The Great European War. A Heroic Feat and Death of the Famous Pilot Staff Captain P. N. Nesterov


This print showing the collision of two planes in mid-air and honoring the Russian pilot Staff Captain P.N. Nesterov is from the collection of World War I lubok posters held at the British Library. The caption explains: “Staff Captain P.N. Nesterov recently saw an Austrian airplane flying over the location of our troops near Zhovkva that was about to drop a bomb. Nesterov got in his airplane, attacked the enemy and, ramming the Austrian airplane, destroyed it and thus prevented casualties to our troops from the bomb. Nesterov's mechanic recalls: ‘On August 25, for the first time after a long period of non-action, enemy airplanes began to appear again. Three airplanes flew over during the day and dropped a bomb with a fuse. Then they flew away. The next morning they came back and left without engaging in a fight despite being shot at. Later they appeared again. Nesterov, who had just arrived and seeing the airplanes ordered preparations for firing at the planes and then ordered that his own airplane be made ready; soon he was 2,000 meters above the ground. Nesterov triumphantly flew over one of the large approaching airplanes. Having gotten closer to the enemy, Nesterov dove toward the enemy in a vertical position; he then moved even closer toward it, hitting the enemy airplane with the chassis of his airplane. The enemy flew headlong down, and Nesterov's airplane began descending in a spiral. Witnesses were convinced that Nesterov was alive. Soon Nesterov's machine capsized, dropped below the enemy's airplane and crashed into a swamp. Close to the surface Nesterov's body fell off the plane. His injuries suggested that at the last moment Nesterov, having pushed the enemy airplane, got his airplane's chassis caught in the propeller. Injuring his spine, he died and fell, already dead. Directed accurately by Nesterov, his airplane completed the maneuver on its own.’ Glory to this brave young man, who defeated the treacherous enemy in the air and died a hero's death. Memory of him will remain in our hearts forever.’” Lubok is a Russian word for popular prints created from woodcuts, engravings, etchings, or later, by using lithography. The prints were often characterized by simple, colorful graphics depicting a narrative, and could also include text. During World War I, lubok informed Russians about events on the frontlines, bolstered morale, and served as propaganda against enemy combatants.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

A. P. Korkin & A. V. Beideman & Company Printing and Lithographic Firm, Moscow


Title in Original Language

Великая европейская война. Геройский подвиг и гибель знаменитаго летчика Шт. Капит. П. Н. Нестерова

Type of Item

Last updated: April 16, 2015