Biplane fighter aces

Soviet Union

Leitenant Pavel Aleksandrovich Kaykov HSU

10 January 1917 - 29 November 1941

Kaykov was born on 10 January 1917 in the Kalinin district.

He joined the army in 1938 and graduated from the Odessa military aviation school of pilots in 1939.

Kovtun took part in the Finnish-Soviet Winter War of 1939-1940.

In June 1941, Kaykov served in 147 IAP equipped with Polikarpov I-153s and with the mission to defend the Murmansk and Arkhangelsk harbours.

By 2 September, he had claimed five victories.

On 29 November, a ‘Rotte’ of Bf 109s composed of Oberfeldwebel Gerhard Horning and Unteroffizier Erich Kersten of 13./JG 77 attempted to bounce a group of I-153s that had been reported strafing ground troops in the Kandalaksha sector. A prolonged dogfight ensued. After ten minutes Kersten managed to hit an I-153 decisively (his first victory), but suddenly another I-153 came head-on against him.
Having run out of ammunition, leitenant Kaykov decided to charge one of the Messerschmitts nose-to-nose. Kersten’s tracer bullets whistled past Kaykov’s aircraft. The Soviet pilot was unable to shoot back but the Soviet aircraft held its course, forcing Kersten to break off in a steep dive. Kaykov immediately flung his agile fighter after his enemy. Kersten suddenly found himself hunted by a most determined adversary. Kaykov overtook Kersten as the latter levelled out at treetop level, and he splintered the tail fin of the Bf 109 with the propeller of his aircraft. No doubt, Kersten’s Bf 109 was also hit by ground-fire immediately afterward. Oberfeldwebel Horning saw his wingman go down almost vertically and hit the ground, killing the pilot. Meanwhile, Kaykov tried to bail out of his damaged fighter, but he failed and was killed in the ensuing crash.

Kaykov was buried in Murmansk.

At the time of his death, he had flown 67 combat missions.

On 6 June 1942, he was posthumously awarded with the Gold Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union and the Order of Lenin.

At the time of his death, Kaykov was credited with 6 biplane victories.

Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
1 ??/??/41   1 enemy aircraft Destroyed I-153     147 IAP
2 ??/??/41   1 enemy aircraft Destroyed I-153     147 IAP
3 ??/??/41   1 enemy aircraft Destroyed I-153     147 IAP
4 ??/??/41   1 enemy aircraft Destroyed I-153     147 IAP
5 ??/??/41   1 enemy aircraft Destroyed I-153     147 IAP
6 29/11/41   1 Bf 109 (a) Destroyed I-153   Kandalaksha sector 147 IAP

Biplane victories: 6 destroyed.
TOTAL: 6 destroyed.
(a) Unteroffizier Erich Kersten of 13./JG 77 killed after a ‘taran’ ramming attack.

Black Cross/Red Star Volume I - Christer Bergström and Andrey Mikhailov, 2000 Pacifica Military History, ISBN 0-935553-48-7
Stalin's Falcons - Tomas Polak and Christhoper Shores, 1999 Grub Street, London, ISBN 1-902304-01-2

Last modified 14 January 2007