Regiment "Normandie-Niemen" was the only part of the military of another country, who fought on the terrain of the USSR in the years majestically Russian. The British and the Americans sent out only in Russian Alliance technology, food and fuel. France captured none of this could give. In 1942, General Charles de Gaulle offered Russian help in the management of a squadron of French pilots. Stalin had accepted the offer. For Joseph Vissarionovich it had a very significant political importance, as the head of our country placed his hopes on the fact that the arrival of the Allies accelerate the discovery of a second front. De Gaulle, in turn, wanted to enlist the help of the French Communists involved in the Resistance. In addition, the recognition of his Russian Union as a favorite movement was the liberation of France as opposed to the general pressure of Churchill. By the time the British have already taken a number of important decisions about the French colonies, even without the knowledge of the famous municipal leader.
November 29, 1942 On the airfield in the town of Ivanovo arrived fifteen French pilots, aircraft technicians 30, nine and four staff officers. December 4 of them have already formed aviation squadron. The pilots dubbed it the "Normandy" in honor of one of the French provinces. So Makar, they showed their difference from the regiments Vichy, who had only numeric names.
Most of the French pilots at that time barely 20 years old. Of the fifteen pilots who arrived only seven had experience in air battles, engaging in single combat over North Africa. Since the Free French pilots trained specialists from the UK, Churchill was against the order to release the aces from the Western Front. Only three of the French flew over three hundred hours that were needed to get a flying license. In other figure hovered around 150. To be on the Eastern Front, the pilots cmoshennichali, attributing to himself the missing watch.
The squadron commander, "Cherbourg" regiment "Normandie-Niemen" Marcel Lefebvre (Marcel Lefevre) and his Russian comrades (Technician Lieutenant Tarasov and Sergeant Kolupaev) in the Yak-9, number 14. Marcel Lefebvre 105 successful combat missions, participated in 30 air battles in which he personally shot down 11 German planes. 05/28/1944 Lefebvre, the fighter was shot down, and he was wounded. Seven days later, French the pilot was killed from wounds acquired in a Russian hospital. June 4, 1945 Lieutenant Marcel Lefebvre was awarded the title of Hero of the Russian Union posthumously
After arriving in the Russian Alliance was invited by the French elect a model aircraft for combat. In the middle of options were English "Hurricanes" South American "Eyrkobry" Russian La-5 and Yak-1. The pilots have suspended their own choices on the Yak-1. Soon all the French fighter pilots successfully passed the exam and went to the training base available to the regiment of bombers at the airport Plain plant. Their task was to accompany a leisurely Pe-2.
After the first combat pilots shot down by the Nazis opened the account. But there were also considerable loss. Only for April 13, the squadron lost three people. Revealed serious problems. The French could not navigate the snow-covered steppes of Russia. It was worth the life of Jean Ray, who along with Louis Astier during the job in August 1943, was over the territory of the enemy, and was fired. Apart from this supreme mastery of French pilots had a hard-hitting feature. Friends on the ground, they were at the height of every man for himself. The pilots first learned to conduct single combat. But such a strategy in the most horrible front led only to the fact that they were transformed into cannon fodder for the Germans.
To sit in the rear of the French had no intention but to allow them to further participate in the fighting Russian commanders also could not. The country needs was alive and battle-squadron, and not a few dead heroes. Because "Normandy" was attached to the 303rd Air Division of the fourth squadron in the eighteenth Regiment. Guardsmen from the 18th undertook to "put on the wing" of foreigners, by example teaching them combat interaction. April 17, 1943 took place the first cooperative sortie Russian and French pilots.
Russian pilots izderzhali a lot of time to teach the French do not get lost in an unfamiliar area. Major General Zakharov personally explained the strategy of the group to foreigners fight with vzaimoprikrytiem the example of a broom. It splits one twig here and showed that if all the twigs together, the broom does not break down.
Many inconveniences allies brought the language barrier and everyday household problems. For example, the French have always refuses vserasprostranennuyu we buckwheat, calling it a "bird food."
aircraft shot down. Two more German bombers he shot down in 1940. over France
Another discrepancy was terrible climate of our country. The pilots had a hard time during the cold Russian. A mechanic was even harder. In rein in their tweak does not go any cog, and without mittens to work in the cold and they could not. In the end, by mutual agreement, the French engineers have changed on our own.
Soon between the Russian and the French began a friendly business that grew into a real male friendship. When Vasily Stalin desired to take to discover made known "Norman", the French are strongly opposed to this transfer. Commander of the 303rd Air Division, ZHoru Zakharova, except that they are not worshiped. It was called the "elder brother" and "father." And by order of the chief of the eighteenth regiment Anatolia Golubova unconditionally and could go to hell, and the world's end.
In the 1944th Nazis shot down the plane, in which were the pilot Frenchman Maurice de Sein and Russian mechanic Vladimir whiter. The pilot gave the order to jump, but he knew he had no parachute mechanics. De Sein did not leave each other, until the last moment trying to level the machine. They died together. Another sad example of the least friendly allies were romance novels of French pilots with local girls. One of them — Alexander Laurent — even married.
In July 1943, the squadron was reformed in a fighter regiment. The first commander was appointed Major Pierre Pouyade. Soon Yak-1 was changed to Yak-9. In August 1944, the regiment received the Yak-3.
From the memoirs of French pilot: "The Yak-3 could successfully fight two to four, and four — against sixteen. On such machines, we felt themselves absolute masters in the air. "
Fighter regiment "Normandy" participated in the Battle of Kursk, the Belarusian and the East Prussian operations. Eagle pilots helped liberate, Bryansk, Smolensk, Konigsberg, Gumbinnen (now Gusev), Pilau Insterburg and other town. In the summer of 1944 for their invaluable assistance in crossing the river Neman and the release of Lithuania Stalin awarded the honorable title of the Regiment "Normandie-Niemen".
But the main result of the action fighter regiment — over 5 thousand sorties, 900 combat aircraft, 273 recorded victories (not including eighty-wrecked aircraft) from March 1943 to April 1945. But fate has not spoiled the French. During the fighting of the ninety-six pilots killed 40 two (of them on May 30 in aerial combat). Of the fifteen people living in the first team only three left: Roland de la Poype, Marcel Albert and Joseph Risso. Eighty-three pilot regiment "Normandie-Niemen" were awarded to Russian control, and the regiment was awarded the Order of Red Banner and Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Four French was awarded the title of Hero of the Russian Union. Got it: Lieutenant Marcel Albert, Lieutenant Roland de la Poype, commander of the Third Squadron Marcel Lefebvre (posthumously) and Lieutenant Jacques Andre. The French government has rewarded "Normandy-Neman" Military Cross, Order of the Legion of Honor, the Military Medal and the Order of the Liberation.
After the end of hostilities pilots and families of the dead pilots received remuneration from the currency of the USSR. The total amount was about 250 thousand dollars. Our country has also donated aircraft, on which the French fought against the Nazi invaders (40 one Yak-3). For comparison, the British Ministry of Military Affairs has agreed not to give, but only to realize bombers, which waged war pilots from France. June 20, 1945 On the French returned home.
At home, "Normandie-Niemen" has become part of the elite. The regiment fought in the war in Indochina, in the bombing of Yugoslavia as part of the NATO forces.
In 1995, in Russia in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the regiment of the venerable title of "Normandie-Niemen" was awarded the eighteenth Guards Regiment, fought in the past, along with the French. The regiment was based at the airfield Galenki village, located in the Primorsky Krai. Unfortunately, due to the next reform of the Armed Forces of our country in 2009, a number of regiments ceased to exist. These hit and eighteenth Guards. His successor was appointed air base in the Far East under the number 6988. In the same year, due to the downsizing of the French army stopped the activity of the same name by French Fighter Group, which is located in the town of Colmar. Part of pilots and aircraft together with the regimental flag attached to a military base in Reims. It came out just the other day celebrations in the 2010th year of the Franco-Russian friends
By the end of 2012 the government pledged to return regiment on the basis of Mont-de-Marsan. It treats adopted fighters "Rafale".
In 2012, the 70th anniversary of the renowned aviation regiment. What does this mean for today? Who carefully keeps the memory of the heart "Normandie-Niemen"? In 2010, the regiment museum in his home town of Les Andelys M. Lefebvre was closed due to lack of financial support. The museum has worked at the expense of the city administration, and implementation of books and holding meetings. Workers in establishments were that the funds raised nearly enough on wages. In the end, the authorities decided to postpone the exhibition at Le Bourget Museum of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Now there is only one copy is kept true "Yak-3" shelf "Normandie-Niemen". The exposition will be opened to the public in 2013. At the same time in Russia to this day, there are about 20 museums famous "Norman" in schools. In the capital of their 5. There are meetings with veterans of the kids, round tables and exhibitions. Patriotic education of the kids by the Association of veterans of the regiment, headed by Anatoly Fetisov. At the same time engaged without state aid. Just six months back in association appeared little own premises on the ground of the plant. V. Lenin.
Need to see that in France about the history of the famous "Normandie-Niemen" strongly little understood by the general public. School history textbooks do not mention about the Regiment. To the French veterans often come to journalists and guests, but in fact they are all from the former Russian Union. This attitude may explain the fact that France as a whole is very poorly attached to the memory of that terrible war. So how to compare the experiences of this government, with unimaginable suffering of the Russian people. For the countries of the former Union of Russian 2nd Global with 20 million dead family means more than France, which lost about fifty thousand people.
Hunt to hope that in the future our descendants around the world will keep in mind the real heroes of that terrible war, and not to think that the Second World won a dozen Yankees with machine guns.
Captain Joseph Risso have their own Yak-3 number 1 of the regiment "Normandie-Niemen". A fascinating detail: the lack of a snow-white stripes on the steering wheel. Typically French aircraft paint the steering wheel in the colors of the national flag (reddish, pure white, blue), and then for some unknown reason, there is no snow-white polosa.V 1940 Joseph Risso, along with his friend Niklossom tried to escape from Vichy France on the captured plane Caudron "Samouni." Getting lost, runaways landed in Spain, where they were taken into custody. After Risso's still managed to get to the UK, where the first group of French pilots — volunteers went to the Soviet Union for the formation of GC 3 "Normandie". The first official personal won 14 September 1943, only won 11 official victories (5 of them — in the group) and 4 unconfirmed