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Stories of Soviet Warriors: Lieutenant Krivosheev
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Lieutenant Krivosheev, Grigorii Vasilyevich


 

Fighter pilot, senior pilot in the 31st Fighter Regiment. Flew in Yaks


 



So I shot down 4 planes – not that many, but most of our flights were reconnaissance missions. Of the 227 combat missions that I flew, 128 were reconnaissance. What does reconnaissance mean? For reconnaissance, an AFA-I (Fighter Aerial Camera) is installed in the fuselage of the plane which can be controlled from the cockpit. Before takeoff, I would spread out the map and look at the objective. For example, I might have to take pictures of a road to scale that makes the cars and tanks look like pin heads. To do this, I needed to determine my altitude and calculate the speed of the aircraft at the moment the camera would be turned on. If I flew too fast then the images would be fragmented, and if I fly too slow they would overlap. Besides that, I had to strictly follow my flight path. If I deviated from the course, then I would not get useful reconnaissance photos. After making all these calculations, I outlined benchmarks on the map – where I should start shooting pictures and where to stop. Then I have to reach the target, find the benchmarks, locate these vehicles or tanks, or whatever else I am supposed to photograph, and make sure that I execute my pass just right. On the pass I had to maintain my altitude because if I ascend or descend I am not going not capture the photos to the necessary scale – one frame will be to one scale and another to a different one. And of course as I approach the area the forces on the ground threw absolutely everything they can at me.


I could not maneuver – because then I would not accomplish the objective. I did not even pay attention to the bursts to my right and left. Of course I took the photographs at the highest possible speed. Why? Because the anti-aircraft gunners saw my “YAK” and set their sights for 520 km/h, but I am going 600 km/h not 520 so all the bursts are behind me. I arrived back at the base. The technician carried the film to the film lab, they printed it on photo paper, the whole thing was mounted onto a map board including the necessary shots of the objective. I signed the board along with my regimental commander and chief of staff, and then they sent it to whomever ordered the mission. In addition, I had to scout out the locations of airfields, guns, or artillery concentrations, and I had to give a suggestion about what this means: what is being transported on the roads, and why on this road and not a different one, what types of planes are at the airfields and what their capabilities are. As a result, the job required mental labor as well as good tactical training. And I successfully completed these missions.



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Artyom Drabkin ( born 25.07.1971) — Russian public figure, leader of internet project  «I remember»,  author of collections of memoirs of soviet veterans of World War II,  series of veterans interviews «Soldiers' Diaries» and «Trench Truth».  Script writer of documentary movie series.

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