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Old 3rd January 2007, 12:35
Mirek Wawrzynski Mirek Wawrzynski is offline
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32. GIAP History - A few comments from reader

There is just now edited in Russia very nice history about 32. GIAP. It is
written by Sergei Isaev from Moscow/Russia.

Title: "The pages of history of 32 Guards figher regiment", Sergei Isaev. The size of the book is A4, hard binding, 220 glossy pages, more than 250 pictures and diagrams, 15 color profiles by M. Bykov. The first volume written the history of 1941-1967. Printed in summer 2006 in Moscow This is small edition - 500 copies. The editorial standard
is very good as for such small run production.

If you compare this Russian editorial level with for example American
editorial level presented in Black Cross and Red Stars vol. I (printed 6
years ago), the Isayev book is absolutely better made and itself looks
better. Comparison with vol. 2 of Black Cross and Red Stars, could be maybe
the same printing level or slight higher for Isayev book (a little better
editorial inside text works). I underline again, that I only compare pure
editorial works (not context). This does not have anything to do with value
of authors inputs, knowledge - it is quite different things - knowledge of
authors.


In my opinion Isayev book is direct example for second generation of the
book focused on military/aviation history. The first one was written by
mainly by eyewitness, who more or less written their memories or written own unit's history according mainly own memory and researches in some level in archives records. To the first generation could be attached so authors like: Yemielyanenko (W wojennom wozduhie:, Zaharov (Ja istreibitiel), Skripko (Po celiam bliznim i dalszim), Denisov 'Pod nami Czernoye Morie". - very good written books, some have very valuable information but also have more or less political/ censorships imprint /pressure influenced on the writer.
These mentioned books were printed before 1990 in Russian. There were many such kinds books (different value) about aviation edited in Russia in Soviet time.


Second generation books are done not directly by veterans, but mainly by
people deeply interesting in aviation history. So this kind of people
treated the past with the distance and reflection. These books are more or less made according own, deep archival researches, including veterans
meetings/ talking, trying to check veterans memory by comparing them with official documents, diaries, log books, unit's records. Next distinction is that in such written books there are more or many photos. Isayev's book is exactly such kind of works, which need a lot of time to gather and check data to get valuable information.


Pluses
Reader could find there many valuable and interesting information about 434. OIAP later 32. GIAP. It was exactly this unit where, one of unit's commander was son of Stalin. It is itself very interesting history. The text about unit history is made according chronological order there are very well done additional information about top unit's pilot in separate sections. The book is also packed with many black and white photos, some of them are good reproduced other in lesser degree (originals have weak quality, anyway it is better to have any photos then none). The book presents quite long period of units life 1941-1967. It is very interesting chapter about travel to Cuba in 1961 and being there during the Cuban's crisis (1962/63).


Minuses
The book is only in Russian, if you do not read in this language it is book
not for you. There are many inside interesting data, and without knowing
Russian you will be "angry" to do not get them.

2. This is also not book for "telephone's books" seekers. I think about
specific kind of people, who exactly wants to get as many as they could very detail and very deep information including digits serials of each plane,
digits serials of the engine, amount of expended ammunitions, amounts of
holes in the plane, tactical and its color number of the plane ect. Such
kind of readers will not get from this book these kinds of digital
information.

3. In my opinion at the end of the book should be re-edit full list of KIA
pilots (this information is inside the text and it is pity that authors does
not attached information about pilots KIFA and WIA pilots. Such information is very important and presents in the whole picture the war efforts of unit.

4. I feel a great lack about any kind of information concerning the ground
personnel. The book is mostly or almost about fighter pilots and his
achievements. Which is very good given, I have not fined especially in the
part 1941-45, any information about ground crews, names or some presentation of units life seeing form the land/mechanic perception. I think that for one fighter hour in the air there were (speculative assumption) at least 20 hours of hard working ground crews on the ground (checking, refueling, arming, preparing to the take off). It should be such a chapter included in the unit history. Many aviation veterans have forgotten in their memories to mention own ground crews names, achievements, merits too many times. This, very good book, has just repeated this attitude to presenting the past.


5. The chapter about regiment trip to Cuba (1962-63 - a little more the one year of regiment life) - privately very interesting, giving many still
unknown information, not only for me - is a little bit overbalanced the rest
of the book. It is placed between 169-198 pages (with many interesting
photos), when the war's history of the regiment are placed between 5-113 page, where there are much more tragic events in unit's combat life.

6. Small error. The photo from the page of 69, should be clear mentioned,
who is on the left and who is on the right of the photos. On the left is
Dolgushin, on the rigth is polkovnik Stalin, description is exactly "up side
down".

Conclusions
This is quite good book with many interesting data, good thing for those
interested in avaition history and only reading in Russian. They getting many valuable data.


Regards,

Mirek Wawrzynski,
Poland
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