In 1946, a book by the writer Boris Polevoy "The Story of a Real Man" was published in the Soviet Union. The whole world learned about the feat of the young Soviet pilot Alexei Maresyev, who was able to return to aviation after amputation of his legs. But Alexey Petrovich was far from the only aviator who continued to fight after being seriously wounded.
In the fall of 1941, fighter pilot Zakhar Sorokin, after an air battle, barely landed his damaged plane. For six days the pilot, wounded in the thigh, made his way to his own. At this time, in the north, where Sorokin served, deep snow had already fallen. The frostbite feet of both legs had to be amputated in the hospital.
Having barely learned to walk, Sorokin turned to the command with a request to allow him to return to aviation. Permission has been granted on an exceptional basis. On account of Zakhar Sorokin 18 shot down planes, of which he destroyed 12 after the amputation of his feet. On August 19, 1944, Captain Sorokin received the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. In addition, the British government awarded the hero the Order of the British Empire. When presenting the award, the British attaché said: "As long as there are such people in Russia, it is invincible!"
Senior Lieutenant Leonid Belousov was seriously injured before the start of the war, in 1938. In 1938, his I-16 plane crashed to the ground while landing in difficult meteorological conditions. The pilot was seriously injured and underwent many operations.
Old wounds reminded of themselves already during the Great Patriotic War, Belousov started gangrene of the legs. I had to amputate both legs, with the right one above the knee. But in the spring of 1944, Major Belousov returned to service and fought until Victory. In 1957, Leonid Georgievich was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.
In August 1942, the Soviet pilot Ilya Malikov during a combat mission was shot down by an enemy anti-aircraft gun. It was with difficulty that the damaged plane managed to reach its territory. The badly wounded Malikov was sent to the hospital, where his right leg was amputated.
Barely getting stronger, the pilot began to send insistent requests to the command to return to service. He made 66 more sorties on the Pe-2 aircraft, and in 1946 he received the title of Hero.
Georgy Kuzmin, fighter pilot of the 239th Aviation Regiment, was shot down in an air battle on November 11, 1941. He barely managed to land the plane, after which, with his feet shot through, Kuzmin was able to crawl to the nearest village, but was captured by the Germans. George managed to escape from the prisoner of war camp, but the doctors could not save his feet, wounded during the battle, and had to be amputated.
After intensive training, Kuzmin returned to aviation again, fought for Stalingrad, and in February 1943 received the Hero's Star. But in August of the same year, Major Kuzmin was shot down by an enemy pilot in the Donetsk region. The pilot managed to leave the burning plane, but the parachute canopy caught fire and the hero died. The corpse of the aviator was found by Soviet infantrymen and buried.