The most successful Russian biplane-unit was the, in 1941, I-153 equipped
Staff Flight/44 IAD (from 4 November 1941 renamed to 92 IAP) under command of
Captain Farid Fatkullin. The successfully low-level attacks made by this unit against
the German 6th and 17th Armies in September-October 1941 contributed considerable to
delay the German advance against the Russian industrial areas at the Donetsk. The
Russian was able to remove major parts of the defence industry before the area was
overrun thanks to the contribution made by Fatkullin’s pilots, among others.
One of the most successful I-153 pilots in the unit was Lieutenant Boris Biryukov, who destroyed 6 tanks and 112 trucks on the ground between 6 August and 31 October 1941. Sub Lieutenant Aleksander Perepelitsa destroyed 6 tanks, 4 artillery guns and 32 trucks during the same period.
Lieutenant Aleksander Perepelitsa was shot down and killed over the Kharkov area, by the German ‘Experten’ Leutnant Hermann Graf of 9./JG52 on 15 May 1942.
Sub Lieutenant Evgeniy Chistyakov’s 2 Squadron (Eskadrilya)/92 IAP destroyed during period of two months; 17 tanks, 24 artillery guns and 730 trucks.
German reports confirm the successes of the Russian pilots on this sector. According to one report from the 17th Army, the advance of the army was stopped to 100% thanks to the intensive Russian air-attacks on 9 October 1941. On 12 October 1941, one of the Corps in the 17th Army reported losses of 200 troops and 238 horses due to Russian air-attacks, only on this day!
During the battle of Hangö in the summer of 1941, one I-16 from the Russian Baltic
fleet’s 13 IAP shot down a captured Finnish I-153 of LeLv 30.
For more info about I-153 in Finnish service see Olavi Puro and Polikarpov fighters in Finnish service.
Christer Bergström's forthcoming book on the air war on the East front, 'Black Cross Red Star; German and Russian Fighter Pilots in Combat'