Biplane fighter aces

Soviet Union

Leitenant Georgiy Belyakov

In April 1942, leitenant Gerorgiy Belyakov served in the 71 IAP-KBF.

Between 18:00 and 19:10 on 3 April 1942, 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. Starshiy leitenant Aleksandr 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 Belyakov seems to be credited with a shared in all three claimed enemy fighters.

On 4 October 1942, luutnantti Paltila led a patrol of three I-153s on a reconnaissance flight to Lavansaari when it became involved in a dogfight with five Soviet I-153s. Early in the engagement, IT-17 was shot down and the pilot 28-years-old vääpeli Kaarlo Olavi Salminen drowned. Vänrikki Olavi Puro of 3/LeLv 6 reported:

“Mission time 08:10-09:25.
We were on a regular reconnaissance mission with three aircraft, luutnantti Paltila leading the patrol. When going around Lavansaari we went down to the deck due to strong flak. On the west side of the island three Russian Chaikas attacked us from above and after a while two more arrived on the scene. A fierce curving battle turned out and the Russians favoured shooting from opposite directions. Early in the combat I observed vääpeli Salminen’s plane IT-17 turn on its back at about 150 m altitude and then go in a vertical dive into the sea 2-3 km south of the island. I fired at several aircraft from straight ahead and in a turn without any significant results. Finally I got rid of the carousel and was able to climb 300-400 metres altitude, from where I could begin diving and hitting the Russians. Now I could surprise one Chaika approaching from the sun and shot a burst to its engine from 50 metres. A strong black-grey cloud of smoke puffed from the plane and it headed in a shallow dive towards Lavansaari airfield, turning on its back and going into the sea about 1.5 km from the shore. I fired at a few planes still, but then one took me by surprise from the sun hitting my aileron, which was damaged to such an extent that I was forced to break off.
My plane IT-18, which had 7 hits.
Ammunition spent 1,500 rounds.”
They had been in combat with I-153s from 71 IAP-KBF, which reported that at 08:47-09:15 two I-153s took off from Lavansaari for interception, piloted by starshiy leitenant N. Kutsheryaviy and leitenant P. Ivanov. South of the island, they encountered at 300 metres altitude three Finnish I-153s and attacked them by launching the rockets and continuing with machinegun fire to 50 metres. In the next opposite direction firing, one Finn was hit and came down south-west of Lavansaari. The I-153s of starshiy leitenant I. Goslov and leitenant Belyakov arrived as reinforcements, damaging one of the Finns with rockets to such extent that it could not make it to the coast on the return flight and went in the sea. There were no won losses.

Belyakov ended the war with 1 biplane victory.

Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  03/04/42 18:24- 1/8 Fokker D.XXI (a) Shared destroyed I-153   4km SE Seiskari 71 IAP-KBF
  03/04/42 18:24- 1/8 Fokker D.XXI (a) Shared destroyed I-153   11km SE Seiskari 71 IAP-KBF
  03/04/42 18:24- 1/? Fokker D.XXI (a) Shared destroyed I-153   3km NE Seiskari 71 IAP-KBF
  04/10/42 08:47-09:15 1/2 I-153 (b) Shared destroyed I-153   Lavansaari 71 IAP-KBF

Biplane victories:1 and 6 shared destroyed.
TOTAL: 1 and 6 shared destroyed.
(a) 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.
(b) Claimed in combat with I-153s from 3/LeLv 6, which claimed one Russian I-153 while suffering one I-153 lost. 71 IAP-KBF claimed two Finnish I-153s without losses.

All aces of Stalin 1936-1953 – Mikhail Bykov, 2014
Soviet Aces 1936-1953
Soviet Fighter Pilots 1936-1953 - Mikhail Bykov
Suomen Ilmavoimat part IV – 1942 – Kalevi Keskinen and Kari Stenman, 2007, ISBN 978-952-99743-2-0

Last modified 21 September 2020