That March 1951 day, pilots of the 303rd fighter aviation the divisions remember well - the news spread across the squadrons - an unusual order was received at the compound headquarters. He demanded to urgently dismantle the aircraft, put them in parts in boxes. In the Far East, in Primorye, it was still in full swing, the frost was about thirty degrees, and work with metal did not promise comfort. But the order is the order, and the pilots, techies began to disassemble the aircraft. Rumors went different. Some said that a division was to be redeployed. The second, opposing, believed that the aviators were still traveling by air, and not by land, because the assembled MIGs, they say, will be sold.
A month later, the pilots of the 17 th Fighter Aviation Regiment, among which was Senior Lieutenant Nikolai Sutyagin, declared an alarm. To the assembled in the headquarters they brought: in a day we were leaving for a trip to China. On the charges just nothing. Nikolai threw some rags into a suitcase, hugged his Raisa, who worked as a hardware technician in his team, four-year-old Galinka and - at the railway station. Soviet pilots met Mukden airfield. There is a new order: to collect planes, fly around them. In Mukden, it became clear to everyone that there would be fighting in Korea with American pilots - by the time the war on the peninsula was in full swing. At that time, the USSR did not formally participate in it, but actively assisted North Korea and China on its side. A little later, a decision was made in Moscow - until the mastering of Chinese and Korean pilots by MiG-15 planes, the task of covering the most important objects of North Korea and the PRC was entrusted to Soviet pilots.
In Mukden reached news from the Andun airfield bordering on Korea, that the pilots of the division of Ivan Kozhedub, who had arrived there from Moscow region a little earlier, are already fighting with the Americans. Soon the regiments of the 303 division (commanded by Major General Georgy Lobov at first, and when he headed the aviation corps created in China, Colonel Alexander Kumanichkin) departed for Andong.
Nikolai Sutyagin entered combat fights without swinging. 14 June is the first combat mission, and 19 June is 51, he opens the scoring air victories in the "jet" war. Moreover, the newest F-86 Saber fighter, which our pilots were afraid at first, is becoming its prey.
According to the basic tactical flight data, the Soviet MiG-15 fighter and the American Saber F-86 were equal, but each had its own strengths and weaknesses. The MiG was superior to the Saber in the climb and specific thrust-to-weight ratio. The F-86 picked up speed faster on a dive, was more maneuverable, had a greater range. However, he lost in arms. Despite the high rate of fire (6 shots per minute), the 1.200 large-caliber Colt Browning machine guns were inferior to three MiG guns: two 23-mm caliber and one 37-mm. Their shells pierced any armor.
American F-86 Saber
Here are these planes and agreed 19 June in a tough fight. The author of the publication has the opportunity to talk about it with the words of Nikolai Sutyagin himself - the transcript of the flight-tactical conference of the formation, held on July 25-26 on July 1951, was preserved. On it, he acted as the most productive pilot of the division - by that time he had already shot down four Saber.
“The task was carried out by the ten,” Nikolai said before the crowd. “The strike link is Major Pulov, the cover link is Captain Artemchenko right above and a couple of Perepelkin behind above.” I was walking in the link of the cover with a leading lieutenant Shulevym. At the time of the left turn in the Senssen area, I lagged behind the pair of captain Artemchenko at a distance of 400-500 m. Turning to 50-60 degrees to the left, I noticed: at the bottom left, from under the leading link, the F-86 pair comes in from the "tail" . I gave the command: “Attack, cover” and with the left turn of the battle, at the moment of which I released the brakes and removed the gas, followed by a half-turn followed the pair F-86. On the second loop, we were already in the “tail” of the F-86-x, and in the upper position I gave two short turns on the slave. Queues passed: one with a short flight, the other with a flight. I decided to come closer. After exiting the dive, F-86 made a lapel to the right and then to the left with a climb. Due to this lapel, the distance to 200-300 meters has decreased. Noticing this, the enemy made a coup. Releasing the brakes, we went for the F-86 at an angle of 70-75 degrees towards the sea. Having approached the distance of 150-200 meters, I opened fire on the slave ... F-86 was shot down. "
So Nikolay Sutyagin laid the foundation for setting records, which still have to be “approved” and “approved” by us, his compatriots.
He took the first step to this earlier, when the fame of Valery Chkalov called him, the boy, to the sky. Nikolay was born in May 1923, in the village of Smagino, Gorky region, in a peasant family. In the twenty-ninth enrolled in primary school. In the thirty-fourth eleven-year-old boy left his paternal home: it was necessary to help the family. While living in Gorky (now the city of Nizhny Novgorod) from his grandmother, he worked, studied and ... flew to the flying club, where Chkalov raved about. The years for Nikolai were difficult - he slept on 3-4 hours, he was undernourished, but he did not leave the dream.
At the end of the flying club in 1941, the Komsomol voucher was sent to the Chernigov Aviation School of Pilots, where it met the news of the start of World War II. He mastered the art of mastering a combat vehicle painstakingly, studied all the subtleties of air combat, and learned to shoot straight. He was preparing to meet with the enemy, but it turned out that Nikolai Sutyagin would enter the fighting only after nine years. In October, 1942, he sent to the aviation part of the Far Eastern Front, at that time non-military.
“I met Sutyagin in the fall of the forty-second,” recalls retired Colonel Boris Ivanov, “when we arrived at the 5 Fighter Aviation Regiment of the 9 Air Army, which was stationed in Primorye. We arrived, and in our foreheads: whoever first lifts the aircraft (the Y-16 was armed) will become the flight commander. So almost at the same time we became commanders of links in one squadron. Officer rank with Nikolai received in 1943-m, with the introduction of the epaulettes in the Soviet Army.
What was Sutyagin? Tall, slender, chubby, freckled, Nicholas attracted attention when performing any task, originality in any company. Then no one imagined that he would be the first ace of "reactive" war; there simply were no jet aircraft. But in conversations with each other, we did not call him anything else than ace. Why ask?
We did not fight, but were in the front line, the Japanese were expecting an attack from day to day, and therefore the combat training was in full swing. So, Sutyagin was not equal in the technique of piloting, with combat use he had the highest result of hitting, he hit the air targets without a miss.
Any serious business in 5 Aviation began with his name. He was part of a cohort of pilots who were ready to take on the most difficult task. I remember that the Yak-9 had arrived in the forty-fourth, by that time we had already mastered the Yak-7B. A group began to be created for the development of Jacob, the first on the list is Sutyagin. First, he flew on duty at the border airfield, where they arranged a kind of ambush.
What else to say about Sutyagin? Nikolai sang well. His voice was divine. The Gorky period of his life is also a Gorky opera, and therefore we often heard his strong voice. Not a fool was to drink, but not drunk, affected the powerful health.
August forty-fifth. The Japanese retreated, besides, they practically had no aircraft. We conducted reconnaissance in force engaged in attack, fired on columns. The regiment did not have time to change the airfields - in Manchuria, Korea. It was then that Nikolai Sutyagin first became closely acquainted with this amazing country, in the sky of which he had to go to war. He broke up with Sutyagin in 1946, when he entered the Higher Officer Courses for Combat Use and left for Moscow. We met already in thirty years, if I'm not mistaken ...
Nikolay Sutyagin then told about the main algorithm of air combat, which he used in the Korean war, about which even military pilots did not hear anything. Boris Ivanov realized that the name of Nikolai Sutyagin was closely connected with the name of Ivan Kozhedub, although they were briefly met at the Andun airfield, at official meetings.
And the connection is this. 19 February 1945-st Ivan Kozhedub destroys German Me-262 in an air battle over the Oder and opens the scoring of jet aircraft first. But Nikolay Sutyagin became the main successor of the ace traditions of the Great Patriotic War in terms of jet technology.
More than these pilots have in common with the following. In the second world tactics and technique of air combat, the formula developed by Soviet aces (it is sometimes called the Pokryshkin formula) was enriched: “height — speed — maneuver — fire”. Ivan Kozhedub owned it better than others, bringing into it the underlined dynamism characteristic of his fighting spirit. “Soon I realized,” noted Ivan Kozhedub later, “by knocking down the lead aircraft, you demoralize the enemy group, almost always turn it to flight.” That is what he wanted. I tried to attack the enemy with lightning speed, to seize the initiative, to skillfully use the aircraft's technical qualities, to act prudently, to hit from a short distance. ” This formula was used by Nikolay Sutyagin.
“He told me,” said Boris Ivanov in a conversation, “due to which he managed to shoot down American planes.” Sutyagin entered the enemy’s rear hemisphere and beat for sure using Ivan Kozhedub’s tactics. But pilots, especially American ones, often opened fire from a long distance - meters from 800. Try beat down. The enemy will immediately take the maneuver and slip away. Sutyagin was bold, and therefore shot down, he beat meters with 200-300.
19 June fifty-first Nikolai Sutyagin opened an account of “reactive” victories. And after three days, 22 June, increases them to three. Then, at the time of the reversal, the link of the Soviet pilots led by Nikolai Sutyagin entered into the tail of the four F-86. A skillful maneuver, and our pilots are already in the tail of the F-86. Noticing the MiGs, the Americans after the left turn went into a dive. Sutyagin at a distance of 400-500 meters opened fire on the slave. But the second couple of Americans went to the link in the "tail", it was noticed by the leading lieutenant Shulev - he abruptly maneuvered out of the blow. The presenter of the first American couple, having noticed that they were shooting at the slave, went to the “slanting loop”. But he could not resist the skill of Sutyagin, who in the upper position, having already come close to 250-300 meters, opened fire on him. F-86 blazed and began to fall. A little later, another Saber was destroyed. Sutyagin's ability to fight the Americans was envied in the whole division, as was his determination to win.
The summer of 1951 for Nicholas was productive - 6 shot down enemy planes, more productive autumn - 8 destroyed machines. Only in December, Sutyagin won 5 air victories. At the beginning of 1952, he began to take off less often for combat missions, as he was assigned to speak to the pilots of the second echelon regiments who were preparing for battles. Nevertheless, in January 52-he, he shot down the enemy's 3 aircraft.
So, Nikolai Sutyagin fought 17 June 1951 of the year to 2 in February 1952 made 149 sorties, conducted 66 air battles, personally shot down an 21 aircraft - the highest result in the Korean War. He has 15 F-86 Saber, 2 F-80 Shuting Star, 2 F-84 Thunderjet and 2 piston Gloucester-Meteor.
Unfortunately, today the glory of the best air fighter of the “reactive” war has not yet found Nikolai Sutyagin. Americans, both pilots and researchers of the Korean War, turned out to be great masters of falsification. They "took" all the records for themselves, thereby proving the thesis, or rather, the myth of their military superiority. An example is the MiG Alley, published in Texas in 1970.
Overseas researchers with might and main try to raise the skills of their pilots. They often emphasize that the first in stories Captain James Jabara became the jet ace, shooting down 20 airplanes to 5 in May (a total of Jabara 15 air victories). The strongest pilot of the Korean War, Captain Joseph Maconnell, is noted (won 16 fights). It is often written that the 39 of American pilots became aces, knocking down from the 16 to the 5 MiG-15 fighter jets.
Of course, we must pay tribute to the courage and skill of the American pilots, they fought with dignity, and sometimes on an equal footing with the Soviet aces. And the same Joseph McConnell and James Jabara, as they say, remained faithful to the sky to the end. The first died in test flights in the 1954 year. The second one set the goal of becoming an ace and the Vietnam War, was sent there, but did not fulfill his goal - he died in a plane crash. By the way, there he could face pupils of Nikolai Sutyagin, who was an adviser in the Vietnamese Air Force.
Without belittling the skill of individual American pilots, let's say that the score of Soviet aces is more solid. Nikolai Sutyagin - 21 aerial victory. 20 fights won Colonel Anatoly Pepelyaev. According to 15, enemy aircraft were destroyed by captain Lev Schukin, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Smorchkov and Major Dmitry Oskin. Another 6 Soviet pilots scored 10 and more wins. Here we should call our compatriot Anatoly Karelin, who destroyed the B-6 aircraft in the night air battles of 29. Well, all the records of the “jet war”, as I have already noted, belong to Nikolai Sutyagin. That's what you need to talk and write, clarifying the individual positions in the history of air wars.
Until now, the US is trying to correct the overall outcome of the war. Thus, in the “Encyclopedia of Aviation” (New York, 1977), it is noted that during the war, American pilots shot down 2.300 “communist” aircraft (USSR, China and DPRK), the losses of the US and its allies - 114. The ratio is 20: 1. Impressive? However, the most serious American specialists back in the fifties, when it was difficult to hide total losses (see the book “Air power is a decisive force in Korea”, Toronto - New York - London, 1957) noted that the US Air Force only in combat battles lost about 2.000 aircraft, while they estimated the losses of "communist" aircraft more modest - about 1.000 aircraft. However, these figures are far from the truth.
Today, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia has declassified documents of the times of the Korean War. Here are the general data. Soviet pilots 64 th fighter aviation corps (during the war alternately - from 6 months to one year - consisted of ten divisions) were 1.872 air combat, during which 1.106 enemy planes were shot down, of which F-86 –650 units . Hull losses: 335 aircraft. The ratio is 3: 1 in favor of the Soviet pilots, including the latest vehicles (MiG-15 and F-86 Saber) - 2: 1. Note: the American pilots operated less efficiently than the pilots of the United Air Force, which included parts of China and the DPRK. They shot down an 231 plane and lost an 271.
In a word, the top remained behind the air school, which was represented by Nikolai Sutyagin. It is his skill and skill of those like him, their strong will forced to recognize the commander of one of the American wings: "The MiG-15 is terrible, if managed by a good, enterprising pilot." Nikolay Sutyagin is a legend, this is Ivan Kozhedub of the fifties.
What was the fate of the first "reactive" ace after Korea? Here are the most important milestones. 1953 year. The second daughter appeared in the Sutyagins' family - Elena, today a Kiev resident, a programmer, and a son, Yuri, now a major of the Russian Armed Forces. 1956 year. Behind the Air Force Academy. After graduating from the 1964-th Military Academy of the General Staff, he headed the Kharkiv Higher Aviation Pilot School. In 1970, he was sent to Vietnam as a military adviser. In 1971, Sutyagin is awarded the title of Honored Military Pilot of the USSR. He retired as a major general in 1978. Fate is interesting, rich, bright. And I have to regret that Nikolai Vasilyevich did not have time to tell about himself (he passed away in 1986 year), about the feat in Korea, which in essence is a secret today.