Polkovnik Nikolay Ivanovich Shmelkov HSU
5 May 1912 – 24 March 1967
|31/12/36||Gold Star of the Hero of Soviet Union|
|31/12/36||Order of Lenin|
|21/03/40||Order of the Red Banner|
|03/11/44||Medal ”For Military Merit”|
Shmelkov was born was born in the Vladimir region on 5 May 1912.
He joined the army in 1930.
He graduated two years later from the Lugansk Military Air College.
In October 1936 he went to Spain (arriving on 20 October) as a member of the first group of volunteers to fly in the Spanish Civil War, using the nom de guerre ’Smelkov’.
In Spain, he served in Escuadrilla Rychagov, which was equipped with I-15s.
On 8 December, starshiy leitenant Georgiy Zakharov and leitenant Shmelkov from the Escuadrilla Rychagov claimed a shared Potez 54. It seems that this was a civilian aircraft from the French Embassy (F-A000) shot down by mistake.
By 9 December, he was credited with 3 He 51s and 1 shared CR.32s. This was later corrected to four victories and two shared.
On 31 December 1936, seven Soviet pilots were decorated with the Gold Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union and the Order of Lenin for their performances in Spain: Vladimir Bocharov (posthumously – KIA on 13 November 1936), Sergey Chernykh, Karp Kovtun (posthumously – KIA on 13 November 1936), Pavel Rychagov, Shmelkov, Sergey Tarkhov (posthumously – KIA on 13 November 1936), and Boris Turzhanskii.
Shmelkov was seriously wounded in air combat and hospitalised. When released from hospital, he was sent home on 23 January 1937 due to health reasons.
During his time in Spain, he claimed four and two shared victories flying the I-15. These were claimed in 49 combat sorties.
Completing an advanced course in 1938, he commanded 54 IABR during the Winter War.
When Germany invaded the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941, polkovnik Shmelkov commanded 1 SAD.
In July 1941, he was posted as CO to 145 IAP, flying I-16s on the Karelian Front.
On 10 August, he suffered from shellshock after an enemy raid on the airfield, which they were based on.
It seems that he was posted away from 145 IAP after this and attended the Air Academy, completing his course there during 1942.
Between 26 April and 26 June 1944, he served as deputy-CO of 331 IAD, which was undergoing combat training at the front.
From July 1944, he served as deputy-CO of 234 IAD.
On 13 April 1945, polkovnik Shmelkov was removed from the post as deputy division commander ”for systematic drunkenness, failure to comply with orders, loss of authority in the eyes of subordinates, unwillingness to fly”.
He was placed in the reserve of the Personnel Department of the VVS KA.
Shmelkov ended the war with 4 biplane victories.
Shmelkov died on 24 March 1967.
|Kill no.||Date||Time||Number||Type||Result||Plane type||Serial no.||Locality||Unit|
|08/12/36||1/2||Potez 54 (a)||Shared destroyed||I-15||SCW||Escuadrilla Rychagov|
|1||??/??/36||1||He 51||Destroyed||I-15||SCW||Escuadrilla Rychagov|
|2||??/??/36||1||He 51||Destroyed||I-15||SCW||Escuadrilla Rychagov|
|3||??/??/36||1||He 51||Destroyed||I-15||SCW||Escuadrilla Rychagov|
|4||??/??/36||1||Enemy aircraft||Destroyed||I-15||SCW||Escuadrilla Rychagov|
|??/??/36||1||CR.32||Shared destroyed||I-15||SCW||Escuadrilla Rychagov|
Biplane victories: 4 and 2 shared destroyed.
TOTAL: 4 and 2 shared destroyed.
(a) Possibly a civilian aircraft from the French Embassy (F-A000) shot down by mistake.
Air Aces Home Page - Jan Safarik
Air War over Spain - Jesus Salas Larrazabal, 1974 Ian Allan Ltd, Shepperton, Surrey, ISBN 0-7110-0521-4
Polikarpov I-15, I-16 and I-153 Aces - Mikhail Maslov, 2010 Osprey Publishing, Oxford, ISBN 978-1-84603-981-2
Stalin's Falcons - Tomas Polak and Christhoper Shores, 1999 Grub Street, London, ISBN 1-902304-01-2