Poptsov, Boris Vitalievich
Boris Poptsov was decorated by 4 orders, 17 medals. His common work experience is 61 years.In August 1940 he arrived at the Caynas aerodrome which was served by the Russian 25th aviation base of the 8th aviation division. At the aerodrome there were many fight-aircrafts and reconnaissance planes. Some of them were quite new and not all pilots could use them. The Germ reconnaissance was very interested in that aerodrome including 200 planes. Our border was often crossed by reconnaissance planes. They advertised air-raid warning at the aerodrome. Our fight-aircrafts tried to catch them but that was useless because our pilots were forbidden to open the fire since we were afraid to provoke the conflict with the Germany. German pilots-reconnoiters used their unpunishment and continued crossing the border several times a day until the beginning of the war. We counted 300 cases since January till June of 1941! The Germans reconnoitered their future battle itinerary in such a way. Only once a German bomber was caught. He got some technical problems and had to land. But probably he did it specially under command in order to look at our aerodrome from the inside. The soldiers informed Moscow about it. They quickly replied to turn the plane back. In that way the Russians were preparing to the war.
Meanwhile the Germans reconnoitered actively and insolently even on the land. The Soviet Union and Germany made arrangement to exchange the population of the Baltic region and Eastern Germany. That was the Germans idea as they wanted to inculcate their spies to Latvia, Estonia and etc. It was remarkable that for transporting people they used only German transport. However the Russians took no notice of that, we did not forbid them and on the contrary helped the Germans in order not to provoke a conflict. Although the soldiers felt that something terrible was going to happen, they tried not to think about the possible war.
21 June 1941, the day before the Germans attack Boris returned from his holiday, arrived at the aerodrome for military studies. Together with other officers he went to bed lately. In the morning of 22 June at 3.30a.m. they were awaken by a horrible noise of a great number of planes. The soldiers jumped out of their tents and saw the armada of German bombers. The Russians counted about 60 ones, besides there were 10 fight-aircrafts. Of course the aerodrome was not ready for fighting actions. There were no shelters. The Russians had only 20 planes in the forest camouflaged with branches. The enemies bombed the aerodrome in one hour. Only a few Russian pilots managed to save.In the morning of 23 June German tanks burst in.The war was ahead! The war was really harsh and a difficult way to peace.