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Red Star Against the Swastika (Hardback)

The Story of a Soviet Pilot over the Eastern Front

Aviation > WWII Military > Frontline Books WWII

By Vasily B Emelianenko
Frontline Books
Pages: 240
ISBN: 9781853676499
Published: 15th November 2005
Last Released: 14th September 2008



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'A gripping insight into the war's bloodiest campaign.'
Military Illustrated

This is the extraordinary story of Vasily B. Emelianenko, the veteran pilot of one of the Soviet Union's most contradictory planes of the Second World War – the I1-2. This heavily armoured aircraft was practically unrivalled in terms of fire power, but it was slow to manoeuvre and an easy target for fighters. I1–2 had to attack enemy flak columns at extremely low altitudes, which led to enormous tolls both in equipment and personnel.

It is no wonder then that, having flown eighty combat sorties against the Germans, Emelianenko was awarded the highest decoration – the Hero of the Soviet Union. He went on to complete a total of ninety-two sorties. His plane was shot down three times, and on each occasion he managed to pilot the damaged aircraft home, demonstrating remarkable resilience and bravery in the face of terrifying odds.

Emelianenko's vivid memoirs provide a rare insight into the reality of fighting over the Eastern Front and the tactics of the Red Army Air Force. With remarkable clarity, he recalls what it was like to come face to face with a skilled, deadly and increasingly desperate enemy. Hair-raising encounters with fighters, forced landings on enemy territory, and the death of friends are all brought dramatically and movingly to life in this rare first-hand account.

Although there are several books about Luftwaffe Stuka pilots, there is almost nothing about their Soviet counterparts. This is the extraordinary story of Vasily B Emelianenko, a veteran pilot
flying the Shturmovik ground attack aircraft.

Read the full review here.


What a masterpiece! This story instantly makes you realise why the Shturmovik was SO renowned as a ground attack aircraft - the men who flew it. The book starts by giving a fair description of the aircraft itself, which may upset some preconceived notions!

The men who flew these things really were the backbone of the VVS and need far greater recognition than is given by this book alone. That doesn't take anything away from Emelianenko's story, because it is too good to be ignored.

Amazon Reviewer, Hassar
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