26 thoughts on “Astonishing Shot Back from 1942”

  1. Now it’s my time to name a famous Russian photographer! This one is from Yevgeni Khaldey, the Soviet war photographer who incidentally also took the photo of the hammer-and-sickle hanging from the Reichstag. He died a few years ago in Moscow.

    • I remembered I actually have the book “Witness to History, the photographs of Yevgeni Khaldey”. About this picture:

      “One photograph that is a composite is Reindeer, Murmansk. Even while admitting this, Khaldei is insistent on the underlying veracity of his image. There *was* in fact a reindeer; it showed up during air raids. When he shows the photograph, Khaldei tells a story about it that roots in real life:

      ‘During the bombings, a reindeer came out of the tundra. He wanted to be with people. They built him a shed to live in, and gave him a name, Yasha. Every time the alarm sounded, he ran to be with the soldiers–he didn’t want to be alone. During one of the air raids, I took this shot. In 1944, when the battle for Murmansk was over, the soldiers didn’t know what to do with him. They loaded him into a truck and took him back to the tundra, thinking he would join the other deer. But he couldn’t understand what was happening. He ran after the truck as long as he could.’

  2. I am not doubting that the photo is real. However, there is one error in the narrative. Those planes are British built Hawker Hurricanes. My theory is that they are Lend-Lease provided planes piloted by Soviet pilots in the interception of the bombers.

    • I was studying that photo wondering about that very same thing That last plane is a Hawker Hurricane. But I did not know the Britts had the production to do any Lend-Lease. As they needed the aircraft themselves. I thought only the states did the lead-lease.

      • Nope, Britain provided a fair bit of lend lease. And they used to run all the Arctic convoys that got the lend lease to the Soviet Union. Certainly several hundred tanks, planes and vehicles were sent.

        Those are definately Hurries, just look at the cockpit, tail and wingtips.

        • I had to go study the lend Lease Hurries and you are right. They were flown in large numbers by the USSR. This I did not know. Always fun to learn something

  3. Wow! Those are not Nazi planes. Those are Russian IL-2 Sturmoviks. They were flying tanks that were much feared by the nazis. The people who flew these planes were as much heroes as spitfire pilots in England. This is the best picture of them in action I’ve ever seen. Thanks English Russia you’ve made my day.

    ps I have nickname Sturmovik because I have a habit strafing people.

    • Sorry IL2 fans. Those are Hawker Hurricains. Go find some pics and satisfy yourselves. My confidence that they’re Hurricains (probably russian as mentioned) is 100%. The tails are a clue. Also the canopy runs into the fuselage – unlike any IL2.

      Oh yeah. That is a reindeer. 🙂

      • I’m ready to concede that the plane nearest the photographer is a Hurricane and probably the 2nd nearest also. I still think the front 2 are IL2’s. The cockpit is too far back for a hurricane. Also has scoop on engine that no hurricane had. Rear of canopy is blocked by wing. Edge of rudder is too straight to be other than IL-2. I’m sending this photo off to Langley Air and Space Museum to see if they know. Some expert in Russia must know. Is there a higher quality version available?

  4. Now that the planes and animal have been identified… this is a really cool picture. One doesn’t immediately think of the wildlife caught up in the war.

  5. Oh Please– forgive the non-native english speaker for using “moose” instead of “reindeer” or “caribou”– can you non-Russian speakers say “caribou” in Russian? I bet you call a cat a “chashka” instead of a “koshka.”

    It’s still a cool photo. I bet the “animal” in the photo is thinking what I think every day: “these humans are insane!”

  6. Those ARE hurricanes. You can tell via the nose (curls up), tail(slopes down) and wing (flat and thick) sections. As for the Moose I have no idea what type it is.

  7. the aircraft are hawker hurricanes..given on lend lease to russia in 1940-41..they never paid for them.or gave them back.there are a few hurricanes laying around in russia..also plenty of american jeeps..the americans gave them bell airacobras too..the ones the raf sent back due to no superchargers on them..as for the sturmovik…they were armour plated and german pilots had a hard time knocking them down

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