Biplane fighter aces

Soviet Union

Kapitan Konstantin Bekaevich Kanteev

1909 –

Konstantin Kanteev was born in 1909.

He graduated from a flight school in Ukraine in 1934.

As a leitenant, he served as a volunteer in China in 1939 from June 1938 to April 1939. During his time in China, he flew both the Polikarpov I-15bis and the I-16.

At 13:50 on 20 February 1939, the Air Defence Command at Sian notified the 1st Air District Command that 30 Japanese aircraft (Mitsubishi Ki-21s and Fiat BR.20s) were heading towards Lanzhou in the Kansu province in Northwest China.
Nine I-15bis from 17th PS were scrambled first to intercept the Japanese aircraft and was later joined by two more. Later Russian volunteers were scrambled at 14:05 with seven I-15bis and one I-16. At 14:10 four I-15bis from the 15th PS, one I-16 and one Curtiss Hawk took off from the Siku field.
The first formation of nine Japanese aircraft attacked the Lanzhou airfield from north-west at 14:50. The second formation of twelve aircraft attacked from west at 15:15 together with a third formation of nine aircraft.
Captain Shen Tse-Liu, commander of the 17th PS, shot down the lead aircraft of a squadron of nine Japanese aircraft. His vice-commander Ma Kwok-Lim shot down the second aircraft of the third flight. Kuo Yao-Nan downed one Japanese aircraft. They were soon joined by the I-15bis flown by Russians and the 15th PS led by Lee Teh-Piao and Chang Tang-Tien. Shen later shot down another aircraft from the third Japanese formation.
Seven of the Russian pilots taking part in this combat was Petr Abramov (I-16), kapitan Nikolai Gavrilov (I-16), leitenant Kanteev (Polikarpov I-15bis or I-16), Mikhail Naydenko (Polikarpov I-15bis or I-16), Vladimir Vasilievich Zolotarev (Polikarpov I-15bis or I-16), leitenant Sergei Donchenko (I-16) and leitenant Andrei Petrunin (I-15bis), who all seven are credited with nine shared enemy bombers over Lanzhou during the day. This indicate that all the Russian volunteers taking part received credits for all the claimed aircraft and that no individual claims were recorded.
Abramov was to become an ace during the Great Patriotic War when he claimed five victories (and a total of 25 shared) before being killed in air combat on 11 September 1941. Naydenko also became an ace during the Great Patriotic War when he claimed seven victories. Zolotarev claimed two victories during the Soviet-Finnish Winter War of 1939-1940.
On this day, the bombs fell on the city and not the airbase and totally nine of the bombers were claimed destroyed by the returning Chinese pilots. One of the Soviet volunteers was wounded during the combat. The Air Defence Command at Sian observed only 21 Japanese aircraft retreating to the east after the battle.
It seems that the Japanese bombers were from the 12th, 60th and 98th Kokutais.

During his time in China, Kanteev flew twelve combat missions and took part in two air combats.

Starshii leitenant Kanteev took part in the Finnish-Soviet Winter War of 1939-1940, flying Polikarpov I-153s in 38 IAP between December 1939 and January 1940. He was then transferred to 152 IAP continuing flying I-153s until March 1940 when the conflict ended.

On 21 May 1940, he was decorated with the Order of the Red Banner.

In November 1941, starshii leitenant Kanteev was posted to 348 IAP.
This unit flew I-153s on the Crimean Front.

On 10 January 1942, 348 IAP was renamned to 743 IAP.

On 25 February, Kanteev claimed a Ju 88 between Taman and Tomilnya while flying an I-153.
This was 743 IAP’s first victory.

Between 22 May and 21 September 1942, 743 IAP was reorganized and re-equipped with LaGG-3s.
They became operational again on the Transcaucasian Front on 24 September.

Kanteev was decorated with the Order of the Red Star on 17 October 1942.

On 30 December 1942, he was decorated with a second Order of the Red Banner.

He left 743 IAP in May 1943, when he on 25 May was posted as navigator to 978 IAP (which wasn’t part of the Army).

Kanteev ended the war with 1 biplane victory and a total of 2.
These had been claimed during 122 combat missions and 23 air combats.

On 11 March 1985, he was decorated with the Order of the Patriotic War 2nd Class.

Claims:
Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  1939                
  20/02/39 14:50- 1/? Enemy bomber Shared destroyed Polikarpov   Lanzhou  
  20/02/39 14:50- 1/? Enemy bomber Shared destroyed Polikarpov   Lanzhou  
  20/02/39 14:50- 1/? Enemy bomber Shared destroyed Polikarpov   Lanzhou  
  20/02/39 14:50- 1/? Enemy bomber Shared destroyed Polikarpov   Lanzhou  
  20/02/39 14:50- 1/? Enemy bomber Shared destroyed Polikarpov   Lanzhou  
  20/02/39 14:50- 1/? Enemy bomber Shared destroyed Polikarpov   Lanzhou  
  20/02/39 14:50- 1/? Enemy bomber Shared destroyed Polikarpov   Lanzhou  
  20/02/39 14:50- 1/? Enemy bomber Shared destroyed Polikarpov   Lanzhou  
  20/02/39 14:50- 1/? Enemy bomber Shared destroyed Polikarpov   Lanzhou  
  1942                
1 25/02/42   1 Ju 88 Destroyed I-153   Taman-Tomilnya 743 IAP
  02/04/42   1/? Ju 88 Shared destroyed I-153   Crimean Front 743 IAP
  02/04/42   1/? Ju 88 Shared destroyed I-153   Crimean Front 743 IAP
2 07/10/42   1 Bf 109 Destroyed LaGG-3   Transcaucasian Front 743 IAP
  07/10/42   1/2 FW 189 Shared destroyed LaGG-3   Transcaucasian Front 743 IAP

Biplane victories: 1 destroyed.
TOTAL: 2 and 12 shared destroyed.

Sources:
All aces of Stalin 1936-1953 – Mikhail Bykov, 2014
Soviet Aces 1936-1953
Soviet Fighter Pilots 1936-1953 - Mikhail Bykov




Last modified 29 November 2019