poorly equipped with outdated aircraft and inferior fighter pilots at
the start of the War, Russian fighter pilots soon turned the tables and
became a formidable enemy. Those that survived the German
Blitzkrieg through horrendous losses soon began to work up good scores.
At first to achieve 'Ace' status a Russian fighter pilot had to score
three kills, but by the end of 1942 this was changed to ten kills. Those
fighter pilots that achieved this would be decorated with Russia's
highest military honour the Gold Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union or
HSU this was awarded to each fighter pilot as soon as they had downed
ten aircraft. The air war that was fought on the Russian front was far
different from that fought in the West and there was
certainly no shortage of Luftwaffe targets.