Biplane fighter aces

Soviet Union

Naval Kapitan Vladimir Fedorovich Abramov HSU

14 June 1921 – 23 May 1985.


Vladimir Abramov (in the aircraft) and Ivan Serbin.
Image kindly via Sergey Abrosov.

Vladimir Abramov was born on 14 June 1921 in Kuznetsk. When he was 3 years old he lost his parents.

He enrolled for service in the VMF in 1939 and completed his training at Yeysk Naval Flying School a year later. After completion of training, he joined the 71 IAP-KBF (Baltic Sea Fleet Air Force) and he was to stay on the Baltic Front during his whole career.

During the first year of the war, he used an I-15bis with the number 30 and an I-153 with the number 42.

In July (possibly on 2 July), he took part in the interception of a rare Focke-Wulf FW 200. After Abramov’s initial attack the German aircraft was smoking and tried to escape but was then attacked and shot down by two other famous aces, kapitan Aleksey Antonenko and Petr Brinko (flying I-16s) of 13 IAP-KBF. After this claim Antonenko and Brinko claimed it for Abramov but Abramov said the two former aces shot it down. This means that the Condor is not included in Abramov’s total claims.

On 21 September 1941, six I-153s from the 71 IAP-KBF, led by starshiy leitenant Konstantin Solov’yev, fought with four Ju 88s near Peterhof. Three of the German bombers were claimed shot down ”in group”. Known pilots taking part in this claim was Solov’yev, starshiy leitenant Abramov, Aleksandr Baturin and leitenant Grigoriy Pushkin.
On the same day, six I-153 from the 71 IAP-KBF conducted a reconnaissance of roads in the area Sablino-Yam-Izhora. They were attacked by six Bf 109s. In a frontal attack, Baturin personally shot down the fighter leading the German formation. The remaining German retired and the reconnaissance was completed.

On 27 March 1942, Finnish forces invaded Gogland. This resulted in some heavy air combats over the island.

At 19:00 on 27 March five I-153s from the 71 IAP led by kapitan Pavel Tshinyakov (and including Abramov) intercepted two Finnish Fokker D.XXIs over the Gulf of Finland and one Fokker D.XXI was claimed shot down. The Finnish fighter crashed on the ice and was claimed as a shared by all the pilots.
It seems that the Soviet fighters had been in combat with Fokkers from LLv 30, which didn't suffer any losses.

On 28 March, 2/LLv 30 flew a cap mission to Gogland at dawn with kapteeni Veikko Karu’s seven Fokkers engaging a formation of about twenty fighters flying in two groups. During a ten-minute turning fight the Finns sent down two aircraft, when the enemy planes split and began to break off. The Fokkers entered a fruitless chase. Luutnantti Veikko Sauru claimed one and one shared fighters:

“At 05:45-06:10, altitude 1,500-100m. When I observed the enemy formation I attacked directly towards those flying at the lowest height. During the approach I reached the same altitude of a formation consisting of six I-153s. I got a chance to turn into one I-153 and shooting I saw smoke puff out of the aircraft. After this vänrikk Helle stayed to follow this plane. Soon after this I shot from opposite directions at one I-153. I avoided colliding by pulling over the Chaika in the last moment. Vänrikki Mattila and kersantti Krohn, who were following this encounter saw the I-153 go in a spin and hit the deck. I fired at a few other I-153s and one I-16.
My plane FR-124.”
Over Suursaari between 05:45-06:10, luutnantti Sauru claimed one I-153 and one shared with vänrikki Juha Helle (FR-123), kapteeni Veikko Karu (FR-136) claimed one probable I-16, kersantti Helge Krohn (FR-135) claimed and damaged I-16 and vänrikki Tauno Saalasti (FR-159) claimed one damaged I-16.
Majuri Olavi Ehrnrohts’s six Curtiss of LLv 32 fought against the same mixed formation and claimed two Chaikas and one Rata over Suursaari. Kersantti Aaro Kiljunen (CU-544) and Kersantti Niilo Erkinheimo (CU-551) claimed a shared I-16 from 11 IAP-KBF between 05:30-07:20. Between 05:30-07:30, ylikersantti Uuno Alpinnen (CU-572) claimed an I-153, vänrikki Jaakko Hillo (CU-553) claimed a probable I-16 while majuri Ehrnrooth (CU-571) and lentomerstari Viljo Ikonen (CU-565) claimed a shared I-153.
Totally the Finnish pilots claimed five shot down, two probables and two damaged without losses.
It seems that the I-153s were from 71 IAP-KBF and the I-16s from 11 IAP-KBF. The chronicle of the Baltic Fleet air forces reported:
“At 07:00 (Moscow time) nine I-153s of 71 IAP-KBF’s commander podpolkovnik Aleksey Koronets engaged on a ground attack mission 8 km north of Gogland nine Fokkers and two Curtiss and the escort detachment made a frontal attack. In this attack Koronets was killed. The I-153s of the strike detachment joined the combat after dropping their bombs on the ice. The combat lasted for ten minutes as individual clashes, were Grigoriy Shakbaz, shot down one Fokker, but he himself did not return from the mission.”
11 IAP-KBF lost one I-16 in this combat.
Later in the morning, luutnantti Osmo Kauppinen’s five Brewsters of 3/LLv 24 fought against ten Chaikas claiming half of them shot down. Lentomestari Ilmari Juutilainen claimed two:
At 07:45-08:15, altitude 2,000-10m. I flew in the top patrol with kersantti Huotari. Over the Suurkylä shore at Gogland I observed beneath me enemy fighters and we went to attack. During the combat I followed one I-153 shooting at it several time from 50m, until it suddenly flipped from 200 metres altitude to the ice. Then I chased with kersantti Huotari two I-153s to Lavansaari, Where I shot the aircraft burning on the west shore. The Russians were shooting rocket projectiles, which when exploding created a black cloud reminding an explosion of heavy flak, though a bit bigger. They exploded 100-200m ahead of my plane. I-153s had four of them under both wings.
My plane BW-364.”
Between 07:45-08:15 3/LLv 24 claimed five I-153s over Lavanssari when lentomerstari Juutilainen claimed two, kersantti Jouko Huotari (BW-353) claimed two and luutnantti Kauppinen (BW-366) claimed one.
It seems that the I-153s were from 71 IAP-KBF. The chronicle of the Baltic Fleet air forces reported:
“At 09:05 kapitan Solov’yev’s ten I-153 fighters of 71 IAP had just commenced the second pass of strafing the enemy troops, when four Curtiss and eight Fokkers attacked from above. The enemy was flying staggered in three altitudes: two Finnish I-153s were at 500m, the Fokkers were at 1,000m and the Curtiss were at 2,000m. The Soviet aircraft were in two groups, five planes in both the strike and escort groups. The aerial battle was fought in two altitudes, 100 and 1,000m. Two I-153s were shot down piloted by starshiy leitenant Mazurenko and serzhant Aleksander Pavlov. In addition, starshiy leitenant Vladimir Abramov made a forced landing near Seiskari with his damaged I-153 fighter.”
During the day, the island was taken by the Finns and when LLv 32 was flying top cover for the occupation parade, 29 Soviet fighters were approaching in three formations. In a 20-minute combat between 17:40 and 18:00 over Suursaari the Finns claimed fifteen shot down (five I-16s and ten I-153s) and one damaged I-153 without losses. Luutnantti Pentti Nurminen (3/LLv 32) downed two fighters:
“When I was leading a flight of six Curtiss in protection of Gogland, I received a message 4/1 west from Seivasto. I took my flight west of Lavansaari. Then the radio informed that west of Gogland first 8, then 11 and then 10 unknown aircraft at 3,000 metres. I climbed to 3,000 m above the clouds and then saw the streaks of the aircraft at about 2,000 m and right after the 8 aircraft themselves, part I-153s and part I-16s. I carried out an attack, when I got to shoot at one I-16 three good bursts from a close range at the side and behind. The aircraft shed fragments and went down out of control. After this I fired at three I-153s from behind and aside. The I- 153, which I shot from the side and behind descended smoking, but I had to pull up again due to other I-153s. The Russians had no will for fighting and rather wanted to head to St. Petersburg and Harjavalta. I did not observe the Russian firing their m-gs, instead they shot their rocket projectiles.
I-16 is an inferior op-ponent compared with 1-153. The Chaikas did not use a turn to opposite direction for dodging, but a climbing turn to port or starboard and then straight towards St. Petersburg direction (obviously extremely low on fuel).
My plane CU-571.”
The other claims for destroyed fighters were made by vänrikki Mauri Aalto (CU-553), who claimed one I-153 and one I-16 (over Tytärsaari), luutnantti Jarl Arnkil (CU-556), who claimed one and one shared I-153 (with vääpeli Fräntilä), vääpeli Mauno Fräntilä (CU-572), who claimed one I-16 and one shared I-153 (with luutnantti Arnkil), ylikersantti Aimo Gerndt (CU-551), who claimed one I-153, ylikersantti Lauri Jutila (CU-566), who claimed two I-153s, kersantti Jaakko Kajanto (CU-568), who claimed one I-16, lentomestari Eino Koskinen (CU-558), who claimed one I-16, kersantti Eero Tähtö (CU-564), who claimed one I-153, kersantti Väinö Virtanen (CU-554), who claimed one I-153 and kersantti Eero Visuri (CU-563), who claimed one I-153. Vänrikki Veikko Alapuro (CU-552) claimed one I-153 damaged.
The aircraft of LLv 6 still harassed the fleeing Soviet troops along the ice by bombs and machine-gun fire.
The Baltic Fleet reported:
“At 18:40 twelve 71 IAP’s 1-153 fighters of kapitan Petr Biskup and six 11 IAP’s I-16 fighters had just completed the strafing of the enemy troops on the ground, when 15 Messerschmitts and 8 Fokkers attacked at 1,000 metres altitude. Serzhant Vasiliy Fedorov, who fought alone with eight Fokkers, had to make a forced landing near Lavansaari after running out of fuel. The aircraft flipped on its back without injuring the pilot. Observation points at Seiskari and Lavansaari reported three Fokkers and one PZL-24 down.”
11 IAP-KBF reported having lost one I-16 and 71 IAP-KBF four Chaikas in aerial combat with the Fokkers and Spitfires, all these before noon. Concerning the largest air battle of the day fought just before 19 hours o'clock, in addition to what is mentioned above, the chronicle states only that Solov’yev claimed one individual and one group victory over Me 109s.
The Soviet claims are somewhat confusing on this day. According to modern sources, Konstantin Solov’yev is only credited with a shared victory together with another pilot on this day. However, it seems that one individual Brewster is credited to Solov’yev before noon while the shared Fokker is credited to the group in the evening including Solov’yev, mladshiy leitenant Georgiy Belyakov and serzhant Vasiliy Fedorov. Serzhant Fedorov claimed an additional Fokker during the day while starshiy leitenant Abramov claimed a Fokker (an I-153 according to other sources) north-east of Gogland and Shakbaz claimed a Fokker in the morning. This brings the total of known Soviet claims for the day to one Brewster and four Fokker D.XXIs.

In April 1942, he was wounded twice.

In combat over Kronstadt on 24 April, 71 IAP-KBF claimed two Ju 88s shared among seven pilots; four of these being starshiy leitenant Abramov, starshiy leytenant Aleksandr Baturin, Vasiliy Fedorov and Ivan Minayev. A third Ju 88 was claimed by leitenant Abram Ashkinazi.
Fedorov also claimed a Bf 109 shared with another pilot while Minayev claimed a Ju 87 with another pilot.
Leitenant Ashkinazi was seriously wounded in air combat.
The claims for Ju 88s can’t be verified with Luftwaffe records.

On 7 July 1942, 71 IAP-KBF reported fighting in the morning after 06:00 with four I-153s (including Abramov) against four “Severskys” and claiming two shot down near Lavansaari.
The only Finnish detachment in the area was a three-plane Brewster patrol of 1/LeLv 24, which reported no contact. These may have been German aircraft.

On 13 July 1942, I-153s from 71 IAP-KBF were involved in combat with a reported group of “Severskies” north-east of Someri. One of them was claimed as a shared by kapitan Nikolai Korolev, starshiy leytenant Abramov, starshiy leytenant Ivan Minayev and starshiy leytenant Ivan Tsapov.
It seems that they had been involved in combat with luutantti Joel Savonen’s swarm of Buffaloes from 1/LeLv 24, which reported that they intercepted eight Chaikas in the Lavansaari area between 20:20-21:20. One of the I-153s was shot down over the island by ylikersantti Reino Malin (BW-366).

In the evening on 31 August, kapteeni Eino Luukkanen led five Brewsters of 1/LeLv 24 to a search in the Seiskari-Lavansaari area. In a clash with eight Chaikas, half of them were claimed shot down into the sea over Lavansaari. The claimants were vääpeli Eero Kinnunen (BW-382) (18:50-20:00), ylikersantti Reino Malin (BW-373) (19:50-20:00) and kapteeni Luukkanen (BW-393) (19:50-20:05). The fourth was claimed between 19:50-20:05 as a shared between luutnantti Kai Metsola (BW-375) and ylikersantti M Pellinen (BW-376).
The Soviets reported that kapitan Petr Biskup’s four I-153s from 71 IAP-KBF were patrolling over Lavanssari, when they were attacked by 12 Capronis and Fiats. RS-82 rockets were launched in the first head-on firing which split the enemy formation. The attacked then continued in pairs and also from head on. After one such enemy turn, Biskup and starshiy leitenant Aleksandr Gruzdev scored hit on one Caproni, which went into the sea. After 20 minutes of fighting 12 additional Capronis appeared on the scene and also four I-153s from 71 IAP-KBF. In repeated attacks two more Capronis were damaged with rockets and machinegun fire, and they then broke off to Someri direction. One of them could not make it and fell into the sea.
It seems that this last was claimed as a shared among at least six pilots including Biskup, Abramov, Vasiliy Fedorov, Gruzdev and Ivan Minayev.

In the autumn of 1942, he became flight commander in the 71 IAP-KBF.

From 22 June 1941 to 22 April 1942, he flew 306 sorties of which 70 were ground attack missions and 87 were reconnaissance missions.

On 31 May 1943, the 71 IAP-KBF was designated 10 GIAP-KBF.
He subsequently was occupied with armed reconnaissance and in early 1944 re-equipped with La-5 fighters.

On 19 March 1944, he managed to claim one of the unit's initial victories with the new fighter when he was leading five fighters against a formation of 27 enemy aircraft and downed one Ju 87 personally.

On 22 July 1944, he was decorated with the Gold Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union and the Order of Lenin.

His last sortie of the war he flew in the same area as his first one. This was very typical for Baltic Front Air Regiments. He ended the war as kapitan and CO of an eskadrillya.

During the war, he was also decorated with the Order of the Red Banner (four times), the Order of Patriotic War 1st Class, the Order of Patriotic War 2nd Class and the Order of the Red Star (twice).

Abramov ended the war with 2 biplane victories and a total of 7 and 13 shared victories.
Totally during the war, he flew more than 600 sorties and took part in 65 air combats.

Abramov continued to serve for 30 years in the Air Force and was one of the first "Navy" flyers who flew with jets.

He retired 1974 and passed away on 23 May 1985.

Claims:
Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  1941                
  21/09/41   1/6 Ju 88 Shared destroyed I-153   nr Peterhof 71 IAP-KBF
  21/09/41   1/6 Ju 88 Shared destroyed I-153   nr Peterhof 71 IAP-KBF
  21/09/41   1/6 Ju 88 Shared destroyed I-153   nr Peterhof 71 IAP-KBF
  1942
               
  27/03/42 19:00 1/5 Fokker D.XXI (a) Shared destroyed I-153   E Gogland 71 IAP-KBF
1 28/03/42   1 Fokker D.XXI (b) Destroyed I-153   NE Gogland 71 IAP-KBF
  24/04/42   1/7 Ju 88 (c) Shared destroyed I-153   Kronstadt 71 IAP-KBF
  24/04/42   1/7 Ju 88 (c) Shared destroyed I-153   Kronstadt 71 IAP-KBF
  07/07/42 06:00- 1/4 ’Seversky’ (d) Shared destroyed I-153   nr Lavansaari 71 IAP-KBF
  07/07/42 06:00- 1/4 ’Seversky’ (d) Shared destroyed I-153   nr Lavansaari 71 IAP-KBF
  13/07/42 20:20-21:20 1/4 ’Seversky’ (e) Shared destroyed I-153   NE Someri 71 IAP-KBF
  20/07/42   1/2 Ju 88 Shared destroyed I-153     71 IAP-KBF
  10/08/42   1/2 Ju 88 Shared destroyed I-153     71 IAP-KBF
  31/08/42 19:50-20:05 1/6 Caproni (f) Shared destroyed I-153   Lavansaari area 71 IAP-KBF
  1943                
2 13/01/43   1 Bf 109 Destroyed I-153   Kivgoda 71 IAP-KBF
  26/01/43   1/6 Bf 109 Shared destroyed I-153     71 IAP-KBF
  21/05/43   1/8 Bf 109 Shared destroyed I-16   SW Lavansaari 71 IAP-KBF
  21/05/43   1/8 FW 190 Shared destroyed I-16   SW Lavansaari 71 IAP-KBF
  1944                
3 19/03/44   1 Ju 87 Destroyed La-5   W Narva 10 GIAP-KBF
4 19/05/44   1 FW 190 Destroyed La-5   Kahula airfield 10 GIAP-KBF
5 19/05/44   1 FW 190 Destroyed La-5     10 GIAP-KBF
6 26/05/44   1 Ju 87 Destroyed La-5   SW Hakkovo 10 GIAP-KBF
7 26/05/44   1 FW 190 Destroyed La-5   Luga Bay 10 GIAP-KBF

Biplane victories: 2 and 13 shared destroyed.
TOTAL: 7 and 15 shared destroyed.
(a) Probably claimed in combat with Fokkers from LLv 30, which didn't suffer any losses.
(b) Claimed in combat with LLv24, LLv 30 and LLv 32, which claimed 25 fighters destroyed, 2 probables and 3 damaged during the day without losses. 71 IAP-KBF claimed 1 Brewster and 4 Fokker D.XXIs destroyed while losing (together with 11 IAP-KBF) 6 fighters.
(c) Not verified with Luftwaffe records.
(d) Not confirmed with Finnish records.
(e) Claimed in combat with Brewster Buffaloes from 1/LeLv 24, which claimed one I-153 without losses. 71 IAP-KBF claimed one Buffalo and it seems that they didn’t suffer any losses.
(f) Claimed in combat with Brewster Buffaloes from 1/LeLv 24, which claimed 4 I-153s without losses. 71 IAP-KBF claimed 2 and 1 damaged Buffaloes without known losses.

Sources:
All aces of Stalin 1936-1953 – Mikhail Bykov, 2014
Polikarpov I-15, I-16 and I-153 Aces - Mikhail Maslov, 2010 Osprey Publishing, Oxford, ISBN 978-1-84603-981-2
Russian Fighter Aces of 1914-1953 years
Soviet Aces 1936-1953
Sovetskiye asy - Nikolay Bodrikhin, 1998, Moscow, kindly provided by Ondrej Repka
Stalin's Eagles - Hans D. Seidl, 1998 Schiffer Publishing, ISBN 0-7643-0476-3
Stalin's Falcons - Tomas Polak and Christhoper Shores, 1999 Grub Street, London, ISBN 1-902304-01-2
Suomen Ilmavoimat part IV – 1942 – Kalevi Keskinen and Kari Stenman, 2007, ISBN 978-952-99743-2-0
Additional information kindly provided by Ondrej Repka.




Last modified 10 April 2021