Military Review

Lydia Litvyak - Queen of fighters

1 August 1943 from a combat mission was not returned to the guard. Junior Lieutenant Lydia Litvyak, commander of the third squadron of the 73 Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment. Neither the female pilot nor the plane could find any fellow soldiers. After Alexander Evdokimov died, led by Lydia Litvyak in her last battle, the search was stopped altogether - only he knew where the Yak of his commander fell ...

For aviation This was one of the hardest losses in a year of hostilities: a fighter pilot, a favorite of the regiment, a skilled and fearless fighter who destroyed one aerostat-spotter and 14 enemy combat aircraft in air battles died.

"Missing the missing." This laconic and completely indefinite entry appears on the military archive card. "Missing" - this record can mean and died heroically, and voluntarily surrendered to captivity. Officials counted on this: the main thing is to be safe, and time will do its work ...

Lilya (that's exactly what her close friends called her) came to aviation when she was fourteen years old. She made her first independent flight as early as fifteen. She began her career as a pilot in the Kherson school of pilots. After graduation, Litvak was transferred to the Kalinin Aeroclub, becoming one of the best instructor pilots. All her flights were gambling, Lydia Vladimirovna revel in flights. Forty-five boys “stood on the wing” under her command.

Lydia Litvyak - Queen of fighters

Lily really wanted to get to the front. While in Ufa, where the entire flying club was evacuated, she becomes aware that the formation of women's aviation regiments began in Moscow. An irresistible desire to fight the enemy could come true. Lily leaves for the capital. She decided that she would fight with the Nazis exclusively on a fighter. However, achieving the goal was not easy. It is not known how Litvak managed to attribute the missing hundred hours to the already existing ones. In any case, but this "deception" helped get into the combat training unit. After her graduation, Lily was enrolled in the 586th female fighter aviation regiment.

... Summer 1942 year. Gary in the air over Saratov. Permanent raids "Heinkel" and "Junkers" on ferries and defense enterprises. The pilots of the air defense regiment protect the city, covering it from the air. Lily together with others takes part in repelling enemy raids, accompanies special purpose aircraft to the front line. In September 1942, Litvyak entering the group of girls, decreases at the disposal of the 6 th fighter aviation division that defended the sky of Stalingrad. For Lily Litvyak, Rai Belyaeva, Masha Kuznetsova, Katia Budanova, her fighting friends, from that time on, the days of severe trials of heavy air battles begin.

Yak-1 L.V.Litvyak, 296-th IAP, Stalingrad front, spring 1943 g

Practically during each combat departure a tense air fight took place. Litvyak won her first victory already on September 13. The Junkers, accompanied by the Messers, flew to Stalingrad. Lilya enters the battle as part of her group. At the Stalingrad front, it was her second sortie. Choosing a goal, Lily comes up from the bottom to the Junkers. The approach was successful: she shot the enemy's plane in cold blood, as if it was happening at the test site. Account open! However, the battle is not over yet. Seeing that Belyaeva Raya is fighting with Messerschmitt, Lydia Litvyak throws her Yak to help her friend. And this assistance was most welcome - Belyaeva had run out of ammunition. Having taken the place of a friend, and having imposed a duel on the fascist who was trying to escape, Lily knocks him down. One fight - two wins! Not every combat pilot can do this.

And in the evening Lily again saw her opponent. The pilot of the downed Messer, a captive ace from the Richthofen squadron, the German baron, wanted to meet the winner. A blond, tender-looking young woman came to meet him. This simply infuriated the Baron. The Russians wanted to make fun of him!

Two female crews, Lydia Litvyak and Ekaterina Budanova, in January 1943 were enrolled in the 296 Fighter Regiment, which at that time was based at Stalingrad at the Kotelnikovo airfield.

The situation in the air in March 1943 was complicated: groups from the famous fascist squadrons "Udet" and "Richthofen" began to invade the zone of action of the regiment. Lilya in the six “Yaks” in the sky of Rostov 22 March participated in the interception of the group “Junkers-88”. In battle, Litvyak knocks down one of them. Me109 Six, arrived to the rescue of the Nazis, with the move attacks. First they noticed Litvyak. To disrupt a sudden enemy strike, she alone stands in the way of the group. After a fifteen-minute battle, the wounded pilot managed to bring a crippled Yak to her airfield.

From the hospital, Lilya goes to Moscow, to her home on Novoslobodskaya Street. They took a receipt from her for a month that she would be treated at home. However, only a week later the capital had to leave.

5 May, not yet fully strengthened, Lily seeks directions to accompany our bombers in the cover group. During the departure, an air battle began. The Messers, who had suddenly appeared from the direction of the sun, attacked our Petlyakovs, who were coming in thick formations. In the ensuing battle, Litvyak shoots down another enemy aircraft. 7 May she again "breaks" into the sky. Puffing out of the crosshairs of its sight, another Messer leaves.

In the sector of the front where the regiment operated, at the end of May, the fascists had “suspended” an observation balloon. The artillery fire, corrected by observers, began to deliver much more trouble to our troops. Lily goes on a mission alone. Taking off, the pilot takes a cunning maneuver - going deep into the rear of the enemy, comes to the balloon from the side of the sun, from the depths of the enemy’s territory. At the maximum gas, having dispersed her Yak almost to flutter, she goes on the attack. From a distance of approximately 1000 meters, she opened fire from all points and did not stop it until she slipped around the falling balloon. June brought Lydia Litvak severe trials. Died Budanova Kate, her best combat friend. In addition, in front of the entire regiment, the plane of Solomatin Alexei, the only Hero of the Soviet Union in the regiment, a great guy and Lilin's favorite, crashed ...

Yak-1B L.V. Litviak - her latest car, 73-th Guviap, summer 1943 g

Accompanying 16 on July 1943 of the year to the front line of the Il-2, the six of our "Yaks" engaged in battle with thirty-six enemy aircraft. Six Messerschmitts and thirty Junkers tried to strike at our troops, but their plan was foiled. Litvyak in this battle tore apart another "Juncker" and with the support of her slave hit Me-109. And again wounded. To the requirement to go to the hospital she answered with a categorical refusal: “I have enough strength”. The next fight took place only three days later.

Litvyak 21 July, along with Golyshev Ivan, the regimental commander flew on a combat mission. Our couple at the time of departure was attacked by the seven Messers. The commander "got" four fascists, the slave - three. With a sense of mutual assistance, Litvyak did not forget about the commander for a minute. One "messer" from those who attacked Golyshev was succeeded in knocking her down. However, the forces were unequal. Lily's plane was shot down, and she, pursued by the enemy, landed a car on the fuselage half a kilometer from the village of Novikovka.

On the whole front was the glory of the prowess of a female fighter pilot. All the pilots of the regiment loved and protected Lily. However, they did not save ...

Litvyak 1 August 1943, three times raised her Yak into the sky of war. The third battle was very hard, it was fought with a large group of enemy fighters. Shooting down Me 109 in this fight, the female pilot won the fourteenth personal victory. Lily's last sortie was fourth this day. The six of our fighters had to grapple with forty-two enemy aircraft. From this battle did not return the two machines of the enemy.

... The battle was fading in the sky over Marinovka. The fascist armada went to the west. Having clung to the upper edge of the clouds, our six who have not lost a single car took a course home. At this moment, a stray Messer suddenly jumped out of the white veil, and before re-diving into the clouds, he gave a turn to the leader of the last pair ... The 1 side number did not return to the airfield Yak-23. 4 August 1943 of the Junior Lieutenant Litvyak Lydia Vladimirovna order by order of the Eighth Air Army forever enrolled in the lists of the 73 Guards Stalingrad Fighter Aviation Regiment. Four days later, on August 8, Litvyak was presented posthumously to the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. She undoubtedly deserved this award.

However, Lila was not given this high rank. As a posthumous award, instead of the Golden Star, the Order of the Patriotic War 1 degree came ... Lily's plane fell on the territory occupied by the enemy, in a grove near Kozhevnya village (Dmitrovka village, Shakhtarsky district). Who and where buried pilots - is unknown.

In 1946, the locals handed over the remains of a lily plane for scrap. The trail of the brave pilots was long lost.

Fearless Lily, fell the death of the brave in his native heaven, was also buried in her own land, but for many years was missing. This uncertainty lasted for forty-five years. However, the trail of a brave pilots all these years stubbornly sought. Looking for brother-soldiers, soldiers, schoolchildren.

The newspaper "Komsomolskaya Pravda" in 1968, tried to restore the honest name of Lily. Design of the "Komsomolskaya Pravda" submission for assignment Litvyak L. Hero titles were sent to the political department of the air force. The command of the Air Force supported the noble impulse of the newspaper’s staff, but did not forget about the principle “caution is not a hindrance”. The verdict of command: "Search. Find, we will talk."

In the search for Litvyak in 1971, young fighters of the Military Glory Intelligence Detachment led by Valentina Vashchenko, a teacher of the 1 school of the town of Krasny Luch, were involved. For several years, girls and boys of the squad “combed” the neighborhood of the village of Marinovka up and down.

Lilin found a trace unexpectedly, almost by accident. Later it became known the following. The remains of an unknown female pilot, discovered by local boys by chance, along with the remains of other warriors who died in the area, buried 26 on July 1969 of the year. The burial took place in the center of the village Dmitrovka (Miner's district). Before this, the doctors found that the remains of the pilot were female. So on the mass grave "19 p. Dmitrovka among many surnames appeared" Unknown Pilot ".

Yak-1 Lydia Litvak

So the fighter pilot was buried! But the question is - who exactly? In the 8-th Air Army at that time there were two of them - Catherine Budanov and Lydia Litvyak. Budanova died heroically in June 1943. Known and place of burial. So Lily? Yes, of course, it was she. The certificate received from the Central Archive of the Ministry of Defense confirmed the conclusion made. The name of Lydia Litvyak in July 1988 was immortalized at the burial site of 19 mass grave located in the center of Dmitrovka village. Litvyak is written:
“Missing 1 August 1943 g. A should read: died in the performance of the 1 August 1943 combat mission.”

Thus the last white spot in the fate of Lily was eliminated. After that, the Supreme Soviet of the USSR took the submission to conferring the title Hero of the Soviet Union L.V. Litvyak and posthumously to raise her rank. This high rank of guard Lt. Litvyak was awarded to 6 in May 1990.

List of victories won by Litvak Lydia Vladimirovna:
Flights 1 and 2, 13.09.1942, to La-5 are shot down by Bf 109 and Ju 88, respectively.
Departure number 3, 27.09. 1942, on La 5 is shot down by Ju 88.
Departure number 4, 11.02. 1943 on the Yak-1 shot down by the FW 190A.
Departures №№ 5 and 6. 1.03. 1943 on the Yak-1 are shot down by FW 190A and Ju 88 respectively.
Departures №№ 7 and 8 15.03. 1943 on the Yak-1 shot down one by one Ju 88.
Departure No.9 5.05. 1943 Yak-1b data on downed aircraft are not available.
Departure No.10 31.05. 1943 on the Yak-1b shot down aerostat.
Departures №№ 11 and 12. 1.08. 1943 Yak-1b data on downed aircraft are not available.
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  1. Apollo
    Apollo 30 September 2013 09: 12
    Good morning everybody hi

    quote- This is the high rank of the guard to senior lieutenant Litvyak was assigned 6 on May 1990

    quote- “Missing 1 of August 1943. It should be read: died during the combat mission 1 August 1943 g. "

    And this after 47 years. No words, and moderation does not allow. am
    Low bow to you Lidia Vladimirovna.
    1. Corsair
      Corsair 30 September 2013 09: 56
      Quote: Apollon
      quote-This high rank of the guard to the senior lieutenant Litvyak was awarded 6 on May 1990.

      quote- "Missing 1 August 1943 g. It should be read: died during the combat mission 1 August 1943 g."

      A fragment of a sculptural group dedicated to the feat of Soviet pilots in the battle of Donbass.

      Memorial complex "Saur-Mogila", erected in 1967. Minersky district. Donetsk region

      Clickable Image
      1. Corsair
        Corsair 30 September 2013 10: 10
        Quote: Corsair
        Memorial complex "Saur-Mogila", erected in 1967. Minersky district. Donetsk region
    2. Uhe
      Uhe 30 September 2013 12: 21
      There was a lot of things at headquarters ... there was. They had orders. They could have thought that it would be better to give someone else an order (even some staff). In general, the pilots had clear rules for how many downed planes or sorties to give a reward. They were least offended, but here - yes, only obscene words in the direction of the person who rejected the Star.
    3. redwar6
      redwar6 30 September 2013 13: 57
      All this is sad. I heard about this, my grandfather himself was left without a single battle.
      That's how we live :(
  2. erased
    erased 30 September 2013 09: 21
    As a child, I read a book about this wonderful girl - an ace pilot. Such were our grandmothers and mothers - capable of love and war with enemies. Now there are few of them - "singing boobs", prostitutes and porn models are more in vogue.
    Eternal glory to Lily!
  3. Omskgasmyas
    Omskgasmyas 30 September 2013 09: 39
    I believe that the current young generation is better than we grumble about it. Yes, and it’s too early to write off us ...
    Eternal memory to all the fallen!
  4. saturn.mmm
    saturn.mmm 30 September 2013 10: 20
    Here is a clip in memory of Lydia Litvak. Eternal Glory to the Heroes of World War II.
    1. saturn.mmm
      saturn.mmm 30 September 2013 20: 45
      Quote: saturn.mmm
      Here is a clip in memory of Lydia Litvak.

      Sorry, typo, Lydia Litvyak.
  5. Alexasmi
    Alexasmi 30 September 2013 11: 56
    I apologize, so what is the correct name of the pilot: Litvak or Litvyak?
  6. Uhe
    Uhe 30 September 2013 12: 19
    This is not a crazy fighter, the Germans had such a tactic: to enter from the side of the Sun and from above on our groups flying from a mission (or on a mission, if without interruption), give one turn and immediately wash off without entering into battle. Their planes on a vertical turn were better, and ours on a horizontal one, so they left quickly with such vile tactics, without entering into battle. Therefore, they flew in those directions where it was possible to meet ours, and waited for them.

    A woman is a real Russian hero. Few people know, but in the first millennium, Russian women participated in battles on a par with men, if they wanted to. The same Arabs, who fought a lot with the Slavs in general and with the Russians in particular, wrote about this, our epics also speak about this.
  7. malikszh
    malikszh 30 September 2013 12: 38
    who is by nationality? Ukrainian?
    1. smile
      smile 30 September 2013 13: 27
      But what does it matter what nationality this heroic girl was? She was a patriot of her country. ... we have already gone crazy on nationalism, we are looking for, we are calculating ... some begin to be proud only of those who are of the "correct nationality" ...
      1. Corsair
        Corsair 30 September 2013 23: 43
        Quote: smile
        Yes, what does it matter, what nationality was this heroic girl?

        She was a SOVIET person (let someone dislike it now ...), who fought for her Motherland.
    2. Snoop
      Snoop 30 September 2013 23: 14
      Soviet man! Then they identified themselves this way, they did not pay attention to nationalities and did not share.
    3. uyrii67
      uyrii67 20 October 2013 13: 46
      She was a SOVIET MAN !!! And such PEOPLE broke the backbone of Hitler, and we are engendered by disputes of nationalism, and in fact Nazism!
  8. motorized rifle
    motorized rifle 30 September 2013 19: 09
    Quote: Uhe
    This is not a crazy fighter, the Germans had such a tactic: to enter from the side of the Sun and from above on our groups flying from a mission (or on a mission, if without interruption), give one turn and immediately wash off without entering into battle. Their planes on a vertical turn were better, and ours on a horizontal one, so they left quickly with such vile tactics, without entering into battle. Therefore, they flew in those directions where it was possible to meet ours, and waited for them.

    Well, I mixed everything up, I will correct it, of course the bend can be vertical, but it is called differently, remember Nesterov, in general, it is customary to distinguish between horizontal and vertical maneuvers (and there is also a spatial one). Indeed, you correctly described the tactics of the Germans, but what does meanness have to do with it? This is a tactic of free hunting, this is how the hunters of ALL the belligerent states acted. Let me remind Pokryshkin: "Height, Speed, Maneuver, Fire". Looks like? And again: "The fighter who knows how to look around in the air is invincible!" But in theory, the German was supposed to attack the slave plane, and he chose the leader, and if our pilots did as Pokryshkin taught: "Observing the air, all pilots lead from takeoff to landing," then they had a chance to attack Yak for example, getting out of the attack is easy for Yak. Well, the wingman could repulse the attack if there was something. In addition, the review of the Yak-1b, one of the best in WWII aircraft. It is clear, departure 4, people are tired, but still. One more thing, the Germans, and I am 100% sure that there were at least two of them, because the hunters do not fly one at a time, just the second one stayed at the top and covered the exit of his own, if one of ours followed him, they attacked the group, significantly exceeding them in number, and this means conducting a mobile battle, for them it was suicide, they would have been torn. Therefore, their tactics are one hundred percent justified.
    Well, on the topic, 14 shot down, this is not a little for a man, remember "Only old men go to battle." The mechanic asks: -How many stars to draw or two? -Two! the pilot mimics, -There is one for now ... Indeed, every person is capable of a lot, but not everyone knows what the "Diamond Hand" is. She, too, could be shot down during these battles and killed rather than injured, but willpower multiplied by skill allowed her to achieve such a result. Well, the death of a loved one probably had a negative effect, but it made a big contribution to our Victory! I'm proud of her!
    1. Corsair
      Corsair 30 September 2013 23: 57
      Quote: motorized infantryman
      Indeed, you correctly described the tactics of the Germans, but where does the meanness? This is a tactic of free hunting, that is how the hunters of ALL warring states acted.

      Speech about the meanness of the Nazis? Little do we know about this?
      It is endless to talk about whether it was "noble" for Hitler's aces to HUNT a woman-Soviet ace. But one cannot be taken away from the HEROINE OF SKY - she left unsurpassed.
      To this day ...
      1. Sevastiec
        Sevastiec 18 August 2020 07: 06
        Here's another interesting thing: this baron shot down by her was allegedly a certain Hans Fuss, but as Vicki writes, he died in Berlin on November 10, 1942. I'm wondering how he could end up in Berlin if he had just been captured at Stalingrad?
  9. stalker
    stalker 30 September 2013 21: 13
    Eternal glory to you, Lidia Vladimirovna.
  10. So_o_tozh
    So_o_tozh 1 October 2013 00: 42
    On September 13, 1942, as Luftwaffe, who accounted for 11 shot down aircraft, the non-commissioned officer of the fighter squadron JG53 ("Ace of Spades") sent his Messerschmitt Me109G to the tail of the Yak-1 and opened fire. The pilot of the riddled Yak-1 tried with all his might to escape the sight of a German ace, when suddenly shells pierced Messerschmitt Meyer from nowhere, forcing him to stop the pursuit and turn back - another Yak-1 sat on his tail. Meyer tried to shake him off, but the opponent was equal to him in skill. The next turn hit the target exactly, and fire from the damaged engine spilled onto the cockpit lantern. Meyer jumped out of a burning plane, realizing that the only chance of salvation was a meeting with the Red Army on earth.
    Soviet soldiers were already waiting for him while he was descending by parachute. Taken aback, Meyer demanded a meeting with a pilot who surpassed him. The airfield for the fighters was on the path of escorting prisoners of war, so it was decided to satisfy the request of the German pilot. On arriving at the flight strip, Erwin Meyer was disgusted when, as a cruel joke, he was faced with a short and young blonde, sloppy dressed in a sergeant uniform. And only when the girl in decent German described their fight in the air in full detail, he realized that he was facing the pilot who defeated him.
    Lydia Litvyak was born in Moscow on August 18, 1921. She spent her childhood with her parents and younger brother in a cramped two-room apartment, one and a half kilometers from the Kremlin. My father worked as a railwayman in a depot, and his mother part-time in a warehouse. Like many children at that time, Lydia first became an october at the age of 7, and then a pioneer at 10. Inspired by him, as well as by the Stakhanov movement, Litvyak became a real patriot. It turned out that in 1933, on the day of the girl’s 12th birthday, Air Force General of the Soviet Union Yakov Alksnis announced the first Day of the USSR Air Fleet. Litvyak visited impressive demonstrations in Gorky Park. Already at the age of 14, insufficient for flying, she was granted semi-official permission to visit the ground school of the flight club "Osoaviahim." After passing the exams, one of the instructors, Ulyanov, took Litvyak into the air against all rules ...
    It’s good that at least the heroic past unites us, the kingdom of heaven to the soldiers who died for their homeland.
  11. BBM
    BBM 1 October 2013 05: 22
    The pilot is certainly outstanding. But all the same, there are no reliable data on her fate as well as data on her burial. A clear question is whether her remains could be given only by a genetic examination ... but, in general, the story is certainly sad (with searches for the body and awarding Gorbi an award after more than half a century)
  12. Doctor Evil
    Doctor Evil 1 October 2013 13: 14
    As a child, I read a book about her, and there the fate of her fellow club mates was also described there. Who fought like that. I’ll go look, re-read it again. Eternal memory to them who fell for their homeland!
  13. Stalinets
    Stalinets 6 October 2013 18: 27
    Low bow and eternal memory !!!!! If it weren’t for people like to know if we would be today or not ....
  14. old man54
    old man54 11 October 2013 04: 39
    Yes, it hurts already, do not pass !!!!!!!!!! Women should not fight, not theirs, this is a man’s duty and share, but sometimes ... as an exception, confirming the rule, it happens, alas! But this is wrong, this is our flaw, men!
    In Wikipedia, I found an episode that was not reflected in the article. Strange, but not for me to judge what was and what was not:
    "On February 11, 1943, in an air battle, she shot down 2 enemy aircraft - the Ju-88 personally and in the FW 190 group. Soon, in one of the battles, Litvyak's plane was hit and she was forced to land on the territory occupied by the enemy. When German soldiers tried to take her captured, one of the ground attack pilots came to her aid: with machine gun fire he forced the Germans to lie down, and he himself landed and took Litvyak on board. "
    Eternal memory to her, Lilies, white lilies from Stalingrad. crying
  15. Fedya
    Fedya 25 December 2013 21: 28
    There is a book by Natalia Kravtsova - Come back from flight! Kravtsova herself was a Night Witch, and she knew what she wrote, the book is very good!