Major Georgiy Pavlovich Kuzmin HSU
21 April 1913 – 18 August 1943
Kuzmin was born in Nagornoe in the Krasnodar district on 21 April 1913 and entered the Soviet Army in 1930.
In 1932, he started training as an aircraft mechanic. He graduated from the Volsk Military Air Collage and served in this capacity until 1939.
He won the Order of the Red Banner for his efforts during the war with the Japanese at the Khalkhin Gol in Mongolia in 1939 were he served as aircrew. Upon applying for pilot training, he was sent to Kacha Military Air Collage. He was graduated as a pilot in 1940 being posted to the 161 IAP as a starshiy leitenant.
He fired his guns in anger for the first time in the evening on 27 June 1941 when he combined forces with his wingman to knock down one Ju 88 each near Lepel, south of Polsk, flying the Polikarpov I-153 (in his 7th sortie in a I-153). While returning home they spotted a lone Ju 88, which was attacked by Kuzmin. Just as he was on the point of firing, he found his guns were jamming and resorted to ramming. The bomber went out of control and crashed while Kuzmin parachuted to safety (alternatively force-landed his damaged I-153 back on his airfield).
Kuzmin was awarded a second Order of the Red Banner for this combat.
The regiment then withdrew to the Bryansk area where he single-handedly took on a formation of nine Ju 88s on 19 November 1941. Two of these fell from the sky in flames before a gunner made his mark and in an instant Kuzmin’s fighter was engulfed in flames. He temporarily lost consciousness but was lucky enough to regain control and put his aircraft down in a snow-covered filed. He had however come down in enemy held territory and he became a POW. A few days later however, he escaped, killing the guard. After coming back to the Soviet side his legs were found so seriously injured that his left foot and part of his right foot had to be amputated.
Following his remarkably quick recovery he joined with the 239 IAP as a squadron leader on Kalinin Front in March 1942 and participated in a number of missions prior to moving with the unit to Stalingrad.
He was to make a big name for himself in the hellish inferno over the Volga and on 2 September 1942, kapitan Kuzmin claimed two Ju 88s.
On 22 September claimed a double while leading his La-5s to destroy five Ju 87s for no losses.
On 2 October 1942, kapitan Kuzmin claimed two Ju 88s.
Next day Kuzmin achieved two more kills when his squadron stormed into a formation of fifteen Ju 87s near Mamayev, six of these being shot down. Unfortunately, Kuzmin was hit by return fire and wounded in his abdomen but managed to make a successful forced landing.
He claimed one more victory during October even if some sources claim that he was wounded between 3 October and November 1942.
On 21 January 1943, he claimed another double.
On 29 January, he claimed a double while leading five La-5s to score six kills without loss.
Further combat over Stalingrad ran his tally to 15 while his squadron was credited with downing 27 enemy planes throughout the battle.
He was decorated with the Gold Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union and the Order of Lenin on 28 April 1943 in recognition of 15 and 6 fractional (shared) victories and 270 sorties consisting of 30 escorts, 70 reconnaissance, 15 ground attack and 90 air-to-air combats as of January 1943.
He was then posted to the glorious 9 GIAP forcing down a Bf 109 on his first sortie with the unit on 30 May 1943.
In the afternoon of August 18, four Airacobra, led by the regiment commander, polkovnik Anatoly Morozov, covered their troops and was attacked by six Bf 109s. Major Kuzmin, who was deputy commander of the regiment, flew wing to his commander and was shot down from close distance by a Bf 109 near Pavlovsk. He had to bale out but unfortunately his parachute didn’t open fully and he was killed. This was Kuzmin’s second mission in an Airacobra and he was credited with one Bf 109 (presumably he flew one mission earlier in the day since he is credited with two Bf 109s on 18 August).
Starshiy leitenant G. N. Sysoyev was also shot down in this combat and posted missing. Sysoyev is also credited with one victory in this combat.
2./JG 52 reported combat northeast of Kuybyshevo village at 3,000 meters altitude with Leutnant Gustav Wiesmahr claiming an Airacobra at 13:30 and Oberleutnant Paul-Heinrich Dähne a second at 13:32.
I./JG 52 didn’t report any losses during the day.
At the time of his death, Kuzmin was credited with 3 biplane victories and a total of 21. These were claimed on 280 sorties. There seems to be a great deal of confusion regarding Kuzmin’s claims and some of the above mentioned must have been mixed up regarding dates and with shared claims. There are also some confusion regarding the types of aircraft flown by him in the various combats.
|Kill no.||Date||Time||Number||Type||Result||Plane type||Serial no.||Locality||Unit|
|27/06/41||Evening||1||Ju 88||Shared destroyed||I-153||Lepel||161 IAP|
|27/06/41||Evening||1||Ju 88||Shared destroyed||I-153||Lepel||161 IAP|
|1||27/06/41||Evening||1||Ju 88 (a)||Destroyed||I-153||Lepel||161 IAP|
|2||19/11/41||1||Ju 88||Destroyed||I-153||Bryansk||161 IAP|
|3||19/11/41||1||Ju 88||Destroyed||I-153||Bryansk||161 IAP|
|4||03/07/42||1||Enemy aircraft||Destroyed||Yak-1||239 IAP|
|5||03/07/42||1||Enemy aircraft||Destroyed||Yak-1||239 IAP|
|6||02/09/42||1||Ju 88||Destroyed||La-5||Stalingrad area||239 IAP|
|7||02/09/42||1||Ju 88||Destroyed||La-5||Stalingrad area||239 IAP|
|8||22/09/42||1||Ju 87||Destroyed||La-5||Stalingrad area||239 IAP|
|9||22/09/42||1||Ju 87||Destroyed||La-5||Stalingrad area||239 IAP|
|10||02/10/42||1||Ju 88||Destroyed||La-5||239 IAP|
|11||02/10/42||1||Ju 88||Destroyed||La-5||239 IAP|
|12||03/10/42||1||Ju 87||Destroyed||La-5||Mamayev||239 IAP|
|13||03/10/42||1||Ju 87||Destroyed||La-5||Mamayev||239 IAP|
|14||mid/10/42 (b)||1||Enemy aircraft||Destroyed||239 IAP|
|15||22/01/43||1||Enemy aircraft||Destroyed||Stalingrad area||239 IAP|
|16||22/01/43||1||Enemy aircraft||Destroyed||Stalingrad area||239 IAP|
|17||29/01/43||1||Enemy aircraft||Destroyed||La-5||Stalingrad area||239 IAP|
|18||29/01/43||1||Enemy aircraft||Destroyed||La-5||Stalingrad area||239 IAP|
|19||30/05/43||1||Bf 109||Destroyed||Yak-1||9 GIAP|
|20||18/08/43||1||Bf 109||Destroyed||Airacobra||Pavlovo Kurgan||9 GIAP|
|21||18/08/43||p.m.||1||Bf 109 (c)||Destroyed||Airacobra||Pavlovo Kurgan||9 GIAP|
Biplane victories: 3 and 2 shared destroyed.
TOTAL: 21 and 7 shared destroyed.
(a) Claimed in a “taran” ramming attack.
(b) Kuzmin claimed 1 aircraft after a scramble. Some sources states that he was wounded during this period.
(c) Possibly claimed in combat with I./JG 52, which didn’t report any losses.
Sovetskiye asy - Nikolay Bodrikhin, 1998, kindly provided by Ondrej Repka.
Stalin's Eagles - Hans D. Seidl, 1998 Schiffer Publishing, ISBN 0-7643-0476-3
Stalin's Falcons - Tomas Polak and Christhoper Shores, 1999 Grub Street, London, ISBN 1-902304-01-2
Additional information kindly provided by Christer Bergström and Ivan Lavrinenko.