Biplane fighter aces

Soviet Union

Podpolkovnik Georgiy Aleksandrovich Marchenko

1906 –

Date Decoration Note
17/11/39 Order of the Red Banner 1st
28/10/41 Order of the Red Star 1st
01/09/43 Order of the Patriotic War, 2nd Class 1st
03/11/44 Medal ”For Military Merit”  
05/11/46 Order of the Red Star 2nd
19/11/51 Order of the Red Banner 2nd
11/03/85 Order of the Patriotic War, 2nd Class 2nd

Georgiy Marchenko was born in 1906.

He graduated from Borisoglebskaya flight school in 1933.

Starshiy leitenant Marchenko took part in the Nomonhan incident, where he served in 22 IAP between July and September 1939. With this regiment, he flew Polikarpov I-16s in combat.

On 20 August, the I-16s from 22 IAP was heavily involved in the days combat and at around 09:00 a Ki-27 (reported as a ”I-97”) was shot down over the Khalkhin Gol River as a shared with the whole unit (i.e. 66 pilots). Included known pilots in this claim were: major Grigoriy Kravchenko, major Vasiliy Naydenko, kapitan Konstantin Kuzmenko, leitenant Pavel Mikhailov, starshiy leitenant Viktor Rakhov, starshiy leitenant Fedor Golub, starshiy leitenant Mikhail Abzianidze, starshiy leitenant Nikolay Arsenin, starshiy leitenant Aleksandr Murmylov, starshiy leitenant Vasiliy Trubachenko, leitenant Ivan Krasnoyurchenko, leitenant Pavel Solntsev, leitenant Aleksandr Moshin, leitenant Aleksandr Suchkov, mladshiy leitenant Viktor Ushakov and mladshiy leitenant Aleksandr Smirnov.
Later in the day at an unknown time two more ”I-97s” where shot down between Lake Uzur-Nur and Lake Yanhu, being shared among 18 pilots including major Kravchenko, kapitan Kuzmenko, starshiy leitenant Rakhov, leitenant Aleksandr Moshin and leitenant Suchkov.
Leitenant Nikolai Grinev and starshiy politruk Arseniy Vorozheykin from the same unit claimed a Ki-27 each over Bain-Tsagaan Mountain while kapitan Sergey Zaychenko claimed another one at an unknown place. Kapitan Zaychenko was then shot down and wounded. He was evacuated to a hospital in the Soviet Union.
Leitenant Vasiliy D’yanchenko, leitenant Rostislav Govorukhin, leitenant Sergey Podorozhnyy, starshiy leitenant Aleksandr Kostygov, batalyonnyy komissar Ivan Golyshev, starshiy politruk Vladimir Kalachev, starshiy politruk Leonid Kolesnikov, Marchenko, leitenant Ivan Rybkin, starshiy leitenant Mark Shpan, leitenant Pavel Solov’yev, starshiy leitenant Nikolay Tochkov and starshiy leitenant Vasiliy Vuss all claimed a Ki-27 ”in group” during the day but it’s not know when these claims were made. Both leitenant Ivan Groshev and Georgiy Priymuk made claims for three Ki-27s ”in group” during the day. Leitenant Aleksandr P’yankov claimed a Ki-27 together with another pilot. All these claims are most probably included in the claims above.
Leitenant Grigoriy Iosifovich Biyul’ didn’t return from a combat mission and was reported as missing. Biyul’ was born in 1917 and had taken part in the conflict since May 1939.

Around 08:00 on 22 August, I-16s from 22 IAP was in combat with enemy bombers (reported as a ”SB-96s”) over Dzun-Khan-Ula and leitenant Ivan Krasnoyurchenko claimed one while a second was claimed by starshiy leitenant Viktor Rakhov together with two other pilots. A third was claimed as a shared between leitenant Nikolai Baranov and starshiy leitenant Grigoriy Shabashov. Starshiy leitenant Shabashov also claimed one Ki-27 destroyed during the day.
East of shiren-Obo at an unknown time. a Ki-27 was claimed as shared among four pilots including kapitan Konstantin Kuzmenko and starshiy leitenant Aleksandr Murmylov.
Leitenant Aleksandr Piskunov (I-153) claimed a shared Ki-27 together with another pilot during the day. Marchenko claimed a shared Ki-27 (reported as a I-97”) ”in group” during the day.

The 22 IAP was in combat on 25 August and leitenant Mikhail Abzianidze (I-16) claimed a shared Ki-27 together with three other pilots north-east of the source to Orshun Gol River. Starshiy leitenant Aleksandr Yakimov (I-153) claimed two shared Ki-27s with four other pilots south of Lake Kuhun-Hu. Leitenant Ivan Krasnoyurchenko (I-16) claimed one shared Ki-27 north of Lake Usur-Nur together with seven other pilots. South of Lake Kuhun-Nu, he claimed another shared Ki-27 and a shared bomber (reported as a ”LB”) together with twelve other pilots (including major Vasily Naydenko). Major Naydenko claimed a second Ki-27 together with four other pilots south of Lake Kuhun-Hu. Kapitan Konstantin Kuzmenko (I-16) claimed one destroyed over Dzhinzhin, one shared with another pilot north-east of Lake Uzur-Nur and a third shared with four other pilots south of Lake Kuhun-Hu (shared with Naydenko?). Major Grigoriy Kravchenko (I-16) claimed a Ki-27 north of Lake Yanhu. Mladshiy leitenant Aleksandr Smirnov claimed one shared Ki-27 north of Lake Usur-Nur together with another pilot, a second shared Ki-27 south of Lake Kuhun-Hu together with ten other pilots. Finally he claimed a shared bomber (reported as a ”LB”) south of Lake Kuhun-Hu together with ten other pilots. Leitenant Pavel Solntsev (I-16) claimed a shared Ki-27 with seven other pilots north of Lake Usur-Nur. Starshiy leitenant Aleksandr Kostygov claimed two shared Ki-27s during the day. Starshiy leitenant Vasiliy Trubachenko (I-16) claimed one Ki-27 and one enemy bomber south of Kuhun-Hu River together with twelve other pilots. These claims are included among the claims above. Leitenant Aleksandr Piskunov (I-153) claimed one Ki-27 and two shared ”in group” during the day. Batalyonnyy komissar Ivan Golyshev claimed a shared bomber (reported as a ”LB”) and a shared Ki-27, both together with another pilot while starshiy leitenant Nikolay Tochkov did the same but claimed as shared ”in group”. Leitenant Aleksandr Suchkov (I-16) claimed a shared Ki-27 ”in group”. Marchenko claimed a shared Ki-27 (reported as a I-97”) together with another pilot. Leitenant Aleksandr P’yankov claimed one Ki-27 destroyed as did Aleksandr Tsygankov (who also claimed two more Ki-27s as shared ”in group” at unknown dates between August-September). Kapitan Ivan Solyannikov claimed one Ki-27 together with two other pilots south of Lake Kuhun-Hu. Leitenant Vladimir Garanin (Polikarpov biplane) claimed two shared Ki-27s ”in group”. Starshiy politruk Leonid Kolesnikov (I-16) claimed one shared Ki-27 and one shared enemy bomber during the day; both ”in group”. Leitenant Ivan Rybkin (I-16) claimed three bombers (reported as ”LBs”) and one Ki-27 during the day; all these claims were made ”in group”. Leitenant Pavel Solov’yev (I-16) claimed three shared bombers (reported as ”LBs”) while starshiy leitenant Grigoriy Shabashov claimed one shared bomber together with another pilot.
A pair of I-16s from 22 IAP forced three bombers (reported as a ”LBs”) to land and two of them was destroyed; one during landing, which was shot down by starshiy leitenant Vasiliy Vuss and a second which was destroyed by strafing on the ground after landing.

On 30 August, the 9th Hikodan flew missions against 29 artillery regiment forward positions. The bombers set 14 vehicles on fire, yet the 40-odd escorting Ki-27s from 1st, 11th, 24th and 64th Sentai failed to withstand the pressure of the numerous enemy patrol (88 I-16s and 25 I-153s) and, though claiming 28 destroyed (seven by 64th Sentai) and 5 probables, in reality lost the initiative and allowed two 31st Sentai Ki-30s to be shot down. They lost two fighters and one pilot when Sergeant Major Katsutoshi Kato (NCO67) of the 1st Sentai was killed. Bomber gunners claimed another seven confirmed and one probable victories.
A Ki-30 (s/n 99) from 16th Sentai was shot down by enemy fighters 3 km north of Lake Abutara and the crew was KIA; pilot Staff Sergeant Makoto Itô and gunner Sergeant Tomie Ishizuki.
VVS claimed to have shot down 19 Ki-27 while losing one I-16.
Leitenant Nikolai Grinev of 22 IAP (I-16) claimed a shared Ki-27 north-west of Lake Buir-Nur together with three other pilots while leitenant Pavel Solntsev (I-16) claimed a single Ki-27 and a second as a shared with four other pilots (including Vasily Naydenko) west of Lake Usur-Nur. Vasiliy Smirnov (I-153) claimed one Ki-27 and a second shared Ki-27 together with another pilot in the Lake Usur-Nur area. Leitenant Ivan Krasnoyurchenko (I-16) claimed two shared Ki-27s west of Lake Uzur-Nur. One with another pilot and one with four other pilots. Starshiy leitenant Aleksandr Kostygov (I-16) claimed a shared Ki-27 together with another pilot. Leitenant Aleksandr Piskunov (I-153) claimed one Ki-27. Marchenko (I-16) claimed a shared Ki-27 together with another pilot as did leitenant Pavel Solov’yev (I-16).
Leitenant Pavel Dolzhenko from 56 IAP (I-16) claimed one Ki-27 while leitenant Aleksey Novozhilov claimed a shared together with anoth pilot.
Platon Smolyakov of 70 IAP (I-16) claimed a Ki-27 northwest of Nomunhan-Burd while major Sergey Gritsevets (I-153) claimed a shared Ki-27 north of Lake Buir Nur together with two other pilots. Eskadrilya commander starshiy leitenant Mitrofan Noga (I-16) claimed a shared ”LB” north-west of Lake Uzur-Nur probably together with leitenant Aleksey Gudkov, who reportedly claimed a two-seater. Major Aleksandr Mochalin (I-16) claimed a Ki-27 over Nomunhan-Burd. Nikolay Zheredev also claimed a Ki-27 but at an unknown place.

On 4 September, fighters clashed south-east of Shirin-Obo and overhead the Numurgin-Gol River in the morning when the Soviets flew 68 fighter sorties and the Japanese 40.
Initially, eleven I-153s and 39 I-16s from 22 IAP fought with and pursued 20 Ki-27s, and then eleven I-16s and seven I-153s from 70 IAP did the same with seven Ki-10s from 33rd Sentai led by Captain Takeo Kawada. The Japanese encountered a reported 20-30 Soviet aircraft at a height of 5,000 metres. Kawada had been personally forbidden to engage, but 2nd Lieutenant Tadashi Harada (NCO54) and Sergeant Major Akira Ishikawa (Sho-1) charged in, followed by the rest of the formation. In this combat the Japanese claimed nine and three probables, including three by Ishikawa personally, although he force-landed after suffering severe wounds, from which he died next day. Harada and Sergeant Major Seizo Hiraki (NCO66) were also killed.
The 33rd Sentai’s 3rd chutai was also engaged in combat claiming 13 victories and 13 probables.
Soviet reports were filed with claims of nine enemy fighters (one Ki-27 and the remaining Ki-10s) in the morning while losing two I-16 tip 10s and one I-153.
Seven of the claims can be identified when starshiy leitenant Pavel Ankudinov (I-16 from 22 IAP) claimed a single Ki-10 (reported as a ”I-95”) and two more as shared together with 14 other I-16 pilots (including kapitan Andrey Dekhtyarenko (22 IAP), starshiy leitenant E. E. Evkudinov (22 IAP), starshiy leitenant Vasiliy Vuss (22 IAP), starshiy leitenant Fedor Golub (22 IAP), leitenant Aleksandr Mel’nikov (56 IAP), starshiy leitenant Mark Shpan (22 IAP) and leitenant Pavel Solov’yev (22 IAP)) at “Square 787” while kapitan Grigoriy Boychenko (I-153 from 70 IAP) claimed a Ki-10 over the mouth of the Numurgin-Gol River. Mikhail Abzianidze (I-16 from 22 IAP) claimed a Ki-27 while Vasiliy Smirnov (I-153 from 22 IAP) claimed a Ki-10, both over “Square 787”. Two I-16s from 22 IAP piloted by starshiy leitenant Fedor N. Cheremukhin and an unknown pilot (possibly Marchenko) shared a Ki-10 in the Khalkhin Gol area in the morning. Leitenant Ivan Rybkin (I-16 from 22 IAP) claimed two shared Ki-27 ”in group”.
Leitenant Aleksandr Piskunov from 22 IAP (I-153) was wounded in air combat and killed when his fighter overturned on landing back at his airfield.

IJAAF attacked Tamsag Bulag airfield on 15 September.
Some 30 16th and 31st Sentai bombers appeared in the air in perfect combat formation. Their targets this time were the airfields some 45km south-west of Khamardaba Mountain; home of the main strength of 22 IAP (Tamsag Bulak). The Soviet duty forces comprising nine I-16s scrambled. The giant white arrow on the ground indicated the intercept heading for the enemy. The white rectangle next to it meant the enemy was flying at one level. This was not high; barely 2000m for the strike formation, yet some of the 25 direct cover fighters from 1st Sentai were far higher. Using this advantage to stall the approach of the enemy, they lunged into immediate attack. The lack of serious defence assisted the Ki-30 crews to drop their bombs at 11:00. The threat of enemy attack made the bombers actions hasty although they claimed to have destroyed three SBs (reported as SB-2s) on the ground (in reality, the type was absent from the raided airfields), and the gunners claimed to have shot down an 1-16. However, overall, the raid was ineffective. The number of Soviet fighters in the air grew gradually, with duty crews arriving from 56 and 70 IAPs and the Japanese began to retreat across the border. On their way, several Ki-30s dived over a remote ambush airstrip where they had spotted several I-16s, setting one of them alight by strafing. As to 1st Sentai pilots, they claimed to have seen another four I-16s fall in flames during the battle. Sergeant Major Megumu Ono of the 2nd chutai, 1st Sentai, claimed his 15th and last victory over Tamsag Bulag, having flown more than 70 operational sorties (he had claimed seven victories in July during 45 sorties).

The next raid was at lunchtime. Apart from the single-engined Ki-32, it involved two chutais of ”heavy” bombers from 61st Sentai. The mission was covered by 21 Ki-27s (12 from 11th Sentai and nine from 64th Sentai). Targets included the 56 IAP base 35km west of Khamardaba Command Post. The regiment had a great number of I-153s, whose silvery shapes were clearly visible on the ground, highlighting the unit’s position. Apart from the great number of new aircraft, the regiment also had a great number of new and inexperienced pilots. Though three squadrons of I-16s scrambled from nearby airfields, the Japanese got there first. The Chaika crews scrambled haphazardly from beneath the raid, fleeing the bombs, only to face a battle from a position of extreme disadvantage. One biplane was shot down in flames, followed by another which lost the wings under the great g-load its pilot subjected it to; the pilot perished in the crash. Another Chaika started burning, its pilot managing to bale out. The flame then stopped, and the uncontrolled aeroplane began a descending manoeuvre that ended with its crashing. Other I-153s - the main targets of Japanese air attack, were also in trouble. They were only relieved as I-16s reached the battle. Their pilots were from 22 IAP, plus pilots from kapitan Zvonarev’s group. The battle now raged anywhere from ground level to 7000m.
The 64th Sentai claimed two victories but lost one Ki-27, which while attempting to make a forced landing on the steppe, was blown up. The 11th Sentai lost two Ki-27s with Captain Kenji Shimada (Class 45) (CO 1st chutai and with 27 victories) and his wingman Sergeant Major Bunji Yoshiyama (Sho-1 with 20 victories in Mongolia) of the 1st chutai. They were last seen over Tamsag Bulag, pursuing some I-16s, but neither returned.

These unexpected raids angered the Soviet Command which organised a ”free hunt” with four I-16 eskadrily. Keeping within the border, they effected the closing engagement in the conflict. They encountered 18 Ki-27s from the two shutai of 59th Sentai led by its CO Lieutenant Colonel Isaku Imagava. This was the 59th Sentai, first and last engagement in the conflict and they suffered the loss of six pilots when the 2nd chutai was taken by surprise, although the surviving pilots claimed 11 shot down in return. Sergeant Major Takeomi Hayashi of the 2nd chutai claimed two victories, one of them over Tamsag Bulag while his own aircraft was hit 13 times. Isamu Kashide of the 2nd chutai claimed to have shot down two of eight fighters which attacked him, then escaping at low level. Yasuhiko Kuroe claimed two victories over Tamsag Bulag while Katsutaro Takahashi claimed two more victories. Killed pilots were Captain Mitsugu Yamamoto (Class 46) (CO 1st chutai), Sergeant Major Kiyoji Noguchi (Sho-2), Sergeant Yoshinori Kono (Yobi NCO), Warrant Officer Tadamasa Ishizaki (NCO39), Sergeant Major Munetoshi Nakano (NCO59) and Sergeant Major Masashi Saruta (NCO72).

Soviet statistics for the day show 212 fighter sorties and 180 enemy overflights, of which reportedly at least 20 were brought down. The loss of six aircraft, of which five were Chaikas, was acknowledged. The battle brought successive proof that the new type was far from perfection and was unfit for modern aerial warfare.
The I-16s from 22 IAP was in combat with Ki-27s (reported as a ”I-97s”) over their own airfield at around 09:00. Leitenant Dmitriy Medvedev, starshiy leitenant Nikolay Arsenin, Marchenko and mladshiy leitenant Aleksandr Smirnov claimed one shared Ki-27. Smirnov also claimed a second Ki-27 as a single victory. Kapitan Konstantin Kuzmenko claimed one individually and starshiy leitenant Mikhail Glazatov claimed two ”in group” while leitenant Ivan Krasnoyurchenko and leitenant Sergey Podorozhnyy claimed one together with two other pilots. Starhiy leitenant Aleksandr Murmylov claimed one together with two other pilots. Starshiy leitenant Petr Grayevskiy claimed one Ki-27 destroyed and two shared ”in group”. Starshiy leitenant Fedor Golub, leitenant Ivan Groshev, batalyonnyy komissar Ivan Golyshev, leitenant Aleksandr P’yankov and starshiy leitenant Mark Shpan also claimed one shared Ki-27 each in ”in group”. Starshiy leitenant Sergey Shankov claimed one and one shared ”in group”. Starshiy politruk Vasiliy Uschev and mladshiy leitenant Viktor Suvirov each claimed one Ki-27 destroyed. Leitenant Anatoly Yanovich claimed two Ki-27s ”in group” (according to some material he claimed one destroyed and two shared).
Leitenant Aleksandr Silin (I-16) from 56 IAP claimed two Ki-27s ”in group”. The regiment suffered four losses when leitenant Nikolay Kochetkov (I-153), leitenant Nikolay Lebedev (I-153), leitenant Stepan Matrosov (I-153) and leitenant Mikhail Samylenko (I-153) were all shot down and killed in the Tamsag-Bulag area.
Mladshiy leitenant Mikhail Sakhonchik from 70 IAP was killed when his I-16 crashed on landing at Tamsag-Bulag airfield.

Though the revenge raids were deemed a success by the Japanese. It had led to the claimed destruction of 39 Soviet aircraft in air battles, with another four to eight probable losses, nine aircraft damaged, and four or five destroyed on the ground. Yet it was in reality the final failure, leading to the loss of nine fighters, one bomber, eight pilots (of whom two were squadron leaders). This was a senseless loss, far more hurtful to the Japanese than any loss they had suffered on the Soviets.
During this two-day attack on Tamsag Bulag, the 24th Sentai claimed nine I-15s and four I-16s,

During the incident, he was promoted to kapitan. He flew 61 combat missions and took part in 10 air combats.
According to the award material, he ”personally shot down 2 I-97s and 3 I-97s in group”. This has not been possible to verify.

Kapitan Marchenko served in 5./7 IAP during the Finnish-Soviet Winter War. He served between February and March 1940 and with regiment he flew Polikarpov I-153s.

At 11:10 on 10 March 1940, luutnantti Tauno Ollikainen of LLv 14 was involved in combat with I-153s. He crashed into trees in Gladiator GL-279 at Kirvu and was killed.
It seems that luutnantti Ollikainen was shot down by Marchenko of 5./7 IAP (I-153), who reportedly claimed an enemy fighter during the day.
It’s also possible that the Gladiator was claimed by 68 IAP, which according to some sources claimed a “Bulldog” during the day.

When Germany invaded the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941, major Marchenko served in 6 IAK PVO. He remained in this staff position until April 1942, when he was posted to 16 IAP.

He remained with 16 IAP until 31 October 1942, when he was posted as CO of 439 IAP.

Marchenko left the post as CO of 439 IAP on 30 June 1944.

Podpolkovnik Marchenko ended the war with 1 biplane victory.
This had been claimed during around 20 combat missions. During the war, he had flown I-16s, MiG-3s, Yak-7s and Hurricanes.

Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  20/08/39   1/? Ki-27 Shared destroyed I-16   Nomonhan 22 IAP
  22/08/39   1/? Ki-27 Shared destroyed I-16   Nomonhan 22 IAP
  25/08/39   1/2 Ki-27 Shared destroyed I-16   Nomonhan 22 IAP
  30/08/39   1/2 Ki-27 Shared destroyed I-16   Nomonhan 22 IAP
  04/09/39 morning 1/2 Ki-10 Shared destroyed I-16   Khalkhin Gol 22 IAP
  15/09/39 09:00 ca 1/? Ki-27 Shared destroyed I-16   22 IAP’s airfield/Tamsag Bulak 22 IAP
1 10/03/40 11:10 1 Gladiator (a) Destroyed I-153   Kirvu 5./7 IAP

Biplane victories: 1 destroyed.
TOTAL: 1 and 6 shared destroyed.
(a) Probably Gladiator GL-279 of LLv 14 shot down and luutnantti Ollikainen KIA.

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 14 February 2022