Viktor Talalikhin poses against the background of a bomber he shot down
The night ram, which was carried out by the pilot of the Moscow air defense, junior lieutenant Viktor Vasilyevich Talalikhin, belongs to the textbook feats of the Great Patriotic War. He entered the military forever history our country and was widely used for propaganda purposes already in August 1941. After the end of the war, the pilot and the night battering ram he performed remained forever in the memory of grateful compatriots.
Nine nights before Talalikhin's ramming
In fairness, it should be noted that the first night ram, 9 nights before the events described, was committed on the night of July 29 by Senior Lieutenant Pyotr Vasilyevich Eremeev. As the deputy squadron commander of the 27th IAP from the 6th Fighter Air Corps of the Moscow Air Defense Forces, Pyotr Eremeev began one of the first fighter pilots to perform night flights on the MiG-3. On the night of July 29, 1941, Eremeev shot down a Junkers Ju 88 bomber with a night ram and survived.
It so happened that his name remained little known for many years, despite the fact that the writer Alexei Tolstoy dedicated his essay to Yeremeyev's feat. For a long time, only his fellow soldiers knew about the hero's ramming. At the same time, the ram of Eremeev was noted even in German documents, which was a rather rare occurrence. Usually, aircraft lost in this way were marked as not returning from combat missions, and the pilots were considered missing. But in this case, one of the members of the downed Ju 88 managed to cross the front line and talked about the fate of the bomber.
In fact, justice triumphed only decades later, when by the decree of the President of the Russian Federation Boris Yeltsin of September 21, 1995, pilot Peter Eremeev was posthumously awarded the title of Hero of the Russian Federation. Unfortunately, like the young fighter pilot Viktor Talalikhin, Pyotr Eremeev died in battles in the fall of 1941.
Victor Vasilievich Talalikhin
Viktor Vasilyevich Talalikhin was born on October 18, 1918 in the small village of Teplovka in the Saratov province. At the time of the feat, he was 22 years old. Already at an early age, the future fighter pilot moved to Moscow with his family. As a teenager, he started his working career early. From 1933 to 1937, Viktor Talalikhin worked at the Mikoyan Moscow Meat Processing Plant.
Junior Lieutenant Viktor Vasilievich Talalikhin
Young Talalikhin combined work at the meat-packing plant with classes in the flying club of the Proletarsky district of the capital. Like many young men of those years, he dreamed of the sky and aviation... In 1937, Victor entered the Borisoglebsk military aviation school, where he completed his studies in December 1938. Upon graduation from school, he receives an appointment in the Moscow region in the 27th IAP. This air regiment was stationed in Klin near the capital and was distinguished by a well-chosen personnel composition. There were many former test pilots in the regiment.
As part of the regiment's squadron, armed with I-153 "Chaika" aircraft, Viktor Talalikhin managed to take part in the Soviet-Finnish war of 1939-1940. During his time at the front, Talalikhin made 47 sorties and was nominated for the Order of the Red Star. After the end of the conflict, the pilot returned to the Moscow region again, continuing his service in the 27th Fighter Aviation Regiment.
Just before the start of the Great Patriotic War, the pilot was transferred to the 177th IAP being formed. In May 1941, Viktor Talalikhin became deputy squadron commander of this regiment. By that time, despite his youth, he was already a fairly experienced pilot who had real combat missions behind him during the Soviet-Finnish war.
The 177th regiment, the formation of which went from May 10 to July 6, 1941, meets the Great Patriotic War at the Klin airfield as part of the 6th Fighter Air Corps of the Moscow Air Defense Forces. One of the regiment's tasks was to cover the capital of the USSR from air raids from the north-western direction.
The 177th IAP was armed with I-16 fighters of the last series. These were I-16 type 29 aircraft. The armament of these aircraft consisted of two synchronous 7,62-mm ShKAS machine guns and one large-caliber 12,7-mm BS machine gun. An important feature of the aircraft was the presence of the M-63 engine, which developed power up to 1100 hp. This was important for the aircraft's flight performance, since the fighters of the previous series: Type 18 and Type 27, assembled in 1939, received 62 hp M-800 engines.
Viktor Talalikhin and Lyubov Orlova on the set of "Fighting Film Collection No. 4", August 1941
It was also important that the aircraft were produced at the end of 1940. They did not have time to develop their resource, they differed in a small bloom. In addition to more powerful engines, fighters were distinguished by protected fuel tanks, as well as equipment for placing rockets. All fighters had radios, and some of the machines received radio transmission equipment.
By the end of July 1941, the regiment was a formidable force, armed with 52 I-16 fighters, and at that time there were 116 pilots in the regiment. The first aerial victory of the 177th IAP was won on July 26, 1941. On this day, Captain Samsonov shot down a Ju-88 bomber in an air battle near the Lenino station.
Talalikhin's night ram
On the night of August 7, 1941, junior lieutenant Viktor Talalikhin successfully rams the German Heinkel He 111 bomber in the skies over the Moscow region. This ram will be one of the first night rams of the Great Patriotic War, at the same time becoming the most famous.
Taking off on patrol at about 22:55, Viktor Talalikhin quite quickly meets the German medium twin-engine bomber Heinkel He 111 in the sky. This happens in the sky south of Podolsk at an altitude of 4500 to 5000 meters. Viktor Talalikhin makes several attempts to shoot down an enemy vehicle by firing machine guns at the bomber.
In his stories about air combat, the fighter pilot said that one of the bursts he managed to damage the right engine of Heinkel, but the plane still continued to fly and tried to break away from the pursuit. Only after using up all the ammunition, Talalikhin decides to ram.
It is worth noting that in 2014 the search engines found the hero's plane, there were still cartridges in the belts of the ShKAS and BS machine guns. Perhaps the machine guns were in flight for some reason. Unfortunately, this happened quite often with Soviet fighters. So, the UBS heavy machine gun, which was on the I-16 type 29, was not particularly reliable by that time. From the units there were complaints about machine gun failures. Naturally, during the air battle Talalikhin could not determine for sure whether he ran out of cartridges or machine guns refused due to a technical malfunction.
Left without machine-gun armament, Talalikhin, without a moment's hesitation, decides to ram a German bomber. The fighter pilot wanted to chop off the tail of a German plane with a propeller. On approaching the enemy, the German shooter opened fire from a machine gun and wounded Talalikhin in his right arm. Fortunately, the wound turned out to be light and allowed the hero not only to complete his plans, but also to successfully leave the damaged fighter.
After the I-16 hit, Talalikhin rolled onto his back and lost control. The pilot jumps out of the car at an altitude of about 2,5 kilometers. Already descending by parachute, Victor sees a twin-engine bomber shot down by him, to which he damaged the tail unit by a blow from a propeller-driven group. Talalikhin's plane crashed near the village of Stepygino (today the territory of the urban district of Domodedovo).
Having successfully landed, the pilot first of all draws attention to the wristwatch, which stopped at the moment of impact. The hands of the clock showed 23 hours 28 minutes. The crew of the German bomber was much less fortunate, from its composition only one person survived - the pilot Feldwebel Rudolf Schick. For 21 days he tried to reach the front line and practically reached, but was captured in the Vyazma area.
Today we know that Viktor Talalikhin shot down an He-111 bomber from the 7th Squadron of the 26th Bomber Squadron. It was not an ordinary bomber, its crew consisted of five instead of four, which was explained by the modification of the machine. The bomber was equipped with the X-Gerät navigation system and an additional antenna was installed. Such machines were used by the Germans for target designation to other groups of bombers. The operator of this system was an additional (fifth) crew member.
After the ram
Viktor Talalikhin became famous literally immediately after the perfect ram. Already on August 7, at the Mikoyan meat-packing plant, where the fighter pilot worked before the war, a press conference was held with his participation. Foreign journalists who were in Moscow were also invited to this event. Also, representatives of the foreign press organized a trip to the wreckage of the crashed He 111 bomber and showed the bodies of four dead crew members.
Already on August 8, just a day after the night ramming, Viktor Talalikhin was officially awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union with the presentation of the Gold Star medal and the Order of Lenin. On August 9, the award order was published in Soviet newspapers. Viktor Talalikhin became the first fighter pilot of the 6th Air Defense Corps of Moscow, who was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.
According to one version, such a prompt reward could be due to the fact that at that very time the allies were actively discussing the possibility of helping the USSR and Moscow's prospects to resist the aggressor. On July 30, 1941, the closest aide to American President Roosevelt, Harry Hopkins, arrived in Moscow. And already in the first half of August, Churchill and Roosevelt came to an agreement on sending official representatives to Moscow to negotiate with Stalin.
Against this background, the feat that Viktor Talalikhin performed in the Moscow sky was very useful. It was a chance to demonstrate to the Western allies the unwavering desire of the Soviet people to fight and defend their capital and the sky over the city by performing heroic deeds and risking their lives. In addition, all the components of success were evident: a living hero pilot, the wreckage of a downed plane, the corpses of the dead German pilots and their documents. All this constituted excellent material for the Soviet and foreign press.
After the wounds received in the battle with the German bomber healed, Talalikhin returned to service as a lieutenant squadron commander of the 177th IAP. Unfortunately, the brave pilot manages to meet only his 23rd birthday. Lieutenant Viktor Talalikhin died in an air battle in the skies over Podolsk on October 27, 1941.