Chronicle of war:

Vasily Rakov
Vasily Rakov8. 2. 1909 - 28. 12. 1996

Vasily Rakov was squadron commander of the 57th Bomber Aviation Regiment (Air Baltic Fleet), Major; commander of the 12th Guards dive bomber regiment (the 8th mine and torpedo Air Division, Air Baltic Fleet), Guards Lieutenant Colonel.

He was born on January 26 (February 8) in 1909 in St. Petersburg. Russian. Childhood and adolescence spent in Bolshoye Kuznechkovo, now Kuvshinovsky district of the Tver region. In 1926 he graduated from high school, in 1928 – Factory Trade Apprenticeship. He worked at a timber yard.

Joined the Army from December 1928. In 1929 he graduated from Leningrad military theoretical school of the Air Force, in 1930 - Kachin Air Force Pilot School, in 1931 - Sebastopol Military Aviation School of naval pilots. He served in the Naval Aviation (the Baltic Fleet), went from pilot to squadron commander. In 1938 he graduated from Lipetsk senior aviation courses. He commanded the air squadron (Baltic Fleet Air Force).

Participated in the Soviet-Finnish war of 1939-1940 as squadron commander of the 57th-speed Bomber Aviation Regiment (the Air Baltic Fleet). In the morning, on November 30, 1939 the squadron under his command attacked Santakhamina military base located on an island further east of Helsinki. Once during one of his sorties Second Lieutenant Kurov’s bomber was shot down and V. Rakov organized search for the crew. After finding them on the ice of the Gulf he flew to them on the U-2, managed to land in difficult ice conditions and provided the MBR-2 flying boat landing, which took out the fliers. V. Rakov repeatedly led groups to bomb the enemy forces and ships. He personally committed dozens of bomber sorties on the SB bomber.

For courage and heroism in battle, by the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet on February 7, 1940 Major General Vasily Rakov was awarded the honorary title of Hero of the Soviet Union, the Order of Lenin and the Gold Star medal (№ 278).

After the end of the Soviet-Finnish War, he commanded a regiment (Ladoga Flotilla), in April-December 1940 - the Black Sea Fleet aviation brigade. In early January 1942 he graduated from Naval Academy.

Participated in the Great Patriotic War since February 1942 as commander of the 2nd Marine Aviation Brigade (Air Force's Black Sea Fleet). In May-July 1942 - deputy commander of the 3rd special Sebastopol air group. Until the last day defeated Sebastopol, was wounded.

In 1942-1943 he trained pilots in evacuated Naval College of S. Levanesky (Bezenchuk, Kuibyshev region).

In May 1943 he was again on the front as squadron commander of the 73rd (from January 1944 – the 12th Guards) dive-bomber regiment. In February-May 1944 - Assistant to commander of the 9th Air Assault Division, in May 1944 and February 1945 - commander of the 12th Guards dive bomber regiment. He fought in the Baltic Fleet, participated in the defense and the lifting blockade of Leningrad, liberation of the Karelian Isthmus and the Baltics. On July 16, 1944 V. Rakov led a group of dive bombers of his regiment, together with a group of the 51st mine-torpedo Aviation Regiment to the goal - the Niobe cruiser in the Finnish port of Kotka. The cruiser was destroyed.

By the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet on July 22, 1944 for his courage and heroism, Guards Lt. Col. Vasily Rakov was awarded the second Gold Star medal (№ 21/II).

During the war he made more than 170 combat missions on the Pe-2 bomber and the Il-2 fighter, was involved in sinking of 12 ships of the enemy.

In February-April 1945 - assistant division commander of dive bombers (the Air Force Pacific Fleet). In 1946 he graduated from an accelerated course of General Staff Military Academy. In 1946-1948 he commanded torpedo division (the Pacific Fleet).

From November 1948 - taught at the Naval Academy. In 1951 he graduated from the Military Institute of Foreign Languages, perfectly mastered the English language. He was deputy chief of Department of Naval Aviation (1948-1950), the Air Force tactics (1950-1952), head of Department of the Air Force Tactics (1952-1959), Department of Naval Aviation (1959-1960), aircraft, air navigation and combat employment of aviation weapons (1960- 1963), aviation equipment and weapons (1963-1970) at the Command Faculty of the Academy. In 1970-1971 - professor and consultant of the Scientific Council of the Naval Academy. During his time at the academy V. Rakov taught dozens of candidates and doctors, high-qualified teachers. Since August 1971, Major General of Aviation, V. Rakov - in reserve.

He lived in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). Died on December 28, 1996. He was buried at St. Nicholas cemetery of Alexander Nevsky Monastery in St. Petersburg.

Air Force Major General (1958), Doctor of Naval Sciences (1967), Professor (1969). He was awarded two Orders of Lenin (1940, 1954), three Orders of the Red Banner (1943, 1944, 1949), the 1st Class Order of the Patriotic War (1985), the Order of the Red Star (1944), medals, and foreign awards. Honorary Citizen of St. Petersburg (1996).

A bronze bust of V. Rakov was set in St. Petersburg.

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