Biplane fighter aces

Soviet Union

Major Petr Vasileevich Agafonov

1908 –

Petr Agafonov was born in 1908.

He took part in the Nomonhan Incident in 1939, where he flew I-153s in the 22 IAP.

He claimed his first victory on 10 July, a Ki-27.

On 21 August 1939, Agafonov (I-153) claimed a Ki-27 south-west of Lake Yanhu as did Vasily Smirnov (Polikarpov biplane).

Over Lake Buir-Nur on 2 September, three Ki-10s from the 33rd Sentai’s 2nd chutai led by First Lieutenant Soichi Okamoto, met some reported 30 I-16s. Okamoto claimed the unit’s first four victories of the Incident while Sergeant Major Shozo Saito in vain tried to ram one, but was instead obliged to force-lend.
They had met 22 IAP led by Starshii Leitenant Fedor Cheremukhin. This experienced leader rightly reasoned that the I-16 tip 10 had significantly greater speed and firepower, and less manoeuvrability, and initiated the correct tactic for the fight: shooting from further away and avoiding close level manoeuvres. After the skirmish, his unit reported two downed Kawasaki Ki-10s for no own losses.
The encounter again escalated into an air battle. Excellent visibility allowed a great area to be observed, and each engagement was as visible as a flare by pilots on the ground; they immediately scrambled and flew across to assist their comrades. First to arrive were the 1st Sentai Ki-27. More Soviet fighters followed them and the previous day’s events repeated themselves. The fight developed overhead Hamar-Daba Mountain and the Humurgin-Gol River, at the same levels that offered optimum performance to both sides: 3500 to 5000m. After 45 minutes that had witnessed over 250 machines fighting (175 of them Soviet), the sky grew quiet.
The Japanese admitted losing one Ki-27 when Sergeant Yukio Kijima (Sho-4) of the 1st Sentai was killed and suffering damage to four more fighters and totally claimed seven victories (four by Okamoto).
The Soviets fighters only lost one aircraft and totally claimed eight victories, six of them Ki-27s. Known claiming pilots from 22 IAP were Agafonov (I-153), who claimed a shared Ki-27 together with six other pilots, Leitenant Pavel Solntsev (I-16), who claimed two Ki-27s together with five other pilots and Kapitan Andrey Dekhtyarenko (I-16), who claimed a shared Ki-27 (reported as a ”I-97”) south-east of Lake Uzur-Nur together with three other pilots.

During the Nomonhan Incident, he flew more than ten combat missions and claimed 2 and 1 shared enemy fighters.

When Germany invade the Soviet Union in June 1941, he served in 12 IAP, which was equipped with I-153s.

He left 12 IAP in September 1941 and was posted to 236 IAP in January 1942. This unit was equipped with Yak-1s.

In February 1943, he was posted to 235 IAD

Agafonov ended the war with 3 biplane victories and a total of 6.
During the war, he was decorated with the Order of the Red Banner (twice), the Order of the Patriotic War 1st Class and the Order of the Red Star.

Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
1 10/07/39   1 Ki-27 Destroyed I-153     22 IAP
2 21/08/39   1 Ki-27 Destroyed I-153   SW Lake Yanhu 22 IAP
  02/09/39   1/7 Ki-27 Shared destroyed I-153     22 IAP
3 23/07/41   1 Hs 126 Destroyed I-153     12 IAP
4 18/01/42   1 Ju 88 Destroyed Yak-1     236 IAP
5 11/12/42   1 Bf 109 Destroyed Yak-1     236 IAP
6 13/12/42   1 Bf 109 Destroyed Yak-1     236 IAP

Biplane victories: 3 and 1 shared destroyed.
TOTAL: 6 and 1 shared destroyed.

Air War Over Khalkhin Gol: The Nomonhan Incident - Vladimir R. Kotelnikov, 2010 SAM Publications, ISBN 978-1-906959-23-4
All aces of Stalin 1936–1953 – Mikhail Bykov, 2014
Japan Against Russia In The Sky Of Nomonhan - Dimitar Nedialkov, 2005 Propeller Publishing, Sofia, ISBN 954-9367-33-9

Last modified 19 December 2018