Night-witch named Swallow

In late autumn 1943 NIGHT MODE on the Crimean coast in the Kerch was flying the plane. Winged machine followed directly by the position of the Germans, who bristled with anti-aircraft guns, machine guns, and the rays of searchlights, heading to the landing site Eltigensky landing, frees the peninsula from the invaders. Suddenly the sky flashed tracers flashed a flash. But the brave pilot did not flinch, after driving light "maize" Po-2 sits Antonina Khudiakova — one of the famous "night witches", which cause a nightmare for the Nazis, Swallow, as she was called our soldiers. For his numerous feats performed not on a massive fighter, and almost at the training light aircraft, she was awarded the title of Hero of the Russian Union.

Our heroine was born June 20, 1917 in Bryansk, in the village of Sloboda new girl in the family farm. According to the memoirs of contemporaries, strong-willed character was formed in the future pilots in childhood. Beauty-A student Tonya grew very bold and independent in their own solutions. After high school seven years, and a woman entered the Bryansk Engineering College — the separation of welders.

Formed in childhood craving for knowledge in his youth turned into a real erudition. In particular, motivate Tonya invention, improvement of existing devices and assemblies. After finishing college, got Khudiakova destination in Dnipropetrovsk — a young industrial city. At the local wagon factory immediately saw an intelligent, experienced and judicious master, active Komsomol: Antonina soon chosen member of a local council. Upon learning that the town operates Aero Club, Tonya immediately signed up to it. So began the path Khudyakova in aviation.

Managing Dneprodzerzhinsk Flying Club, Major-General of supplies BM Vasilenko in his book later recalled what technique practiced by young Russian pilots — boys and girls: "The main equipment of the aircraft to flying clubs at the time was widely recognized U-2 biplane. Delightful car , stable and very patiently endured sometimes such mistakes students what other plane would never forgive. This aircraft was designed and built in 1927 by aircraft designer Nikolai Polikarpov … It was a light aircraft at a speed of 100-120 km per hour. "

Aircraft "corncob" was almost plywood, with fixed landing gear, wheels reminiscent of the bike. Specifically that of the car then Khudiakova will fight with the Nazis, their desperate night attacks inducing nightmare for invaders. In the meantime, she studied the skill of the pilot and diligently rehearsed takeoffs and landings. Soon, passing exams, Tonya came to Kherson flying school.

It was the 1939 year — Europe has raged war. Khudiakova soon she became an instructor 22-year-old woman began to teach pilots flying club in Orel. She managed to make more than 40 pilots, but the fiery shaft of fights has come to our country's borders. In the harsh 1941 plucky aviatrix entered the ranks of the Red Army and was immediately focused on refresher courses commanders — maid to become a lieutenant. Soon were formed special ladies' Bomber Regiment, which specialized in night missions. The commander of the regiment itself, which was distributed Antonina Khudiakova, Evdokia was Bershanskaya.

When it comes about our aces of the war years, it is usually remembered Pokryshkina or Kozheduba. Illustrious heroes decorated their fighters are not a dozen stars, talking about downed enemy aircraft, but the ladies on planes smashing the enemy no worse than the guys working in more difficult weather criteria and applying a common winged cars.

When the war began training the U-2 biplanes, friends Tonya on the flying club, entered the service is as battle Po-2: renamed in honor of designer Polikarpov. Veneer "maize" were quiet, unobtrusive to the enemy night bombers, spies, planes for delivery reports, as provisions and ammunition to the front lines.

Ladies, timidly Nazis dubbed "night witches", flew Po-2 in the dark, in the clouds, in the light of the stars and the moon, carrying the simplest navigation equipment in an open cockpit, burning blown by the winds. They flew away, even for vulnerable small guns. Our soldiers honored their own heavenly helpers and gently called them "swallows" or "witches."

In the archives of the family of Antonina Fedorovna kept "Private Pilot Log Book Khudyakova" where there is daily record of its operations in January 1942. For three years plucky aviatrix made almost a thousand sorties! Among them were the bombing of enemy positions, but such that several of its bombs catered directly to the headquarters of General von Kleist near Mozdok, and delivery of ammunition and pharmaceuticals to our paratroopers near Kerch, when plane Khudyakova practically pushed his way through the fire of the Germans. And fights with the "Messers" when to exit the unequal battle lined aviatrix fooled pursuers: throw a bomb in the box and leave quietly at low altitude. Her fellow soldiers recalled that "firmly knocked, powerful woman flying recklessly and boldly."

On the frontline airfields rather short lull Minutka Antonina often used their engineering abilities: her advice constantly accessed equipment and pilots who came up with the criteria in field methods to make better weapons of their own iron birds. New mounts for bombs, advanced guns and machine guns, the elements of lighting devices — Antonina Fedorovna could often build reflecting on another diagram or drawing, which are then translated into the metal.

In its own last flight she got a concussion, and her plane was shot down. With all of this Tonya still able to drop the car, and only then lost consciousness. She came to woman in the hospital, and soon came the long-awaited victory. Through year, May 11, 1946, for the crimes during World War II exploits deputy squadron commander of the 46th Guards Senior Lieutenant AF Khudiakova was awarded the highest title of Hero of the Russian Union. Apart from the title it has received 22 battle friends from her shelf — about their exploits were written by 10's books and movies filmed.

After the war, the 46th Regiment was disbanded ladies. Discharged from the Air Force, Antonina Fedorovna along with her husband, also a military pilot Igor Semirechensky and daughter Tatiana initially settled in the town of Teikovo Ivanovo region, and then moved to Alexandria, Kirovograd region. Until the end of his own life this brave lady was cheerful and active, organized in the town museum and became a prominent citizen. Antonina Fedorovna died Dec. 17, 1998. But the country will keep in mind the exploits of their own sons and daughters who are approaching victory in Lofty Russian war.

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