While the planes were waiting, in the spring of the 44th an order came: to enroll the entire course - 200 people - in a reserve aviation regiment for the development of IL-2 attack aircraft. We moved to Kinel-Cherkasy, and here the real study began. This attack aircraft is not in vain flying a tank called, he had the most powerful weapons: machine guns, automatic 20-mm guns, rockets, bomb loading - a ton (they did not load more than 300 kilograms on combat sorties). And in terms of flight performance, the car is beautiful. During training flights, Sorokin had to land twice on his “belly”. Unpleasant, of course, but he sensed what the earth smells like.
In early July, received a new Il-2, in which the first group of twelve pilots departed to the front, in 208 assault air regiment.
According to unwritten front-line laws, the “old man” is a pilot who has made thirty sorties. So it turned out that Sorokin is “young”, and his peers, who arrived in the unit two months earlier, are already “old men”. However, in aviation they don’t look at age: Lyosha Yakovlev was only two months older than Mikhail, and was already considered the best scout in the division. It was he who took Sorokin to his slaves. They installed a camera under the wing of his attack aircraft (no one else was in the entire squadron) and the fighting began.
Scouts have a special mode. In combat - by itself, along with the rest. But when the entire squadron is cut into maps, due to bad weather, the most experienced ones rise to the sky, for reconnaissance. In our case, Yakovlev. He was a pilot, they say, from God. In any fog could go on target, the task to perform and back to return. At the end of the war he received a hero.
This is how Sorokin got a teacher. With him, Michael in the ten months of the war made 136 sorties - two times more than others in the same time. The desperate was a guy, father-Bashkir, mother-Ukrainian. One day, in order to treat his comrades, in the evening he "quietly" flew away to the village where the regiment used to stand, for wine. I bought a dozen large bottles with my own money and flew back, although I had to make a landing at night.
A separate story deserves the commander of the 208 regiment - Lieutenant Colonel Markovtsev Stepan Kharitonovich. Although this was not part of his duties, he constantly flew combat missions. If the regiment was transferred to a new direction, "Daddy" flew in the first group. He did at least six laps on the goal, after which he returned, arranged debriefing and worked out tactics of actions in this particular situation. If the weather conditions are bad, the group itself also led.
During the attack the front edge of the Germans shot him down. And got his plane, which is the most offensive and incredible, under the heavy caliber projectile of our own field artillery. Somehow, "Batya" was able to land in the neutral zone, and his slave, just from school, did not notice this. A link came out of the battlefield, landed, but the commander did not. The bosses in the regiment came in large numbers ... So many generals Sorokin did not see during the whole war. Well, while they were looking for the culprit, “Batya” himself arrived in a cart that the infantry lent him.
In the 1946 year, during the celebration of the Day of the regiment, Mikhail saw with his own eyes Markovtsev, who had become a general by that time, drained three beer mugs filled to the brim with vodka. One with the technicians, the second with the pilots, the third with the command. And at least that. Man !!!
Zampolit regiment major Dolgopolov also not only spoke at party meetings. Rightly judging that words cannot be won by combat pilots, he voluntarily finished the courses of air gunners and constantly flew in that capacity for missions. Several times with Sorokin. So it turned out that the lieutenant was at the helm, and the shooter had a major.
IN PREDICTION MIST
In October, 44-th fog fell on the Carpathians. Two weeks in Stryi waited for clarification, and our troops in the meantime went to the next offensive. Call for call to division headquarters: we ask for support from the air. In the new place, in Gusta, the airfield is already ready, but it is impossible to fly to it. In the clouds the slightest gleam.
At the end of the month, one crew from another squadron rose to the sky, and one gunner returned. The commander ordered him to jump with a parachute. I got to the airfield, but I can’t really explain what happened. The headset took off, and then everyone gasped. The guy is twenty years old, and he is all gray.
Finally, on October 31, we decided to give it a try. Lyosha Yakovlev raised one link of the first squadron. In addition, one person was taken to each car, into the gunner’s cabin. Mechanics, gunsmith, technicians - to start combat missions immediately upon arrival.
We took off, took a course. Overcast. We decided to climb higher and at a height of six kilometers hit the rain clouds. The rain on the trim gushes so that even in the cabin water seeps. And the darkness is such that nothing is visible in three meters behind the lantern.
Here Michael understood: this is the end. If you happen to see the earth again, it is only a moment before you hit it. For a few seconds, the whole life flew before my eyes: parents, a village in Starohaysovsky district, where he was born and went to school ... Delight that overtook ten-year-old Misha, when he first saw an airplane in the sky ... Cold in his stomach before the first parachute jump in Saransk park ... flying club ... school pilots ...
You can order the shooter to leave the car, and then throw himself out with a parachute, but the mechanic who they took with him does not have a parachute. Such a sin to take? Not!
He suddenly understood why the shooter from another squadron had turned gray overnight. And when almost nothing remained of hope to survive, Mikhail saw a small “window” in the surrounding black swamp. He rushed there, not paying attention to overloads (the shooter, as it turned out, even the seat was broken), fell out of the clouds and with inexpressible relief saw the ground and the trees. Others came after him.
After landing in a hollow, he turned off the engine, rolled off the flashlight, climbed onto the wing, and then felt that his right hand was taken away, like a paralyzed one. From stress. So close to death, he was not even once.
Soviet attack aircraft Il-2, nicknamed by the Nazis "black death"
25 March 1945, the squadron flew out to attack the Laslau railway station. The first, as expected, Yakovlev. Mikhail had time to see how the bombs of the lead fall exactly between the rails, when anti-aircraft guns began to beat on them. The first hit - in the engine. Sorokin mechanically pulled over the emergency bomb-throwing lever, and after a second the second hit hit straight into the bomb hole. Had it happened a second earlier and only small fragments would have remained from the plane.
The third hit - in the wing. The car began to fall. Mikhail, clinging to the steering wheel, barely able to level it, becoming a perfect target for anti-aircraft guns. And he would have burned on the ground at that station Laslau, if not Sergei Gulyaev, the second squadron of the koesk. Covering a Sorokin, he switched to the peak and ran to the anti-aircraft battery by pressing the trigger of guns and machine guns.
He died, already dead, continuing to press the trigger. The attack aircraft, without ceasing to shoot from all trunks, crashed into the ground.
When they flew to attack tank columns, gunsmiths loaded special small bombs into the aircraft. Explosives in them only 200 grams, but cumulative. In four bomb bay - 300 pieces.
They flew in, lined up in battle order, dropped bombs on German tanks and turned back. And that's what you'll do, sits in a brain splinter: not all bombs came out. Sorokin received this car only the day before the flight he received, instead of a damaged one, there was no time to check everything until the end. The sensors seem to be fine, the bombs are gone. But the soul somehow lousy.
Decided to err. He pulled over the emergency bomber lever, then again. No, the alarm does not go away. I entered in the peak, then sharply the wheel on myself to throw out the stuck bombs by inertia. Nothing. Again. Useless. The last “hill” made over the lake, right at the airport. Transmitted by radio: "Sit down last." They realized that something was wrong.
So, Mikhail did not land the plane more than once in his life. The wheel squeezed millimeter, not breathing. As the chassis of the land touched - did not even feel. A second later there was an explosion, the plane abruptly flung up and he buried his propeller in the ground, almost turning over.
In the fall, the trigger cable was interrupted by one of the guns. There was a long queue deafly. Straight towards the command post. Miraculously no one hurt.
As it turned out, the premonition of Sorokin really did not deceive. Five bombs stuck. How gently Michael did not brake, the impulse was enough for two of them to fly out and instantly work.
In the spring of 45, they traditionally celebrated Regiment Day. A month earlier, in the town of Guste (Western Ukraine), next to which there was an airfield, the soldiers found wine cellars. On this occasion, “Batya” ordered the “Commissariat” to give out wine for the flight, and put the vodka into jerrycans in order to use it at the festival.
And so, this day has come - October 15. Markovtsev agreed with the division commander that the next day the regiment should not engage in any activities (with a hangover — what kind of flights). In the evening, they sat in the dining room at the laid tables and celebrated the holiday until dawn. They drank as much as the body allows.
And in the morning the regiment raised the alarm. All, of course, running on the airfield. My head is cracking, my thoughts are confused: “Here's the boss humbling, they found it when they announced a learning alarm.” And the fact that anxiety is a training matter is clearly not going to send them on a mission in such a state. The commander agreed ...
At the airport "Batya" selected eight people the most sober: "By cars! Run! ”Can not be. "On takeoff" Oh, dear mother ... The radiator warmed up, like a good stove, tends to sleep. Open the window - is also not the wind ...
They flew somehow, bombed, reached the airfield. We did not have time to get out of the cabs, again the command to take off ... After that incident, Mikhail swore: don’t drink before flying. Sha!
ON YOUR OWN
Aircraft camera captures a burning German column
One day, a camera mounted on Sorokin's plane saved the life of himself and Alexey Yakovlev. They then took off from the airfield in the city of Stry. Arrived at the site, worked, turned back.
We landed and saw on the strip a black van and officers in the form of the NKVD. The pilots, of course, not monks, from time to time allowed themselves to relax, but everything is cultural, within the normal range. So, something related to the departures.
Yakovlev was not even allowed to say a word, he only managed to unfasten the parachute. Passing by Sorokin, in a low voice asked:
- Misha, shot?
As it turned out later, some stormtroopers accidentally bombed the column of our troops. The case clearly went to the tribunal and to the highest degree. All those who were on mission at that time were brought to the special department. Yakovlev was saved by the fact that on the developed film there was clearly visible a deserted railway line and bomb explosions.
And another time, the link of Yakovlev really hit on his own. Having received the task to work on the square, arrived at the scene. Visibility due to cloudiness was unimportant: so, it is noticeable that the cars are standing and the figures of people around them. Just in case, the radio requested confirmation. From the ground, the coordinates of the target were confirmed.
Then the assault rocket missiles covered the Katyush battery, which advanced to that area without an order (or the commanders got it wrong). Dozens of PCs, rushing at the same time - a terrible thing, no one left alive. They started talking again about the tribunal, but the command of the army of the pilots justified: they acted according to the regulations.
Once again, the camera rescued when Sorokin and Yakovlev in April 45 th flew to explore. Near the town of Fristadt saw the freeway, driven to the limit by German technology. A column in four rows, about ten kilometers long, went west. Reported to headquarters by radio, bombed around the city, turned around and on the airfield.
On alarm, then the entire 227-I assault division was raised. Arrived, and on the highway is empty. I had to go back. The scouts were extreme, they say, gave the command false information. The film was shown, and there, as in the picture, the rows of cars stretching beyond the horizon.
TWO "MOTORS" AND REPRESENTATION TO "HERO"
Victory Day Mikhail Sorokin met, oddly enough, in the air force sanatorium, which was located in Krakow, in the former residence of Goering. And he got there for the most banal reason, which is not customary to recall at the front. Overwork.
In April, a young recruitment arrived in the regiment, a large group of “old men” left to receive new cars. The rest, including Sorokin, had to make three or four flights a day. It ended with the fact that returning from a mission, Michael fell asleep right in the air. Dozed off like a chauffeur on a long-haul flight. Just a few seconds, but those seconds could cost him his life. Of course, he didn’t tell anyone about this, but the regimental doctor understood that the pilot ’s forces were at the limit and sent him to a sanatorium.
So the war, Lieutenant Mikhail Sorokin finished 5 May. By this time, he had 4 destroyed German tanks, 15 guns, three dozen vehicles, 6 mortar and 12 anti-aircraft batteries, three fuel depots, and about three hundred enemy soldiers and officers. This is from confirmed. Like any pilot, his account is much greater. For example, he shot down a German fighter in one of the battles, but the fact of the Messer’s fall was not recorded, and therefore wasn’t reported.
The command appreciated this work, awarding Sorokin with five orders, including two orders of the Military Red Banner, the most honorable award of that war (they refused to receive the militant from the Order of Lenin). Already after the Victory, “Batya”, among other distinguished ones, introduced him to the title of Hero, but the presentation, as usual, got lost somewhere.
The regiment contributed to the troops of the 1 of the Ukrainian Front, which launched the 14.7.44 offensive of the year on the Lviv and Stanislav directions. The military actions in the area of ZBOROV, ZOLYCHEV, KONOKHIN, HODOROV, ROGATIN, UZERNA, STANISLAV, GALICH, and also destroyed the surrounded grouping in the district of Yu.Z. BRODY.
By order of the Supreme Commander No. 0255 from 10.8.44, the 208 cap was given the name "Stanislavsky".
After joining 4 of the Ukrainian Front and redeploying 13 August 1944 to the STRY airfield, 208 16.8.44 heading began combat work in the Carpathians, making 50 combat missions on the first day. The main efforts on the four highways VALLEY-GUSTE, SKALE-MUKACHEVO, TURK-UZHGOROD, SANOK-HUMENNE.
Railway stations underwent assault strikes: SLAVSKA, SVALAVA, STAVNA, UZHOK, VOLOVETS, SKATARSK, TURK, LEOPOLDSDORF, VIBRAN, MEDZILABARTZ.
Assisting the ground forces, the regiment struck at the NIZHNE-VERETSKY pass, at the UZHOKSK pass.
Based on the airfield STRY with 13.8.44 to 16.9.44 and from 5.10.44 to 31.10.44 and at the airfield GRUSHUV from 16.9.44 to 5.10.44, the regiment interacted with parts of the 1 Guards Army and with the 18 army.
From 31.10.44 to 5.11.44 - at GUSTE airfield, from 5.11.44 to 22.12.44 - at BUSHYNO and LASTOMIR airfields
8.5.45 regiment struck at the enemy in the area zap. And sev-zap. Olomouc, dropped leaflets with the text of the ultimatum of the Commander of 4-th UKR.F Army General Eremenko.