5th Guards Fighter Regiment, 7 July 1943

La-7, Kursk Battle Museum, Belgorod (photo by Christopher A. Lawrence)

The Fifth Guards Fighter Regiment was the highest scoring Soviet air regiment of the war with 739 victories claimed. It was lead by twice Hero of the Soviet Union, Major Vasilii Zaitsev (1911-1961) who was credited with 34 kills during the war (and 15 or 19 shared kills). The unit’s deputy command was ace Lt. Vatalii Popkov (1922-2010), also twice Hero of the Soviet Union who was credited with 41 kills during the war.

On 7 July the regiment’s records report the following kills:

Date    Pilot                            Plane               Time                           Notes

7 July   Lt. Shumilin                Me-109G          0710-0817

7 July   Jr. Lt. Belyakov          Me-109             0855-0945

7 July   Jr. Lt. Glinkin              Fw-190             0855-0945

7 July   Lt. Bayevskii               Me-109            1440-1610

7 July   Lt. Yaremenko            Ju-88               1730-1835

7 July   Jr. Lt. Glinkin              He-111             1730-1835

7 July   Captain Dmitriyev      Ju-52                1730-1835

7 July   Major Pindyur             Me-109             2000-2110

7 July   Lt. Stokolov                Me-109             2000-2110

7 July   Jr. Lt. Bugreyev          Me-109             2000-2110

7 July   Jr. Lt. Kalsin               Me-109             2000-2110

7 July   Jr. Lt. Sverlov             Me-109             2000-2100                   ***


It also reports the following losses:

Date    Pilot                            Plane               Time                           Notes

7 July   Lt. Shumilin                                         1730-1835                   *

7 July   Jr. Lt. Belyakov                                   1730-1835                   **

7 July   Jr. Lt. Sidorets                                    1730-1835                   Did not return

7 July   Jr. Lt. Sverlov                                      2000-2100                   ***


* Lt. Shumilin after an air battle made a forced landing on wheels in the area of Mikhailovka. The pilot was seriously wounded.

** Hit by fire from antiaircraft artillery and an Fw-190, pilot cross the front line and made a landing. Pilot was wounded in the legs. Plane was burned on the ground by German artillery and mortar fire.

*** but he himself was caught in fire by two Me-109s, as a result, the La-5 burned and the pilot died.

            So for 7 July, they claimed 8 Me-109s and four other planes at a loss of four planes, two pilots lost and two pilots wounded. On 7 July, the German VIII Air Corps lost 4 or 5 Me-109s (see Tables IV.27 and IV.28 of my Kursk book, page 1416). This was but one fighter regiment of the 26 fighter regiments in the Second and Seventeenth Air Armies on 7 July 1943.

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Christopher A. Lawrence
Christopher A. Lawrence

Christopher A. Lawrence is a professional historian and military analyst. He is the Executive Director and President of The Dupuy Institute, an organization dedicated to scholarly research and objective analysis of historical data related to armed conflict and the resolution of armed conflict. The Dupuy Institute provides independent, historically-based analyses of lessons learned from modern military experience.
Mr. Lawrence was the program manager for the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base, the Kursk Data Base, the Modern Insurgency Spread Sheets and for a number of other smaller combat data bases. He has participated in casualty estimation studies (including estimates for Bosnia and Iraq) and studies of air campaign modeling, enemy prisoner of war capture rates, medium weight armor, urban warfare, situational awareness, counterinsurgency and other subjects for the U.S. Army, the Defense Department, the Joint Staff and the U.S. Air Force. He has also directed a number of studies related to the military impact of banning antipersonnel mines for the Joint Staff, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation.
His published works include papers and monographs for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation, in addition to over 40 articles written for limited-distribution newsletters and over 60 analytical reports prepared for the Defense Department. He is the author of Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka (Aberdeen Books, Sheridan, CO., 2015), America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (Casemate Publishers, Philadelphia & Oxford, 2015), War by Numbers: Understanding Conventional Combat (Potomac Books, Lincoln, NE., 2017) , The Battle of Prokhorovka (Stackpole Books, Guilford, CT., 2019), The Battle for Kyiv (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2023), Aces at Kursk (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024), Hunting Falcon: The Story of WWI German Ace Hans-Joachim Buddecke (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024) and The Siege of Mariupol (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2024).
Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

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  1. From the serious discussion of Kursk (in German):

    First day of Kursk:
    German claims: 432 kills

    “So heißt es im Kriegstagebuch des Wehrmachtführungsstabs, am ersten Tag des Unternehmens „Zitadelle“ habe der Gegner 432 Flugzeuge verloren”

    Soviet total losses of three air armies: at least 257 lost planes

    (This is alower limit, as losses some units are not counted and damaged planes which could not have been repaired are missing too)

    6th July:
    German claims: 205 kills
    Soviet losses: 170 total losses (from only three air armies, lower limit)

    5th – 15th July
    1624 kills (fighters and Luftwaffe AA guns)
    1961 (fighters and AA guns of Luftwaffe and Heer)

    Soviet losses: 1182 (from only three air armies, lower limit)

    Claims of the Soviet 8th Air Army 5th-8th July: > 400 kills
    German losses very likely 10% of these claims.

  2. My issue as scientist with individual claims is that they are affect by an error, therefore, I would reduce in worst case 30% of the German claims (actually the number is lower), but I do not really know what to do in case of 10 fold overclaiming. 🙂

    For you it may also be interesting that there is discussion of German claims of destroyed Soviet tanks by (German)planes in the liked paper.

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