Nikolaj Zherdev

Nikolaj Zherdev

Fighter pilot, commander of a fighter air brigade, Heroes of the Soviet-Japanese armed conflicts in the Far East
Date of Birth: 05.05.1911
Country: Ukraine

  1. Николай Жердев - A Soviet Fighter Pilot and Hero of the Soviet Union
  2. Early Life and Career
  3. Participation in the Spanish Civil War
  4. Heroic Acts in the Soviet-Japanese Armed Conflicts
  5. World War II and Tragic Loss

Николай Жердев - A Soviet Fighter Pilot and Hero of the Soviet Union

Early Life and Career

Nikolai Zherdev was born into a family of a stoker in Russia. He completed his education at the Mariupol Mechanical and Metallurgical Technical College and worked as a mechanic-designer in the project department of the Azovstal Metallurgical Plant. He served as the secretary of the Komsomol organization at the plant and also studied at an aeroclub. In 1934, Zherdev joined the Red Army and was accepted into the Lugansk School of Aviators named after the Proletariat of Donbass, from which he graduated in 1936. He served as a pilot and later as the commander of a squadron in the 57th Squadron of the 142nd Fighter Aviation Brigade in the Belarusian Military District, based in Bobruisk.

Participation in the Spanish Civil War

Zherdev participated in the National Revolutionary War in Spain from March 26, 1938, to September 3, 1938. During his time in Spain, he personally shot down three enemy aircraft, one of them through ramming. He was awarded the Order of Lenin on February 22, 1939, for his achievements in Spain.

Heroic Acts in the Soviet-Japanese Armed Conflicts

In July 1939, Zherdev participated in the Soviet-Japanese armed conflicts in the Far East. On November 17, 1939, he was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, along with two Orders of Lenin, the Order of the Red Banner, and the Order "For Military Valor" of the Mongolian People's Republic. Zherdev's bravery and leadership were evident during his time as the commander of the 70th Fighter Aviation Regiment. He completed 105 combat sorties, engaged in 46 aerial battles, and carried out 14 ground attacks against enemy troops. Under his command, the squadron shot down 42 Japanese aircraft, while Zherdev personally shot down 11 enemy planes and 3 in a group.

World War II and Tragic Loss

During World War II, Zherdev fought on the Southwestern, Southern, and North Caucasus fronts. He personally shot down 2 enemy aircraft and 3 in a group. His first victory was achieved near Zaporizhzhia, and the second one was near Poltava. Unfortunately, tragedy struck Zherdev's personal life during the war. His wife, Tamara, who was living in occupied territory, was betrayed and falsely accused as the wife of a Red Army commander. After months of brutal torture, she was executed by being thrown into a mine shaft.

On November 15, 1942, Major Nikolai Zherdev, serving as the navigator of the 821st Fighter Aviation Regiment, tragically died while carrying out his duties together with Major Sokolov A.F., the commander of the regiment. Zherdev was buried in the village of Batayurt in the Khassavyurtovsky district of the Dagestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. He is commemorated with a monument in Batayurt, and a school in Batayurt, a street in the settlement of Ruchenkov, and School No. 93 in Donetsk have been named after him to honor his memory.