17.5.1919 - 14.1.1988
Vladimir Lavrinenkov was deputy squadron commander of the 9th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment of the 268th Fighter Air Division of the 8th Air Army of the Southern Front, Guards Junior Lieutenant; Guards Major.
He was born on May 17, 1919 in the village of Ptakhino, Pochinok district of Smolensk region in a peasant family. Russian. A member of the CPSU (B) since 1942. In 1934, he graduated from school (7 years) and was enrolled in Factory Trade Apprenticeship. He worked as a woodman, attended a flying club as well.
In 1940, he was drafted into the Red Army. In 1941, he graduated from Chuguev Military Aviation School. Worked as an instructor. Then he served as an instructor in the Chernigov Military Aviation School.
Went to the front in the midst of the battle of Stalingrad. Started fighting on August 5, 1942. For a month the pilot of the 651st Fighter Regiment of the 102nd Fighter Division Stalingrad Corps Area of Air Defense, sergeant V. Lavrinenkov shot down 16 enemy planes. In late October 1942, he was transferred to the 9th Odessa Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment of the 8th Air Army on the South-Western Front. He fought at Bataisk and Rostov-on-Don.
In the 9th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment V. Lavrinenkov received a call “Falcon” and chose number 17 for his plane. Soon “Falcon 17” thundered across the front.
The period from the 10th to the 31st of December, 1942 was one of the hardest. The pilots flew almost every day, even several times a day. During this period, V. Lavrinenkov made 21 flights, spent nine battles in which he shot down three enemy planes.
In one of those days V. Lavrinenkov had to fly to the interception of the He-111 bombers, converted to a transport plane configuration. The group was led by Wing Commander A. Kovachevich. V. Lavrinenkov flew with a strike group of four pilots including Sultan Amet-Khan, I. Borisov, when E. Budanova led.
Seeing from afar, the Heinkels, V. Lavrinenkov swept up about 500 feet high, gave the command “Attack! Cover me!” and went on to a group of the German planes. From the first turn he managed to flash the “Heinkel’s” fuselage, but a German shooter gave string of burst to the right plane, and most of plating opened.
It became too difficult to fly the plane. Padded “Heinkel” was finished off by V. Bondarenko. E. Budanova guarded V. Lavrinenkov and cheered him to the landing. He landed the plane, which seemed impossible to be done, and that was his E. Budanova’s feat.
Unraveling the enemy’s tactics, V. Lavrinenkov not only won the enemy, but was able to keep his plane from damage. His “Yak”, tail number “17” was more likely to come from the battle without a scratch. And when the regiment was filled with new aircraft, V. Lavrinenkov still flew his old plane.
By the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet on May 1, 1943 for 322 sorties, 78 air battles, 16 downed enemy planes in person and 11 in group, Guards Junior Lieutenant Vladimir Lavrinenkov was awarded the honorary title of Hero of the Soviet Union, the Order of Lenin and the Gold Star medal (№ 957).
On August 23, 1943 commander of the 8th Air Force, Major-General T. Khryukin ordered V. Lavrinenkov to fly to intercept the FW-189 fighters leading the Quartet. He found a German spy in the village of Alexandrovka, Matveyev-Kurgan district of Rostov region and attacked him. The German began to escape, falling in a spiral. Then the wingman went on the attack, but missed. After this the “frame” was attacked by the second pair, but turning sharply under attack it escaped from the zone of fire.
Then V. Lavrinenkov at top speed followed the enemy plane repeating its trajectory. Fire suppressed the firing point of the “Focke-Wulf” but it was impossible to shoot down the plane. T. Khryukin told V. Lavrinenkov, “Falcon-17, I do not recognize you!” V. Lavrinenkov replied, “I am Falcon-17. Hope, within a few minutes, you will know me”, and went to the ram. By a wing of his “Aircobra” he struck the empennage of the “frame”. Both planes flew to the ground.
V. Lavrinenkov landed by parachute in enemy territory and was captured by the Nazis. He was sent to Berlin for interrogation, but on the way there he and another pilot jumped out from the train walking at full speed at night and disappeared. Within three months he fought as a partisan under command of A. Tkanko. Then he returned to his regiment, was promoted to captain of the Guard and won his 28th personal victory, having knocked the S-88 over the Dnieper flowing. From October 1943 to May 1944 he fought in the skies of Crimea.
In order to more actively “look for and destroy the enemy”, the 9th Guards Regiment moved its outpost to the Black Sea, placing squadron in ambush at Kuligeysky farms and acting on the enemy communications, “Nikolaev — Kiev — Crimea”.
On January 30, 1944 three “Aircobra” planes headed by V. Lavrinenkov, flew out to sweep the area of Nikolaev — Odessa to destroy the enemy air transport. In the area of Vladimirovka the pilots noticed the Ju-52 from a height of 1200 meters, which went on low-level flight. After the first attack at the top and back “Junkers” continued to fly. Then V. Lavrinenkov undertook a second attack and from a short distance lit the enemy plane, which immediately went to the landing. Our pilots followed it, and when the Germans began to escape from the plane, they opened fire.
In April 1944, the 9th Odessa Guards Red Banner regiment of fighters waged prolonged battles in the Crimea and Odessa areas, supporting the troops of the 4th Ukrainian Front.
On April 10, 1944, the day of Odessa’s liberation from German and Romanian forces, cutting off the enemy in Bochanko area, a group led by V. Lavrinenkov met the enemy FW-190 fighters. During the ensuing battle, V. Lavrinenkov by going to the “Fokker’s” tail knocked it down with the first attack.
That very day covering our ground attack in the area of Myasnikovo, V. Lavrinenkov saw two FW-190 planes intending to attack our fighters. He rushed to the attack from above and going strictly to the tail, fired the enemy fighters.
Starting pursuit the enemy, on April 12, 1944, our troops released Simferopol and Evpatoria. Then they released Bakhchisaray and Sudak. On April, 15 pilots supported our moving troops in the area of Sebastopol.
Pilots captured the excitement of combat. Having turned back, V. Lavrinenkov commanded to repeat the attack. And once again lead downpour hit the enemy planes. Coming out of the attack, the guards saw attack groups rushing to the airfield full of our fighters. Up to 20 planes were destroyed in Chersonese.
When the obelisk was erected on Sapun-Gora in honor of liberating the Crimea, the name of Vladimir Lavrinenkov was written one of the first.
In August 1944, Guards Major V. Lavrinenkov became commander of the 9th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment of Odessa.
The regiment under his command completed retraining for the new “Lavochkin-7” and soon again fought against the German invaders in the Baltics, Eastern Prussia and over Berlin.
On October 27, 1944 the 9th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment flew to the front airfield in Rutkishki, Lithuania, where was enlisted in the 303rd Smolensk Fighter Red Banner Division of the 1st Air Army commanded by Aviation Maj. Gen. Georgy Zakharov.
From the first days of fighting in Lithuania and East Prussia leadership of the 9th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment, the entire flight and technical personnel tried to live up their titles and awards in new battles.
Here the guards met the other Nazis. It soon became clear that the enemy fighters avoided air combats (even over their own territory), and tried not to fight strafing dive or flying into the clouds while dodging the fight.
Having relocated on January 26, 1945 for a second airport in East Prussia in the village of Zadlou, on February, 6 the regiment had already settled at the German stationary airfield Tiliatsa, and since February 11, 1945 – at Libiau airfield.
In April 1945, the Soviet troops began storming Konigsberg: three days they were fighting their way into the fortress actively supported form the air. Those were hot days for the pilots of the 9th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment.
During the East Prussian operation and the assault of a fortified city of Konigsberg the regiment made 2075 combat sorties.
On April 9, 1945 Konigsberg was stormed by our troops and garrison of 92,000 men surrendered. The 9th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment was marked among the formations and units distinguished themselves during the storming of Konigsberg. By the order of the Supreme Commander, Marshal J. Stalin on April 10, 1945 the regiment was awarded the thanks.
The Red Army was preparing for the final and decisive battles in the Berlin area. The best-trained and honoured connections and units were involved. Departing on combat missions, the regiment’s pilots were eager to fight the enemy, but occasionally found small groups and single Nazi planes rushed to withdraw.
In Berlin sky its military path finished the 9th Odessa Guards Red Banner Fighter Aviation Regiment. Seven enemy planes were shot down here summing up the total number of destroyed Nazi pilots and reaching 506 planes. Under the command of V. Lavrinenkov, the regiment won 11 thanks of the Supreme Commander and was awarded the Order of Suvorov.
In total, V. Lavrinenkov made 488 sorties, during 134 air battles personally shot down 35 enemy planes and 11 in a group.
After the Great Patriotic War he served in the defense forces. In 1945-1946 commanded the regiment. In 1948 he graduated from the Military Academy named after M. Frunze. In 1949-1951 he commanded Air Fighter Division. Since 1951 he was Head of Training Centre for the USSR Air Defence, then a trainee at General Staff Military Academy, which he graduated from in 1954.
In 1955-1962 he commanded Fighter Aviation; in 1962-1968 was First deputy commander of the 8th separate Army (Kiev), in 1968-1977 - commanded the 8th separate Army (Kiev).
In 1971, V. Lavrinenkovu was awarded the rank of Aviation Colonel-General.
Since 1977 he was Chief of Staff - Deputy Head of the Civil Defense of the Ukrainian SSR, in 1984-1988 - a military advisor at Military Academy of Air Defense named after Marshal of the Soviet Union A. Vasilevsky (Kiev) (since 1986 - Military Academy of Air Defense). Was elected a deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR of the 7th convocation.
He lived in Kiev. Died on January 14, 1988. He was buried in Kiev at Baikovoe cemetery.
He was awarded two Orders of Lenin, the Order of the October Revolution; six Orders of the Red Banner, the 1st Class Order of the Patriotic War, the Order of the Red Star, and medals.
A bronze bust of Hero was set in Pochinok, Smolensk region.