Biplane fighter aces

Soviet Union

Starshiy Leytenant A. Gruzdev

In August 1942, Starshiy Leytenant Gruzdev served in the 71 IAP-KBF. This unit was at the time equipped with a mix of I-16s, I-152s and I-153s.

In the evening on 31 August, kapteeni Eino Luukkanen led five Brewsters of 1/LeLv 24 to a search in the Seiskari-Lavansaari area. In a clash with eight Chaikas, half of them were claimed shot down into the sea over Lavansaari. The claimants were vääpeli Eero Kinnunen (BW-382) (18:50-20:00), ylikersantti Reino Malin (BW-373) (19:50-20:00) and kapteeni Luukkanen (BW-393) (19:50-20:05). The fourth was claimed between 19:50-20:05 as a shared between luutnantti Kai Metsola (BW-375) and ylikersantti M Pellinen (BW-376).
The Soviets reported that Kapitan P. Biskup’s four I-153s from 71 IAP-KBF were patrolling over Lavanssari, when they were attacked by 12 Capronis and Fiats. RS-82 rockets were launched in the first head-on firing which split the enemy formation. The attacked then continued in pairs and also from head on. After one such enemy turn, Biskup and Starshiy Leytenant Gruzdev scored hit on one Caproni, which went into the sea. After 20 minutes of fighting 12 additional Capronis appeared on the scene and also four I-153s from 71 IAP-KBF. In repeated attacks two more Capronis were damaged with rockets and machinegun fire, and they then broke off to Someri direction. One of them could not make it and fell into the sea.

Gruzdev ended the war with 1 shared biplane victory.

Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  31/08/42 19:50-20:05 ½ Buffalo (a) Shared destroyed I-153   Lavansaari 71 IAP-KBF

Biplane victories: 1 shared destroyed.
TOTAL: 1 shared destroyed.
(a) Claimed with RS-82 rockets in combat with Brewster Buffaloes from 1/LeLv 24, which claimed four I-153s without losses. 71 IAP-KBF claimed two and one damaged Buffaloes without known losses.

Suomen Ilmavoimat part IV – 1942 – Kalevi Keskinen and Kari Stenman, 2007, ISBN 978-952-99743-2-0

Last modified 27 February 2008