Aleksander Letuchij

Aleksander Letuchij

Bomber pilot, Hero of the Soviet Union, Heroes of the Soviet-Finnish war
Date of Birth: 25.11.1908
Country: Ukraine

  1. Biography of Alexander Letuchiy
  2. He lived in the town of Pushkin in the Leningrad region.

Biography of Alexander Letuchiy

Alexander Letuchiy, a bomber pilot, was born into a peasant family and was of Jewish descent. He completed his first year at the Moscow Commercial Institute before joining the Soviet Army in 1931. After graduating from the military aviation school in 1932, Letuchiy served as a flight instructor at the Naval Aviation School and the Flight Training Center in Eisk. He later served in aviation units of the Leningrad Military District.

During the Soviet-Finnish war, Letuchiy served as the assistant commander of the 3rd Light Bomber Aviation Regiment of the 8th Army of the Northwest Front. He completed 32 combat missions and was awarded the Order of the Red Star. On February 1, 1940, while carrying out a mission, Letuchiy's aircraft was shot down and made a forced landing on Lake Ilya-Lavayärvi. While the other crews provided covering fire, Letuchiy landed his aircraft and rescued the crew of the downed plane.

Letuchiy's actions were described by General-Colonel of Aviation Ryotov: "For several days, a damp fog hung over the land... But then the sky cleared... The first to take off was Captain Topaller's crew. We had just honored this experienced pilot for being awarded the Order of the Red Banner... The fog had not completely dissipated, and we had to fly almost directly over the forest. The low altitude allowed the enemy to fire from all types of weapons. Nevertheless, the planes overcame the barrage, dropped their bombs, and turned back. A shell exploded near Topaller's plane. Its fragments pierced the wings in several places, damaging the fuel line. The cabin was filled with gray steam. It was dangerous to continue flying: a fire and explosion were possible."

Letuchiy and his crew managed to find a frozen lake as a landing spot. As they landed, they noticed tents set up near the edge of the forest. After landing, Letuchiy took out a machine gun from the cockpit. This precaution turned out to be necessary as Finnish soldiers ran towards them from the tents. Letuchiy's friends, Britov and Khlushchiborshch, opened fire on the enemy, forcing them to take cover. Meanwhile, Letuchiy landed his aircraft about 100 meters away from the damaged plane.

Letuchiy's crew members quickly boarded the aircraft, but it was difficult to take off due to the frozen skis. With the help of Topaller and Bliznyuk, Letuchiy managed to maneuver the plane and take off, narrowly avoiding the treetops. Topaller's bare hands were frozen as he clung to the aircraft, using his elbows to hold on to the skis during the forty-minute flight.

Letuchiy and Topaller reunited an hour after the landing at a medical station. Despite suffering from frostbite and swollen hands, Letuchiy hugged and kissed his rescuer, expressing his gratitude. Letuchiy was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union on May 19, 1940, and received the Order of Lenin, the Order of the Red Banner, the Order of Alexander Nevsky, the Order of the Patriotic War 1st Class, two Orders of the Red Star, and several medals.

During the Great Patriotic War, Letuchiy participated in the war from June 1941. He served as the commander of a squadron, an aviation regiment, and the deputy commander of a bomber aviation division. He personally completed 81 combat missions. Letuchiy completed officer training courses in 1945 and retired as a colonel in 1957.

He lived in the town of Pushkin in the Leningrad region.