels. They said, ‘To hell with decorations — who
G.Ye.: Barrier fire was concentrated. Especially when we
worked large targets. It was the most unpleasant thing.
The most fearsome was the first salvo. When they fired
the first salvo, immediately it was easier on our
psyche, because we knew what measures to take. They say,
you must flee, there are more shells ahead. Of course
the opposite is true. One must dive into the shell.
Where there are more, where they are thicker, there one
must go. They are continuously changing aim point...
O.K., K.Ch.: Very often it is written that our own
antiaircraft gunners, and the Germans, “flogged the lead
aircraft and shot down the trail aircraft.”
G.Ye.: That’s how it was, as a rule.
O.K., K.Ch.: Did you work against naval vessels?
G.Ye.: Against ships in ports. We bombed ships in the
port Salonika on the Aegean Sea. We flew two sorties
there. One time against a station, one time against
vessels. Our 1st Squadron dropped the first bombs on the
ships, and the other two squadrons bombed the railroad
station. The second sortie, on another day, went the
O.K., K.Ch.: Which target did you personally bomb?
G.Ye.: We bombed the railroad station. We took 250-kg
O.K., K.Ch.: Did you use 500-kg bombs often?
G.Ye.: We primarily had 100- and 250-kg bombs.
O.K., K.Ch.: What were the payloads of the aircraft you
G.Ye.: On the SB — 600 kg. [The maximum] 1,500 kg was an
overload, on account of fuel. The basic load of the Pe-2
was 1,000 kg, and the maximum was also 1,500 kg. You had
to take off from a good airfield; they were difficult to
lift off from an unimproved airfield. The Boston had 14
rack positions. 1,400 kg was normal, and up to 1,800 kg
— this was overload.
O.K., K.Ch.: Tell us, did you have any occasions when
the bombs did not drop — where the electric switch
failed or something else happened? When you landed the
aircraft with bombs?
G.Ye.: There was one case, at the beginning of the war,
in an SB. I don’t remember any other times.
O.K., K.Ch.: This is an unpleasant question: did you
have any occasions when pilots avoided a fight or
avoided execution of a mission?
G.Ye.: There were a few rare cases.
O.K., K.Ch.: What happened with these pilots? Did they
“beat their heads in?”
G.Ye.: Nothing like that happened. One feigned illness,
sickness, and remained on the ground. There was another,
they assigned him to a sortie, especially solo flight at
night, and he stalled, and stalled, until dawn. We were
“night crews” at the time. The commander saw through
this person, and said to him: “You can stall until noon,
I don’t give a damn. But that means you will go on the
mission during daylight!” The pilot immediately turned
to his ground crew chief, “What are you stalling for?
O.K., K.Ch.: If a pilot took off on a mission, and
suddenly he began to move about, broke from formation,
and flew home?
G.Ye.: This happened one time, and he never flew again.
It was our commissar — Panov.
O.K., K.Ch.: Any ordinary pilots do this?
G.Ye.: No, we didn’t have any.
O.K., K.Ch.: On average, how long did a crew live? How
many sorties on average?
G.Ye.: O-o-oh. If you take 1941, a crew was able to
remain together for about a month. Something like 12–15
sorties. These were daytime sorties, I have in mind,
more at night.
From 1943 onward, more, of course. Approximately 30–40
sorties. And in 1945, even more. They shot us down, but
rarely. Much less often.
O.K., K.Ch.: Did you have any instances when crews went
out comprised of “returnees,” or you carried them on
G.Ye.: We did not have any cases of that. This could
happen with fighter or shturmovik crews. We had a heavy
aircraft and it simply could not take off easily. We did
not do this. They came back themselves, everyone who
O.K., K.Ch.: Did you have a night paint scheme for the
Boston for night sorties?
G.Ye.: No, just our normal paint — camouflage on the
upper surfaces and blue or gray on the lower surfaces.
O.K., K.Ch.: Did you have special equipment for night
O.K., K.Ch.: Radio compass?
G.Ye.: There were no transmitting stations.
O.K., K.Ch.: What were Boston losses?
G.Ye.: Not very great — 70 or 78 aircraft. The loss
ratio was much higher for the SB. I made my first sortie
on Bostons on 10 February 1943. We had isolated losses
from accidents. By the end of the war, our losses were
primarily due to antiaircraft fire.
O.K., K.Ch.: What distinguished the fighting over
G.Ye.: Intensity. We had very heavy fighting there for
about a month.
O.K., K.Ch.: Did the Germans resist in Bulgaria?
G.Ye.: There was practically no resistance. We reached
Sofia easily. The locals consumed two glasses of wine a
day. They “entertained” us there. We drank a glass, then
another. The locals gathered in, watched us, and were
amazed. There, by the way, we eventually developed a
recipe for a “liquor chassis.”xiv
O.K., K.Ch.: Tell us, please. You found yourself abroad
at the end of the war. How did your relations develop
with the local population?
G.Ye.: Our relations with the locals varied. There were
Germans, Bulgars, Romanians, Hungarians... We had very
good relations with the Bulgars and Czechs. Our
relations developed very well.
O.K., K.Ch.: With the Czechs or the Slovaks?
G.Ye.: Czechoslovakia — this was one country. And we
considered the people to be one nation.
O.K., K.Ch.: And how was it with the Germans? Was it an
“eye for an eye?”
G.Ye.: It was very good with the Germans as well. “Eye
for an eye?” No, no, not at all. Absolutely not. The
Germans very quickly recognized themselves as defeated,
and conducted themselves with honor. Their relations
with our pilots were neutral.
O.K., K.Ch.: We recently spent some time with a
communications person. He told us that for a long time
it was dangerous to walk the sidewalks of Berlin — they
walked in the center of the street, because every kind
of object was hurled at them from the upper floors of
G.Ye.: Well, we were there in 1948... And the situation
was absolutely unlike that.
O.K., K.Ch.: Tell us, how did you know that victory had
G.Ye.: We were listening on the radio on the evening of
8 May. Someone announced that the act of capitulation
had been signed, and we immediately abandoned our
dugout. We began to shoot [our weapons], to hug one
another, and to kiss each other. On the 9th, the deputy
division commander flew in and said, “This is a good
thing, of course, to celebrate. But it is still early!
We might still have to fight.” Several garrisons in
Austria had not surrendered. We flew our last sortie on
the 13th or 14th — I don’t remember exactly. So our
victory was somewhat “soiled.” Fortunately, we did not
lose a single crew.
Photo: Assembly of the personnel of 449th BAP in
recognition of the conclusion of the Great Patriotic
War, 9 May 1945. Yevdokimov is holding the regimental
K.Ch.: Did you participate in the Victory Parade?
G.Ye.: Yes. I was the senior person among a group of
O.K., K.Ch.: Are you visible in the newsreel? Did you
G.Ye.: No. You can’t see it clearly. It poured heavy
rain. I was somewhere in the back. We were arranged by
height, by rank. No, you can’t distinguish anything
there [in the film].
O.K., K.Ch.: What did you do after the war?
G.Ye.: What did I do? The same thing as I was doing
before the war.
O.K., K.Ch.: Judging by your logbook, your regiment
transitioned to the Tu-2?
G.Ye.: By this time, I had already left the regiment. I
completed Krasnodar school in 1947, a course for
improvement of the qualifications of flight personnel.
After that, I went as a replacement to Germany. I was a
regiment navigator in Strausberg. I flew the Tu-2 there.
If my memory serves me correctly, it was the 28th
Regiment. Not guards, just an ordinary regiment.
O.K., K.Ch.: Later on your logbook shows the Il-28. This
was approximately what year?
G.Ye.: Yes. This was the basic bomber after the war,
after academy. I flew on the Il-28 from 1954 until the
very end, in 1967.
O.K., K.Ch.: What was it like to be the navigator on
G.Ye.: It was a very good, successful airplane, in its
overall design, its flight characteristics, and even its
equipment — navigational and bombing instruments; it was
durable and simple to fly. Pilots mastered it quickly.
If you will, it was the favorite aircraft from among our
bombers that I flew.
O.K., K.Ch.: Why, then, in your opinion, was it
withdrawn so quickly from the inventory?
G.Ye.: By the absurdness of our leadership. “Moron”
Khrushchev ordered it to be destroyed. They cut up brand
new aircraft; our pilots wept.
O.K., K.Ch.: Pikul wrote that Khrushchev attempted to do
something, but he was unable because he was not very
bright. Why did he do this?
G.Ye.: He was an idiot. For his glory abroad: “We will
set an example — we are destroying equipment, various
vessels...” Even new equipment was destroyed. The
commander of aviation of Odessa Military District
refused to follow this order, and he was relieved. So
many young pilots had gone through training, and the
aircraft could have served for decades. These aircraft
could have been sold for a good price. Instead they were
crushed by bulldozers. Idiocy. Absolute idiocy.
O.K., K.Ch.: Tell us, please, how you found out that you
had become a Hero of the Soviet Union?
G.Ye.: We were at Focsani in Romania. The recommendation
for the three of us had been submitted in January 1945.
We already thought that nothing had come of it, but
suddenly on 18 August a messenger came running up to us.
“You have been awarded the rank Hero!” I said, “You are
lying!” He said, “No! Here is the telegram from the
political department!” They gave us a choice: receive
the star in place or go to Moscow. Of course, we all
said, “To Moscow!” Kalinin handed me my Hero star on 7
September 1945. And as was the custom, the zvezdochka
[the gold star medal] was drowned in a glass of vodka.
There is one more thing. After the war, when I retired,
they suggested that I participate as a consultant in the
shooting of the movie “Chronicle of a Dive Bomber.” It
was very pleasant to work with the young men, but also
challenging. I recall that even a patrol attempted to
arrest these men for a disheveled appearance.
Oleg Dal’ in the gunner’s compartment of the Pe-2 in a
snapshot from “Chronicles of a Dive Bomber.” Written on
the reverse side: “Esteemed Grigoriy Petrovich! It is a
pity that I did not play [the role of] the navigator,
but just the same, many thanks for the assistance I
received as a member of a Pe-2 crew. 12 November 1967.
O. Dal’. [Oleg Dal’ was a famous actor in Soviet Union,
and he played a role of gunner-radioman in this war
1. Last name, first name, patronymic: YEVDOKIMOV,
2. Rank: Captain. 3. Duty position, unit: Squadron
navigator, 449th Bomber Aviation Lower-Dnestr Regiment
is recommended for the rank “Hero of the Soviet Union.”
4. Year of birth: 1919.
5. Nationality: Russian.
6. Party affiliation: member VKP(b) – 1943 [Communist
7. Participation in civil war, subsequent combat actions
in the defense of the USSR and in the Patriotic War
(where, when): In Patriotic War since August 1941.
8. Wounds or contusions in Patriotic War: None
9. Date of entry into Red Army: October 1938.
10. Drafted by what RVK [rayon military commissariat
(draft board)]: Mozhga RVK, Udmyrtiya ASSR.
11. Previous awards, for what achievements: Medal Za
boyevyye zaslugi [for combat merit] 9.12.41, as
mentioned in order Southwest Front No. 58 for 12 combat
sorties; Order Krasnoy zvezdy [red star] 11.5.43, as
mentioned in order 224 Aviation Division 106/n for 30
combat sorties; Order Krasnogo znameni [red banner],
30.7.43, as mentioned in order Air Army No. 25 for 30
combat sorties; Order Patriotic War Second Degree,
25.10.43, as mentioned in order 17 Air Army No. 045 for
57 combat sorties; Order Krasnogo znameni, 20.9.44, as
mentioned in order 17 Air Army No. 053/n for 63 combat
12. Permanent home address of person recommended for
award and address of his family: Udmyrtiya ASSR, B.
Uchinskiy rayon, village Ozhgi (father Yevdokimov, Petr
Brief specific account of personal combat feat or
Recommended for outstanding execution of 270 combat
sorties on the Boston aircraft, of which 76 were
daylight and 194 were night sorties, including 112
combat reconnaissance sorties.
Having been at the front since 7 August 1941, as a
member of the 449th Bomber Aviation Regiment, he
actively participated in the Belgorod operation, for the
liberation of the Donbas, in the breakthrough of the
Dnepr defenses, and for the liberation of Nikopol and
Odessa. Was active participant in breakthrough of Dnestr
defenses, liberation of Bessarabia and Romania.
During the period of the Budapest operation in the 3rd
Ukrainian Front, conducted 12 combat sorties against the
capital of Hungary — Budapest.
During the period from 6 through 25 March 1945, executed
27 combat sorties for the destruction of personnel and
equipment of the enemy force that had penetrated between
Lakes Balaton and Belenets.
As navigator, was highly trained, possessed [skill of]
aircraft navigation by day and by night in any weather
conditions. Executed all combat missions only in
outstanding manner. During execution of reconnaissance
missions, delivered valuable reconnaissance data on the
enemy. More than one time his effort led to exposure of
movement of enemy troops and equipment, and
accumulations of rail cars [trains] at stations.
As squadron navigator, was highly trained. Trained well
the navigational personnel of the squadron for the
fulfillment of their combat missions. There was not a
single incident of loss of orientation, day or night, in
his squadron. By his personal example, instilled in
young navigational personnel a [desire for] outstanding
execution of combat missions. Squadron always occupied
first place in the regiment in combat work.
During period of Patriotic War, executed 270 (exact
number is 330 – this recommendation was filled in April
1945) combat sorties, destroying: 15 enemy aircraft,
blowing up 6 fuel and ammunition dumps, destroying and
damaging up to 135 train cars, 10 loaded tank cars, up
to 180 enemy trucks with troops and cargo, and many
other items of enemy equipment.
Typical combat sorties:
19.11.44, during operations of forces of 3rd Ukrainian
Front for expanding bridgehead on right bank of Danube
river, executed bomb strike in capacity of lead group
against enemy artillery positions and defenses at
Zmaevets and heights north and northwest of that locale.
As a result of bombing, 6 powerful explosions were noted
and 2 fires. According to assessment of ground command
and commander, 17th Air Army, strike was outstanding,
resulting in congratulations to all group participants.
On same day, follow-on strike against railroad station
Knyazheva Vinograda, 2 direct hits on train, hit on
station building, and hits on roadbed were noted as a
result of bomb strike, along with explosions and fires,
which were confirmed by photography.
24.1.45, flew blockade over Papa airfield at night; was
over target for 27 minutes, made 7 passes with 1–2 bombs
dropped on each pass. As a result of bombing, 3
twin-engine aircraft were destroyed on airfield, two of
which were completely consumed by fire. Crew conducted 3
attacks and engaged enemy aircraft who were over
airfield, returning from combat missions.
29.1.45, as group leader, bombed accumulation of enemy
tanks and trucks at Gordon. As result of bombing, 12
fires and 4 direct hits on tanks and trucks were noted.
12.2 45, as leader of group of nine, bombed accumulation
of enemy tanks and trucks at Beshne. As result of
bombing, up to 12 tanks and 5 dugouts were destroyed, 5
direct hits on railroad bed were noted, which were
confirmed by photography.
8.3.45, as leader of group of nine, bombed accumulation
of enemy troops and equipment on southwest outskirts of
Nadbayom. As a result of bombing, according to
photographic evidence, 11 fires were created, 14 trucks,
1 tank, and 2 armored transporters were destroyed.
19.3.45, as leader of group of nine, bombed accumulation
of enemy troops and equipment at Berkhida. As a result
of bombing, 60 enemy trucks with troops and cargo were
destroyed and damaged, which was confirmed by
25.3.45, as leader of group of nine, bombed accumulation
of trucks at Topolcha. As a result of bombing, up to 55
enemy trucks with troops and cargo were destroyed, which
was confirmed by photography.
For outstanding execution of 270 combat sorties,
excellent and competent leadership in the training of
squadron navigational personnel in the execution of
combat missions, for displayed courage and heroism
during execution of combat missions, he is recommended
for the rank – Hero of the Soviet Union.
COMMANDER, 449TH BOMBER AVIATION NIZNE-DNESTROVSKIY
REGIMENT, MAJOR TYUSHEVSKIY
18 April 1945
Deserves awarding of rank – Hero of the Soviet Union
COMMANDER, 224TH BOMBER AVIATION LOZOVSKIY ORDER OF
BOGDAN KHMELNITSKIY SECOND DEGREE DIVISION, COLONEL
Deserves awarding of rank – Hero of the Soviet Union
COMMANDER IN CHIEF, 17TH AIR ARMY
COLONEL GENERAL OF AVIATION SUDETS
12 May 1945
Deserves awarding of rank – Hero of the Soviet Union
COMMANDER IN CHIEF, 3RD UKRAINIAN FRONT, MARSHAL OF
SOVIET UNION – F. TOLBUKHIN
13 May 1945
MEMBER OF MILITARY COUNCIL
3RD UKRAINIAN FRONT
COLONEL GENERAL – A. ZHELTOV
Flew 270 combat sorties for bombing on Boston aircraft,
of which 76 sorties were during daylight and 194 were at
Lieutenant Colonel – [signature]
By order of 18.08.45, awarded the rank Hero of the
Soviet Union with Order of Lenin and medal “Gold Star.”
of the Ministry of Defense USSR, collection 33, series
793756, document 15, sheets 8, 9
True copy: Chief of records
Valeriy Chkalov (1904–38) was a Soviet Air Force
test pilot most famous for a non-stop flight in June
1937 with two other aviators in a single-engine aircraft
from Moscow over the North Pole to Vancouver,
Washington, 8,500 kilometers in just over 63 hours.
Mikhail Gromov (1899–1985), also a Soviet Air Force test
pilot, flew with two other pilots from Moscow over the
North Pole to San Jacinto, California in 1937. Gromov
reached the rank of Colonel-General of Aviation, and
retired in 1955. Vladimir Kokkinaki (1904–85) and
Konstantin (1910-1990) were famous Soviet Air Force test
pilots whose careers extended from the 1930s into the
jet age. Vladimir was a Twice Hero of the Soviet Union
(1938, 1957) and Konstantin was a Hero of the Soviet
2 Marshal Semyon Timoshenko (1895–1970) was appointed to
the post of Peoples’ Commissar of Defense in May 1940
and served in that position until July 1941.
3 The M-100 radial engine produced 830 h.p., the M-105R
engine (supercharged) 1,100 h.p. [JG]
4 The Ar-2 was a dive bomber created by Alexandr
Arkhangelskiy, based on the SB (which was itself a
Tupolev design). It was designed before the war and
produced in limited numbers. [JG]
5 Ivan Polbin was an experienced dive-bomber pilot,
veteran of Khalkhin-Gol in 1939, who was an air regiment
commander in 1942 at the rank of lieutenant colonel and
an air corps commander at the rank of guards major
general in February 1945. He was awarded Hero of the
Soviet Union rank in November 1942 and again in February
1945. He was shot down and killed over Breslau, Poland
on 11 February 1945. Men under his command were called
6 SMERSh was an acronym for Smert Shpionam! [death to
spies]. This was a military department whose primary
function was the exposing of spies, the prevention of
diversionary-sabotage activities, desertion to the
enemy, violation of commanders’ orders, and
investigating friendly-fire incidents, and so on. The
party cell and NKVD were occupied with political issues.
Osobisti is the common name given to representatives of
both SMERSh and the NKVD, but it did not include the
party component. [JG]
7 The Russian word used here refers to the special
vehicle used by the secret police to transport prisoners
8 Flight crews were entitled to the award Hero of the
Soviet Union based on number of sorties flown. The
number of sorties that earned the HSU varied in
accordance with type of missions flown and results
9 The practice described here was the placement of
flight crews as roomers in communal apartment buildings
or private homes.
10 Here Yevdokimov is referring to other high
decorations, such as Order of the Red Banner, Order of
Suvorov (three degrees), Order of Ushakov (two degrees),
Order of Kutuzov (two degrees), and others. [JG]
11 Fotoaviatsionnaya bomba (photography aviation bomb).
It was a device of instantaneous flash or flare (for 100
kg of bomb weight, with the strength of 4.8*109 candle
Svetyashchayasya aviatsionnaya bomba (illuminating
aviation bomb). SABs of various calibers burned for 3–10
minutes with a strength of 2–2.6 million candle power.
Both FOTABs and SABs employed a parachute to slow the
rate of fall of the incandescent element.
12 This refers to aircraft crew members who had been
shot down outside the front line, had been picked up,
and were being returned by various means to their units.
13 Aircraft brake fluid was alcohol-based. These airmen
strained it through protective-mask filters, added syrup
for flavor, and called the resulting mixture “liquor.”
The process was popularized in a movie released in the
late 1960s—Chronicles of a Dive Bomber—and since that
time the term “liquor chassis” has been used to denote
what is known as “moonshine” in the USA.