Biplane fighter aces

Soviet Union

Kapitan Dmitri Fedorovich Amosov

1915 – 10 May 1944

Dmitri Amosov was born in 1915.

He joined the Red Army in 1939.

In June 1941, Mladshii Leitenant Amosov served in 72 SmAP-SF, flying Polikarpov I-153s. This was a mainly fighter equipped composite regiment operating in the defence of Murmansk with the Air Force of the North Fleet.

Mladshii Leitenant Amosov claimed a Bf 109 over Ura-Guba on 23 August 1941.
German records. incidentally, confirm the loss of Bf 109E-3 WNr. 1118 from 14./JG 77 during this engagement, together with its pilot, Leutnant Hans Malkuch.
Later that same day, Amosov was awarded the Order of the Red Banner.

In October 1941, he was posted to 78 IAP-SF, which was equipped with Hurricanes.

During his time in 78 IAP-SF, he is known to have flown Hurricane IIb Z3768 No. 49 (ex-81 RAF Squadron) from Vaenga airfield.

Around midday on 15 December, 11 Hurricanes of 78 IAP-SF took off in two groups to escort six twin-engined bombers (two DB-4Fs and four SBs), whose crews had been ordered to attack enemy frontline positions. The Soviet aircraft dropped their ordnance during their first run, and they were followed over the target by 11 Hurricanes carrying bombs on external racks. The latter dropped 34 2.5 kg bombs plus 1000 leaflets. As soon as the Soviet formation had set course for home, Bf 109Es of 14./JG 77, led by Leutnant Alfred Jakobi, appeared from out of the darkness at high altitude. The interception did not come as a surprise to the Soviet pilots, however, and two formations of Hurricane IIs, led by Leitenants Amosov and Konstantin G. Kononov, quickly turned to meet the German attack. At first the Soviet aircraft remained in a cohesive group, but this soon broke up when individual dogfights started and each pilot ended up on his own. The Germans immediately shot one Hurricane down when it separated from the main formation, the aircraft crashing in flames in enemy-held territory and its pilot, Leitenant Kononov, being killed (no corresponding Luftwaffe claim is recorded). Two other Hurricanes sustained combat damage but could return to base.
During this brief battle Leitenant Amosov (Hurricane IIb Z3768), managed to fire a long burst from all 12 of his Browning machine guns at a Bf 109 from a range of 70-100 m. According to the pilot’s report, the Messerschmitt crashed in enemy territory and exploded (it was claimed as a ”He 113”).

In March 1942, he was posted back to his old unit (72 SmAP-SF) as commander of an eskadrilia. This unit had become a guard’s unit, 2 GIAP-SF, on 18 January 1942 and had also been re-equipped with Hurricanes.

At 16:00 on 4 March, Amosov joined Aleksander Kovalenko and Starshii Leitenant Sergei Kurzenkov in intercepting a pair of Bf 109Es over the frontline. The German fighters were pursuing Pe-2 fighter-bombers when the three Hurricanes attacked the Messerschmitts head-on, using their machine guns and RS-82 rockets. According to the pilots’ reports, the Bf 109s quickly turned around and headed back to the west trailing smoke and losing altitude. Both Amosov and Kurzenkov claimed a Bf 109 each in the area of Luostari airfield.
German sources indicate that one pilot, Unteroffizier Arthur Mendl of JG 5, suffered head wounds during this battle with the Hurricanes.

On 30 May, Amosov was flying one of six Hurricanes that engaged four Bf 109s over the Allied convoy PQ-16 as it entered the Kola Gulf, the official combat report for the action stating:

“Our pilots sighted two Me 110s and five Me 109s in the area they were patrolling at an altitude of 1000 m and engaged them in combat. Starshii Leitenant Amosov opened fire with four bursts from behind an Me 109 at a range of 200-150 m and drove it into the water.”
This is, however, unconfirmed. Amosov failed to spot an approaching enemy aircraft and came under fire himself. He was severely wounded and managed to ditch in the sea, being rescued by sailors.

Following a lengthy spell in hospital, he was sent on a course to improve his skills as a eskadrilia commander.

By June 1942, Amosov had flown 275 missions and taken part in 26 air combats.

On 23 July 1942, he was decorated with his second Order of the Red Banner.

Upon his return to combat in May 1943 he led a eskadrilia within 27 IAP-SF, which at that time was undergoing combat training on the Hurricane.

On 28 August 1943, Amosov led a group of Hurricanes which, together with Il-2s, took off to attack an enemy airfield. Although each Hurricane was carrying a FAB-50 bomb under its fuselage, Amosov’s pilots had been ordered to escort the ground attack aircraft, despite the presence of other Hurricanes, Yak-Is and Airacobras.
As the raiders were approaching their target Bf 109s appeared, one of which attempted to attack an Il-2 from behind. Amosov poured two long bursts of machine gun fire into the fighter, which immediately burst into flames, forcing the pilot to bail out. Although the escort group pilots were unable to confirm this victory, it was verified by several of the Il-2 pilots. According to Amosov’s combat report, he used 62 20 mm ShVAK shells and 60 12.7 mm large calibre rounds to destroy the Bf 109G-2 over Luostari airfield.
The air battle did not end there, however, as during the second approach to the target more Bf 109s attempted to break through the escorting fighters in an effort to reach the Il-2s, but they were frustrated. The defence of the Shturmoviks cost three Hurricanes and a Yak-1, and two pilots killed. One of the downed Hurricanes came from Amosov’s group, its pilot, Mladshii Leitenant T. F. Chistov, performing an emergency landing near the enemy airfield. He managed to return to his base two days later.
Amosov’s victim was possibly Bf 109G-2 WNr. 10844, from which Feldwebel Hans Enderle managed to bail out.

In October 1943, there was a reorganisation intended to improve training efficiency between the Hurricane-equipped 27 IAP-SF and 255 IAP-SF. As the most proficient in the former unit, Amosov’s eskadrilia was transferred to 255 IAP-SF to convert to the Airacobra. An eskadrilia from the latter regiment, which had started transitioning to the P-40, was in turn transferred to the 27 IAP-SF. As a result, Amosov, now holding the rank of Kapitan, started to train for operations on another type of fighter in another regiment. He quickly earned the respect of his new colleagues and continued to fly the Airacobra.

On 10 May 1944, while returning from his 321st combat sortie, and witnessed by his regimental colleagues, Amosov crashed into the water and was killed.
His death followed a torpedo attack on a German convoy, the escorting fighter pilots strafing the decks of the enemy ships with their machine guns for two or three minutes in response to heavy anti-aircraft fire. On the return flight, a trail of white smoke was visible behind the leaders aircraft, and a few minutes later the pilots in the group heard the call ”It’s me, Amosov. I can’t see”. As the white smoke turned to black his fellow pilots radioed directions to him, but for some unknown reason Amosov failed to gain height, thus preventing him from safely bailing out of his Airacobra – perhaps he preferred a quick death to capture by the enemy. According to legend and putting his aircraft into a steep dive, Amosov shouted his final order over the radio – ”Bring the torpedo-bombers home”. His Airacobra, smoking heavily, crashed into the water at high speed and plunged beneath the waves.

At the time of his death, Amosov was credited with 2 biplane victories and a total of 8.
These had been claimed during more than 300 missions.

Claims:
Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  1941                
  26/07/41   1/3 Ju 87 Shared destroyed I-153     72 SmAP-SF
  26/07/41   1/3 Ju 87 Shared destroyed I-153     72 SmAP-SF
  13/08/41   1/3 Bf 109 Shared destroyed I-153     72 SmAP-SF
  15/08/41   1/2 Bf 110 Shared destroyed I-153   Murmansk area 72 SmAP-SF
1 23/08/41   1 Bf 109 (a) Destroyed I-153     72 SmAP-SF
2 06/10/41   1 Ju 88 (b) Destroyed I-153   Ura-Guba 72 SmAP-SF
3 15/12/41 (c) midday 1 Bf 109 (d) Destroyed Hurricane IIb Z3768 Murmansk area 3./78 IAP-SF
  1942                
4 08/01/42   1 He 113 Destroyed Hurricane IIb Z3768   78 IAP-SF
5 04/03/42 16:00 1 Bf 109 (e) Destroyed Hurricane IIb Z3768 Luostari airfield 2 GIAP-SF
6 30/05/42   1 Bf 109 (f) Destroyed Hurricane IIb Z3768 Kola Gulf area 2 GIAP-SF
  1943                
7 22/08/43   1 Bf 109 (g) Destroyed Hurricane   Luostari airfield 27 IAP-SF
  1944                
8 07/04/44   1 Bf 109 Destroyed Airacobra     255 IAP-SF

Biplane victories: 2 and 4 shared destroyed.
TOTAL: 8 and 4 shared destroyed.
(a) Possibly Leutnant Hans Malkuch of 14./JG 77 (Bf 109E-3 WNr. 1118) KiA.
(b) Possibly aircraft from I./KG 30 (crew MiA).
(c) According to some sources, the date should be 15/11/41.
(d) Claimed as a He 113 but in fact claimed in combat with Bf 109s from 14./JG 77.
(e) 2 GIAP-SF claimed 2 Bf 109s in this combat. 1 Bf 109 from JG was damaged (pilot WiA).
(f) Claim not verified with Luftwaffe records.
(g) Possibly Bf 109G-2 WNr. 10844 (pilot safe).

Sources:
All aces of Stalin 1936–1953 – Mikhail Bykov, 2014
Soviet Aces 1936-1953
Soviet Hurricane Aces of World War 2 – Yuriy Rybin, 2012 Osprey Publishing Limited, Oxford, ISBN 978-1-84908-741-1




Last modified 26 April 2018