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Old 26th March 2010, 13:05
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is offline
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Crimea, 26 March 1944

Hello,

Today I searched the fate of Kapitan Alexander Filippovich Lavrenov of 291 IAP, an ace and Hero of the Soviet Union killed on 26 March 1944 over Crimea.

I found two very different versions of his fate on the web:

_ http://allaces.ru/p/episode.php?id=421 says he was bounced and killed by two Bf 109 after an unsuccessful battle.

_ http://www.peoples.ru/military/aviat...andr_lavrenov/ gives a far more heroic view of his demise, telling he died in a taran while trying to save another Soviet pilot.

The problem is that the second source is:
1) really like a piece of Soviet-era propaganda
2) full of error (Volkov was not commander of 812 IAP, but of 274 IAP, 278 IAD. By the way neither 291 IAP nor 812 were in 278 IAD, but in 265 IAD)

The strange thing about the second link is that, contrary to most Soviet stories, it indicates that the Soviet suffered heavy losses (ten fighters) and due to an error of the command (sending young inexperienced pilots in an area where JG 52 appeared in strength).

The allaces.ru website seems more reliable to me, and his view of Lavrenov's death seems to come from a combat report. I checked this site to find losses of 265 and 278 IAD this day, and found the names of 5 killed pilots:

278 IAD (15, 43, 274 IAP):
15 IAP Dmitriev, Ivan Ilyich
43 IAP Grigorovsky, Viktor Trofimovich
274 IAP Vakhramey, B A
274 IAP Volchkov, Nikolai G. (IAP commander)

265 IAD (291, 402, 812 IAP):
291 IAP Lavrenov, Alexander Filippovich

On the German side, 9 claims are known this day in this area:
2 Yak (-1 and -7) by 5./JG 52 at 0916-0923 hrs
1 Airacobra by Lt August Lambert of II./SG 2 at 1325 hrs
1 Yak-9 by Lt Walter Wolfrum of 5./JG 52 at 1402 hrs
5 Yak-1 by 4. and 5./JG 52 between 1547 and 1608 hrs

That is all I have, and now are my questions:

1) in March 1944 in Crimea, how much time difference was it between the hours used by German and Soviet air forces. I know that in years before, there was for example a 2 hour difference between time used by JG 54 and KBF pilots, using probably respectively Central European Time and Moscow time.

2) is there any reality in the 10 losses of 278 IAD, and their reasons ?

3) the book "Dragons..." telling the history of 812 IAP in the first part of the war (the full title escaping me now) has been published in English, if the second part covering 1944 exists in Russian, I would be interested to know what happened to this unit this day.

Thanks in advance

Laurent
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Old 26th March 2010, 15:58
Nikita Egorov Nikita Egorov is offline
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Re: Crimea, 26 March 1944

Laurent,

1. Time difference in this case two hours. German time behind.

2. 9 in 278 IAD, including two Yaks damaged and belly landed on the home field and 1 in 265 IAD (Lavrenov). Reason is surprising attacks of Bf-109s from II/JG52 in three separate engagements.

3. This story should be a subject of one of the future publications, so I can not reveal the details right now, all I can say that the main reason for that disaster was mainly self-confidence of the leaders that ended up in lack of circumspection in flight and resulted in heavy losses.
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Old 26th March 2010, 21:17
yogybär yogybär is offline
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Re: Crimea, 26 March 1944

Some additional info:
- Olt. Fritz Bilfinger (4./JG52) was wounded in aerial combat "N of Tschurschak" due to an 2cm HEI
- 8 claims by II./JG52:
9:16 Jak Wolfrum
9:23 IL2 Wolfrum
14:02 Jak Wolfrum
15:47 Jak Wolfrum
16:00 Jak Sturm
16:06 Jak Wolfrum
16:07 Jak Wolfrum
16:08 Jak Wolfrum
[II./JG52, B.Barbas]
Most claims are located ca. 10km E of Perekop. I didn't find Tschurschak though.
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Old 27th March 2010, 01:03
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is offline
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Re: Crimea, 26 March 1944

Yogibar, Tschurschak is probably the German form for Chuchak, the place listed by Soviet sources, a village situated on the south side of the Sivash. See link below:
http://www.maplandia.com/ukraine/res...-krym/chuchak/

Thanks, Nikita, for your answers. If the time difference is two hours, do you agree that Lavrenov was probably shot down by Lt Walter Wolfrum of 5./JG 52 at 1402 hrs German time/1605 Soviet time ?
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