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Jan 29, 2009 2:06 AM
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 8
Here is information about Lidiya Vladimirovna Litvyak from Wikipedia.

Born in Moscow, she was keen on aviation from her youth. At 14, she entered an aeroclub, and at 15, flew an aircraft for the first time. In the late 1930s, she received her flight instructor license.

After the German attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941, she tried to join a military aviation unit, but was turned down for lack of experience. After deliberately exaggerating her pre-war flight time by 100 hours of flight, she joined the all-female 586th Fighter Regiment (586 IAP), which was formed by Marina Raskova. She trained there on the Yakovlev Yak-1 aircraft.

She flew her first combat flights in the summer of 1942 over Saratov. In September, she was assigned, along with other women (including Katya Budanova), to the 437th IAP, fighting over Stalingrad. She flew a Lavochkin La-5 fighter, and on September 13, 1942, she shot down her first two aircraft over Stalingrad. The first victory, won during Litvyak's second combat mission, was a Junkers Ju 88 bomber that she helped her regimental commander shoot down. Minutes later, she scored the first solo kill by a female pilot, destroying a Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-2 "Gustav" piloted by an 11-victory ace, Staff Sergeant Erwin Maier of the 2nd Staffel of Jagdgeschwader 53.

In late 1942, Litvyak was moved to the 9th Guards Fighter Regiment (9 GIAP), and in January 1943, to the 296th IAP, renamed later to become the 73rd Guards Fighter Regiment. On February 23, she was awarded the Order of the Red Star, made a junior lieutenant and selected to take part in the elite air tactic called okhotniki, or "free hunter", where pairs of experienced pilots searched for targets on their own initiative. Twice, she was forced to land due to battle damage, and she was injured in aerial combat on March 22 and again on July 16, 1943. A male pilot who she flew with as wingman in 73rd GIAP, a flying ace named Alexei Solomatin, flew into the ground and was killed in front of the entire regiment on May 21 while training a new flyer. Lydia was devastated by the crash and wrote a letter to her mother describing how she realized only after Solomatin's death that she had loved him.

On June 13, 1943, Litvyak was appointed flight commander of the 3rd Aviation Squadron within 73rd GIAP.

On August 1, 1943, Lydia was shot down during combat, and she went missing. She was 21 years old. Soviet authorities suspected that she might have been captured, a possibility that prevented them from awarding her the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. In 1979 it was determined that her aircraft had come down near Dmitrovka, a village in Shakhterski district, and that she had been killed in action with a mortal head wound. On May 6, 1990, USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev posthumously awarded her Hero of the Soviet Union. Her final rank was Senior Lieutenant. Her body was never exhumed; verification was limited to comparison of a number of reports.

She was called the "White Lily of Stalingrad" in Soviet press releases; the white lily flower may be translated from Russian as Madonna lily. She has also been called the "White Rose of Stalingrad" in Europe and North America after reports of her exploits were first published in English. A play about her, White Rose, was performed once in Coventry.
Aug 20, 2010 7:53 AM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 52
I believe Sanya is much more amazing, she is her own radio could Lidiya do that?
Sep 25, 2010 4:53 AM

Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 72