Biplane fighter aces

Soviet Union

Podpolkovnik Aleksandr Ivanovich Ketov

20 October 1907 – 13 April 1964

Aleksandr Ketov was born on 20 October 1907.

He served as a CO of a Zvena in 5 IAE, 36 IAB Kiev Military District before volunteering for service in Spain.

He arrived in Spain on 1 November 1936.
He served as an I-15 Patrulla CO in the Escuadrilla Turzhanskii fighting on the Northern Front.

On 2 January 1937, he was decorated with the Order of the Red Banner.

He returned home from Spain on 27 May 1937.
During his time in Spain, he was credited with two victories and one shared; these being claimed while flying the Polikarpov I-15.

Ketov took part in the Winter War against Finland, where he initially flew I-16s in 25 IAP.

Between 16:15-17:15 on 2 February 1940, ten I-16s and three I-153s from 25 IAP led by assistant CO Bushev fought with 18 Finnish aircraft over Imatra. The returning Soviet pilots claimed eleven Fokker D.XXIs and one two-seated fighter shot down without losses!
Participating (and claiming) Soviet pilots were kapitan Bushev, mladshiy leitenant Polupan, starshiy leitenant Yakov A. Antonov, starshiy politruk Aleksandr Ivashkin (I-16), major Ketov (I-16), leitenant Smirnov, Denisov, starshiy leitenant Smiryagin, starshiy leitenant Sviridenko, starshiy leitenant Nikolai Zybin (I-16) and starshiy leitenant Petr Kozachenko (I-153).
It seems that Kozachenko also claimed the two-seat fighter (Fokker C.X) and according to some sources this is the only claim he was credited with.
The only claim in this combat that can be verified is that the Danish volunteer Luutnantti Fritz Rasmussen of LLv 24 was shot down and killed in Fokker D.XXI FR-81 over Rauha.

He was later posted to 1./7 IAP.

Between 10:05-11:05 on 5 March, major Ketov of 1.// IAP claimed a shared reconnaissance aircraft together with Vladimir Semenishin and Vavilov.
At the same time were two Gladiators claimed over Perimäki-Hyppälä by Malikov and Sayenko from 2./7 IAP (I-16).
Neither of these claims can be verified with Finnish records.

7 March 1940 was another day of heavy claiming from 7 IAP when they claimed seven bombers and one fighter.
Leitenant Aleksandr Moshin (credited to him as a single destroyed by Bykov), Sayenko and Malyshev of 2./7 IAP (I-16) claimed a shared Blenheim over Koivisto peninsula.
Viktor Skryabin of 2./7 IAP (I-16) claimed a Blenheim over Vilaniemi.
Kuzmenko of 5./7 IAP (I-153) claimed a fighter.
Golubev and Foma Tikhomirov of 5./7 IAP (I-153) claimed a shared Blenheim.
Il’ya Kaynov and Balashov of 5./7 IAP (I-153) claimed a shared Blenheim.
Kaynov later claimed a second shared Blenheim with Aleksey Rybalov (from the same unit).
Major Ketov (credited to him as a single destroyed by Bykov), Vladimir Semenishin and Vavilov of 1./7 IAP (I-16) claimed a shared Blenheim.
Starshiy leitenant Fedor Shinkarenko of 4./7 IAP (I-16) claimed a Blenheim.
To add to the confusion did starshiy leitenant Dyachenko of 25 IAP (I-153) claim a shared Blenheim at kv. 093 (28. AK sector) together with 7 IAP but it’s unclear with whom.
Two Finnish Blenheims were in fact lost in the Viborg area when LeR 4 attacked targets on the ice of the Gulf of Vyborg and on the shore on 24 sorties during the day.
Blenheim BL-144 of LLv 42 was lost at 07:30. The pilot kersantti Toivo Hyytiäinen and gunner kersantti Eelis Turunen were killed while the observer vänrikki Kauko Nykänen parachuted to become a PoW.
Blenheim BL-122 of LLv 46 was lost at 12:15. The pilot luutnantti Niilo Hakla parachuted wounded while the observer luutnantti Pekka Salokoski and gunner kersantti Arvi Pakkala both were KIA.

During the winter war, he was credited with one and two shared victories while flying I-16s.

He was awarded a second Order of the Red Banner on 7 April 1940.

Between July 1941 and September 1942, he served with 252 IAP. During this time, the unit was equipped with I-153s, I-16s and Yak-1s.

From October 1942 until the end of the war, he served as CO of 293 IAP. This unit was equipped with Yak-1s and Yak-9s and he took part in combat at Stalingrad, Kursk and the Kuban.

On 29 April 1943, he claimed a Bf 109 on the Crimean.

At the end of the war, Ketov was credited with 2 biplane victories and a total of 4.
These had been claimed in 200 missions and 50 air combats.

Ketov died on 13 April 1964.

Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
1 ??/??/3?   1 Enemy aircraft Destroyed I-15   Spain Escuadrilla Turzhanskii
2 ??/??/3?   1 Enemy aircraft Destroyed I-15   Spain Escuadrilla Turzhanskii
  ??/??/3?   1/? Enemy aircraft Shared destroyed I-15   Spain Escuadrilla Turzhanskii
3 02/02/40 16:15-17:15 1 Fokker D.XXI (a) Destroyed I-16   Rauha 25 IAP
  05/03/40 10:05-11:05 1/3 Enemy reconnaissance aircraft (b) Shared destroyed I-16   Tielinen 1./7 IAP
  07/03/40   1/3 Blenheim (c) Shared destroyed (d) I-16   Koivisto peninsula 1./7 IAP
4 29/04/43   1 Bf 109 Destroyed Yak-1   W Crimean 293 IAP

Biplane victories: 2 and 1 shared destroyed.
TOTAL: 4 and 3 shared destroyed.
(a) 25 IAP claimed 11 victories but only Fokker D.XXI FR-81 of LLv 24 was shot down and the pilot KIA.
(b) Not verified with Finnish records.
(c) 7 and 25 IAP totally claimed 7 bombers and 1 fighter without losses. 2 Blenheims from LeR 4 were lost.
(d) Credited a destroyed by Mikhail Bykov (i.e. not shared).

All aces of Stalin 1936–1953 – Mikhail Bykov, 2014
Red Stars 7 - Talvisota Ilmassa - The Winter War In the Air - Carl-Fredrik Geust, 2011 Apali Oy, Tampere, ISBN 978-952-5877-04-5
Soviet airmen in the Spanish civil war 1936-1939 - Paul Whelan, 2014 Schiffer Publishing Ltd, ISBN 978-0-7643-0
Soviet Fighter Pilots 1936-1953 - Mikhail Bykov
Suomen Ilmavoimat part II – 1928-40 – Kalevi Keskinen and Kari Stenman, 2006, ISBN 952-99743-0-2

Last modified 04 June 2020