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Unique Documentary on Russian Ace Aleksandr Pokryshkin (English) (1985)


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DISCLAIMER: This is a unique documentary on russian ace Aleksandr Pokryshkin, translated in english by members of the Il-2 flight sim community [i.B.]ViRUS, AstronHaizer, =M=shammy and yours truly. The translation is not literal, but we tried to get the subtitles as close to the original meaning as possible. It is not perfect, as we are not translation professionals.




Aleksandr Ivanovich Pokryshkin was a top Soviet flying ace and a Marshal of the Soviet Air Force. He was made a Hero of the Soviet Union on three separate occasions. Pokryshkin was the great tactician of the Soviet Air Force during the Second World War. He almost single handedly fought to change the obsolete Soviet tactics that were in place in 1941 when the war started. Going against the totalitarian establishment and openly defying the totalitarianism-approved combat doctrine almost cost him his career and possibly his life. After openly criticising the official tactics that led to huge losses and teaching his fellow pilots new tactics he invented himself, he was grounded and scheduled to be court martialed. However the word of his inventions reached some superiors in Moscow, and instead of a court martial Pokryshkin was awarded and promoted. By the end of the war, his writings had been published and distributed to all Soviet pilots, and he toured fighter regiments extensively lecturing young pilots on his techniques.


During the first weeks of the war, Pokryshkin began to see very clearly how outdated the Soviet combat doctrine was, and began slowly drafting his own ideas in his meticulously kept notebooks. He carefully recorded all details of all air engagements he and all his friends were involved in, and came up with detailed analysis of each. He fought in very complicated conditions: constant retreat, poor to no control and communication, overwhelming odds against superior opponent. He would later say "one who hasn't fought in 1941–1942 has not truly tasted war".


Pokryshkin's most significant contribution to the war effort and the most impressive kill record came during the battle for the Kuban region in 1943. The area east of the Crimean peninsula had seen heated air combat in the months that led to the Soviet assault on Crimea itself, where Kuban-based Soviet air regiments went against Crimea-based Luftwaffe Geschwader. Pokryshkin's regiment went against such well-known German fighter units as JG 52 and JG 3 'Udet'. The area saw some of the most heated fighting of the Eastern Front, with daily engagements of up to 200 aircraft in the air. Pokryshkin's innovative tactics of using different fighter types stacked in altitude, the so-called 'pendulum' flight pattern for patrolling the airspace, and the use of ground-based radar, forward based controllers and an advanced central ground control system led to the first great Soviet Air Force victory over the Luftwaffe.

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