(He was born in 1921. He was Mladshiy Leytenant and Naviagtor of a Flight (Shturman Zvena) in U-2 equipped 387 NBAP. He entered in to first-line service in in June of 1943 at Bryansk Front, where he carried his first nocturnal combat missions at the beginning of Orel-Kursk operation before liberation of Orel. For accomplishing of his first 30 combat sorties he was decorated with the order of the Red Star, while on August 9, 1943, during of his 37th sortie he was downed over town of Karachev in vicinity of Bryansk. Beginning from January 1944 he fought at 1st Ukrainian Front in staff of 715 NBAP. Totally he flew 99 combat sorties. The regiment even flew number of daytime sorties with U-2s, when it bombed encircled groupment of German troops in region of town Chertkov (to the south from Ternopol'). 715 NBAP bombed a bridge through Dnestr river in region of town Kamenets-Podol'sk. This for 715 NBAP received honorable name of "Kamenets-Podol'skiy".
In the end of 1944 he was transferred in to 600 VTAP ON(Military Transport Aviation Regiment of Special Purpose), which was subordinated to the General Staff. Here he flew with Shche-2, Yak-6, Li-2 and (after the war) with Il-12. Totally he flew about 3000 flight hours. In 1956 due to disease of kidneys he was removed from the flight activity. After that he continued his service in VVS until December of 1971, when he was retired from the post of Chief of Staff of 229 VTAP ON/4 AD ON
He decorated with three Orders of the Red Star, Order of the Patriotic War and 17 different medals.)
"This took place on August 9 of 1943. We bombed a railroad station. The AAA was firing at us and, I think, German fighters were in the air. I do not know who really shot us down, but we caught fire and began to fell. Our aircraft fell down in the region of railroad station Karachev. I and the pilot Leytenant Pavel Radenko got out of the aircraft, which was standing at its nose. We asked each other about wounds and, having made sure that we were unharmed, decided to come away from the aircraft. But first of all we began to take off our overalls. He took off it rapidly and began to hurry me. But I was delayed with taking off of the overall, then I've found a bag and unfastened the compass and then crawled to overtake him. But since in was a night, I failed to find him. And all of my attempts to find my commander at the night were unsuccessful. So, I was wandering until I've reached the railroad station. I wanted to cross the railway line to reach the northern side, where there was a forest, but I failed, since I've spotted a sentry at the permanent way. Once again I began to look for my commander. Often I was crawling, since I feared to attract attention of the men, whose talks I heard from time to time. They spoke in German. So, I was crawling and I've seen a man who was approaching to me at full height. I let him to come near, then I rose sharply and loudly asked who's that. He replied in German: "Halt". I've fired from a point-blank range and, having turned sharply, run somewhere.
It grew light and I've hidden in the high grass in a ditch which run along a road. The first day I've spent there. A motorcycle and sidecar with a German with machine-gun in the sidecar and another one behind of the driver was passing by the road. And this was repeating for the several times. I remained lying till the dark. At night I got out of the ditch, cautiously came out of the town and went eastward, having defined the direction with the compass. The frontline was in region of Naryshkino railroad station, which situated in 50 km from town Karachev and about 30 km from town Orel. I knew that town Orel was liberated and that our troops were advanced toward Bryansk. This why I went toward the front line with hope to cross it and to reach friendly territory.
PO-2 of 668 BAP.
I've approached to the brink of a large hole - it was crater from a large bomb. I've decided to spend the second day in this crater. During of the whole the previous day and night a fine rain was drizzling and, having got in to the hole, I placed myself at the sun place to dry off a little and fell asleep. I woke up from a weak strike and, having opened the eyes a little, I've seen a man in German military uniform at the brink of this hole, who, as I've realized, was throwing stones in to me. Having understood this I kept lying without of a move. Then, as I could see through the little bit open eyelashes, he found a big stone and threw in to me. I've shut the eyes tightly and said to myself what is to be will be, but I will not stir. The stone proved to be sandy and, having hit my forehead, crumbled. I waited for a bit, while the sand crumble down past my eye and, having opened the eyes a little, saw that the German shock off his hands and came off.
I remained in the hole for some more time. When I've waited for the dark, I came out of this hole-crater and go further to the east. I've reached the plot of mowed wheat, gathered some spikes in to my pockets and was glad that there is something to chew. On the third day I was laying flat simple in the field. I still had some spikes in my pockets. The night has come and again I moved eastward. When the forth day was coming, I've found myself besides by haystacks. I crept in to one of them and went to sound sleep. I was wake up with shelling of this locality from the friendly side. I assumed, that apparently the front line was near and I was not mistaken. The fourth day has came to the end. At night I got out of the stack and decided to crawl to check out what was at the forward. It turned out to be that I've approached to the front line. The trenches were close and I could clearly observe as a cart and men were moved westward.
The fives day has came. And it was now, when I finally realized that I was at the front line. In the stack, where I was laying at my left side, I've heard a conversation in German language and saw the two, who were approaching to my stack. They approached and began to take the hay in the very same place, where my head was, while one of them even leant on my shoulder. Well, I've thought, that is all: I was holding the pistol in readiness and thought if they would spot me, I will fire. Perhaps this sounds stupidly, but I really thought so and was ready: Germans took the hay and came away, but then I've heard and seen that they once again came to my stack. Having taken the hay they came off. To my lack once again everything turned out all right. They were carrying the hay in to they trenches. With certain anxiety I've laid before the dark. Then I came out of the hay, drunk my fill in a puddle, finished the wheat up and decided to wait for morning in the stack. Early in the morning on the sixth day of my trip in German rear I've heard a loud talk even with screaming and the Russian strong words. I've seen a large group of armed men who were running past my stack to the west. That time, at the railroad embankment, which run to the left from me, I've seen men, who were moving in full height, which was not on the previous day. I've met our infantry Kapitan, he was commander of the regiment of the Tula workers, as he said.
It was on August 15 of 1943 year. Totally I've came on to 7 kilometers from the town Karachev. The night on August 16 I've spent in some kind of our assembly point, where at night I could hear as captured village leaders, who were under Germans, were harshly interrogated.
At the morning, having received a little sack with drained bread and a can with stewed meat, I, with a passing lorry reached town Orel, in seven kilometers from which the forward airfield situated, where is from we took off on August 9 of 1943 year.
In Orel I've met a serviceman in aviation uniform and was delighted, but it was a "Smersh" officer and my checking was started. There was hardly anyone inhabitant in the town. The servicemen simply refused to believe me that I'm a pilot from the airfield in vicinity of Stish' railroad station. For the three times they drew me behind the sheds on to rubbish hillocks, but what for?.. Till now I can't give unequivocal answer on to this question. An always behind of these sheds they, one after other, and there were four of them, were striven to hear from me the surname of the secretary of my primary Komsomol organization. But who it, this surname, could remember, especially in such an situation? During of all of these uneasy story the Komsomol card was with me and I, of course, presented it to this strict "Guards". After about three hours my patience has came to the end and I in quite sharp words expressed my indignation with they incomprehensible conduct. I've told them that our airfield situated just in 7 km from railroad station Stish' (village Mikhailovka), check it and if it is wrong you can do with me everything you wish. After I've told them all of these, they asked me to calm down and left me alone in deserted room. Half of hour later another unknown to me man came in and told me to take my sack with drained bread and to wait for departure of a lorry with which I was promised to give a lift in direction of station Stish'. The time was towards evening and we started moving. We came out of the town and the lorry stopped. There was not a soul around. I was told to get off the lorry. And I was shown the direction, where I had to go. I got off the lorry and went in to indicated direction. I've commanded to myself not to look round. I had different thoughts, even the most extreme, but I had nothing to do. Having waited for some more time, I've looked round. The lorry already was far away and nothing has threatened to me. Having breathed freely, I quickened my pace in the necessary direction. Soon I was overtaken by a lorry, with which I've went till the place, where our airfield situated. To my luck, at this time the last lorry was departed for the new place of deployment of our 387 NBAP. At the very same day evening in the circle of my regimental comrades I was describing about our common trouble. I was given with the monthly vacation within the unit. About ten days later the town of Karachev was liberated and we in group lead by the regimental engineer, having took with us the aircraft's logbook, went in to town Karachev. There I easily found my aircraft. It was burned down. Having compared the engine number with the logbook we made sure that it was our aircraft.
The fate of my commander, Leytenant Pavel Rodenko, I've got know only in 1946 year. That night one old man has met him and took to himself, having hide in a cellar. But the village leader got to know and betrayed to Germans, who executed him. After our troops liberated Karachev an obelisk to him was erected there.
|Translated by:||Oleg Sheremet|