Without arms, legs and eyes: Soviet Heroes who fought even when they were disabled

In its past ARTICLES about the legendary fighter pilot who fought and shot down Hitler's vultures after the wound that cost him the amputation of both legs - Alexei Maresyev, I promised to tell also about those who managed to repeat it, which now seems incredible way. About those who have found the strength and courage to return to duty after injuries that seem to be categorically incompatible with the career of a military pilot - especially with the successful conduct of air battles with quite healthy, well-trained and experienced opponents.

Saying that his fate is not at all unique, and that the Victory in the Great Patriotic War was a feat not of bright "loners", but of a "whole generation" of heroes, Maresyev was not in the least modest and did not cheat, trying to play along with the "official propaganda." The pilots who lost in battle not only a leg or two, but an arm or an eye, and, nevertheless, continued to beat the Nazi evil spirits with all their might, there were not two or three - much more. Let's remember their names and destinies.

Reading the biographies of these people, little by little you begin to wonder: "What were they made of at all?" Many Soviet pilots, long before Maresyev, experienced severe wounds and injuries - in order to return to duty, continue flying, and then repeat his feat. Leonid Belousov also came to aviation earlier than the hero of "The Tale of a Real Man". The first time he was on the verge of death was in February 1938, when, during a forced landing, his I-16 fighter flashed on the ground with a torch. Severe burns ... 35 plastic surgeries on the face - moreover, transferred without any anesthesia! Belousov, who was not fully treated, escapes from the hospital and participates in the "Winter War" with Finland. In the Great Patriotic War - at the front from the very first days. As a squadron commander of the 13th Fighter Aviation Regiment, he takes part in the toughest battles for the Hanko Peninsula, then provides air cover for the famous "Road of Life". At the end of 1941, trouble comes from an unexpected side - the legs burnt during an accident three years ago begin to fail. The body does not withstand the tests of severe cold and excessive loads. Doctors at a hospital in Almaty are desperately trying to save the pilot's legs, but in vain. Both have to be taken away - one below, the second above the knee. The return to the sky turns out to be a long one ... Belousov returns in 1944 to his native regiment, which at that time had already become the Guards regiment. At first, he was trusted by the "Kukuruznik", but after a short time the pilot mastered the high-speed La-5 aircraft. During the war, he makes three hundred sorties, shooting down three enemy aircraft. Remains in the ranks until the last days of the war, until the Victory. The title of Hero of the Soviet Union was awarded to Belousov only in 1957.

For Alexander Grisenko, the Great Patriotic War was already the third war in which he participated. Born in 1904, he managed to fight in the Red Army in the Civil. He came to aviation in the 30s and after graduating from the flight school was, as the best of the best, sent to "help the fraternal Chinese people." He provided assistance effectively - he chalked up four samurai and was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of the Battle. The attack of Nazi Germany was met by the commander of the 2nd Fighter Aviation Regiment, with whom he went through the entire difficult period of the Great Patriotic War - right up to Stalingrad itself. It was there that his plane was shot down, and Grisenko himself was seriously wounded in his left leg, which had to be amputated. He returned to service less than 10 months later. True, now it was necessary to "saddle" not the "native" car, but the American "Airacobra", but this did not change the matter. Despite the status of the commander of the fighter air division, Alexander Grisenko continued to fly, participated in almost three dozen air battles and personally shot down two more Messers and two Junkers.

Ilya Malikov also flew without one leg, amputated after an anti-aircraft shell exploded near Rzhev in the cockpit of his bomber in 1942. In spite of everything, he managed to save the plane - bleeding and losing consciousness from unbearable pain, he reached out to his own people and landed the crippled, landing gearless car “on its belly”. He also sat at the helm less than a year after being wounded, and began with the tasks of providing communications on the U-2 "sky slug". However, over time, he obtained permission to resume flights on the Pe-2 dive bomber, on which he smashed the Nazis until Victory, having made a total of about two hundred sorties. Co-workers and commanders called him "a sniper of bomb strikes." The last target of Malikov was the lair of the Nazi beast - Berlin. The title of Hero of the Soviet Union was awarded in 1946.

The most consonant with the fate of Alexei Maresyev can be considered the path of another legendary fighter pilot - Zakhar Sorokin. In the early days of the war, part of it was transferred from the Black Sea to the Arctic, where fierce battles were fought with the Nazis, who sought to cut off the USSR from the supply routes there, along which help from the allies would subsequently be delivered. In October 1941, Sorokin clashed with four fascist aces in a battle over the Kola Peninsula. One plane set fire to, the second snapped back with a burst that pierced the cockpit. The ammunition ran out, and Sorokin went to the ram. Both planes - his and the German one - fell side by side. As it turned out, the fascist also survived - but not alone. Not only did our pilot have to engage in battle with two "Goering's chicks", in addition, a huge Great Dane tried to pounce on him, jumping out of the cockpit of the downed "Messerschmitt". The Nazi aces had such a fashion - to take their own favorites on the flight. Sorokin shot two enemies - four-legged and two-legged. However, in a fight with the last enemy, the pistol misfired. It came to hand-to-hand combat, and it cost the fighter teeth, knocked out by the blow of the enemy "finca". However, the fascist was in a hurry to celebrate the victory - despite the injury, Sorokin reached out to the TT that had fallen into the snow and, knocking out the misfire cartridge, put an end to this battle. However, the most difficult confrontation was ahead of him - here his opponents were frost, endless tundra, wounds in the leg and face (because of the latter, the pilot could not even eat and threw away the ration he had taken at first).

70 kilometers and six days ... Sorokin walked, crawled, rolled, but got to his own. The result is third degree frostbite, the removed feet of both legs. To return to aviation, Sorokin had to go to the legendary People's Commissar of the Navy Nikolai Kuznetsov. He reached - and took off again. 117 air sorties, two dozen successful battles with Nazi aces (including the famous Rudolf Müller, who was considered one of the best pilots of the Reich), 11 shot down enemy aircraft. Personally presenting to Zakhar Sorokin the Knightly Order of the British Empire for the heroism shown in securing the escort of naval convoys, the British military attaché said: "Russia is invincible as long as there are such people in it!" Sorokin, who became a Hero of the Soviet Union in 1944, later became friends with Yuri Gagarin, who called him his teacher.

The incredible life of another hero-pilot could well (and should!) Become a plot for a fascinating movie. These are the fates that our directors and screenwriters should film instead of “sculpting” articles about “evil specials” or “heroic convicts”. Grigory Kuzmin was drafted into the Red Army in 1930, and received his first Order of the Battle Red Banner for his participation in the events on Khalkhin Gol. By the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, while in the rank of senior lieutenant, he was already considered an experienced fighter pilot and fully justified this opinion. On the fifth day after the Nazi attack, he sent two Junkers to the ground, one of them ramming. I didn’t lose my car - I put it on the turned up field. The collision with the same "Junkers", which happened in November 41 near Yelets, was fatal for Kuzmin. However, in this battle he was opposed by nine fascists ... After they managed to overwhelm two reptiles, the damaged car had to be planted - and again not on the airfield, but wherever it was necessary. This time, the landing turned out to be much less successful - the fighter riddled with bullets and shells jerked so that Kuzmin was thrown at a very decent distance. Recovering himself, the wounded pilot moved to the East. Exhausted and unconscious again, he was picked up in the forest by peasants from a local village, where Kuzmin managed to lie down in warmth and peace for at least some time. What's next? Of course, make your way to your own, even crawling, even dashing ...

Alas, this time, luck changed again in the fate of Kuzmin's "black stripe" - on the way to the front line he was captured by the Nazis. Captivity, bullying, torture, concentration camp ... Is that all? It was not so! By simply strangling the gaping sentry, the pilot escapes. In the very near future, he is already fighting in a partisan detachment, continuing to mercilessly beat the invaders. At the same time, Kuzmin understands that his place is not in the forest, but at the helm of a combat aircraft. On the third attempt, but he still breaks into the location of the Red Army. And then ... No, he is not thrown into prison as a "traitor" and is not sent to the camps. Until that time, the pilot who had died heroically during a combat mission ends up in a hospital, where the doctors are horrified - everything that he had to go through (captivity, camp, partisan war) Kuzmin suffered with severe wounds and severe frostbite on both legs. Alas, the verdict of the surgeons is inexorable - amputation of the left foot and almost half of the right one. Well, here I will not even ask leading questions ... Grigory Kuzmin was in the cockpit of the fighter by the summer of 1942. Since the fall of the same year, he commanded a squadron, in 1943, Hero of the Soviet Union, Major Kuzmin - assistant regiment commander for airborne service, he has 270 sorties, 15 enemy aircraft shot down personally - and 6 in a group. One of the defeated enemies was Chief Lieutenant Hans Schulzer, who was awarded the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves for 100 downed planes ... He shot down the last Messerschmitt in the sky over Snezhnoye in the Stalin (now Donetsk) region. It was August 18, 1943. The hero's car also flared up. From this flame, the parachute of Kuzmin, who left the dying fighter, also opened up too early. He passed away just as he lived - a winner.

The story of the pilot of the Il-2 attack aircraft Ivan Drachenko is also phenomenal. In addition to the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, he is also a full holder of the Order of Glory - an example, the only one among the pilots of the Great Patriotic War. In 1943, in an air battle, he accomplished an unprecedented thing - covering the regiment's car, he rammed an enemy fighter. The damaged attack aircraft crashed - and, alas, in enemy territory. In an unconscious state, Drachenko was captured. Moreover, the fall cost him his right eye. In a concentration camp, he fell not into the clutches of the Nazi-aesculapians-sadists, but on the operating table to our Soviet military doctor, who was in captivity. He saved his life, but his eyesight was shaken very seriously. Literally a month and a half later, Drachenko and his comrade, also a military pilot, make a daring escape, killing two guards and soon find themselves with their own. It is not known what measures of persuasion the pilot resorted to in the Moscow hospital where he was sent for treatment. However, the medical records received at discharge did not mention the loss of an eye. In Drachenko's eye socket there was a prosthesis, made so skillfully that it was almost impossible to distinguish it from the real one. The deception was revealed only at the beginning of 1945, and quite by accident - the pilot unsuccessfully shook his head and the "eye" turned over, assuming a completely unnatural position. By that time, the pilot was already wearing on his chest the Golden Star of the Hero and the "complete set" of the Orders of Glory. The commander of the air corps, who was informed about the "disgrace", having "examined" Drachenko for the sake of order, only waved his hand - let him fight until Victory! And so it was ...

About each of these heroes one could write not just a story, but a novel, a multivolume saga. And each of these works deservedly deserved to be called "About a real person." Words about the mass heroism of the Soviet people during the Great Patriotic War are by no means an exaggeration. This is a statement of a fact, one of the most significant and majestic in the history of our Motherland, the memory of which we must keep forever.
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  1. Vladest Offline Vladest
    Vladest (Vladimir) 29 May 2021 10: 17
    In any fighting army, you can find examples of a hero fighting in a fever after being wounded. There were two videos on Tuba. One from the IG, the other from the CAA. The legless fighter also shoots the DShK.
    In general, heroism is the lot of a weak army, when the lack of weapons and military skill is compensated for by this heroism.
    1. steelmaker Offline steelmaker
      steelmaker 29 May 2021 11: 08
      In general, heroism is the lot of a weak army

      A strong army can only bomb civilians. But why did a strong army refuse a ground operation and concluded an armistice? According to the tinsel, I got both about Iran and Syria immediately forgotten.
      1. Vladest Offline Vladest
        Vladest (Vladimir) 29 May 2021 12: 45
        Quote: steel maker
        And a strong army can only bomb

        An example is desirable.
        1. steelmaker Offline steelmaker
          steelmaker 1 June 2021 20: 16
          Learn history! Mediocre!
    2. George W. Bush - medium (George Bush - average) 29 May 2021 12: 45
      Judas probably had children. And I know where their descendants live. In fascist Estonia. And far from only there.

      "Welcome": how the Baltic states swore allegiance to Hitler. 80 years ago, Estonia and Latvia signed a pact with Hitler: https://www.gazeta.ru/science/2019/06/07_a_12400225.shtml

      1. Vladest Offline Vladest
        Vladest (Vladimir) 29 May 2021 13: 07
        As far as I know, the USSR until June 22, 1941 was an ardent ally of Nazi Germany. Germany has never been fascist. Estonia was a neutral state. If in 1940 the USSR had seized Estonia, then the people there had to be forced to love themselves. And the USSR did everything to make everyone become enemies. Estonians went to the Germans to take revenge.
        No offense.
        1. George W. Bush - medium (George Bush - average) 29 May 2021 13: 40
          Nobody canceled the Nuremberg laws.
          1. steelmaker Offline steelmaker
            steelmaker 29 May 2021 14: 28
            I agree and support. The Great Patriotic War is sacred for us. It is immoral to compare the exploits of our grandfathers and fathers with ISIS. Any justification for fascism must be punished immediately !!!
          2. Vladest Offline Vladest
            Vladest (Vladimir) 29 May 2021 17: 51
            YOU started the topic about fascism in Estonia. There is not a word about Estonia in the topic.
            1. George W. Bush - medium (George Bush - average) 30 May 2021 12: 28
              A couple of decades ago, after such a scandal, a bunch of politicians in Europe would have resigned in disgrace. And now, when "Drang nach Osten" is in fact recognized as the state ideology of the EU, it is already possible to support Nazi criminals.

              Then, when fascism is defeated again, they will again cry together, "We were forced." But in fact, they happily (and without the slightest sign of resistance) joined. Look at the Baltic troll "vladest". A purebred fascist, like his quasi-state.
        2. zenion Offline zenion
          zenion (zinovy) 2 June 2021 23: 56
          The USSR was not an ardent ally of Germany. There were only trade agreements. But when the Red Army entered Germany, it did not do what the Germans and Hitler's allies did in the occupied part of the USSR. Sonderkommando from Estonia was the first to report to Himmler that Estonia was completely cleared of Jews. And this is in the first two weeks. This could not have been done without the help of the Estonians. A letter home from a German soldier. "When they were leading the Jews into the forest, the Estonians ran behind the column and shouted, give your clothes, you won't need them. I have never seen such greed." Jews were killed with stakes, pipes and axes. One Estonian grabbed a Jewish child and smashed his head on the log house. It was even shown on TV. The officers filmed it on cameras, even though it was forbidden. Finally, one of the high officers of the Sonderkommando could not stand it and dispersed these Untermenshev, barbarians, as he called the Estonians.
    3. trampoline instructor (Bazil Bazil) 29 May 2021 18: 22
      In general, heroism is the lot of a weak army, when the lack of weapons and military skill is compensated for by this heroism.

      In the battles over the Oder, a 40-mm anti-aircraft projectile tore off his right leg, but he continued to fly even after the amputation of his leg below the knee.


      Ask if Rudel had enough "weapons" or "military prowess".
      1. Vladest Offline Vladest
        Vladest (Vladimir) 30 May 2021 00: 04
        Quote: Trampoline area instructor
        Ask if Rudel had enough "weapons" or "military prowess".

        I gave examples of the fact that in every army can beat what the blog here is issued as only Sovietness
        Judge about the ability to fight armies by the total losses of both personnel and mat. parts.
        The USSR has no equal. Some prisoners under 5 million.
        1. isofat Offline isofat
          isofat (isofat) 30 May 2021 00: 17
          Vladest... Despite your efforts to portray the Balts as scoundrels, I suspect that there are many decent people among them. laughing wink fool
          1. Vladest Offline Vladest
            Vladest (Vladimir) 30 May 2021 00: 20
            Quote: isofat
            Vladiest. Despite your efforts to expose the Balts as scoundrels

            You got the address wrong. Balts like all normal people. In Estonia, for example, the level of premeditated murders is three times less than in Russia. Wind on the Us. Knowledge is power.
            1. isofat Offline isofat
              isofat (isofat) 30 May 2021 00: 32
              Vladest... And there are fewer fools among the Balts than you might think when you start a conversation with you.

              Someone is trying very hard so that people do not want to return to the USSR. yes And I would say they are afraid of it.
              1. Vladest Offline Vladest
                Vladest (Vladimir) 30 May 2021 07: 47
                Quote: isofat
                return to the USSR.

                The USSR is dead. This means an autopsy should be done and a diagnosis should be made. So there is no place to return.
                All people are smart if you create conditions for the manifestation of this mind. These conditions have been created in Estonia. As a very small country of 1,3 million inhabitants, it had 550 startups in 2019. 42 per 100 people.

                I wonder how with this case with the Russian Federation?
                1. George W. Bush - medium (George Bush - average) 30 May 2021 12: 39
                  Nice computer graphics, but the "movie" about Putin's Palace is much better. lol

                  The inscription "Glory to the KPSS" speaks about everything. laughing
                2. isofat Offline isofat
                  isofat (isofat) 30 May 2021 14: 49
                  Quote: Vladest
                  The USSR is dead.

                  Vladest... It's not scary. Some unions are dissolved, but new Unions appear, even stronger! love
          2. zenion Offline zenion
            zenion (zinovy) 2 June 2021 23: 58
            I agree with you. I agree that they need to be looked for, they are not striking.
        2. trampoline instructor (Bazil Bazil) 30 May 2021 05: 33
          In general, heroism is the lot of a weak army, when the lack of weapons and military skill is compensated for by this heroism.

          I quoted you and by my example with Rudel showed that your opinion is wrong.
          The rest is yours - ordinary propaganda rubbish, in this case, covering up the aforementioned nonsense.
  2. steelmaker Offline steelmaker
    steelmaker 29 May 2021 10: 58
    Great article. And you don't need to compose anything, just describe the biography, and you immediately understand that these are heroes to follow. And only on the examples of such people - heroes, other heroes of our Great country can grow up!

    later he was friends with Yuri Gagarin, who called him his teacher.

    These are the fates that our directors and screenwriters should film instead of “sculpting” articles about “evil specials” or “heroic convicts”.

    Quite right remark! Now we have also added bed scenes in the films. If the scout is a girl, then information is obtained only through the bed. The Nazis only in bed tell all the important information. For such people, even "mediocrity" sounds like praise. Therefore, if we want to educate the country's patriots, we need to talk more and talk about the exploits of our grandfathers and fathers. And about any not honor to remember only after the decision of the courts.
  3. Cyril Offline Cyril
    Cyril (Kirill) 30 May 2021 16: 11
    Well, this is an excellent article, without mentioning the "damned liberal Westernizers."
  4. Vladest Offline Vladest
    Vladest (Vladimir) 2 June 2021 08: 25
    Quote: isofat
    Some unions are dissolved, but new Unions appear, even stronger!

    EU and the united West. Putin has been beating like a fish on ice for 20 years now, no matter how he chops off a piece.
    And the line for joining is not over yet.
    Even Serbia is asking to join the EU.
    1. zenion Offline zenion
      zenion (zinovy) 3 June 2021 00: 00
      So everyone asked for Hitler. And then they began to call him names. Not only to call names, but also to join the Red Army, to atone for sins. Remember from Romania to Austria itself.