Biplane fighter aces

Soviet Union

Naval Kapitan Vasiliy Semenovich Adonkin HSU

7 April 1913 - 17 March 1944

Adonkin was born on 7 April in Khokhlovo in the Belgorodsk region.

He joined the army in 1937, attending the Yeysk Military/Naval Air School, from where he graduated in 1941.

As a Mladshiy Leytenant he was posted to the 72 SmAP-SF (Composite Air Regement) of the Air Force of the North Fleet.

He was in action from the start of the Great Patriotic War over the Polar region.

On 22 June he claimed a Ju 88 while flying an I-16.

On 29 June he claimed a second Ju 88 when four I-16s fought a pitched battle over their own airfield with superior enemy forces claiming four kills.

On 13 July he claimed an enemy fighter by a “taran” ramming attack while flying an I-153.

In 1942, his regiment converted to Hawker Hurricanes.

On 17 January 1942, the 72 SmAP-SF became a guards unit and renamed to 2 GIAP-SF.

In late March 1942, he was promoted to Kapitan.

It seems that he served in the 78 IAP-SF during April 1942.

He claimed a Ju 88 and a Do215 on 14 April, while flying Hurricanes.

On 16 April, he claimed a Ju 88.

Another Ju 88 was claimed on 19 April.

He claimed another Ju 88, next day on 20 April.

On 21 April, he claimed yet another Ju 88.

He then returned to the 2 GIAP-SF.

During May 1942, he claimed three more enemy aircraft.

On 2 June, he claimed two victories while carrying out three patrols in the Murmansk area.

The 2 GIAP-SF was re-equipped with Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawks.

In 1943, the 2 GIAP-SF was again re-equipped, this time with P-39 Airacobras.

At 02:45 on 19 May 1942, he claimed a German fighter.

On 12 June, he claimed a Bf 109, probably from 7./JG 5, over Ekkeri (Eckerö?).

On 19 June 1943, he was leading eight fighters to escort Il-2s, becoming engaged with some 30 Bf 109s and Fw190s over the Varanger Fyord, during which his formation claimed four shot down without losses to themselves.

A short time later six Hurricanes with Adonkin in the lead were off to escort a formation of I-16s tasked with strafing Luostori airfield. In the target area Luftwaffe resistance appeared in the form of 10 Bf 109s and Fw190s, but these fared badly, the Hurricanes claiming five Bf 109s without loss while the I-16s shot up two aircraft on the ground.

Adonkin rose to squadron leader and in 1944 was given command of the Airacobra equipped 255 IAP-SF.

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

Shortly after the award of the HSU he was promoted to Mayor.

On 17 March, he was killed in action over the Finnish island of Eckerö.
It seems that he was killed by fighters from JG 5, which claimed 11 Airacobras in the Murmansk area during the day.

Adonkin was also decorated with the Order of the Red Banner (thrice), the Order of the Patriotic War 1st and 2nd Class and the Order of the Red Star.

At the time of his death, Adonkin was credited with 1 biplane victory and a total of 16 (of which 13 were single-engined aircraft). These victories were claimed on 365 sorties and 42 combats.

Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
1 22/06/41   1 Ju 88 Destroyed I-16     72 smAP-SF
2 29/06/41   1 Ju 88 Destroyed I-16   Over own airfield 72 smAP-SF
3 13/07/41   1 Enemy fighter (a) Destroyed I-153     72 smAP-SF
4 14/04/42   1 Ju 88 Destroyed Hurricane     78 IAP-SF
5 14/04/42   1 Do215 Destroyed Hurricane     78 IAP-SF
6 16/04/42   1 Ju 88 Destroyed Hurricane     78 IAP-SF
7 19/04/42   1 Ju 88 Destroyed Hurricane     78 IAP-SF
8 20/04/42   1 Ju 88 Destroyed Hurricane     78 IAP-SF
9 21/04/42   1 Ju 88 Destroyed Hurricane     78 IAP-SF
10 ??/05/42   1 Enemy aircraft Destroyed Hurricane     2 GIAP-SF
11 ??/05/42   1 Enemy aircraft Destroyed Hurricane     2 GIAP-SF
12 ??/05/42   1 Enemy aircraft Destroyed Hurricane     2 GIAP-SF
13 02/06/42   1 Enemy aircraft Destroyed Hurricane   Murmansk area 2 GIAP-SF
14 02/06/42   1 Enemy aircraft Destroyed Hurricane   Murmansk area 2 GIAP-SF
15 19/05/43 02:45 1 Enemy fighter Destroyed P-39     2 GIAP-SF
16 12/06/43   1 Bf 109 (b) Destroyed P-39   Ekkeri 2 GIAP-SF

Biplane victories: 1 destroyed.
TOTAL: 16 and 6 shared destroyed.
(a) Claimed in a “taran” ramming attack.
(b) Probably from 7./JG 5.

Russian Fighter Aces of 1914-1953 years
Soviet Lend-Lease Fighter Aces of World War 2 - George Mellinger, 2006 Osprey Publishing Limited, Oxford, ISBN 1-84603-041-2
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 VI – 1944 – Kalevi Keskinen and Kari Stenman, 2008, ISBN 978-952-99743-5-1
Additional information kindly provided by Ondrej Repka and Mirek Wawrzynski

Last modified 21 September 2010