Biplane fighter aces

Soviet Union

Kapitan Mark Sergeyevich Lipin

1916 –

Mark Lipin was born in 1916.

When Germany attacked the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941, leitenant Lipin served in 13 IAP, flying Polikarpov I-153s.

From 12 July, they operated from Shaikovka airfield.

Lipin was posted away from 13 IAP in July 1941.

He was posted to 236 IAP in January 1942. With this unit he flew Yak-1s, Yak-7s, Yak-9s and Yak-3s until the end of the war.

On 16 February 1942, he was decorated with the Order of the Red Banner.

He was decorated with a second Order of the Red Banner on 6 June 1942.

On 9 January 1943, 214 ShAD attacked Salsk airfield which was a large base for Ju 52/3m trying to provide support and relieve for the beleaguered Stalingrad. This, the third attempt was reportedly successful with 72 Ju 52 3/ms knocked out, according to Soviet sources. This is quite a famous air operation in Soviet and Russian accounts of the air war, contrary to accounts based on German sources, and thus is one of the curiosities of the air war in the East. Even if other Soviet sources place this incident on 2 January 1943 (erroneously), nothing on the German side even remotely supports the claimed Soviet successes. The Generalquartiermeister der Luftwaffe loss statistics to hand report only one Ju 52 3/m (from of KGrzbV 50) destroyed in a crash landing at Salsk on 9 January (and none on 2 January). These statistics may indeed be wrong for this date, but historian Joel S. A. Hayward has correctly remarked that ”had Soviet squadrons destroyed any aircraft at Salsk that day, all three German commanders [Pickert, Fiebig, and von Richthofen] would have recorded that fact in their diaries”, which none of them did. However, a report from I. Flakkorps on 9 January stated:

“Airdrome Salsk 0905 to 0915 hrs concentrated bombing by 8 Il-2, altitude 300-1,000 meter. 1055-1100 hrs 1 Pe-2, altitude 4,000 meters, reconnaissance, bombs dropped.”
The attackers’ own report of this raid, having been hidden in the TsAMO archives in Podolsk for many years, sheds some new light on the circumstances, however:
"On 9 January 1943, the commander of 622 ShAP, major Ivan Yemelyanov, and 236 IAP’s commander, kapitan Sergey Petukhov, assigned the combat mission to the Shturmovik task force leader, eskadrilya commander kapitan Ivan Bakhtin, and the leader of the fighter escort group, eskadrilya commander starshiy leitenant S. L. Belousov.
[…] At 1030 hours, the group of seven 622 ShAP Il-2s escorted by seven 236 IAP Yak-1s took off to carry out the strafing attack against the [Salsk] airfield. While assembling the formation, a radio link between the two airborne groups and the ground control station was established. During the approach flight, our airmen took advantage of the low cloud ceiling to avoid detection. The strafing run was performed from the south, with our aircraft diving out of the clouds. The enemy was apparently caught by surprise. Our airmen remained over the target between 1108 and 1123 hours, i.e. for 15 minutes, during which time six strafing runs were made. During the first two runs, the crews selected their targets individually and dropped their bombs from an altitude of 400 m. During the succeeding runs the crews attacked their targets with RS rocket-projectiles, cannon and machine-gun fire. FAB-100 bombs were used. A total of twenty-six FAB-100s, fifty RS-82s, 1,386 VYa cannon shells, 300 ShVAK cannon shells, 120 BS rounds, and 3,830 ShKAS rounds was expended. A total of seventy-two Ju 52 aircraft were damaged and destroyed as a result of the raid according to an official confirmation of people working on the airfield that day. Another two Ju 52s were shot down over the airfield. Il-2 pilot mladshiy leitenant Mordovtsev shot down one Ju 52 that attempted to land and one Me 109 which tried to attack the Shturmoviks. During the withdrawal from the target, the air gunner serzhant Svetlishnev shot down one Me 109 that tried to take off. The escort fighters fought an air combat with four Me 109s during the strafing attack. As a result, starshiy leitenant Lipin shot down one Me 109.
Following the first strafing run, the enemy's anti-aircraft artillery opened heavy fire on the Shturmoviks. Up to seven anti-aircraft batteries were observed. Own losses: Two Il-2s were hit by anti-aircraft fire and belly-landed in enemy-held territory. Two Yak-1s failed to return from the mission.”
Thus it is clear that the disputed claims for seventy-two destroyed or damaged Ju 52s stemmed from apparently less reliable, or at least insufficiently experienced for such tasks, ”Hiwis” (Soviet manual helpers) at Salsk. In conclusion, this air operation, which has been portrayed as a model example of a successful airbase attack in Soviet literature and even in military lectures, was actually a failure.
For 236 IAP, the operations on 9 January were quite costly. Starshiy serzhant Kubanov and serzhant Kochetov were posted as missing from the mission against Salsk, with the latter returning to base on foot.

236 IAP became a guards-unit on 25 August 1943 when they became 112 GIAP.

On 22 January 1944, he was decorated with the Order of Aleksandr Nevsky.

Lipin ended the war with 2 biplane victories and a total of 4.
These had been claimed during 249 combat missions and 77 air combats (as of 17 December 1943).

Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
1 02/08/41   1 Bf 109 Destroyed I-153   Western Front, from Shaikova airfield 13 IAP
2 10/08/41   1 Bf 109 Destroyed I-153   Western Front, from Shaikova airfield 13 IAP
  20/08/41   1/? Bf 109 Shared destroyed I-153   Western Front, from Shaikova airfield 13 IAP
  20/08/41   1/? Bf 109 Shared destroyed I-153   Western Front, from Shaikova airfield 13 IAP
  22/08/41   1/? Bf 109 Shared destroyed I-153   Western Front, from Shaikova airfield 13 IAP
  22/08/41   1/? Bf 109 Shared destroyed I-153   Western Front, from Shaikova airfield 13 IAP
3 28/12/42   1 Bf 109 Destroyed Yak-1   Stalingrad Front 236 IAP
4 09/01/43   1 Bf 109 (a) Destroyed Yak-1   Salsk airfield 236 IAP

Biplane victories: 2 and 4 shared destroyed.
TOTAL: 4 and 4 shared destroyed.
(a) Not verified with Luftwaffe records.

Black Cross/Red Star Volume 4 Stalingrad to Kuban - Christer Bergström, 2019 Vaktel Förlag, Eskilstuna, ISBN 978-91-88441-21-8
Deutsche Luftwaffe Losses & Claims -series - Michael Balss
Soviet Fighter Pilots 1936-1953 - Mikhail Bykov

Last modified 17 May 2021