Vitaly Popkov — the famous commander of the Singing Squadron

Vitaly Popkov became interested in aviation the very young, was making a model airplane flying club. In the spring of 1941 he became a graduate Chuguevsky Military Aviation School, where he was an instructor left. In the first days of stateliness Russian wards Popkov was transferred to Bataisk flying school, and then the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. 5 times in a row young aviainstruktor asked to send him to the front, and his wish was granted. In autumn 1941 Popkov resulted in the 5 th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment. Vitaly was a glorious way, fought at Moscow and Stalingrad, on the Don and Kursk, took part in the operation to force the Dnieper, and participated in the liberation of Poland, Romania, Hungary, Yugoslavia and Austria took part in the Berlin operation. The famous maestro was at war until the last minutes of the war, meeting the final victory over the enemy in the sky of Prague May 12, 1945.

Under the command of VI Popkov in a unique squadron, consisting of 14 pilots, 11 were awarded the title of Hero of the Russian Union, and the VI Popkov became the Twice Hero of the Russian Union. After the creation of the amateur orchestra squadron became known as "singing."

During the Russian majestically VI Popkov, who became famous layout squadron commander Titarenko, the hero of such films as "Go to fight some old people", made 648 sorties, participated in 117 air battles and shot down 47 enemy aircraft in person, and 13 aircraft in the group , 123 times attacked airfields and enemy ground targets.

During the Korean campaign VI Popkov, who served as deputy division commander in IN Kozheduba without the help of other aircraft shot down 4, apart from the fact it was he forced to board a B-29, which was carrying concealed equipment.

July 24, 1945 the commander of the "Singing Squadron" VI Popkov took part in the Victory Day parade held on Moscow's Red Square. After the war, he became a student of the Red Air Force Academy in Monino, and in 1951 he finished it with a difference. He then continued his studies at the Academy of the General Staff, after which in 1964 V.I.Popkovu was awarded a gold medal.

Before dismissing the age in 1989, the air ace continued to serve the country, occupying various positions of command in the Armed Forces of the USSR, where he shared his military experience with the young pilots and commanders.

In Moscow, the bust of the hero, but V.I.Popkova considered an honorary citizen in small towns such as Kiev, Odessa, Dnepropetrovsk, Sochi and Gagra, Magadan, Prague, Parndorf, Vienna, Budapest, Bratislava, Krasnyk (Poland).

As though what war veteran, Vitaly Ivanovich had something to tell about the war, and, apparently, he loved doing it. For the latter as evidenced by the presence of a significant amount of his memoirs on the front pages of magazines and contemporary Russian Internet sites, both in the form of an interview, and in the form of artistic retellings. Here are just some of the stories that happened with the famous maestro during the Russian majestically.

Vitaly Popkov - the legendary commander of the "Singing Squadron"

At one point, languid in late March 1942, with Vitaly Ivanovich took a story. One of the regiments, of which there were countless, was entrusted to accompany a pair of transport planes LI-2, which flew to Leningrad. It was difficult with the complex aircraft and passengers. On their own flying first secretary of the Leningrad party AA Zhdanov in the future one of the main heroes of the war, the marshal, and at that time, General of the Army, Commander of the Leningrad front, Zhukov. Of all the regiments was specifically chosen by chance this — the protagonist of our story, Vitaly, often traveled to the times of peace to his own aunt in Leningrad, where she worked in one of the orphanages. On the way he liked to consider the church, no matter what that is rich Russian land. And specifically, the churches have always defined Vitaly route. During the war, not just assist him this technique — in flight so often had to specifically identify where you are. Vitali came to the other pilots, and said that flies to her aunt, who works at the orphanage. Goods there, of course, not a lot, well, where many of them in war? But the men gathered so pilots everything they could — after all the kids are starving, quietly thinking about it will not. Two bags of crackers, a bag of dark bread, canned meat, potatoes, dry, carrots — which found the then and gathered himself. Well put together and all that was in fact not regret it. Accumulated 150 kilograms. The aircraft were to fly directly over the infamous "road of life", which at that time was saved from starvation inhabitants of Leningrad, of course, the German air force on alert, and in fact were constantly shelling. But the task was successfully completed.

Landed on the "Commandant" airfield. The authorities have already left on his own business, and Vitaly asked the commandant to give the car to take products to the orphanage to visit Aunt yes. When Vitali came to the orphanage, the joy of kids did not have a limit, such a gift! My aunt showed himself a guest house and a children's kitchen, showed that boiled soups from horse harness, but dry grass added. Formidable were the days … I saw quite a few Vitali and skinny, malnourished children. They were in the room, writhed, deathly, could not even move — just watched raschudesno 30 pairs of children's eyes … Battle pilot do not hold back the tears. Vitali tried to cheer up kids — but as most are not quite cheerfully. I gave the guys egg powder, I was not even certain forces him to suck, to such an extent they were exhausted. Vitali decided to do something — returned to the airport and persuaded his colleagues to drain part of the fuel, so you can pick up the kids with you, in the aircraft have already been shipped wounded soldiers and officers. In Moscow, delivered 30 babies, which helped life, thanks to Vitaly, severely combat pilot who infiltrated children's suffering.

The story had a sudden extension. After many years, on the anniversary of the liberation of Leningrad last war Vitaly Lyaschenko accompanied the army general, whose division had brought a significant contribution to break the blockade. During one of the pauses Lyaschenko told the filmmakers that, too, was in Leningrad at the same time, however, in other circumstances. Those found a few people from the group of those kids. These were already adults who even kept the memory of life in the besieged Leningrad — duralumin plate engraved with the names of all the 30 rescued babies that at the meeting gave his own savior. This dish is very significant for Vitali and takes his place in the archive, but the main thing — in his heart. "Angel from heaven," called a military pilot Vitaly rescued kids. And not only those who had been transferred to Moscow — and every one of the children's home number 3, because until the end of the blockade they get better products brought then Vitali.

Vitaly said that during the war felt that something was above his cares. His life was in another fascinating episode. After the climactic battle of Stalingrad he managed to fly to his grandparents in the village Buturlinovka Voronezh region. My grandfather and grandmother were passively believers. Vitali was flying over the village and decided to land on a field near the 1st of the temples, and there just to find out about the fate of loved ones. The church at that time was a service. A little landing
gear touched the ground as immediately rushed to the plane people. And my father came up. Vitali spoke to him about what happens at the front, learned that living healthy and his grandparents. Father invited honored guest consecrate plane — Vitaly agreed, of course. And the priest sprinkled holy water on the car and said: "Even if the car and get knocked down, you stay alive. Voyuy with God! Defend the homeland. " And it's true that conserves God Vitaly entire war, and Victory day he marked also as own personal prazdnichek.

Rich was uneventful life Vitali. In August 1943, with output surpassed Alexander Pchelkina Vitali from the factory to the new regiment of La-7. Raschudesno somehow flew over the Black Sea and saw the ship "Georgia" which transporting the wounded from Malaya land in Sochi. And suddenly sees that fly to this steamer with the signs of the cross Reddish German planes! But such ships can not be attacked! But what the Germans while the international conventions … distill Vitali and Alexander aircraft did not carry weapons, it was necessary to think of what to do yet. She was born an amazing idea. On the new aircraft were equipped with lights. Vitaly team Pchelkin filed, that he faked the flashing lights of his car tracer fire on the enemy and went to the rapprochement with the German aircraft. By the time the Germans were already learned air battles of Kursk, even walked the bike — if the sky two Russian fighter, then join them in battle can only be having a double advantage. And the Germans are only three of those aircraft were. They saw the tracer lights and cleared back home, leaving the ship alone. And Vitali other circled the ship and greeted the wounded on the deck and the captain on the bridge. The captain wrote down in the watch magazine and on arrival at the port reported the incident and found out the names of their own saviors. For this feat Vitaliy Popkov awarded a prominent citizen of the town of Sochi.

The most famous pilots in his own admission memorable battle with the Luftwaffe Colonel Johann Gene. This fight was for Vitaly heaviest. Genn was listed as one of the best pilots in Germany. Air battle lasted more than 30 minutes, but none of the opponents do not make mistakes. The battle was in the so-called the "vertical maneuver." Complexity maneuver was that plane, moving at high speed went up vertically, with all this attacking his own enemy. Vertical maneuvers lasted over and over again, one more promptly the other, but no one was willing to concede. At the exit of yet another maneuver Popkov still managed to set fire to the fascist label queue. But to his rescue more one "Messerschmitt". The emergence of another 1st enemy was so sudden (the plane emerged from the clouds of smoke that Vitali did not have time to react to fit a surprise attack, and the queue of pushennaya "Messer" stitched plane Popkov. The car caught fire and burned himself Popkov, but, failing to find the strength within himself, jumped out of the burning car and opened the parachute. And it did not help — the parachute exploded. Vitaly bailed viscous swamp in which he was lucky to fall.

Vitaly Popkov - the legendary commander of the "Singing Squadron"

The pilots of the first squadron, which I commanded from 1943, shot down in the air 236 enemy aircraft, conducted 436 air combat, ground attack carried 481, 21836 sorties, 4032 bombing. I am proud that the war took place in the middle of these amazing people. Our squadron was called the "singing" because of our attachment to the song, and my call sign — "Maestro". Out of our 11 Squadron pilots were awarded the title of Hero of the Russian Union, to me this honor fell twice. And each title, any military service have been paid at the cost of risk, skill, military advantages and real victories.

Vitaly Popkov after the war he continued to serve in the Air Force. In 1951 he graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1964 — the Military Academy of the General Staff. Lieutenant-General since 1968. Since 1980, he taught at the Air Force Engineering Academy. February 6, 2010 Vitaly Popkov died. Buried 10 February 2010 at the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow.

Vitaly Popkov - the legendary commander of the "Singing Squadron"

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