Military Review

Heavy sky Olga Lisikova

Heavy sky Olga Lisikova

War of the 1 class pilot Olga Lisikova

Olga Mikhailovna Lisikova - the only woman commander of the largest transport aircraft LI-2 and SI-47 during the Second World War. On her account 408 departures to besieged Leningrad, nine raids into the rear of the enemy, flights in the most difficult conditions of the Arctic.

- Well, you need to manage to sit in the “corncob”, on which there is not even a machine gun, fill up the “Messerschmitt”!

Olga Mikhailovna told as if all this happened yesterday. But it's not about age. Any episode associated with an extreme risk to life is forever imprinted in our memory in all its details, colors and sensations. Even when there are many such episodes.

“I took two wounded from the front line and am going to hospital with them.” Only twenty kilometers have passed, as I-109 comes into my tail. I look and do not believe, the red crosses on the wings of my white-silver Po-2, which they did not have time to repaint in a protective color, are just striking the eye. It was October 10 1941, we still did not understand that for the Nazis there is no international law, no code of honor ...

She clung to the back of the chair and put two palms in front of her to show how it was:

- And this “messer” is getting closer, like this. And to me 23 of the year, and behind, behind my back, two wounded! Where to go? Suddenly notice a cliff. It was Msta, it is small, but flows between the high banks. Get there, hide behind this shore! I dive to the water, and then I hear how the powerful line has hit from behind - by! Sharply I turn aside, cling to the water and fly, almost touching the wings of the coast. And there is no bitterness, no offense, because I won the first round. Now the fascist needs to gain altitude, again to find this “Russian bookcase” and try to go to her tail.

The river turns steeply to the right. I follow, and myself as a string. I wait with my back, shoulders, nape when the fascist will strike again. And sure enough, another strong lineup. This time I feel got into the tail. The plane rocked, so much so that he left the wing and the wheel struck the water. At the same moment I take the handle to the right - the steering wheels work, but the car is almost uncontrollable. I give full gas, soar over a cliff, and there is already our airfield. I sit down right away, without preparation. I turn off the engine, jump out of the cockpit and the first thing I see, our soldiers run towards me and shout, showing somewhere to the side: “Look! Look! ”I turn my head - in front of my eyes the Messer crashes into a precipice. Why is he? And then I realized: I got carried away and dived so low that I didn’t have enough time to climb.

But such is the damned law of war: the joy of victory is almost always mixed with the bitterness of loss. Less than a month, as Olga Lisikova reported the death of her husband.

More recently, they worked together in the Leningrad squad "Aeroflot". Since the beginning of the war, both were immediately mobilized: she was in the communications squadron, he was in one of the two air divisions that performed the most important tasks of the General Staff. Now, after Vasily died, she firmly decided that she had to replace him. There were no women, ship commanders, in both divisions, but she was accepted. They could not but accept: Lisikova in Aeroflot knew everything — both as one of the best athletes, and as an experienced pilot, a participant in the Finnish war. And most importantly, they knew that this girl with character would still not back down.

So Lieutenant Olga Lisikova became the commander of the Li-2 ("Douglas") in the 1-th aviation regiment of the 10-th special purpose air division.

- Most often we flew to besieged Leningrad. And be sure only during the day! - Olga Mikhailovna paused, making it clear how dangerous each such flight was. - At night it is impossible, because then we would open the corridor to enemy bomber aircraft. We went in rows of six or seven cars, clinging to the ground itself. At the top of the fuselage, on the turret, is a heavy machine gun: our only defense, not counting, of course, personal experience. The hardest flight, when on the way back took out the besieged children. Those who could walk were seated along the sides on benches, for the rest they were spreading covers on the floor, still warm from the motors. Then they gave the children a loaf of their own ration. Some of the older guys immediately, on a tray, divided it exactly into sixty or eighty pieces, depending on the number of children. Once a boy forgot to count himself, and when everyone took his piece, he suddenly saw that the tray was empty. Silently, without any requests, the seniors pinched off a little bit of their share, and here on the tray grew a small hill of breadcrumbs. These were old children! They were always silent, relentlessly watching your every move. No tears of parting with loved ones, nor the joy of the upcoming flight to the mainland, where there is no hunger, bombings and shelling, only huge eyes on tiny emaciated faces. Only a close condemning glance: how could you, adults and strong, allow all this to happen? .. I've seen everybody in the Finnish war, and in this one, but that look was impossible to withstand!

She was lucky, she managed to take away her two-year-old daughter from the blockade death on one of the first flights.

Then Lend-Lease got even larger machines - SI-47, the largest transporters of the time. They took aboard with fully armed paratroopers up to 40. But when flying to the deep rear of the enemy, there were usually only three passengers: fashionably dressed, European-style elegant young man and girl, and with them a colonel accompanying from reconnaissance.

American military transport aircraft C-47. Photo:

- Once we took off, and already on the way to the front line, we spotted the "frame", "Focke-Wulf-190". The firepower and flight data of the “frame” are such that you cannot get away from it, especially on a transport plane. But she does not bombard us, she patrols over us, leads us to her rear, to shoot them already there, in front of her. Immediately I understand: any maneuver will be perceived as an attempt to escape, which means that immediately the fire from all the guns, and we died. I take it carefully three degrees to the right in order to extend the time to at least a little before the front line is crossed. The moon is shining with might and main, and, unfortunately, there are no clouds around. I peer into the night before my eyes hurt. Suddenly I notice - ahead in the course of a light shroud of cirrus clouds. Fly to them for about five minutes, but each seems an hour. Finally, it's time: unexpectedly sharply lowering the altitude, and now we are already flying, wrapped in a light cape. The German pilot, instantly reacting, opens fire. But it's too late: I’ll fall back on a peak again and hide in a normal cloud.

- I checked the steering wheels - everything seems to be in order. After some time, carefully re-gaining height and, having successfully crossed the front line, I go down to three hundred meters. Above enemy territory it was supposed to go shaving, because the Germans already had locators, and besides, it was necessary to avoid any places where you can detect the enemy. In general, we safely reach the point of release, and the next couple of our intelligence officers are sent to perform their secret mission. In order not to find the place of their landing, I continue flying the same course for another twenty kilometers, then as much to the side and only after that I turn around.

Now, on the way home, you can relax a little. I hand over control to the second pilot, they bring me coffee ... Finally, we are approaching the front line again. We must climb up to four or four and a half thousand meters. At that moment a red light on the instrument board lights up: fuel is running out! So, that "frame" still hurt us. There is no way for instructions - we continue to go above the ground. If only to hold on to their own! Again time creeps, nerves on the limit. Well, thank God, and the front! Another night: the Germans, of course, are asleep - they have everything according to the clock, but ours open up firing at us from anything that can only shoot. Commander: "Everyone in the tail!" (When an emergency landing there is less dangerous.) The crew, all five, - zero attention. On the one hand, they understand that I am right, and on the other - after all, they are men, and the honor of men and the duty of partnership do not allow them to leave me alone. I order the second time, the third. Then I scream so that they still disappear. All but the flight mechanic. Having barely crossed the front line, frantically I was looking for a place to land, and I myself was horrified to see that the engines were about to stop.

And at that very moment when I am already preparing to enter some clearing, the T lights up ahead of us - landing lights! Together with the flight mechanic we snatch the flap to release the chassis, and sit down. And immediately, as if on cue, the engines cease.

Such flights demanded the highest skill, special courage, and therefore even in this regiment they were trusted only by the elect. It is not by chance that one commander of the SI-47 became the Hero of the Soviet Union already after five raids into the deep rear of the enemy, the other after six. Olga Lisikova performed nine such flights, and only after that she was finally presented, no, not to the Hero of the Soviet Union, but to the Order of Lenin.

Olga Lisikova. Photos from the personal archive

But after a while, the division chief of staff declared:

- We decided not to give you an order. After all, you are so young, and besides, the only woman commander of the ship we have is still conceited! We decided to better release a poster with your portrait. So that the pilots of the whole country know what a fine fellow you are!

Already after the Victory, she met this benefactor on Nevsky Prospect from generals straps to knees completely in orders and medals. She came up and said loudly so that everyone could hear:

- Look how much you just fought! Just a hero! And I, sorry, I can not fasten your poster.

But that was later, and then she was numb from resentment and inability to understand what was happening. After all, it was not enough that it was bypassed with a combat reward, so in addition they were dismissed from the regiment. The high Moscow authorities, having learned that a woman was flying to the rear, arranged a terrible dressing: “What if they are shot down? The fascists will say: Russians already have not enough men, they are forced to send women for the most dangerous tasks! ”

Yes, Lisikova from the very beginning understood that it was not a woman’s business to serve in aviation special purpose. And therefore, when other airplane commanders played billiards in between flights or just slept, she studied the equipment again and again, spent hours with meteorologists, and checked the upcoming route on the map for the hundredth time. For all the time of service I have never received at least comments. Only one thing, having landed after completing the next task, did not leave the report right away, as it should, but five minutes later. Waiting on the airfield, the regimental authorities were perplexed, angry, but could do nothing.

“You see,” Olga Mikhailovna explained to me, “the pilot helmet is not a ladies' hat for you, but a storm in the forest is on his head. Therefore, before departure, I quickly curl up the curlers, and after landing I will take off, bring a haircut and only after that run with a report.

However, Olga Lisikova was expelled not just anywhere, but into the holy of holies - international government aviation. And she began to carry generals, marshals, people's commissars, foreign delegations. Already in the last winter of the war, she received a new responsible assignment - from the farms of the Far North she urgently transferred to Naryan-Mar, and from there to Arkhangelsk furs and catch of valuable fish.

- There, in the Arctic, I ruined my health. So much so that after the war I was written off from the air force. In 1945, I fell unconscious on the street, then at home. I lay for days, as in a lethargic dream. The professor came, examined and diagnosed: “The result of a long stay without air!” I said: “You’re probably joking! I spent the whole war in the fresh air. ” It seemed to me that my illness was the result of all the overloads with which I tortured my body for both wars - Finnish and Domestic. But in fact, the professor was right: after all, I am in the Arctic, not realizing that the air in the Far North was thinner, climbed to five and a half thousand meters without an oxygen mask! You just fly at high altitudes faster, and in one light day you could turn around twice from the camps to Naryan-Mar, from there to Arkhangelsk.

Almost the entire war the pilot of the 1 class, Olga Lisikova, fought in the most dangerous and responsible areas. She was rightly considered one of the best aces of the national aviation. In the most risky situations, I did not lose a single car and not a single crew member. Not just brilliantly performed even those tasks that turned out not to shoulder to men. Having started a war as a lieutenant, she only served as a senior lieutenant and all her combat awards - the Order of the Red Banner and the Red Star, two orders of the Patriotic War and the Medal for Military Merit.

After more than half a century, it is definitely difficult to answer the question “why”. But there are two very real assumptions.

The first. In fact, Vasily Lisikov did not die at all in October, 1941, as his comrades told Olga. Yes, his plane really exploded when they fell in front of their eyes, but three crew members, including the commander, as it turned out later, were ejected by a blast wave from a car that had collapsed in two and were seriously wounded and taken prisoner. Vasily first went through the Nazi camp, then the Stalinist filtration camp, and returned to Leningrad only at 1946.

Olga Mikhailovna considered her husband dead during the entire war, but vigilant osobyists considered him unaccounted for, and on enemy territory. And according to the laws of that time, the wife of such a husband could hardly count on high ranks, awards and titles. The fact that such important flights were trusted by Lisikova was a miracle in itself.

And the second. It is necessary to know Olga Mikhailovna - she was distinguished not only by rare beauty, but also by extreme independence, and in war, as we know, the male bosses do not like female pride.

Olga Mikhailovna died in the 2011 year, but many Petersburgers and aviation veterans did not forget about it. Today, the public of the northern capital is in favor of awarding Olga Lisikova the title of Hero of Russia and for one of the city’s public gardens to bear her name.

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  1. aszzz888
    aszzz888 16 May 2015 09: 08
    War is not a female affair.
    Honor and Glory to our women who fought on all fronts with fascism!
    And they fought no worse than men.
    1. Mister X
      Mister X 16 May 2015 16: 07
      We decided to better release a poster with your portrait. So that the pilots of the whole country know what a fine fellow you are!

      Military poster dedicated to OM Lisikova
      (1943 year, artist Victor Koretsky)

      There was also a poster “Fly like a ship commander Olga Lisikova flies”
      (released in 1944, image could not be found).

      Photo O. Lisikova military years.

      Photo O. Lisikova in the hospital.
  2. Vadim Zhivov
    Vadim Zhivov 16 May 2015 09: 54
    There really were problems with justice in our country at that time. Yes, and now, awards are not always presented to those who deserve them. Such examples are a pity. Article +++
  3. Consul-t
    Consul-t 16 May 2015 09: 59
    I am sure that everyone reading this material will support my opinion that this woman is HERO !!!
    And you must definitely perpetuate her name in St. Petersburg. She has saved so many people here, taken out of the blockade ...
    Children and grandchildren of the saved - do not forget the one who gave you life, a chance to appear in a peaceful country.
    Honor and glory to Olga Mikhailovna!
  4. Vadim2013
    Vadim2013 16 May 2015 11: 46
    Thank you for the article. A wonderful pilot was Olga Mikhailovna Lisikova. Her bright memory. It is necessary to restore justice and to be beaten with the assignment of the title of Hero of Russia to Olga Lisikova and that one of the squares of Petersburg bear her name.
  5. Vovanfalcon
    Vovanfalcon 16 May 2015 13: 48
    An excellent article and it is necessary to restore historical justice and assign Olga Mikhailovna the title of Hero of Russia.
    1. viktmell
      viktmell 16 May 2015 14: 39
  6. Gool
    Gool 18 May 2015 16: 55
    Not a woman - Goddess!
    At 23, and such difficult tasks, making decisions .... Eternal memory.
    PS Small inaccuracy - "Frame" is FW-189