Leitenant Nikolai Cherkasov
In June 1941 Cherkasov was a member of the 96 Otdelnaya Aviaeskadrilya (OIAE - independent squadron). The commanding officer of this unit was Kapitan Alexandr Korobitzin. The unit was based on Ismail airfield and equipped three Polikarpov I-153s and fourteen Polikarpov I-15bis.
During the Axis attack on Soviet Union in June 1941 Rumanian forces attacked the part of the front that included Ismail.
At 14:00 on 22 June 1941, fourteen I-15bis and three I-153s of 96 OIAE (the entire squadron) scrambled from their airfield at Ismail, alarmed by early warning on incoming enemy aircraft- They attacked eight Romanian I.A.R. 37 biplanes of Escadrila 18 bombardament at 1,000 meters over Ismail, close to the estuary of the Danube in southern Bessarabia, claiming five of them shoot down.
The 96 OIAE commander Kapitan Alexandr Korobitzin and Starshii Leitenant Mikhail Maksimov (whose victim fell into the Danube River) each claimed a destroyed. A third was claimed by Mladshii Leitenant Boris Maslov from Starshii Leitenant Maksimov’s flight. One shared was claimed by Starshii Leitenant Lavrentiy Borisov, deputy commander of 96 OIAE, and Leitenant Cherkasov. The fifth, finally, was claimed as a shared between Leitenant Vasilii Kuroedov (flight commander), Leitenant Leonid Khomutov, Leitenant Alexandr Evstigneev and Leitenant Shota Gogmachadze.
In fact, only one I.A.R. 37 was shot down by Soviet fighters, most probably by Mladshii Leitenant Maslov while a second was claimed by the 463rd Anti-Aircraft Battery under Starshii Leitenant G. Okhota. Maslov returned to base much later than his colleagues on his last drops of fuel. He had pursued an enemy aircraft way behind the line of the Danube until finishing it off deep inside enemy territory. Upon return, ground crew could count many bullet holes in the airframe of Maslov’s I-15bis.
The Rumanian biplanes, which lost two of their numbers, had been escorted by eight He 112B from Grupul 5 Vânatoare.
Cherkasov ended the war with 1 shared biplane victory.
|Kill no.||Date||Time||Number||Type||Result||Plane type||Serial no.||Locality||Unit|
|22/06/41||14:00||1/2||I.A.R. 37 (a)||Shared destroyed||I-15bis (b)||Ismail area||96 OIAE|
From Barbarossa to Odessa: Volume 1 – Dénes Bernád, Dmitriy Karlenko and Jean-Louis Roba, 2007 Ian Allan Publishing Ltd, ISBN 978-85780-273-3
Heinkel He 112 in action - Dénes Bernád, 1996 Squadron/Signal Publications, Carrollton kindly provided by Ondrej Repka
Morskie letchiki v oborone Odessy - A.P. Dorokhov, 1982 Mayak, Odessa, kindly provided by Yuri Shakhov
Rumanian Air Force: The Prime Decade, 1938-1947 - Dénes Bernád, 1999 Squadron/Signal Publications, Carrollton, ISBN 0-89747-402-3
Sovetskaya aviacia nad morem - Sergey Bogatyrev, 1999 Aviacia i Vremya 3/99, Ukraine kindly provided by Ondrej Repka
Vtorzhenye, part III - Dmitriy Khazanov, 1996 Aviacia i Vremya 5/96, Ukraine kindly provided by Ondrej Repka
Additional information kindly provided by Mirek Wawrzynski