Andrei Girich

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Andrei Ivanovich Girich
Native name Андрей Иванович Гирич
Born 28 December 1918
Yahotyn, Kiev Governorate
Died 11 April 1973
Monino, Moscow Oblast, Soviet Union
Allegiance  Soviet Union
Service/branch Soviet Air Force
Years of service 1939–1973
Rank Major general
Battles/wars

World War II

Awards

Hero of the Soviet Union Order of Lenin
Order of the Red Banner
Order of Suvorov 3rd class
Order of the Red Star (2)

Medal for Battle Merit

Andrei Ivanovich Girich (Russian: Андрей Иванович Гирич; 28 December 1918 – 11 April 1973) was a Ukrainian Soviet Air Force major general and Hero of the Soviet Union. Girich claimed at least 17 victories against German aircraft during World War II. He was a squadron commander in the 486th Fighter Aviation Regiment during the war.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Girich was born on 28 December 1918 in Yahotyn to a working class family. He graduated from the Kiev River College in 1938. Girich learned to fly at the Kiev aeroclub. He also worked as the assistant captain of the Leningrad, a ship operated by the Dnieper River Shipping Company. In 1939, he was drafted into the Red Army and was sent to the Odessa Military Air College. In 1941, he joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. [1][3][4]

World War II[edit]

When Operation Barbarossa began on 22 June 1941, Girich was a flight leader in the 12th Fighter Aviation Regiment.[3] On 25 June, he shot down a Junkers Ju 88 by frontal attack over Stanislaus. Girich intercepted and shot down a second Ju 88 over Lozova railway station on 28 September. In November, the regiment was sent to Crimea. On 5 November, Girich was awarded the Order of the Red Star.[5] On 26 December, the 12th Fighter Aviation Regiment became the 486th Fighter Aviation Regiment. Girich became a squadron commander in the regiment. On 3 February 1942, he shot down an Me 109 over Kerch Strait. In the air battle, his squadron shot down three more Me 109s without losing any aircraft. On 16 March, Girich's squadron tangled with twelve German fighters over Kerch Strait. In this engagement, Girich shot down another Me 109. On 9 May, six fighters led by Girich fought an air battle with 40 Me 109s over Karatch. The squadron shot down five Me 109s and Girich gained another victory. [1][6]

After being withdrawn from Crimea, the regiment was sent to Moscow for air defense in August. On 5 November, Girich shot down a Heinkel He 111 over Ostashkov. In the summer of 1943, the regiment was sent to the Central Front. Between 15 July and 8 December, Girich reportedly made 103 sorties, conducted 17 air battles and shot down seven German aircraft.[1][6] On 4 September, he was awarded the Order of the Red Banner.[7] On 6 September, he shot down a Ju 88 over Oblozhki. On 21 October, he shot down two Ju 88s over Kolpen and Ostrovy. In December, the regiment was sent to the rear for resupply but moved to Oryol in May 1944. It fought in Operation Bagration and the Lublin–Brest Offensive during the summer. In August, it transferred to the 5th Air Army and fought in the Jassy–Kishinev Offensive. On 25 August, Girich shot down a Focke-Wulf Fw 190 over Huși. On 3 September, he claimed another Fw 190 over Ploiești. By 20 September, when he was recommended for an award of the title Hero of the Soviet Union, Girich had made 439 sorties and shot down 15 enemy aircraft. On 23 September, he shot down another Fw 190 over Turda. From October, the regiment fought in the Budapest Offensive. Girich shot down a Me 190 over Isaszeg on 17 November. In January 1945, the German forces attempted to resupply Budapest by air. Girich reportedly shot down a Junkers Ju 52. On 23 February 1945, Girich was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union and the Order of Lenin.[4] The regiment then fought in the Prague Offensive in early May. During the offensive, Girich shot down another German aircraft.[6] On 8 June, he received the Order of Suvorov 3rd class.[1][8] According to Mikhail Bykhov, Girich claimed 17 and four shared victories, flew 478 sorties and conducted 84 air battles.[9] [6][2]

Postwar[edit]

Girich continued to serve in the Soviet Air Force after the end of the war. He commanded an aviation division. In 1950, he graduated from the Air Force Academy. On 30 December 1946, he was awarded his second Order of the Red Star. Girich graduated from the Military Academy of the General Staff in 1958 with the rank of major general. He was appointed a departmental head in the Air Force Academy shortly afterwards. Girich lived in Monino and died on 11 April 1973.[1][6][2][4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Andrei Girich". warheroes.ru (in Russian). 
  2. ^ a b c "Гирич Андрей Иванович" [Girich Andrei Ivanovich]. soviet-aces-1936-53.ru (in Russian). Retrieved 2016-01-27. 
  3. ^ a b Polak, Tomas (1999-01-01). Stalin's Falcons. Grub Street. p. 124. ISBN 9781902304014. 
  4. ^ a b c Shkadov, I.N. (1987). Герои Советского Союза: Краткий биографический словарь [Heroes of the Soviet Union: A Brief Biographical Dictionary] (in Russian). 1 Abaev-Lubitsch. Moscow: Voenizdat. 
  5. ^ Order of the Red Star citation, available online at pamyat-naroda.ru
  6. ^ a b c d e "Гирич Андрей Иванович – советский военный летчик Герой Советского Союза" [Girich Andrei Ivanovich – Soviet pilots Heroes of the Soviet Union]. airaces.narod.ru (in Russian). Retrieved 2016-01-28. 
  7. ^ Order No. 58 16th Air Army, available online at pamyat-naroda.ru
  8. ^ Order No. 275 2nd Ukrainian Front, available online at pamyat-naroda.ru
  9. ^ Bykhov, Mikhail (2007). Асы Великой Отечественной. Самые результативные летчики 1941–1945 гг [Aces of the Great Patriotic War: Top scoring pilots, 1941–1945] (PDF) (in Russian). Moscow: Yauza. p. 273. ISBN 9785699205264.