The children of Western Armenia contributed greatly to the victory of the Soviet Union over fascist Germany.

One of the heroic Armenians who fought fascism was Vazgen Oganesov, born on February 10, 1920 in the village of Artiki Orom. Vazgen Oganesov started his famous journey in Baku Aviation Club, gradually mastering the techniques of aviation. Since 1940 he served in the Red Army, in 1941 he graduated from the Tbilisi military aviation flight school. From December 1941, Second Lieutenant Oganesov served in the 347th Air Regiment on the fronts of the Great Patriotic War.

Throughout the war, Oganesov made 324 successful combat flights, personally shot down 23 aircraft in 75 air battles. He was a member of the symbolic group “Stalin’s Falcons”, as the heroes of the Soviet air force were traditionally called. His plane was shot down only once, at the end of the war, on April 28, 1945. However, the pilot, even badly wounded by the fragments of the anti-aircraft missile, found the strength to land the damaged plane at the airport.

Vazgen Oganesov made his last combat flight during the Battle of Berlin. On the eve of victory, it was necessary to prevent the escape of the German leadership of the Hitlerian Reich from besieged Berlin, led by Hitler himself, writes

On the evening of April 27, it was learned that having lost all the airfields in Berlin and the surrounding area, the German high command was going to use the main avenue of Tiergarten Park for take-off and landing. This news was confirmed by the Commander in Chief of the 3rd IAK, General Savitsky.

From the stories of Air Force Marshal Rudenko. “Immediately after Savitsky’s report, I called my deputy, General Senatorov, and the Chief of the General Staff of the Army, General Bryko. Together we decided that we had to take emergency measures. First, carefully search the area to determine the exact location of the airfield, the number of existing aircraft, anti-aircraft weapons. Only experienced reconnaissance men could perform such a task. I do not remember exactly who, it seems, it was General Bryko who gave the name of Senior Lieutenant Oganesov. I knew this intrepid pilot well. On his account, until the end of the war, there were nearly three hundred combat flights, he had conducted more than 70 air battles, including the shooting down of two dozen enemy aircraft.

General Senatorov gave Oganesov a task: “There is a secret enemy airfield on the territory of the Reichstag and near the Brandenburg Gate. We must find it. The city is in smoke. There are many Zeniths in the center of the Tiergarten Park. We have to go low…”

Less than two hours later, management received accurate information from aerial reconnaissance. They had discovered two light transport aircraft covered at the entrance to the park and were guarded by tanks.

It was decided to immediately bomb and attack the airfield, provisionally called “Imperial”. Senior Lieutenant Oganesov volunteered to show the target. He flew at low altitude, almost above the roofs of buildings.

And then, showing the planes and tanks, it was the turn of the bombers, which eliminated them in a few minutes, but the restless Oganesov decided to turn around and make sure that the airfield was reduced to a pile of metal. He hurriedly reported on the radio. “The purpose of the project is destroyed. Mission accomplished…” Suddenly, his voice cut off: one of the enemy shells hit the plane, the pilot was injured. However, experience and endurance help him to land safely. Later, he received the title of Hero of the USSR for this heroic act.

Throughout his career, Oganesov also received the Order of Lenin, the October Revolution, the Order of the Red Banner (three times), as well as the Red Star and many other medals.

After the war, the pilot continued to serve in the USSR Air Force. In 1956, Lieutenant-General Oganesov retired. He lived in the center of Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. Worked as a chief engineer in a bakery factory. In 1990, Vazgen Mikhaylovich moved to Yerevan with his family, fleeing Armenian pogroms in Baku.

The legendary pilot died on May 23, 1993, at the age of 73, and was buried in the cemetery of honor in Tokhmakh cemetery in Yerevan.

Ashken Virabian

Journalist-analyst of Western Armenia TV