Biplane fighter aces

Soviet Union

Naval Major Aleksandr Gerasimovich Baturin HSU

21 July 1915 – 29 November 1985

Date Decoration Note
13/11/41 Order of the Red Banner 1st
16/12/41 Order of the Red Banner 2nd
23/10/42 Gold Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union No. 751
23/10/42 Order of Lenin  
30/04/44 Order of the Red Banner 3rd
11/03/85 Order of the Patriotic War, 1st Class  

Aleksandr Baturin was born in Poltavka in the Aktyubinsk area on 21 July 1915.

He learned to fly at the Orenburg aeroclub and entered military service with the VMF in 1938. He completed his training at Yeysk military flying school two years later.

He was posted to the 71 IAP-KBF (Baltic Sea Fleet Air Force) flying Polikarpov I-153s.
The 71 IAP-KBF was operating over the Gulf of Finland during this period, and he started to fly combat missions in the beginning of the Great Patriotic War.

Starshiy leitenant Vladimir Abramov (I-16) and Baturin (I-153) claimed a shared Bf 109 over Kotlin on 16 August.

On 25 August 1941, Lagsberg airfield in the Tallinn area was raided and four I-153s from 71 IAP-KBF were scrambled. They intercepted 20 Ju 88s and their escorting fighters and in the ensuing combat, Baturin claimed one Ju 88.

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 Vladimir Abramov, 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.

Between 17:55-18:15 on 27 September 1941, five I-15bis and eleven I-153s (led by Boris Mikhailov) from 71 IAP-KBF and six I-16s (led by Aleksandr I. Agureev) from 104 IAE fought in the Kronstadt area with three groups of Ju 88s and Ju 87s (a total of 35 aircraft was counted) escorted by four Bf 109s.
At 17:55, Petrov of the 104 IAE made two attacks on two Ju 87s while Mishin from the same unit attacked a Ju 88, which left smoking and losing height towards Oranienbaum. Agureev at the same time attacked a Ju 87 and claimed it shot down.
Between 18:00-18:15, Baturin of the 71 IAP-KBF alone attacked a Ju 87 from behind. After the attack, the aircraft flew smoking towards Peterhof and observations posts, which saw it crash near Peterhof, later confirmed it.
At 18:05, leitenant Yury Spitsyn of the 71 IAP-KBF claimed a Ju 87 at an altitude of 1000 m near Peterhof.

In a subsequent combat, shell splinter injured his right eye. In a letter to his family, dated 17 February 1942, he wrote:

"In general I'm okay, apart for my sore eye and the splinters in the bridge of my nose. I have to fly in tinted glasses. It's hard to cope, but I have to fight. So despite only having an eye-and-a-half I've already shot down five of the vultures. Well, we must win the war first and then I'll take care of my eye."

He continued to score on a regular basis and by mid-1942 had developed into one of the unit’s more noted fighter pilots. He had the rare distinction of scoring a victory with a salvo of RS-82 rockets, mounted on racks attached to the lower wing of his I-153.

Late in the day on 3 April 1942, luutnantti Veikko Sauru’s five Fokkers from 2/LLv 30 was attacked by a dozen Chaikas on a mission to Seiskari area. The Finns claimed two enemy fighters as reported by kersantti Otto Karme:

“At 16:05, altitude 500 m. Our five-plane formation led by luutnantti Sauru headed west towards Seiskari. A six-plane enemy formation flew towards our detachment (another six-plane formation, which I did not observe at that moment was flying higher). The observed enemy aircraft were I-153s. We attacked straight on coming from slightly below. I observed the burst I fired hit the engine of the I-153, but I could not tell the impact. Right after I pulled a steep right-hand curve and simultaneously saw on my left side a burning plane in dive. I could not follow up any longer as I observed four other I-153s coming towards me. One of these flew a bit higher than the others. I gained altitude and then the I-153 above the others made a slight curve to the right and got in a firing position straight from the side. I continued firing and got all the time in a better position somewhat from behind and aside and also slightly underneath. I saw my bursts hit all the time the enemy aircraft and then saw a puff of smoke and then the plane fell in a dive seemingly out of control. When this shooting took place we were inside the layers of the clouds. I could not follow the aircraft down to the deck. My own plane FRw-130 suffered no damage.”
Karme was credited with one shot down and one probable (claimed without witness) I-153s. Vänrikki Tauno Saalasti (FRw-123) claimed a damaged I-153 in the same area. No Finnish aircraft were lost.
It seems that they had been in combat with the 71 IAP-KBF. The ORB of the KBF mentions that at 16:05, six Chaikas led by kapitan Konstantin Solov'yev met four Fokkers. The encounter began with attacks in opposite directions and turned into a curve battle where starshiy leitenant Baturin’s pair sent one Fokker down 11km east Seiskari, without losses.

Between 18:00 and 19:10 on the same day, kapteeni Kullervo Lahtela’s eight Curtiss of 1/LLv 32 flew a reconnaissance mission to the Gulf of Finland and engaged around a dozen Chaikas in the Seiskari area. Five I-153s were claimed by Lahtela (CU-556), vänrikki Juho Nyholm (CU-564), luutnantti Esko Ruotsila (CU-558), kersantti Niilo Erkinheimo (CU-551) and lentomestari Viljo Ikonen (CU-568). Kersantti Eero Visuri (CU-572) was shot down and killed in the combat.
The Chronicle of KBF reports:

“At 18:24 began at 500 metres a combat lasting 15 minutes between starshiy leitenant Baturin’s eight I-153s from 71 IAP and twelve Fokkers. After the attack of the Soviets the enemy tried to get in the clouds. The separated (obviously less experienced pilots) planes aimed to form into pairs and swarms after which they returned to the battle just under the clouds. The more experienced pilots attacked straight from the clouds. To avoid the surprise attacks the Soviet pilots manoeuvred 200-250 metres below the clouds. Three aircraft were shot down in the vicinity of Seiskari and one aircraft broke off towards Koivisto. After the combat the enemy broke off to the north. No own losses.”
The Soviet pilots reported that one Fokker fell burning on the ice 4km south-east of Seiskari, the second crashed 10km south-east of the island, the third crashed in villages 3km north-east of the island while the fourth was last seen flying smoking and losing height towards Björkö. After the combat, the remaining Finnish aircraft flew north.
The Soviet claims are somewhat confusing. Starshiy leitenant Baturin and leitenant Abram Ashkinazi are credited with two shared victories in this combat; these being shared among all pilots in the flight while mladshiy leitenant Georgiy Belyakov seems to be credited with a shared in all three claimed enemy fighters (all shared ”in group”). Ivan Minayev is credited with two shared ”in group” and a third together with another pilot. Leitenant Ashkinazi is also credited with a third together with another pilot. Kapitan Konstantin Solov’yev is credited with one shared ”in group”. Who the second pilot in Baturin’s earlier claim was, is not known (Ashkinazi, Minayev or Solov’yev?).

In combat over Kronstadt on 24 April, 71 IAP-KBF claimed two Ju 88s shared among seven pilots; four of these being starshiy leitenant Vladimir Abramov, starshiy leytenant 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.

Between 00:30-01:15 on 3 June 1942, four I-153s from the 71 IAP-KBF were up against He 111s raiding Kronstadt.
At 01:10, kapitan Konstantin Solov’yev and starshiy leitenant Baturin claimed one He 111 from a distance of 500-600m at an altitude of 800m. The burning bomber crashed into Lake Kopenskoe. They also claimed a second shared He 111, which they attacked and shot down near Shepelev lighthouse. It seems that these victories were recorded as one single victory each.
Major Vladimir Koreshkov and kapitan Ivan Gorbachev claimed a shared He 111 at an altitude of 1000-800 m and from a distance of 100m, which crashed near Inoniemi. They also shot down a second He 111, which fell at Tyvola.

During the night of 5 June, pilots from the 71 IAP-KBF made seven sorties against a reported 35 He 111s and Ju 88s that were attacking the southern forts of Kronstadt.
Five He 111s were claimed by the Soviet pilots when Ivan Serbin claimed one shared bomber with kapitan Petr Biskup and a second with major Aleksandr Alekseyev. Starshiy leitenant Baturin and kapitan Ivan Gorbachev claimed one He 111 each. The fifth was claimed by kapitan Biskup.

In July, 1942, starshiy leitenant Baturin was deputy commander of 2./71 IAP-KBF.

Kapitan Baturin was decorated with the Gold Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union (no. 751) and the Order of Lenin on 23 October 1942 after his sixth personal victory after 81 engagements, 421 sorties of which 67 were reconnaissance and 75 ground-attack as of June 1942.

The 71 IAP-KBF was retitled to the 10 GIAP-KBF on 31 May 1943.

Four I-153s from 71 IAP-KBF claimed a shared FW 190 east of Seiskari on 9 June 1943. Two of the claiming pilots were Baturin and Mikhail Machabeli.

On 4 April 1944, he was almost finished off by German fighters when Baturin and his wingman Mikhail Machabeli, became involved in a dogfight with 16 FW 190s. Baturin claimed two of them and Machabeli a third, but the latter was then shot down and became a prisoner. Baturin was badly hit in his face, but his fighter still flew. He dove away and was able to stagger back to his own airfield.

By May 1945, kapitan Baturin was CO of 2./10 GIAP-KBF.

Baturin ended the war with 6 biplane victories and a total of 9.
These victories were claimed on 543 sorties and 84 combats.

Baturin continued to serve in the Navy after the war but wound up his military career as a mayor in 1948 due to health reasons.

Baturin died on 29 November 1985.

Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  16/08/41   1/2 Bf 109 Shared destroyed I-153   Kotlin 71 IAP-KBF
1 25/08/41   1 Ju 88 Destroyed I-153   Tallinn 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
  21/09/41   1/6 Ju 88 Shared destroyed I-153   nr Peterhof 71 IAP-KBF
2 21/09/41   1 Bf 109 Destroyed I-153   Sablino-Yam-Izhora 71 IAP-KBF
3 23/09/41   1 Ju 87 Destroyed I-153   Peterhof 71 IAP-KBF
4 27/09/41 18:00-18:15 1 Ju 87 Destroyed I-153   Kronstadt 71 IAP-KBF
  03/04/42 16:05 1/2 Fokker D.XXI (a) Shared destroyed I-153   11km E Seiskari 71 IAP-KBF
  03/04/42 18:24- 1/8 Fokker D.XXI (b) Shared destroyed I-153   Seiskari area 71 IAP-KBF
  03/04/42 18:24- 1/8 Fokker D.XXI (b) Shared destroyed I-153   Seiskari area 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
5 03/06/42 01:10- 1 He 111 Destroyed I-153   Lake Kopenskoe-nr Shepelev lighthouse 71 IAP-KBF
6 05/06/42 night 1 He 111 Destroyed I-153   Kronstadt area 71 IAP-KBF
  10/06/42 night 1/3 He 111 Shared destroyed I-153   Kotlina area 71 IAP-KBF
  11/06/42 night 1/2 He 111 Shared destroyed I-153   NW Kotlina 71 IAP-KBF
  13/06/42 night 1/2 He 111 Shared destroyed I-153   Innoniemi 71 IAP-KBF
  27/05/43   1/4 FW 190 Shared destroyed I-153   Penisari 71 IAP-KBF
  09/06/43   1/4 FW 190 Shared destroyed I-153   E Seiskari 10 GIAP-KBF
  23/03/43   1/2 FW 190 Shared destroyed La-5   NW Vindlo Island 10 GIAP-KBF
7 02/04/44   1 FW 190 Destroyed La-5   N Azeri 10 GIAP-KBF
8 02/04/44   1 FW 190 Destroyed La-5   N Toyla 10 GIAP-KBF
9 04/04/44   1 FW 190 Destroyed La-5   Vaivara 10 GIAP-KBF

Biplane victories: 6 and 14 shared destroyed.
TOTAL: 9 and 15 shared destroyed.
(a) Claimed in combat with Fokker D.XXIs from 2/LLv 30, which claimed 1 destroyed, 1 probable and 1 damage I-153 without losses. 71 IAP-KBF claimed 1 Fokker without losses.
(b) Claimed in combat with Curtiss 75As from 1/LLv 32, which claimed 5 I-153s while losing 1 Curtiss 75A (pilot KIA). 71 IAP-KBF claimed 3 Fokkers without losses.
(c) Not verified with Luftwaffe records.

Airmen of World
All aces of Stalin 1936-1953 – Mikhail Bykov, 2014
Black Cross/Red Star Volume II - Christer Bergström and Andrey Mikhailov, 2001 Pacifica Military History, ISBN 0-935553-51-7
Polikarpov I-15. I-16 and I-153 Aces - Mikhail Maslov, 2010 Osprey Publishing, Oxford, ISBN 978-1-84603-981-2
Soviet Aces 1936-1953
Soviet Aces of World War 2 - Hugh Morgan, 1998
Soviet Fighter Pilots 1936-1953 - Mikhail Bykov
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

Last modified 03 June 2021