Alexey Andreevich Sviridov was a Soviet pilot, senior lieutenant, the Hero of the Soviet Union. He was in the Red Army since 1938. In February 1939 he graduated from Engels Military Aviation School. He was on the fronts of the Great Patriotic War since June 1941. In October 1941 the commander of the bomber squadron Alexey Sviridov participated in the battles in the Vyazma direction. He bombed Guderian’s tank columns rushing to Moscow, struck artillery and manpower on the battlefield, destroyed enemy reserves transferred by motor transport and by rail. He participated in the defence of Moscow, the battles on the Kursk Bulge, near Sevsk, during the liberation of Belarus. By October 1943, he had flown 205 sorties to reconnoiter objects behind enemy lines and bombard enemy`s manpower and equipment. On October 6, 1943 Sviridov’s regiment received an order to destroy a cluster of echelons at the Gomel railway junction. The planes immediately took to the air. Countering the bombers, the enemy opened strong anti-aircraft fire. But Sviridov threw his plane into a steep dive and dropped bombs precisely on an enemy anti-aircraft battery. When exiting the third dive, an enemy shell hit the cockpit. Large fragments pierced Sviridov in the chest, shoulder and right side. Bleeding profusely, the pilot still managed to bring the car into horizontal flight and with difficulty pulled it over the front line. At that moment, the plane exploded. Pilot Alexey Sviridov and navigator Mikhail Pavlov died heroically. The radio operator Grigory Alekseev, having fallen on a dense canopy of trees, was taken to the hospital with numerous injuries.
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