Biplane fighter aces

Soviet Union

Leytenant Vladimir Vasilevich Litvinenko

In February 1940, leytenant Vladimir Litvinenko served in the 149 IAP, which was equipped with Polikarpov I-153s and I-16s.

On 15 February 1940, seven I-16s and four I-153s from 149 IAP were escorting 26 SB-bombers to target No. 20 (Imatra hydropower station). At Lappeenranta, six Fokkers tried to intercept. Mayor Nikita Syusyukalov’s flight (batal'yonniy komissar Shalimov and leytenant Litvinenko) claimed two Fokkers, of which one ”was set afire” and the other ”crashed uncontrolled to the ground”. The other Fokkers escaped.
Syusyukalov saw a ”SB-like aircraft” in flames.
The Ilmavoimat didn’t lose any fighters during the day.

On 18 February, enemy bombers heavily attacked Vyborg. At 11:30, luutnantti Paavo Berg (GL-279) destroyed two and damaged one SB out of a formation of forty encountered near Kouvola.
It seems that he had been in combat with bombers from 54 SBAP, which reported that 40 SBs escorted by twelve I-153s from 149 IAP attacked Kouvola. The bombs were dropped at 11:52-11:59. Three SBs were damaged by heavy a/a machinegun fire. 3. and 5. eskadrilyas were attacked over the target by a reported five Bulldogs and nine Fokker D.XXIs. In the following combat, the gunners claimed two Bulldogs, while own losses were limited to two damaged SBs: one piloted by leytenant V. V. Butrim received 22 bullet holes, mainly in the left wing and navigator’s cockpit, and landed safely at own airfield, while the second SB flown by leytenant N. I. Ivanov was forced to land at Kotly airfield, navigator leytenant A. A. Smirnov being wounded in right hand.
The I-153s of 149 IAP reported combat south of the target with two Fokker D.XXIs and four Bulldogs and claimed three victories. Mayor Sergey Plygunov claimed one Bulldog, mayor Leonid Kuldin claimed one Fokker D.XXI and a second Fokker D.XXI was claimed by leytenant Litvinenko. Near the target, the fighters met heavy a/a fire, leytenant Litvinenko’s I-153 got 36 holes from the close explosion of a shell. Nevertheless, he safely landed at the own airfield.

At 11:45 on 19 February, eleven I-153s and I-16s from 149 IAP were escorting 36 SB-bombers. At the target area, seven “Bulldogs” were encountered. During the air combats five enemy aircraft were claimed in the Lappeenranta-Sippola area by I-153 pilots; mayor Nikita Syusyukalov and batal’yonniy komissar Shalimov shared one claim, starshiy leytenant Vilchik made two claims, starshiy leytenant Pidyukov one claim and leytenant Pavlov one claim. Four of the 149 IAP aircraft returned damaged; mayor Syusyukalov (38 bullet holes), leytenant Pavlov (33 bullet holes), leytenant Litvinenko (15 bullet holes) and leytenant Pidyukov (6 bullet holes).
These claims can’t be verified with Finnish records.

Subsequently, Litvinenko served as the navigator of the 149 IAP.

Litvinenko ended the war with 1 biplane victory.

Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  15/02/40   1/3 Fokker (a) Shared destroyed Polikarpov   Lappeenranta 149 IAP
  15/02/40   1/3 Fokker (a) Shared destroyed Polikarpov   Lappeenranta 149 IAP
1 18/02/40 11:52-11:59 1 Fokker D.XXI (b) Destroyed I-153   S Kouvola 149 IAP

Biplane victories: 1 destroyed.
TOTAL: 1 and 2 shared destroyed.
(a) These claims can’t be verified with Finnish records.
(b) No Fokker D.XXI was lost on this day.

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 Aces 1936-1953
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 13 February 2020