P-39 Q Airacobra, 16 Gv IAP, 1944
pilot Kapitan Grigoy A. Rechkalov
oil on canvas, 60x40 cm
original painting in personal collection in US
Grigoriy Rechkalov was reproached by his commanders on several occasions for his lack of discipline and and individualistic ambitions in combat. Nevertheless, Rechkalov, a born lone fighter, was among the most formidable Soviet fighter pilots of World War II. In constant action since June 1941, he had refined his combat skills to perfection by the summer of 1944. Rechkalov was one of the quickest and deadliest of aces, possesing superb pilot skills and outstanding marmsmanship. He had already been appointed Hero of the Soviet Union in May 1943. On July 1, 1944, when his score stood at 48 individual and six shared victories, he was appointed Hero of the Soviet Union for the second time. Due to his supreme skills, he was appointed commander of the crack guards fighter regiment 16 GIAP on July 15, 1944, when the regimental commander Glinka was shot down by a III./JG 52 Bf 109 and injured. Already next day, Rechkalov blasted a Ju 87 out of the sky. During this time, III./JG 52 belonged to the daily adversaries of 16 GIAP. Rechkalov's final score in World War II was 56 personal and six shared victories.
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