Aleksiey Borisowitch Panov





Aleksiey Borisowitch Panov was born in 1914 in the country village Sirmiatnikovo - 'Putivilskaya Oblast'. Here he graduated ground school, and next he finished job school in Kanatop city, in a Railway Support Workshop, where he next worked as a joiner. In 1932 he started study on Kiev University, but 2 years later he dropped it, following after 'Leninsky Komsomol' call - to enter into military flying schools. After finishing fighter training and short unit practice, Panov volunteered in 1938 to group Soviet pilots designed to support communist forces in Spain. He took part in air battles over Ebro and Madrid. During one of many air combats Panov was wounded,  he was hospitalised for the  next 3 months. He returned to the Soviet Union, where he was awarded twice the Red Banner Medal for his bravery during the Spanish Civil War. In the first year of war he served as a second commander of 185 IAP. In that period he flew 70 sorties and in 15 aerial combats he downed 6 enemy planes. During Moscow's defence in Autumn 1941, he fought alone against formation of 7 Ju 88 and shot down 3 of them.



Panov's fighters during the dogfight engaged 200 air combats and scored a total of 22 enemy planes. In May of 1942 Panov took command of 736 IAP. After a  few months the  unit was renamed to 67 GvIAP and in April of 1943 this regiment was awarded the Red Flag Medal. In a period of 2 years, pilots under Panov lead, flew 4250 sorties and shot down 265 enemy aircraft. Panov's score grew in this period by another 8 kills. In the end of June 1943 30 fighters from 67 GvIAP, commanded by Major Panov, arrived near Kursk airfield. They also included 1st Guard Fighter Division, commanded by Col. I. Krupienin. In one of many hard July 1943 combats, 6 Soviet fighters encountered a group of 15 German bombers covered by 4 Bf 109's. Enemy bombers were forced to drop their bomb load without reaching target and Panov scored 2 victories in this group battle. On the 2nd of  August 1943 Lt. Col. Panov lead a formation of 17 Soviet fighters with order to cover ground forces on the Central Front. In Czern-Krasnikovo area they spotted a large enemy group of 70 bombers with an escort of over  of 40 fighters. Panov in the first attack flamed 1 Ju 87, This day the Soviets claimed  25 enemy planes.

Panov second left, first row.


In August and September 1944, 67 GvIAP battled over Polish territory. On the 12th of  September 1944 Panov lead a group of 12 fighters with a mission to cover "Shturmoviks", which were ordered to attack German ground forces near Warsaw. Soviet formation was outnumbered by group of 30 FW 190's, but during all the time of combat Panov commanded his pilots. He downed 2 FW 190's, but his plane caught a lot of hits. Panov was wounded and his fighter heavily damaged. He disengaged the  battle and with his last pilot's he returned to friendly territory. Panov was forced to belly-land. Unluckily, the plane crashed and with a   damaged cockpit, Panov couldn't escape. During the War Panov took part in  241  sorties, and 41 air combats and scored 14 enemy planes.