Arseny Vasilievich 28 was born on October 1912 in the village of Prokofiev, located in the Nizhny Novgorod province (now the Nizhny Novgorod region), in a simple Russian peasant family. Father, Vasily Ivanovich Vorozheikin, he remembered poorly, he died in World War I, when he was not even five years old. The family lived poorly, the boy knew both the need and the orphan's share, and hunger. In order to survive, he had to work hard, adapt, find ways out of difficult situations. Nevertheless, he managed to finish the seven-year plan, after which he worked at the timber mill, and then went to serve as a sailor of the fireworks in the Volga exploratory expedition. Then the young Vorozhaykin studied at the workers' school and in the 1931 year, at the age of eighteen, he was called up to serve in the Red Army. Before 1933, Arseny served in the cavalry regiment, and after being demobilized, he was sent to the Gorky Agricultural Communist University, but he graduated from it only the first course. From 1934 year, he again in the ranks of the Red Army. Dreams of the sky, which had occupied Vorozheykin since childhood, led him to the fact that in 1937, he was hired by a special unit at the Kharkov Flight School. In this military school for the first time his gift of an air sniper was manifested. Arseny V. hit the target ten times more than the amount that was necessary for an excellent assessment.
He graduated from the school successfully and from the autumn of 1937 to July 1938 as a junior pilot served in the fifty-third bomber regiment. Then he was again sent to study for a six-month course of commissar pilots. In 1939, military operations began in the Mongolian Khalkhin-Gol river. Fulfilling a mutual assistance agreement concluded in 1936, the Soviet command sent military units to Mongolia. The squadron, in which Arseny was a commissar, went there from Transbaikalia and became part of the twenty-second fighter regiment.
Mongolia made an impression on the young pilot. The sun is shining bright in the eyes, a golden haze on the horizon, and around the desert there is neither a tree nor a house. They placed the pilots in the yurts and provided them with the new, still-smelling factory-painted fighters of the I-16. The aircraft’s armament — a pair of ShVAK cannons and a pair of ShKAS machine guns — pleasantly hit the young aviators. A few days later, meetings were held with the grated combat pilots who fought in China and Spain: Grigory Kravchenko, Alexander Nikolaev, Ivan Lakeyev and Sergey Gritsevets. Arseny memorized them every word, every gesture, showing one or another fighter maneuver. At leisure, he recalled their lectures, trying to understand and rethink.
In the memory of Vorozheikin, the words of Major Gritsevets remained for the rest of his life: “If you cannot see in the air, then you are not a fighter, but a target. To see the enemy first, means to get ahead. And to get ahead is to win. The overlooked doomed to defeat. You can not look at one point, you need to twist the pot to all 360 degrees ... ".
The first baptism by fire for Arseny Vorozheikin happened on 22 on June 1939 of the year. His squadron, flying in dense formation, collided with a large group of Japanese aircraft. Before the eyes of a young pilot, dozens of cars began spinning in a furious carousel. The group fight fell apart into many single matches. Somewhat inferior in speed to light fighters of the Japanese, the I-16 and I-15bis preferred to fight in steep turns.
The pilots dodged attacks and tried to enter the enemy in the tail. Reinforcements approached the enemy, and the battle was tightened. Arseny was in the thick of battle, rushed in pursuit of the enemy, took aim and fiercely fired from all the guns. Airplanes flashed everywhere and, fuming, flew down to the dunes. Finally, the enemy, unable to withstand a fierce battle, began to retreat. However, by this time Vorozheykin had already run out of ammunition.
After landing at the airport, he could not get out of the cockpit for a long time, thinking about what had happened, with his whole being still among the roar of engines in the hot sky. The technician congratulated him on his baptism, informing him that he had counted a dozen holes in various planes of the machine.
Recalling later his first air battle, Arseny Vorozheikin will say: “For the first time, a person who has fallen into a pool and plunged into the water involuntarily closes his eyes, sees nothing, only feels. So the pilot in the first battle feels, grasps only what he is in direct contact with, but does not penetrate deep into, does not cover the overall picture. ”
The battle in the sky of Mongolia flared up every day. The Japanese, having numerical superiority, were sent on missions in large groups. Soviet pilots had to fly a lot, participate in fierce battles, gradually gaining invaluable experience. Squadron Commissioner Vorozheikin along with everyone took part in assignments, and in parallel conducted work with people, he constantly studied, trying to summarize the results of the flights of the best aces with whom he had the opportunity to serve. In one of the fights luck has changed him. Perhaps it was caused by fatigue, physical stress or a fatal mistake. Arseny Vasilyevich lost the battle to the Japanese pilot, received a portion of the hot metal and already wounded on a smoking fighter in a Mongolian steppe. The bloodied aviator was first found by local border guards. He was memoryless, with a barely audible pulse. By plane Vorozheykina was transferred to the Chita hospital. Doctors diagnosed spinal cord injury (a compression fracture of several lumbar vertebrae), a wound to the skull in three places (with a metal fragment seated in the back of the head), and damage to the left hand.
The celebrated pilot later admitted that the most difficult stage in his development as an air fighter was fighting near the Khalkhin Gol river. He figuratively wrote: “They say that a person is born two times: the first is physically, the second is spiritual. We have known the third birth - turned into real military. We learned that war is devoid of romance of adventure, all the heroism in it is everyday, just like everyday life is real. ”
He managed to scramble out, but, naturally, after his recovery, he received the conclusion: “Not fit for flight”. Upon learning of the sentence, Arseny Vasilyevich was neither frightened nor despaired, determined to return to the unit. Wounds gave him terrible pain, but he mercilessly exercised the body in preparation for departure. Soon after successfully “losing” the cancellation certificate in the way, he reported to his commander about the return. In late July, he was already given a new fighter.
Vorozheikin again began to rise into the sky, he was engaged in reconnaissance, stormed the enemy bombers, assisted ground troops and, of course, participated in air battles with Japanese fighters. After the Soviet troops closed the ring, in one of the reconnaissance flights on the right flank of the front, Vorozheikin discovered an accumulation of enemy equipment and artillery. After this information was transmitted to headquarters, Ya. V. Smushkevich (deputy chief of the Air Force) summoned the pilot in himself. Together with him, Vorozheikin proceeded to headquarters, where he was introduced to the commander of the army group Zhukov and the commander of the Far Eastern Front, Stern. Here he once again had to repeat what he saw on the right flank. This information turned out to be true; early in the morning, the bombers struck a powerful blow at the last reserves of the Japanese, who were rushing to help the surrounded grouping. The fighting at Khalkhin-Gol ended by mid-September with a brilliant victory for the Russian troops.
In this campaign, the commissar of the fifth squadron of the twenty-second IAP made over a hundred sorties on the I-16, took part in thirty air battles, and personally shot down six enemy planes. He was introduced to the title of Hero, however, in the end they were given the Order of the Red Banner. Soon Vorozheykin was appointed military commissar aviation squadron of the thirty-eighth fighter regiment of the Baltic region.
After the battle war, Arseny Vasilyevich had free time in order to ponder many questions. It was difficult for him to put up with so many things; at flight tactical meetings, he constantly spoke about his problems. I was indignant at the fact that the newest combat order — the couple — was not approved in the units, demanded that radio be installed on the planes necessary to control the group battle, proposed to create a special position at the headquarters - specialist in research, structuring and introducing advanced tactical knowledge. One of the first twice Heroes of the Soviet Union, Major Sergey Gritsevets, advised Vorozheikin to be sent to the Academy for further study. However, the calm months passed very quickly, and a part of Arseny Vasilyevich was sent to fight the Finns. Participate in air battles at this time he almost never happened - the pilots of the squadron were engaged in reconnaissance, storming enemy forces, escorting bombers. From March 1940, Vorozheikin became deputy commander for political affairs, and exactly one year later, in March 1941, became commander of a squadron of a fighter regiment belonging to the Transcaucasian Military District and stationed near Yerevan.
By the time the Great Patriotic War began, all the Luftwaffe bomber and fighter units were armed with the latest modifications of aircraft, significantly superior to almost all types of Soviet aircraft in combat characteristics. The pilots of the Third Reich were well prepared, had a great combat experience, and most importantly - the psychology of the winners. Soviet aviators in the summer of 1941 could oppose to the Nazis only a huge number of not the newest aircraft and desperate heroism. Sad as it may be, but combat training in many domestic aviation units was conducted poorly, the tactics of conducting air combat fighters and bombers were obsolete. For example, the fighters were worn by threes in the wedge formation, interfering with each other, and the bombers did not know how to interact with them, nor to perform effective anti-aircraft maneuvers. Also on most Soviet aircraft there were no radio stations, and synchronized with the combat weapons the photo machine gun needed to confirm air victories appeared only in the 1943-1944s. And that is not all. Responsible commanders, with responsibility to approach the preparation of their subordinates, were accused of overruning ammunition, fuel, increased accidents and many other "sins." They were given permanent penalties, they were lowered in positions, or even put on trial. Before the war, virtually all the leaders of the Red Army air force were repressed, the morale of the Soviet aviators was not the highest.
The aerial battle began before the dawn of 22 on June 1941 of the year. Nearly a thousand German bombers struck powerful blows at seventy well-explored airfields in the Kiev, Western, Odessa and Baltic military districts. Bombers supported hundreds of fighter jets with fragmentation bombs. From the reports of the Luftwaffe it follows that over the next day on the ground and in the air more than one thousand eight hundred Soviet aircraft were destroyed. In addition, the Germans managed to destroy almost the entire fleet of modern Russian fighters.
Although the Luftwaffe did not meet any organized resistance, the Soviet fighters managed to shoot down about two hundred German aircraft already in the first days of the war. And among others, two famous ace, the knight of the Knight's Cross, died: Wolfgang Shellman and Heinz Bretnyutts. Also, the Nazis were unpleasantly amazed at the number of rams used by our pilots. In the conditions of the reigning chaos there were people who managed to keep a “clear head”. For example, most of the machines of the air force of the Odessa district were pre-dispersed in alternate aerodromes. After the attack, district air forces remained combat-ready and subsequently offered decent resistance. All this led the German aviators to just one thought - going to the East would not be easy at all.
At the end of June, the fighter squadrons of Vorozheikin's squadron, alerted by fighter squadrons, met the nine Soviet bombers. The dark camouflage of the twin-engine DB-1941 confused the matter, and the issued warning lines were mistaken for an attack. As a result, the closing DB-3 was riddled, people died. As a result, the command silenced this episode, but the commanders of both squadrons participating in the conflict were lowered in rank and sent to study. So Vorozheikin got into the Air Force Academy, which he graduated only in September of 3.
The TV-3, SB and DB-3 bombers were low-speed, with weak defensive weapons and low “survivability”. Since the beginning of the war, they suffered huge losses. The fighters of the latest generation, the MiG-3, Yak-1 and LaGG-3, which appeared before the war, had a good design and weaponry, but were too raw. For example, the Yak-1 was accepted with one hundred and twenty flaws. The same situation was with LaGG-3, which had an all-wood structure, including spars, and which gave the pilots very little chance of winning the battle. It is known that in aviaparts the model received the name "Varnished Aviation Guaranteed Coffin". Only MiG favorably differed from them. However, he was extremely "strict" to the pilot, not forgiving him mistakes in management. And there were very few experienced pilots, time to learn even less. Therefore, the “career” of the MiG ended already in the 1942 year. Simply put, these Soviet fighters still could not give the pilots freedom of action in the conditions of air combat, but now they could not only be defended, but also attacked using the best horizontal maneuverability in the "turn" battle.
Arseny Vorozheikin arrived in the army in early autumn as a senior political officer of the 728-th Shumsk-Kremenetsky Red Banner Fighter Aviation Regiment, fighting on the Kalinin front. By this time, Arseny Vasilyevich was already a seasoned fighter, more than a hundred more combat sorties were supported by an academic education. He began to fly on the I-16, until March of the 1943 year, having completed several dozen combat missions on it. In the first flight on his “donkey” the landing gear was not removed. However, he continued to perform the task, managing to survive a duel with several Me-109.
The 16 and 153 fighters were among the best in the world in the 1935-1936s, but outdated by the start of the war. Their maximum speed (450 km / h) did not reach the values of the Messerschmitts Bf-109E and F, which gained from 550 to 600 kilometers per hour. However, E-153 and I-16 had one significant advantage - a smaller radius of turn, compared to Messerschmitt (eleven seconds against eighteen). A skilful Soviet pilot with strong nerves could let himself go in the tail, let him close, and then turn around with lightning speed and meet with head-on-head fire. Naturally, he himself also came under fire, but in this case the chances were compared.
In the meantime, the successful year for the Luftwaffe 1941 is over. In 1942, the opposition of the Soviet Air Force began to increase. Disguised and false airfields were built, the number of small-caliber anti-aircraft artillery increased, the industry reached a production level of one thousand aircraft per month, although the quality left much to be desired. There were also changes in tactics. Soviet aircraft began to fly in several tiers in height, preventing the Messerschmites from quietly making a combat U-turn after gaining height and before diving to the target. The entire 1942 year, the main problem for Russian aviation remained a low level of pilot training. Graduates of accelerated courses had from five to ten hours of flight time and, as a rule, did not survive until the tenth combat departure. Fighter regiments arrived at the front in a short time were sent for re-formation as a result of actual destruction. But despite the fact that the losses of the Soviet aviators in the 1942 year amounted to fifteen thousand airplanes against five thousand from the Germans, even the most short-sighted Nazi pilots realized that instead of a "blitzkrieg" they got a total war of extermination.
And 16 continued to flow to the front, but they couldn’t be alone with the Messers. Due to the weak power of the engine and the lack of speed, it was impossible to either force the battle on the verticals “on the verticals”, or simply break away from it. And then the Soviet pilots came up with an effective way of protection - to line up in a defensive circle, in which each plane covered the front tail. This is how Arseny Vorozheikin described this tactical device: “Our circle looked like a rotating circular saw, wherever you go - you will not take it anywhere. The planes changed position and were pulled in the right direction, splashing machine-gun fire and projectiles. "Messers", like pikes, rushed at great speeds very close, but bounced off, bumping into the teeth of the saw. "
In July, 1943 of the year Vorozheikin was appointed commander of the fighter squadron, which is part of the second air army. By this time, Arseny Vasilyevich had in the regiment the authority of a skilled pilot and a sniper. The number of his victories grew rather quickly, and soon he was allowed to create groups for the fulfillment of his tasks. Moreover, in doing this, he rarely considered even the wishes of the regimental commander.
Mr. Vorozheikin A.V. near his Yak-7B. Zhulyany, November 1943 g
In August, his regiment participated in a counteroffensive on the Belgorod-Kharkov direction, and in one of the battles Vorozheikin shot down three Ju-1943 and one Messer at once. However, he was not always lucky. For example, on July 87 a German pilot managed to knock him down. In his memoirs, Arseny Vasilyevich recalled: “I was clouded with something gray, I was overwhelmed with heat. Burning? Then jump faster! But the spine? However, there is no desire to fry alive. Immediately I remembered Captain Gastello, his burning plane and a column of Germans ... And where should I send the car? I do not see anything. I unfasten the straps and try to open the lantern to jump with a parachute. Don `t move. What! Again, trying again to no avail. I am trying to examine the cabin, my glasses are shrouded in mist. I begin to think that there is no smell of gasoline and burning. I guess that the cabin is not smoke, but steam. So they damaged the engine, and water poured out of it along with the steam. ” To get rid of steam, the pilot broke the glazing with pistol shots. The motor, having worked without water for some time, stalled. The propeller stopped and the plane went down. However, Vorozheikin managed to reach his own and land his car at the aerodrome, although not on the one from which he was going on the mission. The technicians saw that a bullet hit the slot in which the lantern of the flight cockpit was moving, jamming it. After the incident, the pilot decided to remove the flashlight, defying the loss of speed indicators of his aircraft.
Vorozheykin’s excellent fighting qualities were fully manifested after the 728 IAP received new Yak-7B fighters. At this time there were fierce battles on the ground and in the air of eastern Ukraine. Pilots had to take off several times a day, fighting the enemy from dawn to evening twilight. Dozens of fighters cleared the sky from enemy aircraft, covered the actions of bomber and attack aircraft. For two months in the air over the Kursk Arc (from 20 July to 20 September 1943), the pilots of his squadron conducted more than a hundred air battles, destroying about seventy enemy aircraft (nineteen of which Vorozheikin personally shot down). However, the Arseni Vasilievich fighter regiment was very thin and he himself became the chief leader of the consolidated groups.
Later, Arseny Vorozheikin will write in his story “Over the Kursk Bulge”: “The plane dissolved in me. He became a continuation of the arms, legs and thoughts. The success of a short fight solves one moment. But in the moment when machine guns and cannons are pointing at you, the blood runs cold, and seconds seem like eternity. ”
At the end of August, Arseny Vasilyevich was granted a small leave in connection with his injury - already during his landing, the Yak set fire to two German FW-190 hunters. He returned to service when the Soviet troops began to force the Dnieper. And since October, the 1943 of the year the air regiment was transferred to the Kiev direction.
On November 3, during a German air battle, trying to shake Vorozheikin from his tail, he threw his plane into a steep dive. But the Soviet pilot continued the pursuit, pursuing the enemy all the way to the ground and starting his way out of the dive only at the very last moment. "Yak" swept over the very tops of the trees, and a huge overload actually crushed the pilot. Heavier FW-190 crashed into the ground, but the Yak-7B was so deformed that it immediately went for scrap.
In November, Vorozheykina's squadron participated in the liberation of Kiev. In these battles, Arseny V. won ten air victories. Another unfortunate misunderstanding happened in the sky over the Dnieper - Vorozheikin attacked and shot down the Soviet Il-4 bomber, accidentally hitting the air battle area. Fortunately, the crew, having managed to make an emergency landing, survived.
Significant changes in the domestic Air Force occurred in the 1943 year. La-5, Yak-9 and American Bell P-39 Aircobra began to arrive at the front. The newest technology has already given the matured Soviet aces much more possibilities and practically did not yield to the next modification of Messerschmit - the Bf-109G and the “fresh” Fokke-Wulf attack aircraft FW-190. The Germans began to decrease the quality of replenishment due to the reduction of the training program. However, the Luftwaffe still remained a formidable fighting force, and this was fully manifested in the bloody air battles over the Kursk Bulge and the Kuban.
At the beginning of 1944, the air regiment of Arseny Vasilyevich was transplanted to the Yak-9, and on February 4 he received the first Hero Star. In March, after knocking out the Hs-123 reconnaissance biplane, Vorozheikin was hit by himself. Masterly possession of the aircraft allowed the pilot to land the plane in the forest in enemy territory. Soon, the friends managed to land near Y-2 and take out the brave pilot.
In July, Major Arseny Vorozheikin became the commander of the thirty-second fighter regiment, and on August 19 he was again awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union. By that time, the number of aircraft shot down by him had reached forty-six units. And in November, he was appointed senior instructor at the Frontal Aviation Training Administration. Being engaged in inspecting parts, Vorozheikin continued to participate in air battles.
In his last battle over Berlin, he, along with Major Treschev, caught a four-engined jet fighter-bomber Ar-234. The battled novelty of German technology was shrouded in smoke and lost in the clouds. Its fragments were never found, so the pilot did not record the victory at his own expense. One can only guess what happened to the jet “Arada”. In total, during his combat career, Arseny Vorozheikin made more than three hundred sorties, personally shot down over fifty enemy aircraft (six at Khalkhin Gol) and fourteen in the group, was wounded three times.
1 May 1945 of the second Air Army pilots produced two red canvases with the inscriptions: “Victory” and “Long live 1 May!”. Two planes accompanied by sixteen fighters dropped these parachute banners over the Reichstag. Fluttering, they descended at the location of the ground troops who had taken Berlin. All the pilots were holders of the heroic Golden Stars, among them was A.V. Vorozheikin.
From October 1945 of the year Vorozheikin commanded the ninth Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment. At the same time, from 1947 to 1950, he was the senior inspector of the Combat Training Department of the Soviet Army Air Force Fighter Aviation. In 1952, he successfully graduated from the Higher Military Academy K.E. Voroshilov and from March 1953 of the year he headed the one hundred and eighth fighter aviation division, which was part of the Leningrad Military District.
In August 1953, the division became part of the Black Sea Air Force fleet USSR. And Vorozheykin continued to climb the career ladder - on May 31, 1954 he received the title of “Major General of Aviation”, from March 1955 he became assistant to the commander of the Air Force of the entire fourth fleet, and since March 1956 he became the first deputy commander of air defense of the Black Sea Fleet. At the same time, Arseniy Vasilievich did not stop flying and mastering new types of aircraft, among which were the Yak-15 and Yak-17, La-15, MiG-15 and MiG-17. He retired in 1957 in connection with the exacerbation of old sores.
The remaining life of the legendary pilot lived in Moscow, engaging in ... literary activities. He was a member of the Writers' Union, he owns twelve fascinating books (Fighter, Ordinary Aviation, Above the Kursk Bulge, Soldiers of the Sky, Under Berlin, etc.), published not only in our country, but also abroad. Twice Hero of the Soviet Union, holder of the Order of Lenin, four orders of the Red Banner, World War I, Suvorov of the third degree, Alexander Nevsky, six foreign orders, retired Major General Arseny Vorozheikin died 23 on May 2001 of the year. His ashes lie at the Troyekurovsky cemetery.
In the town of Gorodets (Nizhny Novgorod region) a bronze bust of the Hero was installed, and in 2005, a stele was installed in memory of Nizhny Novgorod Kremlin in memory of Arseny Vorozhaykin and the lieutenant general of aviation, also twice the Hero of the Soviet Union, Vasily Ryazanov. Arseny Vasilievich was married twice, he has three children: two daughters Vera and Olga and son Sergey, who also chose a military career.
The road to the sky Arseny Vorozheykina - the paths of a fearless and courageous man. More than once, he had to fall with the motor stopped, burn himself and come to the aid of friends, land a wounded plane. He was not concerned with posts or titles. The main goal to which he sought with all his strength - to master the highest art of pilotage and air combat. Arseny Vasilievich has never been a supporter of frontal attacks, stereotypically attributed to Russian aviators. Master of aerobatics, he loved the tricks to mislead the enemy and abrupt maneuvers, from which it became dark in the eyes and squeezed breathing. And, of course, it is impossible not to mention the most accurate shooting from short distances.
Throughout his frontline career, Vorozhaykin combined fantastic audacity and sober calculation, winning tremendous victories over the Fokkers, the Messers, the Heinkels, and the Junkers. He knocked down a lot of enemy cars, but no one heard that he spoke dismissively about the enemy. And the pilots of his squadron always said: “Remember the strengths and weaknesses of the enemy. So it will be easier to fight. ”