Military Review

Catherine Zelenko: killed, making an air ram

Catherine Zelenko: killed, making an air ram

12 September 1941, Senior Lieutenant Ekaterina Zelenko died in a dogfight. She became the first woman to commit a ram

First ram in stories aviation was used during the First World War by a Russian pilot, the founder of aerobatics Peter Nesterov. The pilot destroyed the enemy’s plane at the cost of his own life. But as early as next year, another Russian pilot shot down an enemy aircraft in March 1915, saving his life. Unlike Nesterov, he hit not on the car body, but on the tail plumage, where the stabilizer was located.

Such a ram was the right way to remove the enemy's aircraft from the battlefield and at the same time save its own aircraft and life. During the Great Patriotic War, Soviet pilots repeatedly used this extremely dangerous technique. The history of military aviation recorded only one case when a woman went to the ram - Ekaterina Ivanovna Zelenko.

Like many of her peers, Katya became involved in aviation from a young age, after graduating from the Voronezh Aviation Technique and the Voronezh Aeroclub along the Komsomol line, she was sent to the 3-th Orenburg Military Aviation School.

She served in the 19-th Light Bomber Aviation Brigade in Kharkov, mastered seven types of aircraft. Zelenko was the only female pilot who took part in the Soviet-Finnish war, for military service in her was awarded the Order of the Red Banner.

Catherine was respected and respected among fellow soldiers, primarily for her professionalism.

The outbreak of the Great Patriotic War, Senior Lieutenant Ekaterina Zelenko, met as deputy commander of the 5 Squadron of the 135 Bomber Aviation Regiment. Zelenko flew reconnaissance, destroyed enemy mechanized columns, took part in air battles.

Lieutenant General Aviation Anatoly Pushkin (then he was the captain) later recalled how successfully a group of Soviet bombers under the command of Zelenko destroyed a large convoy of German armored vehicles, cars, and a battalion of soldiers near the town of Propoisk (now Slavgorod in Belarus).

For three incomplete months of the war, Senior Lieutenant Zelenko made 40 sorties and took part in 12 battles. September 12, she made three sorties at once on a light bomber Su-2. The plane was damaged during the second departure, but received news of the approach tank columns to the city of Lokhvitsy, Zelenko begged Captain Pushkin to let her fly.

Together with Lieutenant Nikolai Pavlyk Zelenko rose into the sky, the crew of Captain Lebedev was walking in a pair with Zelenko's plane. Returning from a mission, Soviet aircraft collided with a group of Me-109 enemy fighters. Lebedev's plane received serious damage and was forced to withdraw from the battle, the Zelenko aircraft alone with seven enemy aircraft continued the battle.

One of the fighters was hit and fell to the ground, the line was flashed and Su-2, Pavlyk was injured. The commander ordered him to leave the cockpit, and she continued the fight.

The locals witnessed this unequal air battle, they clearly saw from the ground how the Soviet pilot went towards rapprochement with the German, the ammunition was spent and there was only one decent way out of the battle - the ram.

Su-2 hit Me-109, from the collision both aircraft began to fall to the ground, the German fell later than ours. One of the locals hurried to the site of the Su-2 crash, but they did not manage to save the pilot, the plane wreckage was burning, only according to the documents they found out that the dead pilot was a woman.

Katya Zelenko did not live only two days before her 25 anniversary. The title of Hero of the Soviet Union was awarded to her many years later, only in May 1990.

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  1. parusnik
    parusnik 16 September 2017 16: 43
    An obelisk was erected at the crash site of Katya Zelenko by the residents of Anastasievka. She also erected monuments in Berestovka, there was an airfield from which she made her last combat flight in Kursk. Her name was given to the streets in Kursk, Voronezh, Romny, Sumy, schools and pioneer squads. A small planet of the Solar System (1900) Katyusha was named after her. In Kursk, a memorial plaque was installed on house number 23 on Gorky Street where she lived. Anastasevka and school number 10 in Kursk, where she studied , created the museums of Catherine Zelenko. In honor of Zelenko was named dry cargo vessel, built on the ship them. D. D. Zhdanov. In honor of E.I. Zelenko, an annual volleyball tournament was held among schoolchildren in the Hero’s homeland in the Olevsky district of the Zhytomyr region. Now it’s probably not being held. Other heroes. In 1998, the aeroclub was named after E. by the decision of the head of the Voronezh administration. I. Zelenko. According to the Hero of the Soviet Union, Lieutenant General Anatoly Ivanovich Pushkin: "... it was a high-class pilot. She was born for aviation, like a bird for flight!"
    1. Was mammoth
      Was mammoth 16 September 2017 17: 06
      Quote: parusnik
      She was born for aviation, like a bird for flight! "

      Eternal memory to the heroes who died for their homeland!
      We need their memory, we need it not only in gratitude, we need it for the future of our children. Recently I read, not literally, a front-line teacher, a historian in a lesson: "As soon as people cease to remember the war, a new war will come to us."
      PS Recently there has been heated debate about the recruitment of girls in an aviation school.
  2. midshipman
    midshipman 16 September 2017 17: 00
    Ekaterina Zelenko Hero of our country. I bow to her.
    In "VO" I wrote an article "Taran the lot of the Brave", I assigned a special place to it. The Russians rammed the Nazis in tanks, at sea and in the air. I have the honor.
  3. samoletil18
    samoletil18 17 September 2017 12: 38
    In 1993 or 94, my friend found out about Ekaterina Zelenko from the opus of Vovochka Rezun. I understand that there were millions of heroes then. But I still have, when information comes across about her, I feel a sense of injustice towards her and all the heroes of that Great War.
  4. Weyland
    Weyland 17 September 2017 13: 25
    “But the very next year, another Russian pilot shot down an enemy aircraft in March 1915, saving his life. Unlike Nesterov, he hit not the body of the car, but the tail plumage, where the stabilizer was located.”

    Nesterov, too, did not hit the hull, but on the wing of the enemy. He correctly calculated in advance that the landing gear would withstand the impact, but the wing would not. He did not calculate the force or the point of impact - the chassis not only broke the ailerons, but also broke through the skin and tightly stuck in the wing ... Eternal memory to the heroes!

    PS Few people know that the idea of ​​using kamikaze in yapps came after Khalkhin-Gol, where our pilots repeatedly used the "fire ram"!