A Female Petlyakov
Jiří F. Šiška
‘Masha’ (as she was known to her colleagues) Dolina became
one of the most recognized female heroes of the Great Patriotic
War. This, one can say, mystifying young lady reached the rank
of Guards Captain and flew as Deputy Commander of the 2nd
Flight, 125th Guards Bomber Regiment. This regiment, notable
for its honorary title of ‘Hero of the Soviet Union Marina M.
Raskova’ Borisov Guards Bomber Regiment, was a component
of the 4th Guards Bomber Division. Dolina, a Pe-2 ‘Peshka’
dive-bomber pilot, along with her crew, flew a total of seventytwo combat missions over the course of the Second World War,
and would drop 45 tonnes of bombs on enemy positions. In six
separate instances of group combat, she shared in the downing
of three Luftwaffe fighters.
Maria Dolina was born December 18th, 1922 in the village of
Sharovka in the Omsk Region. On completion of high school,
she attended the Chesonski Flight School, and in order to
meet the entry requirements, she had to forge her ID and
give herself a couple of extra years. From that point on, she
would put down her year of birth as 1920. After the completion
of her flight training, she served as a flight instructor at the
Nikolayev Aeroclub in Dnepropetrovski under the civil aviation
Deputy Commander of the 2nd Flight, 125th gv bap Guards Captain Maria Dolina with
her Pe-2. The photograph was taken at the end of the Second World War by the ITARTASS News Agency.
organization of Osoaviachim.
After the outbreak of the great Patriotic War in June, 1941,
Maria Dolina volunteered for the army. She entered the Engels
Military Flight College, from which she graduated in 1942.
Immediately thereafter, she began combat flying in Pe-2 dive
bombers, her first flight being at Stalingrad. She typically flew
with Flight Leader Galina Dzunkovska and their radio operator
and gunner was usually Guards Sgt. Ivan Solyonov.
One of her most difficult missions came about on June 2nd,
1943, when Maria Dolina led a group of nine bombers under
unfavorable weather conditions. As the distance between the
group and their target decreased, anti-aircraft fire intensified,
and explosions progressed dangerously near the Peshka. The
bombs the aircraft were carrying were unloaded against
ground targets, and the lightened Pe-2s set a course for home.
At this point, the group was attacked by JG 52 Messerschmitt
Bf 109s. The flight leader and radio operator/gunner repelled
one attack after another, but the number of German attackers
rose to eight. One of Dolina’s engines caught fire after being
hit. The squad leader’s aircraft was also hit, who was Junior
Lt. Antonina Skoblikova. Her aircraft trailed a long plume
Petlyakov Pe-2 of the 125th gv bap still with the original star insignia without the white border, which was used on aircraft of the VVS RKKA between 1918 and 1943.
INFO Eduard - June 2019