|Born||6 Dec 1916|
|Died||19 Jul 1943|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Yekaterina Budanova was born into a peasant family in a village in Smolensk, Russia in 1916. She began working in an aircraft factory near Moscow, Russia in the 1930s and became interested in aviation, joining an aeroclub and earning her pilot's license. In 1937, she became a flight instructor. She enlisted in the Soviet military after the German invasion in Jun 1941 and was assigned to the all-female 586th Fighter Regiment. In a Yak-1 fighter, she flew her first combat mission in Apr 1942 over Saratov, Russia. On 10 Sep, she was assigned to the Soviet 437th Fighter Regiment and flew combat missions over Stalingrad, Russia. In a LaGG-3 fighter, she claimed her first kill, a German Bf 109 fighter, on 14 Sep 1942, sharing the credit with fellow pilot Lydia Litvyak. In Oct, she scored her first solo kill. In Jan 1943, she was transferred to the 296th Fighter Regiment, which was later redesignated 73rd Guards Fighter Regiment. She was awarded the Order of the Red Star on 23 Feb 1943.
During the war, fellow pilot Vladimir Dmetrievich Lavrinenkov noted "Katya" Budanova as tall, with short hair, cheerful, and a skilled pilot.
Yekaterina Budanova flew near Antracit, Luhansk, Russia on 19 Jul 1943. Pouncing on a group of Bf 109 fighters, she shot down one (her fifth solo kill) and damaged another, but her aircraft was also hit. With the aircraft on fire, she landed the Yak-1 fighter in a nearby field, but by the time local farmers came to help her exit the cockpit, she had already died. The farmers buried her near the village of Novokrasnovka.
Yekaterina Budanova claimed 11 total kills (5 of which solo) in her career as a combat pilot, making her one of the war's two female fighter aces. She was posthumously awarded the title Hero of the Russian Federation in 1993.
Yekaterina Budanova Timeline
|6 Dec 1916||Yekaterina Budanova was born in Konoplanka, Smolensk, Russia.|
|10 Sep 1942||Yekaterina Budanova was assigned to the Soviet 437th Fighter Regiment.|
|14 Sep 1942||Yekaterina Budanova claimed her first aerial kill, a Bf 109 fighter, over Stalingrad, Russia; the kill was shared with fellow pilot Lydia Litvyak.|
|2 Oct 1942||Yekaterina Budanova shot down a Ju 88 bomber and a Bf 109 fighter over Stalingrad, Russia.|
|6 Oct 1942||Yekaterina Budanova shot down a Ju 88 bomber over Stalingrad, Russia.|
|10 Dec 1942||Yekaterina Budanova shot down two Bf 110 fighters.|
|10 Feb 1943||Yekaterina Budanova shot down a Fw 190 aircraft over Rostov on Don, Russia, sharing the credit with other pilots.|
|23 Feb 1943||Yekaterina Budanova was awarded the Order of the Red Star.|
|9 Mar 1943||Yekaterina Budanova shot down a Bf 109 fighter, sharing the credit with other pilots.|
|20 Apr 1943||Yekaterina Budanova was featured on the cover of the young adult political publication Ogonek.|
|30 May 1943||Yekaterina Budanova shot down a Bf 109 fighter, sharing the credit with other pilots.|
|19 Jul 1943||Yekaterina Budanova shot down a Bf 109 fighter near Antracit, Luhansk, Russia, but her Yak-1 fighter also sustained damage and caught on fire. She landed safely, but when farmers rushed to help, they found her already dead.|
|1 Oct 1993||Yekaterina Budanova was posthumously awarded the title Hero of the Russian Federation.|
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Thomas Dodd, late 1945