Pilot and Hero of the Soviet Union, Major Nikolai Ivanovich Polagushin (1923 - 1999).
Nikolai Polagushin was drafted to the Red Army in June, 1941. In 1942 he graduated from an aviation academy and soon after joined the Red Army on the Leningrad Front. He participated in the Siege of Leningrad, the Vyborg–Petrozavodsk Offensive and the Battle of Königsberg.
He flew 259 combat missions overall in his Ilyushin Il-2.
Pilot and Hero of the Soviet Union, Major Afrikantov Platonovich Erofeev (1917 - 1976) second from the left, not wearing medals and now lacking his incredible moustache and sideburns, with officers of the 717th Bomber Regiment.
Pilot and Hero of the Soviet Union, Major Afrikantov Platonovich Erofeev (1917 - 1976) second from the left, with officers of the 717th Bomber Regiment, 242nd Night Bomber Division of the 6th Air Army.
Lieutenant Raisa Surnachevskaya of the 586th Fighter Aviation Regiment with her Yakovlev Yak-7 fighter.
One of the most memorable air battles involving Raisa Surnachevskaya and her wingman Tamara Pamyatnykh took place on March 19th, 1943. While pursuing a large group of German bombers(42 to be exact) above a railway depot in Kastornaya, Pamyatnykh suffered heavy damage due to enemy gunners and began spinning out of control when one of her wings were shot off. Instead of retreating after losing sight of her comrade, Raisa climbed into position and continued to attack the German planes. She was shot at but managed to damage many German aircraft in the process until she made a successfulfiery landing on the side of a hill. There were 43 bullet holes counted on Raisa’s Yak.
She later learned that Tamara had parachuted to safety.
The two managed to break up the 42 bomber formation causing them to jettison their bombs early and retreat which ultimately saved the railway depot and Russian troops.
Raisa Surnachevskaya had achieved 3 confirmed kills throughout the war and was awarded the Order of the Red Banner which can be seen pinned above her breast pocket in this photo.