Biplane fighter aces

Soviet Union

Polkovnik Alexei Pavlovich Churilin HSU

26 December 1916 – 23 August 1982

Alexei Churilin was born in the secluded village of Shiryavskov, in the Kamensk-Uralskii area in the Ural Mountains on 26 December 1916.
He joined the army in 1940. Attending the Stalingrad Military Air College he graduated during 1941.

He was assigned to the 611 IAP and posted to the front in December 1942.

On 10 January 1943, he claimed his first and 611 IAP’s first victory when he shot down a Bf 109 with RS-82 rockets while flying a Polikarpov I-153 in the Agoy area.

He claimed a Bf 109 over Uspenskaja on 20 August.

He enjoyed considerable success in a series of though encounters over Krasnodar, the Mius River and at Akhtyrka.

Mayor Churilin was an eskadrilya commander in the 611 IAP by 1944, operating over Rumania, Yugoslavia and Hungary.

During the spring of 1945, he was one of the most successful Soviet pilots over Hungary with eight claimed Bf 109s.

In the course of his combat duty, Churilin was wounded in action twice.

On 18 August 1945, he was decorated with the Gold Star of Hero of the Soviet Union.
During the war he was also decorated with the Order of Lenin, the Order of the Red Banner (twice), the Order of Alexandr Nevskii, the Order of the Patriotic War 2nd Class and the Order of the Red Star (four times).
Churilin was also a good leader and teacher for young wingmen, 9 of them claimed at least 20 victories.

Churilin ended the war with 1 biplane victory and a total of 23 or 30. These were claimed in 273 sorties and 83 encounters. Among his claims were 12 Bf 109s, 2 Fw190s and 3 Ju 87s. He also claimed 21 aircraft destroyed on the ground. During the war, he flew I-153s, LaGG-3s, Yak-1s and Yak-3s.

He remained in the VVS after the war. He retired in 1972 with the rank of Polkovnik, following which he lived in Novorossiisk. Churilin passed away on 23 August 1982.

Claims:
Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  1943                
1 10/01/43   1 Bf 109 Destroyed I-153   Agoy area 611 IAP
? 20/08/43   1 Bf 109 Destroyed Yak   Uspenskaja 611 IAP
  1944                
13 20/12/44   1 Bf 109 Destroyed Yak   Börgönd 611 IAP
  1945                
? 08/03/45   1 Bf 109 Destroyed Yak-3   Kaloz-Ilir 611 IAP
? 10/03/45 (a)   1 Bf 109 Destroyed Yak-3   Hungary 611 IAP
? 10/03/45 (a)   1 Bf 109 Destroyed Yak-3   Hungary 611 IAP
? 15/03/45   1 Bf 109G Destroyed Yak-3   N Seregeyes, Hungary 611 IAP
? 23/03/45 (b)   1 Bf 109 Destroyed     Hungary 611 IAP
? 23/03/45 (b)   1 Bf 109 Destroyed     Hungary 611 IAP
? 05/04/45   1 Bf 109 Destroyed     Hungary 611 IAP
? 05/04/45   1 Bf 109 Destroyed     Hungary 611 IAP
? 11/04/45 (c)   1 Bf 109 Destroyed     Hungary 611 IAP
? 11/04/45 (c)   1 Bf 109 Destroyed     Hungary 611 IAP

Biplane victories: 1 destroyed.
TOTAL: 23 or 30 destroyed, 21 destroyed on the ground.
(a) Alternatively claimed on 11/03/45.
(b) Alternatively claimed on 29/03/45.
(c) Alternatively claimed on 15/04/45.

Sources:
Le Chaika et l’attaque au sol (Les I-153 dans le Caucaseet au Kouban en 1942-43) – Dmitriy Karlenko, 2003 Air Magazine No.17 dec 2003/jan 2004, kindly provided by Ondrej Repka
Sovetskiye asy - Nikolay Bodrikhin, 1998, kindly provided by Ondrej Repka.
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
Additional information kindly provided by Ondrej Repka.




Last modified 29 October 2006