At a time when Rechkalov ranked 55th IAP it was manned aircraft I-153, I-16 and UTI-4, and went into the 1st high-speed bomber crews KOVO. In 1940, the regiment was transferred to the 20th Composite Air Division, part of the structure of the Air Force of the Odessa Military neighborhood. The regiment was located on the outskirts of the small town of Balti close to the border with Romania.
June 22, 1941 Gregory Rechkalov arrived at the disposal of his own regiment of Odessa, where he underwent medical-flight Commission, which wrote off his flight work with, a pilot was color blind, he hardly distinguish colors. The regiment had already been marked by the first loss, and fighting raged in full operation. Reporting back on his own arrival in part and writing off the flight Rechkalov here gets its first combat mission — a fighter I-153 take the documents to the next part. At the conclusion of the chief of staff of doctors Regiment, Major Matveyev did not even bother to pay attention, it was not before. That's how all of a sudden for fighter pilot ventured very languid task that tormented him all the way on the way to the regiment. In the first sortie own Gregory Rechkalov met in battle with the enemy, escaped and managed to rescue a comrade.
This coming fate of the pilot ace time will not interfere with an event that will provide him the opportunity to return to the sky. The story of them would take a very long time. It should only say that after a month of the war, having on his own battle account of German aircraft shot down 3 Rechkalov is badly wounded in the leg and wounded own leads I-16 at the airfield from which immediately forwarded to the infirmary. In the hospital he makes a very complicated operation on his right leg. This injury was actually a year put him out of action. In April 1942, escaped from a reserve regiment, where pilot retrained on the Yak-1, it vorachivaetsya in your own home, it is now the 16th GvIAP.
From now on, a new step begins his flying career with the call "RGA". In front of him waiting to retrain the South American fighter P-39 "Cobra" severe sky Kuban, the first Gold Star of the Hero, brutal battles in the skies over Jassy, second Gold Star at the end of the sky of Berlin. Instead of this segment and some confrontation with the famous Russian ace Pokryshkin, which received a sudden development already at the end of the war and which previously chose not to read aloud.
Gregory Rechkalov went down in history as the most effective ace, who won in a fighter plane P-39 "Cobra" the most victories. By the end of the war in his "Cobra" had 56 stars, symbolizing the 53 personal and group 3 victory pilot. Rechkalov was second in scoring Allied pilot. On his account was listed 61 personal victory and 4 group.
Gregory Rechkalova midst downed German aircraft were:
30 Me-109 fighters;
5 fighter FW-190
2 fighter Me-110;
11 bomber Ju-87
5 Ju 88 bombers
3 transporter Ju 52
2 bomber He-111
2 light aircraft Scouting Fi 156
1 fighter-Spotter Hs 126
Conflict with Pokryshkin
For those who are interested in the history of the 55th IAP, which later turned into the 16th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment, and later fighting by the 9th GvIAD, which since July 1944 commanded Pokryshkin will be strung things are obvious between the division commander and one of the best Russian aces twice Hero of the Russian Union of Gregory A. Rechkalova. At one time even led aviasoobschestvo serious disputes in the vast global network, trying to grasp the nature of the relationship 2-recognizable Russian aces. Many believed that the assumptions are rooted in their air competition, with all this taken into account the variety of nuances of their military cooperation.
So it or not, but over time, it seemed that things between strained with 2 pilots, which led to a severe conflict were related to their personal accounts of downed aircraft. These guesses to find evidence and relatives Rechkalova, and that's about it read, his wife and daughter Anfisa Love. According to the daughter of the famous ace, already at the end of the war majestically Russian Grigory Rechkalov, working with documents TsAMO, found 3 own downed aircraft in 1941 on account of Alexander Pokryshkina. On hearing this, he is likely to call their own specific military chief and made everything about it reflects. Reaction Alexander Pokryshkina forced herself not to expect long after this conversation Rechkalova forgotten about, and access to archives TsAMO for it was closed. Even other Russian Jora ass Golubev, last driven Pokryshkina and make friends during the war with Rechkalova in his book, "In a couple of hundredths of a" virtually nothing about my own friend wartime action all around the person narrative Pokryshkina. According to relatives of Gregory Rechkalova, your own presentation about the fact that they shot down three aircraft were assigned Pokryshkin, he held until his own death in 1990.
Personal battle through Rechkalova from 22.06.1941, the disclosed subsequent shot down enemy aircraft: 26 June in Ungheni he knocks fighter Me-109, June 27 fighter-spotter Hs 126 and 11 July bomber Ju 88. But a month after the war started Gregory Rechkalov gets severely wounded in the leg. During a bombing mission on 26/07/1941 accompaniment Seven-153 that escaped to attack, Rechkalov was part of the fighter escort of I-16. In the area of Dubossari when leaving the target group of airplanes comes under intense anti-aircraft fire of the Germans. In the process of firing Rechkalov was injured in plane hit was so strong and clear, that the rudder pedal controls the fighter was broken in half, and the pilot received a severe foot injury.
During the absence of the pilot many of the documents of the 55th IAP during the retreat from Odessa were destroyed. Can be "reset account" Rechkalova came out and because of the time it is almost a year of absence regiment ran into another unit, while information about the victories of the pilot remained in the documents of the 20th Mixed Air Division. Report on the work of the new battle of the 16th Guards Regiment has already drawn up a reserve regiment, because to take the data for 1941 it was nowhere. That would be pretty convincing version, if not
for the fact that many of the pilots of the 55th IAP, without even looking at the burning of staff documents, downed aircraft were re-recorded and only the "returnees" Gregory Rechkalova had to start their own battle path from scratch. Either way, Rechkalov until his death was convinced that with his military accounts were seized three victories in 1941, which by some coincidence of events came at the expense of Pokryshkina.
Bell P-39 «Airacobra»
Even many years after the war ended in Grigoriev Rechkalova asked what did he most valued in his own fighter plane P-39Q «Airacobra», for which he won a number of victories: the power of fire volley, speed, reliability, engine, cockpit visibility ? This question Rechkalov noted that all of the above, of course, play a role, and these benefits are important, but the most basic to his eyes in the South American fighter was … radio. According to him, the "Cobra" was a good, rare at the time the radio. Thanks to the pilots in the group could talk among themselves, as if by phone. Who that beheld in the air — immediately reported because no surprises at the time of combat missions was not.
It should be noted that "Airacobra" took quite a long way, constantly upgrading and improved, including taking into account the requirements of the Russian side. To build and fly-fighters that were in the Soviet Union was created by a special group of Air Force Research Institute, which was engaged in a painstaking study of flight and technical characteristics "Airacobra", also identified the elimination of various defects. The first version of the P-39D differed overstated features. For example, the speed at sea level was equal to only 493 km / h and at an altitude of 7,000 meters — 552 km / h, the maximum speed that managed to develop an aircraft at an altitude of 4200 m, was 585 km / h The higher the climb plane, the lower the rate of climb it. At an altitude of 5000 meters, it was 9.6 m / s, but at the ground was already 14.4 m / s. Highest were pretty and landing fighter properties. Mileage aircraft was equal 350 meters and 300 meters of the run.
The plane had a decent range, which is equal to 1000 km. and could exist in the sky over 3.5 hours. Quite different properties fighter at low altitudes have allowed him to act as a perfect vehicle tracking Russian Il-2 and protect them from German fighters, which also beat the German dive bombers and confident enough to work on ground targets. Over time, the same properties as a fighter just grew and were brought to the very highest level.
It should be noted that South American engineers, designers and workers with the knowledge reacted to the proposals coming from the Russian Air Force, which related to improving the design of a fighter. Specialists of "Bell", arriving in the Soviet Union, visited military units, tried to teach the location of the incident and premises accidents. In turn, Russian engineers and pilots also were sent to the United States, where they helped in the company's "Bell" to improve the fighter F-39 «Airacobra». Was connected to the works of the aircraft and the biggest Russian aviation science center — the Central Aero-Hydrodynamic Institute. Zhukovsky recognizable by the acronym TsAGI.
Upgrading works on almost all aircraft were based on improved features of the motor and lower take-off weight of a fighter. Already in version P-39D-2 on the plane began to install a new engine, "Allison» V-1710-63 power is not equal to activate the afterburner 1325 hp To reduce the take-off weight of the fighter wing machine guns, ammunition reduced from 1000 to 500 rounds per gun, and for the fuselage from 270 to 200 rounds per gun. Also removed from the aircraft hydraulic system is one hundred percent to reload the gun, it can be recharged only at the airport. In addition to air, fuel and oil systems were mounted units, which stood on the aircraft P-40 "Kittihouk", which also entered the Soviet Union under the Lend-Lease.
In 1942 he went into the creation of the most massive and the best fighter modification of the P-39Q, Rechkalov fly a fighter plane P-39Q-15. Unlike other models, the fighter with the letter Q instead of the 4 wing machine guns caliber rifle was set mnogokalibernyh two 12.7-mm machine gun. Fighters in the middle of this series were special lightweight model, for example, the version of P-39Q-10 differed in that wing machine guns on it absolutely absent.