Vladimir Orehov

Vladimir Orehov

Fighter pilot
Date of Birth: 08.01.1921
Country: Belarus

  1. Biography of Vladimir Orekhov
  2. Early Life and Entry into Aviation
  3. Combat Experience and Achievements
  4. Later Life and Achievements

Biography of Vladimir Orekhov

Early Life and Entry into Aviation

Vladimir Alexandrovich Orekhov, a little-known Soviet ace, was born on January 8, 1921, in the city of Tula, in a working-class family. He completed 8 classes of an incomplete secondary school and at the age of 18, in January 1939, he entered the renowned Kacha flight school. In 1940, he graduated from the military aviation school for pilots and began his service in one of the fighter aviation regiments stationed in Ukraine. However, on the first day of the war, his I-16 with the number "33" was destroyed on the ground. For some time, Orekhov flew on combat missions on other pilots' aircraft. Soon, he was sent to the rear and assigned to the newly formed 434th aviation regiment, which had LaGG-3 aircraft in its arsenal.

Combat Experience and Achievements

During his first flights, Orekhov shot down an enemy Me-109 over Lyuban, catching it off guard during takeoff. By the spring of 1942, the regiment transitioned to new Yak-1 planes, and Orekhov already had 4 personal victories and 1 group victory to his credit. During one of the battles, he was wounded in his left arm and leg and was sent to the hospital. He returned to the regiment in the autumn after retraining on the Yak-7B.

In November 1942, the remnants of the 434th regiment merged into one of the squadrons of the 32nd Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment, under the command of the famous ace I.I. Kleshchev. Orekhov continued to achieve victories during intense battles for Stalingrad and fought as part of the Northwest and Kalinin fronts. In early 1943, the regiment's command was taken over by Colonel V.I. Stalin, the son of Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin. By that time, Orekhov held the rank of Senior Lieutenant and led a flight. Fierce battles took place in the Demiansk area, where Orekhov achieved one of his victories on February 21, 1943. Vasily Stalin, despite his limited combat experience, also took to the air and often flew in formation with the Hero of the Soviet Union Sergey Dolgushin, with Orekhov as his wingman.

In March 1943, the 32nd Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment received the newest La-5FN fighters. Vladimir Orekhov flew on planes with the numbers "93" and "23." By March 1943, Orekhov, as the commander of a flight in the 32nd Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment (part of the 210th Fighter Aviation Division, 1st Fighter Aviation Corps, 3rd Air Army, Kalinin Front), had conducted 235 combat sorties, personally shot down 8 enemy aircraft, and destroyed 2 on the ground. On May 1, 1943, he was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union for his courage and bravery displayed in battles against the enemy. At that time, he already had 11 personal victories and 1 group victory.

Orekhov continued to participate in battles under the command of the 1st Baltic Front. He was not only a courageous fighter pilot but also possessed the rare talent of an aerial reconnaissance specialist. His skills were respected even by the ground forces. Aerial reconnaissance was a challenging task, as it involved flying over enemy territory, encountering enemy fighters, anti-aircraft fire, and the risk of getting lost. Only experienced and observant pilots with sharp vision and strong memory were selected for reconnaissance missions. Orekhov was considered one of the best reconnaissance pilots not only in his regiment but also in the entire division.

Later Life and Achievements

After the war, Vladimir Alexandrovich Orekhov continued his service in the Soviet Air Force. In 1945, he graduated from the Higher Officer Courses for Navigators. He served in various navigator positions and was a navigator in the 1st Guards Fighter Aviation Corps of the Soviet Group of Forces in Germany. In 1968, Orekhov retired as a Guards Colonel. He lived in Minsk and worked in the Civil Aviation Fleet. Throughout his service, he was awarded the Orders of Lenin, Red Banner (four times), Alexander Nevsky, 1st Class Patriotic War (twice), Red Star (three times), and various medals.