Saturday, May 28, 2016

Russia 2016
Alexey Petrovich Maresyev

ISSUE DATE: 20 May 2016
STAMP SIZE: 42 x 30 mm

Alexey Petrovich Maresyev (1916–2001) was a legendary WWII military aviator and a Hero of the Soviet Union.

He was born on 20 May 1916 in Kamyshin, Volgograd Oblast. After the 8th grade, Alexey Maresyev got a profession of a metalworker. He tried to enroll into a flight school twice but was rejected due to health problems.

In 1934, Alexey Maresyev went to Khabarovsk Krai to build Komsomolsk-on-Amur. There, he started to learn to fly in a local aero club. Three years later, Maresyev was called up for military service and sent to the 12th Aerial Border Guard Detachment on Sakhalin Island. Later, he was transferred to a flight school in Bataisk, which he finished holding the rank of Junior Lieutenant and was appointed an instructor. In August 1941, Alexey Maresyev was sent to the front.

Alexey Maresyev performed his first combat flight on 23 August 1941, and by March 1942, he had four shot-down German planes under his belt. On 4 April1942, his fighter aircraft was shot down near the Demyansk Pocket (the Novgorod Region) during a bombers covering operation. Maresyev had to make a forced landing on the enemy-occupied territory and was working his way to the front line for 18 days; he got severely frostbitten, which resulted in his both legs being amputated. Despite this, the pilot managed to return to flying. In total, he completed 86 mission sorties and shot down 11 enemy’s warplanes during the war.

On 24 August 1943, under a Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, Alexey Maresyev was awarded a title of the Hero of the Soviet Union for exemplary accomplishment of combat missions, personal courage and a high order of airmanship.

It is Alexey Maresyev that was a prototype of the character of The Story of a Real Man novel by Boris Polevoy.

Stamp images and description thanks to Russian Post

Russian Post